Negotiate like Nixon

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to resist efforts by Democrats and extend President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for all Americans permanently.
“The deadline to prevent a tax hike on every American taxpayer is January 1,” McConnell said, “and the clock is ticking.” Explaining the damage that would be inflicted on the economy with Barack Obama’s tax increases, McConnell said, “Republicans and a growing chorus of Democrats believe that no one should have the government take even more out of their paycheck next year.”

It’s a feeling shared by the congressional GOP Leader, designated to become the next speaker of the House. “The last thing our economy needs right now is a massive tax hike on families and small businesses” said Rep. John Boehner, one of many Republicans who has first-hand experience with the difficulties of running a small business while trying to keep workers. “We will oppose their job-killing tax hike and do everything we can to stop it.”

Republicans could take a cue from one of the ten rules of presidential power advised to a potential successor by President Richard Nixon.

Never give up unilaterally what could be used as a bargaining chip. Make your adversaries give something for everything they get.

Adhering to Nixon’s advice with a unified Republican strategy would guarantee, at minimum, that taxes threatening American workers would not have the possibility of increasing before January 21, 2013.

“It’s not enough to talk about the problem of the looming tax hike on families and hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country,” said McConnell, echoing the legislative need that Nixon implied with his recommendation. “We have to fix it.”


Richard Nixon, The Real War (New York: Warner Books, 1980).