So, if I understand it correctly, the emerging Republican bargaining position is: we want credit for giving in on one of our strongest principles: opposition to raising the debt limit. I think people need to accept that, and take it seriously. Republicans, apparently, care so much about not raising the debt limit that they are willing to give up deficit reduction to get it.
I'm just not sure which of two plausible interpretations to take. One is that they really, honestly, care more about not raising the debt limit than about reducing the deficit. This is madness.
The other is that the real, honest principle here is that the limit must be raised with only Democratic votes, and that for that principle they're willing to give up reducing the deficit. To be sure, that sounds like an incredibly cynical, self-serving position for GOP Members of Congress to take...but in fact one might argue that it is the position being forced on them by the grass roots.