Kevin Drum aptly notes that over at YouGov, they've done up a chart that essentially explains "all of modern politics." It definitely explains why the "debt ceiling debate" has proceeded the way it has.
Americans are fairly evenly divided on the question of compromising in order to get things down, but the party difference is wide. By nearly two to one, Republicans want their representatives to stick to their principles, while by a somewhat wider margin, Democrats would want their representatives to compromise to get things done.
Let's visualize this.
Everyone is just doing what comes naturally, it seems.