The new thing all the cool kids are saying is that a shutdown next week will decrease the likelihood of a default later in October. I agree with this part of the reasoning:
If a shutdown is avoided, it is likely to be because congressional Republicans have opted to wait and push for policy concessions on the debt limit instead.
But if there is a shutdown and consequences are minimal for Republican Congressman, why not go the fully monty and force a default? I agree that a shutdown further tarnishes the Republican party’s image among voters, but if you’re an individual Republican Congressman, why should you care? In the short term, you’ll probably get more “give ’em hell” supportive calls from constituents than complaints, given the way your district has been gerrymandered. Even in the long term (at least until 2022), you’re much more likely to lose a primary by helping to avert a shutdown than you are to lose a general election by causing one.
It’s worth noting that Ted Cruz is now the top choice of prospective Republican primary voters.
The media will blame both sides no matter what happens, and if you see yourself as on a kamikaze mission to take down Obama, then a shutdown makes sense as a part of this mission.
A default is different, there will be real blowback if one happens (though maybe not enough to make much difference to the careers of individual Republican Congressmen), but I don’t see how the experience of a shutdown would convince Republican Congressmen of this.
There is no accountability of any kind in Washington anymore. There is no controlling legal authority, and everything is permitted. The Republicans could easily go Leopold and Loeb on us with the debt ceiling, though in the end I don’t think they’ll quite have the guts to do it.