Two items, each worthwhile in a different way, from the Washington Post.
1) Ezra Klein interviews Robert Costa, of National Review, for Costa's reportorial insights on why hard-line House Republicans are sticking with a strategy that damages the country but also seems self-destructive for the GOP itself. The whole thing is very much worth reading, but here are two important exchanges (emphasis added):
Klein: How much of this is a Boehner problem and how much of this is a House Republicans problem?...
Costa: What we're seeing is the collapse of institutional Republican power.... And so many of these [new House] members now live in the conservative world of talk radio and tea party conventions and Fox News invitations. And so the conservative strategy of the moment, no matter how unrealistic it might be, catches fire. The members begin to believe they can achieve things in divided government that most objective observers would believe is impossible...
Klein: How do House Republicans end up convincing themselves of unrealistic plans, particularly when they’ve seen them fail before, and when respected voices in the Republican and even conservative establishment are warning against them?
Costa: When you get the members off the talking points you come to a simple conclusion: They don't face consequences for taking these hardline positions. When you hear members talk candidly about their biggest victory, it wasn’t winning the House in 2010. It was winning the state legislatures in 2010 because they were able to redraw their districts so they had many more conservative voters. The members get heat from the press but they don't get heat from back home.
2) The Post's editorial page publishes a statement so remarkable that when I saw it on line I had to cross-check with the physical paper to make sure it actually appeared in print. (For proof that it has, see photo at the bottom of this item).
Just three days ago, this same editorial board delivered what I think, and now dare hope, will stand as a lasting marker of Peak False-Equivalence thinking. It lamented the impending showdown, said that hardliners on all side were to blame, and built to this conclusion:
Ultimately, the grown-ups in the room will have to do their jobs, which in a democracy with divided government means compromising for the common good.
Today the same "The Post's View" editorialists for the same paper address the same topic in a distinctly different frame of mind. It begins thus: