I confess to a hopeful bias, but am really think Obama's little "talking" charade is going to backfire to the point that Democrats start taking the brunt of the blame for continuing this shut down and threatening default.
My theory hinges on an assumption that a fairly large number of people paid some attention to the news over the last couple of days and
1. either saw or heard about reports that a deal was near
2. seeing that the deal proposed was one the Republican base was generally unhappy with
3. hearing some of the proposed terms and
A.) since it was being reported that a deal was near -- which suggests these are terms Obama is likely to accept -- which should leave Democrats either:
i) predisposed to find the proposed deal agreeable
or, at least
ii) able to evaluate the proposal to some degree on it's own merits and at least not reject it out of hand
4. That those eager to see the whole mess over with for awhile felt relieved at the prospect of resolution
5. That most Americans are not masochists and don't actually enjoy being jerked around by a bunch of phony theatre
6. The appearance of negotiation may have led some liberals to realize they actually DO want Obama to negotiate.
Once Boehner limited the number of House Republicans and transformed the meeting with Obama from a lecture into a discussion -- and then the talks continued -- it raised hopes (and fears) that a deal was nearing and certainly gave the impression that Obama was backing off his "no negotation" position.
And Paul Ryan was proposed some things that can not be easily argued against -- like changing the requirement so small businesses with only 50 employees would no longer be forced to provide insurance and changing "full time " hours from 30 hours a week to 39. Such changes could mean that many more businesses could 1) stay in business and/or 2) continue hiring and/or 3) refrain from laying people off or cutting their hours. Many employees would - again- be able to work enough hours at one job to not have to juggle a second one.
Are Democrats really going to defend funding Obamacare on the backs small business and vulnerable workers trying to pay the bills with 1 job? Is that really their hill to die on.
I actually really liked that provision because it could help a lot of people, further weaken Obamacare (which is unsustainable anyway - we might as well bring that fully to light right away) and it's the sort of provision both parties could look good while supporting. It's also extremely "reasonable" and really can't be painted as extremist.
( Even those who like Obamacare often like it because they manage to ignore - or not hear about- the ugly realities of who pays for it, how much, and in how many ways)
So-- really, the only reason Obama can give for rejecting this is that he doesn't feel he should have to negotiate. This is wildly unpopular -- actually pretty close to being an 80-20 issue in our favor -- and it should be even more so now that he's pretended to be open to negotiation.
The tone has been softened -- he's pretended to have meaningful talks -- he can't go back to screaming "blackmail!" or "hostage takers" again. It's going to tick people off in a way that isn't even partisan.
Then Collins offers a 4 month debt ceiling increase -- completely undermining her party's House majority who has said they wouldn't pass it - that only asks for a 2 year delay on the medical devices tax (which most Senate Democrats want to outright repeal anyway) and requiring that those running Obamacare actually check to see if those who claim they qualify for a subsidy actually qualify for a subsidy?? And Reid is rejecting this?? Other than passing up a chance to pit Senate Republicans against House Republicans (which, actually it's surprising he did that) you're going to let the country default (which Democrats claim is unavoidable) in order to not pass a provision most of your conference supports and to openly give subsidies to people who don't qualify?!
Republicans should pass a bill requiring the interest on the debt is paid regardless of whether there is any debt ceiling hike. And then pass the same bill Obama rejected (assuming the conference actually supports it) and leave it at that.