If we go over the cliff, there won't be damage to Obama's chances of second-term success. Quite the contrary. What Republicans will have done is to make Democrats the party of tax cuts and Obama a president fighting for economic growth.
Democrats will be the party of tax cuts and economic growth? What a laugh. This whole cliff issue is only occurring because the Democrats want to raise taxes. And if they are the party of economic growth, why has it been so absent over the last 4 years? If this fight was happening in October and people's knee jerk reactions to going over the fiscal cliff would guide their voting decisions, Kristol might have a point. But we are two years before the next elections so really, does it matter if the Republicans get the immediate blame? Remember, between now and the next elections the bureaucratic debacle that is Obamacare is set to be enacted. Any wishful thinking by voters towards Democrats because of some good spin today will be long forgotten as people lose their insurance and then have to immediately buy new insurance or face IRS penalties. And then let's not forget all the goodies in the other 2,000 pages of Obamacare and all the unintended and unforeseen consequences that will bring about.
Kristol and the rest of the establishment are also under the delusion that Romney wasn't really moderate enough during his Presidential campaign. They seem to take the base for granted and are neurotically concerned what the middle 10% of Americans think about them, as they believe that attracting them to the GOP will fundamentally help the parties chances. Guess what, if they lose the base, they are nowhere. If the base starts staying home because they increasingly start to think "there is no real difference between the parties" then it really won't matter how many independents you attract.
We didn't vote Republican so that the Republican leadership would prostrate themselves in front of the independent voters and try to maximize poll numbers at all times. No, we voted Republican to fight for our individual liberty, for free markets, for low taxes, for the ideas this country was founded upon but are increasingly under seige. If Republicans can't stand their ground two years before the next election, when exactly will they?
Appeasing Obama now will only work as well as other episodes of appeasement have in the past. The appeaser only looks weak and gains absolutely nothing, not even much of a reprieve.