Ted Cruz enumerates his demands
Maureen Dowd is looking for the dormouse and the hatter.
How awful are Ted Cruz and his Cruzettes?

They have done the impossible. They have made Americans look back at the Bush II era, the most reckless wrecking ball in American history, with relative nostalgia.

With 78 percent of Americans feeling blue about the country being on the wrong track, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, many consider the G.O.P.’s imperialistic unilaterists less loco than the narcissistic anarchists. As grandiose delusions go, global domination makes more sense than self-annihilation.

“If I was in the Senate now, I’d kill myself,” Chris Christie said on Friday.

But before you start thinking Dick Cheney is temperate by comparison, consider the Commentary roast of the former vice president on Monday night at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Cheney made a joke about waterboarding an antelope that he borrowed from Jay Leno. Donald Rumsfeld quasi-jested that he knew Dick “back when the president of the United States still led our foreign policy, instead of Putin.”

You know Cheney can't be the Cheshire Cat in this blunderland, because he just never damn goes away. And who else would be at a roast to celebrate Dick Cheney and friends?
Lieberman, a guest told BuzzFeed, said it was nicer to be at the Plaza than in cages after a war crimes trial. There were pardon jokes about W., whose relationship with Cheney was shattered over not giving Libby one. Libby said W. sent a note: “Pardon me, I can’t make it.”
Yeah, we killed lots of people for a lie and got away with it. Funny!

So now that you've dug out the nostalgia region of your brain with a dull spoon, let's see what else is up in pundit land.

Ross Douthat is also in search of a movie to compare to the shenanigans on the Hill, but his has fewer talking rabbits.

"Theytold me," Martin Sheen's Willard says to Marlon Brando's Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now," at the end of a long journey up the river, "that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound."

His baldness bathed in gold, his body pooled in shadow, Kurtz murmurs: "Are my methods unsound?"

And Willard — filthy, hollow-eyed, stunned by what he’s seen — replies: "I don't see any method at all, sir."

This is basically how reasonable people should feel about the recent conduct of the House Republicans.

Sounds like Ross has gotten past his "the GOP is just misunderstood" phase.
Politics is a hard business, and failure is normal enough. It’s not unusual for political parties to embrace misguided ideas, pursue poorly thought-out strategies, persist in old errors and embrace new ones eagerly.

So we shouldn't overstate the gravity of what’s been happening in Washington. There are many policies in American history, pursued in good faith by liberals or conservatives, that have been more damaging to the country than the Republican decision to shut down the government this month, and many gambits that have reaped bigger political disasters than most House Republicans are likely to face as a result.

But there is still something well-nigh-unprecedented about how Republicans have conducted themselves of late. It’s not the scale of their mistake, or the kind of damage that it’s caused, but the fact that their strategy was such self-evident folly, so transparently devoid of any method whatsoever.

For policies that have been more damaging in every way imaginable, see Cheney, Dick.

Dana Milbank looks at the Congress on Cruz control.

When a poll came out this week showing that the government shutdown was putting Republican Mike Coffman in danger of losing his Colorado congressional seat, the lawmaker responded with the serenity of martyrs through the ages.

“Whatever the consequences of doing what’s right,” he told a Denver TV station, “I’m willing to take those consequences.”

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.

Skeptics warned from the start that it was a suicide mission for Republicans to shut down the federal government in a long-shot attempt to defund Obamacare. Now that such dire predictions have come to pass, the lawmakers who engineered the shutdown are getting the conflagration — and the martyrdom — they sought.

Call it the Cruzifiction of the GOP.

Republicans always seem to be in the market for a crazy leader who will point out the nearest available cliff for making a dive... even if that cliff still has a few stains from Republicans who went splat during the Gingrich era. Hey, GOP, while you're recycling really keen ideas that so totally should have worked last time, why not go ahead and start those impeachment hearings, eh?

Kathleen Parker extends the night at the movies.

In trying to understand the Republican Party’s internal battles, it helps to think of Michael and Sonny.

Corleone, that is.

On one side we have Sonny, the hotheaded, impulsive, shoot-now-take-names-later son of Don Corleone. On Capitol Hill, he personifies the tea party followers who would rather die on principle than live to win a later day.

On the other side, we have Michael, the cooler-headed son and intellectual strategist. On the Hill, Michael represents the so-called establishment legislators who understand the way forward but thus far have been reluctant to pull the trigger.

The problem for Republicans is that Sonny shot Michael two elections ago. There is no moderate, reasonable base to rescue the Republicans. It's all Sonnys, all the way down.

You want to know how bad things are for Republicans?

Jennifer Rubin has a column up saying Republicans are fooling themselves.

There has been, to put it mildly, some mass self-delusion going on in right-wing circles. Here’s how to tell if you are suffering from the ill-effects of the echo chamber:

1. You think Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has it nailed when he tells the Value Voters Summit that the Dems are “feeling the heat” in the shutdown fight.
2. You think the problem is Ken Cuccinelli isn’t conservative enough.
3. You think if only the shutdown went on longer the GOP would win this fight.

This, people, is a watershed moment. The crazy has gotten too deep for Rubin. Hey, Erickson, there's a column that cries out for someone with no limits!

The New York Times points out the most oft-cited example of GOP cruelty for spite's sake isn't just about harming kids. No, it also harms adults.

For impoverished Americans, the biggest obstacle to health insurance remains the refusal of 26 mostly Republican-led states to expand their Medicaid programs as called for under the health reform law. As a result, up to an estimated eight million people will get no help at all because they earn too little to buy subsidized coverage on the new insurance exchanges and too much to qualify for Medicaid in states that won’t expand their programs.

Many of the excluded are poor children and their parents. Most, however, are childless adults, generally defined as those age 19 to 64 without dependent children. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, at least four million childless adults living near or below the poverty line will be denied coverage in the holdout states. Of those, 60 percent are men. They are part of a population of 26 million impoverished adults in the United States, of whom 16 million are childless.

Joannie Lipman may not been promoting playing Mozart to your baby in potentia, but she makes a case for learning to play.
Condeleeza Rice trained to be a concert pianist. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was a professional clarinet and saxophone player. The hedge fund billionaire Bruce Kovner is a pianist who took classes at Juilliard.
Hold it, hold it, hold it. Greenspan, Rice, and Kovner? I thought this was making the case for playing music? Honestly, I'd like to think that sharpening up the musical sensibilities is a pathway to success, and it may be, but this article reads almost exactly like one of those why boys who play football / baseball / hacky-sack go on to greatness diatribes of yore. Okay, maybe not hacky-sack.

Adam Liptak argues that the Robert's court isn't activist because... it doesn't strike down laws it likes?

In 2010 in Citizens United, it struck down part of a federal law regulating campaign spending by corporations and unions, overruling two precedents in the bargain. In June, it struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act.

The court will no doubt be accused of yet more activism if it continues to dismantle campaign finance restrictions, as it seemed ready to do Tuesday at arguments in a case about limits on campaign contributions from individuals.

But these decisions are outliers when measured against the court’s overall record over the last nine years.

Yes, the Roberts court may strike down fewer laws than the Warren court did, but comparing the two assumes that the rate of Congressional unconstitutionality is fixed.

Sergey Yeliseev says that's what good for us is bad for... pretty much everything else.

A study published by a team of biologists suggests that as a nation's population life expectancy increases, so does its percentage of invasive and endangered birds and mammals. It suggests that rather than population density alone being the largest threat to wildlife, it's the quality of life that matters most.

The very presence of humans is often blamed for the increasing numbers of extinct species on the planet. But a team of biologists from the University of California-Davis examined 15 economic, ecological, and social variables to judge which factors of that human presence are the biggest contributors to the downfall of species.

Are you looking closely?

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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