As always, Nate Silver gives thoughtful analysis of the current political situation:
So, the theory goes, if Democrats would prefer extending the tax cuts for incomes below $250,000 to letting all of them expire, and so would Republicans — and so, for that matter, would the general public — then what, exactly, is the rub? Not that victories in Congress ever come easily, but shouldn’t this be a fight that the Democrats can win?
The problem with this theory is that it relies, implicitly, on the assumption that the Democrats can take the third option — extending the tax cuts for everyone — off the table. If the Democrats could do this, then they would be in a very strong position. But this is not so easy to do.
We know what the Democrats’ first preference is: extending the tax cuts below $250,000 only. But what is their second preference? If forced to make a choice, would they rather extend the tax cuts for everyone, or for no one?
Republicans, evidently, believe it is the former; this is why they unanimously voted against cloture in the Senate today.
I would trade ten thousand frothing liberal blogs for one Nate Silver.