Government Shutdown

As everyone knows, when liberals are faced with rabid insanity they tend to look for root causes. Thus, I have embarked on a quest to find out why large elements of the Republican Party have completely lost their minds. One place I looked was Todd S.

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Today is the day that Salon’s excellent columnist Alex Pareene and The New York Times’ Tom Friedman-y columnist Tom Friedman agree. The subject: The government shutdown, and who or what is to blame. The answer, according to both: A “what” rather than a “who”—a governmental and media structure that incentivizes radical Republicans to stop the government in order to try to claw back a settled law.

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It’s no secret why Republicans are facing a PR debacle over the shutdown they triggered. Not only have conservatives chosen an unpopular issue on which to make a stand—polls consistently show that Americans oppose defunding Obamacare by a fairly wide margin. The Tea Partiers have exacerbated the problem by choosing a massively unpopular approach to getting their way.

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More Partisanship: What We Need to Fix Congress

Stronger political parties would have avoided this week's shutdown

Stronger political parties, acting in their own interest, could avoid this week's self-inflicted wounds.

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In the end, the great moderate Republican revolt to stop Tea Partiers from shuttering the government numbered just two members of the House.

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It's been 17 years since the last government shutdown. Here's what The New Republic wrote after it ended in January, 1996: 

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A little while ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid arrived at an event on Capitol Hill and got a huge applause from some fellow Democrats. That probably doesn’t seem surprising. Reid has always been popular with members of his caucus. But this time it wasn’t just Senate Democrats cheering him. It was House Democrats, too. “Three cheers for Harry Reid,” one House Democrat said. “In the House, we love you,” said another.

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This is what Yeltsin did to Russia's parliament when they were being stubborn. 

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On Tuesday, for the first time in 17 years, the U.S.

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On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights this week, while Keith Olbermann fulfills a contractual obligation to TBS that predates his recent return to ESPN, Olbermann’s eponymous nightly show will be hosted by Larry King.

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