House Republicans really really really hate new taxes. This is one promise from the GOP I do believe. It seems almost everyone from their base, to their donors, to independent voters believe this. Despite a mountain of evidence the only people who don’t seem to believe this are a small circle of professional grand bargain promoters, the “both sides are always equally to blame” pundits, and President Obama.

Obama has constantly underestimated Republicans’ opposition to new taxes and it has repeatedly blown up in his face. Obama keeps thinking he is some master negotiator that can find just the right token to get Republicans to accept a tax increase and it has never worked.

  • Obama thought hyping concerns about the deficit would trump Republicans opposition to taxes. It didn’t work.
  • He thought offering three dollars in cuts for every dollar in taxes would be too good a deal for Republicans to pass up. It didn’t work
  • He thought putting Republicans on a special commission stacked to get conservative-leaning outcome would get them to agree to more taxes. It didn’t work.
  • He thought offering to support cruel benefits cuts to Medicare and Social Security would definitely get Republicans to back more revenue. It didn’t work.
  • He thought the threat of the country defaulting would finally scare Republicans into accepting a grand bargain. It didn’t work.
  • He thought the fact that the Bush tax cuts were expiring would surely give Republicans an excuse to accept a big package containing more tax increases than Democrats could have gotten anyway. It didn’t work.
  • He thought calling for only closing loopholes instead of raising rates would give Republicans a clever way to embrace more revenue. It didn’t work.
  • Finally, Obama thought creating a set of real stupid sequestration cuts would force Republicans to accept tax increases to avoid them. With just two weeks left that plan definitely doesn’t seem like it will work either.

Republicans put opposing tax increases, especially tax increases on the rich, above everything else. It is fundamental to their brand and with the country evolving so rapidly on social issues, it is one of the only parts of their brand that is even mildly popular. Why this is still so hard for some people to accept boggles the mind. Years have been wasted because Obama simply refused to believe Republicans on this point and thought he could change their minds.

Photo by Barack Obama under Creative Commons license