6) At the moment, truthfulness is beside the point. The speeches given by Obama and Boehner Monday night — feeble though they both were — open a window into each side's thinking. Obama used the word "compromise" six times. Boehner never used it once. That's a reflection of their basic positions. Obama favors "X" amount of budget reductions to be accompanied by "Y" amount of tax increases on corporations and the most affluent two percent of the population. Fifty-six percent of the nation approves of this.

7) This means that the Tea Party minority holding a smaller slice of public opinion is in control — at least for now.

8) The August 2 deadline for extending the debt ceiling may not be as hard and fast as was previously thought. On Tuesday and Wednesday there were reports from Wall Street analysts suggesting that the government might have enough cash on hand to keep functioning for several extra days, perhaps up until August 15.

9) What America — and the world — is watching in all of this is another attempt by the Republicans to nullify the legitimacy of a Democratic president. The GOP tried it with Bill Clinton. But even exploiting his sexual peccadilloes failed to discredit Clinton. It got him impeached, but not removed from office. Throughout all of his trials, Clinton enjoyed public support and managed to put the economy back on track. The Bush tax cuts destroyed all that and set the stage for this current confrontation.

10) Delegitimizing Obama has proven to be to tougher than smearing Clinton. In these final days, Obama should allow the Tea Party to obstruct and stonewall to its heart's content. Let them trigger default. (That would be real leadership from behind.) Obama should then on his own authority order the secretary of the treasury to issue bonds as needed. There is a body of respectable legal opinion that holds the debt ceiling is an unconstitutional infringement on executive prerogative. Thanks to some very conservative opinions by Supreme Court justices appointed by George W. Bush, there is ample precedent for this. Let the Republicans hold the nation hostage, and let Obama smash them with aggressive executive action.

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