While this approach, which McConnell deems his "last choice option," seems to have sent jitters to those on Capitol Hill, I think what he says makes sense. At a press conference today, he said:
This is not my first choice. I had hoped all year long that the opportunity presented by his request to raise the debt ceiling would generate a bipartisan agreement that would begin to get our house in order reducing spending. That may still happen, I still hope it will, but we're certainly not going to send a message to the markets and to the American people that default is an option.
I'm fairly certain that a default will be averted, if the Senate can get behind this idea and Democrats can get 25 Republican votes in the House to make it law. However, if Tea Party Republicans muster enough outrage and push for a game of chicken with the national debt, foregoing any compromise on revenue increases while screaming for unrealistically drastic spending cuts, then all bets are off. You can take it to the bank, so to speak, that the US will start looking an awful lot like Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and other EU countries at the worst possible time. And that, I think, is just what the most nihilistic Republicans want.