The debt ceiling & the individual mandate: how you know GOP negotiators were NEVER serious

With Mitch McConnell's declaration earlier this year that his main political goal is ensuring that Barack Obama is a one-term president, everything else that has happened since makes sense. But there's something that happened in the negotiations between the White House, Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans that tells you, beyond a doubt and without any room for argument, that the GOP "leaders" were never serious about reaching a compromise package on raising the debt ceiling and comprehensive deficit reduction.

From Talking Points Memo:
But talks broke down along three major differences: the two sides were $400 billion apart on taxes, Obama rejected a last minute demand from the GOP that the deal include a repeal of the individual mandate in healthcare reform, and the two sides were still haggling over a difference of $40 billion in cuts to Medicaid, according to the White House.
Two of the three sticking points were differences in dollar amounts. That's normal in these types of negotiations and entirely surmountable if both parties are sincere in wanting to find a final solution. But the third piece, the introduction of the individual mandate, is an entirely different matter.

More from Sam Stein at the Huffington Post:

On Thursday, GOP leadership proposed that the penalty for inaction on tax reform be the repeal of the health care law's individual mandate as well as the newly created Independent Advisory Board, which has been set up to find cost savings in Medicare. The White House balked at the offer.

"Our view was we are not going to put the individual mandate in a deficit reduction package," said a senior White House official.

The individual mandate is the one main thing in health insurance reform that ensures that enough people are in the program to make it financially viable. Any Republican efforts to remove it are simply crass and obvious attempts to ensure its demise. The fact that they added this to the deficit reduction/debt ceiling debate at the 11th hour makes it clear as day that they were never going to say "Yes" to anything and that this has been a charade all along. There is simply no other conclusion that you can draw from this. Period.

Cross-posted from Eclectablog.com.