Republicans decried the votes as pure politics, in spite of the fact that they have on other occasions insisted on the principle that judicial nominees, and bills as well, deserve an up-or-down vote. Remember that phrase? According to former Republican Senator Bill Frist (the guy who can magically diagnose persistent vegetative state merely by viewing videotape of a patient), "Until [George W. Bush] took office, Democrats and Republicans alike were firmly opposed to all filibusters, and said so repeatedly. We had a tradition based on mutual respect and restraint" (my emphasis). Like any principle that no longer serves their interests, however, the up-or-down vote has been abandoned by the GOP.
Now there is news of another potential compromise: in exchange for an extension of unemployment benefits, all Bush-era tax cuts will be temporarily extended for perhaps two years.
Let me just repeat this for you, since I can hardly fucking believe it myself. The Republicans, who have been complaining about deficits ever since Barack Obama won the election in 2008, are negotiating to extend both unemployment benefits and tax cuts. Together, both measures will add to the deficit. And this from the party that delayed extending unemployment benefits on multiple occasions on the grounds that they were not paid for.
Extending unemployment benefits will stimulate the economy, and they would be paid for by allowing tax cuts for the very wealthy to expire. The Democratic plan is obviously better for both the deficit and the economy. And it is the more moderate plan, since only some of the tax cuts are allowed to expire, in deference to the GOP fantasy that tax cuts are always good for the economy. (Some, like former Reagan OMB director David Stockman, think they should all expire.) Balancing the federal budget is also good for the economy. I'm no economist, but I do remember what the economy was like under the last president to balance the budget.
Democrats can't get what they want, in spite of the fact that the facts and the polls are on their side.
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.