[I]f the base has been told true commitment should lead to actual legislative victory (and that this might be the “last chance” to stop Obamacare), then merely threatening a shutdown, or letting one happen for a few days and then cutting a deal, is as likely to disillusion conservative voters heading in to 2014 as it is to mobilize them. And if the G.O.P. doesn’t want to disillusion them, then it doesn’t have an obvious way to back off or quickly make a deal – in which case the party is risking a real debacle with non-base voters, who might forgive a brief shutdown but probably won’t forgive Republicans if it turns into a lurching political and economic crisis.
Waldman predicts that, no matter how long the shutdown lasts, that the base will blame failure on Republicans giving up too soon:
[T]he idea that conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed, extends beyond ideology to its tactical extension, eternal and maximal opposition to Barack Obama and everything he wants to do. Fighting Obama is a strategy that can never fail. If failure happens, it can only be because we didn’t fight him hard enough.
Once this is all over, they’ll be telling everyone the same old story. If only the party had been stronger, if only Boehner had stood firm, if only we had kept the government closed for another week or another month, everyone would have seen we were right, Obama would have been crippled for the remainder of his term, we would have won a smashing victory in the 2014 mid-term elections, and the blow that led to Obamacare’s inevitable death would have been struck. But we were betrayed by Boehner and the other cowards and quislings.