Rich Galen

A slender 11 percent of those polled back all four of the deal's primary tax provisions: an across-the-board extension of Bush-era tax cuts, additional jobless benefits, a payroll tax holiday and a $5 million threshold for inheritance taxes.

Just 38 percent support even two of the components.

But, (with apologies to the improbably named lyricist Howard Johnson) put them all together they spell PASSAGE because the American people for whom everyone pretends to speak, get the joke: They'd rather keep their current tax rates, even if someone else is getting what they consider to be a better deal than to get into another two years of partisan head-knocking.

They understand that to get the hard things done, "you don't make agreements with your friends, you make agreements with your enemies."

New Topic

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele provided great holiday party conversation when he defied logic, conventional wisdom, and reality by announcing he was running for re-election.

The National Committees (RNC and DNC) are largely transfer engines: They transfer knowledge (lists, research, etc.), talent (field personnel, volunteers), and money (money) to state parties, local parties, and campaigns.

Who cares?

The fact that Republican candidates did as well as they did while the RNC was as useless as it was, tells us that the days of the National Committees may well be numbered.

Idea du jour: Let's stop using increasingly scarce taxpayer dollars to fund purely partisan activities. I'm talking about public funding for primary elections.

In this age of ballooning state budget deficits and, when fewer than a third of voting age people in America are even registered to vote - let along registered as an R or a D - why should public funds be spent on helping political parties decide who their candidates will be in the general election?

Want to have a primary? Use party funds to rent the school, or the firehouse, or wherever; buy the machines or the paper ballots, hire the poll workers, count the votes, and let us know who won.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at