I would call the now decisively failed government shutdown / default brinksmanship a Hail Mary pass except that it’s actually possible that a teammate could catch a wild pass and score a goal whereas this whole political CF never had a plausible route to success. Rather the best metaphor I can see for the recent actions of the suicide lemming caucus and their Tea Party fans is as a civic religion equivalent to remnant apocalypticism.
Megan McArdle likes to draw on South Park’s underpants gnomes model of causation in business/politics/whatever but the original underpants gnomes model is apocalypticism, which typically works like this:
1. Recommit ourselves to God
3. Utopia (eg, the Kingdom of God, restoration of the Davidic line, etc)
In apocalypticism the first step is premised on collective theodicy in which the travails of God’s people are punishment for the apostasy of the royal family and/or the nation and in which the purity of the apocalyptic community can reconcile the nation with God. Similarly, in the far right mentality if the post-colonial socialists are taking over it’s only because of the perfidious RINOs. In apocalypticism, penitence often involves a sort of one-upsmanship of purity, illogical rejection of common sense, and ostracism. For instance the Essenes lived apart from society and had rather radical purity taboos, even by Jewish standards. Apocalypticism often, but doesn’t always, go together with remnant theology and heretic hunting rather than “big tent” thinking.
Of course the “????” step two in apocalypticism is divine intervention which at least has the virtue of making sense on its own terms. (Note that attempts to provoke divine intervention not only include innocuous ascetic virtue but also more antagonistic “heighten the contradictions” tactics like mass suicide, provocative political theater, etc). However plausible or implausible it may be to count on divine intervention to slay the seven headed dragon, it strikes me as more internally coherent than political notions that pushing a radical agenda will somehow win the next election on turnout, give the electorate a choice not an echo, or any of the other obvious bullshit you hear from median voter theorem denialists in the derp industrial complex.