As discussions move into thornier policy issues, the two sides have tended to step up leaks to the media and complaints about the other side being obstinate. Then, as the negotiations near deadlines, the two sides erupt into all-out partisan warfare.
So far the script appears to be holding firm, with Boehner accusing Democrats and the White House of not giving Republicans a concrete proposal, and Democratic leaders such as Murray charging Republicans with protecting the rich and punishing the elderly and poor.
At some point, someone will likely be accused of walking away.
In previous fights this year, Boehner and Reid have, at the last minute, cobbled together an agreement to avoid failure. But whether the pattern will repeat itself this time is an open question.
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” Boehner said today. “The problem we’ve had all year is getting to yes.”