And if we go over the cliff and taxes rise on everyone, the first order of business of Obama in the New Year will be to push a tax cut for the 98 percent of Americans who earn less than $250,000. His second move will be to reverse the damage done to the national defense by the sequester.
By his State of the Union address, Obama would be able to pose as the rescuer of the middle class from the abyss into which the GOP had plunged it -- to prevent fat cats from paying a fair share for debt reduction.
And he would be able to pose credibly as a peace-through-strength Democratic president determined to restore deep cuts in defense caused by a congressional sequester.
At the end of the Battle of the Fiscal Cliff, the GOP may be left in the position of the lady who sold her virtue -- and didn't get paid.
By Jan. 31, the GOP may have double-crossed its Tea Party allies by accepting increases in tax revenues and rates, and alienated its strongest supporters, seniors, by demanding and winning freezes and cuts in future Medicare and Social Security benefits.
If Republicans cut a deal on tax hikes to prevent our going over the cliff, they look like collaborators. If they refuse to cut a deal, the Bush tax cuts are history and the GOP will be forced to enact the new "Obama tax cuts."
The Republican Party seems close to the end of its tether.
Party elites want to go silent on social issues, while the base believes they define who we are. The base wants no part of wars on Syria or Iran being pushed by leading Senate Republicans.
The grass roots see mass immigration as imperiling the national unity and community and advancing national bankruptcy. The elites babble on about an open door.
Now a GOP House elected to hold the line on taxes is offering new tax revenues and perhaps higher tax rates to fund the biggest Big Government in history. The GOP is close to reassuming its role as the tax collector for the welfare state.
Meanwhile, the New Majority coalition is passing on, and the era of Reagan is over for good. The party needs new ideas and leaders other than the ones who brought them to this dead end.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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