The conventional wisdom they are trying to establish is that deficit reduction will never happen without hiking taxes and nobody in the GOP wants to be that kamikaze pilot.
Cantor specifically is being painted as selfishly putting his power first. Even if we wanted to grant that may be true, it's only 1% of the story. They are ALL putting their power first.
This is a crisis that may take the nation to fiscal armageddon, and President Obama is throwing Biden under the bus by putting him in charge of the negotiations while he plays the part of a mere spectator watching Congressional Republicans participate in an episode of "Dancing with the Tard."
After decades of govenrment growth they championed finally collapsing under it's own weight, Democrats expect the Republican to be the Atlases to shrug the weight they piled on by accepting a solution that is no solution at all – tax hikes that suck what oxygen is left out of the economy.
Neither side wants to make the tough choices for fear of political suicide, and they can't count to 3 before jumping off together because Biden is in charge, and nobody wants to teach him how to count.
The Democrats problem is they're like the bosses who refuse to go on vacation for fear of the company realizing they'd get along fine with out them. The tough choice for them is giving up the heart of their platform of dependency they use against the country to build up their power base.
For the GOP, it's how much they want compromise so the Old Yellers live to see another day.
That's what this epic battle is really about – do we shut down the only space program liberals still support by finally bringing the size of the government back to earth, or do we let them continue tricking the American public into thinking the country needs their "help."
The 9% of Americans who are unemployed – and the scores of people who aren't because they gave up – don't need the government to raise taxes to balance their books, they need it to foster economic growth so they can become taxpayers again, and the government can balance their books on that money instead.
This concept, as with most of what conservatives stand for, is so frighteningly simple that it makes sense how "the smartest people in the room" can't see it. They think it's so "progressive" to turn 1+1 into equations only they understand so the public will depend solely on them for the answer.
Elections have consequences, and giving a political party of narcissists total power over our purse strings in 2008, and letting them continue to have a seat at the table in 2010, is why we have to accept hiking the mother all debt ceilings even higher to make room for trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.
Ezra Klein has it wrong. The Democrats are the ones selfishly insisting on protecting their New Deal/Great Society sand castles from getting knocked over by throwing taxpayers under the bus so they can build a wall of dollars to keep the default high tide at bay. They are unwilling to accept the reality that the day is fast approaching where they have totally run out of raw material to continue building that wall higher.