Most of the conservative pundits seem to expect the Republicans to cave in almost immediately and give Obama the tax increases he’s asking for:
1. President Obama is convinced he will walk out of this crisis with an extremely sweet deal. [. . .]
2. Democrats are completely convinced that enough Republicans in Congress will cave and acquiesce to almost everything they want as the cliff approaches. They have some recent historical examples to provide encouragement in this belief.
3. Democrats are completely convinced that if no deal is reached, the Bush tax cuts expire, and sequestration takes effect, Republicans will get most of the blame. This is probably largely correct, but I think they’re whistling past the graveyard on the consequences to an Obama presidency if 2013 dawns with tax hikes, defense-spending cuts, and another recession.
[. . .]
4. For the GOP, a deal on Obama’s terms is probably worse than sequestration. The middle will not suddenly like the GOP a lot more because they embraced tax increases for the rich. Even if they did, it’s unlikely they would gain enough ground to offset the damage such a move will do among a betrayed and enraged party grassroots. As I said this morning, “Once the Republicans become the party of tax increases, why do we need them? They become indistinguishable from the Democrats.”
[. . .]
The biggest obstacle to all of the options for real deficit reduction and real entitlement reform is that the public doesn’t really think they’re necessary; they think a few tax hikes on the rich will do the trick. Perhaps it’s best to let taxes go up for everyone, from the highest earners to the lowest earners, and let the public see how little that changes the numbers.