The Morning Plum: The GOP’s self-defeating strategy in fiscal fight
The real reason for the fiscal impasse is hiding right there in plain sight, and it can be summed up in two sentences:
1) Obama can’t sell entitlement cuts to his base, or indeed Democrats in general, without Republicans agreeing to new revenues, and has offered them a straightforward compromise — one that would anger the base on both sides — based on the premise that total victory for the GOP is not an acceptable or realistic outcome.
2) Republican leaders can’t even begin to acknowledge that Obama has offered them a real compromise, because they can’t sell their base on the idea that the President is being flexible, let alone get them to seriously entertain accepting any compromise with him, because the base sees total victory over Obama as the only acceptable outcome.
In essence, a variety of political constraints prevent Republican leaders from acknowledging the reality of the situation. That makes any reality-based dialog impossible. The press has largely failed to reckon with this basic disconnect, which is why the discussion continues to spin its wheels around irrelevant questions, such as whether the president’s outreach is “sincere” enough, as if hurt feelings have anything at all to do with the stalemate, or whether Democrats have gone quite far enough with their offer to Republicans, when the latter won’t even say whether there’s any compromise they could accept.