La commedia ê finita


With the Treasury Department warning that it could run out of money to pay national obligations within a day, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, to approve a proposal hammered out by the chamber’s Republican and Democratic leaders after the House on Tuesday was unable to move forward with any resolution. The House followed suit a few hours later, voting 285 to 144, to approve the Senate plan, which would finance the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit through Feb. 7.

Meet the next budget negotiation, same as the this budget negotiation, though. For once, William Galston is probably right:

It’s hard to see how the U.S. can govern itself unless corporate America pushes the Republican establishment to fight back against the tea party—or switches sides.

Keep fighting. Remember: doesn’t matter who the president is — Obama, O’Malley, Warren Clinton — these crazy bastards have the power to flush the country down the toilet under our current system. It only stops when we become a supermajority.

You know it’s a lie `cause…

For all the No Labels wanking about non-extremist Republicans forming a “centrist” third-party, the truth is Joe Scarborough and Lindsey Graham will leave the Republican party in a wooden box. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, though….they’ve got the moxie to strike off on their own.

David Frum (correctly) gives a good argument to this effect and then (incorrectly) claims that a Palinista exodus would be good news for conservatives. You can guess why: it will free up Burkean moderates to appeal to the radical center. Nah. Guh. Happen. There may be all kinds of great reasons to vote for Republicans 2.0 or whatever the Teabagless GOP decides to call itself, but Republicans spent the last 40 years aiming their sales pitch at Neoconfederate nut jobs. Karl Rove (et al.) is a certain kind of girl, and Joe the Plumber is his ideal boyfriend.

Most Republicans, no matter how much they think the shutdown is a shit show, know this, that the Tea Party could (and would) secede from the GOP, and that this secession would completely destroy the Republican party.

And that’s why they’ll do whatever the Palinese Liberation Army wants them to do.

Just release and you will find

I haven’t gotten into the “rest of the world is laughing at us” stuff because I think the “rest of the world” is pretty fucked up too. But if this happens, then well, yeah, they should laugh at us (via):

Here’s a cheerful thought as Congress remains deadlocked over the debt ceiling and the hours tick away toward default: Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who basically forced the shutdown and whose own private polls have convinced him that it has been a glorious success, at this point could probably force a default and global economic calamity on his own—if he were so inclined. The Treasury Department says U.S. borrowing authority will expire on Thursday.

How could this happen? Because the Senate can move quickly when necessary, but only by unanimous consent. Let’s say Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) strike a deal today (that’s looking unlikely). Cruz surely won’t like it and has said repeatedly, “I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare.” If he’s true to his word, he could drag out the proceedings past Thursday and possibly well beyond. “If a determined band of nut jobs wants to take down the global economy, they could do it,” says Jim Manley, a former top staffer for Reid. “Under Senate rules, we are past the point of no return—there’s not anything Reid or McConnell could do about it.”

All the children are insane

The one surprising positive thing I can about this shutdown is that a lot of conservative journalists did a good job of covering it, especially Byron York and Robert Costa. Costa’s twitter feed right now is top-notch:

Over at the Times, Ross Douthat is ripping off our patented Balloon Juice Apocalypse Now shtick.

A friend says it all sounds like Hitler’s bunker in 1945. Who will be the first to do a Downfall parody of Hitler learning that the shutdown did not work for Republicans?

Just simple lines intertwining

A wise man once asked “How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what’s stopping it, and what’s behind what’s stopping it?” Politically, debt default is all the way, House Republicans are what’s stopping the government, and the GOP base is what’s behind what’s stopping it.

For all the inane punditocratic discussions of how weak John Boehner is or how Obama needs to go golfing with Ted Cruz lies a central, simple reality: the GOP base is insane. I still don’t fully grasp what unites evangelicals and Randoids, but this is a pretty description of the basic dynamic:

[T]he kamikaze caucus, by seeking to block the president by any means necessary, is reflecting the back-to-the wall desperation evident among grassroots Republicans convinced that Obama and his urbanized, racially diverse supporters are transforming America into something unrecognizable. Although those voters are split over whether the current tactics will work, they are united in resisting any accommodation with Obama.

Veteran Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who has studied the two parties’ coalitions since the 1980s, recently conducted several focus groups with GOP voters that probed this passion. He concluded that the roaring sense of embattlement among the almost all-white tea party and evangelical Christian voters central to the GOP base draws on intertwined ideological, electoral, and racial fears.

These core conservative voters, Greenberg wrote recently, fear “that big government is meant to create rights and dependency and electoral support from mostly minorities who will reward the Democratic Party with their votes.” Much like Mitt Romney’s musings about the 47 percent, these voters see an ominous cycle of Democrats promising benefits “to increase dependency” among mostly minority voters who empower them to win elections and then provide yet more benefits (like a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally). Obama’s health care law looms to them as the tipping point toward a permanent Democratic advantage built on dependency and demographic change.

I understand that the Republican party rose to power by playing on southern white opposition to civil rights. It was a disgusting tactic, but it was the smart move, Nixon was always smarter. Doubling down on it with all the anti-gay marriage stuff in 2004 was stupid, and tripling down on it in 2010 was dumber still.