The Tragedy Of Ending The Shutdown

All those shutdown beards are getting shaved:

Booooo MauiHollyday. Boo. Liar.

But all is not lost:

The Democrats Have Finally Grown A Spine, Ctd

A reader is feeling good this morning:

After watching Democrats throughout my life continually bungle political opportunity, for once it’s really nice to bask in the utter incompetence of the Republicans for a change.  Had they just continued to be uniform in their resistance to the Affordable Care Act and then seized upon its horrendously planned, bureaucratically challenged, abysmally orchestrated roll-out, the Republicans would all be in tall cotton right now, with the mid-term elections just around the corner.

Instead, they decide to try to suicide-bomb Obamacare, knowing that Democrats have to blink for them to “win” (a strategy where they do not control their own destiny) and all the media can talk about is the idiocy of the Republican party.  The Obamacare rollout mess doesn’t even register within the noise of the shutdown and kamikaze debt-ceiling threats.  Heck, if they would have done nothing but complain loudly, Kathleen Sebelius would have resigned by now and the President’s signature legislation would look like a huge failure.

Instead, the administration gets to fix it under less media scrutiny, and Obama’s negotiating is getting compared to Michael Corleone: “My offer is nothing.”

Dick Morris Award Nominee

“Oh, nobody believes [Obama’s vows to not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling]. Nobody believes that. He himself negotiated Bowles Simpson on the debt limit with Democrats. That was Kent Conrad’s requirement. He himself negotiated the Budget Control Act with the debt limit. Graham Rudman. Bush Andrews Airforce Base. Clinton Gore ‘97. All of those major budget agreements were debt limit agreements. I see this time as no different and I believe he does too. I think most people believe he’s just posturing for now,” – Paul Ryan, on September 28.

The Republican Radicals Won’t Be Driven Out

That’s the thesis of Frank Rich’s latest:

Some Democrats … cling to the hope that electoral Armageddon will purge the GOP of its radicals, a wish that is far less likely to be fulfilled now than it was after Goldwater’s landslide defeat, when liberalism was still enjoying the last sunny days of its postwar idyll. This was also the liberal hope after Gingrich’s political demise of 1998. But his revolution, whatever its embarrassments, hypocrisies, and failures, did nudge the country toward the right: It’s what pushed Clinton to announce in his 1996 State of the Union address that “the era of big government is over” and to adopt policy modulations that tamped down New Deal–Great Society liberalism. The right has only gained strength within the GOP ever since. Roughly half of the party’s current House population was first elected in 2010 or 2012, in the crucible of the tea-party revolt. While it’s Beltway conventional wisdom that these Republicans don’t know how to govern, the real issue is that they don’t want to govern. That’s their whole point, and they are sticking to it.

He dumps on the idea that “Chris Christie will parlay his popularity in the blue state of New Jersey into leading the national party back to sanity and perhaps even into the White House”:

To believe this you not only have to believe in miracles, but you also have to talk yourself into buying the prevailing bipartisan canard, endorsed by King and Obama alike, that the radicals are just a rump within the GOP (“one faction of one party in one house of Congress,” in the president’s reckoning). In reality, the one third of the Republican House caucus in rebel hands and the electorate it represents are no more likely to surrender at this point than the third of the states that seceded from the Union for much the same ideological reasons in 1860–61. Unless and until the other two thirds of the GOP summons the guts to actually fight and win the civil war that is raging in its own camp, the rest of us, and the health of our democracy, will continue to be held hostage.

Focus On The War, Not The Battles

Beinart is worried that the GOP is winning policy battles over government funding. Douthat pushes back:

[T]he Bush era is a perfect example of why liberals shouldn’t be freaked out by the Tea Party’s modest gains right now, because it shows how quickly and easily temporary limits on domestic spending can disappear, and why the creation of a new entitlement often looms larger than the outcome of short term budget battles. When was the last time you heard Ted Cruz calling for the repeal of Medicare Part D? I thought so.

That’s why, instead of angsting about how the Tea Party has cost them the chance to pass a cap and trade bill or to fund some kind of universal preschool, liberals should be focused like a laser beam on the Obamacare rollout. That’s the whole ballgame for liberalism right now: If the health care law works, thiswill be remembered as an era of progressive public policy, and the prospects for extending that era into another presidency — and getting immigration reform and climate legislation and the rest of their policy wish list — will get a lot, lot brighter. If, on the other hand, the train derails in some truly disastrous fashion, then nothing the House Intransigents have done or will do is likely to matter much in the long run: The hoped-for of liberalism will have been foreclosed, not by Tea Party extremism, but by a liberal administration’s own unforced errors.

Face Of The Day

US-POLITICS-ECONOMY-BUDGET

Speaker of the House John Boehner walks with Capitol Police to a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2013. House Republicans are meeting after Senate Democrat and Republican leadership agreed on a compromise to reopen the US federal government funding it to mid January address the debt limit till early February. By Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

What The Shutdown Has Wrought

Republican recklessness has hurt the party’s chances in the Senate:

New PPP polls of 6 key Senate races that will determine control of the body after next year’s election finds voters extremely unhappy about the government shutdown. As a result Republicans trail in 5 of the 6 key races and are tied in the 6th. Republicans need to win 6 seats to take control of the Senate.

Larison analyzes the poll:

As the crosstabs show, the shutdown is usually driving more independents away from Republican candidates than it is attracting. Republican control of the House likely isn’t in jeopardy next year, but these results reveal that the shutdown has done substantial damage to the GOP’s Senate hopes. The party has demonstrated that it can’t be trusted with more power, and it seems that voters in many parts of the country are not inclined to give them more.