Will Republicans cave on taxes if Obama wins?
That appears to be the scuttlebutt from Capitol Hill.
Senior Republicans say they will be forced to retreat on taxes if President Obama wins a second term in November, clearing the biggest obstacle to a deal with Democrats to defuse a year-end budget bomb that threatens to rock the U.S. economy.
Republicans have long resisted tax increases of any kind. But taxes are a major battleground in the campaign between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, Capitol Hill veterans say, and the victor will be able to claim a mandate for his policies.
"This is a referendum on taxes," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member of the House Budget Committee. "If the president wins reelection, taxes are going up" for the nation's wealthiest households, and "there's not a lot we can do about that."
With Election Day still more than six weeks away and the president holding a thin lead in national polls, Republicans say they are not conceding that an Obama victory is the likely outcome. But they are beginning to plan for that possibility.
Why should the Democrats believe the GOP will hold firm on taxes even if Obama loses? Do they expect the Dems to cave on taxes if Romney wins? They are dreaming if that is the case.
By acknowledging that they will be forced to accede to the Democrat's demands on taxes - in any case - the Republicans have already lost the post-election battle. Rather than fighting for budget cuts and fiscal sanity, they are going to allow the Democrats to raise taxes and then let them take the extra cash to "invest" in their pet projects.
Deficit reduction? Maybe later the Dems will say. And the GOP will look like the chumps they are.