Did John Boehner Show His Hand on Bush Tax Cuts?

Beautifully tanned House minority leader John Boehner strangely went off-message on CBS' Face the Nation yesterday, by apparently agreeing to Barack Obama's plan for extending certain Bush tax cuts. What is wrong with him?

Republicans want to extend all of the Bush tax cuts — set to expire this January — for two years at least. Democrats (except for the Democrats who don't) want to extend only the cuts for individuals making $200,000 and families making $250,000 or below, while allowing cuts for the top two tax brackets to expire. Now, as Congress is coming back to session, each party is trying to see if the other will bluff when things come to a vote.

But has Boehner's bluff already been called?

Boehner surprised Washington on Sunday when he said he could agree to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class set to expire at the end of the year while allowing tax cuts for the rich to expire, if that were the only choice he had.

"If the only option I have is to vote for those at [$250,000] or below, of course I'm going to do that," Boehner said.

Boehner grumpily issued a statement later in the day about "class warfare" and "job killers" and whatnot, to save face.

Still, the vote in the House was never especially in question. Democrats don't need Republican votes there. They do in the Senate, though. So don't expect to see Mitch McConnell acknowledging a lack of leverage on TV anytime soon.

[Image via AP]