Despite their various intricacies and angles, legal cases are typically framed as the names of the two opposing parties; Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education. And this is often the case in Washington too, where squabbles are often shaped around partisan lines, such as the current deliberations to solve the fiscal cliff.
While this tax-and-spend showdown has offered little in the way of progress between Democrats v. Republicans, at least one Wall Street veteran is hopeful that a deal can still be reached, largely because of a third mitigating factor - Obama v. legacy.
"He wants to leave the image as greatest President ever," says Jeff Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James in the attached video. "If he wants that, he (Obama) is going to have to compromise."
To most, the might seem like an unlikely development, given the rancor and repudiation that has characterized the process so far. But Saut argues that when things absolutely have to happen in Washington, they typically do, and this is one those occasions, since he says only a few weeks of fallout from automated spending cuts could land us back in recession.
"I think what you're going to see is a staged end solution," he says, adding that this partial fix won't resolve "the whole fiscal cliff" but enough to avoid getting hit by the worst of it.
Saut calls the entire sordid process "the Washington Waltz" and says he's seen it many times over the years, reminding investors not to expect a quick fix given that the Bush tax cuts were not extended until December 17th and that the payroll tax wasn't eliminated until December 23rd.
Using those benchmarks, it's probably safe to say that we're in for at least a couple more weeks of polarized positioning before the Obama's great legacy shift takes hold and saves the day.