As a growing number of Republicans become more shaky, the fiscal cliff confrontation still remains an unpredictable "Mexican standoff."
The fiscal cliff issue continues to become a “Mexican standoff” in which all sides have their guns drawn with none willing to lower them. This is defined as a confrontation among three opponents; but, there's the case of there being more than one opponent. In this respect, you have different sides with their guns drawn. There's a battle going on different fronts. Obviously, there is the battle between United States President Barack Obama versus GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in regards to the fiscal cliff. At the same time, there are Republicans that are willing to violate the anti-tax pledge of Grover Norquist. Many Republicans have sounded off against Norquist. However, Norquist is still standing firm and believes the anti-tax pledge will still stand.
Norquist has threatened that anybody that violates the anti-tax pledge will be unseated in the future. He believes that the GOP will fall in line. In an article on The Nation by Lee Fang, it says that Norquist talks about being for the taxpayers; but in reality, Norquist is fighting for the political donors. In this respect, it's unknown whether or not those dissenting Republicans will be actually violate the pledge.
However, Norquist still had ammo to use against President Obama. Norquist warned that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff, the Tea Party Movement will be revived. An op-ed by Leslie Marshall on US News says that the Tea Party Movement being revived let alone in regards to the fiscal cliff isn't going to happen. It points out a decline of support for the Tea Party Movement. In short, it brings up the question on the Tea Party's relevance in the future.
Back to the general debate of the fiscal cliff, Huffington Post reports that most Americans dislike the proposals brought forth by Obama and Boehner. Boehner and other Republicans rejected Obama's initial proposal. In response, Boehner and other Republicans gave their own proposal which was rejected by the White House. The information was taken by a Huffington Post/YouGov poll conducted between December 3 and December 4.
One of the major things that's causing the standoff is the top 2%. President Obama wants tax rates increased on them while Boehner and other Republicans do not. Also, this is where the Norquist anti-tax pledge comes into play. However, members of the top 2% are speaking out with the need to increase tax rates. Fred Smith, the CEO and Chairman of FedEx, is one of those being vocal about it. He served as an adviser to GOP Senator John McCain during his presidential run.
Smith and other top defense executives, at a gathering, gave their support to increased taxes on the wealthy. They also called to cut $150 billion from the military budget. Also at the meeting was TASC CEO David Langstaff.
They are willing to support tax hikes provided if there was a deal that resulted. On that same note, President Obama met with CEOs of many businesses to make his case earlier today. According to Pete Davis of Davis Capital Investment Ideas, in a Christian Science Monitor article, Obama is making gains and it's becoming a threat to Republicans. CSM also reports that later that afternoon, the GOP gave their case to businesses.
Today, when interviewed by CNBC, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the White House was ready to go over the cliff if the GOP still refuses to raise tax rates. Geither said that no agreement is going to take place unless the Republicans agree to the increased tax rate for the top 2%.
Karl Rove, in an op-ed piece to the Wall Street Journal, said that the Republicans will get the blame if the country falls off the cliff. However, Rove said that Obama will not leave unscathed. According to Rove, while Republicans will receive the blame Obama will be weakened from the damage.
Obama, also today, talked with Boehner on the phone to talk about the fiscal cliff as Mercury News reports.
Still, Boehner's sticking to his guns on the 2%. He has the GOP members of the US House standing behind him. Boehner talked about how the election results are a mandate for the President and Congress to work together. He said that Obama got re-elected as President; at the same time, Boehner said that he and other Republicans were re-elected into the House at the same time.
Fox Business reports that there are Republicans willing to drop their demand that tax rates for the top 2% of earners not be raised. It talks about how GOP lawmakers are seeing that there's no way around raising tax rates.
In a Washington Post op-ed by Dana Milbank, Boehner and the rest of the GOP are getting ready to surrender on the fiscal cliff deal. Also in the op-ed, it's said that Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois is calling upon Obama to be “merciful.” Milbank also says in his op-ed that Obama has all the cards and cites a poll by the Pew Research Center which shows fifty-three percent of Americans will blame the GOP if the country falls off the cliff.
In another Washington Post article, the number of Republicans dissenting is growing. They are urging GOP house leaders to support tax hikes on the rich. According to GOP Rep. Steve C. Latourette of Ohio, some that are part of the top 2% are more worried of the cliff than having to pay more in taxes.
This goes back to the recent meeting of defense executives that make up part of the upper 2%.
While it looks like the guns from the House GOP side is shaky, the Mexican standoff still remains. Whatever happens will make a huge impact for future elections. More specifically, since the 2012 elections are over with, people are gearing up for 2014, 2016, and possibly 2020. In 2016, there's another presidential election. In 2020, there's another Senate and House election cycle. Also, one has to think about how this will inevitably affect the GOP in the future.