Don't reward bad behavior. It is one of the first rules of parenting. During the financial cataclysm of 2008, we said it differently. When we bailed out banks that had created their own misfortune, we called it a 'moral hazard,' because the bailout absolved the bank's bad acts and created an incentive for it to make the same bad loans again.
The Republican argument that raising the debt ceiling encourages additional future spending is logically irresponsible. The debt ceiling has to be raised to authorize spending already approved by Congress. Despite that fallacy, the GOP has been able to score political points with its argument.
I have long said there are three distinct groups under the GOP's tent: theological warriors, who want to impose their social views on the rest of society Tea Party zealots, who say with a straight face that they want the government to get out of their Medicare and remnants of the pro-business moderates.
Our criminal justice system is fallible. We know it, even though we don't like to admit it. It is fallible despite the best efforts of most within it to do justice. And this fallibility is, at the end of the day, the most compelling, persuasive, and winning argument against a death penalty.
The reality of split government puts a premium on creativity within the administration. President Obama needs to put the right people in charge of the agencies and then have them push the bounds of administrative power to change policy through those agencies. President Obama has a pretty good track record of this.