Niceguy Eddie, over at "In My Humble Opinion," has offered up some thoughts on the unpopularity of the current Republican position with regard to raising the debt ceiling. I thought I'd throw in a few of my own.
Popular sentiment does, indeed, cut strongly against Republicans on this issue. It cuts against them in this same really big way on pretty much every major issue, and Eddie is right about there being absolutely no reason for Democrats to compromise with them about anything when it comes to this. Republicans are a minority party with a minority in government and no real public support behind what they're trying to do, here. The Democrats could put their collective foot down, offer nothing at all, and dare the Republicans to do anything except either fold like an accordion in the face of this, or stand firm and reap the disastrous consequences. There really is only one choice. Demos would be literally insane to allow Repubs to hold the U.S. hostage over a debt-ceiling increase.
The reason offering nothing would work is the dirty little secret behind the entire debt-ceiling fight: Republicans, in the end, will vote to raise it. The, broadly speaking, Big Money community understands the ruinous effects of a potential default, and won't allow their puppets, in either party, to bring one about. Voting against a debt ceiling increase is political theater, staged by members of both parties from time to time, but the ceiling is always raised, and, at the end of the current made-up "crisis," it will be, as well, and Republicans--a sufficient number of them--will be on board when the votes are counted. That will happen, regardless of what else may. Democrats don't have to offer any deal at all, much less make one. Anything they "negotiate" away is by choice, not anything dictated by necessity.
Unfortunately, the Obama--as usual--is choosing to try to negotiate away anything and everything. From practically the moment he left the gate, he offered Republicans massive cuts to "entitlements" in exchange for their going along with some relatively minor revenue increases. That offer is still on the table. It shouldn't be. Republicans will probably hold out for more until nearly the last minute, but if there's even a chance enough Democrats will be willing to charge over the same cliff as Obama (and, as, practically speaking, it takes so few votes, there's a good chance of this), Republicans will eventually take Obama's deal.
If this happens, Obama will go down in history as having accomplished what no Republican has ever managed--to begin the dismantling of Social Security and Medicare. Defending these things has traditionally been a signature issue with Democrats. Indeed, Republicans, politically speaking, committed mass suicide via their votes, last year and this, on the Ryan plan. Democrats could have used that to absolutely eviscerate the Republican congressional caucus from coast to coast. Unless, that is, Democrats can be made to agree to the same sort of ruinous cuts that makes that plan so unpopular. That would rather spectacularly neutralize it as an issue, but, more to the point, it would remove one of the major reasons the public supports Democrats. Obama is working at chucking an easy win-win for his party and, much more importantly, undermining critically important programs, and isn't just pursuing a course that would begin their destruction; he's also working toward helping elect those who would finish the task.