[T]he differences between the two approaches border on the absurd. The GOP is telegraphing in advance that it won’t budge on its core priorities in total defiance of public opinion. Dems, by contrast, are signaling flexibility at the outset on their core priorities even though public opinion is on their side.
Discuss.Well, since he asked...
Two point here. One is that there's nothing quite like the Republican aversion to taxes on the Democratic side. It is possible, for example, to describe Medicare reforms that Democrats, including strong liberals, would support on substantive grounds. Democrats have a whole lot of things they care about deeply, but no single overriding priority equivalent to the GOP position on taxes (and, yes, Democrats should be and perhaps are working on how to turn that to their advantage).
The other is that rhetoric about compromise isn't quite the same thing as actual willingness to compromise. It's absolutely true, as Greg says, that Harry Reid and other Democrats talk about how much they want to reach a deal and how flexible they intend to be, while Republicans have been spending the last week groveling to Grover Norquist and Rush Limbaugh. My guess is that it's easy to overstate how important that rhetoric is. Basically, at this point both sides are attempting to appeal to the constituencies they care about not in terms of substantive policy, but in terms of their attitude towards politics. But those constituencies also do have substantive concerns, and I'd expect those to trump attitudes about process down the line (although expect public statements to remain framed by those process concerns). In other words, it makes perfect sense that Democrats express eagerness to make a deal now, and then after there's no deal they will express their frustration that Republicans weren't willing to meet them halfway. But that doesn't mean that Democrats will in fact be any less vigilant in fighting for their preferences than the Republicans will be in fighting for theirs.