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Understanding the Debt Ceiling Crisis is Easy: It's About Them, Not Us

07/27/2011 10:40 am ET | Updated Sep 26, 2011

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the little boys in Washington, D.C. who pretend to be the men who run our country have walked away from the single most important thing they need to do -- keeping our economy from defaulting. But at the rate that things are going, Speaker of the House John Boehner is doing his damnedest to turn us into international pariahs who create the economic equivalent of the Titanic, but where none of the participants are anywhere near as cute as Leonardo DiCaprio and there will be no Kate Winslet mourning them when they seal their own political fate when they bring the stock market to the same precipice we peered over in 2008.

I know that my friends on the right will say these so-called negotiations, which have been keeping people up at night, are a two-way street and that the Democrats will share an equal amount of blame if things aren't sorted out in the next week. But what Republicans don't want us to focus on is that no matter how much President Obama is willing to compromise, it will never be enough. As E.J. Dionne Jr. pointed out in his Washington Post Op-ed on the current state of the debt crisis, Barack Obama has given Boehner most of what he wants and that the president has done more than the Democratic share in giving up on certain tax increases. And that's still not enough, at least to those who are calling the Republican shots.

Wall Street experts and those involved in global markets believe there's no way the U.S. government will allow a default to happen. The problem with that thinking is that they're looking at the way things used to be, not at the way things are now with the Tea Party holding the Republicans hostage at every turn. Even four years ago, there was still a hint of the ability to compromise. Those days are gone, as extreme conservatives have found their voice and their platform in the Tea Party.

The one thing all those experts are missing is this -- there are too many conservatives with Tea Party backers on Capitol Hill who want a default, regardless of what it will do to the global economy or to their own constituents' livelihoods and futures. They want a default.

That's right. I'll say it again.

They want America to default, throw the world economy into a meltdown and make things harder for Americans. Because in about 16 months, they believe that will ensure a Republican victory that will send Obama back to Chicago and their candidate into the White House.

If Republicans can pin a default on President Obama and use their magic Teflon shield to keep the fallout from sticking to them, no matter how much they actually had to do with creating the current fiscal drama during the eight years they all voted for spending increases and tax cuts under George W. Bush, they know they can win back the White House in 2012.

And that's pretty much all they care about. Mitch McConnell made that clear months ago -- getting rid of our first African-American president is pretty much job number one for them and they don't care what the stakes are to make it happen, even if it means having their own constituents and all their constituents' kids suffer to make it happen.

There is one thing you can do if we default and global economic markets go into a free fall. Primary elections for Congress are less than a year away. Instead of spending that extra money on a latte today (and tomorrow and the next day), take that pocket cash and give it to a candidate who will take your economic future seriously instead of backing the ones who've made it abundantly clear that they don't care about your future. The more of us who dig into our pockets and give to the candidates who will really listen to us, the better chance we have of never seeing this political childishness again.

Joanne Bamberger is the author of the new book, Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (Bright Sky Press, June 2011). She writes the political blog PunditMom, and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the soon-to-launched site, The Broad Side: Real Women. Real Opinions. Real Politics.