The resolution of the fiscal cliff might be better understood as three smaller struggles instead of a battle between Republicans and Democrats. President Obama needs to convince the American public that ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and extending them for the middle class is the way to go. House Speaker John Boehner needs to convince stubborn Tea Partiers that if they refuse to bargain then taxes will go up. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to protect his Republican Party, but can’t upset the Tea Party and risk drawing an early primary challenger when he is up for re-election in 2014.

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