Republicans are euphoric.
After years of talking about tax reform on the campaign trail, a bill that cuts taxes, simplifies the code, and primes the American economy for more growth has passed the House and the Senate and is on its way to the White House for President Donald Trump's signature.
This achievement was years in the making for House Speaker Paul Ryan, solidifying his place in history as a policy wonk with the political skills to see through something as complicated as changing the US tax code. He found enough common ground for what is often a fractured group of his party members to deliver a win on what is perhaps the last unifying issue for Republicans of all stripes: the idea that taxes should be lower.
As for Mitch McConnell, he erased the Steve Bannon-fueled narrative that the majority Republican conference isn't delivering for President Trump. Thanks to McConnell, Trump can claim victory on taxes and health care, as this bill achieves what some are calling a "stealth repeal" of Obamacare through the elimination of the individual mandate.
Given all the work McConnell has done on judges (12 circuits, one Supreme Court) and rolling back regulations, the Senate majority leader from Kentucky is playing Michelangelo to Trump's Pope Julius II. The Sistine Chapel took a while, but when it was done - wow! Trump repaid the favor on Twitter, announcing he could not have had "a better or more talented partner" than McConnell. Steve Bannon is somewhere shaking his fist at a cloud, no doubt.
Some political observers point to public opposition to this tax plan as evidence that Republicans didn't "win" anything at all. They are wrong. The Democrats lied more about this plan than the average person does on their online dating profile, locking arms and agreeing to spew falsehoods no matter how many were debunked.
But public opinion is based largely on polling, and polls can be deceiving, something Democrats know well. They also know, as Ryan pointed out, that paychecks are going up come February when they see the difference in withholdings.
Democrats have made fools of themselves with their unhinged talking points. Nancy Pelosi railed against the tax plan as "the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress." Has she not heard of the Sedition Act of 1798, or the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850? She even called this tax bill "Armageddon."
Former Clinton and Obama administration official Larry Summers took the derangement further, claiming that roughly 10,000 people will die each year because of this tax reform. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville tweeted that the bill is an "insult to our democracy." Wouldn't the real insult be for the party who won the last election to ignore its campaign promises?
Watching the Democrats talk in cursive, warning of the End Times, should tell us what we need to know about their ability to credibly weaponize taxes for the midterms. I used to think Democrats would fall back on the same old tired class warfare bologna, but seeing their new rhetorical arsenal makes me almost pity them as they try to rekindle any sort of relationship with middle America.
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