At some point, they'll have to offer a minimal version of what they'd do, right? Or no? Is their cynicism and opportunism that great that they can continue to run against spending and yet refuse to outline what spending they will cut? They once backed a binding debt-commission; then refused to sign onto a non-binding one.

I saw one sliver of hope in Chris Christie's tough budget-slashing in New Jersey. But then this:

On a day marked by high drama and partisan brinkmanship, the Democrat-controlled Legislature passed measures that would enact an income tax surcharge on residents who earn over $1 million a year and use that money to restore rebates and other programs for seniors and the disabled. Within minutes, Republican Christie vetoed the bills, daring his political adversaries to corral the supermajorities needed to enact the tax through overrides.

Maybe it would be better if this revenue simply went to paying down the debt. But this aversion to all taxes, even on those earning over $1 million a year, seems utterly unhinged to me. In an ideal world, of course, we'd rather not. But with the debt we are facing? If the Republican mantra is no tax hikes ever - and outright opposition to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts - then there will be no deficit deal, no chance of debt reduction, and pure political posturing.

And it will be primarily because of Republican extremism, not Democratic intransigence.

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