The last thing we need is a lot of Congress people thinking they'll have an outsized voice on this. They don't have a special insight into the will of the people, though many of them are claiming to. It's torture watching the Sunday morning talk shows (mercifully shortened here).
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) says he'd vote to raise taxes if there was significant progress on entitlement reform. It's good higher taxes are on his radar because they're coming no matter how he and the rest of the Senate vote.
Over on CNN, a reality-based Republican (Tom Cole) is sounding sensible because he wants to pass what both sides agree on--keeping the tax rates for the lower 98%. Meanwhile, Marsha Blackburn seems to think she'll have a chance to vote to keep all the tax cuts. She won't.
Despite lingering anger or cluelessness, whispers of rebellion against Boehner subsided (after peaking on Dec. 6). Enough GOP reps have realized that they'll just have to trust him to make the best deal he can. Holding the tax rates on the middle class as hostage isn't going to work since Obama is itching to call that bluff (despite Marsha Blackburn) and see the blame rain down on the GOP.
Boehner still has the threat of shutting down government over the debt ceiling or appropriation bills. Rather, his caucus wields that threat, and they might very well use it if Obama gives them nothing. (If Obama gives nothing, the blame will quickly switch direction to rain on him.) So there is strong incentive on both sides to negotiate.
The biggest problem for the GOP is its pride in not compromising for 99% of four years. That's a hard habit to break. So it's good that they have one designated negotiator to make those hard decisions, and do what the rest of the GOP can't. It shows that there is not always strength in numbers. More particularly, there isn't always wisdom in a crowd.
The Dems kept pretty quiet during the campaign and didn't jinx themselves with the usual moral blather about our duty to [expensively] take care of society's ills. Will they be able to keep quiet when the deal isn't as advantageous as they had hoped as the election returns rolled in? I certainly hope so. The memory of the flogging in 2010 of overreaching Democrats should be fresh enough that they don't need too much of a reminder.
So, I say, let Obama and Boehner hash it out. Run all the rest of the cooks out of the kitchen, close the door, and see what kind of sausage they make. It can't be worse than the freaking awful dreck Congress would serve up if more of them were involved.
Putting their heads together