In the past I've repeatedly laughed at those who accused the GOP of so-called "fearmongering," and pointed out that scaring voters with worst-case scenarios (and outright falsehoods) is a standard political tactic used by both sides. We've seen dishonest scare-tactics used repeatedly by Democrats in the struggle over the debt ceiling, with the most dramatic being President Obama's attempt to make seniors believe that might not get their social security checks because of those evil, irresponsible Republicans. Scaring seniors is a time-honored Democratic political move.
There's an excellent article at Reason.com by Veronique de Rugy called, "The Facts About the Debt Ceiling." It counteracts the myths being spread point by point. The bottom line is that the U.S. can use various fiscal maneuvering to stave off a default, even if an agreement isn't reached. The August 2 deadline is arbitrary. Eventually there has to be an agreement, the debt ceiling has to be raised, or spending has to be cut dramatically. I'd be willing to bet that despite the GOP's valiant stand, the last option is the least likely.