A pretty disappointing end to the American debt ceiling fight. Despite consistent polling that showed overwhelming support for raising taxes on the rich- as well as the GOP taking more of the "blame" for the impasse- in the end, it was Obama that blinked and in so doing rewarded rigid ideologues for their irresponsible stance.
A dangerous precedent has been set, reasonable compromise has been replaced by the notion that stubborn and reckless resolve can extract concessions, because others are forced to accept the burden of consequence. In this debt debate, the Tea Party members were prepared to go "all the way", prepared to throw the American and international economies into chaos, ignoring potential costs, consequence was left for others to consider. What is alarming, this fanatical resolve wins the day, because their inability to embrace pragmatic solutions, forces reasonable people to fill that void. The result of this dynamic, Obama losses, while we have a deal, his understanding of consequence, his recognition that a deal must be made, was ultimately his undoing in this process. Acting in this way is responsible, however when the other side doesn't reciprocate, we are left with a "cave" scenario, simply as a function of necessity.
It's important to look at this issue as a process, because it provides a new template for political obstruction. The Obama administration played all the classic cards, used the bully pulpit, a fairly effective pr campaign, every lever used to exert pressure and force a deal. Where the usual plot diverted, the antagonist failed to be a rational partner, it didn't react as thought, public opinion irrelevant, like a extremist religious entity, it embraced the apocalypse, bathed itself in it's rigidity, as though virtue. The final lesson, this intransigence will be victorious when squared off against moderate pragmatism. Not a deal in the traditional sense, but people working around fanatism, which ultimately emboldens the behaviour. Others are left to deal responsibily, and in so doing compromise their principles, while those most offside with mainstream opinion achieve their goals.
There will be future "standoffs", and unfortunately the lesson learned, the precedent here, is that you can abdicate your responsibilities and ultimately declare victory. Simply dig in your heels, put your hands over your ears and realize that others will appreciate consequence and act. In this instance, a nation was held hostage and to avoid bloodshed, ransom was paid. It really is a simple, and SCARY, as that....