Ace @ Ace of Spades HQ:
There are two possibilities here. Both may be true.
The Democrats may simply be posturing in order to wring a complete victory in negotiations. By threatening to take the country over the fiscal cliff, and seeming to mean it, they will force Republicans — whose allegiance is to the nation, and not the progressive ideology — to stop them by giving them everything they want.
The other possibility is that they’re not just posturing and that they do mean it. Charles Krauthammer has been talking about this — the Democrats know that to finance their ever growing welfare state they will have to tax the middle class. What better way to do it than to take us over the fiscal cliff (automatically raising income taxes on the middle class) and simply say “The Republicans did it, they wouldn’t compromise?”
The other part of it, the automatic sequestration part, is likewise something they desire. Deep slashes to the military without having to vote for it? There are also cuts to Medicare, of course, but the Democrats are moving away from the old vote and besides, lots and lots of old people will continue voting for Democrats no matter how much they cut from Medicare (as they proved this last election).
And there’s one more thing: We’re going to have a recession, with the fiscal cliff or without it. It’s better for Obama and the Democrats to have a recession that they can claim “was all because of Republicans” rather than one which is plainly owned by Obama.