photo: Pete Souza

”Right now, the only thing preventing us from reaching a deal that averts the fiscal cliff and avoids a tax hike on 98 percent of Americans is the refusal of Congressional Republicans to ask the very wealthiest individuals to pay higher tax rates. The President has already signed into law over $1 trillion in spending cuts and we remain willing to do tough things to compromise, and it’s time for Republicans in Washington to join the chorus of other voices–from the business community to middle class Americans across the country–who support a balanced approach that asks more from the wealthiest Americans.” – Amy Brundage, White House Spokesperson

THE LINE right now is that President Obama’s financial offer on the fiscal cliff scheme negotiations with Republicans isn’t serious.

“Morning Joe” was an embarrassing spectacle of typical conventional wisdom today, as was Jon Stewart’s show last night. It’s why it will be so difficult for Democrats to hold the line where they are right now, but President Obama shouldn’t budge until Republicans serve up their own ideas to counter his.

We’re seeing two things here. One is that the negotiations aren’t going well. When one side begins leaking the other side’s proposals, that’s typically a bad sign. The other is that Republicans are frustrated at the new Obama they’re facing: The Obama who refuses to negotiate with himself. – Ezra Klein

President Obama is very unlikely to change his mind on taxing the top 2% and certainly won’t without a Republican proposal on the table to counter the one he offered through Secretary Geithner. That’s something Republicans need to digest.

Everything else, however, is negotiable, minus including Social Security into the mix, because everyone knows it’s not the issue.

Of course Obama’s going to put forth the far reaches of what he wants. Republicans should do the same. Then let them all get down to making a deal.

Senator Mitch McConnell laughed first, but I don’t think he’ll get the last sound bite on this one.