Politicians, at the end of the day, follow their voters. And the new WSJ/NBC poll tells the tale: a majority of Republicans prefer a government shutdown to a budget compromise.
The majority of Democrats and Independents prefer compromise over a shutdown.
That’s the dynamic. I buy that John Boehner doesn’t want a shutdown because if nothing else I think he thinks it will be damaging for his caucus and his party. But Republicans around the country want a shutdown before they want any compromise. And it’s pretty clear that applies to most of his caucus — which shouldn’t surprise us since those are their voters. So one side wants to compromise and the other doesn’t. And the side that’s ready to compromise doesn’t want to be dictated to. So there’s an impasse. I’m not sure there’s a lot of talking that will get you around that. In negotiating terms, it’s a feature, not a bug.