Consider, then, “Maneuver X.” As modified to fit the current political environment, it would mean that Republicans remove all pressure. They should give Obama his debt limit increases without preconditions, and they shouldn’t allow any government shutdowns.

Meanwhile, Republicans should use their majority in the House to pass bills that actually do address the nation’s problems — its economic stagnation, rising energy and health care costs, mounting debt and so on. At the same time, they can keep blocking major new expansions of government.

This two-pronged strategy would allow Republicans to isolate Obama and establish themselves as the responsible ones. If he refuses to get serious about addressing the nation’s debt problem, it will be a lot harder to escape responsibility if he can’t point and say, “Hey, look over there, House Republicans want to blow stuff up.”

In the unlikely event that this forces Obama to get serious about tackling the national debt, great. But if he doesn’t, Obama’s legacy will be that of a president who came into office promising to make the “tough choices” necessary to solve our nation’s problems, then proceeded to duck them.