As soon as the federal government shut down for the first time in nearly a decade, a surreal disquiet settled over the D.C. area. For political junkies inside the beltway the whole scene leading up to the shutdown was actually something of a spectacle. With countdown clocks, last minute deals, and dramatic speeches on the house and senate floors, this was political theatre at its finest. But as soon as October 1 came the hype started to fizzle and a harsh reality set in.

More than 800,000 federal workers were sent home without pay. Funding for national science programs all but completely came to a halt. National parks closed their access to the public. Cuts to the Head Start program were amplified, although the shutdown is only an additional burden to the across-the-board sequester cuts that affected Head Start in March.

As most Americans all over the country woke up to this news on the first of October, their reaction was undoubtedly somewhere between disgust and outrage. But there is one group who awoke on October 1 with glee. The small but powerful Tea Party faction of the Republican Party has been insisting on shutting down the government ever since Senator Ted Cruz pretended to filibuster a bill he actually supported for 21 hours. This faction decided to tie a mere government funding measure to a campaign against the Affordable Care Act.

At first, the group made it clear that their plan was to defund the Affordable Care Act. A seemingly simple idea, the only thing standing between the Tea Party fanatics and success was the American governmental process. Yes, in order for legislation to pass, it must proceed through both houses of Congress and cannot escape the President’s signature. The Affordable Care Act passed this test and was upheld by the Supreme Court. Moreover, the President made the Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of his 2012 reelection campaign. Likewise, Candidate Romney could not make it through the week without a reference to the repeal of Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act was thus re-legislated in the 2012 Election, and the results speak for themselves. Romney lost the popular vote by more than 3 million votes. Romney lost the Electoral College by an overwhelming 332-206 margin. Democrats added two seats in the Senate. Democrats even won the popular vote in the House of Representatives. It is only because of gerrymandering that Republicans kept control of the House in 2012. The Affordable Care Act was here to stay.

For the Tea Party caucus of the Republican Party, however, elections are meaningless. Flash ahead to the ‘negotiations’ of last week, and we can see exactly what this means in practice. In tying the simple government-funding measure to a section outlining the defunding of the Affordable Care Act, this Republican faction entered into a hostage-taking position. Knowing that they only controlled one part of one Party of one House of government, these fanatics understood their mission. Demonstrating a disdain for the Constitutional process of government, these Republicans decided to throw a tantrum because they disagree with the Affordable Care Act.

The Tea Party legislators were telling the President to sign away his signature legislative achievement, or else he would face a government shutdown. A couple days later, backing away from that position, the right wing of the Republican Party House members decided on what they deem a ‘compromise.’ Instead of tying the funding measure to a campaign meant to defund the Affordable Care Act, the goal now is to only delay the individual mandate. In other words, these Republicans have not yet understood how governance works. Taking hostages is not a productive way to mark legislative accomplishment. To the contrary, one would hope such a performance would speak to the opposite effect.

But here exists the greatest concern moving forward. While the government shutdown is disastrous, the solution is staring everyone plainly in the face. The Republicans need only send a ‘clean CR’ to the Senate without any nonsensical strings attached and this mess will be over at once (a CR is a Continuing Resolution, which refers to a temporary government funding measure.) For this solution to happen, however, there needs to be an enormous amount of pressure on Republicans to eventually cave and hand over the hostage.

The problem is that this picture, a government shutdown, is utopia for many on the far right of the political spectrum. The Tea Party faction in Congress is waking up every day with joy so long as the government remains closed because that is very near its ultimate goal. That 800,000 federal workers are furloughed does not bother these legislators. If it does, then they ought to rethink their strategy to scrap major federal departments. What matters is that government is as small as possible. The fact of the matter is that no amount of pressure could convince this faction that a shutdown is bad news.

Even during this hostage crisis, however, there are those who maintain that in fact both sides are to blame. It is both the Republicans and the Democrats who hold responsibility for the shutdown. In the interest of ‘bipartisanship,’ let’s see how this plays out in practice. It is well known that there are plenty Progressive Democrats in Congress who also disagree with the Affordable Care Act, albeit for different reasons than Ted Cruz. But we can take an even more distinguishable issue than healthcare here, guns. Suppose Progressive Democrats tied a basic funding measure to a gun ban with a Republican in the White House and would not budge, all for principle of course. Or suppose Progressive Democrats decided to tie a funding measure to the legalization of same-sex marriage at the national level. Does this happen in reality?

There is an admittedly attractive tendency to lump all of Congress together, especially during times of fiscal crisis. In this case, however, Tea Party Republicans are making themselves stand out. Taking hostages in order to make a legislative gain is not how government works. Sometimes a spade needs to be called a spade.