With a rapidly approaching Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt limit, Republicans appear ready to cause mass havoc for the United States - all for the chance to bring down President Obama.
If Congress does not increase the amount of money available to the country to borrow, the United States could default on its debts, sending shock waves through an already dismal economic recovery. Interest rates the country pays on its debts could rise, costing the country even more money.
The latest ploy by GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other Republican leaders is to push short-term extensions of the deadline. It's evidently an effort to deflect the bad press they are getting over their reckless approach, while also trying to keep the pot boiling through the height of the presidential campaign.
President Obama, clearly frustrated, said there would be no short-term extensions.
It would be bad for the economy, and resolving the deficit issue certainly won't be easier next year in the throes of the political season, he said.
If we can't do this now, we won't be able to do it next year, he said.
"This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington," the president said. "Everyone is more interested in posturing, political position and protecting their base than in solving problems."
He said we can get a lot of savings "if the spirit changes from why we can't do things to why we can.
"I have shown enormous willingness to compromise and have taken huge heat for it," he said - a reference to the broad opposition spurred by talk of cuts to Social Security. He continued, "My responsibility is to the American people and there comes a point when I need to say, 'Enough.'"
"It cannot all be on us," the president said, arguing that Republicans need to give on the revenue side of things as Democrats are willing to do so on spending cuts.
"Don't call my bluff," the president said. "I am not afraid to veto and I will take it to the American people."
"I've reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this," said Obama, according to media reports.
Analysts say Republicans want to make the U.S. government default to send the economy into chaos in order to recapture the White House in 2012.
Former Associated Press journalist Robert Parry compared the Republican/tea party maneuvers to CIA destabilization schemes to unseat democratic governments, as for example in 1970s Chile.
Parry said Republicans want to make "America as ungovernable as possible by using almost any means available, from challenging the legitimacy of opponents to spreading lies and disinformation to sabotaging the economy."
He said Republicans are organized and armed with a potent propaganda machine and possess an extraordinary political will to even push "the U.S. economy off the cliff and blame the catastrophe on Obama" as perhaps "their best hope for winning" in 2012.
Photo: Tea party darling Rep. Eric Cantor. House Republican Conference // CC 2.0