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from Nicholas Wapshott:

Enlightening the puzzled Republicans

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Moderate Republicans cannot fathom what has happened to their party.

Once a happy band of no-nonsense, pro-business conservatives, cautious in everything from money to marriage -- including their wary response to the onward march of 1960s liberal social values -- they were prepared, within reason, to trim their policies to match the voters’ mood. After all, to achieve anything in government you first have to win elections.

But that was before the revival in fundamental conservatism that has turned the GOP from a pragmatic party to a collection of inward-looking ideological tribes. Republicans puzzled by the rise of dogma and division in their party can find answers in a new survey that explains how large the factions are and what they think. They will be surprised by the findings.

The GOP has long been considered a three-legged stool: big business, Southern evangelical Christians and anti-government Westerners. But, largely since the world financial panic of 2008-9, these three have been joined by two new aggressive, popular movements: the Tea Party and the libertarians.

To put the transformation of the GOP in context: the only postwar departure from steady, old-school Republican moderation was an experiment in conservative radicalism in 1964 when the government-hating Barry M. Goldwater became the party’s presidential champion.

from The Edgy Optimist:

The benefits of a ‘de-Americanized world’

This current bout of Washington inanity is approaching its denouement, but however it ends, it has accelerated a trend that has been gathering steam for at least the last five years: the move away from a Washington-centric world and towards a new, undefined, but decidedly less American global system.

The latest broadside was the widely disseminated editorial in China’s state-run news agency Xinhua, which called for a “de-Americanized world” that no longer depends on the dollar and is thus no longer at the whim of “intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States.” That follows on the heels of a Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times in which he called out the American tendency to see itself as an exceptional, indispensable nation. “It is extremely dangerous,” Putin concluded, “to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

from The Great Debate:

Shutdown scenarios for a no-budget blockbuster

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What will a shutdown of the federal government ultimately look like?

One well-known scenario suggests that roaming bands of survivalists will be plundering stockpiles of abandoned weapons; the last vials of deadly diseases are cracking under the unsupervised mechanisms at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all communications and travel are frozen -- airports shut down, highways unpatrolled, bridges collapsing.

No, wait…that’s The Walking Dead. A zombie menace has shut down any federal authority, and local groups form nomadic associations to survive.

from The Great Debate:

Shutdown: A fight with no room for compromise

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To end the government shutdown, all Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) needs to do is let the House of Representatives vote on a budget. It would pass within 30 minutes. Virtually all 200 House Democrats would vote to keep the government open, as would as many as 50 Republicans. An easy majority.

But no. Boehner and other Republican leaders refuse to do that because they are in thrall to Tea Party conservatives. Hard-line conservatives number about 50 out of 232 House Republicans. But those conservatives are threatening to lead an insurrection against party leaders if they dare to allow a vote. Other Republican members are terrified that they will face a tough primary challenge from the right if they don't go along with the Tea Party.

from The Great Debate:

Ted Cruz: Blackmailer

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On October 28, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and his supporters may wish to commemorate the feast day of Saint Jude. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. Because if ever there was a hopeless cause, it is killing the Affordable Care Act.

Fighting for hopeless causes is not uncommon in politics. Think of the nearly two centuries it took to abolish slavery and segregation in the United States. Fighting for a hopeless cause can raise public consciousness about an issue and advance the career of the advocate.

from The Great Debate:

Can GOP blame Obama for the sequester?

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More than 25 years ago, Representative Jack Kemp told me, “In the past, the left had a thesis: spending, redistribution of wealth and deficits. Republicans were the antithesis: spending is bad.”

He went on to explain, “Ronald Reagan represented a breakthrough for our party. We could talk about lower taxes and more growth. We didn't have to spend all our time preaching austerity and spending cuts. The question now is: Do we take our thesis and move it further, or do we revert to an anti-spending party?”

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama has budget deal “bonus” for Colorado schoolkids; Boehner bashes Democrats at fund-raiser

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OBAMA/

President Barack Obama is getting into a habit of surprising tourists. Over the weekend it was a trip to the Lincoln Memorial, and on Monday he turned up to surprise a group of school children at the White House.

"Not only did things work out, but we figured we'd give you a little bonus," Obama told the 50 students from Altona Middle School in Colorado. Then he posed for pictures with them and answered a few questions behind the White House. (One of his favorite things about being president is that he has no commute because his office is right next to his house).

from Tales from the Trail:

At Lincoln Memorial, Obama again makes point that government is open

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President Barack Obama has found the monuments of Washington to be quite the picturesque backdrops for making the point that a government shutdown was averted.

Obama surprised visitors at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday not long after signing a short-term bill to keep the government open. A budget deal was reached shortly before Friday's midnight deadline. USA/

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama family trip cancelled over budget deadlock

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Add another victim to a looming federal government shutdown - a surprise Obama family outing to Williamsburg in Virginia, which was  postponed on Friday after budget negotiations failed to break their deadlock.

OBAMA/The weekend get-away to the historically preserved 18th century colonial town had been kept under wraps, but was almost immediately in doubt after word of the trip trickled out.

from Tales from the Trail:

Freebies offered for a shutdown budget

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No work, no trash pick-up, no Circulator bus trips around town, but at least the "non-essential" federal employee can eat like a teenager in a buffet line if the federal government shuts down after the clock hits 12 tonight.  FASHION/

Federal and Washington D.C. government services not deemed essential will close if Congress fails to reach a budget deal before funds run out at midnight. But local restaurants and bars are offering some compensation -- deals and freebies for government workers if Republicans and Democrats fail to reach agreement.

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