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David Frum at CNN thinks the Tea Party should secede. "Right now, tea party extremism contaminates the whole Republican brand," argues Frum, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush. "It's a very interesting question whether a tea party bolt from the GOP might not just liberate the party to slide back to the political center — and liberate Republicans from identification with the Sarah Palins and the Ted Cruzes who have done so much harm to their hopes over the past three election cycles." He notes that third-party challenges actually helped Truman get elected in 1948. MSNBC host Abby Huntsman, daughter of former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, tweets, "Amen!" Justin Green, the online editor at The Washington Examiner, asks, "Curious what @davidfrum would say about the '92 election. Would a Buchanan third party have neutralized Perot?"

Nate Cohn at The New Republic argues gerrymandering didn't cause the shutdown. Cohn concedes that gerrymandering helped Republicans gain more seats in the House, and that it will make it more difficult for Democrats to retake the House in 2014. But gerrymandering "didn't represent the GOP's margin of victory in the House in 2012." Further, gerrymandering "doesn't produce ultra-conservative districts. After all, the goal of partisan redistricting is to maximize the number of seats held by a party. That discourages the GOP from constructing ultraconservative districts, which waste Republican votes making red districts redder, rather than making purple districts redder." Bottom line? It didn't cause the shutdown: "Maybe the House leadership would have been more cautious if control was more obviously at stake, but who knows." Dave Wasserman, the House editor of the Cook Political Report, tweets, "Extremely thorough, smart, level-headed @Nate_Cohn piece on gerrymandering & shutdown."

David Weigel at Slate says the gerrymandering denialists are wrong. Weigel disagrees with Cohn, and notes that Cohn concedes his point that "gerrymandering is a factor in our current crisis." Weigel then concedes that gerrymandering sometimes makes districts less Republican, but this is for a good reason: in North Carolina, "the Republican gerrymander made four of the state's districts less Republican in order to make the districts of Democrats Heath Shuler, Larry Kissell, Brad Miller, and Mike McIntyre more Republican. This was done with great care, but with an eye on how safe the guys who 'took the hit' really were." He concludes, "John Boehner's district is technically 'less conservative,' sure — it's because map-makers did not fear for one second that this would change Boehner's behavior." Emily Bazelon, a contributor to The New York Times Magazine and Slate, tweets, "Thank you @daveweigel for staying on top of gerrymandering and its effect on the GOP so the rest of us don't have to." Cohn responds, "I have no idea why @daveweigel thinks he's disputing anything I've said." Blake Hounshell, the deputy editor at Politico, remarked on the dispute: "Oooh, nerd fight." 

Brian Beutler at Salon on labor unions' big win. In the emerging budget deal, Democrats may win more than previously thought. Beutler notes, "In addition to increasing the debt limit and reopening the government, the Reid-McConnell plan will also include a couple of sidecar provisions." The deal will probably delay the Obamacare fee for unions, which "meets both parties’ requirements. Dems get to give unions something they want, without backing a special carve-out, and Republicans get to delay an Obamacare tax. Strange bedfellows save the day." Matt Yglesias, the economics writer at Slate, jokes, "If Republicans read @BrianBeutler’s take on the Senate deal then we’re *definitely* defaulting."

Claudia Goldin at Bloomberg View on the Yellen effect. Fed chair nominee Janet Yellen’s "emphasis on the human toll of recessions, along with her humanity, brilliance and intellect, could spur a greater number of women to become economists. But if history is any guide, there still is a long slog ahead," writes Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard. "Nationwide, ... for every female undergraduate in the [economics] major, there are three males in the major." This isn't because women are bad at math: "The average female undergraduate who concentrates in economics, according to the data I have examined, has a higher college-entry math score than her average male counterpart. The math-ability differences between men and women upon college entry are small and, in many cases, nonexistent or in women’s favor." So colleges must encourage women to stick with it. Economist Justin Wolfers recommended the column. 

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