compromising yourself into the discussion



Freddie deBoer used to blog at, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

Related Post Roulette

19 Responses

  1. Avatar Max Socol says:

    isn’t Ross’s point more about the ideology of the bill itself? I took him to be saying that, whether or not Republicans are willing to cooperate, it’s still not good policy to run up the already-enormous deficit more than need be. I tend to agree. Don’t we need to redefine whether a program “works” in light of the recession?Report

  2. Avatar Freddie says:

    That’s a fair point. I just don’t see Ross recognizing what to me is a bare fact: by refusing to compromise at all on the bill, House Republicans are giving up their ability to make that kind of point. In other words, if they’d compromise a bit on the larger bill, they’d be in a better position to argue what you’re arguing and change things.Report

  3. Avatar MikeF says:

    the many large concessions that Democrats have made

    I think the biggest master stroke of the Obama administration so far has been convincing people that the tax cuts in the stimulus package are only there as a concession to the GOP. In reality, tax cuts as a fairly large portion of stimulus are entirely in line with the economic thinking of Obama’s advisers: public works takes time so a short term stop-gap of tax cuts is appropriate. I guess there have been a few legit concessions, like cutting out abortion and contraception funding, but that was fairly minor and I suspect it was only there as a lightning rod to draw off GOP criticism in the first place.

    I think the Democrats are actually doing what you want them to do. They have successfully made the GOP look obstructionist, and this was helped immensely by the fact that the GOP has nothing constructive to add to the debate. I frankly don’t see much in the way of compromise going on, and that’s a good thing at this point.Report

  4. Avatar Bob says:

    The post “What ‘Belongs’ In the Stimulus” by Yglesias does NOT even mention deficits. He is only questioning the reasoning of those who oppose the inclusion of certain parts of the stimulus, Sen. Nelson and David Brooks to be specific.

    Douthat’s “Deficits Don’t Matter?” sights the Yglesias post and goes from there. But sighting Yglesias seems to imply that Yglesias is defending deficit spending. Matt may indeed defend the practice but he does not do so in the post Ross sights. That is very misleading.Report

  5. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    Mostly I am just awestruck by Obama. He is one move ahead of the repubs right down line.
    I keep going back to my Game Theory texts and marvelling over seeing EGT play out in the political theater.
    Of course, it helps that the old dinosaurs Republican leadership falls right into Obamas clever mammalian traps everytime.Report

  6. Avatar James Williams says:

    Part of what we’re seeing here is the flip side of the all-or-nothing strategy that the GOP started running since at least Gingrich, and codified under Rove. If you are totally unyielding, then when you get 51%, you get a chance to run the table — which is basically what they did for a while there. But that same strategy, when you get 49% (or, indeed, somewhat less even than that), means you get bupkis. It’s the kind of thinking that can seem soooo attractive when you think that you’re within sight of the promised land, as when the Republicans started not just daydreaming about but planning for a “permanent majority”. But turns out it’s a pretty lousy way to try to operate in a pluralistic democracy.Report

  7. Avatar Max Socol says:

    Bob, I was under the impression that Yglesias’s failure to mention deficit spending was precisely the problem. Douthat’s right to point out that seeing this solely as a political opportunity is shortsighted.

    I definitely appreciate the fact that Republicans are sleeping in the bed they made, don’t get me wrong — they have totally compromised any claim to bipartisanship, or to limited government spending.

    But I think Obama ought to be seeing two prerogatives here. The first is simply practical: whether or not there is a political party actively agitating for limited government spending, that should still be an administrative priority. Part of digging ourselves out of the recession is going to be getting the most bang for our buck when it comes to stimulus. Just because Democrats are supposed to be in favor of “more government” doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to use their common sense.

    The second prerogative is political. It should be clear to everyone at this point that Republicans tend to run in 2010 on limited spending. They are, in other words, banking on the early failure of the stimulus (which honestly is probably not a bad bet.)

    So Obama should take the wind out of their sails by making limited spending a higher priority. If the administration can find a way to pare down spending on its own, say in a few high-profile program cuts (perhaps even cuts from their own bill) under the “it’s not working” rhetoric that Obama employed in his inaugural, they can go a long way toward building an enduring majority.Report

  8. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    The Party of teh Stupid is now the demographic minority.
    The repubs have just provided us with an empirical demonstration that they are obstructionist, reactionary, and POWERLESS.
    Good luck with that.

    Your Magic 8ball Prection is………..Doom.

  9. Avatar Max Socol says:

    You say that now, but popular consensus on Republicans being obstructionists requires that the stimulus work — something which no one can predict.

    Even though it’s a purely political play on their part I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad one. They’re going “all in” so to speak on the stimulus failure, so that in two years they can be the party of small government and private enterprise again. While you might be right, matoko, attitudes like yours are the ones that discourage damage control, the same overconfident mentality that ultimately destroyed the Republican majority. Democrats should learn the lessons of recent history and proceed more cautiously.Report

  10. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    Not just teh Stimulous.
    I think Nate gets it right.
    He was right about the ‘lections, durr.
    Republican Deathspiral.
    Read my lips.
    What does any constituant want from their representatives?
    Powerless pouting?
    I dont think so.Report

  11. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    You don’t get the basic dichotomy, yet do you?
    The basis for small government is so that local churches can distribute welfare. Once we have large government that distributes those services, the idea of small government is doomed.
    Look at Great Britain. Large government increases secularization of the population. There is a strong negative correlation between IQ and religious belief, in every country’s population in the world except the US…..i think the hidden variable is small autonomous government.
    Bush destroyed that model.
    Now Obama is not only going to institute nat’l healthcare, but he will steal the faith based initiative and bricolage local churches into welfare engines.
    I for one welcome the endless reign of Our New Liberal Overlords.
    They couldn’t be any worse.
    That is ended.Report

  12. Avatar Bob says:

    Max thanks for your comments.

    You write, “I was under the impression that Yglesias’s failure to mention deficit spending was precisely the problem.” Perhaps so, but as you will see if you review my comment I conjectured that Matt may well defend deficit spending, but that was not the case with the post Ross linked.

    After I said that I googled “Yglesias deficits.” The result, almost 40,000 hits. The first two selections confirmed my suspicion, Matt does see a case for deficit spending. The posts are 1) “Sucker’s Bet” posted 9/24/08 and 2) “Deficits Only Matter When They Matter” posted 12/1/08. I recommend them for an insight to his thinking not only on deficits but also taxes. I his September post Matt writes, “…the case seems clear for wildly higher tax rates on high-income individuals than prevailed during the Clinton years. Are we afraid of stifling the kind of fat cat activity that’s brought us to our current situation?” Way to go, Matt!

    Now I have no problem with Ross using Yglesias as a foil. But I do have a problem with Ross misleading, my view, readers into thinking Matt was talking about deficits in that particular post. Or even your view, that the criticism offered by Ross goes to the fact that Matt did NOT mention deficits. The plain fact is deficits were not on the table. And in general I have a problem with any criticism that focuses on what was not done, said, written. And I think in the short form comments both Ross and Matt tend to use it is really unfair to criticize comments on what was not written.

    On the matter of deficits. I think it is pretty clear that everyone, yes everyone, will find cases where deficit spending is necessary, from the most principled conservative to the most profligate liberal. So in that broad sense deficits are not the issue. It’s just a question of which ox is being gored.

    On the question, are the democrats and President Obama making a political mistake by backing a broad stimulus plan? Are they being short-sighted?

    I have no idea. Especially since the plan remains in flux. Maybe Obama will return to the Larry Summers view of a more targeted stimulus, give republican senators something they can vote for. I will, however, go out on the limb and say if economic conditions in the summer of 2010 are not much improved republicans will have a lot of ammunition

    But I hope I have made my by bitch with Ross a bit more clear.Report

  13. Avatar y81 says:

    Gee, you might have thought that the one who is going to negotiate peace with Hamas, Iran and North Korea could get in some practice by reaching agreement with a group of people who share his language and culture and live in the same country. But you’d be wrong.

    More generally, I’m always puzzled why people like Yglesias and DeBoer are so filled with weepy empathy for foreigners who hate us, and so filled with venomous hatred for their fellow citizens.Report

  14. Avatar Freddie says:

    I’m always puzzled why people like Yglesias and DeBoer are so filled with weepy empathy for foreigners who hate us, and so filled with venomous hatred for their fellow citizens.


  15. Avatar y81 says:

    Why do you say “Huh?” You state that your domestic political opponents do not negotiate in good faith and that there is no point in compromising with them: they are simply an obstacle to be run over. They are irrational people with misguided values that must be reformed by the kind of people who went to Dalton and Harvard. At the same time, you (or Yglesias, anyway) state that we must negotiate with, say, the Iranians, recognizing that our unjust imperialist policies of the past century are the primary cause of the troubles between us. I think those points of view qualify as venomous hatred for your fellow citizens and weepy empathy for foreigners who hate us.Report

  16. Avatar Freddie says:

    You state that your domestic political opponents do not negotiate in good faith and that there is no point in compromising with them: they are simply an obstacle to be run over.

    No. I’m saying that, as they seem committed to not voting for the stimulus no matter what the consequences, the Republicans make themselves an obstacle to be run over. If they were willing to compromise, there’s reason for the Democrats to make concessions and work to a broader consensus than they have now. But if congressional Republicans won’t vote for the stimulus no matter what, why shouldn’t the Democrats include whatever programs they find worthwhile?Report

  17. Avatar y81 says:

    But the Democrats haven’t proposed a bill that even a squish like Peggy Noonan or a good government type like Alice Rivlin can get behind. So there seems insufficient evidence at present that the Republicans won’t negotiate or compromise. I at least had not expected that the new Obama foreign policy involved giving the Iranians a week’s ultimatum and then cutting off further talks, but that seems to be the Yglesias/DeBoer method of dealing with Republicans.Report