Jim Geraghty provides a good discussion of the politics of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. He asks two pertinent, and related, sets of questions. First:
Shouldn’t House Republicans be in session, and holding votes, one after the other, on all of [the various plausible] options? Would that be doing more to add to the argument that they’re taking actions to avert going over the fiscal cliff, and that Obama’s the one being unreasonable and stubborn and refusing to compromise?
The answer in each instance is “yes.” Whatever the outcome of the current fiscal cliff contest, there’s likely to be a bad economic outcome and a vital debate about who is to blame for it. In that debate, the Republicans will need a paper trial establishing that they weren’t simply holding out for tax breaks for the rich, but were proposing credible solutions, such as Bowles-Simpson, to deal with the debt cliff in a responsible way.
Converting good concepts into legislation that Republicans are united enough to pass is easier said than done. But it’s exactly what House Republicans should be doing.
Geraghty’s other question is: Does Anybody Besides Boehner Know What Boehner Is Doing?
The answer, from what I’ve been hearing, is: precious few know.