For months, I had assumed that the Republican leadership would be able to find support within its caucus for option No. 2. Based on John Boehner’s brief flirtation with a “grand bargain” that would have included tax reform, the speaker of the House thought so as well.
But based on how quickly he abandoned that flirtation, it appears we were both mistaken. The result was a hanging curveball for President Obama, who spent last week posing as the Last Reasonable Man in Washington, contrasting his willingness to compromise on entitlements with the House Republicans’ intransigence on taxes.
To conservatives, this has been a galling spectacle. A president who spent his first two years in office taking spending to a historic high is accusing them of fiscal irresponsibility? A president who spent the spring demagoguing House Republicans for their willingness to restructure Medicare is citing a much more modest set of cuts as evidence of his fiscal seriousness?
But this fury misses the point. Obama has been playing the reasonability card so successfully because his opponents won’t (or can’t) play one of their own.
Did you see the sleight of hand? Obama’s not really reasonable, he’s just pretending to be, and Obama is to blame for the economic disaster created by Republicans, and no mention of the fact that the GOP was eased into power by… demagoguing Medicare in 2010 then immediately voting to end it. Once again, Dave Leonhardt (really Ross, he works in the same building. I’m sure he could fill you in on this stuff):
The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.
You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush’s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.
The first category — the business cycle — accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It’s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.
About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush. That legislation, like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt.
Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.
About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February. And only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama’s agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.
Back to Douthat- that is how it is done. Lie through omission about the cause of our financial woes, claim the President’s policies aren’t really reasonable and that he is just pretending to be, and completely ignore the fact that the Republicans are batshit insane. Last week’s Ross Douthat, still fluffing the crazy party, assured us this was all GOP strategery. Today’s Ross Douthat, while continuing to apply unflinching suction to the GOP, wonders what went wrong.
What went wrong? Maybe they listened to idiots like Douthat, or maybe they feel unconstrained by reality because they always know Ross will be there for them to give them a wet sloppy one. And he knows he will always get a check for his services, be that at the NY Times, or if that doesn’t pan out, there is always the Heritage Foundation or the Pacific Institute or some other wingnut welfare pub to push his drivel.
It’s all in the game.
Can we call him Ross Douche Hat from now on? Can we, can we, can we? My inner 12-year-old will be forever gratified. And, heck, I think it plays just as well as “Chunky Bobo” and with a touch more credit to Ross’s unique, um, qualities…
Ross “Goebbels” Douthat.
“It’s all in the game.” Great, we are now officially living in a giant episode of The Wire.
So who gets capped in the head by a 10 year old?
Sorry John, but I don’t read that disingenuousness in Douchehat’s diatribe. “Playing a reasonable card” doesnt , by it’s usage, necessarily imply he’s being sarcastic or dickish. I thin he means O has reasonableness in his repetoire and has used it well here. I’m sure others will vociferously disagree
I thought my assholes were just faking not understanding how the economy works. My bad! They really are just as stupid as everyone said!
And from the bottom of the deck, no less!
Im not down with the wars, but at least Obama places war expendatures in the budget-unlike gwb who did all war funding through off-budget appropriations.
Its only over-spending if you are a Democrat.
And of course, the other bit of sleight of hand about “taking spending to historic highs.” Nearly all of the increase in federal spending (other than wars that the GOP approves of) is because of the increased demand for social programs to cushion people from the crushing effects of the economic crash that resulted from the very policies Douche Hat would like to return to.
As with many of the elements of their catechism, I often wonder which of them actually believe “we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem” and which of them know it’s a lie, and which of them don’t know and don’t care.
It’s weird how there are no longer actual things anymore, only cards of things. Daily Howler actually has an interesting post today on how Theodore White started this whole line of commentary, and almost instantly regretted it.
i love the not subtle implication that obama’s the big spender who’s to blame for our huge debt.
I’ll bet that Obama moved the cost of the wars on-budget precisely so that he could later claim credit for cutting the budget (sorry, “play the budget-cutting card”) when he winds them down. Which is exactly what he is trying to do right now, over the objections of Cantor.
Ohio Republican state rep Mecklenborg resigns. He’s the family values guy busted on a DUI with a hooker and “performance enhancing drugs.”
Ohio Republican state rep Mecklenborg resigns. He’s the family values guy busted on a DUI with a hooker in Indiana.
I would say that you should go ahead and place him on the list of Assholes We Don’t Bother With, which also includes Richard Cohen, Bobo, McMegan and Sullivan.
Except you guys read and complain about all of them constantly too, so fuck it, I guess.
Perhaps he could expound upon the word “restructure.” Manipulating the budget so the funds come out of a different pot is not the same thing as raising the eligibility age to 85.
In fact, maybe he could give a lecture to a local almost-eligible-for-Medicare group wherein he explains what he means by “restructuring” and see how much they appreciate it.
It’s a bit more than that. Part of the advantage for Bush of putting the wars off budget is that it let him massively increase defense spending without a similar increase in the defense budget. Moving the wars back on budget lets Obama pull the opposite trick.
OT: The Guardian is reporting that Sean Hoare’s death is being treated as “unexplained, but not suspicious.”
Dear John —
Please don’t ruin blow jobs for me.
Also OT: Looks like Rupert Murdoch is going to follow Alberto Gonzalez when he appears before Commons Culture committee.
ETA: Blockquote fail. FYWP.
This is the phrase that annoyed me:
Because what really matters is pissing off liberals.
Douhat never fails to disappoint.
Obama actually IS the last reasonable person in DC.
It’s all just circling the drain. I’ve got to muster the discipline to learn Mandarin.
O/T (this thread)
TPM reports NOTW whistleblower found dead.
douthat is an assclown
Doesn’t that just mean he wasn’t found with a bullet in him, bleeding out on the floor, or a rope around his neck, or some other obvious example of foul play?
He’s got a history of drug and alcohol problems, so perhaps they’re taking that into account too.
Seems highly suspicious to me. Maybe it’s just a heart attack or something, but the timing is very coincidental. Heart attacks can be caused by many things.
I can’t remember if I read it somewhere or thought it up on my own, but for the last few years whenever his name comes up; I think of him as “Doubt that”. I got into the Daily Dish because of a Time magazine suggestion (I’m still embarrassed about that); back then I tried to read a few Douthat and McCardle pieces after Sullivan linked to them and gave up after the first few attempts, thinking why is Sullivan referring to these clueless idiots? I still enjoy the scope of the Dish, but I lost a lot of respect for Sullivan for treating them seriously.
I’d bet a good sum of money that guy’s death is no coincidence. The drug and alcohol problems just made it easy.
Mike in NC
Grover Norquist Lite
Give a conservative pundit a break.
After all – what’s he going to do? Write stuff which actually reflects reality … in which case it’s the same as what’s being written on the same pages by Krugman and Kristof and Leonhardt, and it becomes clear to everyone what a lousy writer he is? Or continue to flounder while being the Times obligatory representative of the dark side?
If he doesn’t write tripe like this, he’s irrelevant and doesn’t have a job. QED.
John O: What’s the saying: there are no coincidences in politics. All I know is that if Murdoch has the black ops to do what he’s accused of having been doing, then he has the black ops to take out someone while making it look “not suspicious.”
Culture of Truth
Even by admittedly low standards of judgment for master Ross, this part makes no sense.
Hey Southern Beale do you know, or anyone else, how and why the public disclosure of the bleu pill was not a violation of HIPPA given that it is not a crime to take it or was that also a charge? thanks
Took a glance at Douthat’s column. From what I read, the column seems to be of the dominant school of public affairs analysis done in these great United States.
Which is that everything can be reduced to maneuvering to gain power through symbolic displays of symbolic beliefs and symbolic positions designed to sway a population of voters swayed by symbolism.
There are two advantages to this approach. One, it is familiar to all of us in our daily lives as we try to thread though endless psych out head games with family, friends and significant others.
Two, since most of this stuff is really baseless speculation done in an endless hall of mirrors, it requires no connection to reality, and no potentially embarrassing mistakes, and no bothersome actual work at reasearch or understanding, or even knowledge of basic facts. A guy can churn out opinion and analytical product on schedule and have time to enjoy the paltry loot from the job.
Brooks to his credit, has ventured out of this realm from time to time. Unfortunately, he makes little mistakes, like thinking health care relative effectiveness research is part of a policy to ration care. Or that the Dutch health care system has anything at all in common with the Ryan plan.
But who will catch those awesome howling blunders? And if they do, they are arid and boring people who will never make to TV or high profile columnist debates in the NY Times.
Edit: I mean debates with names, like Marcus (izzat her name?) and Brooks. Not columns a clef with unnamed referents, like Krugman does.
“It’s all in the game”.
“The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.”
The last 11 years especially, have seemed like a long-running episode of The Wire. Has it ever been thus, or is it particularly bad now?
On the other hand, kudos to Dave Leonhardt for citing the actual sources of the deficit. Those statistics can’t be emphasized enough.
Murdoch has enough power, influence and money to do pretty much whatever he wants. Sure is comforting that he’s always used all that for good, though, right?
Just like it was liberal teevee cameras that lost Vietnam, the lack of liberal action to successfully stop insane republicans from destroying America’s economy, will be written in Texas school books. Or, republicans cannot fail, because fate is a liberal weine, when the pot smoke clears.
And don’t ask. I am passing a kidney stone, that will get worse before it gets worserer.
This may be a bit of a hijack, but I want to know why Obama isn’t giving one of those speeches he can give? Why hasn’t he stood before a camera in the oval office and explained what 9.2% (16%) really means: hard-working people’s dignity and identities eviscerated, once-stable families on the street, former middle-class parents using food stamps, long-term depression, increased marital strife/abuse/divorce… etc. These are not abstractions – these are our neighbors, brothers and sisters, etc etc. Why isn’t he telling real people’s stories in detail – tens of millions of real people’s stories? And why isn’t he then turning and pointing a finger right at the Republicans and naming them for what they are – a bunch of cowards and corporate concubines who don’t give a shit about Mary from Cedar Rapids, Iowa but care a lot about Jamie Dimon, Rex Tillerson, Mike Duke, et al and their yachts that they might not be able to staff at full capacity, and their vacation homes in the Italian Riviera that they might have to shutter for a while, and their $5 million dollar birthday parties they might have to tone down, and the personal Rolling Stones concerts they might have to postpone… Why the fuck isn’t he doing this right NOW?
Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen
Yes we African-Americans are sneaky like that. When we appear to reasonable (or well educated, or law abiding etc.) we’re really just doing it to make some Caucasians, somewhere, look bad.
Ok – the whole post became the link but you get the idea.
@25.Kevin – July 18, 2011 | 2:44 pm
I couldn’t quit Sully because of the occasional Dish nugget amongst the turds, but when he decamped The Atlantic and continued to link and heh-indeedy McMegan I recognized I’d been giving him the benefit of a doubt that he was simply toeing the company line like a good fellow.
Was I ever wrong. I don’t read him anymore.
Yes. He. Has. Been. A. Force. For. Good.
Without Fox News questioning Florida’s vote in 2000, after all other news networks gave it Al Gore based on exit polling, we would’ve been stuck with a fat man in the White House.
I’m sorry, but the days of Taft are over.
Bush, Jr. was one of the most physically active and fit Presidents in my lifetime. His exercise regiment would put men half his age to shame.
Without Murdoch’s great power for doing what is right, we’d have been stuck with fat Al Gore in the White House.
I’m sorry, but that’s only the tip of the ice-berg, when it comes to recapping the greatness Mr. Murdoch has brought to society, via his money and power.
If there were more men like him, the world would be a better place.
Ella in New Mexico
My money’s on v-tach. Sometimes it’s called “Broken Heart Syndrome”, but it can kill after any type of extremely emotionally stressful event:
I almost choked on that one.
here’s the one good thing about this week’s insanity: temps here in deecee are supposed to be into the hundreds all week. At least those motherfuckers are sweating their guts out on the way into the Capitol in their suits.
Now, what would REALLY be awesome is if the a/c in that building would crash. Then someone could lock the doors and it could be sort of like the last scene in Inglorious Bastards. A girl can dream.
I’m so glad the wars, and the Medicare prescription drug benefit and the tax cuts were all free.
@41.gene108 – July 18, 2011 | 3:03 pm
Glorious snark there, congrats. But: who the heck puts a parenthesis in iceberg?
@Ella in New Mexico:
Yeah, that’s kind of what a meant. The stress could really have done him in. Or, maybe Murdoch’s minions poisoned him. I hope the family insists on an independent autopsy.
Why can’t the “liberal” New York Times manage to find an honest conservative to grant precious space on their Op-Ed pages? Is hyper-partisanship and dishonesty the very essence of conservative opinion, so that if William Krystol, David Brooks or Ross Douthat avoided lies, logical fallacies and partisan cheap-shots, they couldn’t be considered as true conservatives, or what? What’s the partisan counterpoint to one of these guys, someone who always tells the truth? Except how would that explain the “liberal” Maureen Dowd? It’s hard to believe that the New York Times couldn’t do better than this if they really wanted to. It makes me all the more sorry that Frank Rich left his column there. At least they still have Krugman.
Culture of Truth
It may well have been, but fwiw police are not covered by HIPAA.
When do we start a News Corpse Dead Pool. I say he tops Clinton when the smoke clears.
That’s a “roughly $2 Trillion swing” PER YEAR.
Let’s be accurate, a trillion here, a trillion there and pretty soon we are talking real money.
much thanks culture of truth, though raises a host of disturbing thoughts….
Yes, others who read the rest of what Douche-hat wrote will indeed disagree:
There is simply no way to read that sentence as anything other than an assertion that Obama’s reasonableness vis-a-vis the GOP is dishonest.
Another Bob @ 48 “Why can’t the “liberal” New York Times manage to find an honest conservative to grant precious space on their Op-Ed pages?”
Because there aren’t any?
yeahyeahwhatevs (Studly Pantload, once upon a time)
Body OdorBrick Oven Bill couldn’t have said it better!
Villago Delenda Est
Douchehat’s facts are utterly uncoordinated.
By “uncoordinated” I mean they are outright fabrications.
Norman, coordinate. With a large rusty chainsaw.
Because there aren’t any.
Exactly. The Times could hire someone like David Frum, who, while still given to occasional misrepresentations, logical fallacies and partisan cheap shots, does not sometimes inhabit the same reality as the rest of us, but anyone who disagrees in the slightest with any of the conservative articles of faith (even when the contradictory ones) is immediately declared an outcast and an enemy and a liberal (like Frum.) That’s a problem because it defeats the purpose of the Times having a “conservative” columnist, which is the futile task of attempting to show that they are even-handed and non-partisan. (Futile because the wingnuts will consider anything that is not pure wingnut as “liberal” and biased.)
Trying to give a forum to thoughtful and interesting writers of various political viewpoints is not a bad thing. The problem is purely that there is no longer any intersection between conservative and “thoughtful and interesting.”
I don’t think the word conservative means what the NYT or the Republicans think it means.
Wait, wait, wait
This was, actually, the crux of Larry O’s argument last Wed on MSNBC. Obama’s real goal was to string to GOP along for a couple of weeks with these “negotiations.” The dim-witted GOP would believe that a bunch of things had been agreed to at the bargaining table, then all of a sudden Obama would sucker punch them by presenting them with an agreement that no one could possibly read or understand. The GOP caucus would all see how they had been tricked, then meekly raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached.
Again, maybe everyone here doesn’t subsribe to the theories of Larry O on MSNBC; but if you do, why is Douthat making essentially the same sorts of conjectures a problem?
For example, Brooks comes within a whisker of being kicked out of the club every time he says something even remotely sane, no matter how glaringly obvious his statement is to the non-teatards, and no matter how much he muddies it with bullshit false equivalence.
Not to mention the NYT is always Example Number One of the librul media and its bias. That will not change by having a token liar, oh sorry, conservative, on the op-ed page. Plus they already have fucking Bobo for that anyway. I mean geez, the WaPo is still held out as a liberal rag sometimes despite their OpEd staff being to the right of Attila the Hun outside of Eugene Robinson. The Times might as well just hire really good columnists, and not worry about ideological balance, I’d say. I mean, hell, Kristol had to apologize for at least one error per column (which was getting off awfully easy, of course) anyway.
That’s not a $2 trillion swing. That’s a $6 trillion swing.
That’s going from paying off the national debt by 2009 (was $5.5T) to a debt of $16T, or a swing of more than $21 trillion dollars.
How’d they get it so wrong?
Where’d the money go?
Got it in one. The rest follows from there.
This theory of his is only slightly less detached from reality than the GOP’s proposals. If Obama’s reasonableness is a pose, it’s one that he’s maintained throughout his entire career. These clowns attacked him as being aloof, detached, and emotionally Spock-like, and now they’re claiming that his unflappability is only a mask. It’s pure hackery.
It’s not. But Douthat is a tool anyways.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@eric: It’s not a HIPPA violation because it wasn’t a “medical record” as defined in the statute: it was a police record of a blood analysis performed pursuant to a search warrant, since he refused the breath test, the dumb fuck.
Douche-hat it is! How appropriate!
I think a competent hack should have a firm grasp of the concepts of “more” and “less.” Douthat denounces Obama for saying the Ryan plan elimination of Medicare as we know it was excessive and then proposing smaller cuts. Saying to Republicans that their proposal is too extreme but that a less extreme proposal would be acceptable is not flip flopping, hypocrisy, deceit or anything Douthat suggests*.
In contrast, Republicans said the reasonable cuts to Medicare spending in the PPACA were death panels and too extreme, then proposed something vastly more extreme. Also the PPACA saved money by increasing efficiency by ending the subsidy for another layer of bureacracy while the Ryan plan would reduce efficiency by making such pointless paper shuffling mandatory (and the smaller reform Obama says he would accept would do some of this too although not as much as the Republicans want).
It is jellyfish spinelessness since the cuts which Obama is willing to accept would kill people and increase the total cost of health care, but Douthat’s point isn’t that it is depraved idiocy to compromise with Republicans.
Well, the idiots do. To some level or other. Some of them even repeatedly front page excerpt his nonsense and claim it as Gospel.