I give up, the politicians have truly won this time. I have been saying for weeks on CNN, HLN, Al Jazeera and every other outlet that that Fiscal Cliff negotiations are just a sham and that we’ll have a deal sometime between Christmas and the end of the year. Increasingly that just doesn’t seem likely to happen. Both sides have pretty much decided what their positions are going to be, and as usual it’s the House Republicans (specifically the Tea Party folks) who won’t budge. The question now is who is going to get blamed when we ‘go off the cliff’ and more importantly does that blame really have any consequences? It seems to me that both of these questions are fairly easy to answer.
Two days ago I was watching Christmas basketball with a friend of mine (Los Angeles Lakers v.s. New York Knicks, the second best game of the day). I had just walked into the kitchen to get some pizza when I hear her yell from the couch:
“Hey who’s that guy with the funny name? He just clocked someone in the head with his elbow going up for a shot!”
The Republicans established this reputation over the last two years of the Obama administration when they made it abundantly clear that they were going to refuse to go along with anything Obama suggested. If Obama said night, they said day, if Obama said Left, the GOP said Right, if Obama said Black, the GOP said Kenya (just kidding, they said “You LIE”). The point is; they are going to resist anything Obama does on principle, or pettiness. Consequently just about every poll taken by the public shows that if this Cliff Deal doesn’t get done (and it appears that it won’t) the Republicans are going to take the blame. Of course that’s not the end of the story. The second question is, does it even matter if Republicans take the blame or not?
You see, there are two ways to go over this fiscal cliff; the under duress Richard Kimball in The Fugitive I didn’t kill my wife way OR the badass Rock and Samuel Jackson in The Other Guys Aim for the Bushes way. The first way is when both the Republicans and the Democrats claim victim and say that they were forced off the fiscal cliff by the other side. The second way off the cliff is both sides thinking they’re tough enough to survive the landing without so much as a scratch. Ironically, the Richard Kimball Cliff Jump works much better because in that one at least you live. Plus, in the public’s mindset when it comes to fiscal cliff blame is very much – (to paraphrase Tommy Lee Jones) – I Don’t Care! The public is going to blame anything bad happening on the Grand Old Artests because everyone knows they’re crazy anyway. At the same time, whether the Democrats try to play it tough or pretend they were pushed over the line at gunpoint the public won’t care because all people want is for this problem to get solved so that we can go back to complaining about the economy. In other words nobody really wins politically and there is little advantage to be gained by playing victim.
We have less than a week before this all goes down so I doubt there will be any radical changes in the minds of the public, or the White House or the Republicans by then. We’re all going over the fiscal cliff thanks to Metta World Peace, let’s just not pretend didn’t this coming and face this cliff with some dignity; Wile E. Coyote would be proud.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.