Let me translate this The New Republic article on how Barack Obama simultaneously caved, and backstabbed Harry Reid, on the tax cut deal:
Once upon a time there was an evil, wicked Senate Majority Leader who thought that he had the Senate Minority Leader in a cleft stick over the looming expiration of existing marginal tax rates. Thanks to the Speaker of the House being unable to keep his caucus united on opposition to changing the tax rate, the Senate Majority Leader decided to draw a line in the sand – a line one half-step away from the fiscal cliff – then dare the Senate Minority Leader to step over it. However, the Senate Minority Leader instead went to the Vice President, the Vice President went to the President, the President panicked and told the Vice President to make a deal with the Senate Minority Leader, and the Senate Majority Leader ended up swinging in the breeze by his suddenly-bare buttocks.
Somewhere in all of this, the Speaker of the House stopped by and told the Senate Majority Leader to go [expletive deleted] himself. Which detail The New Republic did not mention, most likely because they’d rather that the Speaker of the House had said it to the President.
I think that this covers it, no?
PS: The New Republic, by the way, is worried that all of this suggests that the GOP will conclude that Reid and Obama can be profitably played off of each other, given that the former is a grudge-holding bitter suckweasel and the latter is a weak-willed ninny who is inclined to panic even when he’s holding four of a kind.
…I may be paraphrasing.