Finger waggling and earnest talk: It's time for Republican soul-searching and a GOP gut check, say observers who found little nobility in the extended effort by some conservative Republican lawmakers to defund the Affordable Care Act at all costs. There's a price to pay, warns Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and it starts in 2014.
"A lot of congressmen and senators are not going to win because we spent three months chasing our own tail — or at least, parts of the conservative movement spent three months chasing their own tail," said Mr. Norquist, whose finger waggling did not, however, include finger pointing.
"I think if you make a mistake as big as what they did, you owe your fellow senators and congressmen a big apology — and your constituents, as well, because nothing they did advanced the cause of repealing or dismantling Obamacare," added Mr. Norquist on Thursday, without naming names.
And there's lots of advice.
"We have to have an agenda, we just can't be against what's in front of Washington, D.C. Much of what goes on in Washington is completely irrelevant to the lives of everyday people. I mean it's just amazing," Jeb Bush told MSNBC.
THE DETERMINED AFTERMATH
They're not done yet in a post-shutdown, post-debt ceiling world.
"It's clear that the leaders of both political parties would rather play games and cut backroom deals than do what is right," states the Tea Party Patriots in a message to some 3,000 member groups around the nation.
"We've said it before, and we'll say it again: We are on our own. We have to build an even stronger independent tea party movement today if we want future generations of Americans to have any chance at prosperity tomorrow.
"We have to strike back now."
"Over 200,000 people have applied to live on Mars as part of an ambitious proposal by private foundation Mars One to establish a human settlement on the Red Planet by 2023," reports Charles Black, a reporter with SEN, the Space Exploration Network.
"So it looks like more people have applied to live on Mars than have signed up for Obamacare so far," responds Glenn Reynolds, the "Instapundit" for PJ Media.
REPUBLICAN BLAME MACHINE
In the past two weeks, some 20 million people tuned in to the "big three" broadcast networks to witness the bombastic political theater that accompanied the federal debt-ceiling debate and government shutdown. And what did they discover on ABC, CBS and NBC? Oh-h-h. Republicans bad. Republicans to blame for everything.
A new Media Research Center study reviews each network's evening newscast from the first day of the shutdown on Oct. 1 through the last night before a deal was announced Wednesday.
"Of the 124 full stories and brief items about the shutdown or the pending debt-ceiling deadline, 41 blamed Republicans or conservatives for the impasse, 17 blamed both sides, and none specifically blamed Democrats," says Rich Noyes, research director for the watchdog group.
This is an "acceleration," he says, of a similar trend from the two weeks prior to the actual start of the shutdown. The networks ran 21 stories blaming Republicans, four blaming both sides, and none blaming Democrats.
"As the shutdown neared its end, the networks' polls found the American public more critical of the GOP than either Democrats or the White House," Mr. Noyes says. "While some blame can perhaps be assigned to Republicans' lack of a unified conservative message, the incessant drumbeat of hostile, and slanted, media coverage surely took its toll as well."
A SPEAKER ON A SPEAKER
Behold, some empathetic words for oft-beleaguered House Speaker John A. Boehner, from one who has been there and done that.
"I think he has an amazingly hard job. Boehner's job is vastly harder than mine was," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Larry King, host of "Politicking with Larry King," a prime-time talk show that aired Thursday night on RT, the Russia-owned news channel.
"It is harder for him to manage the House Republicans; he doesn't have a Republican leader in the Senate the way I did. Instead, he has to deal with Harry Reid, who is a hard-core Democrat, and I had Bill Clinton, who you could talk with. He's got Barack Obama, who doesn't want to talk. So I think Boehner's job is 10 times harder than mine was," Mr. Gingrich told the veteran host.
"I have no idea how I would have done in that job. It is a different world with a different set of circumstances," the former speaker mused.
THE SOLE OF THE MATTER
"Streamlined and tailored femininity" is the key to true power-dressing for women, at least among the elite lady executives of Hollywood.
"With dresses and heels replacing the old-school generic pantsuit — sorry, Hillary — a new element has come into play in 2013: the personal effect," says Merle Ginsberg, a correspondent with The Hollywood Reporter, who finds the West Coast set favors sleek black ensembles embellished with something personal, possibly quirky.
It can all be in soaring shoes, apparently. Imagine. It would create a media ruckus if the aforementioned Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared in footwear of the towering Tinseltown tilt. Most certainly, Sarah Palin created both a ruckus and a photo opportunity by wearing her scarlet Naughty Monkey "Double Dare" high heels on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.
"For Hollywood women, confidence is in the heel height," declares Ms. Ginsberg, citing 20th Century Fox TV casting guru Sharon Klein, who revealed that her 6-inch purple designer stilettos are "executive armor."
She added, "They make me feel tougher."
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
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POLL DU JOUR
• 83 percent of tea partyers say they are conservatives; 64 percent of Republicans also say they are conservatives.
• 52 percent of tea partyers say their movement is "separate and independent of the Republican Party"; 51 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats agree.
• 41 percent of tea partyers say they are part of the Republican Party; 32 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats agree.
• 28 percent of tea partyers say House Speaker John A. Boehner is "leader of the GOP"; 21 percent of Republicans agree.
• 23 percent of tea partyers "don't know" who the GOP leader is; 39 percent of Republicans agree.
• 18 percent of tea partyers say Sen. Ted Cruz is the GOP leader; 9 percent of Republicans agree.
• 15 percent of tea partyers say "nobody" is the GOP leader; 15 percent of Republicans agree.
Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,504 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 9 to 13.
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