Habemus Gubernationis

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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136 Responses

  1. KatherineMW says:

    I’m not sure this is as much a victory for the Democrats / defeat for the Republicans as you present it. The deal doesn’t fund the government or raise the debt ceiling long-term – it just ensures that the Republicans get to create yet another crisis come Februrary when we run into the deadlines again. The government can’t operate in a state of constant crisis, with last-minute deals needed every couple months just to keep things functioning. This is basically a measure by the Republicans to buy time while they amp up their messaging.Report

    • I’m not sure how much about this experience the Republicans will be enthusiastic about repeating. Or any of it, really. They didn’t get what they wanted, and its champions ultimately caved.Report

      • I’m sure there’ll be elements of the GOP caucus who want to try this again, but doing this in February of an election year would be electoral suicide. Ted Cruz might not have to contend with an election till 2018, but it’s already likely that this situation has already cost the GOP the chance to take the Senate in 2014, and might still cost them the House. Gerrymandering is still likely to protect them from a generic ballot deficit in the area of 9%, but it’s still a pretty remarkable display.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m somewhat optimistic that the GOP leadership is intelligent enough not to try this stunt again on either the debt limit or the government shut down. They got burned and they know it was badly. I’m also pretty sure that they know that the Democratic Party is in control of the Presidency and the Senate and will simply not compromise on these issues. However, there will be true believers arguing that the GOP did not try hard enough or go long enough. If enough GOP Representatives and Senators fear primary challenges, we might go through this again.

        Nob, I’m not sure that this cost the GOP the House. They are well-protected by the vagrancies of districting and gerry-mander and 2014 is going to be a mid-term election, which has a completely demographic turn out than Presidential elections. Plus, memories aren’t that long in elecotral behavior for the most part. I do think that the Democratic Party will gain some seats and it will feel like the GOP lost the mid-terms. I also think the Democratic Party will keep the Senate.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Will Truman says:

        Heh. I think you meant vagaries but vagrancies is even better.Report

      • There’s another really significant reason why the GOP won’t try this again: they just spent months pursuing a Tea Party-forced strategy that led them to shut the government down and bring the country to within hours of default, but predictably netted no significant gains while driving the GOP’s approval rating to an all time low. Simply put, with a small handful of exceptions, the GOP leadership, establishment-types, and so-called “moderates” fought the fight that the Tea Party wanted them to fight, quixotic and idiotic as it was, as hard and for as long as humanly possible. In doing so, they and they alone were made to stand on the front lines and bear the brunt of the damage from the fight while the Tea Party caucus largely sat comfortably in their absurdly safe districts while indiscriminately tossing bombs.

        They did this for the sake of party unity, to avoid well-funded primary challenges from the right, and just generally to keep the Tea Party happy.

        Their reward? Accusations that they didn’t fight at all, not just that they didn’t fight hard enough, along with a campaign to have each and every one of them primaried. http://www.redstate.com/2013/10/16/bridge-burning-and-bridge-building/

        Had they not fought at all, they wouldn’t have had to suffer the beating they took (and are taking) from swing voters and so-called moderates. What’s more, their standing would be no worse with Tea Party-types than it wound up being anyhow; in fact, it would probably be better because, had they refused to adopt the strategy in the first place, they’d have been able to fly largely under the Tea Party’s radar.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        In terms of functioning government, unless this debt ceiling agreement was the floated “When it comes due, Obama has to ask to raise it and we have to have a majority of both Houses say no or else it does” version, doing this all over again in February is less than ideal. (The government shutdown? Not so much. They have to hash out the budget anyways, although I suspect the GOP will be so damaged that the budget decided will be somewhat worse from their perspective than they could have gotten if they’d negotiated earlier).

        Politically, um…it’s pretty ballsy, but that’s when primary season is just ramping up for 2014. Which means the GOP will get to have a lovely internal slap-fight over who did and did not cave and who is a RINO and the Tea Party base is feeling angry and betrayed and firmly of the belief that if their GOP Congressmen had just had the GUTS they would have won everything and Obama would have resigned after making Paul Ryan the new VP and Reagan would have risen from the dead and handed out tax cuts.

        Which means that many, many, MANY of the GOP candidates going into the fall are likely to be…more extreme than otherwise and certainly far more damaged, having just come through bruising, no-holds-barred, expensive primaries.

        And that’s probably even IF it’s a “Obama asks and Congress has to get majorities to say no or else he gets a debt ceiling lift” kind of deal.

        Having this fight again in February will likely lose the GOP a number of seats (although I sincerely doubt the House, unless the GOP’s numbers just stay somewhere south of the clap), make the odds of Democrats holding the Senate better, and result in a 2014 crowd that is probably even more….extreme…and likely to go in for political self-mutilation.

        The GOP is really doing a number on it’s brand. They’ve more or less lost the young (outside of white Southerners, and even there the numbers aren’t great), lost Hispanics, and shed a number of faithful Republicans — how many more of their own do they plan to tick off, and how many more people do they want to convince to firmly associate “Republican” and “Conservative” with “Crazy”?Report

      • LWA in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yet they WILL try it again.
        For the Tea Party, this was their Alamo, their rallying cry. Ted Cruz DID get what he wanted, which was to become the biggest fish in a shrinking pond.

        As has been pointed out again and again, this isn’t about advancing a coherent policy. They don’t have any coherent goals with which one can negotiate.

        Destroying Obama is their only goal- they have no other priority.Report

      • @lwa Oh, I have no doubt that the Tea Party folks will try this again. But they can’t get very far with that unless Boehner and a good chunk of the establishment/”moderate” factions cooperate. And those Republicans have no incentive whatsoever to cooperate with the TP strategy again – they’re going to get savaged by the TPers no matter what they do, so they may as well salvage what they can to salvage their standing with everyone else.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I tend to agree that leadership won’t let this happen again in an election year, but it will be interesting to see how they deal with it.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to KatherineMW says:

      This would be the Felix Salmon view, that you “can’t defeat Revolutionary Nihilism”Report

      • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        the reactionaries are a bit like amalek… you need to defeat them roughly once a generation…Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

        Kim, its really surprising that you of all people are using that analogy.Report

      • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        Whyever for? If I may be a citizen of the world, then I ought to care about all the world’s people. And the devastation that can be wrought by the reactionaries is, if not total, at least civilization ending.

        We came close, during the global economic crash, of MORE than martial law.

        I’ve studied Argentina. It ain’t pretty.Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    Filii quoque Democrates constupraverunt te usque ad verticem.

    This is the beatdown to beat ’em all.Report

  3. greginak says:

    It appears as part of the deal is some sort of proviso that the Treasury can use extraordinary measures to avoid a default if we ever were driven to the brink again. As i read that it says that we can’t be driven to default again since the Big T would be able to do fancy finance type stuff to avoid a real problem. If anybody has more details then my, cough, extensive description, that would be great. But it does seem like we are safe from this sort of crapnado in the near future.Report

    • Don Zeko in reply to greginak says:

      Sadly, no. We actually breached the debt ceiling in like April and have been using those same extraordinary measures for the last several months. October 17 was the date that the Treasury can no longer keep them up. Some Republicans were pushing for the deal to prevent the Treasury from doing this next time, for reasons that I don’t quite remember.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to greginak says:

      The deal includes a section that essentially says the limit will go up again in Feb unless both houses of Congress explicitly pass a bill preventing its raising. They also removed the proviso in the previous “deals” that would have forbidden the Treasury from taking extraordinary measures leading up to hitting the debt ceiling.Report

      • greginak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        So that essentially means we can’t be driven off the cliff again since the senate wouldn’t pass that bill. We do seem to be safe then.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        The deal includes a section that essentially says the limit will go up again in Feb unless both houses of Congress explicitly pass a bill preventing its raising.

        So the Democrats do have a definitive win on the debt ceiling. That should make the markets happy.

        There may be another fight over the budget in Februrary (as, from what I’ve heard, the rationale for this deal is “give the parties more time to negotiate and reach agreement”, and the Republican demands to stop the ACA are a concession the Dems aren’t going to make, so there’s not really anything to negotiate).Report

        • I’d imagine they’ll do something like renegotiate the medical device tax, maybe get rid of income verification AGAIN (as unworkable and OMG GOVERNMENT INTRUSION INTO PRIVACY!!!!), tinker with chained CPI on Social Security benefits or at least promise to revisit it at some point, tweak the sequester at the margins (probably reduce its cuts due to higher tax revenues) and call it a day.

          The GOP leadership and establishment don’t want another shutdown in 2014.Report

    • North in reply to greginak says:

      Yeah that Nob and Don said Greg. The proviso you’re thinking about was essentially defusing a GOP attempt to make the debt ceiling happen even sooner (because the Treasury would have been forbidden from doing everything it could to push the day of reckoning off). Removing it is a tie in favor of the current state of affairs and thus the Dems.
      And yes, next time the House and Senate will have to override a veto to prevent the ceiling from being raised which does puzzle me? What dictates the amount Obama can raise the ceiling by? Could he, say, raise it by a gajillion dollars and thus eliminate this idiotic maneuver all together?Report

  4. North says:

    This is definitely a loss for the GOP though I will hesitantly disagree with BlaiseP and not call it a route. I would submit BP that a GOP route was forming yesterday but Boehner has managed to rein his cats in and is turning it into a disorderly retreat. A route would have occurred had Obama/Reid landed some significant GOP concessions which they didn’t quite get.

    -Obama et all have succeeded in their stated goal. The forthcoming deal has no concessions and the government is opening and the debt ceiling is being raised both. The GOP has obtained not even crumbs in exchange for their attempt to leverage a shut down or a debt ceiling lift

    -Note in particular that the government is being funded only until the beginning of next year. This is a Democratic victory. The rational elements of the GOP wish to at least pass a CR through all of next year to lock the sequester numbers in place. By revisiting this issue in January with their current paddling hot on the GOP’s cheeks the Dems will be in a pretty good position to try and change the sequester.

    -Note also that changing the sequester was never a stated goal of the Democratic Party or Obama going into this conflict so that they have not changed it should not be counted as a loss on their part.

    -The internal GOP implications are awful. This maneuver pissed off a lot of GOP constituencies and moderates. The fact that they’re getting bupkiss (with a side helping of humiliation) is not going to sit well. At this point I’d think the best conservatives can hope for is that the GOP remains the way it is and doesn’t degenerate into a circular firing squad.

    My general musings:

    Mcconnell has played this pretty well on a personal level. The initial word was that he couldn’t/wouldn’t get involve due to his reelection considerations. Several clever commentors have convinced me that the wily old goat has things pretty well in hand in his home State so I am now of the opinion this was a posture he adopted to keep clear of the clusterfish his wingnuts were dragging the party into. Now, at the eleventh hour, he descends like the old man from the mountain to broker a deal with Reid and delivers it to Boehner like a pronouncement. The wingnuts are pissed at him but Mcconnell gets big points with the donors, the establishment and with centrists for his role in damage control.

    Boehner seems to have dodged a bullet so far. The mood of his people is exhaustion, they’re just glad it’s over now and even a lot of the fire brands are admitting it’s time to let a deal through. I do not see his Speakership in danger, especially since Cantor seems to have cooled on the idea of getting the job (and why the fish would he want it?!)

    Boehner’s job looking secure is bad news for immigration reform. If someone was raring to replace him I could see the Weeper finally deciding to say “fish it” and schedule a vote on the Senate bill (which would pass) in a bid for legacy and lobbying bucks. Since he keeps his job he still has something to lose so immigration dies in the House.

    I see little to no probability of a repeat of this fiasco in the new year. The GOP’s ass cheeks are gonna still be stinging from this by then and with any luck they’ll have a right wing revolt on their hands to keep them busy. I’d be astonished if they let their right wing march them into the same fight again and if they do Obama and Reid had better write loving letters to Santa for the present.

    Some cold water: I don’t expect a deep impact on the election. The electorate’s memory is short and a year is an eternity. It will be interesting to watch what the polls do and if the party recovers somewhat.

    Some warm water: Off presidential elections are about base mobilization and if the GOP starts having an endless torrent of internal recriminations either one part of the other of their base is gonna be pissed come November. Obama and his party just won this confrontation and the country loves winners. Also the Dems have been longing to win a straight up fight for years as Obama has mush-mushed along to establish his cred as the rational adult in the room. This win could help with the Dem base.

    Some hot water: The neocons are fished. If Obama had been rolled they might have gotten all kinds of concessions outside the sequester so Obama could be convinced to some uneven trades within it to restore defense spending. Now when they negotiate they’ll need to offer either revenue or domestic spending in exchange for their defense dollars. The new GOP has shown that neocon priorities come third in line behind taxes and gutting spending programs. This is stellar news.

    Reid is looking like the hero of this fight. My understanding is the White House acquiesced to letting him run this battle and while he did a few verbal gaffes Reid has prosecuted it with grit and iron. Considering that Reid and Pelosi together pretty much salvaged the ACA when Brown got elected I think the President should consider giving the man a fruit basket and some hearty thanks. Not a bad job at all.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to North says:

      Let’s look at the timeline on this, North. We could have had this deal a month ago. Maybe even before then. I drew the analogy of poor old Lafayette on the Day of Daggers, there’s Boehner, reluctantly riding off to Versailles at the head of his National Guard after his rebellious troops baldly told him “we go, either with you or over your body.”

      This is a rout. A capitulation. A very very bad haircut. A scalping, in point of fact. There’s Reid and Boehner, both know after — what was it? — forty-two, forty-three tries — Obamacare was not repealable. So Reid and Boehner break off talks so Boehner can go back yesterday for one last vote. Which failed. Everyone knew it would.

      So finally, at long last, a few of ’em, I’m betting it was John McCain and Orrin Hatch, got a grip on Ted Cruz’ fancy necktie and strung him up in the cloakroom with it. Oh to have been a fly on the wall when they gave him his well-deserved beatdown. Surely a precious moment.

      McConnell is a broken man. Since the minute Obama was elected, he swore he’d oppose Obama at every turn. Now look at him, miserable, raging old cuss, completely defeated. May the ravens pull the flesh off his bones.

      Boehner is safe, for the same reason POWs are allowed their own senior officers to command the prisoner contingents. It’s a sensible precaution. Even the Democrats will support him for a while. They will not allow Eric Cantor to get a grip on that gavel. Cantor is a bigger dick than Ted Cruz and certainly more clever.

      Let the revolters revolt to their hearts’ content. Rush Limbaugh is currently detonating noisily and greasily. There’s another one for the ravens. These jamokes have had their day. This is the USA, where we tolerate a certain amount of dissent but expect the professional politicians to do the will of the people. That’s the GOP’s problem. They’re controlled by every bleacher bum, not by the coaching staff. Time for the GOP to start acting like it’s an actual political party, not a bunch of terrorists.

      Reid isn’t a hero, here. He allowed this mess to get this bad. He allowed his troops to get backed into a corner, where they did fight, to their credit, they did fight. But it was a sort of Agincourt victory, Henry charging along the lines as the French knights clumsily moved forward into the mud and arrows and stakes. The French knights couldn’t pull back and were inundated by an assault they couldn’t stop and couldn’t control. It was a literal train wreck at Agincourt and the GOP assault on the Democratic positions is another. Once committed, they couldn’t stop.Report

      • North in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Well BP my understanding was that Reid wanted to have this fight during the “fiscal cliff” but Obama sent Joe out to negotiate with the GOP directly and that undermined him. I know a lot of people don’t like ol’ Reid but considering that he salvaged the ACA (with Pelosi) I think he should get some points. Also the Dem Senators and Pelosi’s congresscritters were in some surprising lockstep. I don’t think I remember such Democratic unit ever during Obama’s administration or Bush Minor’s before him.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

        True that, Señor Norte. Obama didn’t play his hand as well as he might have. I don’t know all the dynamics of Obama / Joe Biden’s dealings of the 14th, when they went into the room with Congressional leadership. Obama did put Biden into play and kept him in play.Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to North says:

      Note in particular that the government is being funded only until the beginning of next year. This is a Democratic victory. The rational elements of the GOP wish to at least pass a CR through all of next year to lock the sequester numbers in place. By revisiting this issue in January with their current paddling hot on the GOP’s cheeks the Dems will be in a pretty good position to try and change the sequester.

      Oh. I was interpreting the short-term funding as a partial Republican win (because the issue will come right back up in a couple months). Your point about the sequester makes things look different.Report

      • North in reply to KatherineMW says:

        Yes, that’s a common misconception Katherine. The incentives on the continuing resolutions and the debt ceilings are opposite (right now). With the debt ceiling Dems want to push it out as far as possible to avoid repeated showdowns/posturing over it. With the CR’s Dems want them as close in as possible to give them a chance to try and revise them (from sequester numbers). In contrast the GOP wants as many debt ceiling fights as they can get operating on the (possibly now changed) calculus that repeated showdowns and posturings over the ceiling hurts the Dems. The GOP also wants the CR pushed as far out as possible to lock in their 2011 gains for as long as possible*.

        *note that the sequester numbers in the CR are pure poison for neocons and the military industrial complex but the new TP dominated GOP clearly gives little to no weight to the desires of that leg of their stool.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to KatherineMW says:

        North has it pretty well lined up. See, in any rational assessment, say corporate accounting, there’s no Debt Ceiling. You sell bonds or borrow or take on debt in some other form, you sum it all up, there you are. Debt / Equity ratios.

        But the Debt Ceiling is entirely artificial. The only reason we ever got the damned thing was to borrow for World War 1.

        Congress passes these CRs, they order this money to be spent — they should be made to submit budgets every year. But (slapping forehead) I forgot — we can’t do the business of the nation like professionals, we can eke it out, a few weeks at a time.

        With every CR going through the pipe, the old Sequester numbers gets pooched out a little bit at a time, back to what the Democrats want. Secretly, the GOP wants a bunch of little CRs, too. It’s very painful to go back home and confront people laid off as a result of budget cuts. The GOP gets to hypocritically proclaim they got the Sequester, yeah buddy, we sure put it to Obama. All the while, they’re putting CR money into their own programs.

        So CRs are not only good for Democrats, they’re tasty snacks for Republicans, too. Even Tea Partiers.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to North says:

      Tepid water for your hot water: As you said, the sequester rules are not in effect. This is a boon to the proverbial military industrial complex. More importantly, Democrats like those defense dollars in their districts as much as anyone – see whenever they try to close the Navy base in New London/Groton, or the shipyard in Portsmouth/Kittery, or for that matter the entire Hawaiian congressional delegation.

      The only thing the Democrats are straight up less keen on are the proliferation of contractors – and at that, the ones that formerly did either functions done by uniformed military or GS civilians. Everyone more or less still likes the big aerospace and industrial firms, though they are heavy into contract services as well.

      The main thing Democrats have a problem with (and AFGE) has a big problem with) are things that start to get close to the line (or over it) of ‘inherently governmental functions.’ However, they’re not as concerned (and AFGE, of course, not al all) if those functions are done by government employees, duly paid. Especially if they are in the congresscritter’s district.Report

      • North in reply to Kolohe says:

        I’ll grant you all of that Kolohe, I’d say you’re exactly right on the attitude of the literal Democratic reps in government. Their voters, however, are not so hot on those various military spendings (oh well the base in their locale is vital but everyone bases anywhere else are pork, what is the opposite of a NIMBY?).

        I doubt Obama or his party will just restore defense spending without getting something in return. I doubt the GOP will ever countenance more revenue but they’d probably fold on domestic spending.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to Kolohe says:

        OIMBY? (Only in my backyard.)Report

      • North in reply to Kolohe says:

        Brilliant my dear!Report

    • Kim in reply to North says:

      Boehner’s out just as soon as some teapartier decides they want to be speaker.Report

  5. Will Truman says:

    On a more practical level, I am wanting to know when federal employees would report back to work. My furloughed sister-in-law was going to come visit us tomorrow and now I have no idea if that’s going to happen or not.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

      FYI, the directive I read said “First regular work day after the bill is signed”.

      Which means Friday if it’s signed tomorrow, and I guess technically tomorrow if it’s signed tonight.

      Given the attitudes of the people I know furloughed, most will show up the second their job sites open even if ‘technically’ they don’t need to report until the next day.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    It seems to me that we are easily half a year from being able to say who won/lost this particular deal if only because, in six months, this will feel like forever ago and we will have had at least two, if not three, major arguments on a national level by then and that’s right before we start having the Most Important Mid-Term Election Our Country Has Ever Seen.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

      Thinking along this line, it is not clear but what the TP caucus is dumb enough to want to try this again at this time next year. The committee created by the CR just passed is confined to working on the FY14 (current year) budget. Absent some major shuffling of committee assignments in the House, Ryan will get to dictate the FY15 budget. The House couldn’t pass most of the appropriations bills based on Ryan’s plan this past year (Boehner pulled some of them because he knew he didn’t have the votes to pass them); it seems unlikely that the House will pass such bills next year. That would leave us going into the election cycle with the need for another CR.

      How that proceeds may depend to a great degree on how TP efforts to “primary” the Republicans who voted for this CR turn out.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

      This episode will not become Auld Aquaintance Be Forgot, any more than Obamacare itself. It’s sorted things out as never before, a good long punt of the Hornet’s Nest, well past the End Zone. The GOP will have to carry that hornet’s nest back out to the 20 yard line. The Tea Partiers are boiling with rage. They are already plotting their revenge on the GOP leadership.

      Obama and the Democrats they understand. The only question is this: will the Tea Partiers split the party or openly hoist the Jolly Roger, taking the ship and offering the crew two options: join or walk the plank.Report

  7. Jim Heffman says:

    Looks like the park shutdown worked. Hooray for the victory of Caesar over the Senate, I suppose?Report

  8. Michael Cain says:

    At least one of the differences when we go through something like this in January/February is that somewhere between thousands and millions of people will have subsidized health insurance policies obtained through the exchanges, and similar numbers will have expanded Medicaid coverage. I suspect this will begin to have immediate effects on attempts to kill off the PPACA. Not least among them will be pressure from the insurance companies, who will be upset by threats to force them to change their business arrangements again, perhaps on short notice. Deep down I think the TP caucus realized that this was their last real chance short of, as the Heritage Foundation guy said today, holding the House and winning the Senate and Oval Office.Report

  9. KatherineMW says:

    A friend of mine had just started a new job funded through an NIH grant to Harvard (which is working with U of Toronto on a project) when the shutdown began, and so wasn’t getting paid up until now. His supervisor had to put his startup costs – including some very pricey technology – on her personal credit card. So he and his supervisor will both be very happy that this deal has been reached.Report

  10. zic says:

    And via James Fallows, I found this

    “I think it’s important for people in the Republican Party around the country not to just come in at the end and say, ‘Congress was dysfunctional,’ or ‘Congress screwed up.’ That’s too easy to do,” King said. “Say who it was. Because it wasn’t Congress. It was one person who was able to steamroll Congress and unless we target him for what he is, he’s going to do it again. So I’m hoping other Republicans will join me and start going after this guy, and say we’re not going to let it happen again.”


    First skim, I thought it was more no-Obama talk. But no.

    It's Rep. Peter King on Ted Cruz.

    Here's hoping 'this guy' means anyone playing a pipe for the lemming apocalypse.Report

    • zic in reply to zic says:

      Tag misery.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to LeeEsq says:

        At least we can rest easy knowing Issa will be investigating an anonymous quote from a park ranger and “Why were all those darn parks closed” with all the success and interest he brought to Benghazi, Fast and Furious and….

        Even their spin is lame. “We’re gonna investigate why those parks where shut down!”. You do that, Issa. Because what people are dying to know — millions of Americans — is why shutting down the government would shut down government property. Because that’s a mystery, that is.

        Hopefully in investigating the tragedy of the WWII memorial, they will be able to determine why Clinton didn’t utilize time travel to close it 8 years before it opened back in 1996.

        I think my favorite part of the spin was the explanation of how after the 96 shutdown, the government balanced the budget in 4 years. Certainly had nothing to do with the Clinton tax hikes that were the stated cause of the shutdown, that’s for sure. We all know the only way to raise revenue is cut taxes, and of course to maximize revenue the government should take in no tax money whatsoever, which will give it infinite cash.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to LeeEsq says:

        If only Darrell Issa would go his stupid ass way deep into one of those Nashnul Forests and a grizzly bear would eat him. He thinks discriminating against gay people is A-OK.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        after his “congressional hearings to investigate black helicopters” I’m no longer surprised at anything Issa will do.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Says Darrell of I[n]ssa[ne]:

        “I am but mad north-north-east. When the wind is southerly, I know a hack from a bndwagon.”Report

    • NewDealer in reply to zic says:

      What is interesting about King is that in a normal world, he should be no one’s idea of a moderate. He is fairly to very right-wing especially on national security issues.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Peter King is a fascinating character. The real McCoy, bog Irish and son of a cop, a great friend of the Muslim community. Nobody seems to know that, he’s a big hearted kinda guy. Sure, he’s a Republican. Tough guy. Old school.

        But not an idiot.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

        I come from this from a very specific Long Island prospective. I come from a very Jewish town on Long Island. Jewish enough that the school district made the High Holidays vacations because most of the students or teachers would take off anyway to attend services. When we played sports against schools in Peter King’s district, we would meet with a lot of anti-Semitic taunts.

        There is a big divide between North Shore Long Island and South Shore Long Island in terms of socio-economics, politics, etc. Though Long Island is swinging more and more Democratic even though Nassau and Suffolk used to be rock-ribbed Republican strong holds.Report

      • He is fairly to very right-wing especially on national security issues.

        That depends how you define right-wing. You’d be surprised how little support King’s national security views find amongst the populist Tea Party groups.

        He’s not a moderate – “moderates” are a fiction, anyhow. He’s an institutionalist, and always has been. For a long while there was overlap between institutionalists and what we colloquially call conservatives. But that is less and less the case.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


        Why are moderates a fiction in your view?Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Peter King is nobody’s idea of a Tea Partier. He’s old school — but with a twist. He’s stood up for American Muslims where nobody else has. Truly remarkable man.Report

      • @newdealer – I’ve written about this a fair amount over the years, but essentially, the idea of a moderate seems to imply someone without any convictions whatsoever, who defines their views based on positions that others take and then split the difference. Such people have never really existed, and certainly not in any meaningful numbers. Instead, what exist are people whose core convictions or interests aren’t really being called into question in a given issue, or who are trying to cut a deal so as to protect a principal or interest not necessarily shared by other members of their coalition.

        @blaisep – when has Peter King stood up for American Muslims? I’m not saying he hasn’t, but in general I recall quite a bit of rhetoric he’s used that’s been amongst the nastiest towards that group.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


        Okay. I suppose that some of my positions on certain issues have been considered moderate-reformist. The best example I can think of is the Drug War. I’m all for the legalization of marijuana and hash but pause very strongly at the legalization of Meth, Heroin, and other hard drugs. My position usually tends to annoy both prohibitionists and libertarians but does get called “moderate” or “reasonable” Maybe because it is perceived as splitting the difference. Usually it is the hardcore libertarians who consider my “moderate” position with the most disdain.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        “Who really benefits from such a horrible tragedy [9/11] that is blamed on Muslims and Arabs?” asked Khankan, the mosque’s interfaith director at the time. “Definitely Muslims and Arabs do not benefit. It must be the enemy of Muslims and Arabs. An independent investigation must take place.”

        Safdar Chadda, a dentist from Pakistan who was then co-president of the mosque, speculated that “the Israeli government would benefit from this tragedy by now branding Palestinians as terrorists and crushing them by force.”

        Their statements infuriated King, who had lost friends in the attacks, as had many in his district, which lies 30 miles east of Manhattan.

        “At this key moment for our country, the worst attack on us in history, these people who I thought were my friends were talking about Zionists and conspiracies,” he said. “They were trying to look the other way while friends of mine were being murdered.”

        The day after the newspaper article appeared, the mosque’s founder, Faroque Khan, went to a neighboring synagogue in a largely unsuccessful attempt to retract and explain what members of his mosque had said.

        In the weeks that followed, Khan and others issued progressively stronger statements condemning al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden for the attacks. They forwarded these to King’s office, but the damage was already done.

        To King, the fact that those words were ever uttered branded the mosque’s leaders as radicals.

        When told that King had specifically cited his statements after Sept. 11 as the turning point, a pained look spread across Khankan’s face.

        “You have to understand the confusion and shock at the time,” said Khankan, who is 76, with a shuffling walk and a shock of white hair.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        You’d have to rewind to the top of the article to see the transformation. Peter King backed Clinton’s intervention to save the Muslims of Bosnia. That Islamic center? He cut the ribbon when it was opened. He really was a friend of Muslims, still is. Just not the sort of people who would spew crap about Zionism and the like.Report

      • I buy that he was a friend of American Muslims, and in that regard the article was really quite enlightening, but I can’t agree that he still is, even if that article sheds a lot of meaningful light on the reason for his transformation – I’d always known terrorism was an intensely personal issue for him because of his loss of friends; I hadn’t known that he had cultivated friendships with a group that just a month after the attacks would start raising despicable conspiracy theories like that.

        He now very much seems to think that all/most American mosques are inhibiting terrorism investigations, and in general doesn’t seem to be willing to trust any Muslims at all anymore.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Yeah, when I went digging for that article, rather than attempt to say “Oh, Peter King’s just great, no problems here”, I thought I would cut to the nut graf and point out King’s sense of betrayal by people he considered his friends, people he’d defended from some pretty scurrilous accusations for years, people who once admired and respected him.

        I still get the sense Peter King is a straight shooter. American Muslims have been living in denial for years about some of the stupid things they’ve said. King has said some stupid things over the years, himself.

        Maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe he has turned on all Muslims. But I remember what he had to say about the Bosnians, back in the day. Took a lot of guts to stick up for them.Report

      • Don’t get me wrong – I increasingly agree that he’s a straight shooter. I don’t think he’s dishonest in his positions – and now that I’ve read that piece, I don’t think he’s even being dishonest on this issue. I just think that for him, uniquely amongst national politicians, this is an intensely personal and emotional issue on which his emotions probably cloud his judgment, and definitely cloud his rhetoric. Like you said, there weren’t many Republicans who stood up for Muslims pre-9/11. There also were even fewer who lost close friends on 9/11; and fewer still who had people they once thought of as friends in the Muslim community pissing on the graves of the friends they lost on 9/11.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Well, sure. Peter King is a throwback to an earlier era, when loyalty and friendship mattered, when honour meant more to a man than life.

        Thing is, when someone gets that angry with a friend, there’s always a measure of regret and loss in it. Ever been there with a friend? I’ve gone off and locked myself in and wept horribly, that’s how angry I’ve gotten. I sure hope he can patch things up with the Muslims. They need a friend like Peter King.Report

      • I’ll just add that this attitude is no doubt a big part of why he’s been so outspoken in his attacks on the GOP the last few months. He’d been an intensely loyal Republican for his entire career; then the party did everything it could to stab him -and his constituents – in the back at the moment when they most needed the party’s help in the aftermath of Sandy last year.

        Steve Lonegan’s better-than-expected performance last night aside*, I expect that no shortage of traditionally Republican voters in the Northeast feel the same way.

        *Mostly because Booker ran an absolutely atrocious campaign, spending less than $1 million on tv ads, and -to my knowledge – never attempting to publicize how Lonegan actively provided cover for the GOP’s despicable betrayal on Sandy aid.Report

  11. Brandon Berg says:

    Whew! That was close! I was afraid they might have to do the responsible thing and make some spending cuts.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Well, thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and Ted Cruz’s head was pulled, slowly and painfully, with a length of chain and a come-along, out of his own asshole.Report

    • zic in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Like the sequester cuts that are still in force?Report

      • Kolohe in reply to zic says:

        Are they? As other people mentioned above, I thought that was the point of only extending the CR out to mid Jan – sequester budget levels are *not* active.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

        I thought that was the point of only extending the CR out to mid Jan – sequester budget levels are *not* active.

        At least some of the stuff I’ve read says that the mid-Jan date is before additional 2014 sequester cuts go into effect. It offers a chance to negotiate some different set of cuts, or increases, or even just giving departments flexibility in where to make the cuts.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to zic says:

        Now that the govt printing office has posted the bill(PDF), from reading the first few pages, it does seem that it authorizes sequester level funding from the get-go. A curious thing to me is that it references the Presidential sequester order that went out in early March of this year, vice the Budget Control Act of 2011, (or the law that delayed it to 2 months after the fiscal cliff) which I would think would be the controlling legal authority.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      You mean, the thing that no one was even asking for?Report

    • North in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Spending cuts may yet come BB, but they’ll come in exchange for things the Democratic Party and their constituents want as part of the normal order of business via this committee the parties are setting up. They will not be coming as some kind of ransom for congress to not blow up the national and world economy.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to North says:

        Seems unlikely. Maybe in the short run we can get some cuts in military spending, but it’s getting to the point where any meaningful cuts are going to require cuts to social spending. And since social spending is the Democrats’ top priority, there’s nothing they’ll accept in exchange for cuts.Report

      • Kim in reply to North says:

        Oh, the hell it is! Obamacare exchanges PLENTY for spending. Or haven’t you been paying attention?????

        Simply because the Republicans can’t bargain doesn’t mean the insurance companies and the medical complex suffer the same constraints.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to North says:

        Military spending is social spending. Try convincing anyone to close down a military base in his district with geopolitical and strategic arguments.Report

      • North in reply to North says:

        That’s nonsense BB, Obama has offered a metric ton of cuts to social spending. He’s offered so many cuts to social spending that much of his own party began staring, with jaws hanging down, and asking “what the fish is this maroon doing?” The GOP refused what Obama offered because they didn’t want to pay the price he asked for those cuts (comparatively minuscule amounts of revenue increases) and the entire Democratic party breathed a massive sigh of relief. Obama has truly been blessed in his opponents.Report

    • LWA in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      And nothing says “fiscal responsibility” like blowing $24 Billion on a foolish political stunt.Report

      • Patrick in reply to LWA says:

        Hey, at least they got a likely revenue-negative layer of red tape added to Obamacare.Report

      • Barry in reply to LWA says:

        Or a few trillion on a war, or Medicare Part D,……

        IMHO, any right-winger who’s bitching now should post links to similar complaints back during the Bush administration.

        This is a standard GOP tactics, to run up the debt and to insist on the Democrats fixing things.Report

  12. NewDealer says:

    House passes the Senate Bill. We have a government again.Report

  13. Patrick says:

    The old man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.Report

  14. NewDealer says:


    Another way to look at it is that Cory Booker was still able to win a very clear majority despite running a horrible campaign with not spending a lot of money. 55 percent of the vote is healthy and good.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to NewDealer says:

      That said, given his opponent, I don’t think 60% was asking for too much.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

      Strikes me Booker benefitted from a very low turnout. Booker was hardly an inspirational candidate. Poor New Jersey. What a wretched, misgoverned state.Report

      • Mark Thompson in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Booker was a vast improvement as mayor over his predecessor, and Christie’s a throwback to Tom Kean in many ways. The general consensus seems to be that the state’s getting back on the right track, slowly but surely.

        But it’s also the general feeling that the low turnout helped Lonegan – in fact, the entire reason Christie put the election on a Wednesday in October was to ensure turnout would be low as a favor to his party (though I strongly suspect he’s happy that Booker won). I was the only voter under the age of 60 that I saw at my precinct, which went pretty heavily for Lonegan. I’m quote certain not many Lonegan voters were aware of how he sold them out last year.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I think that Booker annoys people for the same reasons that Matt Yglesias annoys people. The recognize he is generally on their side but doesn’t have the right fire in the belly attitude and comes off as too technocratic in his solutions.

        Booker also seems to have an extraordinary desire for public adoration. To a certain extent, all politicians in democracies have this desire but with Booker it seems to be nearly pathological.Report

  15. Major Zed says:

    What puzzles me is how everyone seems to think that hitting the debt ceiling logically entails default.

    As I understand it, there is sufficient cash flow to the Treasury to be able to pay interest on the debt and so avoid default. Of course, default could occur by mistake or political decision. Also, there is the (IMHO remote) possibility that investors would not roll over short-term T-bills and instead demand repayment of the maturing bills and cause default by basically putting a “run on the bank.” But why would they do that if interest payments are being met? And where would they put the money, anyway?

    Am I wrong here? Or is all this talk about default a cynical, calculated piece of propaganda?Report

    • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Major Zed says:

      That’s logically true. The problem is that it’s not necessarily legally true. Nothing in the law, or so we’ve been told, authorizes the president to prioritize any one payment over another. So default could be forced on us as a consequence of lack of law authorizing debt prioritization, even if technically there’s sufficient cash.Report

      • Major Zed in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The President seems to have been pretty good at interpreting the law for himself so far.Report

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

        True. True. I sometimes think we’ve never elected a new president, but have just continually resurrected the zombie corpse of Andrew Jackson and given him an external makeover, or we keep putting his mind in new bodies, or something like that.Report

      • That’s logically true. The problem is that it’s not necessarily legally true. Nothing in the law, or so we’ve been told, authorizes the president to prioritize any one payment over another. So default could be forced on us as a consequence of lack of law authorizing debt prioritization, even if technically there’s sufficient cash.

        This was broached in my own post from a couple days ago, but it’s not logically true because Treasury’s cashflow isn’t static, but rather extremely cyclical within any given month. Part of the “extraordinary measures” that Treasury takes when nearing these debt ceiling limits is that they start prioritizing repayments and issuance of debts to change the cash flow situation in the country to make it easier to continue things like debt servicing with the existing cashflow. When you end that, Treasury basically has no real room left to maneuver and they’re stuck with a technical default.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        And if cash flow should worsen due to any sort of emergency, or perhaps more likely a recession caused by the uncertainly of being on the edge of default, there would be an unmistakable default. Not to mention the cost of having to pay more interest on Treasury bonds because of higher risk.

        But apparently one man’s common sense and reasonable amount of caution near potential catastrophe is another man’s cynical propaganda.Report

        • It’s a cash on hand situation, not as much as “propaganda”.

          I hate using household analogies, but it would be like if suddenly your lines of credit were cut off two weeks before payday and you had no cash on hand after paying your expenses for that week.

          Yes, you do have hypothetical cashflow more than enough to cover your dues, but you won’t be able to make it because your credit line is gone and not operating between now and payday.Report

          • Jain said the bank’s analysis of the consequences of even a “technical default” found that “there are aspects to that which are irrevocable.”
            “Once you miss payment on U.S. Treasury debt, we don’t want to go into all of it but I’ll give you a little taste,” said Jain. “Things like tri-party repo, the underpinning of the collateral system, there are legal ramifications which we believe are probably incurable.”

            JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon said at the same event that his bank has calculated it probably processes about six or seven billion dollars a week in benefits such as Social Security, food stamps and veterans benefits. “We were going to fund it, despite the fact that we weren’t being paid by the government, because those people have to eat,” Dimon said.

            A default, however, would be tougher to prepare for, he said.“You don’t know the effect and the ripple effect of that through money market funds, people start drawing down revolvers, people don’t know if collateral is good,” he said. “We can’t have a debt default.”

            And I know Jamie Dimon is everyone’s favorite punching back, but it really is rather scary just how fragile world credit markets generally are.Report

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

        Nob, you’re right. I was just thinking that even when the cash is on hand, the law may not allow it. But you’re right that cash flow is lumpy, not smooth.Report

        • From what I understand of the law, the President (or more specifically Treasury) does have the ability to simply say “no, you won’t get paid”.

          So yes, I suppose you could simply stop putting out things like IRS return checks and veterans benefits and whatever.

          Thing is, from the credit market’s point of view, that’s still a default, and they’ll react accordingly by freezing up the available amount of funds for short term transactions. A rather frightening amount of short-term credit revolves around government expenditures that aren’t explicitly debt/treasury bond related.Report

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

        From what I understand of the law, the President (or more specifically Treasury) does have the ability to simply say “no, you won’t get paid”.

        Hmm. This is not an area of expertise for me, but that smacks of impoundment. To what law are you referring? (Gotta get some sleep now, but if you answer I’ll probably see it sometime tomorrow.)Report

        • Oh. By “the law” I meant ‘lack of real precedent on anything’.

          Since everyone and their mother was talking about how the Treasury could delay payments until it had sufficient cash to pay for something in terms of technical default, I thought it was just something they could do as part of executive power.Report

      • Major Zed in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So what y’all are saying is that while it does not logically imply default, it does imply a material risk of default. I can believe that. But it’s a distinction I would have liked to see not obfuscated in the press.

        Amazing how fished up things are, that we can only avoid catastrophe by a constant expansion of debt….Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        If you pour gasoline on yourself and set yourself on fire, there is a possibility you’ll live through it. People have.

        So I’m really tired of seeing that reported as “suicide”.Report

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

        Since everyone and their mother was talking about how the Treasury could delay payments until it had sufficient cash to pay for something in terms of technical default, I thought it was just something they could do as part of executive power.

        Well, people were scrambling to figure out means. And the presidentbmay have the means to do thst, just not the authority.

        it’s a distinction I would have liked to see not obfuscated in the press.

        And I want a purple pony. I’m going to get my want first. 😉Report

      • North in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Major Zed, no, legally AND logically there would be a default.
        As Nob said the cash flow is lumpy and irregular. A bunch of money comes in one day and then there’s a trickle and then another lump of money comes in. More importantly the spending is also lumpy. Treasury bills come due in big batches and then expenses drop to a trickle, then more come due. Non-treasury expenses are even more lumpy, military pay and social security, for instance, is all due on the first of the month. In order to prioritize T-bill payment you would have to have a big payment of cash come in and then you would have to hold onto that cash and not pay other expenses until because you knew T-bills would be coming due after them.
        A: The Treasury computers aren’t programmed or set up that way so it is difficult to do as a practical matter.
        B: It is flat out unambiguously illegal to do this currently. Current law says the administration must pay all appropriations to the full (this is a Nixon era law). So holding money back to pay T-bills is illegal.

        So there’s no propaganda, legally the US would have default on some of it’s (non-treasury bill) payments after the October date. Very shortly after that day (in a matter of weeks) the US would have missed payments on some T-bill rollovers and have legally, logically and practically defaulted on their sovereign debt.

        I don’t see any propaganda here at all except possibly in saying that we’d instantly default on Oct. 18th. In reality we’d have legally defaulted on the 18th but technically have defaulted on our T-bills likely a week (give or take a week or two later).Report

      • Major Zed in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Here’s a good perspective:


        Not pouring gasoline, but definitely playing with fire.

        I’m still sympathetic to the view put forth here:

        A href=”http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2013/10/15/failure-to-raise-the-debt-ceiling-will-not-bring-about-federal-default/”>http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2013/10/15/failure-to-raise-the-debt-ceiling-will-not-bring-about-federal-default/

        Talking about default as if it were a given serves political (and yes, commercial – scary news sells) purposes in a way that disgraces journalism.Report

      • North in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The first article is accurate, pretty much says everything I did. The second one is massive mounds of propaganda and half truths.

        Paring away the endless “This is Obama and the Democrats fault” lines and the facile comparisons to a credit card for a normal household the gist of this is that the House could pass a budget, the Senate could pass a budget and that through the normal conference committee process they could be reconciled and then Obama wouldn’t dare veto it. What this entire thing ignores is that the Senate passed a budget in the spring and the House has been refusing to send people to the conference committees to reconcile the two budgets because they know they would end up with a compromise budget between the two of them. The Democratic party has been pleading for about six months for what the small substantive part of this article is calling for.Report

  16. Scrantonius says:

    That should be “gubernationem,” accusative of gubernatio. “gubernationis” is genitive.Report