Wall Street Journal edit board to anti-tax brigade: Time to face reality
By Greg Sargent
You know something is amiss when the Wall Street Journal editorial board bluntly warns Republicans that itís time to accept the new political reality on tax hikes. If you read down to the bottom of the Journalís big editorial on taxes, youíll discover this is what it has now done.
In another sense, though, it is a fairly important concession about the reality of public opinion, given where itís coming from. It is a break from what some Republicans have been saying ó specifically, that the election gave them a mandate to hold the line against any tax increases. Both Norquist and Mitch McConnell have made variations of that claim, as have others. The Journal is allowing that the election has changed the politics of the tax debate ó and it is even implicitly acknowledging that Obama has the leverage here, because taxes will go up if Democrats do nothing.
Now contrast this with the White Houseís behavior.
Iím told that White House economic adviser Gene Sperling privately met with many House Democrats today and told them that Obama and his advisers believe theyíre winning the tax fight. He told them that the White House sees raising revenues only by capping deductions as unacceptable, because it would hit the middle class. ďHe said that until we see Republicans come to the table when it comes to rates specifically, there isnít going to be any more discussions on the other issues,Ē a Democratic aide present tells me.
Now, itís true that that is roughly the White Houseís public position, too. But itís good to see White House advisers working behind the scenes to reassure Dems that they donít intend to buckle. And the Journal editorial will only add to the sense among Dems that the politics of this fight are shifting their way.