What are the signs that the tax deal is a wedge issue? Well, you've got Rep. Mike Pence out there opposing it because "the American people did not vote for more stimulus." Actually, more voters supported spending to create jobs (37 percent) than did tax cuts (18 percent). That aside, Pence, a member of the Republican leadership who is stepping down next year in anticipation of a possible presidential bid, demonstrates the cleavage this deal has caused at the top ranks of the Republican Party. Similarly, up-and-coming GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz also opposes the deal, dividing his state's delegation.
For Democrats, the best possible outcome would be for House Republicans to scuttle this deal, creating an opportunity for a bigger political fight. There's still a few acts left in this drama, with the clock counting down to Christmas.
-- Tim Fernholz