Charles Krauthammer vs. Paul Ryan On the Tax Deal, Round II

Posted: Dec 17, 2010 1:34 PM
As we reported in the wee hours of the morning, the tax deal is now a done deal.  Is this development a victory for conservatives?  The inimitable Dr. Charles Krauthammer and the estimable Rep. Paul Ryan -- both conservative titans -- hold opposite views on the question...again.

Krauthammer argues in his must-read Friday column that the GOP could have called Democrats' bluff and passed a much better deal in January.  He frets that by playing ball, Republicans have unwittingly enhanced President Obama's standing for re-election:

If Barack Obama wins reelection in 2012, as is now more likely than not, historians will mark his comeback as beginning on Dec. 6, the day of the Great Tax Cut Deal of 2010...Some on the right are gloating that Obama had been maneuvered into forfeiting his liberal base. Nonsense. He will never lose his base.

And Obama pulled this off at his lowest political ebb. After the shambles of the election and with no bargaining power - the Republicans could have gotten everything they wanted on the Bush tax cuts retroactively in January without fear of an Obama veto - he walks away with what even Paul Ryan admits was $313 billion in superfluous spending.

In other words: Nice work getting suckered into accommodating The One in exchange for pretty much nothing, guys.

Jennifer Rubin, the latest conservative addition to the Washington Post's editorial team, adopts a different view.  She approvingly cites Rep. Paul Ryan's floor speech from last night, calling it a blueprint for "systematically dismantling" anti-tax deal talking points from both the Left and Right:

Parting Thought
: If you think there's consternation on the Right today, try to imagine the heartache on the Left.  Paraphrasing Slate's Dave Weigel:
"277votes for tax deal. Bush tax cuts passed House in 2001 with 230 votes."  As I noted last night, more Democrats than Republicans ended up voting to affirm President Bush's tax policies when all was said and done.  Dozens more House Democrats voted to extend Bush's signature domestic policy accomplishment than supported President Obama's in March. 

Actually, on second thought, don't try to imagine the desolation on the Left.  Soak it in