Cards left to play in the coming tussles:
- The country’s appetite for higher taxes on the wealthy is not sated (White House pollsters believe).
- The administration 2012 mantra about a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction still has juice.
- There’s a reasonable chance the media will cover any government shutdown through the historic Clinton-Gingrich filter, favoring the President.
- The Republicans have no bully pulpit or personality to match the White House and Barack Obama.
- The nation does not want to turn Medicare into a voucher program or make structural changes to Social Security.
- Thanks to some Republican governors, ObamaCare-as-law-of-the-land is closer to an accepted fact.
- The incumbent can use the resources of the federal government to shape the debate.
- The debt ceiling needs to be raised soon, potentially providing some leverage.
- The decoupling of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts from the sequester gives the GOP a stronger hand.
- Congressional Republicans are highly united on strategy right now.
- Speaker Boehner seems to be feeling both confident and loved.