I think the President is playing good cop bad cop with the GOP. He could have just let the Tax expired and call the Republicans bluff about shutting the whole country down. That nuclear proliferation treaty with Russia and that benefits of the 9/11 rescuers were used in exchange for the tax cuts. The Problem is you can't come out and blatantly call him on his bad policies because he used the Republicans so effectively to cover himself. I think the President and the Republicans are on the same team.