An “I Told You So” Post

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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239 Responses

  1. Avatar RTod
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    says:

    “Having successfully predicted that Republicans would turn out to be completely unserious about actually cutting government spending, I will now make another prediction: the Republicans’ conservative base will forgive them for this by the next election”

    But Mark, I think that’s exactly what this is all about: the next election. At the end of the day, isn’t the GOP now all about elections, and not governance? The push to repeal the healthcare bill, with no debates, even knowing that it will never get past the Senate let alone Obama? And the move to have unAmerican hearings for Muslims? What are any of these things except tooling up fodder for the next election?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to RTod
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      says:

      And thus you understand why all this is so incredibly easy to predict.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to RTod
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      says:

      isn’t the GOP now all about elections

      Power in general, which is why they block Democratic judicial appointments whenever possible [1], and when it’s there turn appoint the youngest judges possible.

      By the way, I predict right now that next time a Republican is elected president, the entire right-wing noise machine will start insisting that all his appointees deserve an up-or-down vote. The stupidest and least honest ones (and yes, I do mean you, Andrew McCarthy) will even insist that it’s a constitutional issue.

      1. Twice now, the Chief Justice has publicly bemoaned the number of unfilled vacancies in the federal judiciary. Both times, it’s been Republicans in the Senate blocking Democratic appointees.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to RTod
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      says:

      An amusing aside Mark: The GOP are having to suspend Paygo rules and their offsetting rules to pass the HCR repeal. Since the repeal included a lot of cuts to various spending programs and new fees the repeal bill actually increases the deficit and under current rules would have to be offset with spending cuts elsewhere.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to North
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        Yes, well Paygo rules are a well known Islamofascisocicommunist plot engineered by the liberal media. And George Soros, of course. But that last should go without saying.Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to North
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        says:

        Paygo is gone for everything, not just the HCR repeal ploy. Boehner has proposed Cutgo – for all new spending, there must be equivalent spending cuts. Of course, tax cuts are not spending, so we can have all of these we want and deficit reduction be damned.Report

      • Avatar Scott in reply to North
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        says:

        Paygo means very little if you raise taxes or add to the deficit so you can spend more. As for Repubs not wanting to cut SS or Medicare, the first time they suggest such a thing you’ll have Dems out there telling their media mouthpieces that the Repubs want American seniors to die as they did with health care. So why should they do anything and subject themselves to such lies when they can do the same-thing that the Dems do which is nothing?Report

        • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Scott
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          Scott the definition of Paygo means that you can’t raise the deficit with you bill. Taxes yes, deficit no. Otherwise you are not doing paygo you are doing something else.

          And Republicans don’t want seniors to die they have medicare which we have to keep government out of.

          They want people too young for medicare and too poor/crappily employed to die.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to ThatPirateGuy
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            says:

            Yes, that was incorrect on my part. The point I want to make is that Congress like, my family, should live within its means. This doesn’t mean running out to milk American citizens and corporations every time they come up with a new way to waste money.Report

            • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Scott
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              says:

              But the fact is that the US government and your family are very different.

              If you run out of money you and your family can’t buy anything else.

              If the government finds it has not enough money they can issue bonds and pay their expense that way(thanks china).

              By the way I thought I might quote a little something from genesis.

              Genesis 41:33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.Genesis 41:35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.Genesis 41:36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

              So the question I have to ask is are we in feast times or famine times?Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to ThatPirateGuy
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                says:

                If I need more money for my family I can, spend less, pay with credit and put off payment, find a new job which pays more or take a second job to earn more. The gov’t can spend less, add to the deficit/issue bonds and put off payment or raise taxes to bring more money. Just as I can’t afford everything I want neither can the US gov’t. Those sound like the same choices to me.

                I don’t know if we are in a time of feast or famine. I remember my time in the BSA and always try to be prepared which to me means living below my means and staying out of debt.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Scott
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                says:

                near 10% unemployment seems like a famine indicator to me.

                Imagine if you will that the government instead of cutting taxes during the bush years had kept the revenue and also avoiding fighting two wars in the middle east(one of which we are nearing the decade mark in). Why we likely would have enough money to handle the famine time. The time for cuts and deficit reduction is when the economy is doing well. The time for deficit and spending increases is when it isn’t.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to ThatPirateGuy
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                says:

                How exactly was Bush supposed to see that that oil would almost hit $100 a barrel which would help to stall our economy and lead a record number of mortgage defaults?Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Scott
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                says:

                He didn’t have to know that. All he had to do was have the wisdom to know that a surplus is not a bad thing.

                If the economy is up the one thing you can count on is it going down again in the future. So use your good fortunes to prepare for the bad times.

                And haven’t I heard conservatives tell me that it was the bursting of the tech bubble that caused the econ trouble early in his first term.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble

                A bubble which popped before the Bush tax cuts were passed.Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to Scott
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                says:

                Its fiscal policy 101 – you run surpluses during periods of growth so that you can run deficits during the recession. Politicians are always tempted to believe they’ve found the solution to perpetual growth, and “this time it’s different”. Bush was a particularly egregious example.Report

              • Avatar Barry in reply to Scott
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                says:

                Well, he’s sorta connected with the oil industry, and the run-up in oil prices was not sudden, and the Iraq War was a pure multi-trillion boondoggle on his part…………

                At this point, ‘who could have known?’ is not a very good argumentReport

              • Avatar Dave in reply to ThatPirateGuy
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                says:

                The time for deficit and spending increases is when it isn’t.

                Except that with the lag time that associates government spending, if you take that approach with a mild garden-variety recession, the spending increases start to take effect as the economy is already recovering. If that happens, then we run the risk of high inflation, which is what happened in the 1970’s.

                It’s one thing to ramp up spending when we are facing an economic situation like the one in early 2009 (where the biggest threat to the economy is deflation not inflation), but aside from that, I wouldn’t encourage additional deficit spending at all given the past experiences with the crude Keynsianism of the ’70s.Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to Dave
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                says:

                There’s stimulus and then there’s stimulus. The kind of deliberately construction “stimulus” bills we’ve seen recently, in the form of the Bush tax cuts, the 2009 “stimulus” and the recent extension of the tax cuts are indeed always mis-timed and potentially dangerous (although the 2009 stimulus was actually mostly a wash, I think – the Bush tax cuts and their extension are much worse).

                But automatic stabilizers like unemployment insurance, Medicaid and TANF, which automatically spend more when fewer people are working, are a good idea. By themselves, they justify the government running deficits during recessions, without the need for any grandstanding “stimulus”.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Well, you have to understand. Politics is the art of the possible. People are hurting. We have a responsibility. As a society.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Farmer
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    says:

    Good God, the new guys were just sworn in today. And they only control the House. Let’s give it a little while before we judge them, maybe a another day or two at least. I don’t trust any reports coming out right now. This is going to be a vicious season — and let’s also blame the Democrats for not doing anything except justifying MORE spending. I have doubts too, but this is a little premature.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Mike Farmer
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      says:

      Jesus Christ, Mike, it’s already – what, quarter after five Pacific time? – and the country still doesn’t seem fixed. I don’t have all day.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to RTod
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        says:

        IIRC, the recession was laid on Obama by the Right.

        Given that precedent, …

        BTW, the whole frikkin’ point of the various posts here and elsewhere is that the GOP House is *already* reneging on this, that and the other thing. They themselves are starting dishonest out of the gate.Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike Farmer
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      says:

      So Mike, given more time do you expect the Republicans to put security and defense back on the table? How about Social Security and Medicare? Or is $100 billion out of the $500 billion remaining if those programs are off-limits where it’s going to happen.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to 62across
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        says:

        Look, I’m with Mike on this one. If we were betting on this, there’s no way it would be time to pay up so soon. In fact, I sort of think we should set up some sort of paypal account and bet on this.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to Rufus F.
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          says:

          Can I agree that it’s far too soon to hold them to account and still believe that more time doesn’t change the math?

          That’s why I asked where it was thought the equation would be revised. I’d welcome your take on that as well.

          To Mark’s opening point though, leaving defense and entitlements off the table while NOT hitting other discretionary programs hard is not possible.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to Rufus F.
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          says:

          I respectfully disagree with you both. It’s not like these guys are Democrats, who would right now be earnestly promising Universal Healthcare, Equal Rights for Gays, and the End of Cancer. (And then, once the session began, look like those electronic football players from when I was a kid – vibrating in place in quick panicky motions before falling and curling up in a fetal position.)

          They haven’t even begun, and are already announcing a strategy of completely unserious gimmickry, like banding about the phrase “debt ceiling” while backing away from actual spending cuts, reading the Constitution out loud in tribute to the Tea Party, announcing hearings on “Muslims: Good for America of Evil Plot?” and a repeal of HRC in the House, without debate or talk of modification, even though they know it can’t go anywhere but will look good on Fox.

          It’s as if they all got together before they even started and planned a strategy of ignoring their primary jobs and focusing on 2012.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Rufus F.
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          says:

          Needless to say, I disagree. This is the moment of least political risk for The GOP majority. We are as far as possible from the next election while still having Congress in session with that majority in place. This is the time for the most ambitious proposals to be put forward, the time to make an opening offer that most appeases their base and provides a lot of room to negotiate down. Yet it is pretty clear that their opening offer is going to be remarkable only for its utter unwillingness to seriously tackle the problem and for its lack of ambition. Keep in mind that their campaign promises on the budget were remarkably unambitious to begin with even though they didn’t even provide much in the way of specifics of how they were going to cut that pittance while still honoring their commitment to giant military spending, Medicare, and SS. And now it looks like their actual first offer is going to be about half of that unambitious number.

          One does not even need to be a cynic to find this unsurprising. One only has to look at the chart TL points to and compare it with the GOP’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and for decades, along with their actual actions for decades. Some promise has to be broken. History gives us a pretty good idea which one to expect them to break, as did the fact that their campaign promises on fiscal issues made their priorities pretty explicit, choosing a paltry amount of cuts rather than go after the Big Three of the budget. And now, at the moment that they’re supposed to give us their most ambitious offer, they can’t even make an offer as ambitious as their unambitious campaign promise. If the hypothesis can’t be deemed proven now, it can never be deemed proven.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
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            says:

            “This is the moment of least political risk for The GOP majority. We are as far as possible from the next election while still having Congress in session with that majority in place.”

            Well-spoken from someone who thinks republican accountability is a bad thing.Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to 62across
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        says:

        62across — all I can go by is what I have heard from 4 of the Republicans today when asked that question — I think it was Scott, Ryan, Paul and another I can’t remember — they all said military, Medicare and SS have to be cut or reformed. I think the House will do everything they can, and I think Rubio and Paul, at least will fight in the senate — I think the Tea Party will get wound up again and pressure all of them to show signifiant cuts — AARP will rebell and public unions will riot, but I will believe there will be one hell of a fight to make deep cuts, with the TP candidates leading the way _ I;ve listened to them and I believe they are serious — we’ll see in few months the dividng line, then we’ll know. We have to cut — we’re at a place where we have no choice. We’ve dodged the bullet too many times and now we are going to get hit — from 9 trillion to 14 trillion in less than 3 years — it’s over. They might not get all the cuts they want, but whoever blocks cuts is going to be punished in 2012. I’ve lived through Viet Nam, Watergate, Kent State, the Watts Riots, the Chicago Nationl Convention, the assasinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK’s funeral ceremony was held across the street from where I went to high school — things were chaotic and iffy — I lived through Carter and gas rationing and 21% interest rates — the internet bubble and market crash and now this — this is the most serious trouble I’ve seen since I’ve been alive — I don’t care about sides right now, only who will step up and call it what it is and attempt to turn it around — we’re on the verge of spiralling out of control, along with Europe and possibly China if they are building a bubble, which I think they are. I have to believe the Republicans are going to try, although some will try to dodge again. This is no longer about social justice — it’s about survival and trying to lessen the pain, but there will be pain. Sorry about the long post, but to me this is serious stuff. I stand to lose everything at an age where I’m unemployable.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to Mike Farmer
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          says:

          I think most of us share your concern about the times, but not your optimism about he GOP.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike Farmer
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          says:

          Hang in there Mike. The commie-Dems under our Kenyan-Marxist executive (?) have screwed the citizens blind. If the TPers dominate they can begin the process of actually reducing the size of the bloated, consolidated, central gummint.
          Actually, I was on the phone today telling my new GOP-TP Congressman’s aide that the Mrs. wanted him to champion a bill to require all congressional reps and executive and federal employees equally accountable under the law for all federal legislation, with no exception.
          It’ll be a while before they can recapture that which the commie-dems have discarded, …constitutional gummint, and it’s an uphill fight because the American people have turned into a bunch of helpless, whiny commies, sitting on their asses with their hands out!
          Frankly, if I had the power I’d return spending to 1960 levels and get rid of ALL those damn programs…buy your own education, buy your own damn house…get off your ass, get a job, act like a man.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks
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            says:

            Bob, I’ve got a couple of questions for you.

            Why is it that at Postmodern Conservative, you write such measured and thoughtful material?

            And why is it that when you post here, you spew this vile, hateful, racist nonsense? (It’s either racist or it’s birther, and I’m not sure which one is more charitable.)

            If you think you’re being funny, you’re not. Comments like these are painful and embarrassing to read.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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              says:

              I posit Jeckyl and Hyde complex.
              I posit either an excess or a deficiency of Maker’s Mark (which Bob results from excess and which from deficiency I fear to guess).
              I posit he just likes to be a brat when the subject of politics comes up.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                I suspect it’s reaction. He writes a thoughtful comment on the Civil War.

                Someone else responds by asking him why he’s such a fan of a white supremacist organization.

                Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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              says:

              Jason, dude …”And why is it that when you post here, you spew this vile, hateful, racist nonsense? (It’s either racist or it’s birther, and I’m not sure which one is more charitable.) ”

              What exactly offends?…I’m trying to eschew the pc silliness that has done so much to obscure the language and the symbols of existence. I use the prefix “commie” to illustrate just how far down the road to totalitarianism the Democratic Party has come in the last fifty years..I’m not trying to be funny, just observing the decline and commenting directly and honestly on said decline.
              And, my goodness, if I didn’t occasionally visit here you’d, by and large-certain company excepted-be a coterie of leftists patting each other on the back, telling yourselves what a fine job you’re doing. Is that what you want, concensus? (sp?)Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                Bob, I’m not sure if you are just dodging Jason’s question, or if you answer is, “Because it ‘eschews pc silliness,’ racism is now a good thing.” Either way, nice job.

                I have to say, while the Kenyan stuff is offensive and stupid, I don’t really mind the “commie dem” nonsense. It has the benefit of at the same time displaying your ignorance and making me laugh, which makes it a definite positive. I am, however, tempted to refer to Republicans/conservatives as fascist-repubs in any thread that you comment in. The label would, at the very least, be no less accurate than “commie-dems.”Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Chris, it’s the internet, use whatever ‘labels’ you want, and, I will too. And, I did give Jason an answer.

                BTW, did we loose Heidegger? And, what was that all about? Hep me here!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                Not at all Bob–still here. Was abducted by crazy communist thugs from Ann Arbor–the screaming Banshees must have read one of my posts as they kept howling, “so you don’t think water boarding is torture”—they held my head underwater for almost 2 TWO hours! Didn’t even bother me for a second. Oh well….

                Bob–I’ve replied to several of your comments, but they end up, God knows where.

                I just made these comments–hope they’re close to your proximity on this page. As always, have a blast with your comments!
                Keep on, Comrade Bob!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Bob, forgot–this was last post I just wrote.

                Reply

                Heidegger January 6, 2011 at 11:24 am
                TvK–may he (Leslie Nielsen), rest in peace. Scratch that–Surely, God has much too good of a sense of humor to allow that to happen!

                Now, I thought we this fiscal lunacy problem all solved. It couldn’t be simpler–we, the United States, have resolved to use the exact same budget the Government used in…..(get ready) 1804! I’ve crunched all the numbers–it’s entirely possible. The entire 14 trillion dollar deficit will be completely paid off on (what a coincidence this is) July 4, 2013, approximately 3:18pm. It CAN happen–it MUST happen. It won’t be easy, but let the bodies pile up–it can’t be worse than the financial Armageddon that will undoubtedly happen if we do nothing. Actually, “do nothing” is not what is happening. If only that were the case. The government, as it’s composed today, never does, just “nothing”. It devours and spends/wastes every bloody penny they can get their tentacles on–if that means printing funny money, so be it. We’re really on the precipice of a financial doomsday. Just wait till China’s bubble bursts, and you know it will. Who’s going to bail us out..Kenya? North Korea? Cuba? God help us!

                p.s. Michele Bachmann is SO hot. HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

                p.p.s. And please, commenters, try to lighten up with the Tea Party slings insults, and slurs. One of our very brightest commenters, Chris–yes, Cognitive Chris, is a passionate, ardent Tea Party aficionado, adviser, member, and when I say, “passionate” I MEAN passionate! He’s a bit too humble to toot his own horn, so I’m going to do it for him instead–you remember that Tea Party rally held last Tax day, April 15, 2010? Well, Chris had had enough of these, “take back America milquetoasts”, and he, in full, authentic, Minuteman attire, singlehandedly, pulled a genuine Revolutionary War cannon all the way from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello house to the Washington Memorial! He even dared the authorities, who wanted to place him under arrest, with these chilling words, “Go ahead, make my day”! They retreated in shame, and Chris went on to deliver one of the greatest, most moving, eloquent, powerful speeches in the history of our great Republic. And, as you all know, the rest is history.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Heidegger
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                says:

                Most human require air to keep brain function.

                Happily it looks as though you do not.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                So your answer was “It’s OK to be racist if it’s eschewing pc silliness.” Got ya.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Chris
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                Pirate, Contrary to what the Straw Man (Oz, not the fallacious argument Strawman) said, not having a brain comes in quite handy at times. Especially when liberals wax endlessly and pridefully about the Great Society Liberalism created. That is where and when the Fall beganReport

              • Avatar LarryM in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                YOU, maybe you shouldn’t whine about how easily people are offended. This “eschew the pc silliness” crap is a noxious pile of bullshit – sure, sometimes people ARE hyper (over) sensitive to certain language, and infer an intent that isn’t there (and there is plenty of PC on the right too, just the “offensive” terms are different), but some people (and you seem to be one of them) seem to think that the answer isn’t just to point out those instances, but rather “anything goes.”

                And the irony is that it has the EXACT OPPOSITE effect than the one that you claim to desire. For example, you claim to be worried about “obscur[ing] the language and the symbols of existence” – yet your use of intentionally provocative and exaggerated terms (“I use the prefix “commie” to illustrate just how far down the road to totalitarianism the Democratic Party has come in the last fifty years”) does just that. Moreover, a world where people use words the way you do – again to be provocative and confrontational – are MORE likely to provoke a PC reaction.

                And of course you want to have it both ways. On the one hand, you’re “not trying to be funny.” On the other hand, you want us to understand that your words aren’t to be taken (quite) literally, but are merely illustrative.

                I mean, what is “Kenyan-Marxist” even supposed to MEAN? I’m assuming you aren’t a birther. So what’s your point? Again, take away the literal content, and there is nothing MEANINGFUL about that term. It’s JUST button pushing. And really empty button pushing.

                Of course, there is another irony, not necessarily attributable to you (I don’t recall if you participated in the recent libertarian threads thread), but you have the same people who are so proudly anti-PC (in this case, the libertarian variety)- who use (for example) racially offensive language as a provocation (but hey, it’s okay, because they aren’t “really” racist), and then turn around and whine about how misunderstood libertarians are by those mean liberal critics. Pathetic.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to LarryM
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                says:

                I was going to write all this myself. Thank you to LarryM (and Chris). I second their comments here.

                Bob, if you thought you were being funny but just had a terrible sense of humor, I might have managed to smile, weakly. For a long time, this was roughly what I did with your comments. I didn’t imagine anyone could take them seriously, least of all yourself. Now I see that you’re serious, and I am much less inclined to look kindly on you.

                As to the vital function of offering dissent… you’re not providing that any better than — let’s take two commenters at random — Chris and LarryM. Both routinely disagree with me, on matters trivial to immense, without the invective. Do learn from them, if you can.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to LarryM
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                says:

                Thank you for the analysis Larry. Truly I did enjoy that and keep up the good work. You’re me new Internet friend!Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to LarryM
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                says:

                Jason, I’m not sure what I’m going to do if we can’t be friends? I mean you do write for Cato and all, and I am much impressed.
                If you’re offended by the term “commie-Dem” and consider it a personal insult then I would recommend that you contact the blog leader, fearless or otherwise, and have him ask me to leave. They can ‘block’ me anytime, and then you and your crew can have your little happy talk withhout me peeing in the punch bowl.
                Or, when you see my handsome visage and name just simply ignore my comments. I mean how hard is that?
                Being a Cato dude I really don’t think you wanna surpress speech…or do you?
                In any event you whining is amusing and you’ve made my day..thanks!Report

              • Avatar LarryM in reply to LarryM
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                says:

                Robert, conflating a request that you exhibit a modicum of civility, and avoid being intentionally offensive for its own sake, with a suppression of free speech, is the worst kind of PC silliness.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to LarryM
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                Robert, I like how you keep acting as though “commie-dem” were the truly offending remark, and not “Kenyan-Marxist.” You haven’t even mentioned that little epithet. That’s particularly interesting given Jason’s political orientation. Anyway, your silence on that label is much more informative than anything you’ve said in your replies to Jason.

                Also, I wonder if you understand the difference between criticizing speech and suppressing it. Something tells me that, like Sarah Palin, you don’t.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to LarryM
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                says:

                Wait – so being a dick is a free speech exchange of ideas, but Jason saying that he thinks you’re being a bit of a dick that’s suppressing speech?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LarryM
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                says:

                A story.

                My grandfather was a WWII veteran. He fought in the Pacific. He had, shall we say, opinions on the Japanese. Never talked about the war. He had a scar on his forearm and my mom asked him about it and he answered that “the first man to get to barbed wire jumps across it and the guys behind him walk on his back.” That’s all he’d say.

                Anyway, it would never occur to me to try to explain how, no, the world is really *THIS* way to him. “Oh, you need to be more open-minded” is something that I thought but never said.

                He was a certain age. Indeed, he was *OLDER* than a certain age.

                I knew that I ought to pay attention to the things that he said about football, or girls, or lawnmowing, and ignore the things that he said about the Japanese.

                “Oh, Grandad! The things you say” was my usual standby… Even though I knew that I was right and he was wrong.

                I reckon that I give similar passes to others who are “of a certain age” (or older).

                No point to that story, I reckon.Report

              • Avatar LarryM in reply to LarryM
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                I’m actually coming around to the POV that Robert is basically a performance artist who well knows that he is being self contradictory.

                The question is, to what end?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to LarryM
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                Jaybird, what in heaven’s name was that all about?
                Re: our Kenyan-Marxist president. I refer to him as such because I’ve heard his grandma said she saw him issuing forth into this vale of tears. I believe that Barry’s African grandma was/is telling the truth, an honest woman, thus we have “Kenyan”.
                Re: Marxist, well that’s rather obvious, even commie-dems know that.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                She was very dishonestly misquoted. Listen for yourself.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                But where is her original, long-form birth certificate?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LarryM
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                says:

                Oh, Bob! The things you say.Report

              • Avatar LarryM in reply to LarryM
                Ignored
                says:

                You see, that’s exactly what I mean. Perhaps I am giving Robert too much credit, but I don’t believe that he really believes that. Rather, he is simply doubling down on his intentionally provocative commentary. To no clear end.

                Whatever, guess we should stop feeding the troll.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LarryM
                Ignored
                says:

                You see, that’s exactly what I mean.

                Who do you think is more likely to have a fruitful conversation with the guy?

                Who do you think is less likely to have a probing question interpreted as grandstanding for the commentariat?

                If there is an important point he makes in another thread, who do you think is more likely to ignore it completely?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to LarryM
                Ignored
                says:

                “Re: our Kenyan-Marxist president.”

                I am willing to consider, as barely inside the realm of possibility, that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya. Even so, why do we care.Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Robert Cheeks
            Ignored
            says:

            “Hang in there Mike”

            I want to make it clear I’m not crying in my beer — I’m like a cockroach — I survive. I’ve been my own boss most of my life — plenty of ups and downs. What concerns be is when we get to a point of stagnation an decline and don’t do the necessary things to chnage it. Some criticize choosing the lesser of two evils, but I will choose anything or anyone right now in the fight to stop statism. There are many people my age who will be unemployed who can’t survive the recession if it continues much longer — not only that, young people and blacks are getting pounded as far as meaningful employment goes. This is no the Great Society — it’s the Dependent Society, but when the money dries up competely, it’s a lot pain and suffering at the lower socio-economic end. Cuomo is breath of fresh air right from the left — let’s hope more jump on board and make it a total effort.Report

            • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike Farmer
              Ignored
              says:

              The problems isn’t choosing the lesser of two evils, the problem is too closely identifying with that lesser evil, to the point where you talk about “sides.” Which as a multitude of undesirable consequences, not the least of which is weakening the critical faculties.

              All that said, and clarifying my other comments, of course I understand that you want to give the people you voted for more than a couple days before you start losing hope.

              But while it’s not as if any of those guys care what you say here … maybe the more productive approach is neither cheer leading vague statements from TPers of fiscal restraint, OR condemning them as sell outs, but confronting them along the lines of:

              “Look, I didn’t vote for you guys to have you mouth vague platitudes or make symbolic gestures – let’s work on REAL cuts to entitlements. Sure, I’d also love to see some cuts in discretionary spending. But let’s talk MORE about entitlement cuts, and start making clear to the American people that cutting discretionary spending is maybe 5% of the solution, at best, over the long haul.”Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike Farmer
              Ignored
              says:

              Don’t forget Mike, “The Great Society” created the “Dependent Society.”Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Robert Cheeks
            Ignored
            says:

            I agree with Jason. I’d like you to start seeing more measured and thoughtful comments from you, Bob. I don’t come to your house and shot on your bed.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Farmer
      Ignored
      says:

      Geez, Mike, The Republicans were blaming Obama for the recession in November of 2008 (it was apparently caused by all of Wall Street being unwilling to make money that might be taxed the next year at an extra point or two.) We should get some credit for waiting until after they got sworn in.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike Farmer
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s way bigger than that, Mike. The idea that entitlements or defense is untouchable is just Mark’s rationalization. Kinda convenient to justify why you were playing golf while the GOP were going hammer and tongs with the Democrats for spending cuts.

      The current item up for bids is the discretionary budget, so that’s what’s being cut.

      It is true, that to get to where we need to go, entitlements will have to be cut as well. As it happens, we just had two budget commissions the essential point was that the Republicans were supposed to go, “Oh, no, third rail!!!” and back off. The Republicans didn’t take the bait.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s not my rationalization if the GOP leadership continues to emphasize that defense and entitlements are off the table entirely. It’s not as if I’m making this crap up. Meanwhile, they can’t even make a bold attempt on the one area that they are willing to put on the table.Report

      • Avatar LarryM in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        “The current item up for bids is the discretionary budget, so that’s what’s being cut.”

        Two points:

        (1) Defense is part of the discretionary budget. Yet still nothing from the leadership – or from most TP representatives – on defense cuts.
        (2) The fact that only the discretionary budget is right now “up for bids” is in large measure the result of a Republican tactical choice. There’s no reason in the world that they can’t make entitlement cuts just as much a priority as the discretionary budget.

        Yes, it’s early. But early signs are not good.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Drew
    Ignored
    says:

    But we can always count on Republicans to run on cutting spending, never do anything about it, blame Democrats for that, never have to face the political consequences of actually cutting people’s benefits, and always reap the benefit of being the Party of Small Government — AND THAT’S WHAT REALLY COUNTS, RIGHT?? 🙂Report

  5. Avatar Bo
    Ignored
    says:

    So, did Republican politicians actually promise to not touch Medicare when cutting the budget? I remember there were some attacks on Democrats for cutting Medicare as part of the whole health care reform craziness back in early 2010, but I don’t remember that morphing into any sort of hands-off pledge. Since it’s Socialized Medicine and a pretty hefty expense, it seems like it would be a really obvious place for the GOP to cut.Report

  6. Avatar Mike Farmer
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s happened before and I can only hope it happens again — when we get in a crisis, enough people stand up and do what they might not ordinarily do — they sense a calling, and everyone calls them crazy — but that’s what I see with some of the new Republicans — they feel a sense of duty. We all need to stand up and say no more.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Farmer
    Ignored
    says:

    But not just the TP reps, Blue dogs too will stand up, I beleive.Report

  8. Avatar Transplanted Lawyer
    Ignored
    says:

    Re-familiarize yourselves with this chart. Or accept my oversimplification:

    Social Security (sacrosanct to both parties, mandatory): 20%
    Military (sacrosanct to GOP): 19%
    Anti-poverty entitlements (mostly mandatory): 16%
    Medical care (sacrosanct to Dems, mostly mandatory): 21%
    Debt servicing (mandatory): 5%
    Everything else (about half mandatory): 18%

    If you’re not going to cut military or entitlements, then all $100 billion has to come from the one-half of “everything else” that isn’t mandatory. Or change the rules about what spending is mandatory and what isn’t. So of course Mark’s prediction was really a minute achievement, almost as ambitious as predicting the sun rising in the east tomorrow morning.

    If the economy were to start growing rapidly again, or if inflation were to set in, the problem could be swept under the rug. And for the class of character who gets elected to Congress, of course, sweeping a problem under the rug is solving it. So I think the strategy is going to turn out to be — blame the other guys for the problem until either there is growth once more or inflation kicks in despite the best efforts of the Fed to stave it off (and secretly try to undermine the Fed anyway).Report

    • You might be right, but I don’t think it will fit under a rug, and I don’t think the TPers are going to be fooled — they will notice the mountain-like bump. I think this is the time for real change — it feels that way, anyhoo.Report

      • I needed some Scotch tonight anyway (Laphroaig 12 year) so I’ll lift three fingers to hoping you’re right, Mike.Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m all for giving for giving them a chance, but I’m not seeing the light between the GOP and TP that you are.

        As you say, time will tell. In the short term, they’ll have to do more than a symbolic vote on HCR repeal and reading the Constitution out loud to C-Span to convince me they are serious at all. In the medium term, they’d have to succeed in getting their desired cuts and still gain seats in 2012 before I’d believe they represent a larger societal trend. And the TP would finally differentiate themselves by how they respond to a GOP administration that is as profligate as the last one.Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        Wait are you telling me that the fox news audience isn’t going to be fooled by fox news this time?

        Sure.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to ThatPirateGuy
          Ignored
          says:

          Very deep contribution, Pirate — it’s this type of sincere, astute analysis which will bring light to darkness.Report

          • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike Farmer
            Ignored
            says:

            Mike, one doesn’t understand the tea-party if you don’t know how much they love Glenn Beck.

            These are people who think that tax cuts always increase revenue. They aren’t all stupid but they are very used to being fooled.Report

            • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to ThatPirateGuy
              Ignored
              says:

              Glenn Beck is doing more that the great majority of people to move the converstaion forward toward private sector solutions — I tip my hat to him even if I don’t agree with everything or share his religious convictons. You can’t get me off my position by associating it with Glenn Beck — I like Beck for the most part and admire his courage and energy and love of liberty. Just like I admire Greenwald, but don’t agree with everything, or think that Cuomo is doing a good job so far, and I certainly don’t shere is poltical leanings.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                You know who else liked Glenn Beck?

                (sorry Jbird, I feel like I just infringed on your copyright)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to RTod
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude. Nothing makes me happier than to see those questions asked.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to RTod
                Ignored
                says:

                His Wife? Accountant? Gold Services provider?Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to ThatPirateGuy
                Ignored
                says:

                And worst of all my Dad.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to RTod
                Ignored
                says:

                You know who else liked Glenn Beck?

                People to whom Rush Limbaugh is too balanced, Sean Hannity too intellectual, John Bohner too unemotional, and Matt Romney too honest.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                This is the problem with hyperbole.

                I remember what was said about Rush Limbaugh in the 90’s.

                By the time that Hannity, Hewitt, and Levin arrived, all of the adjectives were used up.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                In this case, can’t we just create a new one? Like Beckean?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Right. It’s like all the things people said about W being ignorant and proud of it had some truth in them, but left no words to describe Palin.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike, it’s that they used similar arguments about Reagan.

                And then we got Dubya… as if no one might remember that similar was said about Reagan.

                By the time we get to Palin, we’re stuck repeating the charges like a Catholic Litany.

                Incurious if not downright stupid.
                Backwards.
                Phony.
                What’s the Matter with Kansas?Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m telling you: Beckean.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, like *THAT* won’t quickly be reclaimed.

                “Hey folks, I’ve got a new Beckian argument here for you. Have you ever really read about William Henry Harrison?”Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Good point, though to be honest,WH Harrison was kind of a hannity-bag.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                I just saying that people who like Glenn Beck like being fooled. They are used to it.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to ThatPirateGuy
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey Pirate–I LOVE Beck! He’s one of the funniest human beings on the planet. And he’s completely sincere with everything he says–it’s not schtick. How could anyone NOT like this guy? Tell me you don’t double over with laughter with his facial expressions when he has shows some videos of these rabid wack job hyenas (think: Bill Ayers, Ward Churchill, Jane Fonda) those types, you know, the hysterical, left-wing loons ranting about fascist America, imperialist America, genocidal America, and if you’re Van Jones, (a former White House adviser to Obama)–an America that deliberately let 9/11 happen so they could go to war and steal all the oil from Middle Eastern countries. He (Jones) was also involved in a group, a hardcore Marxist group, that advocated the violent overthrow of the US government–Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement STORM. Jones also wanted a 100% , inarguably guilty, first-degree cop killing murderer, Mumia Abu Jamal, freed (wish I could say fried) from prison. Yesterday, Beck had a video of some nutty broad, a nutty professor, as it turned out, condoning breaking storefront windows if it’s a part of a “larger” strategy to “affect” change in evil, repressive, AmeriKKKa!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger
                Ignored
                says:

                One more thing about Beck–he ain’t no dummy–if I’m not mistaken, he attended Yale and also did post-graduate work at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, eventually earning two Ph.Ds from this prestigious Institute– one was in the psychology of autistic savant primates (he actually was able to teach a monkey to play several Bach Inventions) and the other, transcendental cosmology. So, top that!Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Heidegger
                Ignored
                says:

                I think he got drunk with a couple of monkeys once.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Transplanted Lawyer
      Ignored
      says:

      Social Security (sacrosanct to both parties, mandatory): 20%
      Military (sacrosanct to GOP): 19%
      Anti-poverty entitlements (mostly mandatory): 16%
      Medical care (sacrosanct to Dems, mostly mandatory): 21%
      Debt servicing (mandatory): 5%
      Everything else (about half mandatory): 18%

      And people say that we libertarians are unreasonable.

      Want to balance the budget? Easy. Means-test Social Security and Medicare. Raise eligibility ages for both. Tax employer-provided health insurance.

      Most importantly, cut military spending by roughly half and end the wars. It’s downright absurd that we’re actually having a debate about how to balance the budget when world military spending looks like this.Report

      • Avatar E.C. Gach in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        Completely agree. Not as familiar with the Medicare problem, but if you look at any seriously comprehensive analysis of Social Security, anyone who knows how to add and subtract could make it solvent.

        The fact that it’s a debate about HOW to balance the budget, as oppose to what to give up and what to hold onto is the worst part. Everyone knows what it would take, but no one is willing to leave themselves vulnerable by actually going on record as supporting a plan with specific provisions.

        I thought the NY Times budget game made it pretty clear. Anyone can balance a budget, it’s just about getting some general consensus. If that consensus is possible, well I’m not optimistic about that.Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        Jason, I agree. Hopefully the wars and military spending will be front and center this year. There will be pressure on Republicans to address this issue — but this morning on Morning Joe, the editor of Times is suggesting we should go into Pakistan with boots on the ground — Times! He and Joe Klein just got back from Afghanistan and this is the recommendation.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Mike Farmer
          Ignored
          says:

          We should also close military bases overseas – the risk of terrorism is no greater than dying in a car accident, and no more deadly than the war on drugs. These drone attacks into Pakistan are unconscionable — innocent people/children are being killed and it’s all like a video game.

          The nation has been fooled about the threat of terrorism — the terrorists are not a viable threat to us, at least not to the extent of our reaction. A good defense at home is all we need.Report

          • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Mike Farmer
            Ignored
            says:

            > The nation has been fooled about the threat of
            > terrorism — the terrorists are not a viable threat
            > to us, at least not to the extent of our reaction.
            > A good defense at home is all we need.

            +1. Hey, Mike and I unequivocally agree on something.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Pat Cahalan
              Ignored
              says:

              Pat and Mike, well you boys and clasp hands and sing ‘kumbaya’ but the truth is the gnostic Muslims will eat your lunch and you won’t even see it coming.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Bob, again. The gnostic Muslims are *NOT* prepared for the Cultural Weapons of Mass Destruction that we have here in the West.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought the gnostic Muslim was the one with his finger on the trigger of the WMDs. But, you know, you can’t tell the Muslims without a scorecard.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude, Fundy Islam couldn’t handle a book that had pages and no illustrations without going bonkers.

                Do you think that Fundy Islam would be able to handle movies better than Fundy Christianity did? Music Videos? 2nd Wave Feminism?

                If Fundy Christianity dented, Fundy Islam is likely to shatter… in fewer generations to boot.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Perhaps I need to be more explicit.

                I thought at first that the gnostic Muslim was the same guy as the commie-dem Kenyan, but I realize know that I’m not fluent in Bob.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                When Bob is talking about the Gnostic Muslims, he’s talking about the incoming cultural invasion (e.g., the one also invading Europe).

                The Kenyan is the Kenyan.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Greetings, Jaybird! How right you are. The general neologism seems correct: All Muslims are not terrorists. All (for the most part) terrorists are Muslims. And they just LOVE to riot over, well, just about everything that they deem insulting to Allah. Guess that would be any human being who is not a Muslim, and God forbid, if you are Jewish. These fanatical loons went nuts over a damned beauty pageant–remember that one? In Nigeria, 2002–over 200 killed, hundreds injured, buildings burned, cars overturned, set on fire. Same in Paris. and it’s always, always, always, the Infidels who have to make concessions to the Muslims. Every single freaking time. Remember the all-girls school in Saudi Arabia that the firemen let burn to the ground because the girls weren’t wearing those god-awful ugly, idiotic medieval burqas? And the young girls walking to school in Afghanistan who were attacked and had acid sprayed in their faces because they weren’t “properly” attired with a full burqa. And the beautiful 2000 year old Buddhist statues carved into the mountains in Afghanistan, blown up. Sick. Sick. Sick. And they lean on Israel to be more ‘tolerant” when Hamas wants to kill every single Jew in Israel. Oh well, as of today, since 9/11, there have been 16,616 deadly Islamic terrorist attacks but, hey, Rosie O’Donnel says Christian Fundamentalists are as dangerous as Islamic Fundamentalists. And if you happen to be unfortunate enough to be a Christian living in an Islamic majority country, you’re really screwed–really screwed. The chance of getting assaulted, beaten, robbed, murdered, beheaded go up astronomically. Get the hell out of these hell hole, basket-case countries.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                As I understand it, gnostic Muslim is just about a contradiction in terms.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                When Bob is talking about the Gnostic Muslims, he’s talking about the incoming cultural invasion (e.g., the one also invading Europe).

                The Kenyan is the Kenyan.

                Yeah, he really needs to publish a glossary.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike, the “gnostic Muslims” thing is just Bob regurgitating, which is what most of what Bob says. It’s a script, almost. At least Heidegger has the decency, one might even say the brain power, to spew all sorts of different kinds of nonsense.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Bob fails to see the danger of the Fascist-GOP Teabaggers.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pat Cahalan
              Ignored
              says:

              > +1. Hey, Mike and I unequivocally agree on something.

              Me too. This is a sign of either the Rapture or the Apocalypse.

              Though I’ll have to spoil it now. One of the reasons I still feel good about voting for Obama is that we’re not at war with Iran.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike Farmer
          Ignored
          says:

          I read these comments and then I can’t grasp how you still hold out hope for the TP controlling spending in any meaningful way.

          A five minute Google search and I find Marco Rubio opposing timetables for withdrawal from Afghanistan and Mike Lee stating we should militarily pressure Iran. In the House, it was harder to find stances on the record, but Allen West and Michele Bachmann both favor aggressive military action against radical Islam. There is Rand Paul, but he looks pretty lonely over there.

          Obama OTOH is pressuring SoD Gates for deeper cuts to defense than those the Secretary proposed last summer. Yes, yes, yes, the Democrats have been feckless on defense cuts and the wars, but at least they’re not the ones fighting cuts tooth and nail.

          We’ll see who moves first on entitlement reform. I know who opposed Medicare cuts in ACA, though.

          If you truly agree with Jason that balancing the budget is contingent on defense and entitlement cuts, the TP is going to disappoint you.Report

          • Avatar MFarmer in reply to 62across
            Ignored
            says:

            “the TP is going to disappoint you”

            It won’t be the first time. I think I stated I have reasonable doubts, but that from what I sense about many of the new guys and gals, although they won’t be perfect, I’m sure, they will put more effort into cutting spending than the the Repub Establishment and the Dems. There will be pressure to cut wasteful military spending, and I don’t know how they can escape making these cuts — but, who knows, they might fold ans become hypocrits — the might become total statists. You all might be right, and I might be totally wrong, but one day is not enough time to make a judgement.Report

          • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to 62across
            Ignored
            says:

            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/pentagon-facing-biggest-military-cuts-since-911/article1860973/

            “the cuts – estimated at $78-billion over five years on top of $100-million in savings Mr. Gates says can be slashed from Pentagon bloat – remain predicated on some risky assumptions. Not least, that Americans can come marching home in huge numbers from Afghanistan by the promised exit date of 2014, allowing both the army and the Marines to cuts tens of thousands from their ranks.”

            So this is what Obama is putting on the table, anyone care to pressure to see that it gets done? Try calling your congress critter. It works at least 2-3 times better than posting on blog.Report

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        Interesting numbers, Jason. Can we really trust any numbers that come from a group that identifies themselves as, “Stockholm International Peace Research Institute?” I’d give much more credibility to the “Limbaugh Institute for Conservative Study” which has an unbelievable, 99.99999% , accuracy rating. And there’s always the unimpeachable, “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine” with a remarkable, 100% accuracy rating.Report

      • Avatar Simon K in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        It would work, Jason, but means tests are a terrible idea. An entitlement that only goes to poor people if one you can guarantee will be abolished sooner or later. Plus, its a disincentive to savings.Report

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        Interesting numbers, Jason. Can we really trust any numbers that come from a group that identifies themselves as, “Stockholm International Peace Research Institute?” I’d give much more credibility to the “Limbaugh Institute for Conservative Study” which has an unbelievable, 99.99999% , accuracy rating. And there’s always the unimpeachable, “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine” with a remarkable, 100% accuracy rating.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Transplanted Lawyer
      Ignored
      says:

      Or just increase taxes on the rich. It’s clear by now that (a) increasing taxes on the rich will not harm the economy, at any reasonable rate, and (b) leaving vast sums of money in their hands has a strongly negative effect on the economy.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Farmer
    Ignored
    says:

    This from NRO and Robert Costa, for what it’s worth

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/256447/ready-start-cutting-robert-costa

    I just can’t afford the luxury of cynicism right now. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be one of the first to support an Alternate Party grassroots charge — I’ll dedicate myself to it. I hope it’s named the Chainsaw Party.Report

    • Avatar steve in reply to Mike Farmer
      Ignored
      says:

      I read a number of TP sites. When they discuss cutting spending, they never even mention Medicare w/o prompting by me. Not in their thought process. Military is off the table too.

      SteveReport

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to steve
        Ignored
        says:

        Steve, I’ve seen the new TP-type representatives say over and over that Medicare is on the table — let’s also talk about Medicaid — no one is talking about this.Report

        • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike Farmer
          Ignored
          says:

          “I’ve seen the new TP-type representatives say over and over that Medicare is on the table”

          Name 5, with quotes. And even if you can, 5 of 438 … well you see where I’m heading with this.

          As for Medicaid, let’s talk about it. It’s budget is dwarfed by Medicare, and projected to grow more slowly. And even there, I don’t see many calls for big cuts (there are some). You could ELIMINATE Medicaid (no one is proposing that) and still have a HUGE deficit.

          And not to sound like a broken record, but a critical reading of that article should IMO lead to the exact opposite conclusion – the lack of seriousness about REAL cuts, as opposed to gestures, is stunning.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mike Farmer
      Ignored
      says:

      I read that article, and I was not impressed. Just the usual general platitudes about how these freshmen Republicans are really serious about cutting spending, without a single mention of what spending, exactly, they intend to cut that will make a major difference. The only quasi-specific thing was Cantor’s claim that they will try to bring discretionary non-defense spending down to 08 levels. Whoopee. That’s not even a drop in the bucket. And not only is it not even a drop in the bucket, it reasserts that defense and entitlement spending are off the table.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        “And not only is it not even a drop in the bucket, it reasserts that defense and entitlement spending are off the table.”

        What does? Certainly not the article.Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t share your sharp cynicism Mark, altough I have reasonable doubts — time will tell, and I’m willing to wager that the new TP-type reps will do what they say they are going to do — what we really need to worry about is resistance on the left to spending cuts – the Blue Dogs might grow stronger, and Cuomo is making waves.Report

        • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike Farmer
          Ignored
          says:

          “will do what they say they are going to do”

          But that’s really the problem Mike. While I am a cynic, I don’t think you need to be a cynic to realize that “what they say” is not encouraging to anyone who cares about the long term fiscal trajectory of the nation. At least if one looks at the specifics instead of the generalities.

          (1) With a few encouraging exceptions, most of them have either explicitly stated that defense cuts are off the table, or are silent on the point but generally hawkish in their statements.

          (2) Mostly silent on entitlement reform, or even actively bashing the dems for cutting Medicare. Oh, sure, they want to repeal Obamacare. But have ANY of them come out for repealing the much more expensive prescription drug program from the Bush administration? Crickets.

          I’d add, though this is in a different somewhat different category,

          (3) Absolutely opposed to any tax increases at all. Now, I know there are plenty of people out there, you probably included, who are just fine with this, but there are two problems with it: (a) bash the “lefties” all you want, but actually GETTING SERIOUS SPENDING CUTS ENACTED is going to involve some sort of compromise at some point. And that compromise, unless the tea partiers somehow end up with a majority (super majority in the senate) (and if you think THAT is happening, you are seriously misreading American politics), will involve a tax increase on SOME dimension. (b) If we take the deficit at ALL seriously, then (considering the trajectory of entitlement spending going forward), balancing the budget at current revenue levels (as a percentage of GNP) is going to require such a massive recasting of the role of the state that it really ISN’T politically possible. I mean, you have even current tea partiers nervous about proposing ANY significant entitlement cuts – you think even they are going to gut Medicare and social security (and, yes, at current revenue levels that’s what it would take – maybe not now but 10 years from now). You may think that we SHOULD cut those programs, but in a world where Paul Ryan proposes a plan that, despite deep cuts, relies upon smoke and mirrors to achieve a long term balanced budget – and Republicans – not just the leadership, but most of the rank and file – runs screaming from the plan – you’re not going to get it.

          Now, weight those specifics against vague, general statements about cutting spending and eliminating the deficit. One does not have to be a cynic to believe that the specific will trump the general.

          I would add – and let me say that personally I would support a more extensive reform of Medicare than would many REPUBLICANS, let alone Democrats – the tea partiers have a real electoral dilemma regarding making such changes. Look at demographics – where did the Republican wave of 2010 get a lot of it’s momentum? From the elderly. You think those voters are going to be pleased with meaningful entitlement cuts? *which would have to come from programs for the elderly, which account for the vast majority of entitlement spending? Not happening.Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to LarryM
            Ignored
            says:

            wo has said lately that defense cuts are off the table — how many have said defense cuts are on the table?Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to LarryM
            Ignored
            says:

            What smoke and mirrors are in Ryan’s plan? You say all this about Ryan and TPers but I’m hearing something totally different. I’ve heard Republicans say they would consider tax increases but not in a recession and not until spending is under control and cuts have been made first — otherwise, congress will only spend more money — yes, it’s all talk right now, but all I hear the democrats talking about is raising taxes on millionairesandbillionaires — the extra revenue would just go down a black hole — let’s put limitations in place before we suck more money out of the private sector. Most people, if they knew serious limitations, cuts and caps are in place, would be okay with temporarily raising taxes to balance the budget, then when the economy’s booming, start lowering them again, this could be sold. However, and you probably disagree, but if this healthcare law is not repealed or seriously reformed, the democrats are pushing for total financial collapse — it will ruin us.Report

            • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Mike Farmer
              Ignored
              says:

              Larry, no matter how much we agree on the flaws of the right, the left has over-played the progressive card and this is our main crisis right now — this just can’t be denied if we’re going to have this discussion in reality. Forget about the right for a minute and just look at the progressive agenda. Businesses which aren’t in the progressive plan for favoritism are frozen because they don’t know what’s coming next — we can’t cut or spend our way to prosperity and stability — we have to grow the economy, and government doesn’t know how to do this — government is killing the economy.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                No government isn’t killing the economy a lack of customer is.

                A problem which doesn’t get solved by making government employees have less money or no job. Nor by cutting funds for scientific research.Report

              • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike Farmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Well yes I think we need to agree to disagree there. But lets dig a little deeper to see just where the disagreement might be.

                I have MANY problems with what the government is doing on a number of levels, but my perspective is that, outside of extreme examples (command economies, or particularly egregious policy errors like shrinking the money supply in a recession e.g.) there isn’t a huge amount the government can do to help OR hurt the economy. I wouldn’t call that a particularly liberal of leftist perspective either – in fact, in some ways I think that’s a pretty conservative argument. The government is not the cause OR the solution to our current economic woes.

                As for “Businesses which aren’t in the progressive plan for favoritism are frozen because they don’t know what’s coming next,” I don’t even know what that MEANS. Not that there isn’t plenty of “favoritism,” Republican or Democrat (and yes I think the Republicans are even worse on this – the unprecedented massive bailout of the financial services industry, while bipartisan, was on the Republican watch), but I don’t see it as being AT ALL unique – it’s par for the course for the past few decades – and the economy usually manages just fine despite it. I mean, I don’t LIKE it, but more for reasons of justice than economic efficiency.

                At a minimum, if we are to have a productive dialog on this issue, I think it needs to get more specific. Where, exactly, do you see the Obama administration doing this? What, exactly, do you mean?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to LarryM
                Ignored
                says:

                Larry, you say there is favortism, then pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. Goldman Sachs is one specific company. GM, because of the unions, is another. The insurance companies which will be big winners in the new healthcare law. You like to play dumb when it suits your purposes, but that’s okay — I know you’re smarter than the average bear.Report

            • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike Farmer
              Ignored
              says:

              As for the smoke and mirrors, http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/02/paul-ryans-smoke-and-mirrors. Please consider the logic of the argument rather than the source.

              As for the rest, obviously we have been reading/hearing different things. I’d be (legitimately) curious to have some specific links or quotes as to what you have been hearing. I would say that on entitlements there are some serious noises from the TPers – though even there, (a) nothing about getting rid of or limiting the prescription drug program, and (b) explicit carve outs for current retirees (not that I think they are necessarily entirely wrong to do so). But on defense – crickets (for the most part – yes there are (a very few) exceptions. Ryan I believe isn’t one of them). And the leadership and non TP rank and file is even more explicit in exempting defense, and ran like crazy from Ryan’s proposed entitlement cuts.

              Oh, and as for “I’ve heard Republicans say they would consider tax increases but not in a recession.” Well, I haven’t heard that, but it is indeed reasonable. But why not take the same attitude towards spending cuts?

              But you know, I hope you are right. Not that I share the entire TP agenda by ANY means, but it would be nice to have a sincere voice for fiscal sanity. I just think that right now the TPers are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

              “However, and you probably disagree, but if this healthcare law is not repealed or seriously reformed, the democrats are pushing for total financial collapse — it will ruin us.”

              My thoughts on this are complex. I am not a huge fan of Obamacare, and my preferred solution would have been much more of a Singapore, market oriented (but still with a significant role for government) approach. But: (1) it’s not as ruinous as the Republicans claim from a fiscal perspective. Taking the plan as a whole, it doesn’t really hurt the deficit- if anything the contrary – assuming that the cost saving provisions are retained (but the Republicans want those gone also).The problem from a fiscal perspective is that a lot of the “low hanging fruit” in terms of spending reduction is part of that calculation; i.e., in theory you have the cuts without the extra spending . (2) The pre-Obamacare status quo was hardly a free market, and was a fiscal time bomb in its own right. Going back to that is not a solution. Where are the serious Republican alternatives? Oh, sure you can point to various policy papers from conservative think tanks – but none of it seriously manifests itself in the political realm.Report

  10. Avatar Kyle Cupp
    Ignored
    says:

    When my tribe comes to power, I make it a policy to look away from and forget about the gulf between campaign rhetoric and actual governance. I’m told by people not of my tribe that I risk following into the chasm, but I don’t take these warnings seriously.Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Kyle Cupp
      Ignored
      says:

      Fuck all the clever tribe talk — there are many people serious about getting this mess under control — I choose to be on the side that’s helping, not throwing snark from the sidelines.Report

      • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        But Mike, I think there is (at least) a very serious argument about whether your “side”* is “better.” It’s not just snark. On spending, I think you can argue that the Republicans are “better” – by a little. On deficits, you can argue that the Dems are better – by a little. Even if you disagree with this formulation, you HAVE to agree that BOTH parties are pretty bad on both issues.

        Ah, yes, but you apparently honestly believe that the tea partiers (the politicians are whom I’m talking about – they are what matter in a Republic) are “different.” Well, I’m not going to disabuse you of that belief in a blog comment. But realize that plenty of people ALL OVER the political spectrum (but MORE on the right and center than on the left – the left hates the tea partiers IN PART because they really believe their rhetoric) – but many of us HONESTLY BELIEVE that the tea party politicians elected are NOT “better” on spending and the deficit – at least not MEANINGFULLY so.

        And there is an argument – a good one – that that’s WORSE for any sane fiscal future than just business as usual. That is, a party or movement that ostensibly is for small/government/low spending/no deficits, but ISN’T operationally for those things, does MORE damage to the cause than politicians who are frankly for big government.

        *And I think that the way you frame the issue is a HUGE part of the problem. I don’t have a “side.” People who do are part of the problem. And I don’t mean that in the traditional, centrist-establishment “bipartisan” sense – I mean it in the sense that EVEN PEOPLE SUCH AS YOURSELF, who has been deeply (and justifiably) critical of the Republican party, and wants some fairly radical changes, STILL considers yourself on their “side.” I mean, vote for them by all means if you think they are the lesser of two evils, but that doesn’t mean that they are on your “side” or vice versa.Report

        • Avatar LarryM in reply to LarryM
          Ignored
          says:

          I mean, just to be clear I DO vote for more Ds than Rs – but I don’t consider myself on their “side.” It’s very much a lesser of two evils vote 0 I just happen to believe that contemporary movement conservatism – and, IN PRACTICE, the tea party movement as it manifests itself electorally – are SO far off the rails that a vote for the Dems is justified.

          I’m NOT asking Mike to agree with that – he clearly sees the Rs as the lesser of two evils, and from his perspective that may be the case. But I would HOPE that I could convince him that he should avoid seeing that lesser evil as bring on his “side” in any meaningful sense.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to LarryM
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes, reasonable people weigh the choices and vote for the side they think is best suited to their goals for the country, but this sociological babble about tribes assumes that people are ignorant, superstitious tribespeople who dance aroung their sides totem pole and sacrifice goats. Most people who are politically active have strong political beliefs and act on them — this shouldnt be denigrated by comparing them to tribes, just because they believe strongly. Some people do appear to overlook the flaws of their “side” but most of it understandable, and yet many people criticize their party when it goes off track — Bush was spanked for immigration, and many criticized his Big Government turn, and the TP criticized the whole GOP for getting off track.Report

      • Avatar Kyle Cupp in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        To clarify: I don’t associate “tribe” with political party, and I don’t mean it to refer to people who sacrifice goats. I mean it as sociological term for people who think (feel, believe, etc.) like I do and whose weakness, faults, mistakes, and sins I tend to overlook, dismiss, or downplay so as to protect an image of myself and my group.Report

  11. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Perhaps, Mark, if you put your fingers in your ears and stated emphaticly that Republicans were the only hope for the countries fiscal future that’s work? Maybe if you stick the fingers waaay in and yell it really loud. If you feel something moving against your fingertips don’t worry, that’s just your other finger.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      If you feel something moving against your fingertips don’t worry, that’s just your other finger.

      And *then* you’ll be a Republican! (Put Angelina Jolie in my bed and I might be able to resist her. A straight line that good — not a chance.)Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      No, hat never woks, North — but tying to find solutions from wherever they might come is a good start. Also, taking esponsibility for we need o be doing will help. I’m a little tired of the hip ironic pose — it gets old when real problems are facing us. Not aimed at you specifically, but at the general tone, and at myself when I become too clever. Excuse my grumpiness, but there seems to be social barrier among the left that prevents them from seeing anything positive on the right out of fear of being associated with the goobers.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        I think you’re right abou the left; but you have to grant that at the same time they’re being told daily by the right that they’re Socialist unpatriotic Hitler-loving lazy mindless whiny faggy hermaphrodites. So perhaps not big surprise that they don’t embrace the right and offer cookies.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to RTod
          Ignored
          says:

          I agree hat the rhetoric is over-heated — but, in all fairness, it comes from both sides and has for centuries. The left could get more sympathy from some of their causes if they didn’t frame the right as redneck racists at every turn.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to RTod
          Ignored
          says:

          “…..but you have to grant that at the same time they’re being told daily by the right that they’re Socialist unpatriotic Hitler-loving lazy mindless whiny faggy….”

          I know people on your team like to think this but from where I sit at least it just isn’t so. Forget about the nastiness of the netroots for a minute, let’s just look at the mainstream Right by itself. The Right makes moves, like opposing Obamacare, that should be pretty easy to understand and are explained in some detail. Nonetheless we always get the inability of the Left and the MSM to make sense of things that should be pretty much obvious.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        No worries Mike, if I took what I read on the internet personally I’d have run home crying to my Mammy in Canada long ago.

        Everyone pretty much knows what’s going to be done. There are going to be some significant spending cuts, some less significant but still existent tax increases and hopefully some reforms of the entitlement programs. If we’re lucky some seriously wasteful things will be ended; agricultural subsidies, oversea bases, wars, ethanol. I’m confident American will sort it all out… having explored every other alternative first.
        But I personally doubt it’ll be done by the GOP. It’d be nice to be proven wrong but the indicators from the current crop in congress aren’t exactly promising. I expect it’ll be some Democrat led bipartisan affair.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          I second this…Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          I don’t care who leads it, really, I just know that right now, the new Republicans are showing the most promise and have pushed the issue to the forefront, but if the Democrats take the lead, then more power to them — if they push to end the wars, close military bases and cut military spending, reform Medicaide, or do away with it by relying on private sector solutions, cut SS, or allow private insurance/savings plan to replace most of it, and if they help reform the healthcare bill — then, yes, more power to them — I will vote pure Democrat.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Mike Farmer
            Ignored
            says:

            What if the only do some of those things?Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              North, if the Democrats simply head in that direction and the Republicans oppose them, I would support the Democrats.

              I don’t know why you guys don’t think I’m serious when I say I will support the party that starts reducing the size and power of government, either the two biggies or a third — for some reason you think I’m a secret Republican partisan. I can’t make it any clearer.Report

          • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike Farmer
            Ignored
            says:

            Let me ask you this Mike – serious question. The recent deficit commission proposal. I know you have your reservations – so do I (some shared, some opposing). But let’s say the Dems came out in favor of it (I know, I know, but grant me the thought experiment), and the Republicans against it. Now, again whatever you think of the proposal, it would mean real reductions, quite large ones, certainly more extensive than anything on offer from either party currently (Ryan’s plan, not adopted by the leadership, arguably excepted). To make this easier (or harder, depending upon your POV), let’s assume the Republican alternative is a typical establishment Republican empty proposal that doesn’t significantly reduce the deficit.

            Under those circumstances, who do you vote for?Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to LarryM
              Ignored
              says:

              Larry, you are asking me if I am a party man. No. I think that should be clear. If the Democrats start cutting spending and the Republicans don’t, then I will support the Democrats — based solely on spending concerns, but if the cuts are serious and across the board, then this means reducing the size and scope of government, which I am for. However, Geithner just sent a letter to congress pleading with them to raise the ceiling debt and presenting a horror scenario if they don’t — the administration hs infrastructure spending plns they will re-label as infrastructure, and the democrats will claim that if we don’t spend more now on infrastructure, we can’t create jobs.

              If the adminsitration is serious, they will ask for a rise in the ceiling but only after cuts are determined and caps are in place, asking the congress to quickly agree and put the cuts, reductions and caps in place so that we can raise the ceiling in good conscience.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                relabel as investment, I meantReport

              • Avatar Koz in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “If the adminsitration is serious, they will ask for a rise in the ceiling but only after cuts are determined and caps are in place, asking the congress to quickly agree and put the cuts, reductions and caps in place so that we can raise the ceiling in good conscience.”

                Let’s note, if it’s not obvious, that that is exactly the Republican position on the issue (at least as explained by Sen Lindsey Graham last weekend).Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike Farmer
        Ignored
        says:

        “Also, taking responsibility for we need o be doing will help. I’m a little tired of the hip ironic pose — it gets old when real problems are facing us. “

        Problems that our team has actual real answers for, that we are circulating as we write. The hip irony is worse than lame. It’s a distraction away from the solutions toward “pox on both houses” dissociation whose effect and intent is to continue the status quo. Let’s not be afraid to do what needs to be done.

        Vote Republican, cut spending, punish liberals.Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Koz
          Ignored
          says:

          Koz, I happen to like unapologetic Republicans. Unapologetic liberals and Democrats too. I like and respect Russ Feingold. Dude hit the CIA documents and voted against the Iraq War II, or so he said.

          Mugwumps and “levellers,” not so much, as you put it, the “‘pox on both houses’ dissociation whose effect and intent is to continue the status quo.”

          I dunno if it’s the intent, because I think the intent is a certain circumvention of any and all moral hazards, and in the end, any accountability. I Told You So, as if the mugwump isn’t right at least half the time, and even more often considering how corrupt human beings are.

          But I agree its effect is preserving the status quo. Mugwumpage is inherently ineffectual. And although Vin Scully is the greatest baseball announcer of all time, he has never won a single game.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke
            Ignored
            says:

            “I dunno if it’s the intent, because I think the intent is a certain circumvention of any and all moral hazards, and in the end, any accountability.”

            I disagree a little bit. The dissociators may be trying to evade accountability, but they are definitely not giving up influence or control. Instead they are hoping that the GOP will be able to do what needs to be done, while denying them the opportunity to do it.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Those who point out that this is just the first day and so we can’t judge them to be failures just yet have a point.

    Those who point out that this is just the first day and already the Republicans are fucking up also have one. (For example, imagine if they had adjourned for a month!)Report

  13. Avatar FreedomDemocrat
    Ignored
    says:

    Prepare for the first of many, many disappointments from the new Republican majority in the House. There will be a lot of storm and fury in the first few weeks before Obama’s State of the Union so they can say they had something resembling a record, with big votes on repealing health care reform and blocking the EPA from regulating carbon emissions. After that, just kick back and watch the posturing. Likely deals on transportation and the farm bill will be the icing on the “I told you so” cake.Report

  14. Avatar Apnea
    Ignored
    says:

    Just had a moment there. I thought I was reading the usual Left blog about the obvious discrepancy between campaign rhetoric and actual policy-making in the Obama administration, with the oh-so-usual repartition of adherence to the mainstream party structure, from hopeful belief to cynical defiance. It was a brief mix-up, and the focus of the arguments here (cutting spending) is on its face very different from the one informing the political debates of the Left. But upon further reading, the similarities are disquieting :

    –As already said, the same distribution of opinions regarding the officially recognized political parties : party believers (mainstream Dems/Repubs), cynics (independent Leftist/Libertarian) and unwitting astroturfed activists (pwogs/TP).

    –The overt and repeated recourse to the “the lesser evil” argument, whereas the opposing mainstream party is depicted as somehow “worse” than the one more nearly espousing (at the level of words) the shared political goals (here, cutting spending), with intense name-calling involved.

    –In the same vein, the other generic defense mechanisms from party believers : “leave him/them more time!”, “the measure is going in the right direction!”, “a new generation of Dem/Repub is what is needed!”, “the progressives/TPers will keep their feet to the fire!”, etc.

    –The same hinting at the possibility of a third-party more in tune with the stated political goals, and thus the clear recognition of a fundamental disconnect between the Beltway world and voters.

    I believe my point here is that, even if the actual political goals couldn’t be any different, both political wings are organized along eerily similar lines, at least at the level of a kind of opinion-management by elites. Both wings have no effective say in the matter of policy-making beyond the prioritizing of a few symbolic themes or other (that is, the election of D or R), and again, only at the level of words. In my analysis, the elites dominating the current two-party structure are slightly distinguishable policy-wise, as opposed to their cultural branding (“conservative”/”liberal”).

    (If all this is taken for granted around here, sorry for the tl;dr. I read to many blogs to keep in mind the agreed-upon things from one to the next.)Report

  15. Avatar Koz
    Ignored
    says:

    “Personally, I will blame the libertarians who criticize the Republicans for their fiscal irresponsibility. Clearly, the only reason the Republicans will have returned to their fiscally irresponsible ways is that libertarians criticized the Republicans for returning to their fiscally irresponsible ways.”

    Well, yeah. If we can cut $100B or return to 2008 levels or whatever it is, we’ll be in a position to cut bigger ticket items as well. Policy-wise, it’s not too hard. There’s already plans floating around to do it.

    The real obstacle is political. The Demo’s are going to run their usual demagoguery, eg, here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p82UTJBTTN0

    The question is, does it work? It certainly didn’t work for Ms. Halvorson. Libertarians a quirky bunch, though. There’s strong hesitancy to actually associating with Republicans, because people like yourself would rather distract yourselves with coverture, homosex, marijuana dispensaries and the rest of it.

    But that doesn’t work. There’s a delusion that we can accomplish big ticket items without having to go through the meat grinder of mainstream politics. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. That’s why the people with real credibility on spending are Republican, not Libertarian.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      Because, you know, homosex pollutes your budget credibility.

      But Medicare Part D? That’s cool.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        Hey, the Libertarians weren’t on board and Bush took a shellacking for trying to reform Social Security. If he wanted to win in 2006, he had to make sacrifices.

        Unfortunately, the Libertarians didn’t appreciate the fact that they were the ones he had to sacrifice to pass Medicare D and didn’t show up at the polls in 2006.

        This is evidence of their lack of loyalty, or something.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        Well yeah. I take it you’ve been following the whole liberaltarian business. With the lay of the land today, real accomplishment in limited government is going to take the starch out of homosex, marijuana dispensaries and the rest of it. We know that with rare exceptions libertarians aren’t going to make this trade so for actual limited government credibility we’re left with the GOP.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s why the people with real credibility on spending are

      the ones who started two wars and refused to even think about how to pay for them.Report

  16. Avatar tom van dyke
    Ignored
    says:

    I heard this argument from Lawrence O’Donnell about 6 weeks ago, Mark. The next day he claimed some sort of triumph over his Tea Party guests.

    First order of business is to arrest the rate of increase of spending. Surely you’re not arguing that a Democrat House would spend less?

    [And I’m not calling you Shirley.]Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      This is a subtle point. You could say, for the sake of voting Republican over Democrat, that the GOP is at least epsilon better therefore I vote for them.

      But that’s not the only point to be made. The Republicans, because they have some amount of leadership responsibility now that they hold the majority in the House of Representatives, they are supposed to come up with policies that plausibly solve the relevant problems.

      But they also need to feel out where the other team is and what is motivating them. We have to have a few rounds of back and forth before we can have any decent judgment for what’s feasible.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to tom van dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      TvK–may he (Leslie Nielsen), rest in peace. Scratch that–Surely, God has much too good of a sense of humor to allow that to happen!

      Now, I thought we this fiscal lunacy problem all solved. It couldn’t be simpler–we, the United States, have resolved to use the exact same budget the Government used in…..(get ready) 1804! I’ve crunched all the numbers–it’s entirely possible. The entire 14 trillion dollar deficit will be completely paid off on (what a coincidence this is) July 4, 2013, approximately 3:18pm. It CAN happen–it MUST happen. It won’t be easy, but let the bodies pile up–it can’t be worse than the financial Armageddon that will undoubtedly happen if we do nothing. Actually, “do nothing” is not what is happening. If only that were the case. The government, as it’s composed today, never does, just “nothing”. It devours and spends/wastes every bloody penny they can get their tentacles on–if that means printing funny money, so be it. We’re really on the precipice of a financial doomsday. Just wait till China’s bubble bursts, and you know it will. Who’s going to bail us out..Kenya? North Korea? Cuba? God help us!

      p.s. Michele Bachmann is SO hot. HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

      p.p.s. And please, commenters, try to lighten up with the Tea Party slings insults, and slurs. One of our very brightest commenters, Chris–yes, Cognitive Chris, is a passionate, ardent Tea Party aficionado, adviser, member, and when I say, “passionate” I MEAN passionate! He’s a bit too humble to toot his own horn, so I’m going to do it for him instead–you remember that Tea Party rally held last Tax day, April 15, 2010? Well, Chris had had enough of these, “take back America milquetoasts”, and he, in full, authentic, Minuteman attire, singlehandedly, pulled a genuine Revolutionary War cannon all the way from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello house to the Washington Memorial! He even dared the authorities, who wanted to place him under arrest, with these chilling words, “Go ahead, make my day”! They retreated in shame, and Chris went on to deliver one of the greatest, most moving, eloquent, powerful speeches in the history of our great Republic. And, as you all know, the rest is history.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Heidegger
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        says:

        In honor of Bob, I’m going to refuse to call them anything but “Teabggers”, and remind everyone repeatedly that they want the government to keep its hands off their Medicare.Report

  17. Avatar Scott
    Ignored
    says:

    The Repubs may not do everything they promised to do during the campaign but I didn’t vote for my particular congress critter for that reason alone. There are many things I think she particularly and they in general will do which is why I voted Repub.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Scott
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      says:

      Who is your congress critter?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      I have no doubt about this, and I think this is an honest response. It’s also exactly why libertarians (rather than conservatives) are and should not trust the Republicans. To the extent that libertarians supported Republicans in this election (and I count myself amongst them for the most part), they have no reason to expect that the Republican Party as a whole will make any effort to make significant spending cuts. Why? Because libertarians are a small group, and conservatives are a large group both within the party and within the electorate as a whole. When libertarian and conservative impulses clash – and they will clash frequently – the conservatives will win every time. And while slashing the federal government in all respects is far and away the libertarians’ biggest concern, it is but one of many concerns for conservatives, and will typically give way to those other concerns when they conflict.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        Mark, there were few GOP tears at losing Congress in 2006. They had “lost their way.”

        And they no doubt will again, and be sucked into the Beltway machine. But the Class of ’94 had a good run.

        When you say libertarians “should not trust Republicans,” neither should Republicans. It’s equally fair to say we shouldn’t trust politicians of any stripe. Or Wall St. financiers, or labor unions, or the apparatchiks of any system. The one constant we can trust in is that they will eventually become corrupt. So we keep bringing in fresh meat and pitch it when it spoils.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          “And they no doubt will again, and be sucked into the Beltway machine. But the Class of ’94 had a good run.”

          I don’t think they did. Too much of what happened after 1994 got sucked into the cult of personality of Newt Gingrich, the most important of which was that 1995 budget wars turned a tactical loss into a strategic one. And, let’s note for the likes of Mark: we’d be in way better shape today if Gingrich had won.Report

  18. Avatar Katherine
    Ignored
    says:

    Personally, I will blame the libertarians who criticize the Republicans for their fiscal irresponsibility. Clearly, the only reason the Republicans will have returned to their fiscally irresponsible ways is that libertarians criticized the Republicans for returning to their fiscally irresponsible ways. Clearly.

    I only blame the libertarians who vote for Republicans and then complain about spending.Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Katherine
      Ignored
      says:

      Because if we wouldn’t have a huge debt is Democrats controlled government?Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
        Ignored
        says:

        Good God, what happened to that sentence? Nevermind.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to MFarmer
        Ignored
        says:

        I understood pretty well. Very quick to come hopefully to the defense of Republicans before they’ve done anything to show they will move the policy lneedle in the direction you say you want it to go, and after an era in which in nearly every way they moved n the other direction. This is why I am hesitant to accept your professions of neutral commitment to policy objectives without political preference, and why I am very inclined to accept those or Mark Thompson, even though you both claim a very similar such neutral commitment. Because of the location, number, tone, thrust, and apparent emotion of your responses here on the topic of partisan politics. In case you were wondering. You should keep being who you are, Mike, IMHO. But you might as well know how you impress. Maybe you impress only me the way I’ve just described. Other people can certainly let us know if they feel differently. But you do impress me that way. That’s the best I can do as an explanation my earlier comment – I wanted to at least offer one.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Michael Drew
          Ignored
          says:

          Michael, I respond to unfair criticisms of the right — yes, I lean further right, but fom the Old Right position — it makes sense when ou think about classical liberalism — there are still remnants of the Old Right/anti-statism (Rothbard, Chodorov, Nock, Childs) on the Right, and that is is what I defend from unfair criticism. I’ve never denied this — I’m not a liberaltarian like Mark. And, I don’t support the statist Big Government Right — it’s not difficult to understand.Report

          • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
            Ignored
            says:

            Oh, to add to this — I see the new Republicans as adhering more to the Old Right/anti-statism than to the Big Government/statist Right. I don’t have a prblem with with being associated with the Right as long as it’s understood it’s the old Chodorov Right, not the McConnell/Graham/McCain Right, which is moderate/establishment/statist than libertarian right.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to MFarmer
            Ignored
            says:

            You’re right, it’s not. You always vote Republican.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
              Ignored
              says:

              More seriously, if you say it’s easy to understand where you’re coming from philosophically and that you’ve been perfectly clear about it consistently, by all means, I’m not in a position to argue. As I said from the start, it merely hasn’t been clear to me. And it wouldn’t be the first time for me to be on the slow end of a bell curve. Moreover, there’s no reason for me to have been singling you out for such scrutiny to begin with. The complexity of your ideological background is clearly what gave me difficulty, not any obscurity in your presentation. Please accept my humblest apologies for the presumption.Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Michael Drew
              Ignored
              says:

              No, I don’t, not solely. Why do you do this? Why is so important to you to frame me as a partisan Republican, especially after what I wrote? I voted Democrat for a long time, and now I support libertarians unless a special candidate comes along from one of the parties. I started out as far left as you can imagine, but I evolved to libertarian, but never a Republican partisan — “Republican” doesn’t even register in my philosophy — I think more in terms of classical liberalism vs modern liberalism, with a strong aversion to progressivism and all forms of statism.Report

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