I rarely agree with Friedman, but I have to agree with this paragraph:
President Obama is leading. He is protecting the very rules that are the foundation of any healthy democracy. He is leading by not giving in to this blackmail, because if he did he would undermine the principle of majority rule that is the bedrock of our democracy. That system guarantees the minority the right to be heard and to run for office and become the majority, but it also ensures that once voters have spoken, and their representatives have voted — and, if legally challenged, the Supreme Court has also ruled in their favor — the majority decision holds sway. A minority of a minority, which has lost every democratic means to secure its agenda, has no right to now threaten to tank our economy if its demands are not met. If we do not preserve this system, nothing will ever be settled again in American politics. There would be nothing to prevent a future Democratic Congress from using the exact same blackmail to try to overturn a law enacted by their Republican rivals.
The Republicans have to clean their own house. They have allowed their lunatic fringe to set up a situation which no president could ever surrender to. The minority wants to unpin a fundamental strut of our government and kick it loose. If the president allows them to do it, he'll be excoriated by all future presidents. For the good of our way of government, he cannot not allow the lunatic fringe to succeed.