In negotiating over the fiscal cliff, Obama also did something that he failed to do during [the debt ceiling negotiations in] the summer of 2011: He campaigned publicly. He framed the issues. He put the Republicans on the defensive in a way that he failed to do during much of his first term. Fifty years ago, perhaps, a Democratic president could have relied on constituent groups, led by the labor movement, to carry the battle for liberal initiatives, but while these groups are important, they don’t carry the same kind of clout they used to. And they don’t have the money to compete with Republican and conservative groups. But the President can command the public’s attention, and Obama did—right up through the final days of voting.
One result is that Republicans—Republicans—voted to increase taxes on the wealthy. Yes, the increase is only for wealthies making over about $400,000 a year. Even still, Judis argues this represents "a major political triumph."