Sooner or later we are likely to have a government shutdown. The Democrats want it for strategic reasons, and the Republicans for emotional ones. So let’s get it over with.
If we conservative doubters are right — if the public isn’t as gung-ho for spending cuts as Republicans think, if it will react negatively to a shutdown and blame Republicans for it — then better to find out right now, when the election is still a year and a half away, and not next fall or winter. The party’s tactical division reflects a difference in assessments of the public mood. Absent a shutdown, neither side is going to change its mind. Maybe it’s time to test the issue.