From the outside, it looks as if hard-right Republicans are fomenting a real crisis (debt default) to avoid an entirely fictional one (the destruction of America at the hands of Obamacare).

But clearly that's not how things look from the Tea Party perspective. The Tea Party would probably not endorse left-leaning Talking Point Memo editor Josh Marshall as their spokesperson, but this strikes me as convincing:

Everything about the actions of the core Tea Party faction in the House suggests people who think they're living in heroic times, zero compromises, whole histories at stake - a right wing version of the world many New Left protestors were living in in the late 60s and early 70s, a mix of high histrionics, deep commitment and performance art...

...We know the country is basically divided ideologically. We see this in the presidential vote, the rough split in Congress. But beyond that divide there's another that I think is something like 70% v 30% or perhaps 75% to 25% that is one not so much of ideology but a basic reading of the times. Outside the Tea Party, do people really not look at these antics and say, are we really in such a moment of high drama? I think most Americans see a much more workaday world, one with problems and possibilities. But not this. I'm not sure it's precisely the historical moment they'd choose but I look at these folks and it's like a mix of insecurity, self-regard and a very different perception of their own identity and place in American society is making them feel like they're in a perpetual London May 1940.