October 10, 2013

1. Lots of breaking news this evening, but I’ll start with a brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that has bad news, bad news and even worse news for Republicans. Republican Party approval drops to 24 percent, a new low in the history of the poll (Democrats’ approval rate is 39 percent); people blame Republicans by an even wider margin than they did during the 1995-1996 shutdown; and Barack Obama’s approval rating is actually holding steady at 47 percent.

2. Mark Murray with a full report on the poll. This is brutal stuff, if not unexpected.

3. The latest from Robert Costa about the potential six-week debt limit extension. Still not too many details, but he’s reporting optimism among Republicans that they can get it done.

4. But Tim Alberta is reporting that there are emerging Republican divisions over the plan.

5. Jackie Calmes and Ashley Parter report that Barack Obama isn’t on board with a debt limit extension unless it’s tied to also reopening the government, although it’s not clear yet exactly what Obama was offered and what he rejected (and therefore whether the debt limit extension is still moving forward).

6. “It could well be that the Republican congressional strategy in the last year will pay off in other ways, but it is pretty clear that it isn’t buying them any favor among the general public.” Political scientist Thomas Holbrook looks at the polling numbers.

7. Speaking of polling numbers: Nate Silver pops up and offers a thorough look at the entire shutdown/debt limit situation. Very good stuff.

8. I really like the point that Ed Kilgore makes here about the apparent relationship among some Republicans between actual policy choices and “messaging.” I’ve been wondering to what extent Republicans are allowing the chase for good sound bites to guide their negotiation strategy — something especially dangerous for them because within the conservative feedback loop, every messaging strategy turns into an (apparent) brilliant success.

9. Tom Coburn, who actually does care about budget deficits, has a long conversation with Ezra Klein. Lots to chew on here.

10. Is it John Boehner — or Homer Simpson? Jonathan Chait explains.

11. What happens when one reporter calls out a Republican politician on phony rhetoric — Dave Weigel vs. Jack Kingston.

12. No one cares about filibusters other than the partisan advantages that they are used for. That’s research about voter attitudes from Steven Smith and Hong Min Park; it’s also true among most politicians, who flip every time the Senate majority flips. There are a few exceptions, but very few.

13. Oh, and the debt limit? Jordan Ragusa notes that the minority party always opposes raising it. It’s not about ideology or public policy positions.

14. State tax levels don’t really matter very much. Matt Yglesias explains.

15. Irin Carmon reports on what California is doing on abortion.

16. And Seth Masket mostly downplays talk about a looming party break-up: “So I don’t think the modern Republican Party is in any existential peril. Then again, I probably would have said the same thing about the Whigs in 1852.”