... a.k.a. S.O.P.
Mitch McConnell just appeared on the Senate floor to re-announce his undying commitment to reasonable compromise. Harry Reid, immediately afterward, praised his friend and colleague as a man of good faith. (How both can spew such crap with a straight face remains beyond me, but that's another story.)
And, surprise, there is no Senate deal, because, as CNN first reported, McConnell demanded that President Obama's earlier offer of a chained CPI be replugged into a compromise, and Democrats have balked.
Thus "reasonableness" comes back to bite the Democratic side in the ass. You don't ever offer a concession you're not prepared to live with, or one whose acceptability to your own party is uncertain, as both Speaker Boehner and President Obama have now done. What's more, given an ironclad and invulnerable fallback position--the cliff itself--any proposed concessions were sure to be self-destructive to the Dems, for Republicans could then righteously drag those concessions into the new year's negotiations on any middle-class tax-cut legislation, which, no doubt, they'll now do.
This--Obama's proffered S.S. concession--was a self-inflicted wound, and yet more evidence that one should never attempt compromise with faithless, opportunistic gangsters.
Today's developments don't just border on the absurd, they're steeped in it. Now John McCain says "We need to take CPI off the table. That is not part of the negotiations because we can't win an argument that has Social Security for seniors versus taxes for the rich so we need to take it off the table," and McConnell agrees.
A chained CPI, however, is now fair game in all other negotiations on virtually any issue. Yet another whack at safety nets has been legitimized--always a prime GOP objective. Hence the fundamental argument remains unaffected: Don't ever attempt compromise with these animals.