Democrats finally find a tax cut they can abide, and so both sides agree to extend it. But just as they are about to partake in the bipartisan peace pipe a few days before Christmas, Congress promptly grinds to a squabbling halt threatening a $1,000-tax increase for workers and the evaporation of unemployment benefits for those out of work.
Merry freaking Christmas, American people!
And then when it comes to explaining themselves, Democrats walk out with straight faces and blame — who else? — the tea party.
Yes, that would be that pernicious group of fed-up voters who banded together around the single premise that taxes were too high. Not too low, but too high. And so now, according to Democrats, they want to raise your taxes.
"Here we are, just a few days before Christmas, and the Republicans are just coming up with another excuse," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told her liberal cohorts in the press. "It's just the ridiculous tea party Republicans who are holding up this tax cut for the American people and jeopardizing economic growth."
The three ways you know Nancy Pelosi is lying here are that she pays homage to "economic growth," a "tax cut" and "Christmas" — all three of which her political career has been dedicated to destroying.
Yet in every corner on Capitol Hill, you hear this same absurd canard about how the tea party is somehow to blame for a looming tax increase. And the ever-adoring press obediently shovels it around for widespread consumption.
But wait! The vast majority of tea partiers in Congress actually voted in favor of extending this tax cut. In the Republican-controlled House, they overwhelmingly supported the bill to extend the tax cut for a year. The Democrat-controlled Senate, meanwhile, approved a bill to extend the tax cut for only two months.
So the tea party supports a 12-month extension, Democrats want a two-month extension, therefore the tea party wants to kill this tax cut. Only in Washington and only among liars.
The truth is that, in a very rare accomplishment, the Senate approved a measly two-month extension of the tax cut. Then they high-tailed it out of town for holiday vacations in far-flung places.
Calling them back to town to properly extend the tax cut for at least one full tax year would interrupt their sunny vacations and quite likely lead to yet another giant failure by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.
It is moments like this that voters turn to the White House for leadership. President Obama may be miserably incapable of leading the country, but at least he might be able to show a little leadership among his own party in Congress. And he could be the hero who stopped a big tax increase and saved millions from losing unemployment insurance for the holidays.
But don't count on it. White House spinners are too busy blaming the "tea party revolt" for raising your taxes.
• Charles Hurt's column appears Wednesdays. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.