The GOP is to Public Relations What Evel Knievel Was to Motorcycle Safety

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Donald J. Trump payroll tax cut public relations tax cut extension


I live in a very hilly area. Yet I’m still alive. Explain that.

Maybe that’s why I’m a lower-case “r” republican and not an upper-case one.

Republicans seem to feel every hill is worth dying on.

What else could explain the House’s rejection of a silly payroll tax cut extension followed by a doubly-damaging capitulation?

By “silly,” I mean ill-advised, inconsequential, irrational, and fiscally irresponsible. The Senate’s two-month extension of the Social Security tax cut represents the worst of Washington.

And the GOP House just signed off on it, caving to pressure from the White House and media.

In the chess match of public relations, the extension was golden. The press trumpeted it as a victory for the little guy that only the most cynical, hateful bastards on earth could oppose.

The GOP could have eked out a tiny PR win by denouncing the Senate’s cynicism in passing a meaningless and destructive bill by lying to people about its benefits. Then quietly pass the stupid thing, and leave on Christmas break.

Instead, the House GOP stepped up to the microphone and announced, “Well, we are cynical, hateful bastards, and we’d be happy to oppose it!”

Having taken the black eye for opposing a tax cut for the little guy, the GOP could have shown some muscle by sticking it out. They could have said, “The Constitution places power to tax and spend with the House, Mr. President. You might be willing to compromise your principles, but we are not.”

Sure, the press would call them cynical, hateful bastards. But they’d at least be resolute, firm,and committed.

But they caved. The pressure got to be too much. Or Christmas spirit overwhelmed them.

One way or another, the House Republicans took a black eye and got nothing for it.

Yes, the Tea Party’s core principles are Constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets. This extension fails the middle one.

But we have a much longer vision than two months. Our goal is to stop and reverse the illicit growth of government power, growth that requires fiscal irresponsibility,and power that consumes human freedom.

Our mission requires more than one election cycle. Dying on on this particular hill didn’t advance our fight—it set us back.

Moral of the story: win every battle you fight, but don’t fight any battle unless it’s a strategic necessity.