Democrats, meanwhile, are sounding more and more maximalist in resisting spending cuts. Many insist that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education — pretty much everything except the Pentagon — are untouchable. Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), who had been one of the more reasonable Democratic leaders, said Tuesday that, while he favors reform of entitlement programs, it shouldn’t be part of the negotiations on the fiscal cliff. The Post’s Greg Sargent reported that union leaders and other liberals came away from a White House meeting encouraged that administration officials agree.Of course they don't have to compromise. Why? Because they know that they can by with it:
“They expect taxes to go up on the wealthy and to protect Medicare and Medicaid benefits,” one attendee said. “They feel confident that they don’t have to compromise.”
Don’t have to compromise?
The poll also indicates that the GOP is not exactly bargaining from a position of strength. Fifty-three percent of the country has an unfavorable view of the Republican Party; only 42% want to see congressional Republican have more influence than the president over the direction the nation takes in the next two years. And seven in ten say the GOP has not done enough to cooperate with Obama.
All of that helps explain why more Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress (45%) rather than Obama (34%) if the fiscal cliff provisions actually go into effect next year. Obama comes in for his share of criticism - nearly half say he is not doing enough to cooperate with the Republicans, although seven in ten want him to compromise with the GOP even if he has to sacrifice some of his beliefs.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 16-18, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
Emphasis mine. Compromising with Obama means capitulating, of course, because whatever he wants is "balanced," so by definition anything the Republicans want is not balanced. As you watch the kabuki, this is what you need to understand.