The time for Republicans to win the tax debate was during the 2012 election. They lost. That doesn’t mean they need to give away the store, but it does mean that they’ll have to make some accommodation for reality.

Republicans’ best option at this point is to make Bush-era tax rates permanent for income under $250,000. This would keep things relatively simple, and it wouldn’t necessitate giving in to Obama’s demands for larger tax increases in the name of making inconsequential tweaks to entitlement programs. …

The “no surrender” strategy is always tempting for conservatives, because they can usually score points for ideological purity without any downside. Two things are certain in Washington: 1) The “no surrender” caucus is always ignored when the two sides cut a deal, and 2) The deal is always suboptimal. Over time, as the problems with the deal become apparent, people who opposed it feel vindicated.