Gail Collins: House Gop "a herd of rabid ferrets".
Attempts to avert the infamous “fiscal cliff” are like a super-high-stakes card game. But you have to imagine a game in which one player needs to go into a back room before he makes his bet and get the approval of a herd of rabid ferrets.
That would be Speaker John Boehner. Across from him at the card table sits the president. When Barack Obama won his big Senate race in 2004, his pals in the Illinois Legislature celebrated with one last evening of poker, in which they took the senator-elect for every dollar in his wallet.
o perhaps it was not surprising that in the negotiations, the president gave up quite a bit. You will remember that Obama had campaigned on keeping the Bush-era tax cuts only for the American middle class: families making $250,000 a year or less. O.K., possibly not all truly middle-class. Still, that was his line in the sand. There were long stretches this fall when tax-hike-for-over-$250,000 seemed to be his only specific plan for the next four years. But, this week, he let Boehner move the line. Pushed it up to $400,000. Plus, Obama gave way on entitlements by agreeing to change the cost-of-living adjustments on Social Security. Then, all eyes turned to the House speaker. And the rabid ferrets.
Pop Quiz: Try to guess what John Boehner did next, based on some of his recent comments about the fiscal-cliff negotiations: