Major Garrett Tells Chris Matthews Why GOP Can't Vote For Tax Hikes

As much as liberal media members pushing for tax hikes don't understand the fiscal and economic reasons for not doing so, they've been deceitfully ignoring the political ramifications for Republicans caving on this issue.

On Monday's "Hardball," National Journal's Major Garrett explained to Chris Matthews that if the President didn't raise taxes high enough for his liking when the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress for two years, it's absurd to expect the GOP to do it for him now (video follows with transcript and commentary):

MAJOR GARRETT, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Boehner and McConnell don't want to default, okay. They’ve said so publicly. They're in negotiations to avoid a default…


GARRETT: … and they’re going to try to drive the hardest bargain. What they're telling the President is, “Look at the political realities: you didn't raise taxes in a lame duck session when you had 59 Democrats in the Senate and almost 260 in the House. Don't expect Republicans to raise taxes we own the House of Representatives and have six more it Senate seats.


GARRETT: Operationally, as a matter of politics, that doesn't work.


Obama had two years of complete legislative control of this country - including months of a filibuster-proof Senate - to get whatever tax increases he wanted on the books.

Now that the Republicans control the House, and have a stronger position in the Senate, it's politically untenable for them to go along with any tax hikes no matter how small, especially coming so soon after their victory in the midterms and with another major election less than seventeen months away.

Doing so would be political suicide, and could result in a repeat of the shellacking Republicans took after President George H.W. Bush went back on his "Read My Lips - No New Taxes" pledge.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh on Monday said this is likely Obama's strategy:

John Boehner is Obama's lifeline to reelection. That's all Boehner is to Obama, nothing else. He not a golf buddy. He's nothing other than that. If he can get Boehner to ultimately cave, Obama's reelected. That's what he knows...He sees, "If I can force this guy to cave, I don't care what the House vote is. I don't care if I lose the vote. If I can get this guy to cave and put my tax increase for a vote, even if it loses, I win. And I get reelected." That's what Obama thinks, because if Boehner caves, it's bye-bye GOP. That's the thing that everybody must understand. If Boehner caves, it's bye-bye GOP and nothing to do with the policy changes that might happen. If Boehner caves and takes a tax increase, folks, to the House and it loses, Obama still wins because the Republican base is so ticked off at that.


What Obama and his media minions are trying to do is create a repeat of 1990 when the Democrats and their press surrogates hammered Bush 41 until he finally agreed to raise taxes against his campaign pledge.

Despite the media supporting this move at the time, they were all over him once the 1992 presidential campaign began, and assisted in fomenting conservative as well as moderate anger that led so many to vote for Ross Perot it gave Bill Clinton the victory with far less than 50 percent of the votes.

Those that have been paying attention know that the press have been ridiculing Bush for this disastrous flip-flop ever since.

Now, almost 20 years later, the Democrats and the press are trying to do the exact same thing claiming that the world is going to end if taxes aren't raised hoping to force Boehner and Company to cave.

Once that happens, after initially congratulating the GOP for being willing to compromise for the sake of the nation, they'll attack every Republican during next year's campaign season - including Boehner - for their flip-flop hoping that they will not only get their beloved Obama re-elected but also give the House back to the Democrats.

With this in mind, Garrett and Limbaugh are 100 percent right: if the Republicans want to be successful at the polls next November, they can't cave on this tax issue no matter what pressure they get from media members to do so.

Intelligent people are supposed to learn from history not repeat it.

MSNBC Hardball National Journal George H.W. Bush Major Garrett John Boehner
Noel Sheppard's picture