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Pick Your Battles

December 1, 2010

Not long ago, I was talking to one of my VPs on an issue he had with my group.  Since I was on his side, I gave him some advice.  I suggested that he pick the battles he really wanted to fight.  My comment was: there are some battles you’re willing to fight, even aginst the odds.  Then there are other where you plan to chain your leg to the top of the hill and meet the oncoming forces.  He needed to decide which type of battle he wanted.

Some others are deciding that as well, apparently:

The Republicans in the Senate have decided to flex their muscles to get Harry Reid focused on the economy instead of DREAM Acts and expansion of environmental regulation.  In a letter signed by all 42 Republicans in the upper chamber, the Republican caucus pledged to filibuster every bill that Reid pushes until the Senate deals with the tax hikes scheduled for the end of the year:

I’d say that’s a chain-the-leg strategy there.  And I’m reasonably comfortable with it.  Ed Morrissey in the link above highlights how the pledge came a bit too late, and how it might be more about blocking other bills rather than focusing on taxes.  But that said, this is a good stand by the Republicans in an effort to show the people that they’re focused on certain items.

The downside of this type of approach is that the people might start to think that Republicans will either chain-up or run in the future.  Or the people might just expect it.  When you decide to pick an issue and live or die on it, then you get the audience to think you’re willing to do that all the time.  It starts to get hairy as you realize that you actually DO have to live or die.  Backing off on a pledge like this will be a big sign of weakness.

Either way, the stance is a good leadership opportunity.  I’m sure that we’ll all appreciate that we get everyone on record this year on taxes.

My take is still the same, though.  There’s no reason that the Democrats have to pass a tax bill this session.  They lost in the mid-terms, and they can leave this for the next congress to fight.  The calculus for the Democrats is likely that it’s no longer their problem, and that the Republicans and chain up and hang out… the Dems will go take another hill.


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