Kevin Williamson of National Review encapsulates the new conservative line on the disjoint between the White House’s diplomatic breakthroughs with Iran and Russia and its stalement with the GOP:
So the White House will negotiation with the atomic ayatollahs but not with House Republicans. Solution: Give John Boehner The Bomb. — Kevin D. Williamson (@KevinNR) September 27, 2013
This, I think, misses the point. The whole reason Obama neither will nor can negotiate with John Boehner is that Boehner has the equivalent of the The Bomb. He’s threatening the destruction of the American financial system unless Obama implements policies that he favors. The government of Iran doesn’t have the power to make a similar threat, but the government of Russia does. Vladimir Putin could hold a press conference tomorrow and say that nuclear-armed ballistic missiles will destroy Houston, Chicago, and Indianapolis tomorrow unless Obama agrees to his list of demands.
Would it be reasonable for Obama to open a negotiation on those terms? Of course not! The content of the demands isn’t even relevant. The threat is too crazy to indulge. You simply observe that such an attack would trigger a counteract and lead to tragedy on a global scale. Then you have to hope the Russians come to their senses, because if they don’t something awful is going to happen.