The great shutdown drama of 2013 should be a slam-dunk win for Democrats. The Republican extremism grows nuttier and more unrealistic by the day. The one other time Republicans tried this stunt, under House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995-96, Republicans got their clocks cleaned by President Clinton. Government reopened, and Clinton did not give away the store. And not until the arrival of Tea Party control of the House in 2011 did any party try to make legislative or ideological gains by threating to repudiate America's national debt. This time, however, Republicans have sown just enough confusion that they may suffer only temporary losses in their popularity in exchange for legislative gains.