Obama Got What He Wanted
It has been observed that Obama is willing to negotiate with Putin of Russia, Xi of China, Rouhani of Iran, even (indirectly) Assad of Syria - not to mention any number of lesser tin pot dictators around the globe. But he is totally unwilling to negotiate now with Boehner of the US House of Representatives. Aside from the intrinsically perverted nature of Obama's proclivities, why might that be so? Especially as Obama has negotiated with Boehner in the past - for example, on the Bush tax cuts, the payroll tax expiration and previous debt ceiling crises.
The answer is simple. Obama has something to give to Putin and company - and there is something he wants from them in return. On the other hand, he has nothing to offer Speaker Boehner; nor is there anything particularly important that he wants from the Speaker - other than perhaps he falls on his sword.
Obama believes that he has a great deal to offer Russia, China, Iran, etc. Specifically, he wishes to offer up: the US abnegation of its historic role as leader of the free world; drastically reduced US conventional and nuclear military capabilities; a society bereft of the entrepreneurial spirit that has driven its economic engine for generations; and perhaps, most importantly, the cessation of its belief in itself as the uniquely indispensable free society on the planet, that is, a renunciation of American exceptionalism. From the aforementioned nations, he wishes to receive: their forgiveness for their ill treatment at American hands (as Obama sees it); protestations that they like and respect us for our reformed behavior; and a promise to treat us kindly when we are just one among the many prominent nations of the world.
For Boehner, Obama bears no presents. The President is hell bent on turning the House in 2014 so that he can complete his transformation of America into a statist, social welfare society. He believes that refusing to compromise with Boehner in any way on the budget or debt crises furthers the fulfillment of his goal. He believes furthermore that the public will blame a government shutdown on the Republicans. So, not only does he have nothing to offer to forestall it, Obama actively wants it to happen. On the other side, there is nothing that Boehner can offer - except a total surrender - that Obama wants. A complete rout of Boehner on the budget issue suits Obama's purposes almost as well. The Republicans will be seen as cowards - for completely caving; reckless - for needlessly pushing the crisis to the brink of a catastrophe; and untrustworthy as stewards of the House of Representatives. Either way, Obama gets what he wants - a markedly improved chance of regaining total control of the government next year. The fact that one outcome might cause grave injury to American citizens is of no concern to him.
The preceding was written on the afternoon of Monday, September 30. Today (October 1) we see that the issue is resolved - a government shutdown! Obama got what he wanted. Now we'll see whether his calculus is correct. We won't know for sure until a year from November. But there is no mystery to the answer to the question posed near the end of the first paragraph.