If even an American Enterprise Institute blogger thinks Grover Norquist might lose the battle over tax increases, then maybe I ought to believe it's going to happen. I have my doubts, though -- certainly about this:
[A] CNN poll found that 45% of Americans would blame congressional Republicans for a failure to avert the fiscal cliff while only 34% would blame President Obama. A Pew poll taken right after the election found an even worse result for Republicans, with 53% saying they would blame Republicans in Congress and only 29% President Obama.... being blamed for it is not something Republicans want to deal with.Yeah, I've seen that CNN poll -- and to me it's disheartening: only 45% would blame Republicans, while 34% would blame Obama, and 15% would blame both? In a country where, as a result of carefully drawn partisan districts, Republicans could lose the total vote for the House of Representatives in 2012 and still retain a 33-seat majority, 45%-34% doesn't seem like enough to worry House Republicans. Hell, Pew's 53%-29% doesn't even seem lopsided enough to be worrisome to the GOP.
Sincere as the few anti-Norquist heretics in the GOP may be, I think their primary purpose is misdirection -- they're out there to make it unclear, especially to less attentive citizens, which party is actually compromising and which is refusing to budge. The fact that they don't speak for their party, and that most of the heretics are in the Senate (where there are enough votes already for the president's approach) is something low-info voters aren't supposed to notice -- they're just supposed to see a few Republicans being very, very publicly conciliatory and think that, gosh, those Republicans do seem like decent, reasonable folks after all. There's little more to it than that.