Do keep in mind that Obama pretty much rolled the Republicans, and he has left them in disarray. Did that mean he was "desperate" to cut a deal? I don't think so. It means he knew that getting credit for avoiding the cliff was better than letting the Republicans get blamed for going over it--especially if he could portray them as simultaneously craven and incompetent. He did both.
Obama plays a long game, much longer than any of us realize. I suggest thinking about him with a little more nuance.
- a commenter responding to Paul Krugman