Well, the always-opportunistic Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, who famously questioned the patriotism of his opponent, triple-amputee-as-a-result-of-military-service Max Cleland, in a senate race some years back, now takes... a stand?... and suggests that he may breach his "no new tax" pledge with Grover Norquist. Yawn. [Oh... and my college classmate, the President, forgot to mention the One True God in his Thanksgiving address. The fact that he's going to use these "Fake Fiscal Cliff[TM]" negotiations to set in motion the eventual handing over of social security to his backers on Wall Street... what did you think this was about?... will be fully offset in the minds of "my team" because there will be some token "tax increase" on fabulously rich people, so you see... we win... like "we won" on expansion of the national security state, continuation of the wars, drones, civil liberties, state secrets, Guantanamo, reining in (meaning "prosecuting") Wall Street for its economy-destroying excesses, environmental regulation, income and wealth inequality, etc., etc.... what matters is that he forgot to mention God.] Where was I?
We saw what happened in the "lame duck" session of two years ago: the Democrats, nominally "the party of the people," but even more "the party of the affluent" than even the Republicans, bent over double backwards to extend the Bush tax cuts and then double down by de-funding social security... when all they had to do was nothing, and the Bush tax cuts would have disappeared... yes, the "middle class" would have paid slightly higher taxes, but just as the Bush tax cuts disproportionately benefited the really high earners, reversing them would have disproportionately impacted
the job creators said really high earners... not to mention estates... in other words, Obama's horse-shit about wanting "not to raise taxes on the middle class" involved a kabuki: trading a rather token tax increase on "the middle class" which, btw, would have still raised a huge amount of revenue (because, of course, there are so many more "middle income"... or "not rich"... than there are "rich..." for the entirely false proposition that the gaping American budgetary hole could be solved in any significant way just by increasing taxes on "the rich") for not raising taxes on the plutocrat class... at all... of course, more deficits mean more bond dealing opportunities for primary dealers... will the "win-win situations" ever stop?
In other words, boys and girls, President Obama, the man who killed "mortgage cram down" even though Bush's Treasury Secretary was for it (among other financial crimes against the middle class), has been using fake class warfare... this insistence that he can "raise taxes on the rich and not raise taxes on the middle class", as his end of the kabuki to see to it that taxes on the rich are not raised at all (and then, naturally, the Republicans do their part and insist they cannot yield on this point... it's all their fault, darn them to heck).
The only difference now with "the Fake Fiscal Cliff[TM]" is, of course, that now Social Security and Medicare are in the cross-hairs. No, not the absurdly regressive way in which they are funded, or the fact that they are not means-tested, or the fact that they benefit the (by far) most affluent group in this country, the elderly, even as the wealth gap between the young and elderly is the widest ever... there are still plenty of non-affluent elderly... and they are staring down major league benefit reductions to both Medicare and Social Security... and it's going to be Barack Obama who does it to them... in his "only Nixon could go to China" thing... only Barack Obama could pull off significant cuts to Social Security. Oh... in the name of "deficit reduction." Because "the price" will be modest upper income tax increases in purported violation of prior fealty oaths to Sir Grover of Norquist... it will all be o.k.
Anyway... blowhard Republican Senators on board with "higher taxes on the rich"? Check. Stick around for the rest. And please stop pretending there is a "left-right" dichotomy... there is only an ever narrower group of "haves"... and the rest of us. And "both parties" happen to be on the same side.
Update [11-27-12]: Right on cue, other Republicans, notably Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Congressman Peter King (R-NY) are on board as saying they too don't feel bound by their fealty oaths to Sir Grover. Note carefully what Graham wants: "entitlement reforms," meaning, in plain English, "benefit cuts to those most vulnerable" (those least in need of social security and other government largesse have lobbyists to insure that they will continue to receive it). Only
Barack Obama could phase out social security Nixon could go to China... or something like that.