Normally, presidents don't take on such risks going into a tough reelection fight . Even if Mr. Obama is secure, there are plenty of Senate Democrats who fear losing their seats and their majority to the Republicans next year. The last thing vulnerable Senate Democrats want to do is to cut Medicare benefits, or cut defense, or raise taxes. … I can assure you that raising the debt limit is going to be a lot harder than keeping the government from shutting down. Pushing big deficit reduction now is very risky politically, but if this effort gets traction, the market will like it a lot.
This in many ways is what Obama was made for. And by refusing to take the bait to demagogue the issue, he has more support in the center from which to negotiate.