Bush's steadfast stand against Democratic spending, coupled with his equally resolute opposition to tax increases, could raise the federal debt this fiscal year by nearly $240 billion. As Democrats struggle to meet his demands, they are jettisoning renewable-energy and conservation incentives that Bush championed, and they may ax some of his most cherished programs.
Republicans including Senator Grassley and anonymous others are mad as hell at Bush. Obviously the problem is that if they win all of the battles on capital hill, they will be responsible for the mess they are making.
Bush is, however, defended on the substance by uhm his spokesman Tony Fratto. Best line "Fratto called such proposals 'very typical of tax policy based on populism and class warfare, rather than sound economic policy.'" Readers of this blog will be familiar with my view that sound economic policy can be consistent with populism and class warfare. Basically, Fratto argues that the proposed tax increases will hit the rich and, therefore, are not sound economic policy. I am sure that there are Republicans, including Republican elected officials, we honestly believe that nothing which is relatively bad for the rich can be sound economic policy. I don't think that they will be re-elected officials for long.
Now I do think the Democrats should have put up a very public fight before caving (including working during Christmas which I am not about to do). A holiday season filibuster to protect hedge fund managers and private equity partners from paying regular income tax would have been painful to Republicans, but many would not have to fear a repeat come November. Delays to tax refunds following a Republican filibuster and/or Bush veto would not have hurt the Democrats.
Kevin Drum thinks that Thomas Mann (not the author of "Reflections of an Unpolitician" disagrees, but he is discussing getting bills passed and signed (or vetoes over ridden). The left blogosphere is talking about making it clear, even to those who are paying little attention, who is responsible for things not getting done and who is devoted to making the rich even richer.
update: I see that Matt Yglesias wrote this before I did.
update 2: Jonathan Zasloff too