HOUSE GOP LEADER TALKS OF BEING ‘FORCED’ INTO A SHUTDOWN…. Pundits’ predictions about Republican “modesty” notwithstanding, GOP officials continue to talk up the idea of shutting down the government next year.

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the top GOP member of the influential House Financial Services Committee, said Republicans should be prepared to be “brave” in the face of a shutdown.

“I would think when we send the spending bills to the president he will veto them, and then the hard vote will be when he sends them back and we will be faced with another situation where he will probably try to force us to shut government down and we are going to have to be brave this time,” Bachus explained on the Fox Business Network.

Remember, Bachus isn’t just some unknown backbencher or an obscure freshman — he’s very likely to be the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in a few months.

Also note, Bachus insisted “we would not shut the government down,” it’s just that rascally president who would “force” Republicans “to shut government down.”

Republicans aren’t looking to compromise; they’re looking to avoid blame when they blow off compromising.

I still think this would be a tough sell for the GOP to pull off. They’ve spent months practically boasting about their shutdown intentions, and just last week, the new, incoming senator from Utah described the possibility of a shutdown as “absolutely necessary.”

In fairness, I should note that a few weeks ago, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asked if we’re likely to see a replay of the showdown that led Gingrich to shut down the government. Cantor replied, “No. I don’t think the country needs or wants a shutdown.”

But the number of Republicans who disagree with Cantor keeps growing.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.