From all indications, Republicans in Washington, D.C. will find the last two weeks of 2012 more than a little uncomfortable.
Increasingly, it appears that unless Republicans give in to President Obama's demand to increase taxes on wage earners in this country that make more than $250,000, the country will head over the so-called fiscal cliff, where taxes will rise on all citizens beginning in 2013, not just the wealthy. Deep spending cuts will also take place. Particularly hard hit? The military budget.
The economic severity of finding no compromise is now being debated. Some think it's a necessary but painful righting of our economy, something that needs to happen sooner or later to address a budget deficit that increases daily. Others have suggested a recession would be inevitable if we head over the cliff; for how long is debatable.
What to do if you're a Republican in Congress? That's a question each of them must ponder for long periods as each December day passes, ready to give way to January, and 2013.
Noam Scheider, in a New Republic blog, says "Thanks to the PR offensive the administration has waged—month after month of accusing the GOP of holding middle-class tax cuts hostage to cuts for the wealthy—and to the president’s structural advantages during a showdown with Congress, the public will immediately and overwhelmingly blame the GOP."
"Which is why," says Scheider, "within a few days or weeks of January 1, the GOP will almost certainly throw in the towel."
Nancy Cook and Jim O'Sullivan, writing in the National Journal, note " ... prolonging the fiscal battles into 2013 will consume most of the political oxygen in Washington after an already exhausting fiscal-cliff showdown, and it will leave little time for the country’s other business, from immigration reform to energy and climate policy."
Josh Marshall, writing in Talking Points Memo, says "It seems crystal clear that Republicans will and know that they will concede the game on (tax) rates and try to reclaim power with a new debt ceiling hostage drama early next year."
"Republicans ... feel and are cornered on rates," says Marshall. "And they will give way … but seething."
Says the New York Times: "Congressional Republicans find themselves in an increasingly difficult political spot and are quietly beginning to look for a way out ... a standoff over expiring tax rates will be portrayed by Democrats as evidence that the opposition is willing to allow taxes to rise on the middle class to keep taxes from rising on the rich — and their intransigence could mean taxes go up on rich, poor and middle class alike."
A poll released by the Pew Research Center this week shows Republicans increasingly in the public dog house, as 55% of more than 1,500 Americans surveyed said Obama is making a "serious effort" to work with Republicans. But just 32% say Republican leaders are making a serious effort to work with Obama on avoiding the fiscal cliff.
What do you think? Are the Republicans boxed into a corner at this time? Will they have to throw in the towel, and focus their efforts in the coming year on the budget deficit? Or will Republicans refuse to back down, letting the country drop over the edge?
Let us know in your comments. Then vote in our poll.