Some quick thoughts this morning:
1. It's still no better than 50-50 ("a coin flip" as @thefix said to me on Washington Post TV last week) that the debt ceiling will be raised by October 17, the date Treasury says it will run out of the ability to use "extraordinary measures" and the government will have to operate just from the cash it has on hand every day.
2. If anything the situation has gotten worse rather than better over the past few days with House Republicans in open warfare against their GOP Senate colleagues. It appears that House Republicans need to get something out of the box the are in with the government shutdown and debt ceiling even if it means extracting a pound of political flesh from their own party to do it.
3. Let me say this yet again as directly as possible: John Boehner (R-OH) is the weakest and least effective speaker in my lifetime, and he may come close to taking the all-time title.
All government shutdown-concerned eyes yesterday seemed to be on the two meetings that took place at the White House. Financial company CEOs met with the president in the morning and congressional leaders in the late afternoon.
But the real shutdown news was being made in Connecticut, where United Technologies announced that it would furlough 2000 workers each of the next two weeks if the shutdown continues.
The reason these nonfederal workers will stop being paid? Because the Defense Contract Management Agency is closed and its inspectors aren't available to review the Black Hawk helicopters the company is making for the Pentagon.
If they happen, the layoffs will occur in Stratford, Connecticut; West Palm Beach, Florida, and Troy, Alabama.
This is exactly the kind of news that will rapidly change the politics of the shutdown and make it easier/mandatory for a member of Congress who so far has supported the shutdown or refused to admit defeat to insist the government be reopened.
I will admit right upfront that there is a little bit of wishful thinking in what you're about to read.
But it's only a little bit. And my realizing that it exists hasn't changed my analysis that a government shutdown could be the point that historians one day point to as the beginning of the end for the tea partiers in Congress.
I've come to this conclusion for two reasons
First, many people don't remember that the beginning of the end of Newt Gingrich's speakership began when Republicans were blamed for the two shutdowns in 1995 and 1996.
The comparison is anything but perfect. But given that Gingrich and congressional Republicans were far more popular in the mid-1990s than the tea party is today, and in light of the fact that the tea party and not House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is most likely to bear the blame if a shutdown occurs, there's a good reason to think that at least some of the TP's supporters will find themselves cursing the tea party's name very soon, especially when the shutdown begins to affect them negatively.
It was virtually inevitable that House Republicans would amend the Senate-passed continuing resolution with changes the Senate has already said it won't accept.
To understand why, I need to again refer back to something I posted more than two years ago, right after I was the first speaker at the first meeting of the House tea party caucus. (You can read all the details here.)
I was talking informally with a number of the members of Congress who had been there after the meeting ended. There was unanimous agreement among those members that the biggest thing the House GOP had done wrong during the 1995 and 1995-96 shutdowns was that it had given in to Bill Clinton too early. The GOP would have gotten a much better deal, they told me, if it had pushed harder and been willing to keep the government closed longer.
#cliffgate is my term.
Everything else you see here about the current political situation in the U.S. is from Fallows. It's short and chilling.
The money quote: