Joan Walsh at Salon says the fight against Obamacare boils down to racism. In a post that's been slammed by some conservatives, Walsh argues that the government shutdown is the "culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans, to the detriment of everyone else." She points to Reagan's success at equating the government with welfare, and welfare with lazy people (mostly African-Americans). Walsh says that "Defund Obamacare" is a campaign to hurt black people, though she concedes that "not [every Republican] is or was comfortable with this strategy." Today "the entire government has been taken hostage by leaders elected by this crazed minority [the Tea Party], who see in the face of Barack Obama everything they’ve been taught to fear for 50 years." Christina Wilkie, a D.C. reporter at The Huffington Post, calls it a "fiery, important essay," and Dan Froomkin, former liberal Washington Post columnist, tweets, "brutal." Conservatives have been sarcastic in their response: Brit Hume, a senior political analyst for Fox News, tweets, "This is truly remarkable. A columnist for Salon says the shutdown is ultimately about.... Race!" Walsh responds, "Wow. Guess I touched a nerve."
Erik Wemple at The Washington Post on the Politico effect in Congress. Politico reported yesterday that Speaker of the House John Boehner privately thinks Congressional staff should get Obamacare subsidies — and has vigorously fought to keep them — even though he's publicly pushing to get rid of them. What Politico doesn't mention, Wemple points out, is that Politico was the outlet that originally went with an overblown story about lawmakers seeking Obamacare "exemptions" in the first place. That original April 2012 story gave Republicans like Boehner the ammo to fight to get rid of the subsidies. Wemple writes, "May it never be said that Politico isn’t the most opportunistic news organization in the land … The site starts off by hyping an 'exemption' story that delivers Republican talking points about the party’s most reviled piece of legislation … Having sampled the political appeal of the issue via Politico, Boehner unfurls it in the final hours of a showdown over government funding. Next day, Politico knifes Boehner. That’s my Politico." Michael Barbaro, a political reporter for The New York Times, calls it a "fascinating Wemple piece on Politico, Obamacare, and sourcing." David Kurtz, the managing editor at Talking Points Memo, tweets that Politico got "Wemple'd."
Jonathan Chait at New York thinks the shutdown fight will lead to a debt default. With the U.S. treasury quickly nearing its debt ceiling, Chait writes, "Evidence can be found for both alarm and complacency, but the preponderance of proof seems to lie on the side of freaking out." Republicans "assert over and over that Democrats will fold, and seem to believe this." Chait adds, "Boehner does not seem to share his party’s sociopathic embrace of hostage tactics," but his "Speakership is likely to end up in the wood chipper, anyway." Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan adviser, points out this line in Chait's post: "Reading accounts of internal Republican deliberations is like reading histories of World War I or Vietnam." A lot of people liked Chait's Fargo reference.
Matt Yglesias at Slate says markets are up because of the shutdown, not despite it. In a post recommended by The Washington Post's Wonkblog editor Ezra Klein, Yglesias explains that "a government shutdown is a good sign for the economy." The stock market is up, Yglesias says, is that while the government is down investors believe (unlike Chait) that the shutdown will make a debt default less likely. He adds, "Should what we saw today make us complacent about the debt ceiling? No. But if today's events had been avoided with a last-minute short-term continuing resolution we'd be in even worse shape."
Patrick J. Murphy at MSNBC says losing his Congressional seat for Obamacare was worth it. Murphy, who was a Democratic Congressman for Pennsylvania's 8th district from 2007-2011, was defeated by a Republican in 2010 after he voted for the Affordable Care Act. "I was one of the 63 House Democrats who lost their seat in the epic 2010 election that was fueled by the Tea Party and their angst against Obamacare." He explains, "Historically speaking, the passage of Obamacare is similar to Medicare. Then, there were critics like Ronald Reagan who rallied against Medicare, and most of the Senate Republicans voted against its passage. But history proved them wrong and now even Republicans sing the program’s praises." Standing up for the law was "the right thing to do." Rachel Maddow recommends the post.