Democrats have played stage one of the kabuki dance on tax cuts and unemployment benefits.
Now is not the time to panic, fold, or to do anything at all.
The stage has been set. Republicans voted against the middle class, they voted against the unemployed, they showed their utter contempt for the American people.
They want a second $700B bailout for the wealthy. Guess who will pay for it? Look at the deficit commission's proposals: raise the age for social security, gut medicare.
Give that message a time to take hold. To sear itself into peoples' psyches. To begin to express itself in frustration, in anger. Point the finger of blame where it belongs. Talk about middle class taxpayers unwillingness to give another $700B bailout to the wealthy. Hey, the wealthy have not even said "thanks" for the first one.
Let the outrage at what Republicans have done take hold in the electorate. Let it simmer. Let it boil.
In the nanosecond news cycle we live it, it will not take long.
The president needs to get out of Washington DC to Maine to hold rallies. To Massachusetts to hold a rally with Vicky Kennedy (rumor is she will run against Scott Brown). To Connecticut. To Ohio. To Pennsylvania, not Pennsylvania Avenue.
Sitting in the White House, negotiating with a bunch of puppets, is not the way to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.
It is not even the way to grow the economy.
The president wants a bipartisan agreement. Here's how to get one: get enough votes to break a Senate filibuster, and the actual vote on the measures for the middle class tax cuts and extension of unemployment insurance will, suddenly, become 65-35. Or, 68-32. And, he will not have had to make a single concession on policy or principle.
The American people are already behind this. And, after tens of millions of dollars thrown into the recent election scaring people about their taxes and the jobless recovery (which is still one year ahead of Reagan's!). Their disinformation campaign of lies has peaked.
Voters remorse is setting in.
And, think of this -- move the Senate to a vote, and the House Republicans are on the record voting against middle class tax cuts and for a second $700B bailout of the wealthy.