The President used his radio address to make clear that tax rates would be going up on the rich.
Welcome to the post-election political landscape. The Republicans have lost, even if they continue to blow hot air and refuse to recognize reality. At this point, they remind me of Wile E. Coyote, having run off the edge of a cliff but not yet having looked down.
We're not used to seeing Obama stand firm. Get used to it. The balance of power has shifted and, looking back, people will see that each of his retreats was strategic. When his own party refused to back him on tax hikes in 2010 and decided to go "every man for himself," he cut a deal that kicked the can down the road two years, setting up a decisive election debate (on extremely winnable terms). In addition, he extracted stimulus, an extension of federal unemployment benefits, an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," treaty ratification and more. These concessions were huge. Without them, he might not have been re-elected. In the last debt ceiling debacle, he got Republicans, desperate to save face, to agree to a fiscal cliff on defense cuts with no equivalent pain on the Democratic side, all entitlements remaining off limits.
Idiots like Cantor make noises about having to put Obamacare on the table. The rationale is, "If we're going to have to take a hit on our biggest legislative priority, you should too." To which Obama's reply has been to point at the scoreboard.
We're now witnessing the first public fractures in a coalition that held together in solid opposition to Obama for four years.
They still don't get how screwed they are, and continue to overreach in their demands. But the strategy of total obstruction, all the time, is dead. This is why Obama is making so many tough-sounding statements. The public is on our side, as evidenced by an election. Taxes on the rich are going up -- full stop, exclamation point. Republican hostage taking on the debt ceiling? Bring it on because we all know your coalition, faced with polling numbers that show you'll take the blame, is going to fracture.
When 20 Republicans break ranks to vote with Democrats, the fever will have broken.