Obama's Message To GOP Is, Ante Up
washingtonpost.com — As the debt ceiling loomed last year, President Obama believed that Republicans had him over a barrel. They had won the midterm election. More important, calling the GOP’s bluff seemed too big a bet: Defaulting on the debt risked plunging the global financial system into chaos. The president’s mind-set as the “fiscal cliff” approaches is far feistier. He won reelection in a campaign that centered on higher taxes for the wealthy. Even more, in the White House view, the hazard of cliff-jumping is way less than the danger of ceiling-hitting. So rather than extend the Bush tax cuts for higher-income taxpayers, the president is willing to risk another recession — a move he would blame, and with good reason, on Republican intransigence. Consequently, the president has adopted a doubly tough posture as cliff negotiations commence.