GOP House Speaker John Boehner initially opposed the government shutdown, but now supports it

Republicans have gotten themselves into a real bind over funding the government. They have allowed a segment of their base to rally around a ridiculous idea that threatening to shut down the government will get Obama to defund his signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. There is no way this plan can work and if the GOP tries to carry it out they will be blamed.

The Democratic response has been to give Republicans enough rope to hang themselves. Democrats have decided to remain mostly silent on the continuing resolution and keep the story completely on the Republican infighting. They have basically offered no counter-proposals of their own to make sure all the blame for a possible shutdown goes to the GOP.

There is a very good chance this strategy will work politically but it has given Republicans the opportunity score a significant policy victory if they can come to their senses. A continuing resolution is an idiotic vehicle for trying to stop the Affordable Care Act but it is the right place to fight over issues of government spending.

Since Democrats had made no effort to really fight over how big the CR should be, the focus has only been on defunding. If at the last minute Republicans drop this defund Obamacare demand they can probably get away with passing a “clean” CR which sets spending at whatever level they want. It would make the Republicans look responsible even as they are push for an unreasonable level of spending. Democrats would have a tough time opposing this move since they have been making no funding demands this whole time.

Republicans have a chance to further lock in the sequester levels for domestic spending. This would normally be seen as a real policy win if expectations were not set so absurdly high. The GOP has a chance to snatch a legitimate victory from their self-destructive plan, but their obsession with Obamacare has destroyed the party’s collective ability to use reason.