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Please Rangel Don’t Hurt ‘Em

Glenn Thrush highlights a tweet from conservative Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), bellyaching about a proposed punitive tax on AIG’s bonuses.

Tax AIG bonuses? Why do Dems believe solution to every problem is higher taxes? Its government’s money, we own AIG – get it back!

This is just one data point, but it demonstrates the danger of the GOP’s all-in messaging on the AIG bonuses. What, exactly, does Brady support as a method of penalizing AIG? Presumably he supports H.Res. 251, which would give the Treasury the unprecedented power to veto executive bonuses. But some Republicans are saying that the treasury secretary should resign. And H.Res. 251 isn’t likely to go anywhere, whereas whatever the Democrats propose, however punitive, will have the force of bipartisan outrage against AIG.

A few hours ago, Lawrence O’Donnell got to ask Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) the question I put to some of the congressmen (through their spokesmen) who sponsored H.Res. 251: Will he support a punitive tax on AIG? Cantor couldn’t answer; the people I talked to in Congress wouldn’t say yes or no, yet. But think about it: How can Republicans vote against any measure that puts the screws to AIG? Politically, they really can’t. That’s Brady’s quandary — he’s a member of an economic populist party now, like it or not.

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