It well may be true that shutting down the government hurts the Republicans in the short run. That is immaterial; there is no way to get from here to there except by making a stand against Obamacare. There is no downside, for the Republican Party as presently configured already is a guaranteed loser. A reinvigorated conservative leadership has a chance of leading the party to victory.
The optimal Republican strategy now is to force a crisis over the debt ceiling. ...
Goldman expects that if the government bumps up against the debt ceiling, the President will simply ignore the debt limit and borrow the money without Congressional approval, rather than freeze spending or raise taxes. I've noted before that the President's rhetoric about the "full faith and credit" of the United States indicates his choice will not be to negotiate. However, Goldman suggests that this will be a golden opportunity for the Republican party:
That is political overreaching of the worst kind. If Obama refuses to postpone the implementation of his health care plan in return for an extension of the debt ceiling, Republicans should stand their ground, and force the president to tear up the Constitution and assume dictatorial powers. Americans don’t like that, and they will dislike it doubly if Obama does so to protect a hated piece of legislation. It would clarify the choices before the electorate and give conservative Republicans something to run against. That isn’t enough: they have to present a credible program to restore economic growth and opportunity. But that will be then: this is now.With that in mind, some liberals are hoping that this turns a little more physical, with the New Republic suggesting that the President resort to using tanks against Congress, much like Boris Yeltsin did.