Senate Democratic leaders swaggered in front of the cameras today to confidently predict that Republicans will eventually come around to the idea of raising tax rates on the wealthy and preventing tax hikes on the middle class.
The Senate Democrats' message man, Chuck Schumer, said he's optimistic they can get a deal by Christmas.
“Look, we don’t expect the Republicans to be enthusiastic and start cheering about a deal that includes higher rates on the wealthiest Americans," Schumer said. "They’re not going to openly concede on this point this far out from the deadline, but they see the handwriting on the wall.”
Schumer then ticked off a list of indicators he said showed the playing field tipping in the Democrats' favor:
--Top CEOs from the Fix the Debt coalition support higher tax rates on the wealthy as part of a comprehensive deal.
--Republican Rep. Tom Cole's telling his party they should extend tax cuts to everyone but the wealthiest Americans.
--And Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and the Wall Street Journal editorial board arguing that extending some of the Bush tax cuts would not violate Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge.
"They're trying to figure out their rationales now that they realize in their heads that they're going to have to agree with our position," Schumer said.
And Democrats are no longer ruling out entitlement cuts, but rather calling on Republicans to put them on the table. Republican House Speaker John Boehner has called on President Obama to say what cuts he'll accept.
"It’s silly to think the president is going to negotiate with himself on entitlements. We know that won’t happen," Schumer said.
If Boehner thinks the ball is in Obama's court and Democrats think the next move is up to the Republicans, where's the disconnect, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked.
“I don’t understand his brain so you should ask him,” Reid answered.
For now, it looks like we have a good old fashion stare down and we're waiting for someone to find enough political cover to blink.