House Republicans may have kept their majority in November but they seem incapable of out-maneuvering President Obama.

Speaker John A. Boehner's effort to pass fallback legislation to avert a fiscal crisis in less than two weeks collapsed Thursday night in an embarrassing defeat after conservative Republicans refused to support legislation that would allow taxes to rise on the most affluent households in the country.

House Republican leaders abruptly canceled a vote on the bill after they failed to rally enough votes for passage in an emergency meeting about 8 p.m. Within minutes, dejected Republicans filed out of the basement meeting room and declared there would be no votes to avert the "fiscal cliff" until after Christmas. With his "Plan B" all but dead, the speaker was left with the choice to find a new Republican way forward or to try to get a broad deficit reduction deal with President Obama that could win passage with Republican and Democratic votes.

However the primary reason that Boehner appears to be failing is that the media mostly ignores that fact that the House has already passed numerous bills that would avert the fiscal cliff by reducing spending without increasing taxes, and the Democrats have continuously refused to consider those proposals. Instead of negotiating against himself and proffering ever-more-taxy proposals Boehner should have stood pat. Now the Republicans all look like fools.

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