Glenn McCoy has the right idea. We ARE going over the fiscal cliff, like it or not, because Democrats not only want it that way but have, from their perspective, no reason to solve the problem. For them it is strictly another occasion to bash Republicans, and that’s all they know how to do. If Republicans agree to tax increases they will be pilloried as George H.W. Bush was for reneging on his "read my lips" pledge, and THEN they will be blamed when that tax increase doesn't avoid the fiscal cliff at all (since it solves about 3% of the deficit problem, doesn’t deal with Obamacare, Social Security and capital gains tax hikes). If Republicans DON'T agree to raise taxes, they will get blamed for going over the fiscal cliff just the same, because Democrats will continue to claim this tiny tax increase is all that’s needed.
My suggestion, therefore, is that Republicans need to hold hands and jump. They should immediately, before year end, trumpet a “middle class tax cut” and extend the Bush tax rates indefinitely. The Democrats will say the House (which must originate tax bills) is just extending the Bush rates, but the pressure will then be on them to turn it down. Tax rates on the rich will go up, of course, so let Democrats claim that victory. AGREE with them, that they have raised taxes on the rich, just as they and Obama have demanded, and point out that they claim this avoids the fiscal cliff. The blame then ought to fall squarely on them when reality strikes. At that point, Republicans can sit back and wait for Obama and the Senate Democrats to produce a budget, while steadfastly refusing to raise the debt ceiling until they do. After all, the problem was solved by that tax hike on the rich, wasn’t it? And by the way, how are they going to “pay for” that middle class tax cut?