Where we are today

This is Tuesday.  The money will run out Thursday and we will go into default unless our political leaders come up with a solution first.  There is a deal pending in the Senate but no guarantee the House will go for it as it as it leaves Obamacare intact.  The Republicans have clearly lost the battle for public opinion over this debt debacle. and it shows in the prospective deal.

Meanwhile, here is a good analysis piece on the constitutional issues involved in the Tea Party’s political stance and preferred strategy.

Stay tuned for more as the week progresses.


Still Shut

No promising news this morning and we are 10 days about from hitting the debt ceiling.  Some good stuff form over the weekend:

Here is the Washington Post’s Dan Balz on the internal divisions in the Republican Party.

Ezra Klein on the same thing.

And an excellent New York Times piece on the conservative groups at war with the traditional Republicans who are running the show and calling the shots. This shutdown has been in the works for a long time. If you want to know who to thank for this mess, here you go.

And Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls it what it is: Governing by Blackmail.

Happy Monday!

Pre-Weekend State of Play

Lots of good stuff to read today and I may add other items to this post as I discover more. Right now , this New York Times piece is a pretty good summary of the thinking on the GOP side of the aisle.


This is pretty good too — Andrew Sullivan (who has a super interesting blog and who is the Profiles in Citizenship subject in Chapter 15) is collecting reader contributions he calls “The View From Your Shutdown.”  Worth browsing through for real life first person accounts of the toll the shutdown is taking.

America Held Hostage, Day 2

A couple of very good pieces to read today.Tom Friedman from the New York Times hits the nail on the head.  And this piece from Business Insider makes a similar point.

Think about what we argue in Chapters 1 and 2 about people who do an end run around the democratic process when it doesn’t produce the results that they want. What kind of political system is it where the leaders believe they know what is right for the people and impose their vision regardless of what the people would choose themselves? What is the place for that in American culture?

Also think about what Madison had to say about the effects of factions.  What would he say about the Tea Party?

And for comic relief, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has some fun with how people feel about Obamacare.

Closed for Business

As we predicted, the government shut down last night at midnight.  What does that mean?  Basically, this.

Obama’s speech yesterday afternoon.

We have already been over the events leading up to this but you can read about the last minute back and forth here.

How long will this last?  Hard to say.  Tea Party Republicans want to hold out, much to the chagrin of their more practical party colleagues, because they believe they are right.

How did the Tea Party caucus get so radical, anyway? One analyst’s answer here.

Here’s another take on the evolution of the Republicans, this one by a liberal reporter for the Huffington Post.

A Republican gives his take on the situation here.

Another argues that the problem is that the Tea Partiers took the wrong hostage

Veteran Washington Post reporter Dan Balz argues that regardless of the dissension in their ranks, the Republicans need to learn how to govern.

Has this happened before?  Yup.

Meanwhile, enrollment in the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act begins today.  Almost all Americans will need to sign up for a plan if they are not already covered through an employer or a parent.  What will it cost you?

This is a long piece, but if you want to hear one smart (though leaning liberal) guy’s take on why Tea Partiers are driven so crazy by Obamacare, read this.

And remember, we reach the debt ceiling limit in just 17 days and that has the potential to be much, much worse.  Will the Tea Party Caucus have gotten their need to stand on principle out of their system by then, or will national inconvenience tumble into international disaster?

As I seem to be saying a lot these days, stay tuned.


What If?

Despite all the shenanigans last night from Texas senator Ted Cruz, we still don’t know what is going to happen with respect to a government shutdown or a default on the national debt. Though the latter is looking more likely than the former at this point, we are all still hopeful that neither will come to pass.  Here is the New York Times’ Annie Lowry on the difference between the two fates, and why the default is much worse than shutting down the government.

The Budget is Coming!

At long last the President’s budget is due out tomorrow and already the critics (on both sides) are claiming it is dead in the water.  Just another day in Washington.

The outlines of the budget are here.  Liberals are irate because they claim that Obama is giving up too much to the Republicans at the start of negotiations, meaning that any final deal will be even further to the right.  Conservatives are irate because they just plain don’t like Obama, and even though his budget gives them some spending cuts and other things they have been demanding, it contains revenue increases and they prefer to reduce the deficit through spending cuts alone.

Obama seems to really value the achievement of a bipartisan deficit-reducing budget deal with Congress, but the initial reviews make that sound unlikely, and the budget isn’t even out yet.