President Obama and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met for the first time in three weeks yesterday, but it does not appear any progress was made toward a ‘grand bargain’ on the fiscal cliff. “This afternoon, the president and Mr. Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff,” almost identical statements from the White House and Speakers’ office read Sunday. “The lines of communication remain open,” the White House statement added.

Frustrated with the White House’s constant “lines of communication remain open,” CBS’s Major Garrett asked a White House aide, “Well, look, the lines of communications were open during the Cold War, too.” The White House aide responded, “Yeah, the Cold War ended when one side realized they couldn’t win.”

And it appears more and more Republicans are realizing they can’t beat Obama on taxes right now. “There is a growing group of folks that are looking at this and realizing that we don’t have a lot of cards on the tax issue before year end,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said on Fox News Sunday. “A lot of people are putting forth a theory, and I actually think it has merit, where you go ahead give the president the two percent increase that he is talking about — the rate increase on the top two percent — and all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements,” he continued.

House Republican leadership still insists that giving Obama his marginal rate tax hike, while holding the line on spending cuts, is not an option. But with only 21 days left before taxes are scheduled to rise, the time needed to create and then debate a large deal is disappearing fast.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: An Obamacare mandate loses a round in court
Tim Carney: Jim DeMint was the libertarian hero of the Senate
Byron York: DeMint’s move and the growing frustration inside the GOP
Michael Barone: Soul-crushing dependency
Mark Tapscott: Big Mo for putting C-SPAN cameras on ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Spending Wobbles: U.S. consumer spending, a rare pillar of economic strength in recent months, is showing signs of weakening.
The New York Times, Mortgage Crisis Presents a New Reckoning to Banks: The nation’s largest banks are facing a fresh torrent of lawsuits asserting that they sold shoddy mortgage securities that imploded during the financial crisis, potentially adding significantly to the tens of billions of dollars the banks have already paid to settle other cases.
The Wall Street Journal, High Earners at Fannie, Freddie Draw Scrutiny: An inspector general’s report is bringing renewed scrutiny to the pay levels of hundreds of senior managers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who earned more than $200,000 last year, a time when Congress threatened to sharply cut the pay of rank-and-file employees by putting the firms on federal wage scales.

Righty Playbook
The Wall Street Journal urges Republicans to kick the can down the road with a six month extensions of the current tax rates.
The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol says Republicans will eventually cave on taxes if the follow The Journal’s advice.
Ross Douthat on DeMint’s leadership of the Republican party.

Lefty Playbook
Think Progress celebrates Sen. Dick Durbin’s, D-Ill., rejection of raising the Medicare eligibility age.
Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur notes that Justice Antonin Scalia’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas dissent predicted that same-sec marriage was coming.
The Nation‘s Bryce Covert hopes the “Conservative Birthrate Panic” will translate into better “Work/Family” policies.