By time you read this, we may have a functioning government or we may not, but it really doesn't matter. The damage to America's image as a civilized democracy and to our perceived financial integrity has already been done. By offering deal after unworkable and politically loaded deal, the Republicans have mocked the White House and the intelligence of the American public to near death, and made it nearly impossible for anyone to take our politics seriously in the future.
On top of it all, polls have repeatedly shown that most Americans will blame the GOP for a government shutdown more than they will blame the Democrats, and yet John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and others have stayed their destructive course.
So how to really explain this?
Frankly, the only logical explanation I can think of is that the Republicans have contracted some type of debilitating mental illness that has impaired their judgment to a point where they are willing to commit political suicide. Nothing else, not even political brinksmanship, can really account for what is going on right now. It's possible that the Republicans think that this is merely a game of Russian Roulette and that the Democrats are as likely to shoot themselves as the Republicans, but that is simply not true. There stopped being two sides to this issue the moment they made it all about Obamacare.
It's one thing for the GOP to demand cuts in government spending as a way to enforce fiscal responsibility on Washington, but it is quite another for them to hold the federal budget hostage in order to backdoor a political agenda -- in this case to kill the president's signature health care law. That is so far from governing that it is laughable, if not downright impeachable.
Lemmings are usually depicted in popular culture as plummeting in large numbers over Norwegian cliffs for no apparent reason, to their deaths. While it is debatable whether this characterization is completely accurate, lemmings are at least somewhat suicidal and as a result their population fluctuates wildly. The same is now true of Republicans, who have no good reasons left for their actions but a subconscious (I'm assuming it's subconscious otherwise it would be even more disturbing) desire to destroy themselves.
As a Democrat, I have no problem with that, but as an American, I am offended by the extremely dimwitted proposals being floated by House Republicans and resent the damage that these political lemmings are doing to our nation's stability. If they are going to jump a cliff, at least they could have the decency to do it without taking us with them...
SANJAY SANGHOEE is a political and business commentator. He has worked at leading investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner, as well as at multi-billion dollar hedge fund Ramius. He has appeared on CNBC's 'Closing Bell', TheStreet.com, and HuffPost Live on business topics, and is the author of two thriller novels. For more information, please visit www.sanghoee.com