What a fascinating time in which we live! Against the ropes, President Obama appears doomed! Not so fast, claims Timothy Lynch, explaining that in terms of the American system. 1. Despite the apparent disgust of many Americans and the contempt held by many outside observers, US politics is supposed to look this way at least sometimes .The US Constitution makes the passing of law hard. The political system it defines is based on a scepticism about human beings. 2. The Constitution does not negate ideological debate it bounds it. It provides incentives to factions, parties, majorities and minorities to compete with one another without ever providing any one with hegemony. What is recurrent in American history was especially so this week. The debt-ceiling crisis was merely a proxy for a deeper ideological struggle over the appropriate role of government in human affairs. 3. Government in Europe and Australia is technocratic before it is ideological: We can run things more effectively than them. We can make government work better. In the US, the legitimacy of governmental action enjoys no such consensus. There are two sides in American politics and various divisions within these that differ fundamentally on how far government can compel progress. 4. Democrats afford government a large role in improving things; Republicans do not. The Constitution invites them to struggle to enshrine their respective approaches in a working majority. Such majorities are rare and transitory and it became apparent this week that neither side enjoys one, hence the fraught machinations. 5. Now, what does all this spell for Obamas electoral fortunes? Federal spending will be cut with no reciprocal obligation to raise taxes. This is a big win for a Republican party that controls only one house (the weakest) of Congress .a small (if fervent) minority within the GOP the Tea Party advanced its agenda at the expense of the presidents party. a. Would a default have spelt the end of Obama? I dont think so. Had the US defaulted, Obama could at least have spread the blame for a double-dip recession onto Republicans. b. [But] he must carry the can himself for a huge stimulus package that has produced no jobs and no apparent recovery. Unemployment seems stuck at about 9 per cent no matter how much Keynesianism Obama throws at it. c. no side can claim a monopoly on victory. Obama will run hard on having stood firm against cuts in Medicare and Medicaid only 3 per cent of savings can come from this social spending. He will tout implicitly, but tout nonetheless, that most of the cuts will come from the defence budget (some 50 per cent of overall savings). [And] I am the man that killed Osama bin Laden and made defence spending work more effectively. 6. The game's afoot. We are in the opening phases of one of the most consequential, ideological and fascinating presidential races since 1860. America appeared doomed then it recovered. And behind both campaigns, and all before and after, was the US Constitution, forcing politicians to compete for power lest they become too comfortable in its exercise. MercatorNet: Is Obama doomed? The debt crisis and 2012 Two views of the role of government, and the rights of the citizen! May the better side win!