President Obama is cutting his Hawaiian vacation short. CNN says he will return to Washington on Thursday “to make a late-hour bid to reach a fiscal-cliff deal before the year ends.” This is nothing more than political theater, though. He hasn’t been negotiating in good faith and there is absolutely no indication that will change.
As explained by Philip Klein in The Examiner, the President’s objective is simply to raise taxes:
During an election in which Obama gave very few details about his second term agenda, one thing he made clear was that he wanted to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 by allowing the Bush era rates to expire on the income group. Doing that would raise taxes by $824 billion over a decade. But once the election ended and “fiscal cliff” discussions began, Obama raised his demands to $1.6 trillion in tax hikes — double what he campaigned on. Now, it’s true that Obama did unveil a debt proposal in 2011 to raise taxes by $1.6 trillion and he did occasionally mention that proposal during the campaign. But the one point that he hammered home again and again was his demand that taxes go up on those earning more than $250,000 — the top two percent of earners.
Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal put a finer point on President Obama’s approach:
At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”
“You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”
How do you negotiate with this guy? It’s hard, if not impossible. President Obama’s plans are broader, though. He will only accept a deal if it fundamentally splits the Republican Party and begins the process of breaking the GOP’s decades-long opposition to raising taxes. More than anything else, the disruption of the opposition party is President Obama’s goal.
Heritage Action’s CEO Michael Needham says Republicans must move beyond tactics:
Republicans must learn they cannot out-gimmick the Democrats; nor can they offer up enough tax increases to appease President Obama. Remember, President Obama originally called for an $800 billion tax increase. This month, after Republicans put $800 billion in tax increases on the table, President Obama requested $1.6 trillion tax increase.
Conservatives should rally around ideas and principles that unite them, not tactics that create exploitable divisions. As we move to the next phase of the fiscal cliff debate, conservatives, especially those elected to represent the American people, must recommit to explaining and fighting for pro-growth policies that advance freedom and create opportunity.
In August 2011, a prominent Democrat strategist told Politico the plan was to “kill Romney.” Make no mistake; President Obama’s objective during the fiscal cliff negotiations is to kill the Republican Party. If Republicans alienate conservatives by endorsing a massive tax increase, President Obama will be well on his way.