Round one of this fight went to Obama. Round two, to the GOP. Round three? A TKO decision for Republicans. A senior GOP source tells me that Democrats have agreed to a two-month extension of the temporary payroll tax cuts -- plus unemployment benefits and the "doc fix" -- with some extra Christmas goodies for conservatives. Quote: "Two-month extension, PLUS Keystone. Fully paid for; no tax hikes. Hallelujah." Rumors are flying that the president is preparing to retreat from his ill-advised veto threat over Keystone, as conservatives, Democrats, and labor unions have rallied around it:
White House spokesman Jay Carney declined several opportunities to say that President Barack Obama would veto the tax cut if it contained language aimed at expediting the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline project. Obama last week said he would reject efforts to tie the pipeline to the payroll tax…Carney told reporters he would not comment on what language regarding the pipeline would be acceptable to the president.
Apparently The One's environmental fanaticism does take a back seat to something: His electoral fate. (For the moment, at least). The 'no tax hikes' concession is also a huge win for Republicans. Perhaps some Democrats are beginning to worry that their deck of class warfare cards might not produce a winning hand after all. Growth and opportunity, not redistribution of a static pie. Read this and weep, Lefties:
Nah, O & Co. will surely revisit the "fairness" and inequality theme in the general election, if only because their intellectual cupboard is so bare. And with the Wyden/Ryan plan complicating their Mediscare messaging, things just got even tougher. I'll leave you with these last few pieces of holiday cheer:
For the first time in the history of the Associated Press poll, a majority of Americans, 52%, say President Obama should not be reelected while only 43% say he deserves another term. As recently as last May, those numbers were reversed with 53% saying Obama deserves reelection, while 43% said he didn't deserve four more years.
Going issue by issue, the numbers are even worse for Obama. Only 29% of Americans support Obama signature domestic accomplishment, Obamacare, while 49% oppose the reform. And as the Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to Obamacare's individual mandate next year, the poll found that 84% of Americans believe the federal government should not have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance. Only 15% believe the federal government should have that power.
UPDATE - I'm told the "pay-fors" are spending cuts and Fannie and Freddie fees. Congress has now put the Keystone ball directly in Obama's court. He must make a decision. Yes, and infuriate the greenies -- or no, and infuriate...pretty much everyone else. Prediction: Here comes Obama's re-election bus, greenies!
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography