Matt Lewis: 'Republicans Are So Screwed' - Yes, But...
Even if Republicans negotiate the best bipartisan deal possible (something akin to the Corker plan), anyone who votes for it would be accused of selling out.
This would cause the base to either become demoralized or (more likely) angry — angry enough to primary the “read my lips” traitors. Either way, it’s not a good thing.
On the other hand, if no deal is reached, Republicans will surely be blamed (this is always a safe assumption and a smart default position — for a variety of reasons.)
This hasn’t stopped some conservative pundits from acting as if Republicans hold all the cards. But the notion that Republicans have leverage is silly. It’s the same kind of happy thinking that led some to boldly predict a Romney victory.
1. When politicians find themselves between a rock and hard place, always hold tight to your base. If you lose your base, you lose everything. Clinton survived political hell by holding on to his base. Bush hit 25% approval ratings near the end of his second term because he didn't.
2. The best news for Republicans is that, by making the choice that holds on to their base, they will also make the right choice -- the best deal for our country and economy.
As I said yesterday, there's no good choice for Republicans in this fiscal cliff mess. But of two bad choices, which one to grab hold of is the easy choice.
*This story is part of the Big Journalism Live Blog, which you can bookmark here.
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