Speaker Boehner today, neither leading nor following. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

It’s one of those columns Dana Milbank does better than anyone else. He secretes himself in a room full of people who have no idea how silly they sound and points out that what they are doing is not at all what they say they are doing. For example, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) makes a statement about how great it is to have a unified party, though the truth is he’s totally caved to the unruly, petulant children in the far-right caucus. The Republicans now are behind a plan to kill everything Congress is supposed to do to keep the government functioning, as long as Obamacare gets killed in the process; somehow they think Obama can be forced into signing the bill that defunds Obamacare, if there’s enough apocalypse going on around it.

So it’s no secret that Boehner initially opposed such a plan on the grounds that it is both harmful to the country and potentially harmful to the Republicans. Even Karl Rove thinks this.

A PostScriptian analysis reveals that commenters of only two political stripes chose to engage in the comments. Committed Democrats came to gloat at how silly the threatened shutdown is, and people to Karl Rove’s right show up to say it’s actually a really great idea.


The conservative groups that we support are taking a FIRM stand. They are willing to shut down the government. That is OK; since Obama and his allies have refused to listen to our views, have demonized us, called us names, and acted as if we have no right to speak almost from the day Obama took power, tell me  why are you surprised, having disenfranchised us almost entirely, that we are willing to use the nuclear option once and for all now?

Understand one thing: We do not care about your prognostications of unpopularity and blame. Obamacare was rammed through against all objections. “Caring” about people who need insurance is NOT enough of a reason to bankrupt and intrude on and red-tape our citizens. We – and our votes aren’t changing – say “enough.” Name-call, Dana. But we’re sticking to our guns, pal.

And in another comment, wwitk2010 argues that Boehner’s change of heart isn’t going to win him much support from the right-right wing:

Cantor is a good one — will last. But Boehner’s days of leadership are very much numbered. We conservatives simply do not want him at the helm. His chief offense? Serial wishywashiness and a compulsive desire to genuflect in front of Democrats. That brand of politics is history in Washington.

But what about the steep political price predicted, velvetus asks, if the government does shut down?

Oh, I know this is *really* going to ruin your day, but a new poll commissioned by Karl Rove says that, in fact, Independents who are against Obamacare WILL blame Republicans who try to defund it by shutting down the government. Sucks, huh?

wwitk2010 entirely discounts that poll:

Velvetus They didn’t vote in the conservative class of 2010, or those who will definitely admire these stalwarts for refusing to compromise and back down. I would conjecture that among their constituents, their districts  which is what really matters, not what New York independents think  their positions will be much stronger.

Also  your poll is slanted and skewed to the left. Very much so.

But even if it is predictive, says another defunder, it’s worth it:

Obamacare must end, all else is secondary.

Willpower thinks the chaos is necessary to birth a new political alignment:

The party is undergoing a needed change from old school neoconservatives to the young guns who believe in the Constitution. We want low taxes and smaller government. There will be growing pains as the new Republican Party forms, finds its footing and gains momentum.

cmsaytown_, too, would brave the economic damage of a shutdown or debt-default if it secures a big enough political win:

A shutdown will be bad for the country, but it may destroy the GOP. So it might be the best thing for the country. Let them take themselves out and get it over with.

So nobody’s going to back down, then. Everyone thinks they’re winning.

But hey, at least PostScript can end on a lighter note. okiepoli quotes Milbank quoting a joke a Representative made on how much things have changed since the 1995 shutdown: “I was still in high school,” Rep. Trent Franks (Ariz.), who is 56, quipped to reporters.”  But, okiepoli says, the punchline cuts both ways:

At age 38, still in high school? This explains a lot.