, Newburyport, MA


December 22, 2012

Who will flinch first as fiscal cliff nears?


“Republicans don’t have any wiggle room. They own it, but they’re divided over how to keep it.”

“Their hard right isn’t playing games — they’re true believers,” I said.

“But they’re playing political Flinch, too,” Freddy said.

“The old card game? This is political trench warfare,” I said.

“There’s a hundred and fifty cards in that deck,” Freddy said. “That makes for a lot of keep taking one and putting it back or holding until the other guy makes the wrong move and gets stuck with a card he should have got rid of. Game’s over and the other side gets to yell FLINCH!

“There was a lot of that after the vote count last month.”

“That’s ridiculous,” I said.

“Don’t think so,” Freddy said. “What have Boehner and Obama been doing behind closed doors?”

“Trying to find common ground without giving up too much,” I said.

“Playing their cards is what they’ve been doing,” Freddy said. “Obama won, and he has the Senate in lockdown on his side. But he knows what Boehner’s up against in the House with his hard right-wingers, so he agrees to give Boehner not too much, but something to work with.”

“House Republicans are splintered,” I said. “Hardliners won’t buy into what Boehner and Obama are willing to settle for. They want less, not more, government.”

“That’s not the way the majority of voters felt last month,’’ Freddy said. “The only question left is whether there’s any card in the deck either side can use without either side yelling, ‘FLINCH.’”

“There’d better be,” I said. “It’s Christmas, and there’s no way anyone’s going to be saying, ‘Happy New Year’ if there isn’t.”


Bill Plante is a Newbury resident.

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