In a vote that took place at a time when the only people watching CSPAN were me and Mark Knoller, Congress swept away a bunch of its own artificial booby traps in a decisive bi-partisan vote.
You’re probably wondering, what suddenly changed?
Well, as it turns out, Republicans suddenly remembered that Democrats had vigorously opposed the Bush tax cuts in 2001. So, to see them vigorously supporting them now was a victory!
“I just wanted to thank so many people on the other side for finally acknowledging publicly that the 98 percent of the Bush tax cuts help the middle class,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert from Texas’ 1st district.
And there was something else…
Grover Norquist, the lobbyist who’s gotten most Republicans to sign his no-tax-increase pledge, tweeted Tuesday “The Bush tax cuts lapsed at midnight last night. Every R voting for Senate bill is cutting taxes and keeping his/her pledge.”
“So we’re not raising taxes, we’re actually cutting taxes,” Norquist later clarified on TV.
And just like Cinderella, everything changed. A homely tax increase became a fairy tale tax cut; the frog turned back into a prince.
During the final debate there wasn’t a peep about how taxing the rich would spook the job creators.
“Republicans and the American people are getting permanent tax relief,” said Michigan Representative Dave Camp.
So it was all about putting up the appearance of a good fight, then waiting for the clock to tick past midnight.
And they lived happily, until they hit the debt ceiling.