* Tonight’s GOP debate in Iowa, with high stakes for the first GOP voting in January, starts at 9 p.m. Jonathan Bernstein will be live-Tweeting it right here, and he’ll have reaction later on this blog.
* The other key numbers in today’s big Pew poll suggest Republicans may be taking more of the blame for Congressional paralysis:
A record-high 50% say that the current Congress has accomplished less than other recent Congresses, and by nearly two-to-one (40% to 23%) more blame Republican leaders than Democratic leaders for this. By wide margins, the GOP is seen as the party that is more extreme in its positions, less willing to work with the other side to get things done, and less honest and ethical in the way it governs.
* But Dems don’t fare all that well in that poll, and neither does Congress overall, and you can expect that a deal to avert a shutdown will be reached before tomorrow night’s deadline.
* Obama, in an interview with ABC News, amplifies the coming campaign message that Republicans are deliberately trying to paralyze government to wound Obama politically:
“You know, you never want to say, ‘It’s all them. But I do think that right now at least, in the Republican Party there are a couple of notions. Number one is that compromise is a dirty word. Number two, anything that Obama’s for, we’re against.”
As always, the question is: Even if voters accept this to be the case, will it really matter, or will Obama be held accountable for the economy in spite of this?
* Obama reelect reality check of the day: Ron Brownstein on some new polling numbers showing he’s lost as much or more ground among core groups that favored him last time as he has among those who resisted him.
* Mark Schmitt unmasks the massive, self-enriching fraud that “moderate” Dems have pulled off with the false narrative that their party has moved to the left, leaving only themselves in the sensible “center.”
* Speaking of fraudulent “centrism,” Igor Volsky makes an extensive substantive case as to why the new Wyden-Ryan Medicare plan is actually the Ryan plan as Trojan Horse.
* Also: Jason Linkins says Dems really shouldn’t fall into the trap Republicans have laid by “inviting” them to join in with the “bipartisan consensus” on Medicare the Wyden-Ryan plan supposedly represents.
Linkins’ conclusion: This plan is actually an escape hatch for Republicans from the Ryan political debacle.
* The White House, in a puckish use of a previous Newt Gingrich line, says the Wyden-Ryan plan would cause Medicare to “wither on the vine.”
Key takeaway: Dems moved with surprising swiftness to smack this idea down, because they, too, saw this as a trap.
* Tom Matzzie, one of the earlier organizers against the Iraq War, has a nice post giving credit to the American people for bringing it to an end, and reflecting on the many lessons learned.
* Glenn Greenwald on why Human Rights Watch is right to say that Obama “will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law.”
* And the Occupy Wall Street reality check of the day: Though it still has hundreds of thousands in the bank, donations to the movement have fallen off a cliff.
Of course, even if the movement is dissipating, as expected, when it comes to shifting the conversation in the right direction, it has already succeeded.
What else is happening?