The fiscal cliff: Have Republican forgotten how to negotiate? - The Week We became so accustomed to Obama's earlier habit of making preemptive concessions that the very idea he'd negotiate in a perfectly normal way amazed much of Washington," says E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. As they have for the past four years, Republicans "seem to hope a deal will be born by way of immaculate conception, with Obama taking ownership of all the hard stuff while they innocently look on." But after the election, it's a different card game now, and Obama is holding a much better hand. In other words, says Paul Krugman at The New York Times, "Obama has demanded that the GOP put up or shut up — and the response is an aggrieved mumble."