Just a reminder: John Boehner can end the government shutdown any time he wants to. No, really:
All Boehner has to do is bring a “clean” continuing resolution to the House floor -- that is, a bill to fund the government without any strings attached -- and give it a vote. Most, if not all, Democrats would vote for it, and enough Republicans are publicly now on board to pass it. The Huffington Post has been keeping a running tally of which Republicans have said they support doing this. Privately, more GOP lawmakers have indicated they would as well.
So why won't he? One theory, from the right:
A clean CR has never been an option. Peter King of New York and his allies may want one, but the leadership privately believes it’d almost certainly raise tensions within the ranks and cripple their negotiating position.
Instead, the leadership is digging in for an extended impasse with Senate Democrats. Based on my latest conversations with insiders, their plan isn’t to eventually whip Republicans toward a clean CR and back down after a few days of messaging the shutdown, as some have believed; it’s to keep fighting, and, in the process, preserve the House GOP’s fragile unity — and maybe, if they’re lucky, win a concession from Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
But that unity, more than anything, is critical for Boehner, especially as the debt limit nears. Per his allies, his fear is, if he brings up a clean CR, he’d be seen as conceding to Reid, who’s seen as the villain of villains within the House GOP. Thirty to forty conservatives would likely revolt against such a maneuver, and so would their backers in the conservative movement. In the press, he’d likely be cheered for a profile in courage; within the House, the decision would be seen by his critics on the right as a betrayal of the highest order. There is nothing they detest more than the idea of caving, and Boehner knows that.
In other words, they're high-schoolers at best.
At least not all of the shutdown's unintended consequences were bad.