I'm starting to think that this fiscal cliff fiasco is actually fairly calculated political theater.
I agree with pj. It's theater cooked up by the right, which is now on the verge of committing hara kiri in their own drama.
If they splinter and blow it, they'll leave a whole array of their own voters harmed directly: people getting unemployment, very-small-income people with families losing tax credits, and so many more. Those people won't forget, either. When someone in need takes a direct financial hit, they know where it came from and they don't forget.
Their only recourse would be to pass, one by one, remedies for those hits or at least some measures restoring what was blown up. The result might not be all bad, either.
Polling is not in their favor at the moment. Remember polling? The little exercise that brought us Nate Silver? On the other side you have superstition and the imaginary hand of the free market that brought us Intrade. Take your pick -- right now the Rs are looking to be in deep water.
The country's budgetary problems do not all have to be solved in one big gesture. In fact, to solve them in a more gradual and measured way would be less disruptive to the economy. There's a reason people around the world are still taking refuge in our Treasuries -- they're the best deal out there, and everybody knows it.
The Rs cooked this up, and the Rs now have to eat what they cooked. I have been watching in amusement, except for keeping an eye on Obama and his tendency to give away the store.
How does Michele Bachmann for Speaker sound? Are they that nuts?
Incidentally Nate Silver had an article in the NYT today showing why he thinks the present polarization is going to be with us a while due to the way districts have deliberately been redrawn to be as extreme (in either direction) as possible. Few representatives have much incentive to bargain or be moderate, because their districts are just as extreme as they are -- for now. He seems to think their voters will stay that way. I'm wondering if that's necessarily the case.