Government Shutdown

As the shutdown drags on—and almost one million furloughed federal workers sit at home without pay—public outrage has burned hot at the congressional lawmakers who will continue receiving their $174,000 annual salary no matter how long this lasts. As of Thursday afternoon, 176,000 people had signed a petition at MoveOn.org calling for Congress to go without pay until they get the government up and running again.

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You don't have to look far to find people diagnosing gerrymandering as the source of all of our nation’s woes, including (but surely not limited to) the shutdown. From this perspective, Republicans are gerrymandered into districts so conservative that the GOP is held hostage by ultraconservative primary electorates. Even President Obama has blamed the GOP "fever" on gerrymandering.

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“We're not going to be disrespected," Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."Out of the kindness of our hearts, some suggested things to get out of this:

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Among its many unhappy effects, the shutdown has sparked an overwhelming number of rhapsodies for Washington's halcyon, bipartisan past. Throughout Barack Obama's presidency, the dysfunction has bred nostalgia for an era "when politics worked" (the tagline of news anchor Chris Matthews' new book), and the events of this week have made those ruminations all the more effusive. We culled some examples of pundits recalling days gone by. Prepare to get lost in the rosy glow.

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House Republican leaders are starting to look pretty desperate.

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The current thinking inside the alternate reality known as the House GOP is that Republicans will try to combine the fight on the continuing resolution (which would reopen the government) with the debt limit fight (which is necessary to avoid a default) and insist on a fiscal grand bargain (presumably a deal that cuts trillions in spending) as the price of doing both.*

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Shutdown Kabuki

A Tea Party circus at the WWII Memorial; no one at a children's cancer ward

It wasn’t hard to pick out the Republican congressmen and aides at the World War II memorial on the Mall Wednesday. There, in wheelchairs and with canes, were the veterans who’d come to see the memorial in all its Albert Speer-inspired glory. And there, walking alongside them in lime-green polo shirts, were their “guardians” from the Honor Flight program that brings the veterans to Washington.

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According to The Huffington Post, 17 Republican congressman have indicated their willingness to vote for a “clean continuing resolution.” Combined with 200 Democratic votes, those 17 House Republicans could end the government shutdown.So who are they? For the most part, they’re exactly what you’d expect: Moderates from the mid-Atlantic. But there are a few exceptions and, perhaps surprisingly, relatively few are vulnerable in 2014. Take a look at the big picture:

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Political philosophers from Aristotle to Locke have defined the nation-state as the highest form of political community....What is happening in America is that this social contract is being voided

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