The Wall Street Journal editorial board's capacity for Jacksonian moon-walking in print is truly an awesome quality to behold. Its latest contains so many fast shuffles they might easily be missed by the casual eye, but which at any rate beg for translation. For example, President Obama "is determined to rout [Republicans] on taxes" (i.e., he wishes to honor his campaign pledge, issued a gazillion times on the campaign trail); "The economic evidence is overwhelming" that raising taxes on the top 2 percent is harmful (i.e., the evidence is non-existent); and "[Tenn. GOP senator] Mr. Corker has proposed several specific and laudable entitlement changes, but note how Mr. Obama has declined to support a single one of them in public" (or, just as unspokenly valid, Mr. Obama has proposed several specific and laudable entitlement changes, but note how Mr. Corker has declined to support a single one of them in public).
Thus the pursuit of truth--WSJ-style.
But let's move on, let us move from the WSJ's rather conventional bamboozlement of its head-nodding readership to the editorial board's supposedly unique proposal for resolving this tedious cliff-hanging issue:
Republicans have more leverage than they imagine, and they ought to act like it. A good start would be for the House to pass a bill this week extending all the tax rates for six months and fixing the defense spending cuts coming in January. Then ask Senate Democrats to pass their own bill, and they can negotiate with the President under regular Congressional order.
The thing is, you see, the president "can't get what he wants without House Republicans. He needs their votes to extend current rates for lower-income taxpayers." In other words, haul in the hostages. Again. Only then, insists the WSJ, can the president avoid "at least two more years of trench budget warfare" and the "poison[ing]" of other urgent legislation--none of which, of course, would ever be subject to more hostage-taking or any other form of Republican gangsterism. That would be unthinkable.