In short, informed conservatives understand that there is no need whatsoever for a melodramatic standoff over raising the federal debt limit. No need to risk "the full faith and credit of the United States" by threatening default. Hostages need not be taken.
As in the opposition-of-Obamacare charade, Republican posturing on the debt would only risk catastrophe for the sake of certain defeat.
Alas, but herein lies the rub: The great majority of GOP voters out in the wilderness beyond the Hudson and the Potomac not only don't know these facts, they're constitutionally incapable of accepting them.
To followers of politicians like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, fears of fiscal collapse, runaway inflation and social chaos aren't political ideas, but fixed beliefs scarcely amenable to arithmetic or reason.
And their Antichrist is Barack Obama.
Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.