I think there's a lot to be said for Jonathan Zasloff's analysis of the decision to put off votes on the tax cut until after the election. Zasloff figures that neither Nancy Pelosi nor Harry Reid had the votes to actually win, and figured that the message of "Republicans block middle class tax cuts because they insist on tax cuts for the rich" would work better over the next couple of months without a vote to show that Democrats were divided on the issue. Could be. Is it the correct choice? No idea.
I would say one additional thing against the accusations that postponing the vote means that Pelosi and Reid are caving in; the real cave here would have been to go ahead and pass the bill the GOP wanted. That may well still happen after the election, but then again it may not. Let's say that neither side has the votes to get their preference -- Democrats don't have a working majority in at least on House of Congress on the issue, but Republicans don't have the votes to overturn a presidential veto. Before the election, with plenty of time remaining before tax rates actually go up, it's likely that the result would be stalemate, because there are no real policy consequences of inaction at that point, and because if both sides agree about the likely of any compromises, then the side that would prefer inaction to compromise won't take the deal, while the other side is likely to perceive inaction as preferable to simply losing. After the election, however, not only are the zero-sum electoral effects probably not going to loom as large for everyone with the next election two full years away, but the policy consequences of inaction loom much larger, giving everyone who favors some tax cuts a strong incentive to reach a deal.
*"Cave Man"? Yeah, I know -- a lot of you have never watched the last season of NewsRadio, which of course was never the same after Phil Hartman's death. The reference is to one of those episodes. The final season is, to be sure, inconsistent. Still, I think it's well worth watching through anyway; as with something like Buffy's season four, there's enough good stuff to be worth your while and a few real classic moments. Helpful hint? You know how Lisa dealt with Bill's death by drinking all week? My theory is that she never sobered up; she's drunk the entire season. And Dave is simply insane (and may have been from "Security Door" on). Watch it keeping those things in mind, and it works a lot better.