President Obama, please take my advice. You are developing a reputation for being soft in negotiations, and I'm not sure if it is by your choice or if it is your handlers. The debt ceiling example is just the latest.
You used your press conference to say that you won't negotiate over the ceiling. It sounds tough, like you are saying "We don't negotiate with terrorists." Your position is that discussion of lifting the ceiling (as a bartering chip for spending cuts) is a non-starter. You won't even discuss it. Krugman went on the Sunday talk shows and said the Republican House was taking hostages, and you shouldn't negotiate with them.
Wrong wrong wrong, and I'll tell you why below the fold.
This isn't a hostage crisis, this is a hijacking much like Flight 93. You are using the wrong analogy, and you are actually taking the passive (weak) position. I'll elaborate.
The Repubs either no longer believe the zero-negotiation-tolerance line you drew in the sand just now, or they don't care. They are going to wait to hear Geithner's drop dead date, and they are going to let it pass, just like they did over the fiscal cliff. Believe it. Expect it.
That is going to keep our economy in crisis, maintain uncertainty, rock the job market and keep our economy limping along. Yes, it is criminally negligent of the tea party that the Republicans have become; pure obstructionists, but they would rather keep the economy stagnant or worse for the remainder of your term. They simply cannot allow your legacy to be that you saved the economy, brought back jobs and patriotism, ended wars, cut taxes for the middle class and restored American greatness after 8 devastating years of Bush. They would rather crash the economy. History judges Presidents, not congresses, and they will gladly sacrifice themselves and the rest of us to make sure everyone remembers Obama's presidency as one of economic stagnation and joblessness. Four years is a short time when front-runners for 2016 are already being discussed.
The House WILL drive the economy (plane) into the ground. It's not an idle threat. You need to tell your caucus (and make sure the press hears it); "LET'S ROLL." Let everyone know you are using the analogy of hijacking, not hostage taking. The House is locked in the cockpit and they intend to crash the economy. Thus far you have taken the position that you won't negotiate, you won't mint a coin, you won't do anything. You will sit passively in your seat and hope they come to their senses. That is weak, not heroic, and not what we need right now. We are going to crash and you are doing nothing. Yes, it will be the Republicans fault, but you will get blame for doing nothing.
Get off your butt. You need to say "Let's roll. I will mint a coin, I will sign a note, create a trillion dollar bill. I will appeal to the Supreme Court to declare the proposed ceiling unconstitutional. I will do everything I can to keep them from crashing this economy (plane) and taking all Americans with them." Don't sit there and do nothing! You are not being a tough negotiator by being silent.
What would the Republicans do in the face of your heroic attempts to prevent the crash of the debt ceiling and economy everywhere from the Fed to the airwaves to the Supreme Court? They will be compared to the al qaeda hijackers all day long in every paper and every newscast. People would be aghast at their tactics, not compare them to a negotiation. Everyone in the press will be comparing you to Todd Beamer, and the rest of us as other passengers willing to help join you in breaking into the cockpit and grabbing the controls away from the hijacking (not hostage taking) Repubs.
In short order they will raise the ceiling so damn high this issue will never come up again. Raise your game Obama. Stop being passive. Stop giving away positions of strength. You won a near landslide election and haven't even started your second term yet. You caved on the fiscal cliff, you didn't even try to save the payroll tax cut, you abandoned "stimulus" and let it be defined by repubs as a dirty word, you backed off on your $250K and up tax raise, and every uninformed person I meet (wrongly, but truly) blames you for their smaller paychecks this January.
Get out of your seat. Let's roll. Let's take the cockpit and stop this crash. Please dare to be a great President and get the people behind you.