All of them link their analyses to the next stage in this ongoing showdown, the debt ceiling, set to expire most likely by March.
My two takeaways are slightly different:
- Liberals have plenty to complain about in the fiscal cliff negotiations, and justly so, but that doesn't mean Obama lost. Columnists like Jennifer Rubin always make arguments about Obama losing because they assume, wrongly, that Obama IS liberal. He isn't. But for a few specific political stances like his opposition to the Iraq War, Obama has always been a centrist. Liberals ought to complain to maintain leftward pressure on Obama, but to judge the fiscal cliff results by liberal standards would be foolish. Obama seems to have gotten exactly what he wanted. Put another way, it is always a good sign when David Brooks is frustrated as hell and Paul Krugman is just moderately disgruntled.
- The results of the fiscal cliff deal and the upcoming debt crisis negotiation matter far less to me than the divisions and dysfunctionality growing within the Republican Party ranks. The Democrats exhibited extraordinary party discipline through this ordeal while the Republicans not only lost, which was always going to happen, but they chose to screw hurricane Sandy victims for good measure and alienated as of now the most powerful mainstream candidate the Republicans can nominate in 2016.
It is rare when this is the case, but the policies debated in the last month, and soon to be debated in the coming two months, matter less than the politics... it is the politics that will determine if the Republican Party has a future, or if they continue down the path of ideological self-destruction.