So today the government is shut down. The administration and its hallelujah chorus in the media wish to lay this all at the feet of the House Republican majority. While one can question the decision - that is to say, is this the issue to shut down the government - one cannot question the fact that the president's negotiating skills are non-existent.
The current spin out of the White House is that the House majority are nothing better than terrorists, and of course one should never negotiate with terrorists.
The language is however illustrative of the failure of the administration to deal with, well, anyone not already in agreement with it.
For starters, there is the problem of applicability. Terrorists by definition operate outside the political system. The ideal outcome in dealing with them is for them to either disappear entirely or become integrated into it.
Though they may share different policy preferences, there is no question that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is part of the political system. Without their participation, the entire Constitutional order collapses. Thus attempts to read them out of the Constitutional order can only destroy that order.
Of course, on a more basic level, it is the height of foolishness to demonize one's negotiating partner. If I want something from you, prefacing the discussion by calling you names is probably not going to help us find middle ground.
For those Democrats who say "Ah, but Republicans are uniquely awful," I must respond that this is irrelevant. The President lacks the authority to rule by decree. If he wants a budget, he has to work with the lower chamber. That is going to require some kind of compromise.
The interesting part is where we go from here. Given that the House GOP has been demonized non-stop since 2011, there may be a sense that they may as well take their lumps until the administration folds - next week or next year. At no point has the administration offered an olive branch or acknowledged common ground.
That being the case, there must be a strong temptation to just let it burn.The irony is that the House GOP is deeply divided and the only thing holding them together this point is the constant stream of invective from the White House.