The Republican’s have been so successful in their hostage taking tactics not because the GOP are amazing negotiators but due to the fact Obama wants them to have a hostages. The Obama administration is told the Republicans they are negotiating with that they don’t believe the 14th amendment grants it the authority to ignore the debt ceiling. From the New York Times:
In addition to his warnings about the cost of a default, officials said, Mr. Geithner told the lawmakers the White House did not believe it had the authority, under the Constitution, to continue issuing debt if it reached the debt ceiling. Nobody in the room disputed Mr. Geithner’s bleak assessment, the officials said.
Regardless of what the White House’s actually thinks is the proper interruption of the 14th amendment, this is not how you negotiate if you are trying to put on end to hostage taking tactics. Letting the other side at least think you could possibly go this route creates a huge amount of leverage. Letting them think their failure to reach an agreement could result in them getting nothing, is how you compel the other side to give in. Instead of defusing the hostage situation the Obama administration is strengthening the Republicans bargaining position.
The most logical conclusion based on this behavior is that Obama wants the Republicans to have hostages so tell the public that the GOP “forced” him to agree to unpopular changes.