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Tea Bag

Everything you need to know about the tea party Republican outlook on the budget debate:

Most Americans say that a federal government shutdown would be bad for the country, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that Democrats and Republicans don't see eye to eye on the issue, and self-described Tea Party movement supporters say such a shutdown, even for a long period of time, would be a good thing.

The numbers?

Suppose the federal government had to shut down for a few days because Congress did not pass a new spending bill. Would you consider that a good thing for the country or a bad thing for the country?

Good thing: All Americans: 36% (Tea party supporters: 62%)
Bad thing: All Americans: 59% (Tea party supporters: 34%)

Now suppose the federal government had to shut down for a few weeks because Congress did not pass a new spending bill. Would you consider that a good thing for the country or a bad thing for the country?

Good thing: All Americans: 24% (Tea party supporters: 52%)
Bad thing: All Americans: 73% (Tea party supporters: 46%)

Tea party Republicans aren't merely willing to shut down the federal government—they want to shut down the federal government. They think it would be a good thing. Given that fact, it's a fool's errand to negotiate with them on avoiding a government shutdown, because those are negotiations that they want to see fail.

As I argued earlier, yesterday's vote to keep government open another three weeks shows the only path forward for avoiding a government shutdown: House GOP leadership must move forward without tea party Republicans and work out a deal with their Democratic colleagues. That will take some courage, because tea party Republicans are the core of their political base. But if they don't find the political will to forge a compromise, the government will shut down. And it wont be anybody's fault but their own.

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