Michael Gerson gives a post-mortem of the shutdown and of the functional implosion of the Republican Party. As usual, he hits the nail right on the head. He writes,
This is a strategic and tactical debate rather than a policy disagreement. But the result is no less bitter. Both sides of the GOP want to get rid of an unpopular law [Obamacare]. One side believes in building a legislative majority and electing a president to overturn it; the other believes in making preposterous demands and blaming their Republican colleagues when these demands aren’t fulfilled. Tea party ideology involves questioning the character of Republican leaders — presenting them as cowards or coopted by the establishment or deceptive about their actual views. Republican leaders, in turn, naturally view the tea party caucus as politically irrational and irresponsible. Boehner has not bridged this gap. Perhaps no one could.
Will the tea party be chastened by recent defeat? Not likely, or not for long. Because tea party leaders inhabit an alternative political reality — sheltered in safe districts or states, applauded by conservative media, incited (or threatened) by advocacy groups, carried along by a deep current of anger and frustration among activists — they have no incentive to view defeat as defeat. In fact, turning against tactical radicalism would involve serious political risk. So every setback is interpreted as a need for greater purity and commitment.
Read the rest here.