President Obama and congressional Democrats received a political boost from a surprising source late Tuesday: a scathing editorial in the Wall Street Journal that asks how congressional Republicans managed "to lose the tax issue to Obama."
The editorial says the GOP has thoroughly botched the ongoing fight over whether to extend a payroll tax break for 160 million American workers.
The Wall Street Journal wordsmiths said Republicans have "achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he's spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible."
A bipartisan package to extend the payroll tax break for two months cleared the Senate 89-10 over the weekend, but on Tuesday House Republicans rejected that plan and demanded to reopen talks.
The editorial goes on to warn against banking on a Democratic retreat because "[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and the White House are having too much fun blaming Republicans for 'raising taxes on the middle class' as of January 1."
"At this stage," the editorial concludes, "Republicans would do best to cut their losses and find a way to extend the payroll holiday quickly."