The government shutdown seeks to refight battles that have already been decided.
It seeks to defeat the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which has already been passed by both houses of Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land.
On a deeper level, instigators of the shutdown seek to combat President Barack Obama, who won re-election fair and square.
Does Congress have an obligation to fund a program that it has enacted? Of course. Why launch a ship and then refuse to put a crew aboard?
The straightforward approach would be to repeal the law, but that would require a majority vote in each house. There aren't enough opponents to win repeal, but there are enough to lock Congress up and prevent any action at all.
Still, the Affordable Care Act is not quite stopped in its tracks.
The new federal fiscal year began Tuesday, and with it the reform measure's Health Insurance Marketplace. The Web-based exchange lets people sign up for medical plans and see whether they qualify for subsidies to help buy policies.
Uninsured people in their 50s and 60s who are prone to pre-existing conditions are among those who will benefit most.
As people become more familiar with the law and have their own experiences with it, it seems likely to become more popular. And people in their 50s and 60s are prone to vote.
In the end, public pressure is likely to be the hammer that breaks the stupid deadlock in Congress.
(This is a guest editorial from the Paris (Tenn.) Post-Intelligencer.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.