As noted in the previous post, I do not foresee a sudden return to rationality on the part of the Congressional Republicans. However, their maneuvering room may be limited - especially if they seek to avoid totally poisoning the public outside of Christofascist and Tea Party circles against the GOP brand. Andrew Sullivan sifts through the tea leaves and sees the following:
Does the promised debt-ceiling hostage-taking by the GOP render all this strategy moot? Maybe. But it seems to me that the GOP has hurt itself so far since the election on fiscal matters - appearing, especially last week, as a herd of feral, foam-flecked cats. I don't see their threatening to ruin America's credit unless they get to cut Medicare by $500 billion over a decade as a particularly strong political hand. Any party triggering a self-imposed credit crisis as the economy recovers will not be rewarded politically. On that, especially after 2011, the president has the upper hand. Americans do not like monkeying around with the national credit rating as a way to cut medical care for grandma.
More to the point, the GOP has yet to even lay out the details of its proposed entitlement cuts (and campaigned in part against them). One way out would be for both parties to focus on cutting the Pentagon bloat - but that's not going to happen any time soon. And so I can see revenue-raising tax reform returning as a way to alleviate some of the political pain on both sides.
In other words, I can see Obama's logic here. What he's getting - which is a gradual shift toward more fiscal responsibility, with key protections for the working poor and the unemployed in place - is all he really wants right now.
It's not great, but it will do. Sometimes, the little advances are preferable under certain circumstances to big breakthroughs. And Obama has to face a rabid Republican House probably for his next four years. They self-destructed on Plan B. They will almost certainly have to swallow hard and vote for big tax increases in the next day or so [and, in fact, now have]. And a campaign to slash Medicare is their next major goal.
Time will tell whether or not the Republicans regain a connection to objective and political reality. I continue to hope that, if given enough time, the Christofascist and Tea Party lunatics will either completely destroy the GOP or themselves be driven from the party.