Should the GOP care that they are losing the PR battle?
With voter moods so volatile, it begs the question: Even though several recent polls show that the American people overwhelmingly support Obama's stand on taxing the rich, should the GOP cave on the issue to avoid being blamed for going over the fiscal cliff?
Polling shows strong support for Obama's position. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC survey released late Wednesday, three-quarters of Americans say they would accept raising taxes on the wealthy to avoid the cliff.
Among Republicans, some 61 percent say they would accept tax increases on high earners.
An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Tuesday indicted that nearly half of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the negotiations versus the quarter of respondents who approved of Boehner's.
At the same time, Obama's public opinion rating has reached about 54 percent in the Real Clear Politics polling average, above the level where it peaked in May 2011, when bin Laden was killed.
Republicans are in a bad negotiating position, Conrad said, noting that the Democratic-controlled Senate has already passed a bill preserving tax cuts for the middle-class, leaving the Republican-controlled House standing in the way.
"And so Republicans are really in an awkward position," he said.
Boehner, meanwhile, faces increasingly conflicting pressures, from the right to hold firm, from the Republican center to be flexible and from the polls to abandon his position.
It's an eternity to 2014 and mid term elections. No one knows what the voter's mood will be like then. Given that Obamacare will be back in the news in a huge way in 2014 when much of the law is implemented (including the individual mandate), and the resulting chaos and confusion - not to mention anger over changes in coverage and cost to many American's insurance plans - will play on voter sentiment, why should Boehner cave on taxes?
The only reason he should is if he gets concrete and specific spending reductions and entitlement reform. The speaker is not going to get that, so he might as well go home and take his chances in two years when the electorate may have other things bothering them.
If he caves without the entitlement cuts, there will be a revolt that he may not survive.