Spielberg's Lincoln is on cable tonight.
The Debt-Ceiling Showdown Is the Fight of Obama’s Life by Jonathan Chait
The progression of events begins with a dynamic I described in a print piece at the beginning of 2012 – conservatives had come to regard the 2012 race as their last chance to win an election as authentic conservatives against a rising Democratic majority. Since their crushing defeat, they have ignored the task of refurbishing the party’s national appeal for its next national electoral bid, and instead have recommitted themselves to waging increasingly millenarian confrontations from their existing red state power base in Congress.Ted Cruz Now Ruining John Boehner’s Life, Too by Jonathan Chait
If outsiders have failed to grasp the motivations of the House Republicans, puzzling at their odd redoubling of ideological fervor since November, they have likewise mistaken Obama. Everything I have seen from Obama suggests he understands that he cannot repeat his blunder of 2011, when he mistook the GOP’s debt-ceiling threat for an invitation to engage in normal fiscal bargaining.
Yet Obama simply has no alternative but to accept that risk. The stakes are higher than resisting the specific demands Republicans are making, and higher even than the economic havoc of a debt breach. Obama is fighting to save his presidency.
(world's smallest violin)
The Republican Party right now most closely resembles a Weatherman gathering from about 1969, with various factions debating the feasibility of immediate communist revolution versus building a working-class movement as a prelude to smashing the state. As such, distinguishing the various gradients of ideological fanaticism has become an increasingly abstruse task.
The agenda has largely been driven by the “Defund Obamacare” faction, led by Ted Cruz, which proposes to shut down the federal government until such time as President Obama agrees to abolish his health-care plan, which would of course be never. That faction has failed in the Senate, which voted today to keep the government open without demanding the defunding of Obamacare. (Twenty-three Republican senators joined all of the Democrats.)