Brian Beutler explains the Republicans' dilemma:
How is it that the conservative movement spent two years characterizing Barack Obama as a socialislamokenyan just to the right of Stalin, turning him into a figure so noxious to the GOP base that Republicans only negotiated with him at their peril... and then suddenly, a month after the election, Republican leaders sit down with his administration, and hash out a tax plan and everyone from Olympia Snowe to Mitch McConnell to Paul Ryan walk away celebrating. It doesn't make sense. Yes, the plan is, on the merits, very friendly to Republican interests, and presages an election year tax fight Republicans seem itching to have. But it's still the Obama tax cut compromise.
That's why I think this development could be so portentous.
Yes, yes and yes.
The most powerul aspect of this entire deal is how it has delivered a body-blow to the FNC/Limbaugh/RNC notion that Obama is an enemy and an alien and a threat. Instead, he's now the architect of a deal with that most rightwing of Republicans, Mitch McConnell, a deal that legitimizes Obama on the right with consequences McConnell probably hasn't completely absorbed yet. Maybe this was an inevitable consequence of the GOP assuming some responsibility in running the country. But it has pricked that balloon of demonization that has given much of the right its energy these past two years.