I respect -- but disagree with -- those who believe that the Republican Party is on a suicide mission by refusing to agree to either a continuing resolution or a lifting of the debt ceiling without some meaningful inroads into Obamacare.
If I understand it correctly, they are convinced that it's a dead-end mission guaranteed to hurt the GOP, mainly because polls indicate that people will primarily blame the GOP for the shutdown (and government default, should that occur).
The polls do indicate that Republicans are being blamed more than Democrats, but not nearly so disproportionately as Republicans were blamed for the 1995 shutdown. And keep in mind that Obama's personal approval rating is an abysmal 37 percent, which has to be related to this impasse and Obama's behavior.
We also must recognize that the public, including those responding to these poll questions, has been told that apocalyptic consequences will flow from any government shutdown and even worse with a default.
Plus, who in the world would respond that he wants a government shutdown? No one does. But how many would be willing to tolerate a temporary shutdown if it could lead to favorable policy changes on Obamacare and other taxing and spending issues?
Now, consider how the public's opinion might be affected by having witnessed and experienced the shutdown and discovering that the promised catastrophe did not eventuate. Would that damage Obama's credibility? He's amassing a track record on these matters, including his similar fraudulent hysteria over sequestration, the positive deficit effects for which he now takes credit.
Consider further that the main stumbling block between Democrats and Republicans is Obamacare, which is unambiguously unpopular. Its implementation is occurring at this very moment, and it is a train wreck, a nightmare, a mess and living proof that President Obama cannot be trusted. (Not a solitary thing he promised about this law is true, and it is plain for everyone to see.)
But what about a default by the government on its payment obligations?
Most agree that an actual default would be enormously damaging to the markets and to the nation's financial stability. But what is the likelihood of default?