Some Republicans relish government shutdown

It's becoming increasingly clear that some members of the House Republican caucus – but certainly not its leadership – are enjoying the opportunity to shutter the government, perhaps for an extended duration of time.

Comments from Tea Party luminaries such as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seem to point to a common theme: That the U.S. government, as a concept, is actually benefiting from the shutdown. Even more exciting is the prospect of default, which some believe will help solve the problem of government borrowing by preventing it from occurring in the first place.

This mindset has been the hallmark of the latest debate, although we saw the first strains of it during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis in the aftermath of the 2010 midterm elections. House Republicans, back in charge after a ground swell of Tea Party support, were able to keep this faction at bay as they negotiated the sequester. Now, with Speaker John Boehner's position weakened after repeated compromises with the White House and Senate Democrats, the Tea Party is beginning to stake out its own claims.

Will this lead to a historic default on U.S. debt obligations? It remains to be seen. President Barack Obama, in an October 8 speech, characterized the Republicans as "arsonists" and "kidnappers." Remarks made by countless GOP officials suggest that they feel the same way about Democrats. An impasse this large creates the real risk of a default, which would have potentially catastrophic implications for the economy.

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