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  In an unexpected segment on NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams turned to Chuck (It's Not My Job) Todd to report on the driving force behind the government shutdown: a group of about 80 Republicans in the House from very conservative districts. Video doesn't seem to be available yet, but a tweet from Todd gives a hint: Tune in on @nbcnightlynews for a look at the conservative engine inside the House GOP  At the moment the comments seem to show a leaning towards blue sentiments, with a few red stater types weighing in, plus some who are too disgusted to even think about it.

       The quick version as best I can recall, is, roughly 80 House Republicans were tagged as using the budget as a hammer to force concessions on Obabmacare, in a letter they signed back in August sent to the House leadership. A look at them shows they come from districts where they won by large majorities and President Obama lost by a big margin. In other words, they expect to feel no political heat back home for shutting down the government.

        Two of them (whose names escape me) were interviewed briefly. My impression is that they were both quite pleased with having shut down the government, because they believe Obamacare is just too "onerous". They were elected in 2010, after the bill creating the ACA passed into law; they didn't get to vote on it so they're taking it upon themselves to stop it any way they can.

    Charles P. Pierce has their number right here:

In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress -- or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress -- a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party's 2012 nominee for president of the United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in large measure, closed this morning.
        While Todd's report doesn't get as colorful as that of Pierce, it does make very clear that the government of the United States has been shut down at the behest of a minority of the House Republican Party, representing a fraction of the United States and and even smaller fraction of the voting public.

       This may be as close as we get to seeing a major news outlet lay this on a bunch of GOP ideologues. It will be interesting to see if anyone else picks up on this, or it sinks back into the "one hand - other hand" school of reporting.

   If NBC puts the video clip up, I'll try to link to it.

     Meanwhile, the next report up was about how the first day of the Healthcare Exchanges opening up was marked by huge numbers of people crashing websites as they tried to find out more and sign up for insurance...

UPDATE: HERE'S THE VIDEO (thanks to Phil S 33 for finding it) It's a remarkable report from a mainstream news organizations that for once doesn't waffle about what's really behind the government shutdown. This is one to Facebook and share as widely as possible.

http://www.nbcnews.com/...

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE 2: Tip to Jacoby Jonze, who links to this Ryan Lizza New Yorker article that is the apparent source for Todd's report. Names, map, and a lot more detail. Lizza calls the GOP extremists "The Suicide Caucus"; let's hope this doesn't turn into one of those murder-suicide stories. These people, it should be said, are determined to deny millions of their fellow Americans access to health care, and they don't care what the body count will be.

UPDATE 3: While there are some complaints that Todd didn't push his two interview subjects hard enough on their stand or otherwise explain what's happening in as great detail as might be desired, the issue is now out there and the rest of the media just might start to run with it. Example - NY Times

UPDATE 4:  When even Thomas Friedman gets it, you know you're in trouble.

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