Stockholm syndrome is a condition in which hostages begin to identify with their captors and in some cases actively assist them. The fear experienced by hostages and the absolute control hostage takers have over their victims apparently exert a powerful psychological effect. I am beginning to see elements of this at work in the fiscal cliff debate. Last night for example on the Hannity show, Ann Coulter made the suggestion that the House republicans should just go along with obama's tax demands because "they will lose anyway" and the issue of taxes on the rich "plays into a republican stereotype." Apparently, if your opponent can pose an issue in a way that can create discomfort for the weak-kneed in your party, the only alternative is to fold. Funny how that only seems to apply to republicans though. Republicans have a long history of this sort of thinking. It gave us the Martin Luther King holiday, because no matter how ridiculous the idea was, it "played into a stereotype" tp oppose it. Similarly, we got the Americans With Disabilities Act, a piece of mischief that produced a Supreme Court decision telling the US Golf Association that they had to let a guy ride in a cart in the US Open. Republicans though, led by President George Bush Sr, were afraid of looking mean-spirited, ie "playing into the stereotype", so they backed it. Now Obama has in effect taken the House republicans hostage and convinced the voters it was their own fault. The republican hostages are displaying all the craven signs of Stockholm syndrome, ie punishing fellow hostages for failing to obey the hostage taker. They have turned hostile toward would be rescuers, eg Grover Norquist, instead blaming them for their situation. They even have the tools to escape, ie the debt ceiling, but are too terrified to use them. It is not a pretty picture.