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White Flags and Swiss Cheese

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I've always considered former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to be an astute political observer. But when I hear him suggest the need to include "revenue" as part of the proposal by the ridiculous "Super Committee" of Congress to cut another $1.2 trillion of federal spending, I see white flags and images of Swiss cheese holes coming into view.


Then I read that Republicans in Congress, while fighting "every possible tax increase," want to hand President Obama the election by opposing his effort to continue the cut in the payroll deduction tax that is now in place. Now that hunk of cheese is beginning to smell like the Republican establishment's rotten "go along, get along" politics. Those openings in the cheese become gaping holes for "revenue enhancements" in a year in which voters don't want any.

The plain truth is that there is a growing effort to persuade Republican candidates and voters that the there is a rift between the average Republican voter and the so-called "tea party" voter.

Polling makes it clear that this nation is highly polarized. It also shows us that the vast majority of Republicans and independents -- who make up the lion's share of the president's whopping disapproval ratings -- are also saying they support the concepts of less government and lower taxes. That's the very essence of tea party politics.

Let me repeat that: less government and lower taxes.

So, is raising the amount deducted from paychecks consistent with the concept of fighting for lower taxes? Absolutely not. And based on a story by the Associated Press -- which reads like an advertisement for the Democrats -- the position of Republican leaders in Washington appears to be that of favoring a hidden tax increase by not supporting the continued break in the payroll tax.


Apparently the reasoning is that this is where the some 46 percent of Americans who don't pay income tax can be forced to pay more to the government by increasing everyone's payroll deduction tax. Could Republican leaders be any dumber? A tax is a tax, just like a horse is a horse ... of course.

So now we have the likes of Jeb Bush saying we should "increase federal revenue," as well as Republican members of Congress saying they oppose an extension of a tax break that even Barack Obama favors.

I can see it now -- and the president wouldn't even need a teleprompter. "Look," I can hear him saying (he always starts with "look"), "I fought for a continued reduction in the amount taken out of the working person's paycheck, and the Republicans fought me all the way. Instead, they wanted to protect the wealthy in this country at the expense of hardworking Americans."

That would be the hole-in-one that Obama likely has not achieved on his ill-advised vacation to Martha's Vineyard. It could even turn the 2012 election game around and make Obama president again.

Anyone who has ever cut a political commercial knows that it is the "hypocrisy ad," one in which you blister someone for preaching one way and acting another, that always turns races around the quickest. Just ask John Kerry about his supposed stellar "war record."

And it's not just Democrats who can fall prey to talking the talk and not walking the walk. The GOP members of the ridiculous "Super Committee" will lose credibility for their party if they do anything other than support budget cuts, or force across-the-board cuts to come into law if no agreement can be reached, as the debt-ceiling bill calls for.


If anyone doubts this, they need only check with the Republican members of Congress in so-called "red states" who voted for the debt-ceiling compromise. They've been having quite the unpleasant time at town hall meetings back home since the debt-ceiling compromise. They've heard catcalls, jeering and lots of tough questions.

Raise revenue or refuse to keep every possible tax break for individuals -- ranging from the home mortgage deduction to the current reduction in the payroll tax -- and the public won't be seeing "red" anymore. Instead, they'll be seeing images of white flags and Swiss cheese.

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter @matttowery.

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