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I've been trying to stay away from the whole government shutdown thing. Yes it's completely bonkers to threaten to and then move forward with shutting down the government over a bill that was debated for over a year, passed through both houses of Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. Plus the Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried to either repeal or de-fund the bill so many times I've lost track. You guys lost. You really need to get over it already. Worse yet, shutting down the government doesn't even stop the law from going forward. Political grandstanding is one thing but the supposed purpose of said shutdown (destroying the law) was never going to happen. In what world was the President going to sign away his signature legislative accomplishment?
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Once again, the Hermetically sealed bubble that is conservative media has done the GOP a disservice. Despite overwhelming evidence that the Americans did not want the government shutdown at all, much less over Obamacare, the GOP seems to have convinced itself that this was a great idea. It's fair to say that predicting the short and long-term social and political effects of any particular event or strategy is difficult, but this time? This isn't rocket science. There was previous government shutdown precipitated by the GOP that happened during the Clinton Presidency. And it went REALLY badly for them. This time it's gone even worse. It takes a special kind of crazy to ignore history, not from hundreds of years ago but from a mere seventeen years. Then again, maybe I'm the crazy one to expect different behavior. These are the same people who ignored the vast majority of the polls during the Presidential election that said Mitt Romney was going to lose and lose badly. NOT SO they screamed. It's Romney who was going to win an electoral landslide. History, polling, objective reality, a Republican craves not these things. Sigh Let's get to polls.

Poll after poll should have convinced these people to stop their nonsense before it started. But alas no. On Wednesday, Gallop released a poll that show Republican favorability at 28%. That's down ten points from September. That is the lowest favorability rating for either political party in Gallop's history.  But it gets so much worse. On Thursday NBC/WSJreleased their polls on how Americans were reacting to the government shutdown and possible default on our financial responsibilities. They found that a paltry 24% of respondents had a positive view of the Republican party. That's a 13 point drop from the previous month. Again a record low for either political party. I can't underscore how bad that number is except to say that the pollsters themselves used words like "jaw-dropping" to describe it.  To add insult to injury, Obamacare, which has never really had good poll numbers, has actually gone up in favorability since the Republicans has started their political death spiral. From NBC News:

For one thing, the health-care law has become more popular since the shutdown began. Thirty-eight percent see the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) as a good idea, versus 43 percent who see it as a bad idea – up from 31 percent good idea, 44 percent bad idea last month.
The more you look at this latest polls, the worse it is for Republicans. Here are some other highlights from Maddow Blog:
Generic ballot: Democrats enjoy an eight-point advantage in the congressional midterm elections (47% to 39%), as compared to a three-point advantage last month (46% to 43%).

* Government activism:  By a 52% to 44% margin, Americans believe the government should do more, not less, to solve problems. In June, the results were evenly split.

* Patriotism:  A 70% majority believe congressional Republicans are "putting their own political agenda ahead of what is good for the country."

Bravo guys.  Keep up the good work. You're doing a better job of making progressive principles attractive than the Democrats ever could.

Now, through the looking-glass we go.

If you're anything like me, you're wondering who in the hell are the 24% of respondents who think that the Republicans are doing a good job. How many Ted Cruz clones could there possibly be in the United States? The answer is way too many. But one of them made the news recently. Ex-professional football ball coach, Hall of Fame members and current ESPN analyst, Mike Ditka.  Now it's fairly well-known that Ditka is pretty conservative. However what isn't well-known is back in 2004 the GOP tried to recruit him to run against Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate. He had some interesting statements on what the biggest mistake in his life was. We'll pick up the story from the Atlantic Wire:
Ditka, who coached the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl victory, made several comments about his conservative politics, including saying he regrets not running against Barack Obama to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate.

“Biggest mistake I've ever made,” Ditka said.

This is interesting for many reasons. It's not like Mike Ditka has this burgeoning political career that just started a little late. He's done exactly zero on the political stage before Barack Obama was a relatively unknown State Senator. Mike Ditka has done exactly zero politically while Barack Obama was the Senator from Illinois. And he's done exactly zero while we're currently in the President's second term.  Mike Ditka has never been interested in politics enough to run for any government position or serve as staff for any political campaign. This of course means he should have run against for Senate against Barack Obama in 2004. Presumably Ditka would have won and then we wouldn't be under the horrible tyranny of Empire Obama today.  Here's the thing, though -- it would have made no difference in the outcome of that fateful race.  According to polls done at the time, the relatively unknown Obama still would have beat Ditka by seven points. And that was before Obama's speech at the Democratic Nation Convention that put him on the map.

Isn't that just the conservative mind in microcosm. Oh, if only Ditka could have gone back in time and run a political campaign he was never interested in and beat the future President of the United States which he couldn't do on his best day, America would be so much better now. I'm not sure what comes after revisionist history but this is a good candidate.

Of course, people like this can never leave well enough alone. They simply must have it both ways. He continued:

“Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and he wouldn't be in the White House.”
So to sum up, the biggest mistake Mike Ditka ever made was not running against Barack Obama in 2004 for the Illinois Senate. Even though he wasn't going to win. But then again, he totally would have won. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Mike Ditka. Proof positive that the NFL's policy on concussions and other traumatic brain injuries is a lot more serious than previously reported. But who cares about polls and other objective reality based measures when you've got a deep-rooted understanding of how righteous you are. Remember the people who are always going on and on about how much they hate government, how useless government is, wanted the country to believe that the Democrats and President Obama are the reason for the shutdown. This despite the fact that Republican Congressional members have been making the rounds talking about how happy they are because of the shutdown. I'm sure they're shocked now, as they always seem to be whenever reality doesn't comport to the voices in their heads.

I'm starting to worry about these people. At some point we as a country are going to have to start commitment procedures. Because the crazy is getting more concentrated, and certainly more dangerous to itself and the rest of us in the process.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to The Non Blogosphere on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 07:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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