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Clueless Republicans hatch incoherent shutdown strategy

This weekend, House Republicans passed more bills to fund the most photogenic parts of the federal government, hoping perhaps that the 11th time will be the charm, or that they can eventually trick Democrats into underplaying their winning hand. They even passed one, with overwhelming Democratic support, to pay furloughed workers retroactively once the shutdown ends.

I gave this strategy brief treatment on Friday, if you want a primer. The short version is that Republicans are attempting, probably hopelessly, to reverse the optics of the government shutdown by attacking Democrats for not providing special treatment to its most conspicuous functions.

But in addition to relying on Americans to forget everything they know about the two political parties, this strategy -- if you can even call it a strategy -- is only about one inch deep. And in a way it almost reveals that Republicans don't have the fortitude they'll need if they seriously intend to not increase the debt limit.

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