The Morning NOW: 7/26/13

Updated
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Homeland Security Committee, center, accompanied by fellow Senate...
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Homeland Security Committee, center, accompanied by fellow Senate...
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Let’s start your Friday with some lolz, as the Tea Party sets its sights on Lindsey Graham branding him “a community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East.”

2014 can’t come quickly enough.

Wow, what a handsome group joining Alex today:

Sam Stein, Political Editor and White House Correspondent, The Huffington Post/msnbc contributor (@samsteinhp)

Michael Crowley, TIME Senior Correspondent, Time (@CrowleyTIME)

Melissa Harris Perry, msnbc Host, “Melissa Harris Perry” (@mharrisperry)

Josh Barro, Politics Editor, Business Insider (@jbarro)

First up, another day, another looming government shutdown. Republicans in both chambers are threatening a shutdown unless Democrats agree to defund Obamacare. But, it seems the adults in the room have had enough of the saber rattling, as a growing number of GOP senators including John Cornyn (R-TX) , John McCain (R-AZ), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) have come out against  the plan. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) went so far as to call it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of…” How profound has the rift within the GOP become, and what role will it play in 2014? Is their obsession with killing Obamacare rooted in the fear that it might actually succeed?

Next up,President Obama has found a most unlikely ally in John McCain, who seems to have returned to his maverick form as he emerges as a key dealmaker and voice of reason in the Senate. Dana Milbank writes, “McCain has arguably turned himself into the most important legislator in a generation, at the center of the debate on war, terrorism, spending, corruption, health care and just about everything else.” What has brought about this change of heart in this 26 year veteran of the Senate, and how effective can he be in taming an out of control GOP?

Plus, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt joins Alex to discuss the GOP’s continued resistance to gay marriage, despite its being what he calls “ the Republican Party’s best chance to stand on the right side of history, create a meaningful legacy of fairness, and maintain relevance with young voters.”

And of course some Weiner talk. It all happens at 12pm ET.

The Morning NOW: 7/26/13

Updated