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Fiscal cliff compromise must begin with president

Commentary: Is Obama out to break the Republicans?

In reverence of Peter Drucker -- who once observed that "nobody predicts the future -- the idea is a firm grasp of the present" -- no predictions here for the New Year. I'll just prioritize the puzzles ahead, and point out some things to watch for. Nothing in 2013, no issue at all, compares to the need for fiscal repair. The Fed can buy our new debt for another year, but now we must make progress. And the fiscal cliff is only the first turn in a larger maze. None of us can know another's mind, and even firsthand reporters can misunderstand intentions. Political matters today are touchy almost beyond discussion. However, the mind of the president is central to the fiscal issue. A high level of frustration for President Obama is now 2 years old. His priorities -- stimulus spending, Obamacare and Dodd-Frank -- were all in place by the end of 2010. Republicans took the House in the elections that fall. Since then, the White House has been nearly inert, without achievement, ...