You know how Republicans in Congress take extreme positions, thereby shifting the terms of debate so that any compromise lands on their side? The good news is that Senate Democrats are finally reciprocating. The bad news is that they're announcing through the media that this is their plan:
Senate Democrats are using their proposal to raise taxes on millionaires as a stalking-horse to force Republicans to accept other tax increases.
Democratic officials privately acknowledge that raising personal income tax rates on the wealthy has little chance of passing this Congress. However, the politically popular idea is a key part of the Democrats’ strategy to attack the deficit and gain concessions from Republicans. …
Democrats say both positions are primarily intended to bolster the party’s negotiating leverage with Republicans. They see the proposed surtax on millionaires as more of a rhetorical weapon than a proposal likely to be included in any broad bipartisan compromise.
“I don’t think it’s realistic that would ever pass; I think we’re trying to find a negotiating point,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said of a budget proposal with an even ratio of spending cuts to tax increases and a surtax on millionaires.
Jeebus. That's not how you do it! I understand that Senate Democrats have lots of affluent friends and donors who need private reassurance that their taxes won't really go up. You're supposed to signal this in private -- which means "not in The Hill newspaper." Announcing publicly that you have no intention of standing behind your position destroys its value as a bargaining position. Can't anybody here play this game?