1. Scrupulously neutral Charlie Cook: “The GOP’s Reckless Bet.” And that’s before any actual shutdown or debt-limit breach.
2. Good point from Jamelle Bouie: The politicians most responsible for Republican troubles are the same ones who are least likely to suffer for it.
3. While David Freddoso mocks the logic of the Tea Party gang on the Senate’s next step.
4. Steve Benen agrees that a big part of this is simply that elections have consequences.
5. And then there’s the money game. Jennifer Rubin is collecting fundraising pitches from conservative groups raising money off of the “defending” campaign.
6. Pema Levy notes that one such group, the Senate Conservatives Fund, spent over $1 million electing Ted Cruz, and raised more than that just in August from Cruz’s campaign.
7. If there’s a shutdown, and he thinks it’s likely, it will last for at least 10 days, says Stan Collender.
8. “[I]t’s time to play a favorite Obamacare game called Is It Time To Freak Out Yet?” Sarah Kliff explains why Oct. 1 will be something of a “soft launch” and why that’s not actually a big deal.
9. Richard Hasen on the Tom DeLay appeal: “it confirms that the big problem is not what’s illegal, but what’s legal.”
10. Ezra Klein lights into the “train wreck” of the current Congress, the current House, and the Speaker of the House.
11. “The general pattern is that social programs offend Republicans to the degree that they benefit the poor, sick, or otherwise unfortunate.” Jonathan Chait, brutal on Republicans and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps.
12. Paul Krugman on why SNAP use has changed over the last decade.
13. Jeffrey Goldberg has a different interpretation of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and why it may be working.
14. And “that’s bipartisan, baby“ — Kevin Drum enjoying the silly season spin from the House.