and it's not a fiscal cliff (which is actually more like a gradual downhill stroll) but a political one. As Wags pointed out and linked here, suddenly the GOP is unwilling to actually say what they want to cut as far as entitlements are concerned. They basically want Democrats and the White House to propose both sides of an agreement, then decide whether they're willing to go along with it.
Now why would that be? Why would a party that has run on "entitlement reform" and tax cuts for years suddenly be unwilling to lay out their proposal? Simple, it's political suicide. All those small government conservatives want benefits cut for everyone else, not themselves. They want the Democrats to make the entire proposal so that they can blame every part of it on the Democrats, whether they wind up voting for it or not. Of course, the Democrats will do no such thing.First because they don't want the political fallout, and second because you never negotiate with yourself.
And as I've said before, all complaining about "fiscal cliffs" and the deficit are bulls(*t. The only thing Republicans care about is cutting taxes on the wealthy. They don't really much care about cutting entitlements, it's only another method to cut taxes even further. But with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts (and remember, tax cuts with an expiration date are a Republican idea) they've shown themselves to be too clever by half. They'll enrage their base by agreeing to any tax increases, and they'll enrage everyone else by proposing cuts in entitlements.
If I was a kinder, gentler person I might even feel sorry for them.