David Corn has a piece up this morning arguing that John Boehner is hampered in the fiscal cliff talks by his right flank — the House Tea Partyers who oppose compromise with the White House at any cost, just as they did during the 2011 showdowns. The difference this time is that the White House has far more leverage over Boehner than last time — putting him in a particularly difficult spot. …

“This basic dynamic — Boehner cannot haggle freely with the president due to the intense opposition to a deal within his own ranks — has not fundamentally changed. What has changed is the president’s hand. According to senior administration officials, Obama is not eager to go over the cliff, but he is willing. If no deal is reached by the end of the month, all the Bush tax cuts — for the rich and not-rich — will evaporate. Obama would then demand in early January that the new Congress immediately pass legislation to reinstate the lower tax rates for the bottom 98 percent.”

I have just confirmed that this is accurate — Obama is willing, albeit very reluctant, to go over the cliff.