StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

GOP Payroll Tax Cut Announcement Was Amateur Hour

14 Feb 2012
Posted by Stan Collender

Is anyone else as surprised as I am by how badly the GOP played its flip-flop on the payroll tax cut extension?

Never mind the actual policy change and the fact that the tea party wing got hosed yet again, but making the announcement the same day as the Obama budget was released meant that (1) it rather than what the White House proposed became the biggest tax and spending story of the day and (2) the GOP criticisms of the budget had to compete with the explanations for the cave for attention.

As I look at the news websites this morning, the GOP reversal is being played way above the budget story and its criticisms and complaints of the president's plan are harder to find.

The word is that the GOP made the decision on Friday. Wouldn't it have made more sense to release the announcement then so that it would have been old news by Monday and the criticisms of the Obama budget would have been front and center (or top right above the fold)?

And doesn't the fact that the GOP either didn't think about this or made a very bad decision to make the announcement on Monday indicate more disarray in the leadership than might otherwise be apparent.

Excellent post...

... in a rapid fire series re the budget, and the ever present hard core DC politics. [somebody actually thinks and communicates ALL the time.] One wonders how everything will play out on the Republican campaign trail. The WSJ said that Obama's appoval rating was up substantially. By the end of this all, Romney is going to be rue-ing (however you spell that) his no new taxes pledge.

Spelled....will rue

Spelled....will rue

Payroll Party

There is a standard practice in timing releases of bad news in Washington. Do it when the release will get as little attention as possible. Cabinet members resign around the holidays. Agency shake-ups are announced late on Fridays to avoid the first round of weekend news coverage. I think it's pretty obvious that GOP leadership thought they were hiding their climb-down in the dust of Obama's budget announcement. They were wrong. They hid the budget announcement in the dust of their climb-down.

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