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Dumbest extortion attempt ever: Republican scheme’s perverse logic

This is the fourth day of the GOP's government shutdown and the sequence of events that will ultimately end it -- the government can't stay shut forever! -- remains unclear.

So while we're waiting through this quiet spell, let's step back and examine the logic of the GOP's ongoing to refusal to reopen it and their related insistence that Obama "negotiate" over increasing the debt limit.

We know for a fact that the votes exist in the House to reopen the government with a clean appropriation, funded at Republican spending levels, absent any Obamacare concessions. It's not reopening because some Republicans don't want to reopen it until they get some Obamacare concessions, and John Boehner thinks he might lose his Speakership if he doesn't satisfy their demands.

But we also know that Boehner and other Republican leaders never wanted a government shutdown at all. They know a shutdown hurts people and that the political cost to them will likely be severe. But now they're in it, they don't think they can embarrass themselves by folding, and so they say a "clean" funding bill isn't going to happen. It's a monstrous application of the sunk cost fallacy.

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