In 2010 and again in 2012, companies on Main Street and Wall Street did just about everything they could to help Republicans win elected office in Washington.

But this week, many of those Republicans ignored pleas from corporate America and let the government shut down, potentially harming a fragile economy and causing more of the uncertainty that businesses dread.

The decision to shut down the government because Democrats would not make major changes to President Barack Obama's health care law underscored the fading influence of traditional business interests in the Republican Party — and the rising influence of more confrontational and conservative tea party groups that encouraged Republicans to embrace the shutdown strategy.