When someone is said to be negotiating against himself, he offers a change in his own initial position before a response is elicited from the other side. For example, a guy agrees to sell a used car for ten thousand dollars. The prospective buyer says “I can’t afford that much. How much do you really want for the car?” The seller then offers to sell the car for seventy five hundred dollars and the buyer walks away a happy man because without even entering the process of negotiation he has walked away with a good deal. i.e. the seller has negotiated with himself. In the conduct of negotiations, the corollary to the principle of not negotiating with oneself is to never begin the process of negotiating unless one is willing to walk away without reaching a conclusion. In the current situation over avoiding the fiscal cliff, the Republicans, the mumbly grumbly party of No, is behaving exactly like the Romney/Ryan ticket did during the entire campaign (which, in my opinion, cost them the election). The RR combo then, and the party of No now, refuses to say what it wants; i.e., they are not participating in the negotiating process. Obama finally gets it. He is refusing to negotiate against himself. He is in a position of strength in doing so because if the party of No continues its refusal, the public is smart enough to realize who is the party responsible for placing the American economy at risk.
Just saying . . .