As our press continues to screem in terror about what will happen when we drive off the curb, Boehner continues to grandstand and make statements about how the President needs to offer a more 'balanced' deal.
What we are looking at is simply theater. And it's 'improvisatory' at all, he knows what he is going to do, and most likely so does the President.
When I say this, I'm not necessarily saying that I know what he is going to do, though I have a pretty good guess. What I'm saying is that under no circumstances will he actually agree to any sort of deal until one day before the deadline, not because more than 15 minutes is needed to reach a deal, but simply because the Tea Party needs to believe that he argued up until the last minute.
I actually have this mental image of Boehner sitting in a room alone with Obama while he twiddles his thumbs. Maybe at some point Obama asks him if he would like some water or a bit of tea, and he politely declines, then twiddles his thumbs for awhile. Perhaps they play some cards, then after some time goes by he goes outside and shakes his head furiously in front of a camera and shakes his fist a few times.
Occasionally, in order to give the people who leak stuff for both parties some work, Boehner will produce a nicely formatted piece of paper demanding tax breaks for the rich. Obama will sigh and shake his head, and go ahead and repeat that it's a non-starter. Boehner will put it back in his pocket and that will conclude another act.
On the final day, Obama will sigh and say, "Okay, big tax raise for everyone, or do we make a deal?" and in that moment Boehner will know just exactly what he's going to say. Most likely it will be no, and he will take Obama's counter offer. And at this point, it will mostly be based off of however much Obama is willing to give.
No matter how many times this happens, the press always runs over and gives him coverage, and the pundits always talk about it breathlessly, because the press needs something to cover. The press needs theater, and for that reason they refuse to call it what it is.