Maybe I'm misreading Bedlam's signals, but the sharp "end point" that Chait anticipates could very well be rather blunt. "House Republicans appear more determined than ever to collect their ransom" in a debt-ceiling hostage crisis, he speculates, which is evident enough from their rhetoric. But is the speaker not engineering another fiscal-cliff escape?
First Boehner announces that he'll negotiate with the president no more. Sounds tough, although it's mostly an acknowledgement that he hasn't the Republican votes for any sane legislation. Concomitantly he announces that the House will indeed pass a debt-limit increase--but only along with corresponding spending cuts, thus meeting the House's one-party insanity rule. Again, that may sound tough as it is crazy, but what's the practical outcome? Nothing.
These maneuvers would leave the speaker only one recourse: the eleventh-hour option taken during the fiscal-cliff ordeal. The Senate acts and then the full House "considers" the act, which would mean re-limiting the debt limit.
So it could be that "the two years Obama and Boehner have spent trying to deflect, delay, and placate the mania of the tea party" may not have "finally come to an end point" after all, as Chait expects they have. They may only conclude with an inconclusive thud, since as the NYT's "Taking Note" notes:
[E]ven if [Obama] gets through February with the usual last-minute deal that infuriates the hard right despite excessive spending cuts, they will be back with the same club, again and again, until someone with resolve puts a permanent end to it.
--a "permanent end" which might, however, not come for years. For in urging an "end" the Times means an executive flanking maneuver, such as the 14th Amendment route. But President Obama, pace the NYT, is right:
Now if the American people feel strongly about these issues and they push hard and they reward or don’t reward members of Congress with their votes, if they reject sort of uncompromising positions ... and they reward folks who are trying to find common ground, then I think you’ll see behavior in Congress change.
In brief, American voters put the bombthrowers in Congress, and American voters can take them out--meanwhile, a president can do only so much to save the voters from themselves.