Dave Brooks gets it right when he calls the failure of the Republicans to make a deal on the debt ceiling with debt reduction "the mother of all no-brainers". Others have caught it as well, including the Rational Optimist (from a more minimal government, less taxes perspective) as well as economics commentators. (Of course, Krugman is going nuts over this, as I think he should, but best read him directly.) Certainly we need to reduce long term debt, big time. I'm galled that Republicans get religion about debt reduction after they've been on a spending spree (e.g., Reagan's large deficit and then W's). Also, unless we address entitlements and military spending, we're dealing with chicken feed.
All of this leads to deeper questions: is the political culture really more warped than in past years? The Tea Party element, so far as I can see, really has no grip on policy matters. I suspect its run by more subterranean influences. N.B. I am not saying that we shouldn't reduce our huge deficit. We should. However, doing it too drastically and too fast could lead to disaster, as could a default by the U.S. government. Think Uncle Sam as dead-beat--no good. As for President Obama, he needs a deal, but I'm thinking that he might need more of a Truman-esque pose ("give 'em hell, Barack"), which, unfortunately, seems inimical to him. In the end, we can't allow know-nothings to run the country. And while the Dems are far from perfect, this isn't an equal "a pox on both your houses" situation: the Dems are more responsible even if far from perfect. Enough said, for now.