Day 12 of the Heritage/Club for Growth/Koch Brothers Shutdown is here, and the Maalox and Maker’s Mark are running neck-and-neck among GOP House Caucus members as they try to figure a way out of the tangled mess into which they were driven by a bunch of well-heeled far-right numbskulls.
This is ripping the GOP and their far-right allies to bits, and absolutely trashing their message discipline. You’ve got Paul Ryan and his crowd saying “forget the kill-Obamacare push, let’s focus on killing Social Security” and you’ve got the Heritage boys saying “no no no let’s pass the debt ceiling hike so we can keep focused on killing Obamacare”. What’s a Republican officeholder scared to death of a well-funded right-wing primary challenger to do?
Even as the Republicans continue to shakily pretend that they’ve got everything under control, there are many things out there that belie their faked calm:
– The polls. For Republicans, they stink. Badly. Even FOX News polls. Even the ones Ted Cruz custom-orders from Republican polling firms. The folks at Gallup, that longtime GOP-leaning outfit which blew the 2012 elections because its polls consistently overestimated Republican support, acknowledge that the Republicans have fallen off a cliff in the latter part of 2013. PPP’s newest poll, released on October 9, shows a massive shift by independent voters: In July, Republicans led Democrats among independent voters by 12 points. Three months later, Republicans are now losing to Democrats by nine points among indies, most of whom blame the Republicans for the shutdown.
– GOP Donors getting nervous. Most GOP donors who have a clue about how finance works are not at all happy: “One top party fundraiser said the Wall Street financiers and corporate executives he counts on for support are ‘having fits’ over the GOP’s brinkmanship strategy, especially related to a potential default if Congress does not agree to raise the debt ceiling later this month. ‘The donors I raise money from understand the vital importance of credit markets and are upset that the U.S. credit system is being put at risk,’ said the fundraiser, who requested anonymity because of his position in the business world.”
– Shutdown’s instigators getting nervous. The Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation are trying to wriggle around to avoid being too closely connected in the public mind with the shutdown they worked to instigate. Awww, poor babies!
– Wall Street is getting REALLY nervous. That’s why the Dow, which not too long ago was flirting with 16,000, dipped well below 15,000 for a few days this past week. How nervous is Wall Street? Well, Fidelity Investments, the nation’s largest money market mutual fund manager, just dumped its Treasury bill portfolio last week. If that didn’t scare the Republicans on Capitol Hill, it sure as hell scared their financial planners.
– VA to stop sending out checks soon. The veterans being hauled around for national park photo-ops by right-wing groups backing the shutdown might be a bit dismayed to hear this news: “Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned Congress Wednesday that unless the government shutdown ends, his department will be unable to send out 5.18 million checks on Nov. 1. That’s about $6 billion in payments that won’t be able to go out because there won’t be enough funds to send out the checks to beneficiaries.”
The Republicans will continue to talk semi-tough, right up to the last possible moment. But they’re about to have a date with reality, and it won’t be a dream date, either.