Political Animal


November 29, 2012 4:49 PM Another Brave Conservative Goes Under the Bus

By Ed Kilgore

Why write about the media lionization of yet another marginal GOP voice speaking truth to the Norquistian Power when you can quote Charles Pierce?

It appears that Tom Cole, a heretofore obscure congressdude from Oklahoma, is the latest darling of our courtier press. The other day, he suggested that the Republicans in the House Of Representatives take the deal on offer from the president as regarding the expiration of the Bush tax cuts — Keep them for families making under $250,000 a year and let the rest expire — and then live to fight another day on everything else. Huzzah, said the courtier press. Tom Cole is the latest sage come to lead us out of the terrors and night-sweats of the made-for-TV economic thriller that has come to so occupy us.
Except, of course, that Tom Cole swings approximately the same clout in the House as the senior members of the custodial staff. John Boenher, meanwhile, is still the Speaker. John Boehner, meanwhile, would like to remain the Speaker. Therefore, John Boehner still needs to placate the crazy people in his caucus. So, alas for Tom Cole and his newfound fan base in the various green rooms, but under the bus, he goes.

After chronicling Cole’s repudiation by Boehner and every other GOP congressional colleague who’s gone on record, Pierce goes on to argue that instead of arguing over the Bush tax cuts we should be getting rid of the Reagan tax cuts. And that’s why reading his stuff is always a fine tonic late on a slow news day.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Josef K on November 29, 2012 5:03 PM:

    I read about Cole's little idea yesterday, which I believe was publically shot down by Boehner barely an hour or two later.

    I wouldn't be entirely dismissive of these stories, however. There's always an outside chance there remain enough sane members of the GOP caucus, who possibly will become so disenchanted with their leadership's behavior they'll decide to work with the Democrats on this.

    I know its better odds that Sheldon T Plankton will actually manage to steal the Krabby Patty Formula from Eugene Krabs, but odder things have happened over the years.

  • T2 on November 29, 2012 5:14 PM:

    @Josef K .....My guess is that it will take one more election like the one we just had to sift the remaining TeaBrains out of what will then pass as a Republican party. It may be 2014, it may be 2016, but they simply cannot win national approval with the politicians they have now (Boehner, Ryan, Cantor, Bachmann, etc.) and the policies they have now (fatten the rich, privatize everything else, ignore the minorities).

  • c u n d gulag on November 29, 2012 5:58 PM:

    I agree.

    But, neither can they go on withoout their Manichean Dominionist Evengelical base!

    Barry Goldwater warned them, when the Republicans firts started to get in bed with the Good v. Evil, God/Jesus v. Satan crowd.

    And now, the Jesus chickens have come home to roost.
    THEY are the Republicans loyal footsoldiers.
    Their fund-raisers.
    Their door-to-door knockers.

    Without the Dominionist Evangelical Christians, the Republican Party is toast!
    They are the entire energy behind the new, 21st Century "Know Nothing Party."
    Their nativism, and Jesus-worship, ARE the base!!

  • Doug on November 29, 2012 7:13 PM:

    gulag, I rather suspect that, between the sane Republicans, the Tealiban and the Democrats, there's the makings of three parties; with the only question being: how many Democrats would move into the "sane" Republican camp?
    A split in the Republicans would ensure Democrats control the Federal government for several election cycles (10 years?), but after that...

  • paul on November 29, 2012 7:21 PM:

    How many republicans would the democrats need to peel off to pass their own damn budget?

  • matt w on November 29, 2012 7:39 PM:

    To be fair, Cole isn't a complete backbencher; he was chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (the organization in charge of getting Republicans elected to the House) from 2006 to 2008. Didn't go so well.

  • Graham on November 30, 2012 7:37 AM:

    When the Bush tax cuts were passed with the understanding that they would expire, it seems to me like they voted to 'raise taxes'. I know it gets a bit convoluted following the thought patterns of conservatives,but if the cuts expiring are now considered to be a tax raise, then they should have been then too, right? So how is that not a breach of the Pledge? I guess consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.