This basic dynamic—Boehner cannot haggle freely with the president due to the intense opposition to a deal within his own ranks—has not fundamentally changed. What has changed is the president's hand. According to senior administration officials, Obama is not eager to go over the cliff, but he is willing. If no deal is reached by the end of the month, all the Bush tax cuts—for the rich and not rich—will evaporate. Obama would then demand in early January that the new Congress immediately pass legislation to reinstate the lower tax rates for the bottom 98 percent. Boehner and the Republicans presumably will find it difficult to say no and insist they will only vote for such tax relief if it includes breaks for the wealthy or cuts in Medicare and other government spending. As a Democratic strategist close to the White House says, "For years we've tried to make the case that the Republicans are willing to hold up tax cuts for 98 percent to help the guys at the top. This is the cleanest shot we've gotten at this."It's not like my household wouldn't be hurt if our taxes went up. It would. More than some, less than others. And I'm annoyed that anyone has to risk being hurt at all over what is truly a game built around a bullshit premise. Nonetheless, as long as this is going to be An Issue, I absolutely support the President drawing a line in the sand with the Garbage Obstructionist Party.
It's time to call their bluff on continually threatening to hold the country hostage over policies that entrench privilege.
[Please feel welcome and encouraged to drop links to whatever else you're reading/writing about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations in comments.]