"Yeah, so? That's politics!" a conservative might say as he reads this. My answer is no, it's not. We've never played political chicken with the debt limit, and Republicans haven't been shy about voting for it. The predictions of what happens if the debt limit isn't raised, go from "no good" to "rotten" to "very bad" to cataclysmic. Possibly a world-wide depression to rival the one from the 30s.
So, what exactly is the end game here? Suppose we don't raise the debt limit, the world economy crashes, and then the Republicans are heralded as our salvation, and we elect President Bachmann or President Herman Cain or whoever. That person will have inherited a set of problems magnitudes higher than even Obama did. And they won't be able to solve them in four years (or the 2-1/2 Obama has had so far). Certainly not with the "don't increase revenue at all, and slash taxes" nonsense, magical "plan." The American people. . .most much poorer, a few even richer than now will have turned into an unruly mob that'll make the tea parties look as dainty as they sound.
My guess is that they a) don't care, or b) don't think that far ahead. I don't think they have an end game. I think they just play to win, no matter how they get there. They've constantly shown that they're fantastic at campaigning and lousy at governance. And if they're really plotting to make the economy as nasty as possible? That will prove that they're evil too.