December 1, 2012

Republicans Are Not Bargaining From A Position Of Strength

It amazes me how Republicans have framed both the election results and their bargaining power during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. They act as if they won big on election night and that they hold all the cards on the negotiating table.

I would like to remind Republicans that on the election night that transpired within the realm of reality, Democrats and liberals were the big winners. President Obama won re-election, same-sex marriage was approved by popular vote for the first time ever, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in two states, and Democrats picked up seats in both the Senate and the House. And that by no means is a complete list of election night wins for liberals.

I don’t care if Republicans still control the House. It’s a legislative body, and it was entirely unreasonable to expect Democrats to pick up the 3 or 4 dozen seats required to win back control. The reality is that Democrats did pick up seats. Democrats falling short of majority control should not be mistaken as a resounding vote of confidence for Republicans. And this is particularly true when you consider the gerrymandering of congressional districts by Republicans after the 2010 census. More votes were cast for Democratic candidates on election night.

As for the fiscal cliff negotiations, Republicans have nothing to bargain with. Tax rates are going up at the beginning of the new year. Republicans would be wise to accept the tax cut extension for the bottom 98% now. Polls already show the public will blame Republicans if a deal is not made.

Republicans are not bargaining from a position of strength, and their failure to accept this reality will only serve to further weaken them.

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