Good question, and it half-applies to government shutdown, too. Republicans have stated publicly and privately that they have neither the intention nor desire to shut down the government when Washington's temporary budget expires at the end of the month. By contrast, "giddy" Democrats are openly rooting for a shutdown, secure in the knowledge that they'll be able to exploit it for political gain. Republicans also want to avoid a credit downgrade or partial default over the debt limit matter, but they do intend to extract concessions from Democrats on spending restraint and other reforms in exchange for going along with a (rather unpopular) debt ceiling hike. The White House's position, however, has been obstinate. President Obama will not entertain any negotiations with Congress over the debt limit. In response, ABC News' Jon Karl makes the obvious point:
Jay Carney can smirk, chortle, deny and deflect until the cows come home, but the party who stubbornly refuses to even sit down at the negotiating table is clearly the biggest impediment to achieving a productive compromise. If he sticks to his line in the sand, Barack Obama will be primarily responsible for a debt limit-driven crisis. As I predicted yesterday, though, I think he'll have no choice but to buckle -- especially since some reporters are already disrupting the White House's chosen narrative. How rude. Also, credit where it's due: Boehner's line about Obama negotiating with Putin over Syria, but not Congress over reckless spending, is pretty biting. And the point extends to Assad, as well. The Obama administration spent months decrying the Syrian leader as a chemical weapons-using butcher akin to Hitler; now, they're participating in a Kremlin-orchestrated charade that won't just keep Assad in power, but will elevate him as an quasi-legitimate international partner -- on whom the "peace" process largely depends. But forging an agreement on spending restraint with Eric Cantor before the government extends its own authority to borrow even more money? That's a bridge too far. (In fairness, hasn't it always been the US position not to negotiate with, ahem, terrorists?) Meanwhile, the Washington Post's fact-checker has slapped Obama with Four Pinocchios for a claim he's been making in an attempt to delegitimize his "unprecedented" opposition:
Clearly, Obama’s sweeping statement does not stand up to scrutiny, even with his caveat. Time and again, lawmakers have used the “must-pass” nature of the debt limit to force changes in unrelated laws. Often, the effort fails — as the GOP drive to repeal Obamacare almost certainly will. But Kowalcky and LeLoup speculate that one reason why Congress has not eliminated the debt limit, despite the political problems it poses, is because lawmakers enjoy the leverage it provides against the executive branch...Four Pinocchios.