Here’s a short post on politics. The Republicans claim to care most about the deficit and restoring fiscal sanity for the country, and yet the biggest fight they’ve put up has been to defend the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year. If all of the cuts were allowed to expire, then nominally speaking, the projected budget deficit over the next 10 years would fall by trillions of dollars. (Ignore the degree to which a large, sudden tax increase would stunt economic growth and thereby worsen the fiscal picture going forward.)
When the tax cuts passed 10 years ago, they were given an expiration date so that they could be passed through the reconciliation process, thereby avoiding a Democratic filibuster. The Republicans bet that in 2010 (in other words, now), the Democrats would not be willing to make the unpopular move and allow the tax cuts to expire in the face of all out Republican resistance. Predictably, they were right. Democrats are not going to let the tax cuts expire.
Here’s the important thing: those tax cuts are to Republicans what the health care bill should be to Democrats. It was the signature legislative achievement of the Bush Presidency and their Congressional majorities from 2001 to 2006. They passed other bills, but it’s the one they most wanted, as demonstrated by the fact that they will stop at nothing to defend it. Rank hypocrisy is no deterrent when it comes to preserving an achievement that you fought so hard to gain in the first place.
Update: This is an accurate description of the big picture.