It’s probably a good thing that politicians sometimes vote based on their beliefs and values, rather than political expediency, even if that sometimes makes governing “messy.”
And that’s the popular interpretation of what happened last night.
See, John Boehner, in hoping to get leverage with the President, intended to pass a ‘Plan B’ fiscal cliff deal, that would see income taxes revert to Clinton levels for those making over $1 million or more, while permanently freezing lower tax rates for everyone else.
Had it passed, Boehner could have easily said: “We did our part to keep taxes low, and we didn’t even coddle the fat cats. Now It’s Obama’s fault that taxes are rising on everyone.”
Now again, it would be understandable if conservatives denied Boehner this leverage out of hardcore refusal to ever vote to raise taxes. But the Plan B idea never raised taxes on anyone. It lowered taxes on nearly 99% of Americans, relative to the baseline scenario. Comparing Plan B to the current tax rates (which are about to expire) makes no sense. Comparing Plan B to the coming tax rates is the only logical way of looking at it.
So the GOP denied Boehner leverage and there’s not even an ideological defense, since there was never a vote to raise taxes… only to lower them.
The silliness was actually explained best by hard right conservative Tom McClintock (R-CA) of California in a floor speech yesterday supporting Plan B.