John Boehner emailed his accomplices this afternoon that:
Discussions are underway on legislation that will cut government spending more than it increases the debt limit, and advance the cause of the balanced budget amendment, without job-killing tax hikes. Those talks are moving in the right direction, but serious issues remain. And no agreement will be final until members have a chance to weigh in.
The opportunity for sarcasm is too on-the-nose. I'll pass.
Meanwhile, the Senate's GOP leadership is breathing a political sigh of relief that was unimaginable just a few days or even a few hours ago. Said Mitch McConnell, with remarkable justification, on CBS's "Face the Nation":
I don't think we've been hurt at all.
And here's a fascinating possibility. Through a coalition of conservative Democrats and giddy Republicans, the GOP's extortion of course sails through the Senate. Yet the House Tea Party Caucus (who all along have insisted they'll vote against any increase in the debt ceiling) votes in negative alignment with infuriated House Democrats, thereby constituting the death of the deal. Whereupon the GOP, given its far superior messaging skills, delightedly relates to the American electorate that it was Congressional Democrats who precipitated what would then be a materialized default.
Things cannot get any weirder than they are -- and at this grotesque point, no speculation is unthinkable. American politics is now defined only by unrestrained lunacy.