There’s a right way to run a government. This isn’t it.Americans like to brag — and they earnestly and rightly believe — that their government works better than any other the world has known. The prosperity of this nation backs that up.But now America’s government is not working, and that’s not just a reference to hundreds of thousands of federal workers who were not on the job Tuesday because Congress failed to approve funding to keep their departments functioning.That’s a big problem, beyond the inconvenience of national parks and monuments being closed, even beyond the losses to the U.S. economy.The bigger problem, the real heart of government’s failure this week, is that a group of Republican lawmakers decided to take it upon themselves to shut everything down because they were not happy with a particular government policy.Holding the nation hostage is not a proper way to achieve legislative goals. It is a perversion of how our government should operate, how it has operated for most of its history.This Republican faction, led by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, has forced its ideological extremism on the rest of us, and we should not accept it.There are strong feelings and valid opinions on both sides of the debate about the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. Whether it continues in its present form or changes in any of the ways many Republicans have suggested or even goes away entirely as Cruz and his cohorts demand — all of these are legitimate topics for congressional debate.Those topics can and should be taken up as legislation, but lawmakers should not attempt to achieve fundamental legislative changes through the budget process.The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in March, 2010. Unless and until it is changed by Congress it should be funded by Congress.Ironically, on the same day the government shut down, the ACA’s insurance exchanges began operation. Judging by Internet traffic on the main HealthCare.gov site — more than 1 million hits for the day, the White House said — interest was strong.It might be just as strong for a Republican healthcare plan, if Congress gets back to work and Republicans come up with one.