Faced with a rebellion from conservatives, Speaker Boehner decided not to put to a vote his “Plan B” bill raising taxes on those making more $1 million, and he sent House members home until after Christmas.
This is being portrayed as a big victory for President Obama, but I’m not so sure.
Obama now knows that Boehner can’t just come in to the Oval Office, make some kind of deal, and run it through the House. I don’t think Boehner can pursue a strategy where he allies himself and moderate Republicans with Democrats to get an agreement with Obama through the House. If he angers enough conservatives, he will lose his Speakership.
The message to Obama is that in order to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, he is going to have to get very serious about spending cuts, because that’s what it will take to get conservatives to agree to any kind of a tax rate increase.
Unless you believe Obama secretly wants to go over the Cliff, which I don’t, I think he may realize he’s going to have to give more on spending. That’s exactly what I think he will do. And, despite the widespread outcry in Washington that everything has now descended into chaos, I think there will be a deal.
The bigger question is whether Obama is going to be able to extend his Hawaii vacation further into January to make up for lost days.