Noam Sheiber pens a wonderful paen to Speaker of the House John Boehner. My favorite paragraph is Scheiber's description of Boehner's strategy to neutralize the far right in order to solve pressing issues like the fiscal cliff.
First Boehner stakes out a position so extreme or impractical that he effectively marginalizes himself from any negotiation with Democrats. At that point, Democrats begin to bargain with Boehner's Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell. Once they strike a deal, it passes the Senate with overwhelming support. This is the cue to Boehner to troop before his caucus and lament that they fought the good fight for as long as they could, but now even their fellow Republicans have turned on them. If it is their will to hold out, then Boehner will obey it. (Always best to give crazy people the illusion of agency.) But he can no longer in good faith recommend this path. Invariably, the lunatics fold. This is how we averted the dreaded fiscal cliff in early January. It's more or less how the stalemate over the debt ceiling resolved itself in the summer of 2011, and how the stalemate over the payroll tax ended later that year.