EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 8, 2013

Column: Fiscal cliff leaves GOP dazed, confused and fractured


The GOP also backed higher tax rates on upper-income individuals. By conceding Obama’s class-warfare argument that “the rich” must pay their “fair share” of taxes, Republicans have rendered themselves incapable of refuting this central lie. They should have responded that, in 2010, the top 10 percent of filers earned 45 percent of national income and paid 71 percent of federal income taxes. When Obama screams yet again for more tax “fairness,” Republicans no longer can claim that they are protecting their tax-hike virginity, having shared a tax-raising toss with Obama in the back seat of Cadillac One.

The House passed this measure with Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and just 84 other Republicans, and an overwhelming 172 Democrats voting aye. Meanwhile, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., inspired 150 Republicans to vote no, along with 16 Democrats.

As if becoming untrustworthy on spending and taxes were not calamitous enough, Boehner boneheadedly canceled a Monday night vote on $60 billion in aid for Hurricane Sandy’s victims. The Senate shamefully contaminated this bill with such pollution as $2 million for Smithsonian roof repairs, $8 million for new Justice Department vehicles, and $150 million for Alaskan fisheries!

Boehner should have purified the Senate bill of such irrelevancies, pushed it through the House, and sent it across the Capitol without the detritus that senators recklessly inserted. Instead, Boehner scotched the Sandy vote without explanation — even to such GOP allies as Rep. Peter King of New York — then endured bitter bipartisan criticism for his high-handed callousness. Boehner eventually relented and promised Sandy-relief votes early in this new Congress. But Boehner suffered deep, self-inflicted wounds that make him look simultaneously cruel and inept.

So, like Democrats, Republicans are now a free-spending, tax-hiking party. But, unlike Democrats, they are badly split, hopelessly unable to play hardball, and appear mean to hurricane victims.

Happy New Year!

Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

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