If the Republicans in the House just say no, Obama will use their refusal to pit them against the schoolchildren of America. He will frame the issue as Republican penury vs. the needs of our schools. And no speeches about profligate state spending will make any difference.
But if the GOP posits the alternative of a bankruptcy procedure for states, it will inject a third option -- reform. Then, if Obama demands a cash bailout and states resist the bankruptcy option, they will have forced the curtailment of state services -- not the Republican House. They will have demonstrated, conclusively, that they value the needs of their union overlords more than those of their constituents.
Finally, the Republican House should pass a state bankruptcy bill to break the political power of the unions and undermine the labor-Democratic Party coalition that does so much to animate and fund their congressional candidates. AFSME, SEIU, AFT and NEA -- the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- spent a combined $200 million on politics in the last cycle.
Pass a state bankruptcy law and abrogate their contracts, and you destroy both their monopoly and their power -- and, along with it, much of the financial base of the Democratic Party.