THE ROAD TO A SHUTDOWN IS PAVED WITH BOEHNER’S GOOD INTENTIONS…. The headline on this Politico piece certainly seemed encouraging: “Boehner: GOP won’t shut down gov’t.” Given the Republican interest in shutting down the government next year, it was an encouraging sign.

But the headline was misleading. Boehner didn’t say the GOP wouldn’t shut down the government; he said the GOP doesn’t intend to shut down the government. There’s a big difference.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected the idea that Republicans will shut down the government if they come to a legislative impasse with President Barack Obama, even as some conservative activists have predicted and even pushed a shutdown next year.

“Our goal is to have a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government here in Washington DC. Our goal is not to shut down the government,” he said.

The wording here matters. Boehner is effectively saying that, if Americans hand the House majority to a radicalized Republican Party, he and his caucus will pursue a far-right agenda. Their “goal” isn’t to shut down the government; their “goal” is to get everything they want. If President Obama stands in their way, a shutdown is the likely result, but that doesn’t mean it’s their “goal” going into 2011.

Indeed, Boehner went on to tell reporters, “I am committed to doing everything that I can do and our team can do to prevent Obamacare from being implemented. When I say everything, I mean everything.”

This isn’t exactly subtle. Boehner is so intent on destroying the law — returning to discrimination for Americans with pre-existing conditions, boosting the deficit, restoring rescissions, depriving tens of millions of uninsured Americans of access to quality care — that he’ll do whatever it takes. “Everything,” in this context, means shutting down the government.

“Boehner: GOP won’t shut down gov’t”? I think the truth is much closer to the opposite.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.