Look, it can’t be both ways…

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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69 Responses

  1. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    You underestimate the disconnect from reality.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    While I understand the dissonance, in negotiations, you and I may assign different values to the same thing. If “X” is worth $10 to me and $100 to you, I should begin negotiating by demanding that you give me relatively more than $100 for “X” rather than the $10 I would actually accept for it. You, in turn, should offer me rather less than the $10 I would accept for it. We bargain towards each other in good faith from there.

    A big part of preparation for negotiations involves trying to ascertain the respective values assigned to the various coins expected to be on the table. Skill in negotiations involves extracting maximum value for these chits. It is at least theoretically within the boundaries of good faith negotiations that I posture my own assignment of value to “X” as other than it truly is, and negotiate accordingly.

    There is point, roughly coincident with the point when it becomes clear that you understand (or at least are close to understanding) my true assessment of the value of “X,” that this kind of posturing must be abandoned in favor of another strategem as we take steps towards one another and reaching accord.

    In theory, it is possible for the Tea Party folks to say that they assign a lower value to shutting down the government or to defaulting on the debt than do Democrats or even mainline Republicans, and still be participating in negotiations in good faith, or at least to posture to that effect. I’m not quite ready to say that this is the case in this particular instance, mind: I’m not sure that the demand they requested (defunding Obamacare) was ever something that the other side could tolerate at all, and they should have realized that very early on, and so calling anything but that goal a deal-breaker was setting up the negotiation for impasse from the start. If they were going to do that, they needed to indicate, on the QT, that they would step away from calling funding Obamacare a “deal-breaker” should some other coin of value have been put on the table in its place.

    I see Paul Ryan offering entitlement reform as a potential substitute coin. I suspect he’d find a willing negotiating partner in at least some Democrats and possibly even in the President — and this would fit in to my model of negotiations, even if tensions have been high up to this point, and indeed, I think Ryan might be fairly canny to make such a play now because it could both bring the parties to accord and produce a trophy for the GOP so that victory can be proclaimed all around. But Congressman Ryan seems to be gathering resistance from behind in his own caucus, from people who actually believe the rhetoric that Obamacare is an Existential Threat to the Republic and thus lack the suppleness of mind needed to use the bargaining strength they have acquired.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

      But plenty of TP folks just hate government and gov workers so they see the shut down as a good thing. There is a rep in Fla, Yolo i think his name is, who has repeatedly said he doesn’t see why a debt default would be a bad thing. Some (insert vile explicative here) from Fox Business Stuart Varney said this

      No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.


      • Avatar zic in reply to greginak says:

        This is American Exceptionalism at work.

        God Bless America and nobody else, and American-Government employees are nobodies.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

        Using my model, Yolo assigns a negative value to keeping the government open.

        Or, of course, he’s a combination of crazy and thoughtless enough that he simply can’t be bargained with. Unlike in litigation where everyone needs to agree to settle a suit, the President can afford to lose a few Members who are working off of a value index so skewed that it’s simply easier to disregard and absorb their “no” vote. It’s about getting to 218 in the House.

        The problem is if Yolo is an opinion leader, if he speaks on behalf of a bloc of his colleagues who feel roughly as he does. Then there’s no choice but to figure out what actually is valuable to him, and to render it vulnerable.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to greginak says:

        then getting a furlough

        “Getting.” An…interesting, let’s say, word choice.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to greginak says:

        People like Varney piss me off to no end. The whole “I should be able to make a worker’s experience as miserable as possible” is not a good human trait.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

        Perhaps we could call that particular bargaining posture “malicious,” meaning that his intent and goal is to cause harm to the other side rather than to seek advantage for his own side.

        Doing so denies the charitable assumption that he is negotiating in good faith. But it might nevertheless be accurate.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I think there is actually a clash in that there’s 3 negotiating parties here.

          There’s the Democrats, the House Republicans, and Speaker Boehner.

          Boehner is treading a fine line between preserving his own speakership (and preventing an intra-party revolt) while also maintaining a functional government. So far he’s shown that he values his own speakership position more than he does governability, demonstrated by his steadfast refusal to go against the bargaining position of the House GOP.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to greginak says:

        I think there is actually a clash in that there’s 3 negotiating parties here.

        There’s the Democrats, the House Republicans, and Speaker Boehner.

        Would you object if I amended that to “two sets of House Republicans, and Speaker Boehner trying to navigate his way towards retaining his (formal) leadership position over both“?

        This current split in the GOP reveals as clearly as any case I can remember recently that eliminating the institutional structure that enables the effective expression of a multi-party system doesn’t eliminate the social/ideological factors that are at the heart of a multi-party system.Report

        • Right. Divurger would be happy, I’d imagine.

          Also it does kind of play out that the whole complaints about two party systems and the lack of parliamentary coalition building in the US to be pretty hollow.

          If this were say a multi-party system, the GOP would look like a right-super right coalition akin to what just won in Australia, with the Tea Partiers threatening to dissolve the coalition and allow a vote of no-confidence in the PM if Boehner doesn’t do what they want.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to greginak says:

        That’s my personal favorite “Resolve the crisis” dodge. You’d still take a huge hit to credibility, interest rates, and the like…but beats nothing.

        Certainly more acceptable, politically and to the public, than other options.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

        Ted Yoho. But it would have been awesome if a guy advocating reckless abandon was named Representative Yolo.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to greginak says:

        Yoho is his name: YOLO is how he lives, yo.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to greginak says:

        Damn, edged out by Kolohe.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Given that these same people also assign some sort of moral sentiment to the notion that the US credit rating/fiscal viability/national debt accumulation is some sort of moral issue, how can they assign such a low value to the prospect of a massive devaluation of US credit and the possibility of massive, tectonic increases in interest rates that would hamper the next 5 generations of Americans?Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Personally, I don’t think they have any notion of what ‘default’ means. Or if they do, it’s like being a few days late on your credit-card or mortgage payment; not that big a deal to recover from.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        To gain footing in a negotiation, you must pierce through the posturing and identify the actual value assigned to a thing by your negotiating partner. Your comment suggests that you perceive that the TP’ers (Yolo excepted, perhaps) do assign value to avoiding a default, higher than that which they project. This is a maneuver akin to calling a poker player’s bluff — which is exactly what the President is doing by indicating that he will not negotiate on either the debt ceiling or on funding Obamacare.Report

      • I also think the President cares more about the long-term sustainability of US fiscal policy and is therefore trying to prevent this from becoming a common negotiating tactic. The more it becomes more likely that US debt servicing is put at risk each time a minority party wants a policy concession, the more likely the world will find some alternative to dollar hegemony.

        And THAT would dramatically increase borrowing rates for the US government. The 2011 shenanigans already cost the US around $19 billion in increased borrowing costs. This time around it’s likely to be higher. Whether or not it’s higher largely depends on if the Democrats can make it clear they’re not willing to negotiate on this issue now or in the future.

        Of course that means the possibility of simply blowing up the entire system to some degree. And that’s what’s so frightening about it.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        I suppose that’s a factor, yes.

        But if I were on the Republican side of the aisle, I would not assign a high value to it nor would I assume that it has a high value to my Democratic negotiating partners. My take on it would be that each Congress, and each President, must establish their own relative strengths in political negotiations to one another.

        This particular contest may be a test of strength and resolve as between Obama and Boehner and their respective supporting casts, but it’s not an institutional clash the way, say, Watergate or the Johnson Impeachment were.

        At least, that’s what I’d say.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I’m not so sure. We’re talking about an intra-institutional clash, in that Congress is essentially refusing to pay for things it authorized payment on to begin with. The constitutional question might be whether one branch of Congress can unilaterally refuse to make payments on obligations incurred by a bill passed duly into law by both houses.

          In a parliamentary sovereignty system like the UK’s the answer is probably clearer than in the US where both the Senate and House have the purse strings and there’s a veto point in the President.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        The constitutional question might be whether one branch of Congress can unilaterally refuse to make payments on obligations incurred by a bill passed duly into law by both houses.

        That’s a good question, but then there’s the subsequent question of whether there’s a remedy, and if so, what it is.

        For my part, I’m surprisingly comfortable with the idea that debt-financed spending authorized later than the debt ceiling was authorized are de facto revisions of the debt ceiling. That’s complicated by the fact that that the spending authorization doesn’t explicitly call for debt-financing, but it’s not as though Congress could generally have been in much doubt about what–in the absence of a sudden economic boom that showers the Treasury with windfall tax dollars–the likely funding mechanism was likely to be.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        @jm3z-aitch it would take some logical jiujitsu in light of historical precedent to the contrary, but yeah, I bet you could get there.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Nob Akimoto says:


        This particular contest may be a test of strength and resolve as between Obama and Boehner and their respective supporting casts, but it’s not an institutional clash the way, say, Watergate or the Johnson Impeachment were.

        I do wonder about this. There’s the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which (even here) has been argued as permission to override the House and continue borrowing despite the Debt Ceiling. There’s lots of discussion about how the debt ceiling is a farce, as well. So part of the House’s ‘call your bluff’ action might be trying to bluff Obama into ignoring their inability to pass a CR, and borrow anyway, opening a path to impeach him.

        And honestly, if it’s nearing midnight on the 16th, and this impass persists, I don’t know that I’d have the stomach to watch the Asian markets lead the economic Tsunami to follow; were I sitting in the Oval Office, facing this conundrum, I’d probably risk the impeachment.

        But I do have another question: Does Obama have the right to go the the Supreme Court for resolution before that point?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        As to the final question, @zic , the answer is almost certainly no and indeed the great likelihood is that the courts wouldn’t hear it at all.

        The Supreme Court would lack original jurisdiction to hear such a dispute under Article III section 2. So it would have to be filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and make its way up through the D.C. Circuit before SCOTUS could get it.

        And at each phase of the way, there would be at least the political question doctrine, if not at least two kinds of abstention doctrines, that would have to be overcome before a court could reach the substance of the dispute.

        Now, as whether FF&C or perhaps some other term of the Constitution overrides the lack of continuing resolution, I can see a case that there is Federal jurisdiction for a court to weigh in on that. Probably not in the form of a legal challenge between the President and Congress or some member of Congress, but rather in the form of a creditor looking to redeem a Federal warrant (meaning a monetary obligation issued by the Feds, which would look a lot like a check but is actually a slightly different species of commercial paper) or claiming a right to interest under a T-bill, if that is dishonored upon presentment, which would happen if Congress not only defaults next week but passes another law forbidding the Treasury department from honoring an obligation that came due during the default period (or perhaps from honoring demands for interest upon a delayed payment of such obligation). Then, you’ve got standing for the bondholder or the warrantee to sue the Secretary of the Treasury and there’s a live fight.

        But if Congress does nothing other than fail to pass a continuing resolution and/or an actual budget, and the President orders that these obligations be paid notwithstanding Congress’ failure to act, that by itself would be a political question in my opinion, and the courts ought to stay out of that altogether.

        Then we’re in the world of impeachment. Which is a purely political matter; the only role the judiciary would play would be that Chief Justice Roberts would preside over but not vote in the Senate trial of the impeachment, in which Republican managers from the House would need to get a majority of Senators to vote in favor of removing Obama from office, which means that several Democrats would have to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans at the all-but-certain cost of their re-election. Good luck with that, fellahs, although I wouldn’t put it past you to try. Remember how well that worked out when you tried it on Bill Clinton.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Thank you, @burt-likko; I think I get it; in order for the Judiciary to take any action, the complaint has to work it’s way up through the system from the proper court based on someone with standing to bring the complaint before the court.

        And the most likely avenue would be someone who’s had a contractual violation of payment, a treasury bond or conceivably a federal contractor?

        Beyond her blindfold, Justice’s hands are tied up holding the scales and her bicycle’s got some flat tires, no? No speed, no emergency responses allowed. It does make the wonder of Bush v. Gore stand out in weird relief.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        I’m rather pleased to hear Burt say that the Court woukd likely treat this as a political questions case if it was between Congress and Prez, but would likely (or at least more likely) hear it if an injured private party brought the case. This has been my position, but I’ve gotten some pushback on the political questions part, and frankly I’m a bit rusty on my sep powers legal theory. I wasn’t quite sure I knew my ass from my elbow here, but I’m pretty confident Burt does (unless that time he grabbed my elbow was just a fortunate mistake).Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        No speed, no emergency responses allowed

        Well, that’s rare, but not impossible or unknown. As you note, Bush v. Gore. Also the Oentagon Papers case. Speed is rare in part because the Court knows rush jobs are often bad jobs (again, Bush v. Gore, but fortunately not Pentagon Papers, although a dissent in that case complained about the speed with which they dealt with the case).

        This case is arguably deserving of speed, but that actually gives the Court some power to duck it, because pressure is likely to result in a political resolution soon enough that a case could be mooted before the Court felt compelled to decide it.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        In a parliamentary sovereignty system like the UK’s the answer is probably clearer than in the US where both the Senate and House have the purse strings and there’s a veto point in the President.

        I use a comparative text in my American Government class, and this issue has been a great teaching moment.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        It was a damn fine looking elbow, @jm3z-aitch . Hard to resist.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko says:

      You may be right that from a Tea Party perspective, in seeking a negotiation and devising a negotiating position to us in it, this may be a dissonance with a purpose (though Nob’s point is that it’s transparent and undermines their position as an entity that can be trusted as a negotiating partner). The problem here is that negotiation analysis simply doesn’t capture the situation correctly. The president isn’t posturing as though his assigned value to avoiding hitting the debt-ceiling date is very high. He’s posturing as though it is very nearly infinite (within the context of the things he values in his official capacity, and excluding things like preventing nuclear explosions inside the United States and so forth, which obviously (I think) outrank seeing the debt ceiling rise as needed) – but also zero at the same time. It’s both of paramount importance that it happen, but he’s also willing to give up nothing to get it. That’s a completely unworkable negotiating position: the GOP rightly decries him for refusing to negotiate – because it doesn’t allow for a negotiation. Only a straining counter-evidentiary take on this whole thing sees Obama’s stance as a negotiating position. I’m not sure why people at this point insist on seeing this as a negotiation, whether directly or in disguise. Not all games of chicken are a negotiation. They can turn into one, and Obama could blink and turn this game of chicken into a negotiation, but at this point it isn’t one. We’re either going to hit the debt ceiling and find out what the consequences look like, or we’re not – it’s entirely up to, basically, the House of Representatives (unless the Senate takes a surprisingly unaccommodating position in the event of a clean debt-ceiling hike passing the House). There’s nothing on the table for opponents of the president to receive in exchange for taking either course, despite the extremely high value that the president openly admits he places in seeing a bill that raises the debt ceiling but does nothing else cross his desk before October 17th.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Why the fuck ought we to negotiate with a coup d’etat?
        That’s the technical term for what the House is trying to accomplish.
        Holding the rest of the government, and all of America hostage,
        so that they can get what they want.

        Negotiating with “economic terrorists” (that’s not my term. that’s Bush’s Treasury Sec’s term) is beyond idiotic. It’s merely enabling them to try this again and again.Report

      • I use a negotiation model because the President is inviting negotiations. Consider some remarks from his press conference Tuesday:

        This morning I had a chance to speak with Speaker Boehner. And I told him what I’ve been saying publicly, that I am happy to talk with him and other Republicans about anything — not just issues I think are important but also issues that they think are important. But I also told him that having such a conversation, talks, negotiations shouldn’t require hanging the threats of a government shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people.

        It’s not just me, by the way, who has taken the position that we’re willing to have conversations about anything. Senate Democrats have asked to sit down with House Republicans and hash out a budget but have been rejected by the House Republicans 19 times.

        So most Americans, Democrats and Republicans, agree that health care should not have anything to do with keeping our government open or paying our bills on time, which is why I will sit down and work with anyone of any party, not only to talk about the budget; I’ll talk about ways to improve the health care system. [¶] I’ll talk about ways that we can shrink our long-term deficits. I’ll also want to talk about how we’re going to help the middle class strengthen early childhood education and improve our infrastructure and research and development. There are a whole bunch of things I want to talk about in terms of how we’re going to make sure that everybody’s getting a fair shake in this society and that our economy’s growing in a broad-based way and building our middle class. [¶] And by the way, if anybody doubts my sincerity about that, I’ve put forward proposals in my budget to reform entitlement programs for the long haul and reform our tax code in a way that would close loopholes for the wealthiest and lower rates for corporations and help us invest in new jobs and reduce our deficits. And some of these were originally Republican proposals, because I don’t believe any party has a monopoly on good ideas. So I’ve shown myself willing to go more than halfway in these conversations, and if reasonable Republicans want to talk about these things again, I’m ready to head up to the Hill and try. I’ll even spring for dinner again.

        Barack Obama sees this as a negotiation, albeit with a negotiating partner who insists on using a tactic akin to a nuclear bomb — a weapon too terrible to actually use. If the approach is within the paradigm of a negotiation then I thin a negotiation analysis is the right way for us to go.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Presume many people have seen this.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

        The current negotiation is on “what do we do with the ticking timebomb.”
        Obama’s negotiating tactic to that appears to be “You get nothing, good day sir!”

        He indeed does reference larger scale negotiations, but they seem rather irrelevant to me. If the Republicans (more specifically Boehner) do not back down, there will be no negotiations, only wanton destruction (ask the Chamber of Commerce if you don’t believe me).Report

      • Calling the other guy’s bluff is indeed a rather tense moment in a poker game.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

        yeah, calling this a poker game makes more sense than calling it a negotiation at the moment. 😉Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Calling the other guy’s bluff is successful only if the other guy is indeed bluffing.

        I believe that some of the opposition is bluffing. Some of them aren’t, they’re dead serious. In fact, a complete nuclear meltdown of the structure of government would quite likely be regarded as the best possible outcome of the whole affair.

        This is problematic.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

        This is further exacerbated by the middlemen (Congressmen). One faction of the GOP wants to burn everything to the ground (vast right wing conspiracy). The other wants this madness to stop.

        But they both need to talk to congressmen, who care more about their electoral future than about either side. Well, a good deal of them do.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I think the disconnect is that the GOP sees (or is acting as if) both the debt limit and funding the government are concessions/points of negotiation, rather than mutual goals.

        In the case of the debt ceiling, the Democratic position is negotiating over it is illegitimate. That money has been allocated. The die is cast. That vote has, effectively, been held when the last CR or budget was handled. In short, it shouldn’t be a topic of discussion — it’s like arguing over where to fill up the tank with gas, and somehow getting into a discussion of whether to put the gas in the tank or pour it on the ground.

        In the case of the shut-down, continued government function is the mutual goal — the disagreement is on how much to spend where, but instead the GOP is basically stating “Give me everything I want, and in return you get the thing we both desire”.

        Which goes back to the question: “Does the GOP view keeping the government open and paying it’s bills as stock functions of government — things that should happen by default — or something they don’t like, to be done only if they gain significant concessions”?

        If it is the former, then the GOP is engaged in hostage-taking, which if rewarded with concessions leads to more hostage taking. If the latter, then the GOP is basically insane and you can’t negotiate with crazy.

        Honestly, I’ve yet to see a GOP proposal for either that involves any concession to Democrats other than “The government gets to start back up” or “We raise the debt ceiling”. Neither of which are concessions to Democrats, but supposed actual functions of government.Report

      • @patrick I’m pretty sure they’re bluffing. There’s plenty of hints that not only are they bluffing, but that they’re backing down in the face of a call.Report

      • More of this recent development from the Fish Wrapper: It’s a six-week extension of the debt ceiling, so there will be no default. Not a re-opening of government. Still I think it’s evidence that John Boehner straddling two fragmenting wings of the GOP Paul Atreides taking the throne by threatening to destroy Arrakis.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Michael Drew says:

        @burt-likko : It’s especially telling that Boehner won’t invite his entire caucus up to the East Room, only taking a platoon of shock troops with him.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Michael Drew says:

        And of course, it sounds like they’re already discussing what conditions to attach to the unconditional debt limit increase. I’m really not sure how clear these folks are on the concept.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Saying that you’re open to negotiations in general doesn’t create a negotiation around something you’re refusing to make part of the negotiation. Your view is that Obama would have to reject the idea of negotiating around policy altogether, even after a no-strings-attached debt-ceiling hike, in order not to be negotiaying for the rise in the debt ceiling?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Boehner is a rump speaker.
        I do not trust that he has the votes for whatever he says, as he’s amply demonstrated an inability to count in the past.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Giving the House anything is enabling them.
      I hardly think a coup d’etat needs negotiation.
      It needs exactly what Obama is giving it: jack-all nothing.

      When the Republicans get back to doing their job,
      then we can negotiate.Report

  3. Avatar zic says:

    So my Tea Party Governor just called an state of emergency” due to the federal shutdown, and the burden it places on the state to pay state workers funded by the Federal Government.Report

    • Avatar dexter in reply to zic says:

      Zic, I would really like to read your take on Maine’s governor,Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to dexter says:

        Nuanced. He’s done some things I really like — like taking on the culture of men that contributes to domestic violence in his State of the State address; he clearly stressed that men need to take responsibility for the behavior of men; they’re the problem, it’s not a ‘women’s problem.’

        And then there are the idiocies — stuff like the estrogen compounds in BPA will make women ‘grow little mustaches’ comments, that are so ignorant and misogynist that they’re beyond the pale.

        He’s taken apart many parts of the state’s function that provided enormous benefit, particularly harming environmental protections; and it’s really important to remember that tourism is Maine’s #1 industry, protecting our environment is both crucial to tourism and to the branding power of “Made in Maine,” which is pretty significant for local manufacturers. This was at a peak when he first came into office, and hired lobbyists for his staff who came equipped with sample legislation and rule making from ALEX, much if it vested in representing the interests of large corporations outside the state and of no benefit to the locals.

        Since the last election, things are not so bad, but both houses of the legislature were returned to Democratic control, and he basically ignores the House and Senate dems, except when he’s forced to deal with them. This announcement, for instance, was made in front or Republicans; he didn’t bother to tell Democratic members of the government.

        While there is a Tea Party influence here in Maine, it’s still dominated by the traditional northeastern Republican, and there’s plenty of dissatisfaction with Tea Party priorities in that crowd. I wonder if this move — calling a state-level emergency based on the federal shut down — is in part to call out the crazy; but I have no way of knowing, and that’s presuming a level of sophistication he may not have.

        I will happily vote for Mike Michaud for governor in our next election; he’s my representative in the House, I’ve met him several times, and he’s smart and able to understand the nuances of different sides of a debate; something he learned as a a laborer in the paper industry; it survives here as a result of management, communities, and labor working toward common goals (jobs, environment, cost controls) instead of warring over the pie, and getting it in all their respective faces instead of winning any battle.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to dexter says:

        Does the Angus King phenomenon figure into the dynamic next year – i.e. is there (still) a legitimate ‘third way’-ish movement in Maine politics (I think Ross Perot got a largest percentage in Maine than any other state) – or is King sui generis?Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to dexter says:

        I hadn’t returned home when King became Governor as an independent, so I can’t speak to the dynamic of that election.

        He was governor when I moved back to Maine, and people loved him; the feeling toward King is nearly opposite the feeling folks seem to have toward our current governor. I rarely here anyone admire or appreciate LePage, and when it does happen, it happens in a TeaPartyFringey sort of way. LePage won for two simple reasons: lot’s of people voted early, and voted for the Democratic nominee, Libby Mitchell. Her campaign imploded, and the independent candidate, Eliot Cutler, surged, but too late for those who voted early. I think Mitchell only got about 17% of the vote (off the top of my head), and most of that was from early voting. So she and Cutler split, and LePage won on way below 40%.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to dexter says:

        I’m not zic, but if I remember correctly, the current Governor only got 42%-ish of the vote in 2010, largely due to a moderate independent candidate getting 30-ish, the really liberal Democratic candidate getting 20-ish, and a Green candidate getting 4 or 5 percent.

        In 2014 though, it looks like the DNC will nominate Michauid, who’s far more moderate and also will get more votes due to backlash over how the current Governor has acted.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to dexter says:

        @jesse-ewiak, he won with 36% of the vote in the primary; 38% in the general. According to recent polling (since Michaud and Cutler announced) he’s at 35% in the polls, and his approval rating is about 39%.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    As Burt notes with regards to negotiating tactics, sometimes sides will deliberately play up the public perception of their value for something so that when they backaway from it, it will seem like a much bigger concession than it really was.

    “Fine… I know I said I really, really, really wanted X, but I guess I can do without it if you can do Y for me.”
    Little does the person across the way know that X was never really a big deal and Y was where it was at.

    It’s a game. Unfortunately.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Kazzy says:

      That’s pretty much how I feel about the long-forgotten Public Option; the ability to buy health insurance directly from the Federal Government.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

      Little does the person across the way know that X was never really a big deal and Y was where it was at.

      That’s certainly true if both parties in the negotiation are rational, or at a minimum, have a clearly defined goal hierarchy and minimal competence in strategery. They might be thinking: “Look, A is a big deal to them and not so big deal to us. B is the bigger deal to us, but not as big a deal to us. What we’re gonna do, see, is leverage A to gain a concession on B. OK? hut-hut. Hike!”

      I think at this point that one of the negotiating partners – as a group – doesn’t have any clearly defined B in mind here and they’re grabbing at straws. Certain factions within the the GOP have clearly defined policy goals, and some of those run at cross-purposes with the policy goals of other factions. On top of that, there’s a burgeoning sense that one of the primary goals here is merely to score a political victory rather than a policy one – which is evidence of yet more incoherence within the GOP right now.

      But they won’t be disrespected, and they’re gonna get something out of this. They just don’t even know what it is anymore.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        Entirely possible. I was just speaking more broadly to negotiating strategies, which sometimes look irrational but often are quite well thought out.

        The NFL did this during the latest CBA negotiations. They started years earlier making a big fuss about an 18-game schedule, which was actually not high on their priority list (I do think they want it and will push for it more forcefully in the future, but I don’t think they necessarily really wanted it then). When they finally came to the table, they begrudgingly gave it up and held it up as evidence of how willing to sacrifice they were.

        Of course, Goodel is a soulless bastard, so it makes sense that he would be dastardly in his dealings.Report

  5. Avatar NotMe says:

    Obama didn’t think the debt ceiling was worth raising when he was a senator but now it is vital to this nation. Was he lying then or now?Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to NotMe says:

      Yes and no. Not at all and certainly.

      If the GOP treated this like both parties always have — which is assure there are votes for passage, then let the lucky minority choose some members to use the vote as an excuse to complain about Congress keeps spending too much (which, strangely, doesn’t come up when the actual budget is passed) then no-one would care — and you Obama would be a hypocrite indeed if he objected.

      And I don’t think it’s gonna carry much water as a political attack anyways — because Democrats always passed the debt ceiling, and Republicans used to, and everyone knows — including you — that “no” votes were entirely token votes to allow deficit grandstanding.

      You know it. I know it. Everyone reading this comment knows it. So do you think it’s gonna work as an attack? Or change any minds?Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to NotMe says:

      Obama didn’t think the debt ceiling was worth raising when he was a senator but now it is vital to this nation. Was he lying then or now?

      He was lying then. It’s all theater for gullible voters who think that the debt ceiling is actually a weighty policy decision. With the exception of a handful of really stupid ones who have been taken in by that theater, everybody in Congress is lying when they claim to be against raising the debt ceiling.Report

  6. Avatar zic says:

    Here’s an interesting Perverse Incentive Watch from Jonathan Bernstein.

    All of which is to recognize that for most of politics-as-an-industry, the shutdown/debt limit fight is excellent business. At least, if you don’t count government employees and those dependent on the government functioning properly as part of politics-as-an-industry.

    Is all of that a significant cause of the shutdown and possible debt limit disaster? I don’t know! But I do know that there’s a direct financial incentive for a lot of people to generate high-visibility partisan fights. And people often react to direct financial incentives.


    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to zic says:

      I know some fairly hard-core conservatives at work who seem to be getting *really* unhappy with the GOP over this — because it’s costing them money. Right now. They’re struggling to find funds, find work, to keep people working and off furlough (contractors, not civil servants) and some of their friends have been furloughed for well over a week now, and their companies are letting them know that a LOT of furloughs are coming at the end of October if stuff doesn’t change.

      It’s hitting them in the pocketbook. Guy’s I’ve heard whine about the ACA (and get basic facts totally wrong) — I mean pretty much Joe Average Low Information Conservative. (And yes, I know Joe Average Low Information Liberals as well). And they’re not happy.

      Which is probably why the latest polls have GOP Congressional support down to the magic 27%,.Report

  7. Avatar zic says:

    It’s pretty shocking when Business Week’s running stories called Republicans are no Longer the Party of Business.

    I love that this story repeats what I’ve been saying for some time: Republicans are creating uncertainty (that horrible, evil, no-good, very bad thing they’re always accuse Democrats of doing) in the markets.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to zic says:

      Many’s the time when real estate developers have told me that they don’t care what codes or regulations they have to perform to, so long as they are clear, predictable, and enforced on all his competition, he is fine with them.Report