It is very difficult to explain American politics to those that are not Americans and/or have not lived here long enough. Add to that the confusion over basic economic principles, and it becomes almost impossible to explain the debt-ceiling debate to rational people.
As noted by James Galbraith, this is not a fiscal crisis, which should be obvious, since it was a Wall Street driven bubble. Also, contrary to what you think the Republicans are the big government party. The graph below shows total federal government spending as a share of GDP (in black), and some spending categories as a share of government spending (in colors). As it can be seen total spending goes up in 1981, 1989, 2001, when Republicans assumed the administration, and down in 1993, when Clinton did. Also, note that even if spending went up in 2009, as a result of the crisis, it did come down in 2010 (which is not a good thing, by the way) with Obama.
Read the rest here.