A lot of people on the Right are kinda torqued off that the Republicans gave in and extended unemployment benefits in order to get the Bush tax cuts redone. There are legitimate arguments why caving on the unemployment stuff is not ideologically sound. One can also make a case that extending unemployment bennies is not good from a deficit hawk perspective.
But there's at least one good reason why the GOP did the right thing: the deal is a political winner.
Two major elements included in the tax agreement reached Monday between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress meet with broad public support. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor extending the 2001/2003 tax cuts for all Americans for two years, and an identical number support extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. …
Recall the political climate in 1995. The Gingrich-Clinton battle over the federal budget was dutifully portrayed by the lamestream leftist media as Scowling Newt The Puppy-Strangling Kid-Punching Elderly-Hating Scrooge versus Beloved Bill: Defender of All That Was, Is, & Ever Will Be Good. The conservative momentum of the 1994 landslide quickly reversed itself as the Republicans took a public-relations shellacking. It's instructive to note that this scenario played itself out during a time of relative peace, prosperity and strong employment figures.
Fast forward to now. Let's say the Republicans drew a line in the sand and refused to extend unemployment benefits. During a time when 9% of people are out of work, that would be a hard position for the GOP to sell to people. Worse, the Republicans would then fall into the tired but still somewhat potent class warfare game that the Democrats love to play.
Now, it's quite possible that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell might have beaten the Dems in that fight. The problem is that winning would result in the loss of very precious and very finite political capital. There are absolutely gargantuan wars that are coming up very soon. The budget fight with President PantsCrease could become very difficult. Repealing ObamaCare is going to be an epic struggle. Both will require Republicans taking hits from the government-MSM complex. In fact, every battle the Republicans fight with Obama and the Donks over the next two years will require the GOP getting beat up to one degree or another.
Keeping the status quo on unemployment benefits would've been a fiscally wise goal. But it wasn't worth the losses that would've resulted from getting it done. Not when you realize what wars are on the horizon for the Republicans.