In a scathing editorial on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal said House GOP leadership has “thoroughly botched” the payroll tax cut fight. 

The editorial board also wrote that the GOP might have put President Obama in a “stronger reelection position” that opens the door to Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate.

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“GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval MORE [Ky.] famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure that President Obama would not be reelected,” the editorial says. “Given how he and House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Trump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul The Hill's 12:30 Report: McGahn inflames Dem divisions on impeachment MORE [R-Ohio] have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up reelecting the president before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.”

McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (D-Nev.) negotiated a deal to extend the payroll tax cut through February to give the two sides more time to negotiate how it would be paid for. The measure passed the Senate by an overwhelming majority, and BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Trump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul The Hill's 12:30 Report: McGahn inflames Dem divisions on impeachment MORE seemed to signal that it had the support of House Republicans.

If that support ever existed, it evaporated over the weekend as rank-and-file Republicans rejected the Senate-passed bill.

“The entire exercise is political, but Republicans have thoroughly botched the politics,” the editorial continues. “Senate Republicans say Mr. Boehner had signed off on the two-month extension, but House members revolted over the weekend and so the Speaker flipped within 24 hours.”

Boehner has opened himself up to criticism that he is beholden to the Tea Party wing of the caucus and has lost control of his leadership position. It also leaves the party with the difficult task of explaining that it is for the payroll tax cut, even though it voted against bringing the bipartisan bill to the floor for a vote.

“The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play,” the editorial said. “Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he's spent most of his presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible.”

The Journal said that because Republicans lack a coherent strategy, and are fated to pass the measure anyway, they should “cut their losses and find a way to extend the payroll holiday quickly.”

“Mr. Obama is in a stronger reelection position today than he was a year ago, and the chances of Mr. McConnell becoming majority leader in 2013 are declining,” the editorial concludes.

The paper said the payroll-tax cut bungling has sparked the threat of a “return to all-Democratic rule.”