Give them something real to hate
I think this is an important insight:
The problem Republicans are having right now is an outgrowth of a longer-term issue they've had ever since the 2008 elections: the GOP does not really have much of a policy agenda. For the past five years, the party has been defined almost entirely by everything it is against. Mostly, it is against Barack Obama and whatever he is for. And here, Mr Obama's tendency to play the reasonable moderate sometimes becomes a problem. It's a deep-seated element of Mr Obama's character to step back from disputes, to take things to a meta level, to describe the arguments on both sides and then present his own solution as a compromise, or simply to plead for reasoned debate and a sense of common purpose. There are times when this approach does no one any good.
And it would be especially useful if he stopped doing it as we careen toward a default with the likely result of making the Republicans more likely to back themselves even further into their corner. Just a few minutes ago he once again laid out all the reasons why a default is terrible and then said that he is more than willing to talk about entitlements, admits that sequestration is rough but he gets that Democrats have to go along, brags that he's adopted many Republican ideas and then winds up with the usual promise to sit down and make even more deals after the debt ceiling is lifted.
When Mr Obama stops speaking as a partisan advocate of ambitious liberal goals, adopts his mature school-principal voice, and demands simply that political players adhere to reasonable norms of democratic governance, Republicans are left with nothing to oppose except the reasonable norms of democratic governance.
As this piece points out, he's making it harder for the Republicans to capitulate by insisting on being the grown-up in the room. They have to move even further right because the only thing these haters can do to feel like they've won anything is to oppose the already compromised position the president inhabits and move everything further right. It's a problem.