The latest Republican proposal for fixing the deficit and the fiscal cliff is threatening to divide the party between its conservative base, who adamantly opposes raising taxes in any form or fashion, and its more moderate members, who are willing to close loopholes to raise revenues but not raise tax rates.
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The backlash is making House Speaker John Boehner a target for the Tea Party group, Americans for Prosperity.
The group is threatening to target members of Congress attempting to compromise by sending volunteers to their offices and creating a sort of black list.
It is also threatening primary trouble for those the group determines are straying from the far right Republican orthodoxy.
Speaker Boehner has been haunted by this dynamic
throughout the 112th
Congress. Any move toward compromise with the White House is automatically labeled by conservatives as a sellout.
A poll taken by the Pew Research Center shows that 53% of respondents would blame Republicans if the economy goes over the fiscal cliff.
Only 28% would blame President Obama. Democrats also face party divisions over decisions to cut entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security with some saying such safety-net programs should not be part of a deficit-cutting deal.
Others said the Democratic party must be prepared to compromise slightly
by possibly increasing the retirement age for Medicare eligibility and slowing down cost-of-living raises for Social Security benefits.
Either way, House Speaker Boehner seems to be in the hot seat with his party's most conservative members. It will be interesting to see how the fiscal cliff negotiations ultimately affect the influence of the party's far right constitutency.