There's a reason for the policy of not negotiating with terrorists or hostage-takers: it sets a horrible precedent and rewards outrageous conduct. This is no different. No matter how bad the short-term financial and economic consequences may be of letting the Federal government default on its loan payments, the long-term consequences of rewarding irresponsible, extremist Republicans for their tantrums and willingness to take the U.S. economy hostage will be far worse. What could possibly make the White House, or anyone, think that this would be the only time they try this tactic if they see that it works?
What makes this situation even more insane is that, while the Democrats allow themselves to be held hostage by the Republicans' threat to default on the national debt, it is actually the Republicans who are hostages. Let me explain. (more below the fold)
The reality, as every thinking person has figured out, is that the Republicans in Congress will not really go through with their threat, at least not the ones who are not Tea Partiers (whether ideologically or rhetorically).
Does anyone with political intelligence really think the Republicans' Wall Street backers would let them bring the U.S. government into default? Really?
The White House and Congressional Democrats need to CALL THEIR BLUFF!!!!!!! Put the Republicans in the hot seat and let them make the difficult decision of siding with either their extremist base or their big-money supporters. You know that, in the end, they'll take their marching orders from Wall Street.
In summary (and to mix metaphors :-)), expose the emperor (Republicans) as having no clothes, for it is the REPUBLICANS who have been taken hostage ... by Grover Norquist and the Tea Party. Why on God's green earth should the DEMOCRATS participate in destroying our economy and society in order to help the Republicans out of a bad situation of their own making???