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The GOP’s Challenge: Averting the Fiscal Cliff Without Climbing Obama to Summit

December 13, 2012

ObamaBoehner

Over the last four years Republicans have thrown all their resources behind an Obama failure campaign. They have been rewarded with a failed presidential run, loss of Senate control, and a loss of critical seats in the House. Now they simply can’t afford handing Obama another victory in a ‘Fiscal Cliff’ resolution. That would risk launching epic Obama approval ratings, which would really make Republicans look bad.

So the Republican thinking goes like this: if they give Obama the tax hike he wants for the top 2% (they know they have to), they will also have to give him a public spanking for something else. They need something that will make people (beyond the 2%) really upset to keep Obama’s approval ratings in check. We’ll have to wait and see what that is.

As The Liberal Mob reported previously, radio host and unofficial GOP leader, Rush Limbaugh, predicted that “events” will happen that might net Obama some approval points for any gains made. This is the warning sign Rush has signaled to his party, and they are wary.

Ever since Republicans became enamored by Frank Luntz‘s ability to shape-shift public opinion and destroy liberal policy through linguistic sorcery (say “energy exploration” instead of “drilling for oil” – “climate change” instead of “global warming”), they have believed they can talk themselves into or out of anything. They are in a pickle now, with little-to-no leverage and a lot more to lose if they don’t compromise on something. You can bet that Luntz is dial-testing a focus group right now so he can advise the Republican leadership how to verbalize their surrender to Obama’s Tax the Wealthy legislation.

When a deal to avert the “Fiscal Cliff” is finally settled behind closed doors, Obama will likely allow Republicans to publicly put forth their skillfully crafted semantics to give them some kind of public victory. There’s not going to be much else to be had. So be it.

But in the long run, actions speak louder than words.

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