On the fiscal cliff, Republicans are so screwed

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how Republicans have anything but bad options regarding the fiscal cliff. At least, not in the short term.

Even if Republicans negotiate the best bipartisan deal possible (something akin to the Corker plan), anyone who votes for it would be accused of selling out.

This would cause the base to either become demoralized or (more likely) angry — angry enough to primary the “read my lips” traitors. Either way, it’s not a good thing.

On the other hand, if no deal is reached, Republicans will surely be blamed (this is always a safe assumption and a smart default position — for a variety of reasons.)

This hasn’t stopped some conservative pundits from acting as if Republicans hold all the cards. But the notion that Republicans have leverage is silly. It’s the same kind of happy thinking that led some to boldly predict a Romney victory.

Look at it from Obama’s perspective. Would allowing the sequestration cuts to kick in be that bad? It would allow him to cut the U.S. military (and blame Republicans), make some much-needed spending cuts (without taking heat from his base), and — as a bonus — raise taxes!

To be sure, aside from the obvious national security implications, most experts predict that this would also have serious consequences for the economy.

Of course, it would presumably be better for Obama’s legacy if the economy were to improve during his second term. But he managed to get re-elected once despite failing to turn around the economy. And he doesn’t have to stand for re-election again.

(And did I mention Republicans would be blamed for anything bad that happens?)

The fix is in. Democrats control the presidency, the senate, and the mainstream media. Elections have consequences; they hold the cards. Republicans control the House — just enough levers of power to allow them to be blamed for obstruction.

Republicans are so screwed.

Matt K. Lewis