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so to speak. What I mean to say is that I have moved beyond the recent anti-climactic financial crisis and the hand-wringing over what we should have gotten or what we gave away. It's over and done with, not as good as we would have liked, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.

Quite frankly, I am more worried about the fiscal negotiations that lay ahead. I want so badly to be able to trust President Obama when he says he will not, under any circumstances or conditions negotiate with this congress over the debt ceiling. I even believe that at this exact moment in time, he actually means what he is saying; he will not allow the Republicans to hold the national and global economies hostage so that they can gut Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

Unfortunately, we've all been down this road with Mr. Obama before. He means well when he declares the boundaries of the concessions he's willing to make. He certainly looks determined when he draws whatever line in the sand he is drawing in whatever showdown he happens to be facing with the Republicans. But then as their obstructionism and intractablity kick into high gear and the deal he envisions begins slipping away, he gets all twitchy and itchy and soon the caving commences.

I am not sure if it's a congenital flaw in the president that makes it impossible for him to let even a bad deal die, or if it's an inherent belief in the intrinsic goodness of his fellow man that makes him believe bi-partisanship is remotely possible, but either way, we Progressives, and what's worse, Republicans, have learned that he can be rolled.

For Republicans, it means that they will stamp their feet, hold their breath and threaten the financial security of the nation if they don't get a spending cuts only approach to deficit reduction. The fact that this approach would devastate entitlement programs they've been trying to get rid of for years is just icing on the cake.

For Progressives, it means biting our nails, calling our representatives, signing online petitions and blogging our brains out in what is often a losing effort to get this President and the Democrats in congress who enable him, to hold the line and tell the Republicans to go piss up a rope.

If past is prologue, then Republicans have a right to feel opitimistic about their chances of prevaling in the fiscal fight scheduled to take place in March. If, on the other hand, President Obama actually means to stick to his guns and not negotiate on the debt ceiling, then the country might actually survive the financial crisis that's looming ahead.  I have to admit this time there seems to be a little more grit in the President's eye, and steel in his spine, but I don't know. Dare I let myself believe?

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