It's increasingly looking like a government shutdown is the GOP's fallback position on the debt ceiling fight. If a government default is too risky politically and economically, then a government shutdown still get Republicans a genuine primal scream moment, with arguably less severe consequences to the economy. As for the political consequences of a shutdown, Republicans seem more focused on the internal party politics involved than the larger body politic. Here's how one adviser put it to Politico
House Speaker John Boehner "may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system," said a top GOP leadership adviser. "We might need to do that for member-management purposes -- so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they're fighting."