Since when have things become so topsy-turvy in Washington?
The conventional political wisdom has held that Republicans are the disciplined party, always loyal to the leadership and united in their strategy and talking points. It's normally the Democrats who are barely unified enough to be considered an organized party.
This entire crisis is the result of a civil war that's been brewing in the GOP's own ranks since the rise of the Tea Party in the 2010 midterm elections. Speaker John Boehner is the only glue left holding together a Republican caucus split between establishment moderates and grassroots radicals.
While establishment Republicans are feeling the political heat of the last week, the Tea Party House members are not. Despite leading the charge in the ill-fated plan to defund Obamacare, they are largely free from potential electoral blowback due to the gerrymandered districts they represent.
The Democrats' refusal to negotiate until the government reopens puts Speaker Boehner in a difficult position. Either he caves and risks losing his speakership to the radical faction of his caucus or leaves the government closed and risks electoral fallout. This could jeopardize the prospects for Republicans regaining the Senate and perhaps the White House in 2016.
There's no telling how this standoff ends, but whatever happens will have major implications for the Not-So-Grand Old Party.