Everything You Ever Wanted to Ask About the Shutdown, But Were Afraid to Know


Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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130 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    How about if Nancy Pelosi gives them all a big hug?Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Would you say something like that about a man?


      How ’bout she bend them over her knee and gives them a good paddling, instead.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        Except for David Vitter, if you know what I mean and I think you do.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Actually I would.

        Zic, you presume something that was not my intent. All the tea party complainers and obstructionists just need to feel loved and need a hug. That will make them feel all better and valued and included in our big happy family of governement. Don’t let your own biases come through in intreperting my comments.

        Now, I must object to your last comment. That visual. OMG…It burns! If you would have replaced paddle with AK 47 it would have been “more funny” though.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        All the tea party complainers and obstructionists just need to feel loved and need a hug.

        I’m sure they’re getting plenty of hugs back home in their districts, part of why they seem to think the crazy is sane.

        And I freely admit, when it came to spankings, the thought of the jiggling asses was extremely disturbing. I’d never wish that on Congresswoman Pelosi; she actually does deserve respect.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Its like dealing with incredibly incompetent criminals. The GOP is willing to destroy the world economy for nothing more than making a nihilistic symbolic gesture against the Democratic Party in general and President Obama in particular.Report

  3. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Aren’t they already having a hoedown? Didn’t they get something out that?


  4. Avatar zic says:

    So they’re a bunch of Rodney-Dangerfield wannabees?

    First, they gotta be, you know, funny.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    They had originally asked Aretha Franklin to perform a concert for them, but they were afraid someone might call her a ni— ummmm, socialist.Report

  6. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    Can’t we just give everybody a cheap plastic “Participation makes you a winner!” trophy to take home to show their constituents and call it a day like we would at the end of a particularly contentious tee ball game?Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Funnier still was his clarification today:

    “Yesterday, I carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate and Speaker Boehner’s work on behalf of the American people,” Stutzman said in a statement. “Despite my remarks it’s clear that the American people want both parties to come to the table to reopen the government, tackle this nation’s debt crisis, and stop ObamaCare’s pain.”

    Also, Freedom. And Boot-Straps.

    Seriously, how the fish did this clown get elected? Boehner needs to invite this guy out to the woods, tell him to go fetch the stick and then quickly drive away.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      He got elected thanks to Mr. Gerrymander. The guy’s district is very safe.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        I still don’t get it. If it’s such safe a R district, shouldn’t they be able to easily find a R that doesn’t look this far out of his league? I usually associate terrible, out of depth candidates with minority parities in un-winnable districts.Report

      • What you consider looking out of his league and what the Republican base considers looking out of his league are two totally different concepts. These are the people who think Sarah Palin was a savvy genius.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        That’s a very good point.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Gerrymandered Republicans still need to fear a righter-than-thou primary challenger.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        A few weeks ago the NY Times ran an article about a Republican primary in Alabama. Probably around Mobile. The Tea Party favorite likes to talk about how we might be seeing the end of the Western Christian Empire.

        Could you imagine someone running in a Democratic primary and winning for saying something like “We might be seeing the end of Capitalism, horray!” Even people who talk about Ingenious People Day over Columbus Day have a hard time moving beyond the Berkeley City Council.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        I think you mean Indigenous.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Or Indubitably. I love Indubitably Day.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        What Mark and ND said. These people are popular with Republican primary voters who share many of the same beliefs. Since the district is safe, any GOP person who wins in the primary gets elected barring an unusual circumstance. The difficulty comes up in Senate elections because there are no districts. Than winning the GOP primary might not be enough and somebody more mainstream could be the vote.

        In the days of more heterogeneous districts and party bosses, radical candidates rarely got selected because the party bosses didn’t want to scare anybody. The primary gives the base voters what they want. Its more democratic but its not without its troubles.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The Democratic primary voters tend to pick safer choices than the GOP because while the Democratic Party is less conservative than its past self, its still a more ideological heterodox party than the GOP. The Democratic primary voter also tends to be more worried about selecting somebody not mainstream friendly would play out in the media than the GOP since we do not have our own TV network.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Well, it’s also that to be blunt, and I’m sure someone will stop by and say that I’m saying this just because I’m a partisan Democrat, that the number of people who actually want crazy things to be public policy are much higher in the GOP than the DNC.

        If you go to DailyKos, or hell, even Balloon Juice, Lawyers Guns & Money, or any pretty lefty site out there, you’d get calls for single-payer health care, bans on handguns, a big slice to the military budget, much higher taxes on the wealthy, and a carbon tax. Now, all of these things might seem like bad public policy to you for a variety of reasons, but other than the handgun ban (and I don’t know if even that would get massive support like the other things I mentioned), none of those things are “crazy.”

        OTOH, look over the past three plus years since 2010 to see the litany of crazy things the right-wing of the GOP has done or has called for that would’ve seem like ‘unrealistic things said by evil conservatives in an Aaron Sorkin film’ ten years ago. The thing is, you go into the comments at Red State, the Corner @ NRO, HotAir, or other big right-wing blogs and you hear even worse stuff.

        In other words, the crazies in the DNC (ie. your superhippies, actual Marxists, conspiracy theory proponents, etc.) are maybe 4-5% of the Democratic base at most, while it’s a large chunk of the GOP base, enough to cause primary losses.

        Here’s a report of sitdowns done w/ actual evanglicals, ‘moderates’, and Tea Partiers.


        That’s the base in a nutshell.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        Yes. Yes I do. The broader point still stands. A position like that and you are more or less probably not going to raise higher than Berkeley or Madison City Councils. Maybe a handful of state legislative seats and one or two congressional seats but probably not.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        The terribly elected folks (like that chap in Idaho who even the rest of the republicans hated) tend to be quite a bit better than the “never going to be elected” folks.

        The republican running for mayor in my city hears voices in his head (I mean this literally — and I wouldn’t be making a thing of it, if his treatment was working). He sold his house and has now fled the country (presumably the voices in his head told him over the high holidays that he should go protect Israel, rather than run for mayor).Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        “If you go to DailyKos, or hell, even Balloon Juice, Lawyers Guns & Money, or any pretty lefty site out there, you’d get calls for single-payer health care, bans on handguns, a big slice to the military budget, much higher taxes on the wealthy, and a carbon tax. Now, all of these things might seem like bad public policy to you for a variety of reasons, but other than the handgun ban (and I don’t know if even that would get massive support like the other things I mentioned), none of those things are “crazy.”

        OTOH, look over the past three plus years since 2010 to see the litany of crazy things the right-wing of the GOP has done or has called for that would’ve seem like ‘unrealistic things said by evil conservatives in an Aaron Sorkin film’ ten years ago. The thing is, you go into the comments at Red State, the Corner@NRO, HotAir, or other big right-wing blogs and you hear even worse stuff.”

        This is precisely what I meant a while back when I posted that the US no longer has a conservative party.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Jessie, Tod; this is why I’m somewhat dubious by the arguments that if the United States were not a parliamentary model things would be better. A lot of people think that we’d end up like a more populous version of Canada if we had a parliamentary democracy. My guess is that our politics would look a lot like India’s politics. India is a parliamentary democracy with a large and diverse population that doesn’t agree on a whole lot. We might have similar issues.Report

    • Avatar Gaelen says:

      Sarah Palin is a savvy genius. Her governorship and vice-presidential run were just part of a long con to get her family a reality television show.Report

  8. Avatar North says:

    Hmmm and now this morning I see that Boehner has announced that he “will not allow the government to default on it’s debts no matter what” I do believe that’s a blink. The speaker is the linch pin of this whole mess. The moment he lets a bill get onto the house floor that reopens the government or raises the debt ceiling without trying to extract tribute it’ll pass.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Boehner is trying to turn a rout into a strategic retreat, the only way he knows to do it. The GOP was never united, except in opposition to Obamacare. That sort of policy is only a barrel hoop around a collection of rotten barrel staves. The instant the hoop is removed, the barrel falls apart.

      So what else can Boehner say, beyond “I won’t allow” this and “I won’t allow” that ? Nothing, really.

      Retreats are not all that big a deal, strategically, if you’re retreating into strength. Makes the enemy extend himself, often farther than his supply lines are capable of handling. Most ambushes open with a retreat, luring the enemy into a cleared field of fire.

      But a rout is disorganised and this shutdown is a rout. The GOP thinks it can run away from its problems, take its marbles and go home. But this isn’t a game. It’s playing for keeps, a game for ground. Leaving the field means losing by the rules of the real game, whatever the GOP might think the game might be.

      All the GOP have ever said to Obama is NO. The minute he was elected, Mitch McConnell said as much. All those NOs have proven disastrous for the GOP. Where they might have compromised and gotten much of what they really wanted, they’ve put up a brittle and shallow defence. At no time, since Obama was elected, has this NO strategy ever paid off. Not once.

      So Boehner says “I won’t allow”. That’s all he’s ever said. He can’t stop a default because he can’t control this rout. His troops aren’t listening to him. Usually, such routs are stopped with a rear guard, shooting deserters as they flee. Boehner can’t bring himself to do that and lacks the political ass meat to crimp down on his revolting troops, in any event.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I disagree slightly BlaiseP; Boehner is actually capable of preventing a default: if the speaker scheduled a debt limit increase bill for vote (with no other riders attached) it would pass handily with universal Democratic Party votes and a significant number of GOP representatives from safe seats voting for it. Reid and Obama, of course, would pass it through at record speed no doubt.

        Now, what scheduling such a vote would do for Boehner’s personal hold on the Speakership is another question; the Tea Party would be apoplectic. On the other hand the ground has shifted some now, frankly I’m doubtful that there’re many who -want- to be in Boehner’s position right now. Cantor, for instance, seems to have decidedly cooled on the prospect after watching Boehner trying desperately to steer this tiger his party has bestrode. So Boehner may be secure simply because, while the right wing nuts may fulminate, no actual plausible alternative leadership candidates want the job.

        But I don’t think the weeper wants to risk it. He really really really likes being Speaker. Clinging to that damn job has motivated his every move ever since that horse head got laid on his doorstep at the beginning of the year.

        If Boehner were not actively blocking a vote on it (due to the GOP’s asinine Hastert rule) a continuing resolution (with no poison pills) and a clean debt increase would both be able to pass the House easily. Outside of this one point, however, I agree with the rest of your comment.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        There’s an angle I hadn’t quite considered. If Boehner cut the default loose, put the increase on the docket and got enough votes, yeah, he could stop a default in theory. But how does such a move break the budget logjam? Wouldn’t we go into default without a continuing resolution?

        Here’s where I don’t know enough about the cogs and levers of the machine to say much of substance. I thought there was some Gantt dependency created by the budget.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        @north Whenever I see someone with political power painted into a corner and doing something desperate in order to hold on to power, I recall that Caesar crossed the Rubicon in no small measure to avoid rendering himself legally vulnerable to prosecution and scrutiny of his past deeds. And a part of me shudders just a little bit.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        @blaisep AFAIK, there’s “mandatory” spending that can happen without a continuing resolution — social security, payment of government employees’ wages and benefits. Servicing of the debt may be of such a character. I might be mistaken about this, but it seems to me that as of today, without a continuing resolution but still within the existing debt ceiling, those government workers in “essential” capacities like active-duty military are still being paid for their work.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        @burt-likko : Yeah, that’s exactly where I’m left scratching my head. What characterises “essential” spending? It seems to me there’s only so long they can go on spending on anything, essential or not, without some budget or continuing resolution. They might be able to control the burn rate and delay the Day of Judgement, but it’s coming — and a mere raising of the debt ceiling won’t change that fact.

        But again, I can’t speak to this with any authority. I do know how my own accounting works, though, heh.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        “Capitol Police officers aren’t subject to furloughs, so they’re still on the job. But – like all federal workers who are deemed essential and are working during the shutdown — their next paycheck won’t be until the shutdown ends.

        Guidance from the Office of Management and Budget says that workers who are exempt from furloughs will receive pay for their time at work. But that can only happen after Congress passes and the president signs a new appropriation or continuing resolution.”

        No (executive) gov’t employee is getting paid before the shutdown ends.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I appreciate the clarification, Kim. Do you know what the status of debt servicing payments is?Report

      • Avatar North says:

        @ Burt Likko: I’m right there with you in the worry.

        BlaiseP and Burt, yeah debt servicing payments are mandatory, I don’t think you have to appropriate to pay them. As long as the debt limit is lifted the debt servicing will be legally paid without any necessity for budgeting in the near to mid term.

        Keep in mind we’re already up against the debt limit right now but Treasury is taking “extraordinary measures” to fund the government without issuing new debt. These include postponing intra-governmental funds transferring and other such things. The October deadline is when Treasury runs out of these internal accounting tricks they’re using to buy time.

        Keep in mind that even if the debt limit isn’t lifted the Treasury will undoubtedly continue debt servicing as a priority. Cash comes into the government every day and debt payments will likely be the first thing they make sure that they pay going out. The only likely probability that bond holders won’t be paid is if there’s trouble with the treasury rejiggering their computers to deal with their hundreds of millions of payments.

        Note, however, that Treasury would have to do this by not paying someone; most likely social security, medicare or other mandatory spending so even if bond holders are being paid the US government at that point has technically failed to pay their bills. This means that the US credit rating will have to go down. Since a million financial systems are predicated on the solvency of US debt this’ll create a massive cascading financial failure that’ll make the Great Recession look like a picnic and will likely cause mass anarchy in global markets.

        We should also remember that once we pass the date in October then Obama is legally breaking the law. The law requires him to fund all they bills that Congress has passed in full (a Nixon era law), the law forbids him from borrowing over the debt limit and the constitution forbids him from getting any money outside of congress. At this point it’d be as if there were two laws, one requiring him to sit and the other requiring him to stand. It will be impossible for him to obey both.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        That’s just horrifying, @north . Contemplating the scope of this train wreck — the only way I can see Boehner pulling this off is to redefine the word Default itself. Someone’s not gonna get paid. The instant that happens, the whole thing will seize up faster than a pig eating hydraulic concrete.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “All the GOP have ever said to Obama is NO. The minute he was elected, Mitch McConnell said as much. All those NOs have proven disastrous for the GOP. ”

        Well, except they got back control of the House in 2010, as well as 6 more governorships, and most importantly, a majority of the state legislatures in a census year.

        This is why the Democrats keep on giving up ground on their agenda – continuous mal-diagnosis of the underlying political trends.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        You’re always good for a laugh, K. What have the GOP done with their mandate? Show me the great triumphs and trophies they got on the strength of all those votes.

        I’ll wait. The list may be very long, but I’m sure you’ll give us a nice synopsis.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        It’s funny Kolohe, you’d think the last major election was in 2010.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        @burt-likko How many legions does the Speaker of the House have?Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        We should also remember that once we pass the date in October then Obama is legally breaking the law.

        I fully expect the House to impeach Obama because he failed to simultaneously do X and Not X.

        Wish I was joking, but I’d bet at least a 100 bucks that some idjit in the House starts screaming that Obama should be impeached because of blahdy-blahdy-Debt Ceiling.

        Probably with Ted Cruz nodding sagely.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Wonder what an orc army line and staff chart looks like. Do they roll up to legions?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        @north you see, here’s the problem with this here site. I take the literally meaning of what someone wrote – “the minute he was elected” and show, no, it hasn’t been disastrous to the GOP from that point.

        And then everyone gets on me citing things I didn’t actually say.

        But to take your lead: Sure, the GOP didn’t win the Presidency in 2012, but unseating an incumbent is *hard* – even everyone’s favorite stupidhead Bush Jr got a second term. They are still in control of the House – thanks to gerrymandering as an outcome in the 2010 election (gerrrymanding Dems in Maryland are perfectly willing to do themselves, to create another Dem safe seat, BTW). But you know, it was no big fishin surprise that the 2010 election would be important for decenial redistricting – the census has only been a thing for what? 220 years now? (and single member districts have been a thing since 1970).

        In that election, the Dems gained back 8 of the legislatures they lost in 2010 – a result that generally correlates with who won the White House. But the Dems also lost one. The GOP still has exactly half the state legislatures, and a split in 5 more.

        Disastrous? General Lee wishes he had such a disastrous result at Gettysburg.

        The GOP hasn’t had to, and doesn’t have to, do anything with their mandate to be considered successful.

        What really should scare the snot out of everyone is that the success of the GOP is *not* tied to the success of the country. Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        The GOP is in Lee’s position. With Lee’s fucking moral problem.
        That’s why we got a government shutdown.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        What really should scare the snot out of everyone is that the success of the GOP is *not* tied to the success of the country.

        Yeah, that. And also this, I think: the success of the GOP is primarily and in some cases exclusively measured in political terms rather than policy outcomes. In one sense, that’s just conservatism in action. But in another sense it prioritizes politics over policy in a transparently harmful way.

        On the other hand, lots of libertarians appear to believe that Democratic success isn’t tied to the success of the country either since they regard liberal policies as disastrous.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Oh, yeah, I just remembered – there is in fact an actual policy victory.

        As Chris Hayes pointed out last night, the baseline for budget negotiations going forward is spending *at* the sequester level.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The GOP’s successes are nil. They’ve managed to do nothing but cleverly raise the bidding to this point. If they come out of this on top, if they manage to defund Obamacare, they win. If they don’t, they’re busted. They’re All In right now. It’s all come to this moment. Boehner has flinched. The whole goddamn thing is blowing up in his face.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        @Kolohe I think that’s a fair gripe. To your original point I’d say you’re correct that the GOP’s strategy of opposing everything Obama is for has, contra the previous sentiment, not proved universally politically. Now I might quibble that it has been disastrous for them in terms of policy (their absolute opposition for instance gave them no say in most of the legislation that did pass) but on further consideration they managed to bank a lot of policy concessions that Obama essentially gave away while he was doing his whole Hope&Change&Unicorns shtick early on.

        To my own point, I think you’re quite right about what happened. Obama’s an incumbent and more importantly than that Obama did a lot of things to carefully preserve his chances at reelection, including many things that infuriated liberals. He gave away the farm on the fiscal cliff for instance; why; because it helped the economy in the short term. He gave the GOP a ton of free policy things; why; because it let him correctly blame them as being the closed hand in the relationship. The list goes on and on.

        I, for the record, am somewhat sanguine about gerrymandering but the GOP’s behavior here is utterly incomprehensible. The policy they are screaming about, repealing or wounding the ACA etc, are things they ran on in 2012 and they lost everywhere; Senate, House and the Presidency. Gerrymandering preserved their majority, fine, but that ain’t no mandate no matter how they spin it.

        Imagine if, after 2010, Obama had vowed to veto every spending bill and debt ceiling increase unless the GOP attached an ACA expansion to it. That is pretty much the exact equivalent of what the GOP is doing today.

        Your last sentence couldn’t be more correct. I have nothing to add or amend to it.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        “As Chris Hayes pointed out last night, the baseline for budget negotiations going forward is spending *at* the sequester level.”

        Yes the Dem’s appear to dislike this more than the GOP overall does. But it bears noting that from a Neocon/GOP Foreign policy perspective this is just as hateful as the Dem’s find it if not moreso.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The GOP is already playing with house money – like the 200 million dollar cut to WIC

        (and a de-coupling of the farm bill. And protection of military pay. And no major Administration initiatives since the PPACA – unless you count war with Libya and a quasi-war with Syria, which half the GOP wants also)Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “Neocon/GOP Foreign policy perspective this is just as hateful as the Dem’s find it if not moreso.”

        But those aren’t the people as the Tea Party inspired people that are main drivers for wholesale cuts in govt spending and the root of the current shutdown.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        As I said at the time of the Big Sequester Party, no sooner would it go into effect than everyone would save their own livestock down at the Sacred Cow Ranch. The Big Sequester Party only set up the current impasse. It didn’t accomplish anything beyond hurting people who couldn’t fight back.

        But now things are substantially different. The GOP thinks it’s going to push through these li’l micro-bills, keeping a few more sacred cows alive. Isn’t going to happen.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        The policy they are screaming about, repealing or wounding the ACA etc, are things they ran on in 2012 and they lost everywhere; Senate, House and the Presidency. Gerrymandering preserved their majority, fine, but that ain’t no mandate no matter how they spin it.

        But they won a lot of state-level elections, which means that they still have a clear mandate to repeal the ACA.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “But now things are substantially different. The GOP thinks it’s going to push through these li’l micro-bills, keeping a few more sacred cows alive. Isn’t going to happen”

        Now that you moved the goalposts, it’s much easier for you to successfully hit that extra point.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Not really moving any goalposts. I’m amenable to any clarification you might provide. You claimed the Sequester as a great triumph. I say it’s bulged considerably since Obama signed it, precisely because the GOP had some livestock down at the Sacred Cow Ranch. They’re trying the same stunt again, thinking they’re going to save a few more of their sacred cows, take the pinch out of their collective idiocy, piss off a few less people. They really do think it’s going to work this time.

        We’ll see if it does work. I don’t know, maybe they will win. They’re All In. The government is shut down. But noooooot quite, not while they can squeak a few scraps of cheese under the door.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “You claimed the Sequester as a great triumph. ”

        No I didn’t.

        Not really moving any goalposts
        “I don’t know, maybe they will win.”

        “Boehner is trying to turn a rout into a strategic retreat”Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        What shall I make of this talk about how the baseline for negotiations is *at* sequester levels? Which levels again? Does this mean the GOP is about to send some of its sacred cows to slaughter, this time, the ones they saved after the Big Sequester Party?

        There are no negotiations. Boehner lacks the mandate to conduct any such parley.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        You can make a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl. Your ability to twist and fold what people have actually said into what you want them to have said is worthy of an origami master.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Yeah, funny how that works. Words mean things. I say the GOP is trying to turn a rout into a retreat and Boehner is making promises he can’t keep. I furthermore observe the GOP shouting NO to everything has produced a disaster. The Big Sequester Party hasn’t produced any love for the GOP. Obama signed it, saying it was disastrous.

        The GOP is self-destructing. They’ve gone all jihaadi on us. They’re thrilled! They’ve shut down the government. Here we are, discussing the implications of Boehner’s statement about how he’s not going to allow the government to default — North thinks Boehner can do it, I say I don’t see how he’s going to manage it. None of us, Burt, me, anyone, seems to understand how Boehner can manage to cut the debt ceiling loose from the budget impasse.

        But here comes Kolohe, to opine upon the Democrats’ continuous mal-diagnosis of the underlying political trends. I don’t give a shit about political trends. I observe a train wreck in progress. Force, mass, acceleration, this is bad already but it’s about to become horrifyingly worse. How’s that for a political trend? I diagnose this as a Colossal Clusterfugg, a complete disaster for the GOP which will become a disaster for the rest of us, too. Your mileage may vary. But that’s how I see it. Origami, my ass, there’s no changing the dimensions of the paper being folded.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Do you think the markets haven’t completely tanked because everyone assumes those the folks who head banksTBTF will not let this happen? Or have we stopped worrying about TBTF, that was sooooo last year, after all.

      Perhaps there are several metaphorical guns to metaphorical heads; and good ol’ Orange John may have a few to his head as the incarnate representative head of the House. I wonder what the other ones might be.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I’ve got my guns and cigarettes.
        Course, I dont’ have a bunker in my backyard.
        (unlike some people)Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        S&P 500 S&P Indices: .INX – Oct 4 3:08 PM ET 1690.87 +12.21 (0.73%)
        NASDAQ Composite NASDAQ Indices: .IXIC – Oct 4 3:09 PM ET 3810.98 +36.64 (0.97%)

        The markets think the GOP is full of merde. These people play at the high-stakes tables every trading day of the year. They know a bluff when they see one.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I’ve got my Orange Crush.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        The general mood radiating off the markets is that they honestly don’t believe that the GOP is as crazy as they’re putting on. If that belief wavers you can expect the market to tank furiously. Some liberals, like Chait, actually fear that it’ll take the market tanking before the GOP starts seriously considering reversing course.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Heh. I remember once, probably shouldn’t tell this story. The last temper tantrum my middle daughter ever threw. It was in the grocery store, in the little toy section. So she’s pitching a fit, wants some toy.

        I yelled out “Hey everyone! Come look! R is pitching a fit!”

        She gave me the stink eye, got back on her feet and never did it again.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The general mood radiating off the markets is that they honestly don’t believe that the GOP is as crazy as they’re putting on.

        These are the same people who thought that CDOs were a sound investment.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        You do kinda have a point there, Schilling. In those days, the government could be counted on to intervene when the market went tits-up. The reverse may not be true.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        These are the same people who thought that CDOs were a sound investment.

        They were for some people. Goldman Sachs wins.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        These people thought they had the crazies blackmailed.
        turns out crazy likes preacher better than they like banker.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Speaking of which, did anybody see Paulson’s piece in the Newsweek issue on the economic collapse?

        I sorta wish somebody would write a post on the whole issue, but I’m thinking of a small critique of Paulson’s piece.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        seems mildly self-serving. Doesn’t mention him getting down on one knee in front of Nancy Pelosi, whose response was “why, henry, i didn’t know you were catholic!”

        Still, it’s his frame of reference, and he’s telling the truth when he says he did it for MainStreet. There were evil people involved (those running AIG), and there were white knights as well.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Boehner has reportedly said he’ll collect enough Democrats to raise the debt ceiling. That and the permanent appropriation means the Treasury can continue making their interest payments (although not principal). I’m sure Treasury could make an arrangement with the Federal Reserve, wherein the Fed buys bonds that mature and holds them (with interest) until the appropriation happens and the bonds can actually be redeemed. I think that would keep the markets happy that their Treasury paper is good.

        If Boehner can’t deliver on the debt ceiling by the end of next week, things could get kind of dicey. I’ve got to believe that the Tea Party members in the House realize how untenable their position would be after an increase in the debt ceiling. I would not be surprised if some of them start talking about removing the Speaker over the weekend.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        In the absence of a ‘clean’ debt ceiling increase (which is right now about 50/50), the most likely course of action is for the Administration to simply act as there in no debt ceiling, citing the 14th amendment, already authorized Congressional spending, clause 5 and possibly clause 3 of Article II section 3.

        If this Administration was able to act in exigent circumstances to join in the Libyan civil war, against previously stated policy preferences and a strict reading (but never adjudicated) existing law, this far more serious and extraordinary occasion gives the President far more leeway.

        Nobody’s going to impeach him for that – and if they did, it would definitely never pass the Senate.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Nobody’s going to impeach him for that

        I think you mean “No one sane”. Not the same thing at all, at all.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        But utterly immaterial to the endgame.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I’m with Kolohe here; in the unpleasant event that we hit the ceiling Obama will ignore the debt ceiling and they’ll borrow more. Any attempt at impeachment would never move in the Senate if the House were insane enough to try and impeach. Politically this could be a nonevent.

        What we’re whistling past, however, is IF the US could sell illegal bonds. Would you buy bonds that are technically illegal? How much interest would you ask for them? Would you treat them the same as normal US T-bills (the standard of risk free return for the entire planet)? Would you keep your job if you did?
        This is the kind of thing we cannot go back on. You can fix a broken plate but you can’t make it as if it had never been broken (well not without a few hundred years to dump on the matter). The country absolutely must not blow through that debt ceiling. Fortunately Boehner seems to have retained enough conscience to affirm that. He’s said he’ll put the ceiling to a vote if it comes to that and if it’s a clean debt ceiling increase it’ll pass no matter how much the far right gibbers.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Won’t happen. The Federal Reserve won’t allow it and the bond market will reject any such bonds.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Maybe they’ll open a new pit at CBOE. Bills, notes, bonds — and BSReport

      • Avatar North says:

        I hate to say it but you’re probably right BP. The Fed would totally jump all over it and who the hell would buy them?? No. The debt ceiling has to go up.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Here’s what scares the ever-living feces out of me: the GOP may miscalculate, believing Obama may Mint the Coin or issue Monopoly Money Bonds or some other trick of that sort to avoid default. Already, even here, we’re being told the Democrats have mis-diagnosed this thing.

        So they’ll wait this out until the last second. They’ll kind of forget the International Date Line problem. These people run on Eastern Time, not GMT. The default will begin before they realise it. That’s when the aforementioned feces will impact upon the ever-circulating fan blades of fate and a fugging financial tsunami will hit the Asian markets.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        The Fukushima GOP.

        And their failure could keep polluting the political groundwater for decades to come.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The fallout will be tremendous. The US dollar will instantly lose its alpha currency status. Until now, didn’t matter how badly the Congress behaved, the world viewed the US government debt markets as the ultimate safe haven. Sure, the last crisis dinged that reputation a bit, we’ll be paying extra interest on that piece of idiocy for many years to come.

        But what happens when money seeks a safe haven, especially in troubled times? Not only will that money no longer sail towards our port, it will close out its accounts with us. A massive sell-off will immediately ensue as everyone rushes for the doors. A country misruled is a country mistrusted. We’ve always been good for our debts, until now.

        The banking system will come to a halt immediately. We’ll have to declare a bank holiday. Lots of US dollars overseas, they’ll get dumped, too.

        It’s gonna be fun, people. The GOP wanted less government. We’ll become a financial pariah, joining the ranks of Italy and Greece. They defaulted on their bonds, too.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Some liberals, like Chait, actually fear that it’ll take the market tanking before the GOP starts seriously considering reversing course.

        It seems fairly clear to me that’s the minimum it’ll take. I have a hard time seeing where it’s reasonable to disagree. I suppose what we mean by “the GOP” is the whole question, though. Is Boehner the GOP here? Yeah, then maybe not. Is a majority of the GOP caucus in the House? Maybe not, then. Mark Meadows? Tank, baby, tank.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        I’m under the impression that it all Boehner has to do is let a clean CR come to the floor. It may piss Tea Party conservatives off, but there’s supposedly enough Republican support that, with all the Dems, it would probably pass. (From reading Jonathan Bernstein.)

        Can somebody please correct me if this is wrong?Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        I’m under the impression that it all Boehner has to do is let a clean CR come to the floor.

        That’s what I’m hearing as well. If that’s the case, the only question is whether Boehner wants to go down in history as the Speaker of the House who caused the US to default and sent the markets into a tailspin. He may be a craven, soulless ladder climber, but I think that probably also makes him concerned enough about his legacy that he won’t want to do that, even if it means losing the big gavel.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        Can somebody please correct me if this is wrong?

        From what I’ve read, there seems to be tremendous uncertainty (bordering on “unlikely”) that Republican moderates will be able to withstand political pressure from the TP to actually vote with Dems. And that puts Boehner in a tricky situation. That could change – or maybe that’s wrong, of course – but Boehner hasn’t shown that he’s able to marshall the troops when he wants or even needs to.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:


        That’s right, AFAIK. So the question is: how far will he let it go? He says he won’t let default happen, but he says that in the context of still expecting concessions on the way not not letting it happen – for not letting it happen. If Obama were to hold firm on refusing any such concesisons, would Boehner pull the plug on the charade before the market started to tank? I have my doubts, but even then, would that fit North’s description of “the GOP” seriously considering reversing course? Not really possible to say, but I’d say for that description to apply, you’d have to at least see some Tea Partiers peeling off and accepting outright capitulation sans concessions. I’d have a hard time agreeing the “the GOP” was doing that while absolutely none of the Tea Party caucus was – they’re the part of the GOP that’s most relevant here in the first place. And: I don’t see them starting to do that before they start to see what the consequences really look and smell like.Report

  9. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Kolohe makes a good point here. For all of the hell that the GOP is catching for its tactics, there have been some successes. Look back to the Spring 2011 negotiations. That was the last time the GOP’s Compromise Coalition got their way. The result, a bunch of illusory cuts that, before long, some liberals and Democrats were calling the GOP suckers for signing and presenting Obama with honors of having outsmarted them.

    That made the case for compromise much harder to make. So then we have another round of negotiations and the GOP holds the line for more concessions. Against very, very harsh press and polling. The result? The sequester. Given the hand that they were dealt, that’s… not nothing. Especially given that the sequester quickly faded into the background and became the New Normal. It’s more than conservatives would have than if they had listened to the compromisers.

    The problem, though, is that the GOP’s successes are burning through oxygen quickly. At best, they’re using the leverage they have at the expense of having leverage in the future. That’s not a sound long-term strategy.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Did the New Normal last? Or was it just another bid, ending up here at the Debt Ceiling Limit OK Corral? Didn’t I say at the time this was magnificent political posturing? Didn’t I say Badly Needed Programs will be Saved?

      Kolohe has not made any point. The Big Sequester Party was orchestrated by people who ran against Big Gummint and got elected on that basis. Now they have No Gummint. Sounds like an answer to prayer to me. What do I always say about the gods answering the prayers of the stupid?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        The New Normal lasted until the shutdown and, as Kolohe points out, is the baseline of future negotiations. That wasn’t supposed to happen. What was supposed to happen was that the sequester would be so bad that nobody would be able to stand it and it would come to a rapid end. Instead, it simply faded into the background.

        Now, if your point is that they are overplaying their hand now and that is going to cost them the progress they have previously made. That might be right. If it’s not right today, I suspect it will be right at some point. But until then, they got more from the sequester than they did from compromise.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Baseline? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Boehner cannot manage his own troops. The Tea Partiers have openly revolted. Boehner is as much the target of this mob as the President. If not, why not?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Whether Boehner can deliver or not – whether he is even Speaker or not before all is said and done – doesn’t move things one way or the other. The point is that the sequester budget that was supposed to be intolerable was tolerable and is a point in favor of GOP’s side in whatever negotiations do occur because the Democrats cannot credibly argue that the people will not stand for a sequester.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I’m trying to source this Chris Hayes remark about the baseline. Anyone have a link? Who’s Hayes citing?

        Let’s stipulate to Hayes overhearing something important, the sequester is the baseline. I don’t know how anyone else works around here, negotiations beyond the brand of coffee in the break room take time. Weeks, sometimes. It’s the fourth of October. Cinderella’s coach turns back into a pumpkin on the 17th.

        By my estimates, the negotiations for the congressional budget are so complex, the relevant committees should be issuing status reports every month, just to see where the lines are being drawn. Not budgets, just negotiations about the next budget. Maybe it ought to be pulled apart and passed in quarterly chunks. It’s just monstrously complex.

        There will be no successful negotiation. Not between now and the 17th.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        So Chris Hayes, self-described Keynesian Leftie, etc. thinks the sequestration budget looks like the Ryan budget and that the Republicans have already won. Nobody cited anything from anyone with mandate in Congress about the sequestration budget being a baseline for negotiation. I listened to the whole thing and heard nothing of the sort.

        This is just three talking heads breaking wind. Move along folks, nothing of substance here. The sequestration budget was passed, and continuously amended ever since — have it your way, Kolohe. Big Republican victories. But nothing like the one to come, though.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        No BlaiseP, it’s basic logic and paying attention rather than thinking one knows everything.

        If Boehner (or Peter King) been able to assemble the marginal clique of Northern (fighting for their political lives) and Virginian (fighting for the government workers that *are* the economy in their districts) Republicans to make a last second course change last week and pass the ‘clean’ CR, this CR would have included the sequester and been the jumping off point for the budget negotiations that any CR is supposed provide breathing room for. This would have also included in this specific case debt ceiling negotiations (again).

        That didn’t come to pass, and the government is shut down. And as either Weigel, Yglesias, or Barro pointed out, this marginal clique can’t really do that anymore, because the Dems are not going to pass a ‘clean’ CR unless the debt ceiling issue gets mooted by either raising it or abolishing it. And they are backstopped in this stance by the full executive power of the President of the United States.

        The debt ceiling and govt shutdown battles are now joined and intertwined. But ‘victory’ for the Dems at this juncture is still only maximally going to be the government re-opening at sequester levels and, best case, a debt ceiling figure that’s too high to matter for the rest of Obama’s term.

        To actually restore Dem funding priorities, they’re going to have to win back the House in 2014. Which is not impossible, but is very difficult. And will only be achieved by going after the very same marginal Republicans that may be able to deal on the shutdown/debt ceiling fiasco.*

        This is a victory for the Republicans. A solitary victory argued against the premise that they’ve achieved *no* victories. They moved the window. It’s not a big victory, because again I never said that – you continue to straight up lie about what I have said and alter at your whim what you are asserting.

        *Will the Administration have the Machiavellian instincts to double cross the very GOP members that are the quickest way of an exit strategy from this quagmire? Evidence is scant – they obviously didn’t in 2010, and the majority of action in 2012 was a coattail effect that can’t be duplicated without Obama on a ballot.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Heh. Let’s edit that third sentence for clarity.

        Neither Speaker Boehner nor Peter King were able to assemble a pack of Republicans capable of staving off what’s just come to pass. The Tea Partiers, especially not Eric Cantor, had any intention of backing away from their current positions.

        The Democrats, true to their word, were sick of the raving about Obamacare. They knew the GOP did not have the votes. They also knew the GOP was in disarray, internally. This led them to call and raise. The Boehner/King faction were disgusted, knowing they could not stop this train wreck.

        All the Republicans had been saying stupid things for many months. When they cave on the debt ceiling, the Tea Parties will send the GOP leadership to the political guillotine and we shall have Eric Cantor, more than likely, running the House. Under Cantor, as under Robespierre, there will be a wholesale purge of the would-be compromisers.

        The Big Sequester Party is irrelevant. We’d have to go back months in the version control to find the Sequester Budget. You won’t accept the premise of all the new lumps growing all over it, that’s fine. The budget will have to be negotiated from where things are at present. That’s saying nothing, Kolohe. Nobody’s going to return to things as they were. If that’s your point, it’s a tautology. So stipulated. One equals One.

        The GOP has shut down the government. I call it a disaster. The GOP has not produced a victory. It got the Sequester, then promptly screwed with it to the point of unrecognisability, out of political necessity. That is not a victory.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        K’s right there — a CR would be a continuation of the budget at sequester levels, which is technically a win for Republicans. (Although since the sequester gores everyone’s sacred cows, it’s not the win they wanted. More of a draw).

        However, K’s missing the bigger picture — he’s focused on a tiny battle and sorta missing the point where the GOP went all-in on a losing hand.

        They — Republicans — have said, loudly and repeatedly — that getting rid of the ACA is the goal. Their stated requirement for a CR was defunding the ACA for a year. They pulled out the BIG guns — the ultimate high-stakes, high-profile move for it. (Forcing the shutdown, then threatening to make the US default if they didn’t get their way).

        And…they’re not going to get it. Sure, they got those other things. But the GOP, by it’s own definition, is about to lose — in the biggest, most pathetic and public manner possible — what it defined as it’s overarching goal. Which not only went live, but is actually getting to work out some massive teething troubles that would otherwise be great GOP talking points totally unnoticed. They literally lost the day they started, because the ACA went live.

        “Won the battle, lost the war”.

        They look like chumps. They went all-in, went for the gold — and they not only lost, they look like idiots to boot.

        When you bust out reviled tactics (and even a majority of Republicans think it’s wrong to tie funding the government to the ACA), you can’t lose. That just makes you look worse.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      The problem with the hostage taking regarding defaults and debt limits is that you eventually have to shoot the hostage to keep credibility. Well either that or the Prez decides, which he apparently has this time, that hostage taking, no more than watery tarts dispensing scimitars, isn’t the basis for a working system of government.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I agree Will, Kolohe is right in observing that this tactic has yielded results for the GOP in the past. I’d say Obama deserves an enormous amount of blame for ever yielding to it but he was in high “New Kind of Politics” mode at the time and hadn’t internalized just how harsh a strategy the GOP was embracing and was desperate to avoid shocks to the economy.

      You’re also right in that this is essentially eating seed corn for the GOP. They’ve discovered a tactic that lets them govern from the minority but it’s doing serious damage to their long term credibility as a party and now, it seems, the Dems have hit a point where they feel they have the time and are in a position to finally break the GOP of this habit (the President doesn’t fear reelection and the optics are putting the blame where it properly lies with the GOP).

      I would submit also that everyone should be rooting for the Dems to win on this one. If they fail then this will lead to endless uses of this tactic and sooner or later someone is going to fish up the brinkmanship and the financial markets will get exploded. I also cannot even imagine how loudly the GOP would shriek and freak if the Dems were in their position and pulled the same kind of tactic to extract concessions they want from a GOP President and Senate. Imagine for a moment if, in 2007, the Dems had pulled this stunt demanding a repeal of the Bush Tax cuts?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        There was a point in the Revolutionary War where the Howe brothers, British generals, sent a letter to “George Washington, Esq.”, purposely omitting Washington’s rank as general. The letter was returned, with the note that no such person could be found in the camp.

        The GOP thinks it’s won a great battle. They’ve kinda forgotten who they’re fighting here. It’s the President of the United States. They’ve never once acknowledged the fact. They’ve sat there in joint session and called him a liar to his face.

        Everything the GOP has done, since the minute he was elected, has led to this moment. They hate Obama so bitterly it’s clouded any semblance of reason. They’ve carefully triangulated, this is their Schwerpunkt, their big breakout moment. They’re hitting Obama with everything they have to throw at him and there’s nothing more to throw.

        Winning a battle is not winning a war. The British drove Washington out of New York and held it for the most of the Revolutionary War. When the British eventually surrendered at Yorktown, Washington made a special point of not accepting Cornwallis’ sword, obliging the punctilious British to surrender to a subordinate, a man they’d previously captured and denied honours, Benjamin Lincoln.

        When this debacle ends, the GOP will know who’s POTUS. They will never love him. But they will respect him. Obama will rub their noses in this.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        The other thing about O’s negotiating and giving in during the past showdowns is that he appears to believe the kind of budget cutting and grand barginesqe deals. He gave in to things he was pretty much okay with. This time the R’s demands are cartoonishly silly. Delay Ocare, and the ACA also, is just ridiculous. They’ve also asked for most of romney’s econ platform at times. Just silly stuff that is impossible to deal with. If they asked for a few more cuts here or there and a few less taxes i’ll bet O would go for it.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Obama learned to horse trade in Illinois State Senate. He’s dealt with some interesting Republicans over the years. He’s used to big compromises, holding onto only what he actually deems necessary.

        At the time, the issue of police brutality and forced confessions was blazing away. Naturally, the Illinois Republicans were on the side of Law ‘n Order, the Democrats sided with those Pore Abused Types. It was very silly and increasingly ugly.

        So Obama volunteers, volunteers to carry water to the Republicans. He goes all around the state, which is mostly Republican if you look at Illinois by counties. Talks to everyone, chiefs of police, prosecutors, interrogators. Comes back with an entirely sensible solution: videotape all interrogations. Prosecutors loved it, they had the confession, the defense loved it, they could get a grip on what the confession entailed in discovery.

        Made everyone happy. Completely solved the problem.

        Obama is a strange dude, politically. He’s more interested in a few core points, the rest he’ll discard.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:

        I think it’s important to note why the sequester tactic yielded results, while other efforts at the conservative agenda have failed. To make the case, I offer two illustrations:

        In July, the HUD and Transportation spending bills came up for consideration. The House Republicans set the appropriation levels mostly in line with the terms of the Ryan Budget that the GOP claimed showed their seriousness as stewards of the national economy. After some debate, the spending bill had to be pulled back because the House GOP couldn’t whip enough Republican votes to get it passed. Why? Once the abstract Ryan Budget mythos met the real world, even Republicans didn’t want to go back to their districts and tell their constituents what was going to be cut.

        Secondly, give notice to all the mini-CRs the House is passing the last couple of days. Government spending is BAD, well, except for kids with cancer and national parks and reservists and hurricane response and… the list goes on.

        See, the sequestration worked because it’s known as the “Sequestration” which is an abstract whole and not all the parts that make it up. (And, of course, if any part of it that’s too inconvenient to the right people, like the cuts that were complicating air travel for the business set this summer, it’ll get fixed ASAP.) And the government Shutdown will work for a time as an abstract, until the sum of the actual services shutdown accumulates to a high enough level that some moderate Republicans join with the Democrats to pass the CR.

        I think Boehner will be true to his word on the debt limit increase. He’s weak, but he’s just not that stupid. He doesn’t need the stupid ones to avoid default. It may end his speakership, but seriously who’d be so insane as to want to take that job away from him?Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:

        @blaisep – This is the heart of it right here…

        “Made everyone happy. Completely solved the problem.”

        This is what Obama is all about. He thinks it’s possible to make (most) everyone happy. He thinks it’s possible to completely solve the problem. You’re right that this makes him a strange dude, politically, but hell, he’s had some success with it as your Illinois story demonstrates.

        This country just doesn’t know what to do with a hardcore pragmatist.Report

      • @scott-fields +1.

        I think Boehner will be true to his word on the debt limit increase. He’s weak, but he’s just not that stupid. He doesn’t need the stupid ones to avoid default. It may end his speakership, but seriously who’d be so insane as to want to take that job away from him?

        This is something I’ve been thinking about a bit – if Boehner resigned or was forced out, who’d replace him? As you say, no one sane would want the job, at least not so long as s/he had to manage the existing GOP majority. There are of course plenty of people in the GOP caucus nowadays who qualify as entirely insane, so surely one of them would try to pick up the mantle. But at this point, I suspect that may well be the last straw for a good chunk of the remaining Northeastern Republicans, who I think are getting fed up with the way their own caucus has been treating them for the last few years – the brinksmanship hits their core business constituencies particularly hard, the party’s complete disregard for the region in the aftermath of Sandy, the extremism on social issues, even the growing trend towards non-interventionism/isolaitonism (which I personally tend to support), and a whole bunch of other stuff. Boehner’s been keeping his caucus together with a boatload of fairly weak intra-caucus compromises (hence the reason he can’t really offer anything of substance to the Democrats, thus giving the Democrats no reason to negotiate). If one of Ted Cruz’ House allies got the bulk of the caucus’ support, those compromises would disappear, since they’d be the reason Boehner was forced out in the first place.

        Boehner’s given the Northeasterners just enough to maintain their loyalty; someone from the Ted Cruz wing would almost certainly take all of that away.

        I almost wonder if the Northeastern faction would wind up abstaining in any hypothetical new vote for Speaker where Boehner or one of Boehner’s close partners (Ryan or, maybe, Cantor, who we used to think was an extremist but now seems actively sane by comparison) was not the Party’s top candidate for Speaker. That there are 20+ members, mostly from the Northeast, that are publicly dissenting from the shutdown strategy indicates that the only reason they haven’t turned their backs on the caucus on a key procedural vote yet is out of personal loyalty to Boehner.

        We’re getting very close to the point where party loyalty for Northeastern Republicans is going to have as much meaning to them as it had for Southern Democrats in the ’60s.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:


        By reports, Boehner really, really likes being the Speaker – probably more due to the privilege and prestige of the role than to the crappy work the job currently entails – but I’m convinced he’s just reality based enough to recognize that the prestige all goes to hell if he ends up being the first Speaker in history to allow the US to default. He’s not going to go completely over the cliff.

        As has been said, any plan relying on moderate Republicans isn’t really a plan. But the full House votes for the Speaker, so I could see a back room deal between the Northeastern GOPers and the Democrats to secure votes for an establishment Speaker over anyone to the establishment’s right. The current hierarchy would be roughly maintained through the 2014 election.

        What will be truly interesting is what will happen in the primaries for anyone who partners with the Democrats to end the shutdown or avert default. The TP is going to come after them, but I see overreach by the hard right in those districts as a real possibility and if that happens, once safe districts may not stay that way. There are not-insignificant number of blue districts that would be safe for an establishment Republican, but not so much for a firebreather, especially in the Northeast. This is the only scenario I see where what is happening today ends up losing the House for the Republicans in 2014.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @scott-fields, I just looked. There are no New England Republicans in the House.

        There are six in NJ, six in NY, and 13 in PA. So 25, give or take, depending on what states you consider “Northeastern.”

        I’m not actually convinced that this would work; not much margin of error for defection in the cohort. Certainly not enough with just NJ and NY.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:


        The whole cohort doesn’t have to come from the Northeast.

        That said, I don’t know if it would work either. It just has to be plausible enough. Boehner just DOES NOT want to be that Speaker who goes down in infamy for tanking the world economy. He’ll grasp at any life preserver to avoid that, in my humble opinion.Report

  10. Avatar Kim says:

    Hi! Why not spend the day stalking your representatives?
    Or actually using language that is in keeping with the commenting policy around here?

    I know you’re upset. Take a cold shower, and come back and talk.
    I’ve got coffee if ya need some.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Stop calling the mods nazis. Then post coherent comments without the swearing.
      Really, that’s all it takes. Don’t call people names, and the mods will be happy to let you go on saying whatever.Report

  11. Avatar North says:

    Adhere to the commenting policy and you’ll be golden.
    If you think the League is a Tea Party site, or even a friendly to the Tea Party site then you clearly don’t come here often.Report