The internal Republican fight about the right strategy on a government shutdown plays into the hands of President Obama. You win in politics by uniting your side while dividing the opposition; now the GOP looks badly divided while Democrats solidly support the president.
Worst of all, GOP disagreements involve tactics, not principles: all Republicans in Congress seek to eliminate Obamacare and every one of them voted “no” in 2010. But to overcome Obama’s certain veto of any defunding measure, the 45 Senate Republicans would need 22 Democrats to join them. That is utterly impossible. This means a stark choice for those demanding immediate defunding: will they surrender before a government showdown, or only afterward?
Either way, Republicans must eventually come together with constructive, plausible reforms to help the nation move past this sour season of doubt and division.