Merry Christmas, Mitch McConnell!
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) might just be the worst Democratic Policy and Communications Center head of all time.
Or, the best, depending on how invested you are to Congressional Dems’ current messaging strategy.
Yesterday, Schumer stood up at the National Press Club and unequivocally threw President Obama and his coalition under the bus for pressing forward with health care reform at the expense of more “middle class”-oriented programs.
The “mandate” voters had provided Democrats with their 2008 victories, Schumer said, was put on the wrong problem.
“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem – health care reform,” Schumer said.
“The plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed,” he added. “But it wasn’t the change we were hired to make. Americans were crying out for an end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs — not for changes in their health care.”
Sure, Schumer was one of Obamacare’s biggest cheerleaders, but that was then and this is now, people!
Meanwhile, things are only getting worse for Democrats’ actual policymaking efforts. In an effort to push through tax reform before the end of the year, Majority Leader Reid was prepared to drop permanent tax breaks for low-income families in exchange for making breaks for corporations, students, and other groups permanent.
Obama objected and responded in an unusual way yesterday. The White House issued a veto threat before lawmakers released the plan publicly, siding with progressive groups and advocates for a lower budget deficit over his own party’s Senate leaders.
“The president would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,” Jen Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, said in an e-mail yesterday.
Barack Obama knows that making a deal with Republicans now will put him in a difficult situation come January, when Majority Leader-elect McConnell takes the gavel and starts swinging; but to publicly threaten a veto—something that’s usually launched at Republicans who talk about repealing Obamacare—against his own party before a deal even comes together is proof positive that Democrats are more shaken by the midterms than they would like to admit.
Meanwhile, everyday Americans who don’t have the opportunity to play politics know that not extending these tax breaks equates to a tax hike. It’s one of those situations where the real world consequences are set to be much, much uglier than those of the circular firing squad in Congress.
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