It got a bit lost in the coverage of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, but the biggest news of the week came from House GOP leadership, which signaled it plans to surrender on the debt limit and not demand significant concessions from Democrats.
This makes logical sense, as passage of the budget deal, with widespread GOP support, should make the debt-limit hike a nonevent. For Republicans to oppose covering spending they authorized in the budget would seem perverse.
And the GOP lost significant political ground following the government shutdown fight in the fall and won no real concessions in the past two debt-ceiling fights. So why go into a potentially damaging battle only to lose once again against a united Democratic front as the midterm elections begin to heat up?
Full capitulation seems the only viable strategy. Embrace the spending cuts of the past three years and move on.
(Read more: Why Obama's legacy may be slipping away)
So is it really all over? Will both chambers pass a clean debt-limit bill and send it to the president by the end of February, which the administration says is the final deadline? Maybe. But it's not a guarantee.