Republicans are deeply interested in lower tax rates on high-income individuals. There may or may not be other things they care about on some level, but the party’s level of concern about all other issues pales in comparison to its level of concern about lowering tax rates on high-income individuals. Policy compromises, if they’re reached, are overwhelmingly likely to involve Obama agreeing to lower tax rates on high-income individuals in exchange for Republicans agreeing to something else. That “something else” might entail net deficit reduction (as in the 1997 budget deal) or net deficit increases (as in the 2010 tax deal) depending on what it is Obama wants to ask for. But what Republicans want is lower tax rates on high-income people.
---Matt Yglesias via Brad DeLong