Capsule summary of the latest skirmish, from Dashiell Bennett at the AtlanticWire:
Both President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner have revealed their opening gambits in the great fiscal cliff debate and they are basically starting from the same spot they’ve been in forever. Boehner held a second press conference on Friday morning to reiterate his position that raising taxes is not acceptable. Obama followed it up with a short White House speech in the afternoon reiterating his position that the wealthy need to pay more in taxes. The president basically admitted that not only should this news not be surprising, it’s basically what the entire election was fought over. An election that he won, by the way: “On Tuesday, night we found out the majority of Americans agree with my approach.”
But a deal still has to be made, so Obama also announced that he’s inviting Congressional leaders (as well as other business and community leaders) to the White House next week to get the ball rolling on negotiations. Obama said, “I am not wedded to every detail of my plan. I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas.”…
My emphasis. Professor Krugman, another certified winner, has this strong reminder:
… It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal cliff isn’t really a cliff. It’s not like the debt-ceiling confrontation, where terrible things might well have happened right away if the deadline had been missed. This time, nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013. So there’s time to bargain.
More important, however, is the point that a stalemate would hurt Republican backers, corporate donors in particular, every bit as much as it hurt the rest of the country. As the risk of severe economic damage grew, Republicans would face intense pressure to cut a deal after all.
Meanwhile, the president is in a far stronger position than in previous confrontations. I don’t place much stock in talk of “mandates,” but Mr. Obama did win re-election with a populist campaign, so he can plausibly claim that Republicans are defying the will of the American people. And he just won his big election and is, therefore, far better placed than before to weather any political blowback from economic troubles — especially when it would be so obvious that these troubles were being deliberately inflicted by the G.O.P. in a last-ditch attempt to defend the privileges of the 1 percent.
Most of all, standing up to hostage-taking is the right thing to do for the health of America’s political system.
So stand your ground, Mr. President, and don’t give in to threats. No deal is better than a bad deal.
As for Getting to Yes, I like Gail Collins’ suggestion:
… Root for a bipartisan solution that does not involve the White House being hijacked by a guy who keeps babbling about going halfway over a cliff…
If all else fails, strap John Boehner to the roof of a car.