If you read or listen to the national media, and believe them, you could walk away thinking all the fuss in Washington is pettiness. Not so ! While many of the Congress is fully capable of pettiness and selfishness; this dispute has foundations. Obviously, the dispute has offered tactical errors, on the part of the Republican caucus, such as the repealing or defunding of the Affordable Care Act. But, in the main, the dispute has been about the lack of money to fund the welfare state.
One side, wants to limit the welfare state, and the other wants to continue to borrow money without any substantive changes to the welfare state.
By the way, the only place to retrieve serious money is Social Security, Medicare-Medicaid, and defense spending. All of these have a powerful constituency, and active lobby.
As the shutdown precedes, the debate will rise above what the national media have been presenting to the public. As the debate elevates, more people will perceive the origins of our divisions, or at least those divisions that pertain to the welfare state. As the shutdown becomes longer, the debate will get deeper; and that should be a distinct disadvantage to the advocates of borrowing to maintain a high level of welfare spending.
From a practical standpoint the Republican caucus should have foregone the budget battle for another day, but made a stand on the debt ceiling. The proper stand would be, in my way of thinking, to extend the debt ceiling, unconditionally, for six months or so. At the end of this period, the Republican caucus and others, could issue an ultimatum, properly defined, that if substantive legislative changes to entitlements where not adopted in the set time; the debt limit would not be raised and the country would go into default.