Last night, as the House was on the verge of scuttling the payroll tax cut extension, House Republicans gathered in a Capitol basement to talk—Braveheart? “You, Mr. Speaker, are our William Wallace," one rep has said. "Let’s rush to the fight." Besides being a horrible abdication of responsibility, Dana Milbank, writing in the Washington Post, sees two huge problems with this: 1) House Republicans are a "reverse-Braveheart," clearly more like the oppressive nobles than the overtaxed peasants; and 2) the Scots they want to emulate got slaughtered.
The symbolism—the House majority party embracing martyrdom and a doomed cause—is clear, writes Milbank: "They’d rather make a point than govern the country." It's not like House Democrats were beacons of respectability, complete with accusations the Republicans had imposed "martial law" and cheap theatrics. But at least the Democrats were willing to compromise, reaching a deal in the Senate that passed overwhelmingly, 89-10.