If you want to understand why President Obama is holding so firm and refusing to negotiate, especially over raising the debt ceiling you can find many of the answer in this terrific article by Jonathan Chait in the New Yorker.
The Shutdown Prophet
We also have a President who is a Constitutional scholar and actually understands the document and how the three branches of government are supposed to work as opposed to the Tea Party Republicans who profess to love the document, but seem to have little understanding of what it means or how it works. President Obama made a serious mistake when he allowed the debt ceiling to become a chit in the 2011 budget negotiation. He reached for a Grand Bargain, Boehner initially agreed until howls from the radical right had him backing away. Sadly the precedent had been set and some in the Republican party believed going in that Obama was weak, he would always cave. It went along with their perception and narrative of him as stupid, reliant on teleprompters, etc. etc. Just as they did on election night 2012 they had failed to look beyond their own talking points and intellectual bubble where evolution and climate change are myths, and Romney was going to win in a landslide. They entered into this latest duel believing that the President would buckle and give them what they wanted. They had past as precedent.
What they also failed to realize is that Barack Obama is a man who learns from his mistakes and adjusts accordingly. He may be hammered in the polls, but I believe he will not blink or retreat from this hill because he cannot. If he does it will destroy our governmental system. At that point any disgruntled party — Democrat or Republican can hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to try and reverse the results of an election or put in place an agenda that had been rejected by the voters in an election.
Here’s a thought game — what if the Republican House had sent to the President a clean and simple bill raising the debt ceiling, but the President vetoed that bill, and demanded the House put in place gun control measures, and make abortion free in every state. If Congress refused he was going to destroy the credit of the country and threaten the world’s economy. People would be (rightly) trying to remove him from office claiming he was no longer competent and had clearly lost his mind. Because that’s not how our system is supposed to work.
A faction of Republicans are doing this because they want to repeal a law that has been tested in every imaginable way allowed under the Constitution. The ACA was passed by Congress, challenged at the Supreme Court and upheld, and affirmed by an election where it’s opponent had promised to repeal it as his first act in office. He lost. This isn’t conservatism. It’s a revolutionary mindset with nihilism waiting in the wings. As any of my readers know I have enormous respect for the U.S. Constitution. It was my focus of study in law school. I’m devastated by what is happening because people who profess to love the Constitution are attempting to destroy it.