According the WSJ*, when John Boehner told the President on December 13 that now he wanted the deal they’d been negotiating in the summer of 2011, the President stated the obvious: “You missed your opportunity on that.”
I think this exchange reveals what’s going on with the GOP. They see the 2012 election as a simple return to the status quo, billions spent on essentially nothing, with the President still in the White House, the Democrats still in control of the Senate, and the Republicans still in control of the House. Things of course would have been better for them if Mitt had won and even better if Mitt had won and they’d taken the Senate, but they don’t really see the election as a victory for the Democrats.
The way the GOP looks at it, they didn’t win, but they didn’t really lose either. From their perspective, they had an opportunity to win on November 6, but the President really didn’t have that opportunity.
This, of course, is delusional. The country got to weigh in and choose, and they chose Mr. Obama. But for gerrymandering of congressional districts, the Democrats would have retaken the House. In the summer of 2011, no one knew how the election of 2012 would go. But the Obama that Mr. Boehner, his House, and his party face now is not the Obama of 2011. The Obama of December 2012 is a leader with a mandate.
Thus far, the fiscal cliff negotiations have revealed a GOP unwilling to face the fact that elections have consequences — whether or not they win.
* “How ‘Cliff’ Talks Hit the Wall,” Patrick O’Connor and Peter Nicholas