The partial shutdown of the federal government is a win-win for the tea party wing of the Republican Party and, if successful, is only a preview of what is to come. If the tea party is successful in getting concessions to defund or delay Obamacare in exchange for funding the federal government then it is a victory for the tea party and a recipe for even more demands when legislation is needed to raise the debt ceiling limit later this month. And if the Democrats refuse to give in to their demands and the shutdown continues, then the tea party will call the current default defunding of “non-essential” government services a victory. And in the big picture defunding of federal programs and services that they don’t like (EPA, education, etc.) is probably a bigger victory in their eyes than slowing down Obamacare.
The real battle will come on Oct. 17 when the federal debt ceiling limit must be raised or the government will default on its financial obligations. The tea party can then demand even more concessions and threaten complete collapse of the government if their demands are not met. It is a brilliant, take-no-prisoners strategy and will work as long as Speaker Boehner and moderate House Republicans are cowed into going along with their conservative program and are willing to suffer the resulting consequences. Of course, the resulting consequences may not be good for the majority of Americans but from the tea party perspective that is a small price to pay (and it will be paid by others) for the tea party members to maintain their ideological purity.
I hope that Obama and the Democrats do not succumb to these bullying tactics and that the American people tell the Republicans to stop these destructive tactics. Because if these ideological bullies on the right continue on their current course of action then God help America.