A surreal clip, not because they don’t understand the consequences of failing to raise the ceiling but because they do — and Napolitano, at least, seems prepared to accept them. From the myopic standpoint of what’s more likely to bring about the end of the GOP, I’m guessing that an economic collapse triggered by a Republican-driven federal default is slightly more likely to cause trouble for conservatives than voting to raise the ceiling in return for, say, a balanced-budget amendment or other heavy debt-reducing concessions. But beyond that, and I ask this in all sincerity, how exactly is it “fiscally conservative” to willingly default on your obligations? The ceiling is just a ceiling. A Congress committed to solvency could raise the limit now to preserve the stability of global markets and then get cracking on real budget cuts — and entitlement reform — to start moving us away from that ceiling, never to return. This idea of letting the government default because it’s the only way to make Americans get serious about the debt reminds me of some liberals shrugging off spiraling gas prices a few years ago on grounds that they would finally make Americans get serious about alternative energy. In both cases, because the final “crisis” is supposedly inevitable, the point is to bring it about ASAP and make people suffer until they’re willing to agree to dramatic change. Ironically, it reminds of the Cloward-Piven strategy: If you want meaningful reform to an unjust system, the best thing to do is overwhelm it until it crashes and then rebuild it in the ashes more to your liking. Beck’s not quite willing to go that far here, but Napolitano? You tell me.

As companion viewing to this, head over here and watch Jim DeMint encourage freshman Republicans not to vote for raising the debt ceiling because “it’s not a problem they created.” Where does that principle begin and end? A lot of Democrats elected to Congress in 2006 and 2008 didn’t vote for war in Iraq either, but the party continued to fund the mission anyway because a gradual drawdown was more responsible than simply pulling the plug. Why does that logic not apply in this case? Click the image to watch.