There are some stark political realities that the GOP leadership seem unwilling to face.
First, they are likely to lose the House in 2014.
This is based on their refusal to fight the runaway spending in Washington that they were elected to fight. This behavior has been consistent since the first "budget battle" of 2011. It was then that the "cave" lead to the spending authorization battle later that year. Caving on that battle brought the debt ceiling battle where GOP caved and agreed to a "select committee." Failure of the select committee to reach a solution - brought us the current "fiscal cliff." The stunning impotence of the twice elected House Majority will not be rewarded by conservative voters.
The 2nd reality is that President Obama WANTS to "go over the cliff." The Obama Administration successfully parlayed the "Financial Crisis of 08" into political cover for all of its failed economic policies - the sum of which have lead to a "recovery" that is substantially worse than than "the recession." Exit poles show that most voters still find the Bush Administration to be responsible for all of Americas economic woes. Obam NEEDS another crisis on which to blame the certain economic woes of the coming four years.
The 3rd reality is that "The Cliff" is the best deal Republicans are going to get. Obama simply will not accept anything that improves the conservative position - even a little bit.
Given those realities - the GOP must position itself for the "post cliff" reality that it will confront at the start of 2013.
First, before leaving for Holiday Break, the House should pass legislation which PERMANENTLY extends the current tax rates for ALL individuals, and simultaneously repeals the "fiscal cliff" law. The "fiscal cliff" agreement is in itself currently obsolete. It's purpose was to curb Government Growth in return for raising the debt limit. The debt limit is already being reached again and the budget process is about to begin again. It would be exceedingly easy to argue that purpose of "The Cliff" has come and gone - and should simply be vacated.
Of course Obama would veto this if passed in the Senate - which it won't be; but it would give the GOP some starting point for the newly convened Congress in 2013.
With taxes being raised on EVERYONE, the GOP will be confronted by the Democrats to pass legislation restoring the "Tax Cuts" to 98% of the country. They should beat the Democrats to the punch and pass legislation to restore "Tax Cuts" to everyone - again PERMANENTLY. The Bill should be named: "The President George W. Bush Tax Cuts for ALL Americans Act." That name should be said loud and often at every opportunity.
The Senate will pass a corresponding bill, without the tax cut for the top 2%.
That's ok. The bill will go into conference where the minor differences will be reconciled. The GOP will probably not be able to get ALL the tax cuts back for the top 2%. That's not the point. They will then be advocating for TAX CUTS not agreeing to TAX INCREASES - and the rates will be permanent.
For this to happen, the GOP has to not only be willing to "go over the cliff," but be willing to shut down the government during ensuing budget talks. They must make it clear that not only are they willing to "shut down" the government - but that they'd shut it down til the next election if necessary. Two years of "essential services only" might be just what this country needs.
Well, we can dream can't we?