Get ready to see more of House Speaker John Boehner crying. A lot. Whether they like it or not, Republicans have virtually assured themselves a trip to the wood shed over the fiscal cliff debate, where the political reality favors the Democrats almost no matter what Boehner, McConnell, and the rest of the stubborn right tries to pull out of thin air between now and the deadline. As reported by The National Journal, Congressional Democrats are seeing a win either way: lawmakers can reach a deal before the deadline, one that would have to include what the Democrats are looking for, or, in a worse-case scenario, the deadline comes and goes and they’re forced to pass a package where the Bush tax cuts are extended for everyone … except the rich.
Speaker Boehner, in particular, is in a tight spot, as the principal negotiator in this mess for the Republicans. Once the newest members are sworn in, the Senate will have 55 Democrats and at least five Republicans willing to extend the middle-class tax cuts, giving them a filibuster-proof majority (just in case Harry Reid doesn’t get the filibuster reform he’s gunning for). But any sort of agreement with Democrats could cost the weeper-in-chief his job. According to at least one Democrat in Congress, the debate is a locked-in win for the Left. As reported by the Journal:
“We have the political high ground — there is no question about it. The sooner they realize it, the better it will be for them,” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said of the Republicans. “In 2010 it was the opposite. They had the political high ground and we had to do just about all cuts and no revenues. Now, the election was fought on revenues; we won it on revenues; the public is with us on revenues.”
Polling shows that Republicans will bear most of the blame if the fiscal cliff negotiations fail, something much of their leadership seems almost blissfully unaware of as they continue of offer non-solutions to the problem. Democrats are convinced the Senate bill that goes for just what they’re after would pass in the House if Boehner would allow the vote, something he’s dead-set against.
Hilariously, after Republicans held the country hostage over the debt ceiling last summer, they’re desperately attempting to paint the Democrats as the bad guys this time around, holding a gun to America’s head and demanding tax rates go up on the wealthy. As quoted in the Journal, Republican Rep. Aaron Schock (who I’m not convinced isn’t Justin Bartha from National Treasure masquerading as a Congressman … perhaps to steal the Constitution again?) said:
“We’re not in a box. The question is, ‘Are Democrats going to drive us over a cliff for politics?’ If the answer is yes, then we’ll just have to see what happens.”