When the debt ceiling was raised in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and then again in 2008, it was basically considered to be a perfectly quotidian necessity and so it didn't get a dumpster's worth of panicky coverage. 2011 has been different! As Eric Boehlert reported last month, "Through just the first five months of 2011, there have been nearly 2,000 U.S. newspaper articles or columns that mention 'debt ceiling,' while on television, for example, CNN has aired 230 segments that have mentioned the topic."
Of course, with all that coverage, you'd imagine that most people are probably walking around with a pretty well-informed idea of what the issue is all about. But former Nevada GOP Chair Mark Amodei -- who's running in the the special election for Nevada's 2nd Congressional District to replace Dean Heller (who Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval appointed to disgraced Senator John Ensign's seat earlier this year) -- is basically betting that the opposite is true, and that voters can be convinced that this time, if the debt ceiling is raised, we will be overrun by the Chinese Menace, who will turn America into the Hunan Centipede!
The prospects of this happening are about as realistic as the ad's B-movie depiction. Amodei's spot basically rehashes the Citizens' Against Government Waste "Chinese Professor" ad, which wasn't primarily concerned with the debt ceiling -- they're a big business front group that just didn't like health care reform or the stimulus.
What's going to happen with the debt ceiling is that after the GOP extracts what concessions it can, if it can, it's going to be raised. Wall Street wants it raised, and seeing as they own Congress, they'll get their way. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has already made sure that all of the people that will ensure his re-election know that it's all just a big bluff.
So, Amodei will keep his promise to not raise the debt ceiling because his colleagues will have already done so by the time he gets to Congress, as per their marching orders.
You don't need to send the Chinese Army's Marching Battalions to Capitol Hill to "take over" Washington, as it turns out!