This is passing "institutional cowardice" and is rapidly approaching the status of "blackmail threat:"
Democratic leaders are likely to punt the task of renewing Bush-era tax cuts until after the election.
Voters in November’s midterms will thus be left without a clear idea of their future tax rates when they go to the polls.
I can just see the slogan, too. "Vote Democratic, or we'll burn the country down. Giggling."
They've been threatening using the lame duck session for passing cap and trade, and I fully expect the Democrats to contemplate using it to pass other payoffs to special interests. What makes this more likely is that: the tax cuts will expire without active legislation keeping them in place; whoever survives November will probably not see their lack of vote come back to haunt them in a campaign ad; and the Democrats simply hate lowering taxes. Which is another way of saying that the Democrats can accomplish one of their favorite policy goals by doing precisely nothing, in a suitably solemn fashion. Seldom does spite, petty partisan maneuvering, and the peculiarities of the legislative calendar line up so well...
PS: The best thing to do with a threat like this is be aware of it, prepare for it - and not let it intimidate you. "Look at what you made me do!" is not an adequate moral defense.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.