I am going to keep repeating The Christmas Strategy until someone in Republican circles listens:
I say call his bluff. If a deal which tackles deficits from both revenue and spending can be reached this month, great.
If not, pass a 90 day extension of current tax rates and whatever else is needed to postpone the “cliff,” and go home for Christmas to give time for a Grand Bargain which puts Democratic sacred cows on the table.
Let Harry Reid refuse to bring it to a vote, and Obama refuse to sign it. Their inaction will be the reason for taxes rising for everyone.
Year-end is an artificial deadline which works to Obama’s advantage because the only thing on the table is his emotional desire for tax rate increases. The only chance Obama gets to spike the football is a deal that involves only taxes, or at most, vague promises of future spending cuts.
It is a timetable and structure which, standing alone, serves only to tear the Republican Party apart.
The Christmas Strategy sets up a Grand Bargain next year in which Democrats will have to deal with their own internal civil war, as explained by Bob Woodward and summarized by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
We’ve been hearing a lot about a civil war within the GOP over the fiscal-cliff negotiations, but is that the only one brewing in Washington? Bob Woodward followed Nancy Pelosi on CBS This Morning, and he claimed that her remarks showed the split on the other side of the aisle. Woodward tells CBS that the White House wants entitlement reform, perhaps especially by raising the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security, and that Barack Obama may have a tougher sell on that point than John Boehner has on taxes (via Daniel Halper)…
Get rid of the one-sided year end deadline. Create your own deadline which puts everything on the table, including spending and entitlement reform to deal with the real cliff, our out of control deficits and national debt.
If the only alternative is a bad deal, just go home for Christmas.
Update: Hmmm, Cantor: Fiscal-cliff talks will go past Christmas.