My stray thoughts:
1. Republicans have clearly found their bad cop; why has no Congressional Dem emerged to pound the table and battle for the left? Is placing Obama in that role shrewd politics, in a casting-against-type sort of way? Maybe - it saves Obama having to explain why, as notional leader of the Democrats, he can't simply command compliance from Pelosi, Reid et al.
2. Is anyone surprised that the talks are seemingly on the verge of collapse? Both sides need to show their respective bases they were ready and willing to fight fight fight for the right (or left). Once that point has been established, the voices of reason will be allowed to prevail. For Republicans, that means Boehner and McConnell; for Dems, Obama right now is both the bad cop and the would-be voice of reason. That is a bit awkward - Obama is very convincing in his peeved and petulant mode, but no one wants to watch that for long.
If I were a House Republican, I would do two things:
First, I protect grandma from Obama by banging out a bill emphasizing that the whole point of the Social Security Trust Fund is to give the Soc Sec Administration statutory room to borrow to make payments.
The debt ceiling is on total government debt, which includes both debt held by the public and Soc Sec trust fund bonds; when trust fund bonds are redeemed to make payments and the Treasury sells notes to the public to raise the cash to make those payment, net debt does not increase and the debt ceiling is not an obstacle. However, as an administrative matter, there seem to be technical timing glitches as to the receipt and investment of payroll taxes, the issuance of new public debt, and the redemption of trust fund bonds. One marvels that the Tax Cheat can't solve this, but the House can clarify the various rules to make sure granny gets paid.
Secondly, I would pass a nearly-clean debt limit increase, merely requiring the President to submit a budget plan that CBO can actually score. Then we can resume this scuffle in three or six months.
BONUS THOUGHT: Experimenting with a debt ceiling drama and possible Treasury default is not exactly small "c" conservative. Yes, there may be ways for a debacle to be avoided, but history does not provide a roadmap here.