The republican leadership is so inept you don't know whether to pity them or despise them. Somehow, they have put themselves into a position where the media are successfully convincing the public that republicans are extremists who are threatening the economy just to annoy democrats. "Hold the economy hostage" to use today's talking points. Let's ignore the part where the republicans are also painted as tireless defenders of the rich and powerful, who obviously have far more at stake in getting this debt ceiling raised. Or the fact that they are on their third plan at least while the dems have not passed or even presented one plan. One major problem for republicans is their message is muddled. One group says hold the line, another wants some sort of bargain with obama and others just desperately want it all to go away with no fingers pointing at them. Democrats have been more on message, vilifying republicans without actually producing anything themselves. Cynical but effective. Republicans need to simplify their message. Pay attention, I am about to give it to you: FREEZE SPENDING. FREEZE SPENDING. FREEZE SPENDING. Keep the explanation simple: Obama has run up several trillion in new debt, mainly on failed pork barrel spending. We cannot afford any more. Promises to cut medicare ten years from now are not credible. We have an immediate problem and we need an immediate solution, an across the board freeze. Some spending is more improtant than others, a point Obama does not seem to grasp. An effective leader will reallocate from less important to more important priorities. There is plenty of money to pay for them, but we cannot go deeper in the hole. Unfortunately, republicans allowed themselves to be sidetracked by Obama into fruitless discussions of "grand bargains". Those talks were designed to take this issue off the table until after the next election and spare obama the need to cut anything while allowing him to posture as a "leader." So their message became diluted. Now is the time to drive the point home. We cannot go on this way and we have to stop running up the credit card balance. Freeze spending now.