Tail Wagging Dog

Pew has been covering the internal dynamics of the Republican fiscal circus pretty carefully, and now offers a new survey showing the polarization of the Tea Folk as against the rest of the country extends to their fellow conservatives.

While Republicans of all varieties support “defunding” of Obamacare, they are sharply divided on whether to shut down the federal government in order to get their way on this subject. Pew shows Tea Folk supporting a shutdown keyed to Obamacare by a 71/20 margin. Non-Tea Republicans oppose this gambit by a 38/54 margin, closely resembling indies, who oppose it 36/52.

Tea Folk are the only category of respondents in the Pew survey who don’t say a government shutdown would have a “major” effect on the economy. But even they say (by a 62/22 margin) that a shutdown would have a “mostly negative” effect on the economy. It’s worth remembering that many Tea Folk kinda like recessions as purgative medicine for an economy where too many “losers” can get public benefits or private credit. And it’s definitely worth understanding the Tea Party is the tail wagging the dog when it comes to GOP maneuvering in Congress on the budget.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.