From our editorial on the debt-ceiling debate:
The compromises required by democracy often involve some brinkmanship. But many are now worried that the Tea Party has taken possession of enough Republicans to drive the whole party—and with it the country—over the brink. The Treasury Department is worried. The Fed is worried. Wall Street and even the Chamber of Commerce are worried. Brinkmanship is one thing, extortion another. It’s unlikely that most Republican politicians really believe spending cuts would help the economy more than defaulting on our debt would hurt it, but it’s beginning to look as if at least some of them wouldn’t mind seeing the economy continue to limp if it would help them win back the White House and the Senate in 2012. They’re confident voters will blame the president for whatever happens until then. The only constituency the GOP is sure it needs to help before the next election is the one that fills its campaign coffers.