Mitch McConnell’s minor masterpiece

Avatar

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

Related Post Roulette

256 Responses

  1. Avatar gschu says:

    Great post. Though I have to say as a former constituent of Mr. McConnell’s I do find it hard to truly appreciate his unparalleled cynicism.Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I see your point here, but I’m not sure that the average Republican voter would see McConnell letting Obama do whatever he wants and not be really super pissed about it. Seems necessary to not piss off the loyal voters before we can call this a brilliant plan.Report

  3. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Hey, ynz guys, didn’t Mitch say today that the GOP can’t make a deal until the current clown in the White House is de-elected? I thought I heard that on the Rushbo show….just sayin.’Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    How unitary an executive do we need?

    “More.”Report

  5. Avatar Anderson says:

    This is discouraging. Since when has passing basic budgets and appropriations in a relatively bipartisan manner , the most basic of congressional duties, become the equivalent of economic Russian roulette? The debit limit “debate” is all such a charade; the most cynical of politics that seems laughable in contrast to the current un(and under)employment rate. And now McConnell wants to keep playing this game out until 2012? And, what then, if Obama wins? Do we make the debit ceiling increase, already a uniquely American policy, into a quarterly charade that only succeeds in showing people money that has already been spent? Gah. I want to ignore all of this, I really do, but the stakes are too high to laugh it off as “Washington as usual.”Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Anderson says:

      “Since when has passing basic budgets and appropriations in a relatively bipartisan manner ,..?”

      Since Team Blue made it that way. No matter which team you’re on never ever forget it.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Koz says:

        I’m a GOP, but soft on Clinton, who knew how to do the damn job. He knew Gingrich was overplaying his hand, and came out smelling like roses in the staredown/shutdown of 1995-96.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_government_shutdown_of_1995_and_1996

        Clinton’s approval rating fell significantly during the shutdown. According to media commentators, this indicated that the general public blamed the president for the government shutdown.[7] However, once it had ended his approval ratings rose to their highest since his election.

        But BHO ain’t Bill Clinton, and McConnell/Boehner ain’t Gingrich. My analysis from history is, shit I dunno. All I remember is Gingrich acting like a dick. I–and Mark Halperin–think Obama is acting like a dick. And “eat your peas” is too much like wearing a cardigan sweater for my taste. Real Americans don’t eat peas or wear cardigan sweaters. Real Americans don’t do malaise. And Real Americans don’t act like dicks, no matter what the Europeans say about us.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke says:

          In particular, the idea is that Congress has no ultimate leverage on the budget short of shutdown and the GOP accepted that.

          Largely for the reasons you wrote, I’m not convinced that the Demo’s would have won a shutdown battle if we had one, but that was the conventional wisdom. And in any case, the upshot is that the Demo’s created this world of brinksmanship.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to tom van dyke says:

          “And Real Americans don’t act like dicks, no matter what the Europeans say about us.”

          ‘Real Americans’ act like dicks first, last and almost always – see the Tea Party for example.Report

        • Real Americans don’t exist. If they did, however, I’d imagine they’d wear sweaters were it cold enough.Report

      • Avatar Anderson in reply to Koz says:

        Sure there’s plenty of blame to go around for nasty politics; a certain amount of discord and brinkmanship is a natural biproduct of any democracy. But I can’t really think of a comparable example to this current situation of one political party forcing a country (in the midst of a recession mind you) to default on its debt, potentially sending a wreaking ball through the economy. If the bond markets want to have their way with us, so be it, but to have American political leaders put their own citizens out on a limb like that…come on. I know the Dems, including Mr. Obama, played this card throughout the 2000s, but never to the degree that is going on now (many members of the house are demanding a freakin BBA as a necessary precondition for their vote). Although, it seems that at least the top folks of the Repubs who have the ear of business can comprehend that politics-made default is not ever ever an option. The sadder part is that, once the cat’s been let out of the bag, I know the Dems will probably have no shame in using these same tactics when they’re in the minority…I would just prefer to do away with the ceiling entirely and allow our leaders to enact policy without this blatantly political specter hanging over them, just begging to be manipulated.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Koz says:

        Considering that the debt limit was raised several times in the administration of Bush the Lesser without this much fuss, you are lying.Report

  6. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I don’t think it tracks with what we’ve been seeing to think that McConnell’s strategy all along was to simply drop a clean debt-ceiling resolution in the president’s lap and make him own it. After, that was the president’s stated preferred resolution as of April. But even if it was, the tactical brilliance of that plan as measured by political outcomes remains a highly speculative proposition. The Tea Party cares greatly that the debt ceiling not be raised, or if it is, that essentially unthinkable concessions be made by Dems/defenders of government spending in order for it to happen, and that none be made by opponents of spending. McConnell’s position is now: “Sorry folks, that’s not happening. You’ll simply have to trust me that our dealing with the debt ceiling with a variation on the routine way of doing it, combined with a resolution expressing our distaste at taking that route, will be sufficiently politically damaging to the president to make up for the complete loss of what could have been historic substantive changes in the direction you want to see. I mean we all agree, don’t we, that the point of all of this is to make Obama a one-term president, not achieve actual policy victories. Right? Don’t we?”

    And maybe he’s right, and it does turn out to be cynically brilliant in the way you describe — achieving his ends at the expense of those of the constituency that breathed new life into his party. But we are a long way from knowing that yet. As i mentioned, the Tea Party strongly cares about the debt ceiling. But the median voter? Yes, f you ask her, she’ll say raising the debt ceiling sounds like a bad thing to be doing. An opinion similar to the one Obama registered in the Senate on the question.) But if you tell her about what results from the decision not to do it — damage to the nation’s credit resulting in a further forestalled recovery, if not a new recession, or (but more likely AND!) a government shutdown on steroids (i.e. not the Social Securoty office closing but the checks still going out, as in most shutdown scenarios, but instead *checks not going out*) — the hesitation apparently evaporates. And that’s among those who are polled on the question, approximately 100% of whom had not heard of the “debt-ceiling crisis” before receiving the polling call. In other words, for the vast majority of voters, this is a crisis that has not yet begun to be a crisis. It’s a Beltway crisis. If it gets resolved significantly before the reporting goes from, “WASHINGTON, July 12th 2011 If the standoff is not resolved by August 2nd, Social Security checks could be affected…” to “SUN CITY ARIZONA, August 1st Area residents today received letters from the Social Security Administration detailing changes they should expect in their benefits checks as a result of Congress and The President’s failure to agree on terms to raise the debt ceiling…,” it is unclear the extent to which it ever rises to an electorally significant episode among voters who are not political junkies.

    However, if it is resolved in the way McConnell now wants, it *will* be a significant episode for those who engaged on the subject in a complete way, drew various lines in the sand, observed the almost unlimited leverage their (for now) major representative party had on the matter, and saw them ultimately surrender for lack of political fortitude to actually bring the substantive concessions in for a landing. It could be a signal moment for the Tea Party to the extent that it does exist as an entity apart from the right wing of Republican Party, and we should be clear from which perspective we should judge the brilliance of Mitch McConnell’s tactics. And remember, none of those people who would care about the GOP’s failure to capitalize on this fight to the ends of the Tea Party are people that at any time Obama has been counting on to support him for re-election. There is only benefit to him if some of them decide they ust punish the Republican nominee in the general election by giving their vote to a third party or independent candidate.

    A possible (though I would argue very manageable and discounted in terms of actual likelihood) political headache for Obama resulting from his ultimately dealing with the debt ceiling in the way he said he wanted to from the start… versus the alienation of the grass-roots constituency that brought the GOP back from the Elysian Fields of U.S. politics over the last three years. We don’t know yet: given McConnell’s stated highest-priority aims, it could ultimately prove a solid political decision. I think cynical ‘brilliance’ is quite hard to see emerging here, and in any case it is certainly much too soon to conclude that it has. You should follow you impulse not to buy into the meme you mention at the top.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

      “But even if it was, the tactical brilliance of that plan as measured by political outcomes remains a highly speculative proposition. The Tea Party cares greatly that the debt ceiling not be raised, or if it is, that essentially unthinkable concessions be made by Dems/defenders of government spending in order for it to happen, and that none be made by opponents of spending. McConnell’s position is now: “Sorry folks, that’s not happening. You’ll simply have to trust me that our dealing with the debt ceiling with a variation on the routine way of doing it, combined with a resolution expressing our distaste at taking that route, will be sufficiently politically damaging to the president to make up for the complete loss of what could have been historic substantive changes in the direction you want to see.”

      +1.

      And, without the McConnell plan, it’s up to Obama and Team Blue to convince the American people that they can’t make the concessions required by the GOP to raise the debt ceiling. They haven’t done this yet, I don’t think they can. On the GOP side it’s up to them to be happy with with some spending cuts and zero revenue. That should be sellable since John Boehner has set a marker for $1 in cuts = $1 in debt limit increase.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Michael Drew says:

      “As i mentioned, the Tea Party strongly cares about the debt ceiling.”

      Only under a Democratic President.Report

  7. The more I think about it, the more this seems brilliant only by the criteria I’ve outlined, and utterly stupid otherwise. I mean, it’s not like Obama/the Dems “owning” the debt ceiling increase was ever *not* going to be an option. This looks to me like the GOP has, among other things, missed the forest (what makes people decide for whom to vote) for the trees (how poorly raising the debt ceiling polls).Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Elias Isquith says:

      In all honesty, I am impressed with the speed at which you came to reconsider your assessment (see my above comment). And it’s not that I think this isn’t probably the party’s best move at this point. It’s just that I don’t see tactical brilliance here. I just see a forced, even defeated, hand here. Terms of surrender (not total surrender – just on this battlefield). Improvisation in service of marshaling one’s forces. But no master plan, much less a masterpiece.Report

      • Oh, no, I still think it’s a really outstanding piece of work just as a craven and transparently partisan gesture of cable network-styled politics. Don’t give me too much credit!Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Elias Isquith says:

          What it the great upside I am not seeing? I think I deal with it pretty well above, looking at it as I I think it looks from behind Mitch McConnell’s spectacles. He’s covering his losses at best; that’s about it. Where am I wrong?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Elias Isquith says:

      Has the waveform collapsed yet?

      I still thought that the jury was still out on whether Obama is an amazingly brilliant president who is playing 11-dimensional chess or if he’s being outgunned by politicians who know that 11-dimensional chess *AIN’T* the game being played.

      Hell, if the Republicans nominate their own Kerry and Obama happens to beat Republican Kerry, we *STILL* won’t know.Report

    • Avatar Simon K in reply to Elias Isquith says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty much my view. Unfortunately, since this is an easy out for everyone, it’s what will happen. But its a mistake for McConnell. The public doesn’t want to raise the debt ceiling. That’s because they don’t understand it, but, whatever. Having made such a big deal out of it, all that the public will see is “McConnell let Obama raise the debt ceiling”. If they miss the subtleties of the thing itself, what are the chance they grasp the subtleties of the congressional politics?Report

      • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Simon K says:

        It’s incredibly craven to count on the American people being too ignorant to know when they’re being played, but that’s the GOP. It’s all they’ve got. They certainly can’t govern.Report

    • Avatar Michael in reply to Elias Isquith says:

      What is to stop the President from introducing budget cuts that are a poison pill to republicans? If he suggests giant cuts to defense spending or the like, there is no way it will pass the house and the opportunity will die right there. Unless they explicitly exclude every budget item that they will not agree to in the initial plan (something I don’t think they will be able to shoehorn in) the President will have plenty of poison pills to feed the republicans with.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Michael says:

        “What is to stop the President from introducing budget cuts that are a poison pill to republicans?”

        What’s to stop them from accepting those cuts anyway and then blaming the President when things go tits-up?

        The whole point of this exercise is to make it absolutely clear that whichever way this goes, it’s the President’s mess.Report

  8. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    BTW, how long has it been since Barry submitted a budget before the congress/house? Isn’t he supposed to do that, at least to show a little ‘leadership?’
    Hell, Bubba used to submit budgets, back in the good-old-days.Report

    • RC, The president’s 1/11 budget was booted by the Senate 97-0 in May. It seems he had given a speech in April that was much better. The president is excellent at speeches, I am told.

      You could look it up. Here, I’ll save you the trouble:

      http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/163347-senate-votes-unanimously-against-obama-budget

      President’s budget sinks, 97-0
      By Alexander Bolton – 05/25/11 06:15 PM ET
      The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to reject a $3.7 trillion budget plan that President Obama sent to Capitol Hill in February.

      Ninety-seven senators voted against a motion to take it up.

      Democratic aides said ahead of the vote that the Democratic caucus would not support the plan because it has been supplanted by the deficit-reduction plan Obama outlined at a speech at George Washington University in April.

      Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) demanded a vote on Obama’s budget to show that Democrats don’t support any detailed budget blueprint.

      McConnell said Obama’s budget “continues the unsustainable status quo.”

      He noted during a floor speech Wednesday that Democrats initially applauded the plan.

      The president’s budget called for ending tax cuts for the wealthy and a three-year domestic spending freeze, saving an estimated $1.1 trillion over 10 years. Democratic senators at the time called it “an important step forward”, “a good start” and a “credible blueprint.”

      No Democratic senator was willing to support it, however, after Obama discussed a more ambitious plan at George Washington University to save $4 trillion over 12 years. Republicans criticized his speech for lacking detail.Report

  9. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    The President passive-aggressively refuses to offer his own plan. This is ju-jitsu. Or something even better, since ju-jitsu uses the attacker’s force and momentum against him.

    More like the ancient joke about the laziest hillbilly family in the world…

    A word to describe this plan is “cynical”; two words to describe this plan is “laughably cynical”; three words to describe this plan is “consummately, brazenly cynical”; and one word and one not-really word to describe it is “redonkulously cynical.” But I’m not even going to go there.

    Now, now, you did go there, Mr. Isquith. Own it. I have no problem saying the President is cynically refusing to make a move in any direction, so he can accuse the GOP of pushing grandma down the stairs. And if they go for a Mexican Standoff, it’s the Do-Nothing Congress, 1948, Harry Truman’s playbook. The re-election campaign wins either way.

    Me, I can take my hat off when both sides are playing the game and not just one side. Willie Brown, the wizened, max-political former speaker of California’s Assembly [House], once turned a couple of GOP quislings, appointed on as speaker and thus retained effective control. “The old white boys got taken fair and square!”

    And they did. I have nothing but props for Willie Brown. I think he did what he did to do what he thought he had to do. As Nick Nolte learns in “North Dallas Forty,”

    Seeing through the game is not the same as winning the game.

    Word up.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Think tanks offer plans. Presidents’ and COngresisonal leaders’ “plans” are what can be agreed to. There are no plans that prejudge negotiations. The president’s plan would be of interest if he were a dictator. Otherwise you are just criticizing him for declining unassisted suicide within his party for absolutely no gain. There is no sting in that criticism. The outlines of what was on offer are clear, and who is rejecting it. What is the importance of “the president’s plan,” whatever that is in your mind, compared to what was clearly offered publicly?Report

      • The president has “clearly offered publicly” zip nada zilch, Mr. Drew.

        I don’t think he has any political alternative. Were he to offer any substance, if the GOP didn’t get him, unbiased observers will, and if the plan has anything other than tax raises on the rich, his own left flank will.

        I’m not “criticizing” him per se; I think he has screwed the pooch because he has no coalition to hold. And I still give him better than even odds he’ll get away with doing nothing.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to tom van dyke says:

          So John Boehner backed away from… nothing?Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to tom van dyke says:

          I honestly wouldn’t mind if you explained this to me like I’m stupid. Is there any doubt that Obama offered something he may not have been able to deliver on? Of course not. But there were specifics he cited — not all of them by any means, but they were there. Indexing SS benefits, for one. I’m just not sure what the fundamental distinction you are making between what the president did and what you are saying he didn’t do. He would have offered X, and then that would have impressed you because ________? Why?Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

            I read the transcript of his press conference. Everything was coulda shoulda woulda. It’s not so much that he offered something he couldn’t deliver on, it’s that he just threw a few random things out there and didn’t give any indication that of what he personally had agreed to.

            He’s hoping that moderates and libs will credit this actual budget negotiation movement when it’s not.Report

          • Mr. Drew, I could never speak to you as though you’re stupid. Disingenuous…mebbe. But I sure hope not, Michael. I’ve found you far more straight-up than that in our history together.

            I can’t get into parsing and sophistry, little rhetorical snakes eating their own tails. See previous reference to the laziest family in the world, and who has to do the dishes. Also to Harry Truman, c. 1948, if nothing on the former turns up on Google.

            See, if BHO and the Dem party were honestly laying their cards on the table, it would sound like Harry Truman’s speech of 1952. I don’t accept a word of it, but it gives me goosebumps nonetheless. And unfortunately for Truman, who had already decided not to run in 1952 although the 22nd Amendment permitted him to, the country wasn’t buying. Which is why he wasn’t running, and why this speech is a footnote to history instead of one of its headlines:

            “You can always count on the Republicans, in an election year, to remind the people of what the Republican Party really stands for. You can always count on them to make it perfectly clear before the campaign is over that the Republican Party is the party of big business, and that they would like to turn the country back to the big corporations and the big bankers in New York to run it as they see fit.

            “The main body of the Republican leaders are doing just what they do every election year. They are making it good and plain to the American people that so far as domestic policies are concerned, the Republican Party is the party of reaction and the party of special privilege….”

            “The first rule in my book is that we have to stick by the liberal principles of the Democratic Party. We are not going to get anywhere by trimming or appeasing. And we don’t need to try it.”

            “I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

            “But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are — when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people — then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

            “The rights and the welfare of millions of Americans are involved in the pledges made in the Democratic platform…. And those rights and interests must not be betrayed.

            “These are some of the principles for which the Democratic Party stands…. We stand for better education, better health, greater opportunities for all. We stand for fair play and decency, for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the cherished principle that a man is innocent until he is proven guilty.

            “Taken together, these principles are the articles of the liberal faith. I am sure that the liberal faith is the political faith of the great majority of Americans. It sometimes happens that circumstances of time and place combine to deny its expression. But the faith is there, and the reactionaries can never hope to have any but temporary advantage in this country.”

            This is the rap I hear around here, in its purest form. Some of it is demagoguery, but at the core is an affirmative argument for modern liberalism.

            I say go for it, play it straight-up, you guys. Surely, as a gentleperson of the left, there isn’t a word in there for you to disagree with, Michael. Elias, EDK, assorted commenters from the left. Me, I admire the hell out of that speech. That was my mom. I hope you can hear me on this. It’s a vision, not mere politics, not just the game. It’s the real thing.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke says:

              This is a very interesting comment from tvd that gets to the heart of the difference between Team Red and Team Blue in this particular impasse (and the budget in general for that matter).

              And fwiw, I go the other way in that I sincerely hope the Pres and prominent Demo’s don’t say this even though I have little doubt that most of them believe it. ‘Cuz even if this is what they want, they know they can’t get it ‘cuz the health of the economy won’t allow it. Therefore they want to be bold for the welfare state and force the GOP to negotiate them down to a place of fiscal sanity.

              Instead, we should force them get to a position of plausible fiscal stability first and then negotiate priorities from there. It’s not (or at least it shouldn’t be) a concession to the GOP to do that. It’s the Demo’s obligation regardless. And, if push comes to shove and the Demo’s won’t do this, we need the opportunity to politically wipe out the Demo’s and make our case to the American people in those terms.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to tom van dyke says:

              It’s lot more simple than all of that really, Tom. I just don’t really understand precisely the import of this refrain about putting the plan on the table that comes out whenever some side is bested in negotiations. I don’t get what “Ah ha!” realization it is suggested would occur to me or to other observers if that were done as compared to what our takes on the situation are based on the reporting of the de facto positions being taken in the room. I would like it to be laid out more explicitly. You use a lot of words but never quite get around to doing that here, and as of right now I’ll be walking away without a clear understanding of what your point is.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to tom van dyke says:

              I mean is your point just this:

              See, if BHO and the Dem party were honestly laying their cards on the table, it would sound like Harry Truman’s speech of 1952.

              Just No-True-Scotsmanism with respect to your understanding of the only sincere Democratic body of opinion? Besides being entirely beside the point in this context (again, that thing about this not being a dictatorship), allow me to inform you that many on the left are with great chagrin beginning to conclude that Obama’s honest position with respect to their cherished programs is pretty close to what he’s laying out at the moment. Perhaps that’s a function in part of wanting to make a historic break with his party for the sake of re-election and for the sake of legacy, but most people that I read think that making thee changes is consistent with his actual views on the programs (i.e. relatively minor changes, but still ones the Left hates, are necessary for SS, and of course Medicare requires major attention). But of course, if all that matters for you in terms of modern Democratic Party politics continues to be exclusively and entirely what Harry Truman said about it 60 years ago, then by definition nothing Obama or anyone else says today, unless it tracks tightly with those ideas, is going to have any significance under any circumstances for you, is it? True Democratic orthodoxy is a fixed corpus, and any deviance fro it can be entirely explained by some degree or other of insincerity on the part of the deviator. Never mind that the Democratic Party isn’t even a party as such in the way the Republican Party is but rather just a collection of heterodox coalitions, so that what any one politician says at any time can’t stand as the true, bottom-line value-commitments of the Party at that time, much less decades hence. I can’t make mere facts alter what the Democratic Party is in your mind, TVD.Report

              • I like Harry Truman and his 1952 speech. So did my mom. Sheesh. You can keep yr “income inequality,” bankrupting the country and all the rest of that hope/change crap. I don’t know what the president’s talking about half the time and neither does the rest of the country.

                Eat your peas? Fuck you, Mr. President. Even my mom couldn’t make me eat my peas and her, I loved.Report

    • > I have no problem saying the President is cynically
      > refusing to make a move in any direction, so he
      > can accuse the GOP of pushing grandma down
      > the stairs. And if they go for a Mexican Standoff,
      > it’s the Do-Nothing Congress, 1948, Harry
      > Truman’s playbook. The re-election campaign
      > wins either way.

      Yeah.

      That.

      This seems to me to clearly be the strategy. And I bet it works.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

        Two things I just don’t get here. One’s the same as before, so I’m glad to be able to ask another person who seems to agree with Tom. You can say that they’re not a fully-fleshed out proposals, but I fail to see how we aren’t seeing “moves” of all kinds being made here, including the openness to a major budget deal that was signaled by the president.

        Why should the president “make a move,” in a way that satisfies Tom van Dyke with its completeness anyway? This was the Republicans’ ballgame. I mean, now in particular. As a general matter, should the president lead on policy? Sure, but that’s just a general truth. The question here is what should be done with respect to how to get past the debt-ceiling deadline. And the presient’s position is that the debt ceiling should be raised with no strings attached. Then politics should proceed per normal. It is the Republicans who introduced the idea that there should be concessions in order for the full faith and credit of the government, as well as already-enacted outlays, to be protected. And ultimately, the president’s response to that came to be, okay if you want to take us down that road, here’s the kind of reform I think the conversation should be centered around. Specifics weren’t needed for us to find out that that was more than the current Republican coalition was able to take on board. Easy come easy go, sure, but that’s not not a move. Further, it’s far more than the president, to my view, was obligated to offer up in the context of the debt ceiling timebomb, given his initial position (no substantive policy attachments; just raise it). In normal circumstances what the president “offered” is by no means a serious proposal for budget and entitlement reform. BUT in the context of a novel form of high-stakes negotiation that the opposition introduced around a previously-routine, yet all-important, operation of basic governance, in my view Obama went far further toward substantive progress on the issues the Republicans wanted to link to it than he need to have in order to earn substantial legitimate political credit for having done so (which I believe he in fact earned with the public).

        If the Congress would simply take the debt-limit crisis off the table, then I think by all means in the context of a straight-up debate on budget policy, it could be argued that what Obama has done constitutes a refusal to make a serious move. BUT in the context of a game of chicken initiated by the other party, I think his was a remarkably substantive response — indeed disastrously substantive from the perspective of people who don’t want him to make the (conditional) concessions he offered.

        I still need it explained to me why, in the context this is all actually occurring in, I should accept that 1) Obama has refused to make any substantive moves or offered any concessions, and 2), or really 0), since it is a prior question, what theory of governance holds that he should respond to novel, unilateral high-stakes negotiations imposed on him by an opposing leadership in the thrall of an ideological, non-compromising new force in their party with substantive concessions of any kind, much needing to put on the table even more concrete concessions than he did in order to deserve credit for having responded substantively to that political challenge. Which he did.Report

        • Michael, lest you be mislead: I think it’s pretty unlikely that Tom and I have the same idea about what ought or ought not to be done about the debt ceiling. Although maybe not, Tom does surprise me. I’m just looking at political tactics.

          > And the presient’s position is that the debt ceiling
          > should be raised with no strings attached. Then
          > politics should proceed per normal.

          Isn’t this the guy who campaigned on Hope and Change? And has said that we’re in drastic times that require drastic measures?

          That’s not actually an attempt to be snarky. Whatever it is that is currently happening in the economy, we all agree that the economy is in crisis, right?

          Can you show me a crisis that has been tamped down or reduced by doing what we did before? In any event, “Stuff is broken, we need to think outside the box” isn’t a marketing campaign that you can use yourself and deny your political opponents credibly.

          > It is the Republicans who introduced the idea
          > that there should be concessions in order for
          > the full faith and credit of the government,
          > as well as already-enacted outlays, to be
          > protected.

          Oh, granted. They picked this battlefield, they’re gonna die on it.

          Why isn’t that where the battle lines were drawn? Why didn’t Obama come out and say this is just bullshit? Why were spending cuts suddenly part of the discussion?

          I’d say because Obama saw this as a chance to raise. Now, the guy is not my favorite politician, but this was a gimme move. The GOP, driven by the perception that they needed to make this into a fight, drew a battle line in the sand. And much to their surprise, Obama asked for another ten thousand in chips and raised. Okay, fellas, there needs to be negotiations about the debt ceiling? I’m down. Let’s cut some stuff! Here, I’ll cut this and that and the other. So we need to adjust revenue too, what are you putting on the table?

          Obama is using this to make the GOP look intransigent. And it’s working. It’s brilliant, if you’re trying to get elected in 2012, and it fits with the pattern the Democrats are going with, trying to sell themselves as the grownups in the room to the independents.

          > BUT in the context of a game of chicken
          > initiated by the other party, I think his
          > was a remarkably substantive response

          Megh. The substantive response to being called to play a game of chicken is to tell the caller that they’re a dumbass.

          Once you come to the table and start trying to out-chicken ’em, “substantive response” has been replaced by “political shiv fighting”.

          It’s a perfectly normal response, mind you, but that seems to me to be what’s going on.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

            You’re just accepting your own stipulation that showing that this was an over-the-top chip move by Obama is ipso facto showing that it was not a substantive response. But I don’t stipulate that. That those two showings are not the same is what I am saying. I certainly by all means view the Republicans’ power chip-moves here as substantive.

            Now, of course I agree that the right move — Obama’s opening move I’d remind you — is to reject conditions on basic acts of governance as critical as the debt ceiling. But I am not saying Obama has done everything right here. Everyone on my side to my left thinks he has unredeemably botched this. I am just saying he has made a substantive response to this remarkable game he had no choice bu to engage in. (I’d also say that, while agree with you about the correct opening position to give on principle, I think that responsible governance in this situation requires someone actually concerned with forestalling seriously adverse events for his country is to compromise the principled opening response once you begin to be convinced you are sitting across from people crazy enough to pull the trigger or allow it to be pulled. That doesn’t make Obama’s going over the top rather than keeping it small-ball constitutes him abandoning substance, or abandoning a path of reasonable governance. Responsibility in a situation as serious as this requires that you negotiate, not that you negotiate poorly. You can still play the game well, once you determine you need to play it.)Report

          • PatC, I have no idea what to do about this impasse except cut spending. There’s not enough money to be got out of eating the rich, under $100B.Report

            • Avatar patrick in reply to tom van dyke says:

              Yes, Tom, but what does one expect to occur in this such occasion?

              If one expects one party to budge off principle and move to reality, one better also acknowledge that they want to get re-elected, too.

              Asking the Democrats to accept an all-cuts budget while not offering to increase taxation/revenue in some way is asking them to go back to their base and say, “Hey, reality says we need to cut spending, so we did.” To which their base would say, “Fuck you, you’re fired”.

              Now, the truly principled member of the political class would take that on the chin. There aren’t too many of those, are there? Koz seems to expect the Democrats who are inclined to be fiscal realists to also give up their careers. Jesus, dude, you’ve got to throw them a bone.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to patrick says:

                I do agree, Patrick. However, I believe it’s the Dems who have painted themselves into this corner, where they are not able to do the right and necessary thing without alienating their base.

                I see it as a structural and an actual problem, not one merely of rhetoric or politics. Sometimes there’s a reality in there somewhere. In this case, it’s nothing Europe hasn’t seen and begun dealing with years ago.

                Now it certainly could be said fairly that the GOP and their no-new-taxes pledges are painted into a corner too. But I don’t believe this swims much against the tide of public sentiment or of reality. There just isn’t enough flesh on the bones of the Golden Geese [the rich] to make much fiscal difference, and Eat the Rich isn’t the majority sentiment either.

                I have urged Mr. Koz to make his arguments at arm’s length rather than play the party thing down to the scorched earth. Even if there were an election tomorrow, such talk wouldn’t change a single vote at this forum. There’s just no point in playing the “Team” thing in this forum, since it’s concerned with ideas, not parties. Most folks protest they’re unaffiliated anyway, and brazen and contentious partisanship is probably a major reason they are.

                And fronting, my God, the fronting!Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke says:

                “Even if there were an election tomorrow, such talk wouldn’t change a single vote at this forum. There’s just no point in playing the “Team” thing in this forum, since it’s concerned with ideas, not parties.”

                That’s true, but I have tried to emphasize the most important context for support for Republicans has nothing to do with elections and will be resolved somehow long before the next one. For example, if we get a zero-revenue deal and lift the debt ceiling, my guess is we’ll

                1. Defuse the brinksmanship bomb.
                2. Help create the possibility of growth and employment
                3. The Demo’s (especially Demo’s other than the President) take a political hit.

                All of these are very good things, but it’s important to note that of these, the first two are by far the most important. If somehow I personally could get the first two at the expense of forgoing the third, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but that’s not in our feasible set.

                It’s a good thing to help the Republicans. But far more important than that is the American people desperately need the policy win that the Republicans represent.

                In a week or two the Republicans might capitulate on the debt ceiling and maybe they should. But what does that buy us if they do. There is likely going to be the perception that there won’t be meaningful cuts in expenditures or deficits until 2013 and nothing but low growth high unemployment downgrades till then.

                Just this week Moody’s further downgraded Irish government debt. And among other things they said they supported the Irish government’s austerity program but the execution risk is too high for Irish debt to remain investment grade. The point of the current economic crisis is to act now so as to prevent the scale of the problems of Ireland or Greece from occurring here.Report

              • Avatar patrick in reply to tom van dyke says:

                > I believe it’s the Dems who have
                > painted themselves into this corner,
                > where they are not able to do the
                > right and necessary thing without
                > alienating their base.

                In this specific case, I agree. The GOP is not immune to this problem either; a real immigration policy is impossible largely due to the GOP’s corner-painting on this issue. We can go around the maypole about a laundry list of social issues and roughly half of them are stuck because one party or the other is being ridiculous.

                Still, if you’re in a negotiation with someone who has painted themselves into a rhetorical corner, you have to recognize that fact and give them something to work with to retain their credibility if you expect them to compromise; else you’re asking them to cut off their own head for the greater good.

                Right or not, that’s besides the point.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to patrick says:

                Patrick, I see your point about surrounding the enemy only on 3 sides, allowing an escape route.

                Bush 41 gave the Dems the tax increase, and then was savaged for it. Reagan gave up on balancing the budget, trading Dem cooperation on the Cold War for letting them spend all they wanted. He got his tax decreases at first, then gave some back later.

                Similarly, Bush43 got everything he wanted on foreign policy even from the Dem congress of 2007-2008, and he completely gave up on the rest. The spenders were a majority of both parties, just playing the vote-buying pork game. It’s easy to re-elect someone who gives you everything you want.

                In the current crisis, I don’t know what Obama is willing to trade, or frankly what he wants besides the unsustainable status quo. He’s simply not Bill Clinton, who was not only a deficit hawk of sorts, but “a man you can do business with.” My own opinion is that Obama could help himself in 2012 more by being flexible and deficit-hawking and grabbing the middle as Clinton did in 1996. The GOP didn’t leave a 4th side open for Clinton to escape—he created one, as was his gift.

                2011: There is no immediate relief in any political compromise on the deficit thing: almost all the cuts or tax hikes are slated for Obama’s second term, if there is one. This isn’t an immediate emergency where compromise must be made to get something done NOW—as was believed to be the case by both parties in the first round of bailouts at the close of the Bush43 presidency.

                So today, there’s no reason for either side NOT to fight. For the GOP, it’s Rahm Emanuel’s dictum come home to roost: never let a crisis go to waste. All they need do is avoid taking the blame for a shutdown, and not give too much grandma-down-the-stairs fodder for the Dems in 2012.

                And, unbelievable as this may sound to a GOP-hater, to start us on the path of doing the right thing to avoid becoming Greece or Portugal, et al. The Brits are already a year ahead of us, and theirs is a center-left country. We, and I mean the administration, are not getting the message. Something HAS to be done. On this issue, although Mr. Koz is playing the “team” game and I wish he wouldn’t, there’s a genuine there there, and it’s not all BS and posturing and the power game.

                On the other hand, back to the horse race, I’d think you may agree with McArdle here

                http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/07/debt-ceiling-whats-the-end-game-for-republicans/241959/

                the GOP may be screwing the pooch in the political game. I don’t think so at this point, but certainly they can blow it in the “end game.” She’s certainly correct here, but I think it applies to both parties.

                Anything you can achieve by simply saying no, they can undo by simply persuading voters not to re-elect you.

                And that is indeed what’s going on here. We could call it mere cynicism and power-grabbing, but the issue is one of the long term. Like the valid criticism of public corporations, that management is motivated more towards showing short-term profits to the stockholders than long-term stability, democracy is vulnerable to the same conflict of interest on the part of its leaders.

                However, the financial picture at the moment sucks, and the GOP is the one that’s making long-term sustainability arguments. Will it work with the electorate? I dunno, the polls are conflicting but they’re a lot more open to the GOP argument than I expected. Not the usual 33-33-33 crap.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke says:

                “We, and I mean the administration, are not getting the message.”

                +1.

                And, at significant fraction of the lib base is under the delusion that the Administration has done in this direction that it hasn’t. Therefore we need to get the cards face up on the table so they can see concretely what’s been done and what hasn’t.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to patrick says:

                “In the current crisis, I don’t know what Obama is willing to trade, or frankly what he wants besides the unsustainable status quo.”

                Fkkking +1.

                Unfortunately, what I fear the President Obama really wants is the one thing that he can’t have, the calendar.

                He’s willing to sell out Medicare and Social Security if he has to, he just doesn’t want to talk about bloated budgets again till after the election. Given this, it ought to be pretty clear why the GOP won’t go for this. 1. we don’t want to give up the tax hikes to make this trade and 2. President Obama can’t deliver on the entitlement reform anyway.

                The Demo base (and the GOP) would be far better off to cut a deal between ourselves and leave President Obama with the short straw. $700B in expenditure cuts zero revenue, $700 B in debt limit increase. The projected budget over ten years is a little less than $50 T there’s easily that much crap in there they want to get rid of anyway.

                Given the choices, the Demo base doesn’t have to be invested in Mr. Obama’s distaste of discussing the issue again in 6 months.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to patrick says:

                “Asking the Democrats to accept an all-cuts budget while not offering to increase taxation/revenue in some way is asking them to go back to their base and say, “Hey, reality says we need to cut spending, so we did.” To which their base would say, “Fuck you, you’re fired”.”

                No. The Demo’s didn’t say that zero-revenue is unacceptable to them. In fact they still haven’t said that. If that were the case, they should have said that three months ago and we could have hammered it out then. And in fact, the only reason why they don’t want to do zero revenue is to avoid creating the perception that the Republicans accomplished something good for America.Report

              • Avatar patrick in reply to Koz says:

                Koz, I posit that you don’t hang out with many Democrats.Report

              • Avatar Plinko in reply to patrick says:

                I would respectfully suggest that the only Dem’s Koz has ever considered exist only in his imagination.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Plinko says:

                Hardly. I know and associate with far more Democrats than Republicans.

                The real-world Demo’s have contradictory ideas about expenditures and in particular are substantially disconnected from the policy negotiations in Washington. The Republicans have finally asked the President to make his proposals public (which they should have done ages ago) and in any case have illusions that their team has circulated certain proposals or representations that they haven’t and therefore have been under the illusion up till say four days ago that the negotiations and underlying things were in a far different place than it actually was.

                When push comes to shove, the libs understand that there are areas of the budget that are bad policies and overfunded. The reason they won’t agree to reform these things is because the Freddies and Krugmans of the world will make them feel like turds if they do.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Plinko says:

                Koz, fwiw, perhaps you do know a few Democrats. You exhibit an unfortunate tendency to speak for people: case in point this business about who makes us feel like turds. Democrats and Liberals aren’t herd animals like Conservatives, looking to Kruggie and Freddie for talking points. That’s what Conservatives do, not Liberals.

                Liberals, we’re all over the map, many of us deeply angry at Obama for failing to keep his promises on the campaign trail. We attack our own. We’re angry about the Democrats and their venality. We’re not a unified entity, huddling around Obama like so many frightened sheep.

                Stop projecting. It would be really helpful if you’d let us speak for ourselves. If we entertain illusions about expenditures, you’re free to point them out. Fact is, we didn’t create this mess. We’re tired of people telling lies about ObamaCare, as if it was really any different than RomneyCare. If there’s any doubletalk and Newspeak going on, we’re hearing it from the GOP. That silly git Romney, acting like St. Peter denying he ever knew Our Lord to the servant girls of the press corps. Someone should recruit the current batch of GOP candidates for Cirque du Soleil, as a backpedaling act.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Plinko says:

                BHO and the Dem Senate refuse to reveal their plan. The difference between speechifying & reality. Via Volokh:

                The Honorable Michael McConnell, who not only served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit but was also assistant general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget from 1981–83, has an op-ed in the WSJ on the collective failure to comply with the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. This law was enacted in 1974 and established specific budgeting procedures for Congress and the executive — procedures that have not been followed. Among other things, the Act requires the President submit, and Congress pass, a budget scored by CBO, yet the Senate has not passed a budget since 2009. Writes McConnell:

                This defiance of the Budget Act is responsible for the current blamefest in Washington. The law was intended to bring transparency and timeliness to debates over taxing and spending. All proposals are public, and all are scored by the CBO according to the same metric. This makes it difficult for politicians to shift blame. This year, without a genuine presidential budget, or any Senate budget, the negotiations are shrouded in fog. The president may tell press conferences that he proposed $3 trillion in spending reductions, but there is no way to know what that means without a budget. . . .

                The Budget Act was designed to force all competing plans to be disclosed publicly and evaluated according to the same baselines and criteria. It is too late to meet the Act’s deadlines, but our leaders could still comply with its spirit.

                http://volokh.com/2011/07/14/what-about-the-budget-act/#commentsReport

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Plinko says:

                Blaise, I think we agree more than you realize, especially in the sense that I’m not saying you’re downloading talking point from Krugman and Freddie.

                Instead, like you mentioned, Lib1 thinks to himself, I wanted the US Armed Forces out of Ahganistan and they’re still there.

                Lib2 thinks to himself, I wanted the public option and there is no public option.

                Lib3 opposes DOMA, etc., etc.

                If somehow we do a zero revenue budget deal, you know Freddie and Digby and the rest of ’em are gonna ask, “Why do the Republicans get what they want.” Lib1, Lib2, Lib3 are gonna say yeah, why, and feel like turds. And in a couple of cases at least, they’ll continue to delude themselves that we’re funding the War on Drugs and ethanol ‘cuz it’s a Republican thing.

                That’s why we’ve got to get the substance of these deals in public and hammer them out and in the process separate libs’ emotional frustrations on side issues.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Plinko says:

                I suspect we do agree on more than either would care to admit, Koz. Yet still you return to the Digbys and Freddies, as if we would feel bad about anything they say.

                I used to write at dKos, went FP a few times. Everything I wrote was treated like a goddamn piñata unless it was some sob story. I gave up writing there: it was an echo chamber where folks would cuddle up to each other and get the weepies on each others’ shoulders. Quite consoling in a mawkish sort of way but ultimately unproductive and sorta creepy and incestuous. Same thing at Newsvine. Don’t even get me going on OpenSalon, what a collection of bozarts and exhibitionists are therein contained. I’m in a jaded period of my life.

                The best lack all conviction, while the worst
                Are full of passionate intensity.

                It’s quite possible for a Liberal to harbor Conservative sentiments, a point seemingly lost on some folks hereabouts. I keep repeating it: Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Anarchist, these are fundamentally adjectives, not nouns. You wouldn’t want to be pinned to the corkboard and labeled and categorized, and clearly you don’t fit neatly into anyone’s lumpen category system, so I’m not going to try.

                When anyone starts a sentence with “Why”, I have to suppress the urge to choke them. Answer the questions of Who, What, When and How and generally the Why becomes blazingly obvious.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Plinko says:

                “Yet still you return to the Digbys and Freddies, as if we would feel bad about anything they say.”

                I think you would, but in a different way than you’re thinking. Digby and Freddie are going to remind you, directly and otherwise, exactly how much you hate Republicans and how much it’s going to eat you inside to see them win something.

                To some extent, any zero revenue deal will be perceived as a win for the GOP. That’s why the Demo base will resist it.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Plinko says:

                As for the Honorable Michael [1], follow the link and see the very conservative Volokh commendariat show that he’s full of it.

                1. Not the same guy as the extremely dishonorable Mitch.Report

              • Avatar kenB in reply to Plinko says:

                see the very conservative Volokh commendariat show that he’s full of it.

                The commentariat at Volokh runs the ideological gamut — note in that very thread the surprise that certain commenters show in their agreement.

                Also, what they agreed on (assuming that you’re talking about the first dozen comments or so) is just that Obama isn’t legally required to submit a budget, but that’s not what McConnell was arguing (judging by the excerpt — full article is behind a subscription wall). He was just saying that the absence of a formal budget proposal goes against the spirit of the Budget Act and contributes to the fog around the current debate.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Plinko says:

                I used to be a Republican. Then I wised up and saw them for what they really were. Koz, if the GOP actually kept their promises and acted like genuine old-school Conservatives, I might be able to vote for them again.

                Reagan’s dead now but you’d never know it. All talk, no substance, just like Reagan. The GOP can’t get enough of the guy: they just haven’t evolved. They won’t see reason and stick to what they’re any good at, which is keeping government honest. I know, I know, I’m supposed to forget Bush43 and all that, and I suppose in fairness I should. But where’s the substance? The only message I get from the GOP is that Obama is the Tool of Satan, when he’s given the GOP pretty much everything they want. Take the labels of these jamokes and Obama looks pretty much like a middle of the road Republican.

                And what’s all this about Wins and Losses? Moody’s is about to poke this country with a zillion volt cattle prod. Eric Cantor is a pissybaby, completely incapable of doing a deal. Stifle that man. He’s bad for business. Same thing for that old reptile McConnell. I think Obama could do a deal with Boehner and Lindsey Graham, and screw these Tea Party weenies. The business of the nation does not resolve to Wins and Losses.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Plinko says:

                One points out that “Congress apparently failed to pass a budget resolution for fiscal years 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 or 2011” and another that funding for Iraq and Afghanistan has never been budgeted . In fact (me talking now) they’re been funded since day one by special appropriations, like a kid calling home from college to say “I spent all the money you gave me.”

                So if McConnell is saying anything stronger than “The budget act would have helped, if only anyone had ever taken it seriously”, he’s full of it.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Plinko says:

                I used to write at dKos, went FP a few times. Everything I wrote was treated like a goddamn piñata unless it was some sob story. I gave up writing there: it was an echo chamber where folks would cuddle up to each other and get the weepies on each others’ shoulders. Quite consoling in a mawkish sort of way but ultimately unproductive and sorta creepy and incestuous. Same thing at Newsvine. Don’t even get me going on OpenSalon, what a collection of bozarts and exhibitionists are therein contained.

                Herewith, BlaiseP stipulates Mr. Koz’ characterization of lefties.

                That BlaiseP is one of kind, lefty or no, is herewith stipulated as well.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Plinko says:

                Herewith, BlaiseP stipulates Mr. Koz’ characterization of lefties.

                Only if I can use RedState and NRO to characterize everyone to the right of me.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Plinko says:

                “I know, I know, I’m supposed to forget Bush43 and all that, and I suppose in fairness I should.”

                By all means don’t whitewash the memory of Bush43. Because for all Bush’s mistakes and there were many, he would have never given us the stimulus package and he would have never given us PPACA. We would never have crossed 10% unemployment and we wouldn’t be fighting for our credit rating now. Bush was a paragon of limited government and fiscal responsibility compared to Obama. Calling Obama George Bush’s third term is grossly unfair to GWB (Furthermore, as Jay Cost persuasively argues, calling him the black Jimmy Carter is unfair to Mr. Carter).

                And not that it’s any issue of yours but that’s what makes this whole “blind spot” business between me and Jaybird especially frustrating. Simply put, there is no blind spot. We can give full value to every Republican failure from Lincoln to the present and still not be better off than under President Obama.

                “Moody’s is about to poke this country with a zillion volt cattle prod.”

                I’m actually between you and North on this one. On the one hand, rating agencies have been notoriously bad at judging real creditworthiness. Otoh, North’s refusal to accept comprehension on this point would shame Alfred E. Newman.

                James Pethokoukis wrote today that there’s deals going around to solve the debt limit, deals that I would accept if I were negotiating for Team Red, where even if these deals go through we’re still going to get hit on our credit rating.

                And, let’s note, this is the context to judge PPACA. It doesn’t make any difference whether PPACA is similar to Romneycare in Massachusetts. The fact is, the Obama presidency should have been the opportunity to stop the hemorrhaging instead of opening new vein to bleed from.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

            “Oh, granted. They picked this battlefield, they’re gonna die on it.

            Why isn’t that where the battle lines were drawn? Why didn’t Obama come out and say this is just bullshit? Why were spending cuts suddenly part of the discussion?”

            Btw, given what we talked about on the last thread and what’s going on with this one, it should be obvious that the Republican party is the only chance for fiscal stability in America, right?

            Clearly if for structural reasons American employment cannot recover we’re not going to have the revenue to continue the Demo’s model of the welfare state therefore it is imperative to cut the trajectory of government expenditures while we still have the ability to borrow.Report

          • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

            “Can you show me a crisis that has been tamped down or reduced by doing what we did before?”

            What you fail to take into consideration is that (1) the debt ceiling was not a crisis until Republicans made it one and (2) the debt the country currently holds is attributable entirely to Republican policies (tax cuts, Medicare Part D, invasion of Iraq, creation of a quagmire in Afghanistan, etc etc etc).

            What solution do Republicans now advocate? “Moar of the same, pleez!”

            Yeah, that’s brilliant.Report

            • (1) the debt ceiling was not a crisis until Republicans made it one

              Lucy, there was a visionary who, a handful of years ago, said the following:

              The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

              Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

              Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

              And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

              Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities.

              Was this person wrong?Report

              • Avatar Elias Isquith in reply to Jaybird says:

                EDIT: I don’t know why I thought “I would, I would!” was a sense-making answer.

                My point, of course, is that grandstanding about the debt ceiling is stupid no matter whose side it’s coming from.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Elias Isquith says:

                It’s weird.

                I agree with the speech… and did at the time. Republicans called it grandstanding to the faces of Fiscal Conservatives.

                It’s a pity that he meant that speech about as much as, say, leaving states alone when it came to MMJ.

                Or anything that he said, really.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

                Dude’s always giving speeches. He thinks that’s his job description.Report

              • Elias, the debt ceiling moment has put the problem in high relief. Gallup says that this is no mere trifle in the eyes of the public. Via Instapundit, an essential aggregator of news on current events:

                Heh heh. 😉

                http://www.gallup.com/poll/148454/Debt-Ceiling-Increase-Remains-Unpopular-Americans.aspx

                The fit hath hit the shan.Report

              • 35% don’t know.

                If the Dems have a weak 2012 because of the debt ceiling — and not because of unemployment, an enthusiasm gap, or some unforeseen debacle — then I will eat whichever hat seems most edible.Report

              • The “debt ceiling” is emblematic of the greater crisis, Elias. Surely that’s not in dispute.

                Of course they’ll raise the debt ceiling. And true 35% don’t know, but 42% against is significant.

                Me, I’d be close to answering “I don’t know” because of course they’ll raise it, and I suppose they must. But this is precisely the time for we as a nation to have this discussion, to start making the cuts, in fact it’s years overdue, and is only taking place now because the GOP won the house.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Reask that question and add in the qualifier, “and if this isn’t passed, your grandmother will no longer get her Social Security checks and your brother will no longer will be able to receive care at the VA hospital.” Of course people are against the debt ceiling increase. They have no idea what it is.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Couldn’t we stop paying for bombs that we’re dropping on Libya instead? Stop paying the military to be in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Germany? Stop paying NASA? Stop paying the DEA?

                Default means that we stop sending out SS checks and medical care for veterans?

                And you support that that is what default means?Report

              • My understanding is that most of the things you mention here would happen also and too.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                They should talk that up.

                “If we default, we will no longer be able to pay Federal Agents to bust Medicinal Marijuana Dispensaries acting in accordance with State Law! If we default, we will no longer be able to smuggle guns to Mexico via the BATFE! If we default we won’t be able to send money to Egypt! If we default, we won’t be able to subsidize Con-Agra! Also, SS checks! Medical care for veterans!”

                See what happens.

                We might be surprised to see what Americans are willing to give up in exchange for being able to give up other things.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Then I volunteer you to go retirement homes and tell retirees they don’t get Social Security so taxes can stay at historically low levels.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I’ll soften the crowd up with some doobs first.Report

              • Eh. For good or ill, I don’t think the public would give up their SS and Medicare checks so a bunch of dope-heads and brown people could perhaps live lives less encumbered by American power.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I hope that it would be reported as to who is still getting checks, though.

                I mean, it’s not like the government will stop using money at all. It’ll just stop doing *SOME* stuff. I’d hope what it’s doing instead of SS and VA Bennies is reported.

                Wouldn’t you?Report

              • Yeah; I’d imagine it’d be largely paying off debtors, maintaining security risk facilities, etc., and, of course, funding Planned Parenthood.Report

              • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Jaybird says:

                US debt is not an issue now, no. The interest rate the government pays has never been lower. It is low because the US has very good credit.

                There is a serious problem with the economy as a result of failed policies that Republicans continue to promise will turn things around if only we clap louder.

                Also, too, why is the country’s debt suddenly such a crisis? The debt ceiling was raised seven times during the Bush administration but Mitch McConnell never tried to stop it. And where was all that debt coming from? The Bush tax cuts, Medicare Part D, the invasion of Iraq, the quagmire established by the incompetent can-kicking of the Bush administration, etc, etc, etc.

                Now, if you all had been trying to put the brakes on between 2000 and 2008, I might have a little respect for your position, but you weren’t.

                The problem is not spending, the problem is lack of revenue. Twenty-five percent of the population (at least) are either unemployed or underemployed. Tax cuts do not create jobs. If they did, we would be awash in them.

                Tax cuts take money out of the economy by concentrating the wealth in the hands of a few. Taking money out of the economy with austerity will only worsen the problem.

                But all of this is readily available information which you choose to ignore. It’s pretty clear you all prefer to keep your pretty little minds free of facts and past history so I am pretty much wasting my time here.

                But keep clapping. Maybe a pony will finally show up.Report

              • Now, if you all had been trying to put the brakes on between 2000 and 2008, I might have a little respect for your position, but you weren’t.

                Sigh.

                It’s like Libertarians don’t even exist.

                I look forward to Liberaltarianism making a comeback after the pendulum swings back enough. “Hey! We’re the ones who care about the drug war! Gay marriage! Remember gay marriage???”Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

                Bedroom-and-bong libertarianism. Stipulated.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Meanwhile, Republicans will pick up Lucy’s arguments about debt and explain slowly, as to a retarded child, why Libertarians need to stop freaking out about the debt ceiling.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Yeah, it’s as if both sides want to say, “It’s not a problem.” But only when it is *their* problem and negatively affects their election odds.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to tom van dyke says:

      “I have no problem saying the President is cynically refusing to make a move in any direction so he can accuse the GOP of pushing grandma down the stairs. ”

      But at least she’ll be protected!Report

  10. Avatar Koz says:

    I agree with Elias on one point at least. Mitch McConnell is no doubt the best nut-and-bolts political operator in America today (and no, it’s not President Obama). In fact, I wouldn’t even hazard a guess of who is in second place.

    About this move, I’m just not sure. Team Red is divided, as am I for that matter. As things were, the weakness in President Obama’s position was his veto threat over a short term rise in the debt ceiling. Frankly, given the consequences I don’t think that threat can be regarded as being credible. And the way for the Republicans to leverage this issue is simply to say so. I’m not quite following the need for elaborate moves.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Koz says:

      Definitely: not only did he come up with a plan that Democrats saw through immediately, but one that his own party thinks is treasonous. So in the process of admitting failure (which is what this plan does), he’s proposed a solution that the Democrats won’t pass becuase it would be stupid for them to do so, and that the Republicans hate because boo Obama!

      That’s political genius right there, I tell ya.Report

  11. Avatar Jazgar says:

    “we’re certainly not going to send the signal to the markets and to the American people that default is an option.”= our masters on Wall St. won’t let us default because they’ve got the most to lose.Report

  12. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    What precedent does this set? It allows the President — whether that is Obama, Palin, Romney, Clinton, or whoever — to submit pro forma supplications to Congress to raise the debt ceiling, go through some legislative kabuki, and then raise the debt ceiling, resulting in the government printing more money. It will take two-thirds plus one of both houses to stop the President from doing this instead of a mere majority which is sort of the way it is now. Witness the expansion of the Imperial Presidency.

    Query if the Treasury printing more money in response to the debt ceiling being raised constitutes a “revenue” in which case the deal violates Article I, section 7, clause 1.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko says:

      So if I think the existence of the debt ceiling is bad policy and it should be repealed altogether I am an unrestrained booster of the imperial presidency?Report

      • No, not if you would have Congress be the entity that repeals the debt ceiling. Congress could even do it at the President’s request and that would be cool too. Giving the President the effective power to do this on his own is not cool, even if the result is good.

        If you don’t care who repeals the debt ceiling and are pleased with such a result either way, then you are unprincipled.

        My point is about process, not policy. The substantive policy decision is irrelevant. I am not saying whether it would be a good or a bad idea for Congress to do such a thing; I am saying it’s Congress’s call to make and not the President’s.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko says:

          But Congress is doing it. There’s still more process the president would have to observe to raise more debt than if there just wasn’t a debt ceiling. But either thing remains Congress’ prerogative. Where’s the executive imperialism in that? Why is it imperialistic for Congress to alter the procedures a statutory limit requires the president to follow to raise debt, but not to just eliminate them?Report

          • For the same reason that it is “executively imperialistic” for Congress to delegate substantial rulemaking authority to executive agencies.

            It’s as much a problem if Congress voluntarily abdicats its power to the President as it would be were the President to usurp it.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I agree, the debt ceiling makes no sense as a policy. It’s an attempt to constrain a variables with no degrees of freedom. If spending exceeds tax revenue, borrowing is the inevitable result. If you want to cap borrowing, you need to have a provision to cap spending (or push up tax income) so as to enforce the cap. Otherwise it’s just bluster.Report

        • Avatar Simon K in reply to James K says:

          Its totally bonkers. Congress gets to say “we need you to do X and Y and levy taxes A, B and C to pay for it, but you can only borrow Z”. What happens when A+B+C+Z<X+Y? Apparently, bullshit happens.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Simon K says:

            What’s supposed to happen is that you do less of X or Y then you’d originally planned.

            What actually happens is that people go on TV and cry about how if we do less of X or Y then grandma’s going to die, and the only reason that A+B+C can’t pay for it is greedy miserly bastards who lack any sense of civic responsibility.Report

            • Avatar Plinko in reply to DensityDuck says:

              So it’s just not possible for them to say ‘we need to borrow more Z’? Especially since people are willing to lend the money and the Treasury is perfectly capable of servicing the debt?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Plinko says:

                This is like asking why I shouldn’t activate that pre-approved credit card I got in the mail. After all, the bank is willing to lend the money and capable of servicing the debt, right?Report

              • Avatar Plinko in reply to DensityDuck says:

                No, it’s really not at all like that. You want it to be like that because it supports your political opinion. That does not make the analogy accurate.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Plinko says:

                I’m sorry, then; perhaps you could explain how raising the debt limit is different from getting another credit card.

                I guess one big difference is that Congress can pass laws declaring that the credit card in question has zero interest and no minimum payments. I sure wish I could do that.Report

              • Avatar Plinko in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Well, if the congress tried to do that we can be pretty confident that Treasury auctions would fail, so they don’t.

                Government finances !=household finances for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are lifespan and taxing authority. A household has limited ability to change revenue, a sovereign government can raise (or cut) revenues if it so chooses. A household takes on debt that includes risks of death or job loss, the government doesn’t have to.

                Te debt ceiling is a congressional statute. it’s a limit on itself. So is the budget. They passed a budget that conflicts with the ceiling, so now what? Your point of view seems to be that the the only possible option is that the budget has to change. The time to agonize about borrowing was during budget negotiations.Report

        • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to James K says:

          Capping borrowing is a ridiculous and silly idea.

          It hampers any government response to changing circumstances — i.e., economic downturn.

          You are probably in favor of a balanced budget amendment, another incredibly stupid idea.

          Republicans really have boxed themselves into a corner by limiting their ideas to “moar tax cuts” and “we don’t need no stinking government.”

          Worse than what that does to the GOP, however, is what it does to the country.Report

          • Lucy, for the record, most folks who are on the fence (at least here) find explanations for why X is a stupid idea much more interesting than declarative statements regarding the ideas’ stupidity.

            Also, there are many folks who read comments but do not comment themselves. Just because you suspect that the person you are directly replying to will not be helped by your explanation regarding why X is stupid does not mean that other, quieter, folks wouldn’t be.Report

    • Avatar Simon K in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The debt ceiling has nothing to do with printing money. The debt ceiling relates to the outstanding face value of government bonds, including those owned by the government itself.

      The (figurative) printing of money is done by the federal reserve, They do it by buying government bonds, but those bonds remain counted as government debt for debt ceiling purposes. And whether to buy or sell bonds and how many bonds to buy or sell is at the discretion of FOMC, a body on which the executive branch has some influence in theory, but little in practice, especially since they’ve left two empty seats unfilled.Report

  13. Avatar Art Deco says:

    A word to describe this plan is “cynical”; two words to describe this plan is “laughably cynical”; three words to describe this plan is “consummately, brazenly cynical”; and one word and one not-really word to describe it is “redonkulously cynical.” But I’m not even going to go there.

    Take a pill.Report

  14. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Obama can reject this bill on Constitutional grounds: Article 1, Section 8. To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

    McConnell might think he’s Got a Cunning Plan. Perhaps he needs one of those li’l Constitution Texts the Tea Partyists keep brandishing for a refresher course in taxation and government borrowing.Report

  15. Avatar Plinko says:

    There’s an obvious problem with the cunning plan, which is that by saying it publicly, McConnell has given away most of his leverage. He’s admitted the debt ceiling must be raised even if the deficit reduction negotations fail to reach any agreement and that he’d support plans to raise it clean (as long as he doesn’t have to vote ‘aye’).
    If he’d kept it part of secret negotiations among Republicans, maybe it could have worked out to give them an out where they could try to pin the blame on Democrats. As it is, he just handed a lot of power to those that say we need to just raise it.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Plinko says:

      Giving away the right to borrow money on the credit of the United States is not with McConnell’s mandate. That is the purview of Congress alone.Report

      • Avatar Plinko in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Not sure what that has to do with my comment.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Plinko says:

          Sorry. You observe McConnell has given away most of his leverage. He’s admitted the debt ceiling must be raised even if the deficit reduction negotations fail.

          If we are to take Article 1: section 8 literally, only Congress has the power to borrow money. Senator McConnell cannot cede that right to the Executive.Report

          • Avatar Plinko in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Nowhere in my comment did I mention the Constitutional powers involved.

            The point is from a purely political negotiating strategy, McConnell has made a public statement that if the side deals don’t work out that it’s more important to raise the debt ceiling than to not do so. Therefore, unless he is lying (possible!) about his priorities, then he strengthened the hands of those that don’t want to do deficit reduction in exchange for a debt ceiling increase because he’s stated that he will give in when the time comes.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Plinko says:

      I think he (and perhaps the saner Republicans in the Senate) realized that they had no real leverage, given public opinion. What this allows them to do is blame Obama for any raising of the debt ceiling, while they vote against it but never meet the 2/3 majority requirement to overturn such a raising. It’s win-win for Republicans: they can say that the Democrats are being fiscally irresponsible and that they voted against it, without actually having to cut grandma’s social security (which wouldn’t help the deficit anyway).

      Also, Blaise’s constitutional interpretation below seems a bit weak. Raising the amount that can be borrowed and actually borrowing the money are two different things.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chris says:

        Exactly. They’re taking advantage of being The Party Not In Power; it lets them go on record as having said “no” to everything but not actually stop it passing; if it all goes wrong they can use that as a stick to beat their opponents with, and if it all works out then their opponents can’t say they were responsible for stopping a possibly-successful program.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Incidentally, it’s informative to look at things passed in the 2008-2009 timeframe, such as the CPSIA. Democrats in Congress are claiming that it’s impossible for Republicans to criticize the CPSIA, its implementation, or its ultimate effects, because it was passed by a bipartisan vote. Same with TARP (and remember how TARP was going to be passed by the Democrats despite near-unanimous Republican rejection, and then all of a sudden it got yanked off the floor, and then a few days later it came back and now the Republicans were in favor of it?)Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Ronald Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well, Mr Reagan was a Republican and when he left office unemployment was 5%. Geez, I wonder if it’s higher or lower than that now?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

        Who else was criticized by that sentence, Koz?Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

          I don’t know. In fact I don’t even quite get the relevance. Nonetheless, as the Beltway goes to war over the debt ceiling it’s useful to remind everybody that the ultimate cause of the current rate of unemployment in America is lack of Republicans in office. Now, there’s nothing we can do about that directly for the 18 months or so, but until then we can expect and pressure our current Beltway powers that be to act as Republicans would so as to best approximate the performance of actual Republicans.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

            I don’t know. In fact I don’t even quite get the relevance.

            This goes back to me seeing you as Bruce Willis in Sixth Sense. Remember when I gave that speech about how stuff that does not cohere with your narrative is invisible to you?

            This is that.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

              Well Jay, I never saw that movie. But I do see that the Republicans in Congress are trying to cut government expenditures and the Demo’s are throwing everything but the kitchen sink to prevent that from happening.

              But I suppose there are other things that could be relevant as well. What things are those Jay?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                The fact that the party in power argues for political expediency and the party out of power argues for some vague principle and the moment they change places they pick up the arguments that the other had dropped.

                There’s no belief system, just lines being read.

                As if they were all actors who were understudies for each other.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                How generous of God that He granted you a direct line to his Heavenly Fatherness so He could reveal the true hearts of McConnell and Boehner to you. I don’t have a direct line to God but if I did would simply ask for peace on earth, goodwill toward men, high growth and low unemployment directly instead of inquiring on McConnell and Boehner.

                But since that seems impractical I’ll try for the next best thing, which is to lower the trajectory of government expenditures and for that we need the Republicans.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                No, not Him, Koz. To Him we no longer speak.

                I talk to the Gods of the Copybook Headings.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, then as you claim to know the true hearts of Boehner and McConnell you are probably taking counsel from False Prophets which is a bigger mistake than whatever disinformation you’re getting about Boehner and McConnell.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Their hearts are as true as the heart which gave the italicized speech you can see if you scroll down a hair.Report

              • Avatar patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m more than mildly amused that Koz thinks that Jaybird is the one that’s reasoning from certainty on this little exchange.

                Koz, in order for you to buy the rhetoric coming from the GOP right now, in spite of the last 40 years of non-present evidence showing that they are the party that they claim to be, you’re the one that’s operating off of belief.

                Jaybird is looking at historical evidence.

                Now granted, you can pull the “past history is no guarantee of future performance” card, but then you still have some ‘splainin’ to do.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Their hearts are as true as the heart which gave the italicized speech you can see if you scroll down a hair.”

                Maybe I can’t afford to care about whose hearts are true where the fate of America requires cuts in government expenditures now. Then again, if we support the Republicans, we also give ourselves the possibility of limited government now and in the future.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Really?

                I thought that if we support the Republicans now, we’re kicking the can down the road.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Jaybird is looking at historical evidence.”

                Really, what historical evidence is that? So far, the only historical evidence I’ve seen cited in this little dialog is the fact that unemployment was at 5% when Republican President Ronald Reagan left office.

                As far as future performance goes, we certainly hope that your fears of the future of employment in America are exaggerated. If they are not, it should be a matter of extreme urgency to cut government expenditures. Our ability to borrow has to cover a lot wider and thinner than what the Demo’s are planning for, right Pat?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Really, what historical evidence is that?

                Direct quotations from various people in various positions of power.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “I thought that if we support the Republicans now, we’re kicking the can down the road.”

                I dunno, that’s what the OP of this thread is about among other things. Let’s never forget, though, that our political environment and the choices we get to make in it are as bleak as they seem ‘cuz there aren’t enough Republicans in office to do anything more aggressive.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Direct quotations from various people in various positions of power.”

                Of whom, for what? Guess what Jay, historical evidence has context. If you strip out the contest to play a game or make a point, it’s no longer historical evidence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you strip out the contest to play a game or make a point, it’s no longer historical evidence.

                I gave the context.

                You started talking about knowing people’s hearts in response.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Would you recognize who said it?

                Would you recognize who he was saying it about?”

                No, Jay. When you write this it’s pretty clear that you are not supplying the context.Report

              • Avatar patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

                > As far as future performance
                > goes, we certainly hope that
                > your fears of the future of
                > employment in America are
                > exaggerated. If they are not, it
                > should be a matter of extreme
                > urgency to cut government
                > expenditures. Our ability to
                > borrow has to cover a lot
                > wider and thinner than what
                > the Demo’s are planning for,
                > right Pat?

                Sort of.

                You’re assuming that the situation can be remedied without major crisis.

                I don’t see that happening. It’s the pessimist in me.Report

              • Avatar patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

                Also, remember I actually have read enough climate science to believe the projections are mild.

                While it’s certainly possible that something that is currently not included in the models provides some sort of braking, there’s no current plausible reason to expect that this is the case. This is bad news, dude.

                All the projections for the next 40 years regarding the economy are, if not worthless, certainly based on at best scientific methods that are more subject to predictive error than the climate, Koz… how come you yank out economic projections as evidence but disregard climate science?

                Social security isn’t a big burden if half the people over the age of 60 die of a pandemic, and that’s actually pretty probable in the next 40 years. We haven’t had a big one since 1918, and our anti-virals aren’t up to the one that’s overdue. It’s like a big earthquake, you can forget about ’em ’cause you haven’t had one in a while, but they happen whether you like ’em or not.

                In the world economy, China is going to tank harder than we are. You think our elderly baby boomers are a problem? Their one-child-per family program has built up a demographic landslide that makes our baby boomer problem look like a picnic.

                The U.S. economy can jump in the ocean and we’ll recover. We might eat beans and peanut butter for 10 years but that’s okay, I didn’t have a lot of money growing up as a kid and having the economy tank isn’t going to kill me.

                The Democrats are terrible on science, but the Republicans are worse. The Democrats are terrible on the environment, but Republicans are worse.

                Not that this is a particularly stellar reason to vote for Democrats, or not vote for Republicans. They’re nearly all full of shit.

                What I’d like to see is someone run for office who makes fucking sense. I’d vote for that gal or guy, if only to have a clear conscience.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                Patrick, you’re assuming this is something other than a mere partisan play for Koz. It’s not. He has his team, which he readily calls a team, and whatever is happening, they’re the best. If they say the climate isn’t changing (and if it is, it’s not do to anthropogenic causes), then the climate’s not changing. If they say they have the best way through financial problems, then they have the best way through financial problems. And Koz will cheer for them with pom poms and spelling out “R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C-A-N” wiht his arms and legs. Jaybird calls him a ghost. I call him a silly partisan fool.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Koz… how come you yank out economic projections as evidence but disregard climate science?”

                Actually, I don’t. Having said that, our understanding of the economic future in forty years is more or less worthless. But, our understanding of economic growth and employment is way more developed than anything about climate science for a 40 year time frame. Climate science would be closer to Tyler Cowen’s Great Stagnation thesis: plausible, but very speculative.

                Furthermore, it will take climate science quite a while to recover from the East Anglia scandal. Some people have tried to localize the scandal but it doesn’t really work. The global warming research community got hit with triple-whammy: bad faith, incompetence, and corrupt data.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Sort of.

                You’re assuming that the situation can be remedied without major crisis.”

                What’s the sort of? If we do have a major crisis, it’s far more likely than otherwise that we’ll have to use our ability to borrow to cover much thinner and wider than the Dems are planning. Right?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “He has his team, which he readily calls a team, and whatever is happening, they’re the best.”

                No, you’ve got the causality the other way around. I support the Republicans (ie, their “my team”) because they have way out of the economic problems of America, not vice versa.

                Furthermore, it’s important to note that supporting Republicans in ways that give them the ability to act in the best interest of America doesn’t necessarily help the Republicans politically, especially in the short term.

                For example, for one day last week, I thought Obama was going to be comfortably reelected. We were going to get some kind of debt limit deal, the protest on the Left was going to go away in a month or less. Unemployment was going to drift down and Mr. Obama was going to preserve his magisterial aloofness. Then the deal blew apart and we had another horrible Demo unemployment report and so much for all that.

                Therefore, support for the Republicans in the ways that are most important now, really don’t have much to do with elections or even polls.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

            I mean, if I had said “Who said this?”

            And posted this quotation:

            The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

            Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

            Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

            And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

            Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities.

            Would you recognize who said it?

            Would you recognize who he was saying it about?

            If you’re frightened of dying, and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. If you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth.

            We’re trying to help you, Koz. We’re trying to help.Report

      • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Koz says:

        Yes, unemployment was 5% when Reagan left office, but it was because he “found religion” — he raised taxes and increased government spending.

        When Clinton left office, unemployment was 4.2% and the country’s debt was on track to be completely eliminated within ten years. Oh, those rascally Democrats and their destructive tax-and-spend ways!

        But then Bush was appointed president and Republicans conducted their grand experiment of drastically cutting taxes and destroying government effectiveness with politicization, and here we are.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

          Oh, I get it. So unemployment was at 10% when Carter left office, it was at 4% when Clinton left office and it’s 9% and rising now.

          So 2 out of 3 Democrat Presidents recommend 10% unemployment for America, just like 2 out of 3 dentists recommend Crest for every day brushing.Report

          • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Koz says:

            The US was hemorrhaging jobs throughout the Bush administration but, yeah, it’s Obama’s fault.

            What’s your prescription for job growth? Let me guess. “Moar tax cuts, pleez!”Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

          Bubba had the advantage of a GOP Congress that effectively ended “Welfare as we know it!”Ah, yes, the good old days.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            What were the Good Old Days like in Bizarro World? Clinton ran on the platform of ending WAWKI.Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Heh heh, Clinton’s welfare bill called for MORE spending.

              June 14 [1994]. President Clinton unveils the Work and Responsibility Act in Kansas City, Missouri. The proposal calls for $9.3 billion in additional federal funding over five years and imposes a mandatory work requirement after two years on AFDC for recipients born after 1971 who are unable to find jobs. The proposal expands the JOBS Program and strengthens regulations regarding paternity establishment and child support. The bill requires minors to live at home as a condition of receiving aid. All but $2.1 billion in new funding will be offset through reductions in entitlements, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

              Retrieved from the memory hole:

              http://www.apwa.org/reform/timeline.htmReport

  17. Avatar Koz says:

    “Would you recognize who said it?”

    No. But, I trust that it is not Richard Cheney who is credited, somewhat speciously, as saying that deficits don’t matter. Whether they do or not, Richard Cheney, George W Bush and Tom Delay are not politically active. John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and even Mitch McConnell are trying to cut government expenditures now. Therefore, those who have the best interest of America at heart support Boehner, Cantor and McConnell because the fate of America substantially rests on their availability to do it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

      Would you have said that people who had the best interest of America at heart would have voted for whomever it was that gave that speech that I put in italics?

      If not, why not?Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

        Maybe. On the other hand there were likely other considerations then that were more relevant then where the fate of America wasn’t hanging in the balance as it is now.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

          Will these “other” “considerations” become “relevant” again once power shifts back, as it always does?Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

            I don’t know. You’re the one with the direct line to God. You ask Him.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

              As I said, we no longer speak.

              I went through a more roundabout intercessory partner who let me know that “He doesn’t know who you’re talking about. He never knew them.”Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, if you’re not talking to God maybe you should be directing this question to Boehner and McConnell then. On the other hand, why do care what we’re gonna do when the fate of America doesn’t hang in the balance if we can’t do anything when it does?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                I imagine, actually, that the US will be more or less okay for a variety of reasons.

                Europe will implode before the US does.
                This will force a degree of austerity that the US will better be able to weather given China/India’s problems when the currency becomes somewhat devalued when China stops buying the dollar.

                There are a handful of things that will happen after that that will result in the US retaining competitive advantage despite the many decades of bad decisions and lies told.Report

              • Avatar patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

                If nothing else, it’s harder to run off with buckets of other people’s money here.

                Thus, people have a tendency to bring their loose capital here. There is still corruption, but the rules are known to most of the players.

                Show up in many other places with a bucket of money and you’re likely to lose most of it without even getting to invest it in something.Report

  18. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Just a reminder.

    http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/07/11/265850/real-interest-on-government-debt-is-negative/ – Yes, interest on the debt is negative. Negative. In any sane world, the conversation would be how to take advantage of this. How much we could get done in this window of time. Instead, DOOM!Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Dude, you don’t understand! America is in great peril for mysterious reasons! If we don’t get rid of Medicare and Social Security, there will be no America in X years! The Republicans have the only way out: cut taxes for rich people and cut services to poor people. This will do a bunch of good things like create jobs and spur investment, even if in the past similar actions have done neither of those things (what was the unemployment rate at the end of Bush II’s second term? I forget). If we don’t elect Republicans, we’re doomed! Doomed, I tell you! Dooooooooooooooomed!Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Chris says:

        “America is in great peril for mysterious reasons!”

        I don’t know what supposed to be so mysterious. America owes money. Instead of paying it back, America wants to borrow more money, forever and ever. Therefore nobody loans America any money any more. Nobody has a job. The end.Report

        • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Koz says:

          And that’s why the rate of interest the government pays is so low that even with the nominal inflation we now have it’s actually cheaper to borrow money to do things than to use capital.

          Blind adherence to ideas that have failed repeatedly doesn’t change the past and can only make the future worse.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

            There’s a brilliancy prize from someone going bankrupt from credit card debt. “How can that be, it said 0% APR right on the envelope.”Report

            • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Koz says:

              If you don’t understand the difference between personal finances and the national economy, I can’t help you.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

                Ok, creditworthy borrowers can borrow at low interest rates. Noncreditworthy borrowers must borrow at high interest rates (if they can borrow at all). Creditworthy borrowers who continue to borrow become noncreditworthy borrowers.

                How does government finance differ from personal finance for any of this?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Koz says:

                If you think that the U.S. is at risk of becoming noncreditworthy simply by continuing to borrow, you are beyond help for this reason also.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Chris says:

                That’s why there’s things like debt ratios and interest rates solvency metrics and all the rest of it.

                When push comes to shove, we can pay back $14 T in Treasury debt (though that will be difficult enough). We’ve got no shot at paying back $62 T.

                At this level, there really is no difference between personal finance and government finance. A hairstylist can pay back $18K in credit cards if she squeezes a few pennies here or there. She’s got no shot to pay back $180K.

                We’ve got to be able to talk apples-to apples without pollution between ourselves to come to grips with this and its consequences.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Koz says:

          Actually Koz, when you think about it, it is all Bush’s fault. He was guilty of spending money like a commie-Dem though Barry’s Hawaiian-Kenyan Marxism has taken it to an all higher level and he did leave a commie-Dem a war. Those are two big NO-NO’s and one very significant reason why I vote ONLY for conservatives or someone trying assiduously to be a conservative.
          Sarah Palin’s left nipple would make a better president then this commie.Report

  19. Avatar Steve S. says:

    I’ve been reading some commentary in the liberal blogosphere where this is being depicted as a huge win for Obama and that he should jump all over it if passed. Frankly, I’m baffled. Yes, McConnell’s proposal is nakedly cynical even by the abysmal standards of Washington, and it’s causing internecine strife in the GOP caucus, but how could Obama’s signing on to this make him look anything other than foolish?Report

    • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Steve S. says:

      Someone else explained how — the president proposes budget cuts that Republicans will not accept.

      Yeah, McConnell is too smart for his own pants.Report

      • Avatar Steve S. in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

        “the president proposes budget cuts”

        That’s my whole point. He’s required to propose hypothetical cuts.

        If he proposes “serious” cuts he’ll be pummeled from one quarter or other and have to own them, and he still doesn’t get any new revenue.

        If he proposes “joke” cuts Mark Halperin will emerge from his undisclosed location, David Broder will rise from the grave, and the hysterical wail about how Obama is not “serious” about this problem will be audible on the Moon.

        Not to mention that Obama willingly taking part in the McConnell/Boehner clown show makes him look like a clown as well.

        I don’t deny that this exacerbates a schism in the GOP, which I guess is good for Obama in the zero sum political game, but it strikes me as a victory in the sense that General Turgidson understood it.Report

        • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Steve S. says:

          Like anybody except morons and Mark Halperin think Mark Halperin is any authority.

          I hope the “victory” keeps you warm at night. It’s a pity that Republicans think it’s a great plan to play chicken with the US economy to try to make the president and Democrats look bad.

          How patriotic.Report

          • Avatar Steve S. in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

            “Like anybody except morons and Mark Halperin think Mark Halperin is any authority.”

            That’s another problem, Obama seems to take the centrist CW quite seriously.

            “I hope the ‘victory’ keeps you warm at night.”

            I personally take no solace in any of this ridiculous farce, I’m just curious why some think he could sign on to the McConnell deal and come out smelling like a rose. I just don’t see it.Report

            • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Steve S. says:

              Does Obama need to smell like a rose? When one is forced into a fight where people are throwing shit, it’s inevitable you’re not coming out of it smelling all that good even though you won.

              This is a fight that should never have started. Republicans have proven for the last 30 years that they are incompetent at governing, their entire game is convincing the public that down is up.

              I would be embarrassed to associate myself with a group that relies on misrepresentation and falsehoods for political gain at the expense of their country.Report

              • Avatar Steve S. in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

                “Does Obama need to smell like a rose? When one is forced into a fight where people are throwing shit, it’s inevitable you’re not coming out of it smelling all that good even though you won. This is a fight that should never have started.”

                That’s more or less my perspective.Report

          • This is the typical blanket dismissal of anyone who says anything the left doesn’t like. Yet they take Andrew Sullivan seriously.

            This has been my theme of late, beyond the partisan particulars.

            Halperin was right, BTW. The president has been acting like a dick. [As previously stipulated, so did Gingrich.]Report

            • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to tom van dyke says:

              Who knew Republicans, yourself included, were such a bunch of WATB. A little pushback from the president and you all go screaming for the smelling salts.

              “Oh, oh, oh, the president was mean!”

              Really? Obama is a dick for telling the truth about Republican bullshit?

              For someone so concerned about “blanket dismissal,” you seem very comfortable with ignoring the issue.

              Nice try, but you can keep Andrew Sullivan. He’s still in your club.Report

  20. Avatar Koz says:

    “This is the typical blanket dismissal of anyone who says anything the left doesn’t like.”

    Our new dog friend is a nasty polluter. Steve Sailer wrote something very important a couple of months ago. Unfortunately he called it thuggishness, which upon reflection isn’t quite right, at least most of the time.

    Rarely are people actually afraid of left-wing goons, but there presence is a smog on the political culture of America. It doesn’t stop anything necessarily, but makes everything more difficult. And, it kills hope for the long term.

    It’s like America is holding it’s breath under water and we have to have a committee meeting to get a breath of air. And that’s a dicey proposition ‘cuz the polluters will filibuster the committee meeting. The fear is, we go too much further down this road, not even the Republicans will be able to help.Report

    • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Koz says:

      Yes, it must be very uncomfortable for have someone come along and pollute your fact-free air with facts.

      You might want to refresh yourself on the meaning of “thug” and “goon.” I don’t think they mean what you apparently think they do.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

        No, it’s just that when somebody of your relative lack of understanding or intelligence jumps in, we have to back up to get you on board. In your case, it’s obvious that you’re a lib but it’s hard to tell exactly what factual or narrative base you have so we have to work slower until you catch up.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

          Koz: Until you cease to be completely befuddled by why quotations from Republican Leadership from the last 10 years are brought up in discussions about the economy, your privileges to point out the “lack of understanding or intelligence” of the folks you argue against should be considered revoked.

          You’ll get them back when you recognize why people see the last 10 years of governance as relevant to any given discussion of governance today.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

            Jay, I’m not befuddled why someone would want to cite embarrassing quotations from Republicans (or in your case, a Democrat) from ten years ago. In your case, I’m befuddled at your inability or unwillingness to state a direct argument when you’ve been challenged to do so.

            We can move forward where there are clear premises and line of argument in circumstances we can’t starting from some vague complaint.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

              Koz, your calling them “embarrassing quotations” strikes me as somewhat anachronistic.

              I believe that, had you and I been arguing in 2005, you would have explained to me the truth hidden in these quotes and explained how people who truly understood economics would nod sagely. Moreover, I suspect that you would have accused Obama of grandstanding on something as important as the debt limit when there were people out there who had done their part and ponied up their fair share according to the rules and now the Democrats were threatening them.

              This is besides the point, however.

              I don’t mind people arguing. I don’t even mind some getting down and dirty. It can be healthy, at the end of the day.

              I do not, however, want to see accusations of ignorance from you against other people until you can reliably demonstrate that you understand why people may be bringing up these “embarrassing quotations” from political leadership from the last decade when discussing political leadership in this one.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “I believe that, had you and I been arguing in 2005, you would have explained to me the truth hidden in these quotes and explained how people who truly understood economics would nod sagely.”

                Well then say this then. You might actually learn something from the answer. Among other things, the debt ceiling might mean something different now than it did then. Or maybe not, but if don’t make an actual point, we don’t get to find out.

                As far as ignorance goes, it’s very important for ignorants to understand the ramifications of their ignorance. I can sympathize with your inclination to intervene on somebody else’s behalf but if you can’t state your own arguments clearly why are you worried about somebody else’s.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                Koz, I am worried about neither ignorance nor arguments.

                I am, however, exceptionally frustrated at your blind spot. It reminds me of Newt Gingrich talking about the importance of maintaining the sanctity of marriage.

                I believe in the sanctity of marriage.
                I do not believe that Newt believes in the sanctity of marriage.

                The same is true for Republicans who discuss fiscal conservativism while expressing shock that someone remembers the last time that the Republicans held the House, Senate, and Presidency (and, on top of that, we’re not talking about, like, the 20’s either. We’re talking about living memory for everyone who is a commenter on this website).

                Your refusal to acknowledge Republican transgressions undercuts your arguments.

                More importantly: your refusal to acknowledge Republican transgressions undercuts arguments where you and I happen to agree and, as such, undercuts arguments that I agree with.

                I obviously cannot change your mind on anything. I can, however, tell you that your privilege to call other people ignorant has been revoked until you display some sign that you are working on compensating for your blind spot.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Your refusal to acknowledge Republican transgressions undercuts your arguments.”

                No Jay, I am perfectly willing to acknowledge Republican transgressions, as I have done here and elsewhere. As far as some of your arguments go, it’s likely that I accept your premises but deny your conclusions. But, we don’t know for sure until you actually state them.

                “I can, however, tell you that your privilege to call other people ignorant has been revoked until you display some sign that you are working on compensating for your blind spot.”

                That’s lovely, ‘cuz I reject your ability to revoke my privileges and now that they have been successfully retained I exercise said privilege by noting that you are ignorant of the urgency of lowering the trajectory of government expenditures in the current environment.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                No Jay, I am perfectly willing to acknowledge Republican transgressions, as I have done here and elsewhere.

                I’m going to ask for a link.

                I am certain that if I had seen a comment doing so (rather than saying that you had done so at some point in the past) that I would remember it. As such, I am sure that I have either missed it (and would like to see it) or that your blind spot is acting up again.

                I suspect the latter because, like, I’m addicted to this place. (I’ve been wrong before, though.)

                I exercise said privilege by noting that you are ignorant of the urgency of lowering the trajectory of government expenditures in the current environment.

                No, I remain aware of the urgency of such. I question whether the Republican party apprehends the urgency and suspect that, the moment the reigns of power change hands (and the reigns of power *WILL* change hands), we will go back to Republicans sounding like Democrats and Democrats sounding like Republicans.

                And looking back and forth and not being able to tell the difference.Report

              • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Koz says:

                Note, acknowledgement of Republican transgressions followed by a “… but…” don’t count.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

                “Though to be fair to Jaybird, if we were half as good say from 1997-2007 as we are now the country would be in way better shape than it is.”

                Like one or two whole threads ago. Even mentioned you directly. Maybe this got lost between the comment-conversation among me, Simon, and Pat.

                https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2011/07/05/quick-question-2/#comment-159151Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                And doing further investigating, I am underwhelmed.

                The thread you referenced was a discussion of the Mount Vernon Statement. I was not criticizing something Ed Meese said in 1983 but something he said in 2010… specifically, a pledge he was asking Republicans to sign… and some were.

                Your blind spot was acting up again.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Really? I had no idea Ed Meese was alive in 2010. Whatever the Mount Vernon Statement was, it’s been long forgotten.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                Whatever the Mount Vernon Statement was, it’s been long forgotten.

                Exactly.

                (For the record, the thread discussing the Mount Vernon Statement was the time I quoted “I Will Survive” to Koz, if you remember that sort of thing fondly.)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Really, was it that thread? If anything, you are more like Jon Favreau pining after his ex-gf from Jersey now than then.

                Fwiw, just three days ago or whatever, I wrote,

                “Look, I’ve read McArdle and Brooks and I’m very sympathetic to that point of view. I very much fear that the some of the more isolated Tea Party types are driving the GOP off a Christine O’Donnell style cliff. Some people suspect that I’ve been less than evenhanded in my treatment of the Republicans v. the Demo’s but it’s not so and if anyone wants me to write more about this I will.”

                and no one was interested. And yesterday a friend of mine from HS wrote on facebook that the state should lobby to secede from the union so that some of them could make it through the debt crisis (he’s an Objectivist btw). I told him there was no point in that. Secession takes decades. We need help like next week or something.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                No, Koz. I’m the girlfriend who is explaining to the boyfriend why she isn’t going to let him move back in.

                “But if you *CARED* about love, and relationships, you’d let me move back in!”

                “I do care about love and relationships. You don’t love me and you constantly cheat on me. You’re not moving back in. You’re not even willing to acknowledge that you’ve done anything wrong.”

                “Quit being a bitch and let me back in!”

                Koz, sweetie, you’re not moving back in. You don’t love me. You cheat on me. You don’t help around the house.

                And the only time you pretend to be nice to me is when you want to move back in.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

                Applause.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Well, without redoing this whole drama let’s just say that I’m perfectly willing to criticize Republicans when they are at fault. It happens that that occurs much less often than the Demo’s being at fault.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Koz says:

                I think that’s the first time I heard someone reference “Swingers”. I was beginning to think I was the only person in the world who remember the movie.

                I used to try to bring it; back when I was single I’d take every opportunity to bring out “There’ll be like one chick at the place, and she’s not half the woman my girlfriend was but I’m supposed to be all excited ’cause she’s wearin’ a backpack, and there’s thirty assholes all over her ’cause she’s the only chick there, and I’m gonna tell you somethin’, T, are you listening? I’m not gonna be one of those assholes.

                Then I got married and it didn’t make sense for me to say that anymore.Report

          • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

            JB, I’m rather on about the past four years: the Reid-Pelosi congress, the BHO admin for 2 1/2.

            The past 10 years? Bush is gone, a healthy chunk of the GOP majority until 2006 turned over. [Losses in 2006, the Tea Party thing.]

            The only way to defend the past 2.5-4 years is not to defend it atall, but to attack the GOP years before that. Dunno if the electorate is buying that technique.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

              The only way to defend the past 2.5-4 years is not to defend it atall, but to attack the GOP years before that.

              I am someone who attacked Dubya from the Right from 2004-2006.

              You may be someone who says “well, the Republicans did sound like Democrats there for a few years”. I may be someone who says “Really? It seems to me that the Democrats are sounding like Republicans.”

              In the short term, I’ll settle for fewer accusations of a lack of understanding/intelligence in the arguments.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

                You’re a gentleperson of the right, JB? Welcome news, I didn’t know.

                This gentleperson of the right shed no tears, moped no mope at the GOP losses in 2006 and 2008. They had a thumping coming.

                Now it’s the other guys’ turn. Anybody who thought things couldn’t get any worse in 2006 and 2008 had no imagination. We elected a Eurostatist government just as Europe was realizing that model is unsustainable.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I am a fiscal conservative, very much so.

                I have a handful of programs that the Republicans voted for and passed and Bush signed from between 2000 and 2006 that I very, very much disapprove of. Would you like me to list them or will you concede that, perhaps, it was possible for fiscal conservatives to oppose some of the things done by the Republicans between 2000 and 2006?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Would you like me to list them

                Yes.

                “….will you concede that, perhaps, it was possible for fiscal conservatives to oppose some of the things done by the Republicans between 2000 and 2006?”

                Yes.

                For whatever this argument is worth, Jay, it’s not conclusive of anything. It’s not even an attempt to be conclusive of anything.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                Patriot (and its extension), No Child Left Behind, BCRA, Homeland Security Act, the Homeland Security Appropriations Act, Medicare Part D, and SAFETEA all come to mind.

                Additionally, there is the point about Bush not using the veto pen until 2006.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

                All those things are part of the morass of federal governance today. The Republican party is putting in the double shift trying to unwind the morass of governance today.

                You seem to think is a refusal to acknowledge that Republicans deserve some of the blame for their existence. It’s not.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                Koz, putting in the double shift trying to unwind the morass of governance today presents identically to putting in the double shift trying to be the ones in charge of the morass of governance today.

                Could you give some evidence that the Republicans are doing the one and not the other?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

                “Could you give some evidence that the Republicans are doing the one and not the other?”

                No. As I understand you, those are substantially the same thing. Nonetheless, if we put the Republicans in charge of the morass of federal governance, we have hope that it will soon be a smaller morass given everything they’ve done to lower government expenditures since Obama has been in office.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

                And, while I am it, let’s note that this is a particularly important problem now. This bunch of Republicans is punching way above their weight relative to my expectations. I don’t see how we can hope to go any farther without empowering more Republicans and more empowering to the existing Republicans.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Koz says:

                Bush is a RINO/Neocon, not a God-fearing, righteous Paleoconservative, who would happily cut every damn program and eliminate all redundancies and laugh in perky Katie’s face while he’s doing it.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

                JB, why are you backing me into an argument I’m not making, esp about the GOP 2001-2007, about which I’ll stipulate most anything you say?

                I have no wish to relive your glory days at Red State with you.

                😉Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Surely you understand why I argue with Koz.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Yeah, no shit. I’ve never participated on RedState. Jaybird hasn’t participated on RedState since whenever. Why the fkkk do we care what somebody on RedState wrote back before whenever? He’s probably not on RedState either.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke says:

                “Surely you understand why I argue with Koz.”

                You’re the RedState veteran, not me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                You’re the RedState veteran, not me.

                Deceased.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to tom van dyke says:

                The League…, shit, I’m still only in The League. Everytime I think I going to be posting back at RedState. After my first tour on the Warblogs it was worse. I’d hit refresh and there’d be nothing. I hardly said anything on Instapundit, until he said ‘yes’ to ending his comment section.

                When I was here, I wanted to be there. When I was there, all I could think about was getting back to RedState. I’m here a week now, waiting for a thread, getting softer. Every minute I sit here on the Gift of Gab, I get weaker. Every minute Erik squats on the internet, he gets stronger. Every time I look around, the League contributor list gets a little longer.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

                Koz, it’s not about blame. It’s about trust. History (recent history no less!) seems to show that whichever party holds the Presidency talks a lot about how the deficit doesn’t matter, whilst the party that does not hold the Presidency does a lot of grandstanding about how the deficit really does matter. When the President’s party changes, so do the letters next to the people pretending to care about the deficit and the people talking about how the deficit doesn’t matter.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                “It’s about trust.”

                To be precise, it’s about trust for you, blame for Jay. In any case, there’s answers:

                1. The Republicans are worth our hopes even as they build our trust.

                2. More important, we need to trust the Republicans to do use good judgment in the unknown future. We don’t need to trust the Republicans to do what they’re doing already. We see what they’re doing in the fiscal wars and if we want fiscal responsibility in America we need them more than they need us.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                “Watch me be fiscally responsible!”

                “That trick never works.”

                “This time, for sure!”Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Watch more carefully.

                Obama: Let’s spend umpteen kajillion dollars for high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando.

                GOP: No, that’s not a good idea.

                The magic is, there is no magic.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

            Jay, you must be in high dudgeon! It’s not like you to revoke anyone’s free speech rights…it’s so, un-libertarian.Report

        • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Koz says:

          Analogy fail. If I have jumped in, why would you need to back up to get me on board?

          Are you offering me some Kool-Aid?

          No, thanks.

          It’s telling that your only response to this “polluter” is to stick your fingers in your ears and scream, “La la la la la,” instead of trying to counter my arguments. Pretty much what I expected despite the fact that you kids can spell and use proper grammar.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Lucy The Wonder Dog says:

            “It’s telling that your only response to this “polluter” is to stick your fingers in your ears and scream, “La la la la la,” instead of trying to counter my arguments.”

            Well, there is no argument, that’s the point (or part of it).

            For example, the idea that government finance is different from personal finance. Ok, how does that affect a government’s access to credit? Fundamentally it doesn’t. It might be a talking point you once heard on TV or read in a newspaper and if you indicated some context we might be able to respond. As it is, you’re just a polluter and as near as I can figure out, that’s what you’re trying to be.Report

            • Avatar Lucy The Wonder Dog in reply to Koz says:

              The government does not have a problem getting credit. Interest rates for government debt is so low that it is cheaper to borrow money for, say, infrastructure than to use cash-on-hand.

              When a household has a shortage of revenue, they don’t stop eating or paying their bills, they get another job. When the government has a shortage of revenue, it raises taxes and/or closes loopholes.

              Let’s say you have a house and the roof blows off but you don’t have money in the bank to fix it. Do you borrow money to replace it or do you hope that you can save enough to fix it before the entire house is destroyed by the weather?

              But if it makes you feel better, go ahead, call me ignorant and a polluter. It’s all you’ve got.Report

    • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Koz says:

      “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it,” said a pretty smart guy once.

      For the record, it is unwise to touch a Steve Sailer or Charles Murray in public discourse with a barge-pole. I choose not to, and not only for their political incorrectness. I find them unhelpful.

      But Sailer is quite correct on the thuggishness. However, you’ll notice that such thugs can only function within the safety of numbers: they cannot function on their own or on a neutral field.Report

  21. I think the League should invest in hiring a real referee so when we’re commenting we need not burden ourselves with playing two roles at once.Report

  22. Avatar North says:

    Yeesh, one busy day at work and all hell breaks loose? The League’s been on fire the last couple weeks.Report

  23. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Over at the Economist, DiA likes the McConnell plan, mainly because it’s a way out of this mess: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/07/debt-ceiling-debate-0Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Rufus F. says:

      See, I don’t think it is. The issue is that, like others who are supporting the McConnell plan, The Economist is evaluating the McConnell thing as a law instead of just another plan. If it were a law, it might function ok. As it is, the arguments over the McConnell plan don’t seem to get us any closer to a favorable resolution.Report

  24. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post, just when you thought this ‘debate’ couldn’t get any more depressing and destructive, one pundit sinks to the occasion:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/debt-talks-reveal-the-republicans-apocalyptic-war-on-government/2011/07/12/gIQAloURBI_story.html
    “Republicans, to be sure, have long waged a war on government, but only now has it become an apocalyptic and total war. At its root, I suspect, is the fear and loathing that rank-and-file right-wingers feel toward what their government, and their nation, is inexorably becoming: multiracial, multicultural, cosmopolitan and now headed by a president who personifies those qualities. That America is also downwardly mobile is a challenge for us all, but for the right, the anxiety our economy understandably evokes is augmented by the politics of racial resentment and the fury that the country is no longer only theirs. That’s not a country whose government they want to pay for — and if the apocalypse befalls us, they seem to have concluded, so much the better.”
    Good grief. “They hate brown people!” (run around screaming. repeat.)Report