Friday links! Phase three is profit edition


It’s been a full week of shutdown mania here at Combat! blog, and we are no closer to answering the fundamental questions. When will government open for business again? What force could stir either side to relent? How unified is the Republican Party? Did the Obamacare defunders actaully go into this with no plan for what to do if their demands were not met? The answer to that last question, terrifyingly, seems to be yes. Senator Ted Cruz (R–TX) reportedly had no endgame when pressed by fellow Republicans Wednesday, and he is supposed to be the smartest guy in his delegation. Today is Friday, and the Tea Party has lived its dream to shut down the federal government and replace it with nothing. Won’t you stare grimly at the news with me?

The good news is that the old-guard Republicans—the jowly, corporate men, the Stans, if you will—are increasingly exasperated. Shutting down the government is not the mortal strike to the heart of the Democratic Party that Tea Party Republicans were sure it would be. Now that it has come to “or else,” the American people have not rallied behind the GOP’s bold “defund Obamacare or else” maneuver. The universally applicable strategy of bludgeoning the President with whatever legislative or procedural mechanism is handy has somehow been misapplied. Just listen to Roy Blount (R–MO):

Fighting with the president is one thing. Fighting with the president and losing is another thing. When you’re in the minority you need to look really hard to find the fights you can win.

And thus the Republican Party continues to gaze bravely into the past. Lest you think the GOP will unfudge itself any time soon, though, there’s also this quote from former party chairman Ed Gillespie: “We join [Tea Party Republicans] in staunch opposition to the president’s harmful policies, but our party might be better off if we spent more time speaking in positive terms about why we’re against those policies and, more importantly, what we’re for.” He was almost there.

But of course, the government didn’t shut down because Republicans tied an extreme policy demand to a routine continuing resolution for the first time in history. The government shut down because the two parties could not reach an agreement. That’s the fundamentally misleading equivalence presented by a mainstream press fixated on affecting neutrality, according to this scathing analysis by Dan Froomkin. To wit:

Blaming everyone—Congress, both sides, Washington—is simply the path of least resistance for today’s political reporters. It’s a way of avoiding conflict rather than taking the risk that the public—or their editors—will accuse them of being unprofessionally partisan. But making a political judgment through triangulation—trying to stake out a safe middle ground between the two political parties—is still making a political judgment. It is often just not a very good one. And in this case, as in many others, it is doing the country a grave disservice.

Nice try, Froomkin, but anyone can see you’re writing for Al-Jazeera, and your insistence that Republicans have more to do with the shutdown than Democrats is a transparent plot to weaken the party that is against terrorism. There’s nothing in that editorial about the Muslim Barack Obama. Classic liberal media bias.

The press isn’t supposed to tell the America people which of their representatives is behaving irresponsibly. It’s supposed to provide a platform for those representatives to repeat the same talking points ad nauseam, until a sufficient portion of the electorate starts repeating them, too. NBC affiliate WPSD caught Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul talking strategy when the two knew but were evidently unable to process that McConnell was miked. “I just did CNN and I just go over and over again, ‘We’re willing to compromise. ‘We’re willing to negotiate,'” Paul said. “I don’t think they poll tested ‘we won’t negotiate.'” McConnell agreed that the Democrats were making themselves look bad by saying they wouldn’t negotiate over a continuing resolution. And thus do two mildly stupid men assure each other they are outsmarting everyone else.

Meanwhile, at the Wold War II Veterans’ Memorial, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R–TX) lambasted a park ranger for not allowing people in. And just look at the size of that flag! When politicians started wearing American flag pins on their lapels after September 11, it was a mildly irritating affection. Neugebauer has taken affectation to the level of satire by putting a parade-day flag in his breast pocket, although it’s possibly not the kind of satire you do on purpose. Clearly, his sense of irony is impaired. For example, he told a ranger that “the Park Service should be ashamed of themselves” for upholding the shutdown he essentially voted for two days earlier. But that flag!

If you feel a righteous fury rising in your breast when you look at Randy Neugebauer, be sure to choke it down before the Tea Party lady in this video starts talking, or you will spit it all over your screen.


“Finally, we’re having a discussion about Obamacare,” she says. It’s obviously dishonest, but CNN stays focused on the main question: who will be blamed for the shutdown? And Satan shuffles his mighty wings.

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  1. Remember when the Tea Party first started and Fox did it’s best to convince us it was a “bipartisan grassroots movement”?

  2. The schism in the Republican party has been present for as lon as I’ve been paying attention, probably, but I’ve never seen it written about so widley and often. A wide sense in the public that there are two Republican parties, the Intransigents and the Ol’ Boys will allow Republicans of either stripe to feel like they are represented, while creating a new opportunity among moderates to feel, whereas they were previously blocked by the Bachmanns, like there is a sensible, or even reasonable thread to the Republicans. I think on a long enough time frame we’ll write about this time as a small begginning on the road to mainstream Republicans gaining power, creating a much more threatening foe for Democrats in 5 years.

    But right now? Yeah, what the hell are they doing?

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