And I don’t mean me.
I’m talking about another Dennis–the often maligned Congressman from Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich.
Kucinich is one of those guys who easily becomes the butt of jokes, especially on the Right, among pundits and in the all knowing cocktail parties of Georgetown. He is a hardcore peace activist and progressive Democrat from the old school of the Party who has run for President twice. He holds strong beliefs and often finds himself to be the odd man out.
How much of a fighter he is and why he has earned my respect was on display this week when he became the only Democratic Congressman since the election to get off the mat and start swinging back at the incoming Republican Majority.
Kucinich is an interesting guy in our National politics. Among his supporters he is a principled fighter–a man willing to take on anybody to defend what he believes and his working class constituents. Among much of the rest on the Nation he is viewed as being ineffectual and silly–a DFH if you will. And yet this carefully crafted myth of him is a widely off the mark. I think the view of his most ardent supporters is closer to the truth.
I’ve met Dennis before and I’ve spent some time with him. He is a tough guy, a fighter who grew up in Cleveland/Ohio politics and a fellow who never stopped fighting for the working class folks of his District and his city. He is a smart guy who is serious about finding real solutions to the problems facing our Nation. And he is a guy deeply concerned about justice and rooting out corruption in government and in corporations.
I have to admit that it took meeting him in a context away from politics to see him in a way that is very much at odds with the pie-in-the-sky-silly-man meme that our 24/7 political pop culture uses as short-hand to dismiss the Congressman, his ideas, and the people he represents.
I never supported him in either of his runs for the White House and I doubt that I would support him if he ran again. But I do support him and a Congressman and a Legislator. In this role he is just hitting his stride. Perhaps Dennis will follow in the footsteps of Teddy Kennedy who became at his best as a Senator when he stopped running for President. That freed Teddy and I hope it will also free Dennis. The woods are filled with folks running for President, but what we need in Congress is a new Liberal Lion. That is a role that Dennis Kucinich is growing into.
Earlier this year he bucked the Firebaggers and voted for HCR after he had pushed to make the final Bill better and to have his views heard as the more important rule making process begins. A good Legislator knows that a Bill signed into law is just the first step. The rules crafted by the Executive Branch and the implementation are the steps that ultimately determine the success or failure of any piece of Legislation. Once the Executive Branch gets to work, the only influence of Congress is through the budget, oversight and good working relationships with the President and his staff. Kucinich has proven to be a good Legislator and by working with the Obama Administration he has maintained his influence.
And it was in the area of oversight where Kucinich started swinging back at Republican nonsense this week.
As some may know the incoming Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee is going to be Darrel Issa, who has promised an endless stream of useless investigations designed solely to harass and obstruct the Obama Administration. In the build up to launching an investigation about anything from soup (the White House garden perhaps) to nuts (birthers anyone), Issa and his fellow wingnut drones have been pulling allegations out of their collective asses and repeating them over and over in the hopes that the mighty wingnut wulitzer will start to play the tune.
It was on this ground that Kucinich swung back this week. As a long-time member and sub-Committee Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, Kucinich knows how the battles of oversight are fought whether Democrats are in the majority or the minority. He knows that it is important that when members of the HOGR Committee make broad claims–especially claims of corruption–that they have facts to back them up. The vile legacy of the McCarthy/HUAC era still haunts this Committee and Partisans know that they will be in political trouble if they cross the line and use the unique powers granted this Committee to engage in witch hunts and politically driven character assassinations. All members of the Committee, especially the leadership, know that crossing that line can do real damage to their party.
This week Kucinich called out incoming Chairman Issa on doing just that–crossing the line and making partisan driven claims of corruption without a shred of fact behind the charges. Here is the letter (emphasis added):
Representative Darrell E. Issa
November 10, 2010
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
B- 350A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Ranking Member Issa:
Elections have results, and one of the results of2010 mid-term elections is that your desire to become chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will be realized. Holding the gavel of the principal investigative and oversight committee in the House of Representatives is a powerful position. You will be able to call hearings, require witnesses to testify at those hearings and demand documents from any citizen, corporation or governmental agency in the Nation. Such awesome power is a privilege held in trust for the people of the U.S. and should be accompanied by restraint, respect for law and basic fairness.
In view of such responsibilities of power, I am disappointed by recent comments you have made in which you liken the economic stimulus to “walking around money.”* That term, as you may know, refers to the use by certain political campaigns of money for off-the-books, wholly unaccountable, and potentially illegal purposes. It does not begin to describe funds subject to the bimonthly scrutiny of the Government Accountability Office, which has issued no less than 10 reports on the use of stimulus funds; or the publications and websites of every Federal agency that committed stimulus funds; or the investigations and reports of the Inspectors General of those agencies; or the 50 state websites devoted to accounting for the use of stimulus funds in that state; or the various publications of the Council of State Governments; the U.S. Conference of Mayors, or the National Conference of State Legislatures.
While one may quarrel with the use to which the economic stimulus has been put, or even whether fiscal stimulus is an appropriate governmental response to the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, it is not possible to argue that the economic stimulus resembles “walking around money.” There is no evidence with which I am familiar which substantiates your claim, and much which refutes it.
Therefore, I am writing to demand that you produce your evidence or retract your comment.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Dennis J. Kucinich
Domestic Policy Subcommittee
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
*Statement by Congressman Darrell Issa, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, November 8, 2010.
This is a shot across Issa’s bow letting him know that at least one high ranking Democrat on the Committee is willing to call him out on bullshit and demand answers. The power dynamics on the COGR between the Majority and the Minority are different than on any other Committee. It matters if one side or the other slips into Tail Gunner Joe mode. The credibility of any work of the committee can be destroyed as Dan Burton–the former corruptionist Republican Chairman of the Committee–destroyed the credibility of the COGR with his endless investigations of everything Clinton.
Of course, that will not stop Issa from following in Burton’s footsteps, but I’m happy to see that Kucinich is already calling Darrell out on his weak ass shit. By letting Issa know that he will be called to put up or shut up, Kucinich is complicating the endless investigation plan and reminding folks that there may be a political price to pay. I’m glad that Dennis has picked this piece of ground to fight upon. He cares about corruption and has been fighting it all his life. If there is evidence of real wrong-doing in the Obama Executive branch, then I think it is quite safe to assume that Kucinich wouldn’t hesitate to call it out. And that makes his attack on Issa “integrity” something to watch as it develops over the coming months.
Despite what you may have heard in the dulcet notes of the wurlitzer, Dennis Kucinich is a fighter. I for one was very glad to read his letter to Issa and I’m happy that at least one Democratic Congressman is back on his feet and taking the fight to these weasels.
wait, so why can’t Issa just act like this letter doesn’t exist?
So am I. I have been planning to call the offices of the committee to demand as a citizen that the new leadership refrain from using taxpayer monies in a witchhunt against the Obama administration. Thanks for posting this.
Control the language and control the debate. Best…H
Good man, that Dennis. Like you , I can’t really support a Kucinich run for Prez, but he’s an important voice in Congress. With folks like Feingold out, we’ll need Kucinich and more to keep the wurlitzer from totally drowning out sanity.
This may be the mother of all understatements for the new century. One thing you can count on like Christmas coming every year in December, is republican over reach. It is the vulnerable underbelly of the entitled wingnut Porcupine. And they haven’t been out of power long enough to have begun learning any lesson in that regard, and will in fact pick up where they left off times ten. The primal need to vanquish threats to their galaxy size sense of entitlement will rule their feral brains, to the goal of extricating the diagnosed black cancer on the White House. How far they will go remains to be seen, but nothing will surprise me, until something they do does surprise me.
I have always liked Dennis, though others have noted his sometimes opportunistic flip flopping around on issues, and occasional Feingold like letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And besides, I saw a flying saucer once, also, too.
Issa is a fucking snake who went on Maher’s show last week in a turtleneck and blazer and did his best to show off his good looks and charm. A front to try to get in the good graces of people who will never buy his his particular line of bad-mushroom infested bullshit.
You know, I’m not sure what they could do to surprise me any more.
I think there are maybe some attacks that I’d be surprised for the media to go along with, but after terror babies and the burlington coat factory cultural center and OLIGARHY and … I’m not sure they could get more absurd.
Odd factoid, both Kucinich and Issa are from Cleveland. I wonder if they crossed paths back in the day when Dennis was the boy Mayor.
Issa is a weasel and one of the drawbacks to BM is he gives these weasels a platform to sprout bullshit, but so it goes.
It will be hard to be surprised. I fully expect impeachment at some point and expect it will be over something like Obama’s birth certificate or that he believes in Climate Change. Perhaps Issa and his gang will cut to the chase and just impeach him for being black.
Even when it happens, it will hardly be a surprise.
If the GOP is really smart, they’ll let the threat of impeachment hang in the air like so much dumpster stench. They know they wont win 2012, so they’ll wait till they have congress and the senate and THEN yank the Persian rug out from under Barry BinLaden. My guess is it’s over him being black, but alternatives include him being black, also too.
Did you know Issa was an *Arab* of Lebanese descent? If he gets too rowdy, I’ll join the Teaparty & make things up about his Arab ways. Maybe HE needs to be investigated? I could care less personally, but it wouldn’t take much. The public as a whole seems very unstable these days.
Part of my effort to begin viewing politics through the lens of something like a steamy romance novel.
Angry Black Lady
Dennis the Menace! I like it.
Meh. Only works against Mooslim Arabs.
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@cat48: You do know what the only solution to bullies is, right? To punch the motherfucker in the face. Most bullies are all bark and no bite.
I grew up in the Cleveland area when Dennis was Mayor.
It really is one hell of a story when he refused to sell the Muny Light Company putting the city of Cleveland into default.
He was right. And there is a Tom Snyder Tomorrow Show interview someone ought to dig up where Dennis explains himself. I remember watching it in college about 40 years ago.
Damn, can that be right? Is Dennis that old?
Joseph McCarthy served in the Senate. Government Operations Committee, to be precise, which included the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that he chaired and made infamous.
You’re likely thinking of HUAC, which (a) wasn’t connected to Government Oversight and Reform because the latter didn’t exist yet and (b) wasn’t connected to McCarthy either. When McCarthy was running his official witch hunt (1953-54) of Communists in the State Department and the Army, Congressman John Stephens Wood was the chairman of HUAC. Wood focused his attention more on Hollywood than government agencies.
The Tom Snyder/Kucinich interview was 30 years ago. I knew something wasn’t quite adding up.
Issa is the piece of work who led the effort to recall California Governor Gray Davis. Davis wasn’t exactly an inspiring governor but, the recall led to the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger and we all know how well that’s turned out.
Issa is a ruthless little weasel and he’s out to make a name for himself. Impeachment is not out of the question. Nothing is out of the question.
Caddell & Schoen have another awesome oped in Washpo this Weekend. The one they wrote a couple weeks alleged he was the most divisive, partisan prez ever!
They follow up this weekend telling Obama “Do Not Run in 2012” Just fix the deficit & debt & try to heal the country you tried to kill. Of course, this is my interpretation, but they say he’s “lost consent of the governed” Guess only white presidents get to stay when that happens!
I read that, and suppose I should have been angry or critical, or something. But it just made me laugh like reading some kind of SNL like parody of the consultant class in our politics.
What a couple of gold plated clowns.
Agreed, they will, and it won’t be a surprise.
How is it possible that two years after the heights of 2008 I’ve reached a point of despair about our country as bad as during the darkest days of the Bush administration (2001-2005)? This is after I took almost two years off of grad school to volunteer for the Obama campaign.
The white house seems to have given up, Treasury is still being run by Geithner with no second thought to the missed opportunities to actually fix shit, the TSA and national “security” apparatus are running wild, the deadlines for withdrawal from our perpetual wars are getting dragged out, and our energy policy is a fucking mess. On some level, I don’t blame Obama – if I were him I would have handed the keys to Biden and taken off long ago. But damn, shit is a mess.
And the two years of insanity haven’t even started yet.
@Dennis SGMM: Issa spent something over a million dollars of his own money for the Gray Davis recall effort so that he could then run for the governorship, and it seemed to be working perfectly until Schwarzenegger got in just before filing time.
I thought it was pretty funny, at least how it worked out for Issa personally.
@cat48: And Gail Collins declares that the American people voted to reduce the deficit. What’s her evidence? Beats me, but for some reason she goes out of her way to stick a shiv into Nancy Pelosi before exiting her column. Another Times columnist I can write off.
Dennis Kucinich is the sort of uncompromising, partisan liberal who refuses to do the hard work which will be necessary to put America on a path to Greatness again, to work for compromise with Republicans on the tough and painful policies of shared sacrifice which we all know are necessary.
Anyone who fails to do so is simply avoiding the most important issue of our time, the deficit and debt, which are what is destroying this country and economy and causing all the inflation.
@El Cid: I hate it when you play Bobo after midnight.
Reality check: Dennis Kucinich is a principled and admirable pol whom I could not trust to administer a 7/11. The guy is a damn fine legislator but he has the administrative capacity of a paramecium.
Consider Kucinich’s great proposal from his last presidential run: create a ‘department of peace’ instead of a department of defense.
Of all the proposals Kucinich could’ve made…how about reinstating usury caps on interest rates? How about reinstating the Fairness Doctrine to shut down Fox News and kill of Limbaugh and Dr. Laura’s hate train? How about nationalizing health care? How about cutting military expenditures by 80%? How about eliminating all for-profit banks and make every financial institution in America a nonprofit credit union? How about putting a 500% tax on income earned by offshoring American workers? How about ending the insane unwinnable war on drugs and the insane unwinnable war on copyright infringement?
But, no Kucinich nattered on about a ‘department of peace.’
He’s heroic and valuable as a legislator. As an administrator, I wouldn’t trust him to pick up my groceries.
As for the Republicans, those of you crowing about their alleged “overreach” need a reality check. The Repubs hung themselves by impeaching Bill Clinton in the midst of a booming economy boosted by the dot-com bubble. Today, America’s economy circles the toilet bowl, and the suction is drawing it down. The real unemployment rate runs somewhere around 20%, depending how you measure it, and every day thousands more PhDs wind up living in their cars because American corporations are shipping high-skill high-wage knowledge work overseas to Chinese and Indian PhDs who are eager to work their asses off for $3 an hour.
College tuition continues to skyrocket in a vicious circle. As the economy worsens, middle class kids and their parents perceive an ever more urgent need to get into one of the top 50 Ivy League colleges…and those college know that, and ram their tuitions upwards, recognizing they’ve got a seller’s market. So admissions to the most prestigious colleges are skyrocketing and tuitions have exploded on a rocket sled to the stars as a result.
Everywhere you look today, America finds itself running an unsustainability marathon. With Peak Oil looming, we roar around on 2-hour daily commutes in our SUVs; the more wars America’s incompetent army loses, the more we start, led by cowards and manned by rapists and gang members. Health care costs skyrocket upward even faster today than they did 2 years ago, since doctors and hospitals and insurers now know they’ve got a captive market of 330 million victims forced by the IRS to pay whatever the for-profit health insurance industry demands. Offshoring has accelerated and moved upward, with ever more skilled knowledge workers losing their jobs to PhDs in India and China. Meanwhile, robots and automation continue to destroy jobs from the bottom (robots doing WalMart stocking) to the top (robotic prostate surgery) of the job market. America’s military budget continues to soar without limit even as our civil rights disintegrate. It’s the perfect storm.
In the midst of this holocaust of economic self-destruction, don’t imagine the voters will care whether the Repubs overreach. We’re not in a dot-com powered bubble economy anymore, like 1998. Today, your average voter has either been cut back to part-time or has a kid or a spouse who’s been fired and the voters today are terrified and filled with mindless rage. Voters in 2010 are like rabid dogs, and when the Repubs tear off Obama’s head and throw it to the voters, it’s a good bet that the voters will devour it in a feeding frenzy.
Overreach? Try Sarah Palin wins by a landslide in 2012 when the stimulus peters out and unemployment surges to 13%. The repulsive Darrel Issa is like a KGB goon softening up a prisoner for the real treatment by beating him 8 hours a day for three weeks. Once the prisoner has been reduced to pulp, then the blowtorches and the pliers come out and the interrogators really get to work. That’s what’s coming Obama’s way over the next 2 years.
And the voters don’t give a damn about whether the charges are true are not. The voters are losing their houses, they’re losing their jobs, they’re losing their cars, they’re losing their wives, they’re losing their bank accounts, and they’re filled with white-hot rage and they want someone to pay. Anyone. Doesn’t matter who. As long as someone pays for the end of the middle class in America.
And thanky the lard, we lucky minions have mclaren to stop by and get our minds right.
Shock: Tea Partiviks strongly oppose the last few decades’ establishment “free trade” agenda — yet this is reflected to zero degree by the elected Republican leadership.
Meanwhile, Charles M. Blow in the New York Times is fascinated that the Americans who (at least the voters who) just elected the most powerful wave of Republicans and repudiation of Obama ever to be imagined in the entire multi-verse oppose Republican policies, doubt that they will do much, and also “about half of the respondents said that President Obama still should take the lead in solving the nation’s problems“.
I would really like to believe that he didn’t ask that last part seriously.
Yes, Charles, that is what they are saying: they do not want a functioning democracy. They not only don’t want government to run in the sense of doing what most sane people would think it would do, especially in super-crisis times like now; they don’t give a shit if the whole fucking game collapses on top of all the rest of our heads as long as they and the masters they serve can dodge the debris and get away with the loot.
I’d also like to see what the percentages of that half who wanted Obama to do more to “take the lead” voted for the paranoid rightist TeaTard and radical Wall Streetist Republicans so that they could help their friend Obama “take the lead”.
Issa spent over a million and a half of his own money on the recall. Ahnuld jumped in two or three days before the deadline for filing. Issa dropped out and, IIRC, ar first supported Schwarzenegger and later began campaigning against the recall on the grounds that there were two R’s (I forget the other one) running for the office and if they split the vote then CA’s Democratic Lieutenant Governor would wind up the winner. I tend to think that it was sour grapes on Issa’s part and that he’s just a self-seeking weasel.
When we were first together, you used to like it.
Somehow the editorial didn’t even make me angry either. I am a little angry they call themselves “Democratic” pollsters/strategists too. It’s depressing when you step back & think abt it because everyone just keeps piling on Obama for things he hasn’t even done a lot of the time. There is absolutely no limit on what he can be called or whether it’s the truth or not. Just I feel this way, so it must be true…..I read it on the internet. Just amazing to me.
Because the problems afflicting America are systemtic and global and rooted in the very nature of our society and our institutions.
No one person could fix them. No one person could even make a dent, let alone Obama — who was always basically a temporizing moderate centrist, and never the kind if daring experimental revolutionary we saw with FDR.
Here’s a scenario for you:
America is basically a socially immature culture full of cowboys, and we got lucky. We lucked out in 3 different ways. First, we lucked out because Americans landed in an empty continent chock full of resources — a gigantic great plain in the center of the country with some of the world’s richest topsoil laid down by an ancient ocean hundreds of millions of years ago. Iron ore, coil, oil like you wouldn’t believe. Endless forests, fish up the wazoo, beavers, buffalo herds that filled three whole states.
Americans walked right into that and the only people who stood in our way? A bunch of hunter-gatherers without guns or railroads. Pure luck. Easy pickings. Our cowboy macho culture served us well. “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out!” We did. And we prospered.
Then circa 1900 the rest of world exploded in a series of macho wars and once again America’s immature cowboy culture served us well. We out-macho’d Germany and France and while those societies blew themselves up, we wound up the only developed nation on earth that wasn’t wrecked and ruined. So from1945 to the year 2000, we became economic cowboys, swaggering around the globe selling everything from our crappy gas-guzzling cars to our cruddy kitchen appliances that broke if you looked at ’em funny…because after 1945, the rest of the world had to buy ’em from us, or go without.
We thought our swaggering cowboy macho made us successful. We created a myth of American exceptionalism. We were different, we were special, like a snail caunting itself with bloated pride and shouting “The snail is the greatest of God’s creatures because alone, among all the creatures of the earth, we have SLIME! SLIME is what makes up great! Snails are the EXCEPTION! Because of our wonderful marvellous SLIME!”
But America’s cowboy culture wasn’t what had made us successful. Luck had made us successful.
Now our luck has run out, and all the traits that made us successful for 200 years have turned against us. The world have moved away from world war and toward peace, and our cowboy swaggering is now hurting us instead of helping us. In the world of web 2.0, cooperation is more improtant than competition…but America’s cowboy culture hates cooperation and sees it as weakness, so we fail and decline.
In the 21st century, science and technology rule: but America’s cowboy culture is profoundly anti-intellectual, so we fall farther and farther behind, and try to steroidally bulk up our armed forces to compensate. And we just fall farther behind.
That’s how it works. That’s how a civilization declines.
I agree with most of this—up to the point of Palin being the victorious GOP nominee. I think it will be a more palatable, and therefore electable, robot like Romney/Pawlenty/Thune, but everything else rings pretty true.
Going into this past Election Day, I was hoping against hope that the American electorate couldn’t possibly be as stupid as polls were forecasting.
They were even stupider. And I’ll NEVER make the mistake of underestimating THAT again.
If the economy doesn’t turn around—and the ascension of the GOP in Congress all but assures this—than Obama is in real trouble in 2012.
The difference in the economy is huge, but only part of the difference between now and the 90s-era Clinton witchhunts, impeachment and government shutdowns. The GOP is even crazier and more rabid. The Democrats are even more spineless. FOX News is a much bigger player, and the rest of the media is beyond useless.
Oh, and there’s this internet thing to make it all viral…
Of course it was. And if the recall was going to happen anyway, at least it sucked a million and a half out of the grandiose nutball Issa’s pockets.
He should definitely launch several hundred House investigations on the enemies who undermined his chance to save California.
O/T: CAN WE PLEASE RETIRE THE USE OF THE PHRASE “THE POLICEMAN OF THE WORLD” TO DESCRIBE U.S. FOREIGN POLICY VIA U.S. MILITARY ACTION?
Or at least, be clear, that we’re talking more about the ‘invading the wrong home and shooting the old lady because we thought some informant or other said a drug dealers was there, or at least near this address’ type of policeman.
They’ll impeach him for offering Joe Sestak a job so he wouldn’t primary Specter.
Issa (my congresscritter–I apologize to the world–it’s a heavy burden to bear) has said he thinks that’s an impeachable offense.
It is said that Issa is so excited about all the subpoenas he’s going to issue that his staff is worried about him. He’s got ’em all ready. He’s all set to become world famous!
‘Cause he couldn’t be govner, doncha know.
Inexplicable to me as well. When it first started, I did fret quite a bit to try and understand it, and maybe find some purpose that was somehow eluding me. Finally, I surrendered to the eternal truth that most humans have an agenda, and not necessarily a noble one that makes sense to me, nor that I can accept with grace.
Now when it comes to politics, particularly in the dem tent, you are either on my side, or not. It isn’t personal, and it does feel like the healthiest way to digest politics, with the added benefit of better blood pressure levels/
Yep. This or something similar. There’s plenty of time and space for the crazy shit, but it’ll be something much more pedestrian that brings the gavel down.
Lucy for Obama, he hasn’t done something treasonous, like out a noc CIA agent for political gain. That would be all she wrote.
Evolved Deep Southerner
@mclaren: McLaren, please settle down. It’s bad, but it’s not as bad as all that.
No kidding. It never ceases to annoy me that the Bush Administration offered up an impeach-worthy offense on a weekly basis, which Dems were more than willing to overlook, but on day one the GOP will be going through the White House trash to look for potential kitchen scandals to get their impeachment on.
@Evolved Deep Southerner:
It’s true mclaren is offering up a heavy dose of worst-case-scenario…but I think we’re heading into a period when expecting as much is being prudent.
@Mr. Furious: Tony Reszko!
Quaker in a Basement
Heh. Indeed. Read the whole thing.
It’s bad, but it’s not as bad as all that.
If you expect the worst, you’re seldom disappointed and sometimes pleasantly surprised.
Well, I was thinking of calling my new Repub congressman, a few months after he takes office, and actually encouraging him to investigate Obama for stoopid stuff. I am serious here, I figure the more they overreach, the more likely Obama wins in 2012. I figure, nothings going to happen for the next two years anyway and it’s better to distract with stoopid stuff than have the Repubs do really bad things. A small part of me,though, worries that Americans would actually believe that Obama is a muslim kenyan terrahrist behind 911and also too the anti-christ.
I think mcclaren is 100% correct.
I think you’re being hasty. This was not one of Collins’s best pieces, but (after Krugman) she is the sanest of the Times columnists, and usually a great read. I don’t know where she suddenly got the deficit bug. Maybe a three-martini lunch after being forced to do yet another of those video things with David Brooks.
@ant: I agree. The MSM will ignore it and the public will be unaware there is any protest to endless investigations.
The GOP have one goal and that is getting back to total power in Washington, D.C. They know, if they don’t have the White House in 2012, and the best parts of HCR kick in by 2014, they’ll be stuck dealing with another “government program” people like and won’t be able to kick more money to the wealthy, at the cost of the poor.
I expect anything Kucinich does to protest to be so totally ignored by the media that most people will finally agree Obama was really born in Kenya, because of Issa’s investigations, and therefore Obama must resign post-haste and go to jail for violating the Constitution.
I have never quite known what to make of Dennis K. This tips the scales in his favor quite a bit. Glad to see you swinging Dennis K.
@Mr. Furious: Not overlooked by all the Democrats. Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Cheney in 2007 and Bush in 2008.
You are right and it was a mistake to use Joe McCarthy as a short-hand for the what the House did back then. I’ve changed the reference.
So the problem is that the term ‘overreach’ is too weak to describe what’s coming. Perhaps this could be fixed by adding a word like ‘massive’ or ‘endless’ before it. Or perhaps there is a better word.
Or perhaps we should follow mclaren’s lead and admit that we are doomed, fucked and without hope. In that context it really is quite heroic of him to warn us.
@Steeplejack: It was the unnecessary parting shot she took at Pelosi that really irked me. I mean, what was she trying to do with that line? Think about what it says about how Collins positioned herself politically with it. I think she’s been hanging out with Bobo too much.
@mclaren: Probably no one person could fix the system, but one could hope that the guy who ran on Hope and Change might at least have tried.
joe from Lowell
“Walking around money” is a racist dog-whistle. It is urban political machines in particular that are best known for the use of “walking around money.” This sense of the term seems to have bypassed the readers here, but I’ll guaran-damn-tee you, Issa’s intended audience got the message loud and clear.
Mclaren is wrong, and here’s why: to affect a broad demographic, the proposals and claims and attitudes can’t be too extreme. This is why Obama got elected in spite of being black- the other side was starting to get pretty twisted. Doubling down on that isn’t a winning strategy.
Teabaggers could have done better than they did were they not so crazy and extreme. They absolutely are going to be doubling down on the crazy, and the Presidential election will be a referendum on letting the grown-ups continue to ineffectually try to address huge systemic problems that CAN’T be magically waved away, versus a ravening mob of tea-partiers looking to re-establish the Confederacy (not sure quite how direct they’ll want to be but they will not be adjusting their message to be more palatable, rather more ‘honest’…
to an increasingly black, increasingly hispanic electorate who will (all of ’em, not just ethnic constituencies) need more of the FDR and less of the Reagan, a fair number of whom will not have personal memories of the times when Reagan was President and the ‘government is the problem’ thing seemed to be working.
It would have been a WAY better strategic move for the Republicans to hold back the teabaggers and strike when the whole government could be seized at once in a huge backlash. But they’re not in control of the teabaggers, and so now the economic situation will continue to worsen- and they are ‘in control’. They become the rascals to throw out, where they should have stayed ‘shut out of the process’ and used that framing to strike, but it’s too late.
The only way they could get the framing back is if they spent the next two years going along with Democrats and not trying to sabotage the whole country, because the shit they’ll do trying to sabotage the country won’t help them establish an image as the responsible ones who should be put back in power. Instead, all indications are that they’re out of control, and they’re gonna look like they’re throwing bombs and shutting down the government which is trying to do a ‘socia1ist’ hippy thing that won’t look so bad as it did in the 80s… largely because they can’t control the teabaggers.
This is not a situation to set up a President Palin. This is a situation to set up ‘the Troubles’ here in the USA, except not quite as much over religion. Don’t expect a lot of divisive pugnaciousness out of Obama etc. over the next two years, his best chance is to play to the middle and let the teabaggers run, pick his battles and try to get stuff to people in the trenches as undramatically as possible. No big plays to the left wing or trophy policy victories, but as much groundwork as possible while the wingnuts are focussed on getting trophy victories.
That’s what I’m expecting. Not what mclaren suggests.
I’m confused about what “price” you think Issa could possibly pay for “overreach”? Did Burton ever pay any “price” for his behavior in relation to Clinton?
@Dennis G.: [F]ollow mclaren’s lead and admit that we are doomed, fucked and without hope. In that context it really is quite heroic of him to warn us.
Obama grabbed onto the divisions between the Teas and the grand OLD party folks on earmarks in today’s weekly address.
Andrew Sullivan can be an ass, but he’s right when he often points out that Obama plays the long game and a good bit of jujitsu.
I took Obama picking up earmarks as playing that game strategically. The GOP is staking their fiscal restraint cred (hah!) on nibbling a few billion at the edges – waste, fraud, abuse, dear voters! – and Obama is saying, yup, cut it, and see how the deficit changes not one iota.
This is an irrelevant strategy, based on the assumption that a significant bloc of voters even know what “the deficit” is, let alone give a flying fuck whether it has changed as a result of GOP policy. The GOP runs on “cutting earmarks” and “cutting entitlements”, because those are code for “stopping taking money from REAL AMERICANZ and giving it to NONREAL AMERICANZ”. Regardless of whether that cuts the deficit or improves the economy, it will please the GOP base. And if the economy still sucks ass in 2012, the political party of the president will take all the blame.
Thanks man, needed that good laugh.
Wow. A sternly worded letter. That’ll show Issa.
What’s next? The silent treatment?
If that’s one example of strategy then we’re in a lot more trouble than I realized.
Yeah ! Now, if only he were actually doing stuff that the media simply weren’t reporting, and if only that term of office was 4 years instead of 2…
Spoken like a true inside-the-Beltway kook. If the problem is the attitudes of the American people and the structure of American institutions, declare the problem either unsolvable and hopeless, or refuse to admit there’s a problem at all.
How about this for a third possibility, Einstein? If the problem is with the attitudes of the American people, then the way to solve these problems afflicting America is for the American people to change their attitudes.
Here are 5 attitudes the American people could change tomorrow, and eliminate many of our problems:
 Americans worship macho men and a reckless oversized military. If Americans stopped that pathological attitude and instead viewed invading other countries as a social problem we need to cure in ourselves, and if instead we viewed our gigantic oversized military as an albatross around our necks instead of something to be proud of, many of our difficulties would disappear overnight. We could scale back our military budget to something more realistic (say, $300 billion a year instead of 1.3 trillion dollars a year), which would immediately eliminate our deficit entirely, end our foreign wars, and demilitarize our society. Our police would no longer have the federal matching funds for SWAT tanks and bazookas and LAWS rockets and machine guns and SWAT snipers, and instead police would have to back to doing policing they way they used to: by becoming familiar with the community and getting to know individual business owners and preventing crime by becoming part of the community.
 If Americans stopped their foolish adoration of laissez faire cowboy capitalism and got serious about cooperating to work together, we could eliminate most of the pathologies of our economic system overnight. If Americans no longer worshiped CEOs as living gods, we’d view a CEO with a 500-million-dollar-a-year salary as a social problem to be cured instead of as a wonderful achievement to aspire to. We could raise the marginal tax rate on the rich to 95% and institute an excess profits tax on corporations, as Eisenhower did during the 1950s. By emphasizing cooperation instead of cannibalistic mindless flesh-tearing competition, we could put in place intiatives like bike-sharing and car-sharing programs to cut our dependency on foreign oil. We could eliminate for-profit banks in favor of credit unions. Overnight, our economy would change drastically for the better. Think of the power of cooperatives like Wikipedia and credit unions, and now imagine that kind of cooperation extended to the rest of society. The myth Americans adore is that our country was built by rugged individualism. The reality is that our country was built by cooperation — the great engineering projects like the intercontinental railroad and the Erie canal and the Hoover Dam and the California aqueduct running from the Colorado river down over the San Gabriel mountains weren’t put together by one lone John Wayne type guy… These projects were built by many different Americans working together, and over a period of many years. The Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River was begun in 1936 but only completed in 1949. The truth is that America becomes weak when we try to emulate John Wayne, while America becomes strong when we help each other and work together.
 If we could give up the delusional myth of American exceptionalism, we could begin to fix much of what’s wrong with our society. Many other socieities have thought themselves “special” or “blessed” but they all turned out to be made up of ordinary people susceptible to ordinary weaknesses. The Athenians thought they were special and other city-states were populated by fools and subhumans; after the Peloponnesian War, they learned otherwise. The French thought they were world-beaters, a class apart, during the reign of the Sun King; after the French Revolution and after Napoleon was defeated and sent to Elba, they got an education. The British thought there was something special and godlike about their people but when WW I ended, they learned that they were not much different from any other nation. Now Americans crow about how allegedly “special” and “unique” we are. But we’re not. We need to pull up our socks and get a grip and stop the absurd hubris. Only then can we face up squarely to our problems and begin to solve ’em.
 Americans need to let go of their sick twisted love of punishment and pain. Sending a larger portion of our own populations to hellish assrape prisons is not something to be proud of. That’s a sign of a deeply sick society, not a mark of strength and macho achievement. Ending the war on drugs and stopping torture and eliminating our pointless unwinnable foreign wars and shutting down our macho police-antiterror-military culture of killing and death and torment and pain would be a sign of strength…not an indication of weakness.
 If Americans could jettison their anti-intellectualism and shut down our mindless counterproductive adoration of sports, we’d take a huge leap forward as a society. No other culture absurdly worships high school football players the way America does. No other culture holds smart students in such contempt in junior high and high school. We need to change this, or we’ll go the way of the Spartans, becoming a joke theme park in which we enact bizarre anachronistic rituals like the crowning of the homecoming queen and the annual high school football state championship for the amusement of other wealthier and more successful cultures that recognize the value of scholarship and study.
Dennis G.’s plaintive whine that there are no alternative and there’s no hope represents the typically infantile response of the inside-the-Beltway mentality to America’s current problems. Anyone who points out that Americans need to change their fundamental attitude and transform their basic institutions gets greeted with the usual acid contempt — the same contempt that greeted Lincoln when he proposed that American could not endure half slave and half free, the same sneering disdain that greeted FDR when he proposed “wild hare-brained schemes” like social security and federal deposit insurance for banks.