Shutdown as negotation
-- What were they thinking when they came up with that mechanism? --
Just as Bill gates did not invent CTRL_ALT_DEL, but did popularize it, there was guy who weaponized the shutdown as the one true way to govern.
Nice thing about recent history is that many of the players are still around, so you might ask him:
(I predict, though, that the answer will be somewhere between "The end justifies the means" and "F-you commie rat-bastard")
Not to single out Newt, really. A _lot_ of politicians are lawyers, and most seem to think that "If it is not illegal (yet), it is perfectly OK". Also, a surprising number (at least in the U.S. Congress) of politicians are former cheerleaders
and once you have a certain level of physical gymnastics handled, perhaps getting into mental and moral gymnastics is easier.