In a nutshell, Republicans need to understand that the real struggle is not with the Obama administration; instead, the real struggle is for American political opinion, including the broad middle that preferred Obama to Romney, but nevertheless feels no great trust or affection for the re-elected 44th President.
If Obama is seen as a fellow who wants to move the economy to a better place by raising taxes on the Koch Brothers, he will win. But if Obama is seen as an arrogant and unconstitutional power-grabber, he will lose. By that logic, then, Republicans should shift their perceived focus, from defending the low tax rates of billionaires to defending the US Constitution against executive Caesarism.
On Thursday, November 28, amidst delicate negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” on Capitol Hill, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner with a radical proposal: the Legislative Branch should cede over to the Executive Branch the power to raise the debt ceiling by executive fiat. If this cession of fiscal authority were ever to happen—if Congress were to lose its right to vote “yea” or “nay” on debt-limit increases—that would be an epochal political power shift. It would mean that for the first time in US history, the President would have complete dominance on spending issues. And that’s a kind of dominance that no president should be trusted with, let alone Obama.