“It’s the return of the grand bargain,” says one House Republican, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “There weren’t a lot of specifics discussed, and the meetings were mostly about just checking in. But he’s looking hard at the debt limit as a place where we can do something big.” ...Suzy Khimm:
Per sources, entitlement reforms, such as chained CPI, an elimination of the medical-device tax, and delays to parts of Obamacare are all on the table as trades for delaying aspects of sequestration and extending the debt limit.
Republicans think Obamacare is so destructive that they watched the government shut down when Democrats refused to change the law.More politics and policy below the fold.
But two days later something strange has happened: Republicans aren’t coming up with new ways to try to dismantle or delay it.
Instead, they’re pushing dead-end mini bills that would fund popular parts of the government that President Barack Obama has promised to veto.
So as the shutdown drags on and Obamacare falls off the negotiating table, it’s left Republicans struggling to answer a basic question: What’s the fight even about?
Ross Douthat on what's bugging conservatives (shorter answer is losing all the time):
“They didn’t dare,” Frum wrote of the Intransigents’ Reagan-era predecessors, “and they realized that they didn’t dare.” Well, this time, no matter the risks and costs and polls, there are small-government conservatives who intend to dare — because only through a kind of wild daring, they believe, can the long-term, post-New Deal disadvantage that the cause of limited government labors under finally be overcome.Jennifer Rubin on why the Dems should throw the Rs a bone:
And if this attitude sounds more like a foolish romanticism than a prudent, responsible, grounded-in-reality conservatism — well, yes, unfortunately I think it pretty clearly is.
Sometimes, unions overreach. They raise their members’ expectations about what can be obtained. They can’t get what they want at the bargaining table, and they are boxed in, almost forced to take their members out on strike. After that, the chief negotiator turns to his group to ask, “So what can we give them to get them back?”Shutdown from the POV of public health labs:
Public health is a local, state and federal continuum where all parts work together to ensure we have a healthy American populace. The public health system can’t work very well – or, I should say, doesn’t work very well – when one part of the system simply isn’t engaged. That’s the situation we face today on the second day of the federal government shutdown. Local public health is still hard at work, state public health is still hard at work, but the federal portion of public health is minimally staffed. If the local or state systems need technical assistance or laboratory support, they are largely on their own.Ezra Klein interviewing Grover Norquist:
The federal portion of the continuum is essential. In some ways you can think of it as the glue that holds the system together. Public health laboratories and epidemiologists are busy tracking down disease outbreaks all the time. They do a great job in their local or state jurisdictions detecting diseases and other pathogens that can harm us. But it is the role of the federal government – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in this case – to come up with a national picture of disease outbreaks. It’s the job of the CDC to knit together the mystery of how outbreaks unfold across the country, all with the goal of stopping them as soon as possible so that lives can be saved.
The only confusion that comes out is that Cruz stood on the side and confused people about the fact that every Republican agrees. He said if you don’t agree with my tactic and with the specific structure of my idea, you’re bad. He said if the House would simply pass the bill with defunding he would force the Senate to act. He would lead this grass-roots movement that would get Democrats to change their mind. So the House passed it, it went to the Senate, and Ted Cruz said, oh, we don’t have the votes over here. And I can’t find the e-mails or ads targeting Democrats to support it. Cruz said he would deliver the votes and he didn’t deliver any Democratic votes. He pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away.Love the headline from National Journal:
Americans Think GOP's Top Priority Is TroublemakingJay Rosen:
What unites these treatments is the eagerness to blame both sides and the stubborn refusal to acknowledge any asymmetry in the responsibility for the current stalemate in Washington. The emphasis is on things like “the inability to come together to do the right thing” and other hyper-symmetrical images like the “shutdown blame game” and “finger-pointing between Democrats and Republicans.” To the journalists who author these tendentious phrases, it is self-evident that both sides are equally responsible.
That is the production of innocence at work. What the journalists involved fail to acknowledge is their own investment in a permanent and unyielding image of political symmetry.