The Democrats have most of the high cards in the current iteration of "fiscal cliff" talks. The first: People are simply more likely to blame Republicans for a meltdown. The second: Republicans who know this are starting to broadcast it, led by deputy majority leader Rep. Tom Cole. If there was a point to today's Democratic messaging, it was that Cole's advice -- hey, Republicans, pass the extension of all but the top tax rates -- is the start of a Republican cave-in.
"Why am I optimistic?" asked Chuck Schumer. He wiggled his fingers. "Because you can smell the winds. When so many Republicans say, hey, we're going to have to give in to the Democrats, that's how it works around here. That's the beginning of their beginning to agree with us, or being required to agree with us."