Any negotiation between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress is sure to be contentious, especially now that we're spiraling straight into the unknown with a full closure of significant parts of the federal government. And the GOP has its gun aimed straight at the budget's head.
This is the list of demands Speaker of the House John Boehner issued last week in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in mid-October (this is after we deal with the ludicrous ongoing shutdown):
Source: Steven Bensen, Maddow Blog
As you can plainly see, the Republicans are essentially demanding everything, including the delay of the president's signature legislation, while giving the Democrats nothing (zero) in return. Many of their demands have nothing to do with the budget, like scrapping net neutrality, easing EPA rules, loosening the big finance restrictions imposed in Dodd-Frank, and killing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Here's the GOP message to the Democratic Party: fold on every single part of your agenda, or we'll continue to hold the country hostage.
This isn't negotiations; this is blackmail. Many moderate Republicans, including their 2008 nominee for president, more or less agree.
What makes this even more frustrating is that the strategy has zero chance of success. This is the national equivalent of beating one's head against a brick wall, and the results are exactly what you'd expect.