In what may be the pithiest explanation of debt-ceiling politics ever rendered in a popular TV series (and I'm guessing probably the only one) The West Wing really nailed it.
AIDE: So this debt-ceiling thing is routine or the end of the world?
TOBY ZIEGLER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Both.
C.J. CREGG, PRESS SECRETARY: OK, That's It. Thanks everybody.
(H/T Andrea Seabrook.)