The debt-ceiling showdown has snuck up quietly on Washington and is barely registering in the broader economy. Nobody is quite sure what to make of it. A familiar Washington Kabuki dance? A white-knuckle bond market tightrope walk? A final reactionary howl at the onset of Obamacare? It may be these things, but it’s also something much larger: a Constitutional struggle, a kind of quasi-impeachment, that will test Obama’s mettle and, next to his reelection campaign, poses the most singular threat to his presidency.
The progression of events begins with a dynamic I described in a print piece at the beginning of 2012 – conservatives had come to regard the 2012 race as their last chance to win an election as authentic conservatives against a rising Democratic majority. Since their crushing defeat, they have ignored the task of refurbishing the party’s national appeal for its next national electoral bid, and instead have recommitted themselves to waging increasingly millenarian confrontations from their existing red state power base in Congress.