A TALE OF TWO MODERATES….Looks like those fabled moderate Republicans are holding firm after all:

Senate Republican leaders Friday unexpectedly pledged to limit President Bush’s tax cut to $350 billion, less than half the amount he had proposed to try to spur the economy.

….Angry House GOP leaders held a news conference to accuse Senate Republicans of violating an agreement to postpone a final decision about the tax cut’s size.

….The dispute within the GOP’s congressional ranks provided a rancorous, divisive coda to a day that should have been a legislative triumph for Republicans….House Republicans’ sense of betrayal was so bitter that they said the Senate’s action threw the party into disarray just as Congress was preparing to advance several core elements of the president’s domestic agenda. “This goes right to the heart of our ability to work together,” said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). “This is pretty serious and has serious long-term implications.”

….But as Senate GOP leaders struggled Thursday night to round up the votes to pass the compromise, they ran into stalwart opposition from two key moderate Republicans, Sens. George Voinovich of Ohio and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. They remained committed to a tax cut of no more than $350 billion, and wanted assurances the reduction eventually worked out between the House and Senate would not exceed that amount.

How about that? Democrats are doing better at their filibuster of Miguel Estrada than the Republicans are in getting their tax cut passed. Who would have guessed it three months ago?

With any luck, George Bush will take his usual mature approach to “betrayals” like this and will refuse to invite Voinovich and Snowe to his next birthday party or something. Maybe they ought to have a little talk with Jim Jeffords.

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