If the Federal government shuts down this week because of the inability for the Rs and the Ds to hammer out a budget compromise, it will be because of politics rather than fundamental issues or doing the right thing for the American people.
The Republicans will scream loudly that the Democrats are to blame because they want a shut down in order to make the Republicans look bad (as happened in the 1990s when this situation occured) and/or that Democrats are unwilling to see past their blind devotion to "outdated" and expensive "big government" programs to the degree that they'd rather see the whole government shut down.
Democrats will say that Republicans are to blame because they are trying to shove down Americans' throat massive cuts based on ideological premises instead of seriously addressing budget balancing and/or they are playing to their newly found base of the right wing Tea Party activists who actually want to shut the government down because it's the natural extension of their political beliefs and general dislike for all things government.
There's probably truth to both, and that's the point...it's all politics. It's about the next election. Who comes out of this looking worse? The Republicans for again forcing a shutdown that forces people out of work and cuts off benefits to millions...not to mention stops paying military service men and women? Or, is it the Democrats who will look worse because they will be perceived as not taking budget balancing seriously?
It seems that both parties are deciding this week that they're willing to let the government shut down and then try to make the other party take the blame...all in anticipation of how that will play out in 2012. That's a pretty aggressive and irresponsible strategy if you ask me. But...that's politics in the USA today.