Harry Reid has once again scorned a six-week debt ceiling increase and "has set up a vote on a 'clean' debt-ceiling bill that would allow the government to continue to borrow money through the end of 2014," while Republicans are once again justifying his fear of anything less. From The Hill:
[They] have rejected [Reid's] proposal, saying they want major spending cuts and entitlement reform before they’ll agree to increasing the debt limit by another $1 trillion.
That, mutatis mutandis, is merely a variation on the GOP's original position: They'll keep torturing the economy and potentially they'll shoot it if they don't get their way. But they're cornered--hopelessly cornered, in some cases--by both statewide-reelection demands and Gallup et al, which renders Reid's demand invincible ... as long as the Dems hold firm.
And that's what makes all these meetings and negotiations and WH-congressional heart-to-hearts so unnerving. The Dems might wind up making disastrously unnecessary promises, in writing, just to squirm out from under a wholly Republican-imposed nightmare. And that, in turn, would only invite another.
Originally the Democratic line was straightforward: "Clean" squared. No deals, no negotiations, no compromises. Before those, there must be a reopening of government and a year-long ceiling lift. Till then, buzz off. And shockingly, the Democratic strategy has worked. Indeed it has worked fabulously well. The Republicans are on their knees, they're electoral toast, and they know it.
So what are Democrats now doing? They're meeting with Republicans and dealing and negotiating and, perhaps, compromising. It's unnerving.