Silver suspects that “the aim of seeking re-election may have colored Mr. Obama’s priorities during the prior debt ceiling negotiation”:

Economists differ on exactly how severe the economic costs of a United States debt default would be. But the most severe recessions, like the one that officially began in December 2007, can persist for about a year and a half. When added to an economic recovery that was already very feeble, a new economic shock could easily have produced a new recession that lasted through the November 2012 elections. Even if the economy had technically exited recession by then, growth in jobs tends to lag other economic indicators, so labor-market conditions would almost certainly have remained very poor.

He adds that, this time, “it is only members of Congress who will come before voters again.” Meanwhile, Keith Hennessey sees debt ceiling brinkmanship as counterproductive for the GOP:

[Obama] will start warning politically powerful constituencies: seniors, veterans, and troops, that they are at risk of not being paid on time, and their Republican Congressman is responsible for it, and his or her phone number is 225-XXXX. I have no idea why some conservatives think it’s smart strategy to hand the President this kind of political club.