President Obama appeared on Meet the Press this morning to ensure that the American people know exactly who screwed them over if their unemployment insurance gets cut, if their taxes increase markedly, and if their government agency forces them into a furlough. “[Republicans] say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected,” the president said, in the tone of a man who has made a winning move in Connect Four that his opponent has yet to recognize. “I think it’s been very hard for Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package.”

The president said that if last-minute negotiations failed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would introduce a bill tomorrow morning that would save the two vital programs set to expire on January 1, 2013: middle class tax breaks and federal unemployment benefits to 2 million Americans. Republicans wouldn't dare block such a bill, would they?

"I don't think they would want to do that politically, but they may end up doing it," the president said, quietly adding off-camera, "But holy fuck if they did that? *Whistles*"

Middle class tax increases could get worse if the impasse continues into January or February, and the Times reports that the IRS may have to delay this year's filing date and the mailing of refund checks. The $110 billion spending cuts to government programs that were once deemed so absurd as to be unthinkable are now very real. “You do need cuts. But sequestration is not the way to go,” Republican Congressman Frank Wolf, whose district hosts many government contracting firms and their employees, told the Washington Post. "It's literally a meat ax without any thought behind it."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Obama of making "discordant" remarks, while Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, who apparently has never seen this chart and was presumably out fishing during the years 2001 through 2008, blamed the president for not focusing on the Democrats' "addiction to spending."

According to a recent poll, 65% of voters support an increase on taxes for those making more than $250,000 to decrease the deficit, but Republicans haven't had much faith in "numbers" or "arithmetic" recently.

A phantasmagoric spokesman for the Whig party urged Republicans to stick to their principals, and to not fear their fate. "[Being irrelevant] isn't so bad," the specter said, as he moaned and rattled several lengths of heavy iron chains. "Sometimes PBS asks for an interview. And you get to scare kids before their 8th grade history tests."

Republicans do seem quick to act on one thing: preventing the cost of milk from jumping up to $8 a gallon. Three bills were submitted in the House in 24 hours that would stall prices, in part because of "[Speaker] Boehner’s personal opposition to the changes together with his allies in the food processing industry."

[UPDATE] Speaker Boehner has responded to the president's comments, which we'll post here, without comment. Via the Washington Post:

“Americans elected President Obama to lead, not cast blame,” Boehner said.

He went on to blame Obama and Senate Democrats for the current situation, with no deal yet and automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect in two days.

“The president’s comments today are ironic, as a recurring theme of our negotiations was his unwillingness to agree to anything that would require him to stand up to his own party,” Boehner said. “We’ve been reasonable and responsible. The president is the one who has never been able to get to ‘yes.’”