Obama got an agreement for a debt ceiling increase from the Republicans by selling us out to the Republicans. He agreed to their demands for no tax increases and severe cuts to the budget that will cause suffering on the most vulnerable of us.
Did he have to to that? Given that the Republicans didn't care at all about the debt ceiling, was Obama forced to give the Republicans everything they wanted? From the information I've been able to find, no, he didn't have to do that. He had other options he could have used to keep the country running without conceding everything to the Republicans.
Someone in comments here at OEN pointed out that Obama as chief executive can have the Treasury of the US issue bonds whenever needed to keep the country running. No need to argue with the Republicans about it, it's a moot issue.
The other thing is that Obama has the power and the obligation to veto any bill out of congress that is detrimental to the welfare of the people. He could have easily vetoed the Republican bill calling for the drastic budget cuts. His veto would have been over-ride proof since there aren't the votes to over-ride it.
In other words, Obama had the power to just completely ignore everything the Republicans were after and allow the country to continue running along as is.
We know that he could have done that. Obama surely knew he could have done that. The Republicans may be delusional ideologues, but they aren't stupid. They, also, surely knew that Obama had the power to just ignore them and they wouldn't get anything they wanted.
The two questions are, why did Obama do it when he didn't have to, and why did the Republicans do it when they knew it wouldn't work?
The answer to why the Republicans did it is because they were bluffing. They didn't expect to get anything they were asking for because they knew as well as you and I and Obama that if Obama used his executive powers, they would get nothing. So, why did they go ahead with their bluff?
In the Republican political process, with a codicil giving the tea partiers equal bragging rights, posturing, blustering, making outrageous demands and outright bluffing is as good as accomplishing what they're bluffing about. It shows purity of commitment to Republican ideology. It's all about reinforcing their image as hard-right conservatives, and in the Republican mind, image is all that counts. Getting anything done is unimportant.
The answer to why Obama did it is that he had no idea that the Republicans were as smart as he is and that they knew what they were doing was hopeless, and that they were, in military terms, firing for effect. Bluffing. Obama never figured this out and played his hand too soon. Apparently he thought he had until the 2012 elections to gradually give in to repeated Republican demands for the budget cuts, a little at a time, so as to make his plan not to seem so blatant. He could then blame the Republicans for every little victory he gave them and keep his false image as the defender of the people's welfare.
Instead, he blew it, misread what the Republicans were doing and gave them the whole ball of wax at one fell swoop, to mix up some metaphors.
Now, Obama is the darling of the Republicans. If Obama should win the nomination as the Democrat's candidate, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Republicans openly campaigning for him. This would win over the undecided Democrats and the independents. They'd think, Look at this, even the Republicans have seen what a wonderful president he is, we gotta vote for him.
Consider the Republicans of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin. Actually they do spin, but in a different context. Given the hilarious incompetence and the comedic ineptitude of the Republican field of candidates, none of them with the slightest chance of ever being elected president, the other strategy the Republicans might consider is to draft Obama to run as the Republican candidate.
This has several advantages for them, he's an incumbent, he's proven that he is a Republican at heart and he brings the image of some much needed sober gravitas to the sputtering incoherence of the Republicans. But, that's not a very good plan for the Republicans. Better to get him re-elected, leave him in place where he can pretend to be a Democrat and milk him for all he's worth and their fake victories will be just that much sweeter.