With no compromise in sight on fiscal cliff negotiations, the White House said in no uncertain terms yesterday that they are prepared and willing to go over the metaphorical cliff if Republicans refuse to allow the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans to expire. Politically, that’s a more appealing option for Democrats than Republicans, who have been boxed in. On one side, they have an emboldened president’s insistence that tax rates must go up, but on the other side they have their vows to the base, via Grover Norquist’s pledge, not to raise rates. Something’s got to to give.
Without a doubt, Republicans have been dealt the weaker hand here, as a look at poll numbers from the past few weeks demonstrates. “[We're in] a terrible position because by default the Democrats get what they want,” Oklahoma Republican Rep. James Langford told NPR. And if there were ever a time in John Boehner’s tenure as House speaker to concede big, now is it. Rank-and-file members seem to have recognized the bind they’re in and are ready to back Boehner, even if he cuts a deal they’re not thrilled with. Here’s the story, in numbers:
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