A Possible Republican Strategy for the Fiscal Cliff

There is much debate regarding how Republicans ought to handle the fiscal cliff. They are in a showdown with President Obama as to who will blink first. So my suggestion to them is to take a page from Obama's playbook and kick the can one more time. They should extend the status quo for one more month, to February 1, 2013. The reason behind this strategy is that President Obama is legally required to deliver a budget in January. What that would do is force him to commit his budget to paper. He would be forced to blink.

The Democratic Senate has gone for years without passing a budget. And the President's last budget was tossed aside by the Senate under Majority Leader Harry Reid by a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 0-99. Obama got through his first term by repeatedly blaming his predecessor. Now, having been re-elected, his predecessor is himself. Unrestrained by the need to run for re-election ever again, he has a totally free hand. His modus operandi is to "lead from behind", but that won't work now. So if the Republicans extend the status quo until he has been forced to perform his presidential duties, they will force him to blink first. That will put the onus for what follows squarely upon his shoulders. All they have to do is say "Yes Sir, Mr. President, after you". They can smile and be sweetly polite.

If he acts, as he has been hinting, in campaign mode as he has done for the last four years, he will bear the legacy forevermore.  Bill Clinton accepted sane Republican fiscal reform when he lost to Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. Clinton got to claim the credit anyway because that change took place at mid-term for the presidential election cycle. Obama does not have that luxury. So if he drives us over the fiscal cliff, like he was Thelma and Louise's BFF, he will take himself and his Democratic enablers with him.

Bruce Thompson