All John Boehner needs to do to take control of the dialogue about the fiscal cliff is present a bill in the House that delays implementation of the tax rate hikes and spending cuts by 90 days. That's it. No other goodies. No tricks. No gimmicks. A simple extension of the deadline. Maintain the status quo. He could make the argument that this is just too important to ram through in a lame duck session and under the current time constraints. Sure, he'd take some heat for "kicking the can down the road," but he could take the moral high ground by arguing that it's in the best interest of taxpayers to give this issue the time it deserves. It's in their best interests to not make just any deal, but to have an open and constructive debate about taxes, spending, etc. He could point out the fallacy of the President's position about tax receipts (let's stop using the left's choice of words - it's not revenue) and the National debt. He could display leadership (maybe that's too much to expect). He could also point out that the President wants to raise taxes, the House doesn't. The President argues he has a mandate from the election, well so does the House.
It's really that simple. We hear constantly how hard and complicated matters like this are, but in most cases, they're really not complicated at all.