Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is warning Republicans to stop blocking an extension of payroll tax cuts because the party is "looking as if they don't care about the middle class."
During a Sunday panel segment on Fox News, Kristol noted that President Barack Obama had embraced an extension of lower payroll tax rates.
"The Republicans are in real risk now of looking like they're defending keeping the current tax rates for the wealthy -- the Bush tax rates for the wealthy -- and right now the official Republican position is let the payroll tax rate go back up by 2 points. That is a 2 percentage point increase on every American, but it's a -- Republicans care about marginal rates -- it's a marginal increase on everyone making less than $100,000 a year."
"At the end of the day, President Obama is selling a very simple message, 'I want to keep taxes low for middle-class Americans,' and Republicans look like -- I'm worried are in the position of looking as if they don't care about the middle class and just want to keep tax rates low for wealthy Americans."
Kristol pointed out the Obama administration was in a "stronger position" when it came to negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff because "the president is the president."
"I think we've seen in a history of those showdowns, the White House usually wins," the conservative columnist explained. "And the main reason the White House usually wins is there's a unitary executive and the majority party in Congress is in a weaker position."