Barack Obama - CaricaturePerhaps the best way to look at the possibility of President Obama using the 14th amendment to declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional, is not to wonder if Obama has the will to use it, but question whether he has the resolve it would take not use it.

It is clear that what Obama really wants is for the Republicans to use this debt ceiling to “force” him into doing something big on the deficit. Since the moment Obama took office, he has been pushing the idea that deficit reduction should be a top priority. One of his first acts as President was to hold a “fiscal summit.” Obama also made “bending the cost curve” a line in the sand on health care reform, and he created his own deficit commission after Congress tried and failed to create their own. Rightly or wrongly, the Obama campaign believes getting the headlines “Obama brokers big bipartisan deficit deal” in itself would a be big boost to his political brand, especially if they can blame the GOP for the unpopular components of the deal.

From the Obama administration’s perspective, the best outcome is to give into almost every GOP demand, win a few token concessions, and have Obama be the President that did “something big” on the deficit. Obama isn’t lacking the resolve to use the 14th amendment option, he is lacking the desire.