OK

The good news for Ted Cruz is that in at least one newspaper, his fake filibuster (which continues at this very moment) has achieved one of his goals: A real newspaper headline. Unfortunately for him, he also had to share the headline with his nemesis, Obamacare:

In case you're late to the party, yesterday Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor in order to protest Obamacare, vowing to not stop talking until he was physically unable to perform. Apparently, he hasn't reached that moment yet, whatever happens, the Senate will vote today on a motion to proceed on the House's legislation to defund Obamacare and fund the government through December 15.

Cruz opposes moving forward on that legislation even though it defunds Obamacare because once it reaches the Senate floor, Senate Democrats can amend it to remove the defunding language with a simple majority vote, which Cruz calls a "gimmick." Cruz will fail, but if he had his way, the government would shut down on September 30, because blocking the House bill would make it impossible for the Senate to pass anything to prevent a shutdown.

Cruz's stunt is a shiny new object but the only real drama about it is whether or not he is using a catheter, and if so, whether it is covered by Obamacare or some other public health care system. The real drama will be what happens when the Senate sends a spending bill back to the House that does not defund Obamacare, because at that point House Republicans will need to decide whether or not to double down on their extortion scheme. Apparently, they are considering doing just that:

The House Republican leadership is seriously considering attaching a one-year delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate to the Senate bill to avert a government shutdown, according to senior GOP aides.

If House Republicans decide to go this route, it would all but provoke a government shutdown, since Senate Democrats might not even schedule a vote on a bill that includes that provision, Senate leadership staffers say. Even if the Senate schedules a vote, there might not be time to move the legislation through the slow-moving chamber.

No decisions have been made, but according to Politico, House Republicans think using the threat of a government shutdown as a bargaining chip to delay Obamacare is a huge political winner, because the individual mandate is not popular.

Who knows whether or not they actually believe that, but if they do, they are nuts:

With a potential government shutdown now looming, Americans find it unacceptable for either a president or members of Congress to threaten a government shutdown in order to achieve their goals, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.

Eighty percent of Americans say threatening a government shutdown during budget debates is not an acceptable way to negotiate; only 16 percent think it is.

Hopefully House Republicans come to their senses and realize that using a government shutdown as a political weapon would be a grave mistake, but whatever they do, it's clear that the country has already decided.

9:01 AM PT: And, per Senate rules, the #fauxlibuster is over. The noon hour has arrived. And Ted Cruz is gone from the Senate floor.

The happiest people in America? Fox News execs, who can now regain their audience.

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