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Despite some random comments by "moderate" Republican congressmen, the reality is that the Republican majority is united behind the Tea Party push to extort an end to ObamaCARE.

Any strategy that focuses on forcing a vote in the House under current conditions is a waste of time. The Republicans, at best, will vote to table any vote on a clean continuing resolution. More importantly, the Republicans are united on NOT raising the debt ceiling UNLESS ObamaCARE is repealed, or they get some other major concession.

Yes, this time around, the Republican strategy is extortion. And they will do it every year until and unless they are smacked down.

So, what to do?

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The misguided tactical approach of trying to force a vote in the House is worthless, at the moment. The problem is that any Republican "moderate" who votes against the Republican Leadership will be forced out of office at the next election. This means that any vote on a clean CR will either be tabled or simply lose.

The bigger issue is that Republicans are sufficiently united to insist on major concessions, or else they will not lift the debt ceiling.  This disaster is going to happen without concessions on the part of the Dems.

What we are seeing nationwide is that the government shutdown does not affect most people, it is just a show to them. Until and unless people are inconvenienced by the shutdown, they will just continue on with their lives, and the party politics will not mean anything to them. Of course, for those people impacted by the shutdown, life sucks. In this way, the shutdown is analogous to the Afghan war, in that it doesn't impact most people.

What to do?

First off, buying canned goods, candles and bottled water is not a bad move, given the probabilities of the debt ceiling disaster actually happening.

However, that doesn't answer the political question. The most important thing is that "moderate" Republican elected officials begin to think that IF THEY DON'T VOTE AGAINST THE SHUTDOWN, THEY WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS.   Until and unless the Republican moderates fear the wrath of the voters, they are simply going to play around as they have been.

That voter wrath can be manifested and encouraged in many ways. Simple shifts in public opinion about the shutdown can register in local polls. Or, opponents of the shutdown could stage rallies in districts held by these semi-mythical moderate Republicans. Or, Obama could campaign in districts he carried that are represented by Republicans. Or, the effects of the shutdown itself may become so widespread and pernicious that Republicans are forced to reverse themselves.

But, whatever the Democrats are doing now, it ain't working.

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