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National Journal:

Republicans, take note. Americans might not like President Obama's signature health care law, but they don't dislike the massive program enough to risk a government shutdown over efforts to unravel it.

According to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, a solid majority of Americans said Congress should consider legislation that might delay or defund the program known as Obamacare separate from any government funding or debt-limit measure.

Separate legislation doesn't pass the Senate and in any case, gets vetoed. Elections matter, Sen. Cruz. Game over.

Steve Benin:

GOP senators are actually saved by procedural complexities. As we discussed yesterday, Cruz's plan is dependent on filibustering the House spending measure, which defunds the Affordable Care Act, and which Cruz and his allies actually support. It's obviously a little convoluted, but the Texas Republican thinks blocking the bill he likes will increase the risk of a shutdown and force Democrats to meet his demands.

But this also leaves an out for every other Senate Republican who wants no part of the nonsense. McConnell, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) all announced yesterday that they'll vote for the House bill because, of course, it "defunds Obamacare."

This solves a lot of Republican problems at once -- it cuts Cruz off at the knees; it sharply decreases the likelihood of a shutdown that GOP senators don't actually want; and if pressed by the right, these Republicans can honestly and accurately say they voted in support of the conservative House bill that the party's radicalized base wanted.

For the country, this is good news. For Ted Cruz, it's quickly becoming an ignominious failure.

Indeed, the far-right's senator's entire scheme is imploding in ways that he apparently didn't see coming. Cruz has lost House Republicans, who were furious when he predicted failure last week after they followed his lead. Cruz has lost Senate Republicans, who consider his hare-brained scheme ridiculous and are annoyed by his efforts to exacerbate intra-party tensions.

Democrats are working hard to exploit massive unrest in the Republican Party over the looming government shutdown, which many see as one of their best chances of holding the Senate or even gaining the House in next year’s midterm elections.

White House officials and other Democrats have been content to watch in recent days as Republicans have torn into each other over strategic disputes and are in no rush to launch negotiations on how to avoid a shutdown.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Chris Cillizza:

What Cruz is interested in is becoming a national figure in the Republican party and, yes, if the dominos fall right, to run for president in 2016. And, to do that, being the guy John McCain referred to as a “wacko bird” or the guy House Speaker John Boehner not-so-subtly called out over the defund Obamacare effort is a very, very good thing.
Ezra Klein:
Democrats point out that Obamacare's implementation schedule wasn't an accident. It was purposefully designed to begin in an off-year. That way there would be a year to work out the worst kinks, and by the time of the actual election, Democrats could point to millions of people getting insurance, running ad after ad highlighting constituents who now have coverage. If implementation didn't begin until October 2014, all voters would know about Obamacare would be the early glitches, as insurance coverage wouldn't begin until January 1, 2015.

In other words, the GOP is trying to sell Democrats on a political nightmare they specifically wrote the law to avoid -- and they're doing so on the grounds that it would actually be a political boon!

On that VA Gov race:
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has vaulted into the lead over Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II in a Virginia governor’s race that has left many voters sour on both candidates, according to a new Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll.

McAuliffe leads 47 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis’s 10 percent suggesting an unrest among voters not satisfied with either major-party contender. In a one-on-one matchup without Sarvis in the mix, the poll shows a narrower, 49-to-44-percent race between McAuliffe and Cuccinelli among likely voters — but still flips Cuccinelli’s 10-point lead from this spring.

Benjamin Hart/HuffPost:
Despite the media coverage saying Americans may have accepted mass shootings as a fact of life, gun control advocates expressed optimism that they are making real progress -- slowly but surely. They pointed to several small victories and incremental steps countering the notion that the NRA and like-minded organizations are invincible.

"You have to fight these battles inch by inch," said Arkadi Gerney, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who works on gun policy.

Jonathan Capehart:
If you want an understanding of the persecution complex rife on well-heeled Wall Street, take a look at the interview American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Robert Benmosche did with the Wall Street Journal. Five years after American International Group received more than $170 billion in public money to keep it from going under and taking the global economy with it in 2008, Benmosche bemoans the uproar over the bonuses his employees received that year with a less-than-apt analogy.
That was ignorance … of the public at large, the government and other constituencies. I’ll tell you why. [Critics referred] to bonuses as above and beyond [basic compensation]. In financial markets that’s not the case. … It is core compensation. … [The uproar over bonuses] was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that–sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 04:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.

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