House GOP

Here’s the question to ask yourself while watching the government shutdown/debt-limit insanity play out these next few days: Is the congressional GOP a global menace, bent on destruction of an epic scale, or merely a goofy, intermittently-competent-at-best, primarily self-destructive force?

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When we last left the House Republicans, they were balking at bipartisan immigration reform while laboring to cut domestic spending to Neanderthal levels, not merely the Eisenhower-era levels of the sequester.

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The spending cuts House Republicans want to pass are too numerous for me to catalog.

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Have you read Jonathan Not Me's latest take on where health care stands? If not, go read it right now and then come back. Okay, so you've read it. Now let me chime in with a few thoughts of my own. Most of the coverage you've seen elsewhere -- this L.A. Times article offers a notable exception -- has offered a more dire take than the two Jonathans'. Here's why I think most of those prognoses are too grim. First, as I've been saying, the fundamentals have not really changed since the Massachusetts election.

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Recent polls show their movement is thought of more favorably by Americans than either the Democratic or Republican Parties. Political independents are said to be attracted more each day. Progressive dissenters against the “pro-corporate” policies of the Obama administration pine for alliances with them. But at the same time, Republican politicians constantly ape their rhetoric and seek to deploy them against their Democratic, and sometimes intraparty, enemies. So the question persists: Is the Tea Party Movement an independent “third force” in American politics?

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