During this fiscal cliff fight, the Obama team has only \drawn two lines in the sand. The first was on raising the tax rate for people making over $250,000 a year. The other was refusing to allow raising the debt ceiling to be used for political gain. On both of these demands Obama has already folded like a tissue in a rainstorm.
A compromise on the tax rate is not that surprising. While the Obama team was firm on this point it always seemed more like a negotiation ploy than a real line in the sand.
The fold on the debt ceiling, though, has basically destroyed any negotiating creditability Obama might had left with Congressional Republicans. President Obama repeatedly said he was not going to “play that game.” His team said they see the debt ceiling issue has have historic significant. The White House claimed they had a duty to the future to break this dangerous habit. The President used the strongest possible language to say he would not hold on this issue, yet two weeks later he completely folds.
This is just the latest in a long pattern of behavior by Obama. Obama always seems to blink first. By this point it would frankly be idiotic for any Congressional Republicans to believe Obama will hold firm during a negotiation.
Ironically, Obama inability to stand firm on any demand has probably made it more difficult for him to get the grand deal he desperately wants. Given how quickly and often Obama folds it must be very difficult for John Boehner to sell any compromise to his caucus, since it is almost a sure bet that if Republicans remain intransigent Obama will make farther concessions