This TalkLeft article articulates something I’ve been worrying about for a while. (See How To Lose An Argument In Order To, Maybe, Win An Election.) The basic idea is that Obama is playing to lose on the budget and the economy, and maybe even social security. The idea is to goad the Republicans into making outrageous demands by signaling preemptive surrender to them.
When the GOP seizes on the red meat being trailed in front of them and enacts their plans, it causes pain. The plan then is to blame them for all the pain, collect lots of campaign money from Main Street, and get re-elected.
I hope this is wrong, but where is the evidence for that proposition?
The cheerfulish form of this theory is that if you have a weak hand all you can do is get the other side to overplay theirs in order to spark a reaction that will strengthen your hand; i.e. the is just the sort of long game that great n-dimensional chess players engage in. But it’s not a cheerful process, and in a world of path-dependence lots can go wrong on the way.