* From The Hill, Mitch McConnell promises no more government shutdowns over Obamacare:
“One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule. The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid 1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days,” he said. “There is no education in the second kick of a mule. There will not be a government shutdown.”
“I think we have fully now acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy that is,” he added.
This signals Republican leaders are not going to let the Tea Party wing bait them into another kamikaze showdown. Of course, the GOP leadership was against the government shutdown this time, too. Maybe next time they’ll really mean it…
* Jim Tankersley interviewed one John Anderson. This man actually lost out, badly, from the government shutdown:
He is a line cook at the American Indian Smithsonian Museum on the National Mall. Anderson is not a government employee. He’s a contract worker – the government hires his company to make the food for visitors to the museum. When the shutdown closed the museum, Anderson lost his job. He’ll now presumably be able to go back to work, but unlike federal workers, he won’t get back pay. And he could use that back pay: Anderson is a divorced father of two who usually brings home about $350 a week after taxes and child support.
Even as reporters have mostly focused on the shutdown’s political dynamics, this is one small window into what it really meant — real and lasting pain for thousands of Americans.
* Ezra Klein makes an underappreciated point: Democrats should move higher taxes from the top spot on the priority list. In a world of high unemployment, weak growth, and very low borrowing costs, higher taxes aren’t a hugely important issue.
* Business leaders might be finally waking up to the threat that the Tea Party poses to the basic functioning of the country:
“I don’t know of anybody in the business community who takes the side of the Taliban minority,” said Dirk Van Dongen, longtime chief lobbyist for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors who has known Boehner since the lawmaker’s first election.
* Paul Krugman gives Fix the Debt a richly earned frying pan to the chops: “Fix the Debt isn’t just ineffectual in its pursuit of a Grand Bargain, it’s an actively malign force in our politics, in effect acting as an ally of the extortionists.” Also today, the Fixers did a Twitter Q and A. Hilarity ensued.
* Robert Kuttner applauds Barack Obama’s newly discovered backbone, and argues it will prove of further use in the next shutdown. Hang tough, and the “latent schisms” in the GOP will crack open. Attempt to get a “grand bargain,” and he’ll get nothing.
* Ed Kilgore keeps his eye on the ball, noting that this GOP “civil war” is entirely over tactics, not policy substance. Republicans are still basically united in “violent antipathy” towards Obamacare and “belief that nearly half the country is composed of satanic blood-suckers and baby-killers.”
* Steve Benen takes a look at how much damage the shutdown did to the nation’s economy. According to Standard & Poor, it’s something like $24 billion gone, pao, completamente finito. For no reason and no benefit to anyone, even Republicans.
* Dave Weigel details perhaps the most predictable outcome of a colossal Republican defeat: the ultra-conservatives rewriting history to blame everyone but themselves. This time, it’s “messaging” and their moderate colleagues.
* In other news, six-power talks with Iran seem to be going quite well, with all countries signing an optimistic statement and formalizing the next round of talks early next month. Of course, the Congressional Belligerent Caucus wants even more sanctions, dismissing the negotiations before the administration even released any details. However, Fred Kaplan is still fairly upbeat about the prospects:
First, the chances for a truly historic breakthrough are pretty good—which, at this stage in talks of such magnitude, is astonishing. Second, the Iranians’ main demands—at least what we know of them—are pretty reasonable.
* Great point from Erik Wemple: Robert Costa is providing an excellent model for respectable conservative journalism. He treats conservatives fairly and respectfully, and so has the best conservative sourcing in the business, but he also doesn’t slant his coverage with the ludicrous propaganda one constantly finds on Fox News. It’s highly possible to be a conservative and still be a great reporter, and ultimately media outlets that behave like PR flacks end up undermining their own movement.
* Pierre Omidyar, the eBay gazillionaire, explains his new media outlet with Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.
* Interesting new study on why we need sleep. Apparently part of the reason is that when we’re asleep, our brains pumps itself full of cerebrospinal fluid to clean out the accumulated gunk. Sleep tight!