Sorry if I seem like a Kthug fanboi these days, but you know this is catnip to me:
The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren’t complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats — who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether — have, in fact, gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands.
As I said, it’s not complicated. Yet many people in the news media apparently can’t bring themselves to acknowledge this simple reality. News reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of “centrist” uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides.
It’s a simple story but one establishment media refuses to tell.
Special Patrol Group
That is one shrill motherfucker. Kudos to him.
James E. Powell
Question: Has any divided-government congress ever refused to raise the debt ceiling before now? I don’t mean give speeches denouncing and voting against the bill to raise the debt ceiling. I mean, like the Republicans are now, an outright refusal to do so unless other matters were included.
Too bad he doesn’t call out Tommy by name at the end.
I hate the media, but it’s not just the media. I see a lot of people I know – including friends who are unabashedly liberal and ought to be partisan Democrats – doing the exact same “both sides suck” routine.
Let me try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I have two little kids. When I see them fighting, unless I can immediately assign blame to one or the other, generally I just want them to stop. “Kids, play nice, or I’m going to take that toy away from both of you.” I think this is a normal human reaction in a lot of ways, particularly for people who are averse to conflict in general. They just want the fighting to stop.
People shouldn’t react this way to politics, because the stakes are too high to just blow off the question of who’s right and who’s wrong. But maybe this is just the way it is. You can’t fire the electorate and pick a new one.
1. So Boehner cannot find 216 votes to pass a symbolic piece of crap bill that everyone knows is DOA in the Senate. Poor man. Allow me to express my sorrow: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA…
2. UPDATE: I’m feeling a great disturbance in the force. As if 216 plus House Republicans suddenly cried out in terror and proved to the country and the world they are either stupid, crazy, or both.
Sure, lots of times.
The difference this time is that we hit the ceiling on May 16 and we’re now running out of cash reserves and accounting gimmickry. That’s never happened before, AFAIK.
Both James Fallows and Joe Klein came out with posts placing the blame for this mess on the GOP. Steve Benen linked to them in his daily round-up.
Loved this at the end.
This from NPR made me momentarily happy. I will probably not be able to retire in 20 years, but I can have 5 seconds of schadenfreude: His speakership appears to have hit the Tea Party iceberg and is taking on water.
@James E. Powell:
It was part of the ’96 shutdown.
I agree with poster Steve. It ain’t just the media. It is also those purist progressives who want to believe that Obama is a stealth crypto fascist because he dared appoint people with a Wall Street background to cabinet posts, and because he mentioned the name of the Great Beast Ronnie without using a counter spell.
But apart from this, Kthug is right on. Ain’t it funny how you have economists and comedians (Jon Stewart) doing the work that journalists used to do. Maybe we need to hire some illegal immigrant pundits to do the job that Anglo American pundits won’t do anymore.
And that was full of win for Republicans.
Mike in NC
Fucking pundits, how do they work? What does Cal Asshole Thomas have to say about all this? Oh, never mind…
Another story going unnoticed is that complicated fiscal policy involving billions (and potentially trillions) of dollars and affecting us all for decades to come should not be slapped together at the last minute like a sophomore term paper just so we can meet this artificial and self-inflicted (by the Republicans) deadline.
Thank you, at least I’m not the only one
Davis X. Machina
@James E. Powell: If by divided you mean House/White House (money bills originate in the House.) Looking back a decade, generally you had votes with 214 or less Republicans, and enough Dems provided by the minority for passage, when Bush was President and Hastert was Speaker. So no increases without Democratic help.
When Bush was president, and Pelosi was Speaker, the increases passed, but without any Republican votes.
I have two little kids. When I see them fighting, unless I can immediately assign blame to one or the other, generally I just want them to stop. “Kids, play nice, or I’m going to take that toy away from both of you.” I think this is a normal human reaction in a lot of ways, particularly for people who are averse to conflict in general.
And for people who do react like that, they probably feel good about being the mature parent in the room, or the mediator who makes the bad vibes go away. It’s not helped by the (often justified) stereotypes of politicians being whiners and attention whores. But kee-rist, how much attention does it take to tell the difference between Barack Obama and a stooge like Gohmert or a weasel like Cantor? How can these moderates be that bad a judge of character and make it to middle age without being scammed out of everything you own?
Ozymandias, King of Ants
And what is wrong with that?
Geithner may look like a wimp, but he’s got my respect. Can you imagine? Never knowing how much cash would show up?
McCardle on Twitter:
Davis X. Machina
@Comrade Luke: Liberated from the pink Himalayan salt mines at last…
Okay, everybody is laughing at Boehner, and he deserves a lot of it, but what’s the scenario if someone like Eric Cantor – or a Tea Party Caucus rep – becomes Speaker?
Is that total gridlock? Looks like it. I think we’re very close to that situation now.
I see no way any legislation gets through Congress given the current dynamic. What can Boehner do? Play nice with the crazies, and then … round up more Democrats than Republicans to vote for a Senate bill? I believe that’s unprecedented (if anybody knows of a similar situation where the Speaker got more votes from the opposition, please let me know).
I was surprised at my brother’s big dinner last weekend to find that his entourage–white, age 30-50, middle-class but not really politically engaged–were almost unanimous in blaming the Republicans for the current crisis and adding that the Republicans were making themselves look like asses doing it.
Anecdata, for what it’s worth.
@luthe – Greg Sargent also linked to the Fallows piece, so maybe the narrative is shifting?
At the end of the linked op-ed is this:
David Brooks is off today
Nice touch of teh irony.
and what did they say about the Democrats?
Krgthulu really laid into Clive Crook the other day, which was probably the spark for the latest column. Naturally, Crook doesn’t quite get it.
That seems like a reasonable excuse for ordinary citizens who only pay attention to politics when something big is happening. But it’s no excuse at all for the media. These people are supposed to be professionals whose job is to understand what’s going on in the world. They should be doing their best to figure out who is actually at fault and letting the rest of us know, not giving in to the natural response of the ignorant. What’s the point of the media if they’re only going to feed our natural prejudices rather than inform us?
I cannot imagine how McArdle fills her days so that she regularly has to work on the weekends. Really, I’ve got nothing. Someone help me out here.
I want to compliment you on your fine taste. I’ve been a Kthugulu fangirl for years now.
OT – User lugnut4735 @ FoxNews
Kind of summarized the loyal oppositions negotiating position in a neat way I thought.
Ok, per Wikipedia, there are 240 R’s in the House. Boehner needs 217 or so to pass his POS. 60 of them are in the TP Caucus. So, are there some Republicans who are not TP who are not going to vote for his Boner Bill?
My math is vodka-impaired este noche. If all non-TPs voted with him, he’d need …. um, 180 + 47 to get to 217. He needs 24 or so. So he’s got 190 or so with him so far. would that be that he’s got 10 or so TPs with him so far? I’m so not whip material.
Part of what you’re really seeing with Democrats often agreeing with “both sides” thing is that Democrats seem to address issues with “I see your point, but”, while Republicans address it with “No. Go fuck yourself”.
Which is also why you never see Republicans claim both sides do it. They claim only Democrats do it, and if a Republican does something they’re just a bad apple, or victim of a Democratic conspiracy.
One side tries to engage in a debate no matter how bad the premise, while the other side refuses to budge regardless of whether there’s overwhelming evidence against them.
@Davis X. Machina: I’ve read that reference before, but I have no idea what it’s referring to.
I know, I know – don’t end a sentence with a preposition.
I’ve read that reference before, but I have no idea what it’s referring to – asshole.
That’s the point. They didn’t really mention the Democrats at all–no “Both sides do it,” no “But the Democrats are feckless cowards,” etc. It was pretty much just “Damn, the Republicans are crazy.” Said in sort of “Honey badger don’t care” tones.
Yeah, I’m impressed at the accuracy of their forecasting. I think they have up to an extra week, though. They forecast 8/2 as the day they run out of money, but they forecast ending yesterday with about $55B and they have closer to $73B. Maybe some things shifted around, but states have been reporting higher tax revenue than expected, so maybe the Fed is getting the same and a few extra days out of it.
Golly, Balloon Juice has a lexicon and everything. Too bad no one ever thinks to consult it.
Lexicon post has hyperlinks to the sources.
@Roger Moore: Hence the first four words of my post.
if yer gonna be a fanboi of anybody, he’s the best choice I can think of.
I mean he is literally almost the only person in the entire emmessemm who is not full of shit.
But apart from this, Kthug is right on.
which sentences of the Krugman op-ed were confusing to you? all of them, every other sentence, the subordinate clauses? just curious about how you could completely miss the fucking point?
And they’re not the only ones. I got an email from Mark Warner playing proud papa of the Gang of Six plan, declaring that “partisanship” was the cause of our problems. The worst, though, was his parroting the insane GOP line that “uncertainty” about the federal budget is the reason businesses aren’t hiring. The one thing I hope we might get from Warner is sanity about business, since he is actually a successful businessman (unlike so many Republicans who have unsuccessful businesses, blame the government rather than themselves, and run for Congress on their business experience.)
I have a letter half-written where I ask him to please tell me how many times in his business career he based decisions on whether to hire on the state of the federal deficit or budget negotiations.
People, this isn’t hard: The reason so many people say “both sides suck” in this case is that Obama has not done the job of pointing out how that is true.
The Republicans make insane demands and hold the country hostage. So what does Obama do rather than point out how insane and inappropriate their demands are? He offers to give them most of what they want, thereby legitimizing their craziness and betraying core Democratic principles.
Why do people say “both sides suck?” Because both sides DO suck.
Wow. That is awesome.
The media is scared shitless to do something that gets painted as liberal bias on Fox or Limbaugh because then a lot of seniors and christians are actually calling them and threatening boycot of them and their advertisers, and they’re afraid of losing face when Fox and Limbaugh calls them liberal shrills and they don’t dare respond fuck you.
If we want to get rid of “both sides do it” the conservative way then we gotta match grassroots conservatives fervor until the media is assailed from both sides and something’s gotta break. Then, everyone will decide that it’s time to get back to sane again. But it wont happen until conservatives and the media take some damage from us and, that requires not being lazy and looking somewhat like tools.
@ Comrade Luke
A preposition is not good to end a sentence with.
They’ve been saying both sides do it since before Obama was in the fucking Senate.
“My friends, “
dude, that job relies on people being as stupid you say Obots are.
Good trolls argue on a consistent basis.
Assuming Boehner fails to get the votes for his absurd proposal, what are the press stories? Are they primarily about how extremist and insane the GOP has become to reject such a favorable proposal… or do they focus on process and mainly comment on how vulnerable Boehner now is to a challenge from Cantor?
I think we all know the answer to that.
I specifically referred to “this case,” cranky person.
Oops! that should have read “…how that is NOT true.”
$17B is 1% of the size of the deficit reduction in Boehner’s bill, and Boehner’s bill cuts the least of all the proposals from the deficit. And this is what’s holding it up. No fucking way a compromise bill passes the House.
Sounds like they have a long way to go yet.
And that is a subtle Fuck You to Friedman. After smacking Bobo around last week, I’d say Kthug is definitely not sticking to the Fallows Doctrine.
Ok, That was a moment and a half:
A self-described troll
Objecting to someone being cranky
On Balloon Juice
@ eemom: That is the kind of sentence up with which I will not put.
I shouldn’t have even said anything :)
the future is kinda bleak. I expect markets tank. I expect the real world pressureto build. But really I don’t see the tea baggers backing down until the fertilizer hits the ventilator.
they are imersed in a myth, they’ve been gifted plenty of opportunities to do the right thing, and save face, and refused them all.
I expect they’re singing something like the roof is on fire…
@ 35 Steeplejack
Too funny. (I took the bait. Again.) Thanks.
Not immediately looking like that’ll happen tomorrow. Market futures sold off a bit quickly after the ‘no vote’ call went out but are working their way back. They’re usually a decent predictor for what direction the market will start off in the morning. Asian markets are off about a half percent. Nothing to get too worked up over. Where it ends is a whole other matter though. No doubt there will be more news before markets close tomorrow.
I think Monday is when they’re really start to get worked up. Congress can get a lot done over a weekend. The markets know that.
You mean there are Democrats who think reducing debts and deficits is more important than, or perhaps crucial to, stimulating the economy? Even though it’s stupid? Well, I’m sure two caplets of prescription-strength bullypulpitol will clear that right up.
Also good to see that Krugman’s earlier blog callout of the Cult of Centrism has made it full up to the Friday back page.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
Fortunately, it takes real smarts to win the popularity contest known as the presidency, as both President George W. Bush and President Obama did, so if you win you’re sure to be a good president.
From a friend:
Then again, Jon Stewart, for all his merits, is quite prone to banging the “both sides suck” drum.
In the Fallows’ column someone referenced earlier, he said conservatives were sending him nasty emails about “partisan charts”. The chart, which used CBO numbers, was completely factual, but it proved that Obama wasn’t responsible for the entire national debt(which wingers are told every day). That constitutes “partisan” in their minds.
The media’s appalling behavior during this manufactured controversy brings back memories of the run up to the invasion of Iraq. A collective display of willful ignorance.
Last-minute notice: The Battle of Algiers just stared on TCM a few minutes ago. Great movie. Details here.
@Comrade Luke: But it was such a little perfect unexpected jewel of a moment. I should thank you.
@FlipYrWhig: Tonight was a good example. Stewart was railing against Obama for not having a director for the new CFPB, but didn’t mention the republicans’ blanket filibuster on all the nominees.
Hard. Drives me nuts sometimes. His interview with Obama where he harangued Obama over and over for not changing the partisan tone in Washington and ignored every other issue left me murderous.
But then I say to myself ‘Me, you brilliant and deranged bastard, John Stewart is a comedian. He is exactly as nuanced in his views as I would demand of a comedian. What is fucked is that this still leaves him with higher journalistic and pundit standards than the actual journalists and pundits.’
Phoenician in a time of Romans
So Boehner cannot find 216 votes to pass a symbolic piece of crap bill that everyone knows is DOA in the Senate.
Look, you have to understand how it is with Republicans and the debt ceiling. They’re nearly all old white guys – it’s not surprising that they just can’t get it up…
Jim, Foolish Literalist
…and then went to his rally about nothing two days later and simpered about how it was like merging in traffic, and “we’ll be fine’. I have found him pretty much unwatchable ever since
@Trollenschlongen. This. Exactly what you are saying. Somehow you’re a troll for pointing out that the Leader of the Free World is too high minded to call bought-and-paid-for-corrupt-traitors what they are.
He can scare us all about the debt and shit like he’s Pete Peterson himself, but he can’t call a lying sack of shit a lying sack of shit.
Obama made this his fight. It was fucking stupid. He should have sent over the clean bill ten times. Then he should have offered 50/50. Then he should have offered 60/40. At 75/25 the MSM would have been calling him a noble statesman and he would have won a lifetime Yglesias award from Sully. And he would have had the tax increase for over $250k. Instead he played rope a dope and hide the ball.
The Republicans are taking a bath on this, but Obama could have made the whole fight much clearer and cleaner, without any goddamn SuperCongress that will cut my SS and Medicare, while fucking lowering tax rates on billionaires.
No, I’m not going to stand on my front porch and yell “primary him!” He’ll get my little check in September 2012. But yeah, he could do much, much better. He really listens to the fucking Beltway crowd way too much.
@Comrade Luke: Fuck her, with asiangrrlMN’s rusty chain saw.
Yes, I’m sure that the so-called left backseat drivers would have commended his dealmaking prowess. Just like how everyone remembers fondly how DADT repeal was steered through the Senate in a careful, statemanlike fashion, and the blogosphere almost never exploded in outrage when the process appeared to be taking an annoyingly long time.
@ Hill Dweller : Plus there was the dig about how Obama could have given Warren a recess appointment but he didn’t feel that strongly about her. IIRC the Senate has been using procedural tricks so as not to recess, which prevents recess appointments. But, you know, I don’t mean to do anything more than mildly grumble about Stewart; I’m a big fan. I just thought it was funny that a piece calling out Both Sides Do It led to a discussion that included Stewart, only not as one of the repeat offenders.
There is nothing wrong with being a Kthug fanboi or fangrrrl. With him, you actually learn something.
Although, in truth, both sides DO suck. It’s just that one swallows and the other is Lorena Bobbitt.
@FlipYrWhig: I’m a bit fan, too. It just annoys me when he slips into the both sides stuff, which usually feels forced.
A great love new song for the working class: Queen of Hearts, by Fucked Up.
Add a wall of guitar and bass that still manages to have a pop hook amidst the throb and buzz, and a borderline thrash metal vocal that’s just this side of comprehensible.
This is what today’s young progressives are listening to. It’s fucking awesome.
Cal Thomas and Megan McArdle can both suck on a bag of pink Himalayan salted dicks.
The secret weapon clearing the way for the GOP’s successful “shock doctrining” of the US resides at 1600 PA Ave.
Do any of the so-called proposals appear to be different in shape, size, substance or disaster-making than Obama’s “Cat Food” commission propagandized successfully (sans actually producing a report)?
What makes you think they’ll back down at that point? They will never back down. They will just invent new irrationalities to explain how the shit pelting their faces is the Democrats fault.
The only way to get this country back on track is to elect a majority of Dems in the House, and a supermajority in the Senate. I think the former is a possibility, but the latter seems extremely unlikely.
So, yeah, we’re probably screwed for a while.
What’s up with that? It’s not like the Fox News contingent is tuning in to The Daily Show.
Where the fuck is everyone?
Since when does Obama get to write legislation?
And half the folks here bitch more about Obama from the left than the GOP. When the pony doesn’t show up, there’s always plenty of blame to go around.
Since when does Obama get to send over legislation to a house controlled by the opposition party?
Hm. Who needs the civics lesson, now?
Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal
it really is as simple as krug-life says, that is why it is unbearable to watch.
If Obama was more liberal then everything would work out great.
Re: post title…
America to Tea Party: I hope you’re satisfied with what you’ve done. You think it’s over now, but it’s only just begun.
A great interview with a clueless interviewer opens up this rendition.
News from your foreign correspondent: I was watching BBC morning news today and they announced they’d have a WSJ correspondent on to explain the debt debates in the USA. I braced myself for some nasty both-sides-do-it-ing possibly with a topping of smug murdochian anti-obama mayonaise, and nearly fell off the sofa when the (american) WSJ guy clearly (though uncomfortably) pinned all the blame on the extreme conservatives and the republican party, explained that this is congress’ job not the president’s and said, more or less, god help us all if they don’t get their shit together.
@TheMightyTrowel: WSJ people are business people. They recognize what is actually happening. When speaking to foreign media, they figure the teatards aren’t going to hear it any way and they can be honest.
The last week of BBC coverage has been smarmy american investment news types going ‘debt debt debt both sides do it debt debt.’ This was real real different.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Yesterday Tweety was on fire on this very subject, stating again and again that Bush and his Republicans were responsible for a large part of the national debt and that Obama had racked up relatively little debt when compared to them. The teahadist pol on his show kept disagreeing and trying to change the subject but Tweety kept hammering his ass on it.
Tweety has been on fire about the teahadists for the last few days.
Odie Hugh Manatee: I’ve been watching (which I normally never do) lately and it’s been a lot of fun watching him take on teahadists and delusional republicans – he’s been flipping out at least since last week and it keeps ramping up, I don’t know which I enjoy more these days, Tweety or Sharpton.
“The teahadist pol on his show kept disagreeing and trying to change the subject but Tweety kept hammering his ass on it.”
I love how they always got nothing so they just change the subject and think they can still get away with it like they used to, but it’s not working quite as well these days.
Jay Carney keeps repeating “compromise” as if he has some kind of neurological tic. So, you know, if we take our cues from him, centrism is absolutely essential and, I’m guessing, will cure the economy and all other ailments, or something (?)
@harlana: Centrism is not that important, but the rhetorical position of centrism is absolutely critical.
The stupidity of the typical independent voter is enormous.
My local paper has quotes from my teaparty rep. Chip Cravaack late last night.
Chip could not support Boehner’s bill “But now there’s a balanced budget amendment associated with it”. He has to read it first but hears it’s a good compromise.
Chip said “it would take at least two years for a balanced budget amendment to be ratified by 2/3 of the states to become law”, but having a hard link to it will let everyone know “we are serious about this”.
He also cited a CNN poll that supposedly said 65% of Americans want a balanced budget amendment.
@JGabriel: First off, I don’t see the “both sides do it” as much anymore. And he’s not trying to make political statements. He’s trying to be funny.
Bemused @ 99,, A balanced budget amendment sounds good until you read the details. If the question was, would you support a balanced budget amendment, it’s easy to say yes. Would you support a balanced budget amendment that never raised taxes but instead cut social security and medicare twenty-five percent the answer might change. How about would you accept a balanced budget amendment if it meant that during the time of war we might not be able to defend ourselves? The devil is in the details…
Let’s be honest the Tea Party was supported by the media because they love a good fight. Twenty-four seven news has done more harm to our country than terrorists.
At this point Boehner needs to recognize that he needs democrats to help. Are there any sane republicans that could support the Reid bill? The big difference seems to be they want to go through this again so next time they can add extension of the Bush tax cuts to the bill. Fun and Games in the house.
Exactly, the devil is in the details.
Chip is just doing what comes naturally to republicans…selectively quoting polls because, dammit, the american people are with them.
Since I don’t want to link to Jennifer Rubin’s analysis, it’s to early in the morning, I’ll copy and paste some key paragraphs.
See no problems here. The house will pass the bill and Reid will accept it and we’ll live happily ever after. The tea baggers rule.
According to Chip Cravaack, the original Boehner bill was two votes shy yesterday, thus his vote was “lobbied hard”. He said to them, ” ‘Show me the numbers’. I’m a numbers guy”.
Fuzzy math guy is more like it.
bemused What numbers? They want to cut social security, medicare and medicaid and to extend the tax cuts.
That is part of it. The GOP has painted itself into such a corner that they could not take their own deal when offered back to them. Remember that Boehner controls the timing here, and can control the pacing, the level of urgency, and so on. Even then, he can’t control the radical Army of Dicks that gave him the majority, and they can’t support any kind of deal that Obama, Reid, or Pelosi will support. All that demonization of the last three decades has propelled these people to power, but left them unable to function.
Numbers, schnumbers. Chip’s teatard groupies don’t need no stinkin’ numbers. All they fixate on is the gov’t spends too much & don’t raise the debt ceiling from fan letters to local papers and comments to Chip’s facebook page. SS/Medicare are ponzi schemes, also, too.
House baggers spent last evening and this morning in exclusive communication with their gawd.
gawd tells them to vote NO.
I have requested from their gawd a small favor. gawd, do not allow a bill to come forth from the House.
Realistically speaking, Orange Foolius’ only option remaining appears to be the ammending of the current bill to appease the baggers. That bill would be way to the right with of course no chance of passing the Senate.
At this point, boner cant really care about a bill that has a chance of passing the Senate. He needs a bill, any bill, to get through his own caucus. He has whipped for days with no luck. His only option is to craft a bgger-friendly bill that is sent to the Senate.
Last one holding the proverbial ball, in this game, loses.
Tell the truth and lose access. Perish the thought.
Xenos and Geoduck:
Another part of it is that when people have taken apart the numbers, the bills Obama’s offering are much like his budget earlier this year. They sound like a huge axe job, but they leave the safety net virtually untouched and produce huge sounding cuts that are taken from things like the military… or tax increases described as spending cuts. They’re not the bills we’d like, but they’re compromises that don’t give away the farm at all. Alas, this has kind of backfired, in that it’s the liberal fringe that only hears the word ‘cuts’, not the Tea Party.
None of what you just said is actually true. The MSM is not going to call Obama a noble statesman. They’re just not. Geez, look at the last two years. It ain’t gonna happen. Obama has, in fact, preached the importance of the safety net, called the Tea Partiers unhinged, described what these people want as dangerous to America, done everything except actually yell or scream insults – which wouldn’t help at all. And you think he hasn’t. Why? because *the media doesn’t care*. They want to report Right Wing talking points. Period. I’m hearing that this is, just now at the very last minute, starting to change – but they still don’t want to report anything that paints the Democrats in a good light, just things that paint the Republicans badly.
The man is negotiating with terrorists, and he’s doing it by sounding friendly but firm and using a lot of smoke and mirrors to try and make them think they’re getting what they really want. That’s exactly what every hostage negotiator does, because it sometimes gets the hostage out alive. There is no message war to win, because the message war IS what the MSM chooses to report. What do they report? The horse race, with no interest in policy at all. You know that. The alternatives are the Right Wing noise machine that will never, ever like anything he does and the Left Wing blogosphere that will never, ever like anything he does.
At this point all I care about is, I don’t want to see a teahadi Speaker of any sort (yeah, I keep going on about that).
Keep them out of the chain of command, please? Can we at least agree on that much? Bush was bad enough, and he was almost elected. The Speaker is third in line to be President in the event of assassinations.
After the rightwinger massacre recently, and before that Laughner, I just think that seeing (say) Cantor become Speaker of the House is too late to realize, ‘hey, these guys have a really deep bench of violent murderous fuckwit martyrs’. It’s tragic when they go after liberal Congresswomen, or innocent children- but doing so does not get them to control 2/3 of our government without an election.
Stopping any teahadist from being Speaker would be nice. If Boehner is doomed, is there another corporate Republican that can step in?
You agree with Krugman about what? Everything except his appraisal of the job Obama has done? Perhaps you haven’t read all that Krugman has written lately, but Krugman is
prettythoroughly appalled by Obama’s performance.
The fact that the Republicans are the problem here doesn’t preclude the conclusion that “both sides suck.” For example, Nevada voters were faced with what must have been one of the worst choices in American electoral history — Harry Reid or Sharron Angle. It may have been necessary to choose the lesser evil, but that doesn’t make it pleasant. I can’t blame someone for being pissed off, even outraged, at being forced to vote for Harry Reid, because the alternative is a lot worse.
The number of leftish columnists (Krugman, Meyerson, Dionne, etc., etc. etc.) who have been extremely critical of Obama’s performance has gotten to a point beyond counting. They aren’t “purist progressive(s),” who are holding Obama to some unrealistic, unattainable standard; rather, they are, for the most part, just looking at the historical record and condemning the president for being much too willing to accommodate Republican demands, and, worse, much to willing to offer concessions before negotiations even begin.
From Messing with Medicare, July 25:
Before people freak out and say, “Oh, this is just Krugman responding to wild and inaccurate claims about what Obama has offered — we need to wait until the deal is sealed before panicking,” it should be noted that Krugman can’t be reliable when he reports or even speculates about Republican policy deals, but wrong or reckless when he does the same for Obama. Based on his record, I’m willing to give Krugman the benefit of the doubt that the deal he is criticizing is one he has good reason to believe Obama has actually offered. And I agree with Krugman, that the time to respond, i.e., to express alarm, dismay, disgust, disapproval or whatever is before the deal is sealed, not afterward, when it is too late. That is no different from what the president himself has done — told the GOP he will veto legislation before it is even passed. He’s simply trying to influence the outcome.
Again from Messing with Medicare, July 25:
Krugman to David Brooks and Charlie Rose:
This is Krugman clearly placing the blame on Republicans for our current impasse, but simultaneously expressing very significant displeasure with the president. That seems like a perfectly rational position for a “partisan” liberal or Democrat to assume.
From Harold Meyerson, WaPo, July 12:
It’s easy to find quotes like this, not because Meyerson and Krugman (and Dionne and Klein and on and on) are “purist progressives” out to destroy the president, but because these opinions are a response to how the president has done his job. The columnists all know who is responsible for the current debacle — Republicans — and they aren’t reluctant to say so. However, they are simultaneously alarmed by the degree to which Obama has moved to the right.
In the end, it seems perfectly reasonable to me to conclude that a) the Republicans are responsible for the debt ceiling debacle and b) both sides suck. Of course the Republicans suck a lot more, but since when should anyone be satisfied or happy supporting a side that sucks?
For all we know the entire GOP House could be dead and the bill could be passed. If Obama had been found yesterday morning covered in blood, holding an axe, and standing atop a heap of their butchered corpses the news would have continued reporting that Obama is just not very manly and needs to do what the Republicans want.
Terrible analogy—fails both in terms of the type of legislation and in terms of the negotiation aspect. DADT is a substantive issue, involving one aspect of extending civil rights to a group of people during a time when the public is increasingly on the side of said extension, but not overwhelmingly so. Debt ceiling extension has historically been almost exclusively a formal vote (albeit with symbolic dissent) on a piece of legislation that’s entirely procedural even if the right to create such legislation is explicitly mentioned in the constitution.
As for negotiating tactics, there’s no “deadline” for DADT and there’s no issue of imminent harm to the entire nation. And while in the case of DADT the president supposedly has one additional card up his sleeve, in the debt ceiling case he has multiple ones (14th amendment option, platinum coin option, discretion on what to fund and not fund if there’s no immediate resolution, and so forth).
Triassic Sands @114,
Right. With the understanding that this means “both sides suck, but in different ways.”
It’s the situation of one side being implacable evil, and the other not so yet burdened with feckless leadership. “Both sides suck”—one, for evil, the other for fecklessness.
LOL. Right. Anyone who objected appointing the former head of the NY Fed to Treasury, who was completely asleep at the wheel during the housing bubble, or objecting to Obama eroding the democratic brand by positive remarks about Reagan must a kooky, shrill, pinko Communist.
@114 Triassic Sands wrote,
IIRC correctly, re raising Medicare eligibility age, one of the commenters here a few days ago claimed something along the lines of maybe this is indeed good policy because the health care reform insurance exchange regime might be at least slightly more efficient than standard medicare.
While I’ll be the first to agree that there are problems with standard Medicare, this assertion (given the empirical data) is weak and is just another example of koolaid drinking amongst O-bots.
No one is this delusional
Sock Puppet of the Great Satan
The Republican hostage-takers started squabbling because while the ransom got delivered, the Democrats meanly and in bad faith did not remove all the $100 bills with serial numbers ending in 13 before delivering the ransom.
So the kid got shot.
Both sides are to blame.
the best part is the end, when it says “david brooks is off today.”
yeah, no dug. take ’em down, kthug.
Professor Krugman can’t by name critize another NY Times colunmist because the YY Times has policy against it. All he can do is “wink, wink, nudge, nudge.”
First, for the reasons Eric Alterman explains perfectly well in the Daaly Beast talking about a potemkin media buzz of a “primary challenge from the left” against the President, I will vote for him as the alternative would mean electing the actual “Monster Raving Looney Very Silly Party” to the Presidency.
Bruce Bartlett, former Republican Conservative economist (before having, like David Frum), an anathema declared on him for thinking for himself on the tax cut issue, pretty accurately describes are President’s economic thinking as traditional conservative to moderate Republicanism of the 1980s variety. (Socially a liberal, moderate conservative on economics, they were almost half the Republican caucus in 1986 see Baker, Packwood, Mathias, Gordon, Taft, Voinovich, etc.)
See, Flip, you’re concerned about what critics from the left like me might or might not say, not what Obama actually gets done and how he accomplishes it. That seems like a weird set of priorities.
And yeah, DADT did take an annoyingly, and unnecessarily, long time.
Would someone explain why the Dems seem endlessly incapable of coming up with creative, outrageous procedural tricks to move along progressive goals?
They are ALWAYS the victim.
@ Triassic Sands 114
That is a reasonable commentary, both yours and the ones you quote — a demonstration, rare on this blog, that is IS possible to be critical of the President without being a preening little prick like “liberal,” for example.
WSJ is a large organization, and the Murdochians haven’t identified and purged all of the honest reporters, yet.
@Eemom, “preening little prick….”
Thanks for your erudite, thoughtful commentary on a matter affecting the health and income of 100 million Americans, the future viability of our economy, and the balance of power between capital and labor in the world’s largest economy.
A supermajority in the Senate would be nice, but taking the House would solve most of our issues. The Senate, while sucking, is slightly less crazy the the House. At least for the moment.
None of that’s going to happen while the President joins in blaming the mass of working and retired Americans for our fiscal woes – and while the situation of working retired Americans continues to worsen.
@ TimSchlong : It’s a wee bit relevant to a post about how an alternative Obama strategy would have been received, dontcha think?
What? When did this happen?
The Republic of Stupidity
I do find it… astonishing… that the Repubs have somehow managed to establish themselves as the official street thugs of our political discourse, wherein the only service they provide to the rest of us is protection… from them…
What’s left of the Mafia is soooooooooooo envious…
RE: It is also those purist progressives who want to believe that Obama is a stealth crypto fascist because he dared appoint people with a Wall Street background to cabinet posts, and because he mentioned the name of the Great Beast Ronnie without using a counter spell.
I really don’t give a rat’s ass about the “democratic brand.” I give less than a rat’s ass about the ideological cheer leading that people like to indulge in. I figure that your life must be pretty good if, despite an eroding economy, pervasive underemployment, daily assaults on the dignity of citizens by the GOP, you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about is how the “democratic brand” is doing. Maybe you should consider switching parties.
I also understand Obama’s strategy here. He lives in the real world, a world in which a lot of Americans actually liked Reagan, and a world in which fools relentlessly tried to accuse Obama of being everything but a space alien. Where Obama sees an obvious value in attempting to speak kindly about a man whom some Americans admire, idiot progressives get their panties in a twist because Obama doesn’t talk about Reagan the way that Hugo Chavez talked about Dubya. In their simpleminded little universe, Obama should only be president of the Progressive States of America, and wear the official Democratic Brand(tm) polo shirt while he goes about in public spitting on hard core Republicans.
As to Obama’s appointments to Fed and Treasury, what exactly is the point of continuing to carp about this, except that some progressives have a burning need to feel disappointed about Obama? I would understand it if someone had something substantive to say about current Treasury or Fed policy. Instead, you’re stuck on feebly whining that the folks at Treasury just aren’t your kind of people.
@Flip “We have to spend less, we have to look at entitlements, we all need to sacrifice……..” All of these statements indicate that it the mass of the American people that are causing the fiscal issues.
Wars. Tax Cuts. Period. The president can’t seem to say what is absolutely true.
You need to take a good look at your keyboard because the “missing the point” button is fully engaged.
Well, we shouldnt be surprised that the average Joe can’t get it straight when people who at least more superficially, know more, don’t seem to get it.
It is the responsibility of the US congress to pass raising the debt ceiling. It is not Obama’s role and in fact would be seen as irresponsible, to yank this from them and do anything right now. He may ultimately have to step in but that will be the last minute. All this — the debt ceiling tie to the budget, the inability to arrive at a solution up until now, is completely the fault of the Republicans. The squirming you see them doing now is entirely a result of the administration’s wise decision to let their responsibility remain on them and not do something stupid like declaring the 14th amendment or some such right now.
Some of you don’t need to be talking about how stupid the American people are. Some of y’all may be stupid-er.
Like a broken clock, Krugman is right some of the time. He needs to get a job where he actually has serious responsibility for something except tending his own ego.
@ Elie, I agree with you in principle, and based on a reading of the Constitution. I also feel that part of “close to the vest” Obama is that he is playing the law professor, giving a “hide the ball” lesson in separation of powers. “The Constitution says it’s not my job to write legislation. Why don’t you understand that?”
The problem I have with that is that is not the change I want. I don’t care if Congress gets the blame for not doing its job, the American people will fire the President because regardless of whose fault it is, he didn’t deliver results. That is exactly what happened in the midterm election, and that is where things are headed at this exact moment.
The lesson we need President Obama to teach is how a mixed economy works, and why wars destroy government finances, and why the elite needs to pay a 25% effective tax rate – the lowest in the world – in order to maintain and modernize the world’s greatest economic engine. And he needs to do that by seizing the bully pulpit not to teach “shared sacrifice” and “Congress needs to do its job,” but to teach “shared investment” and “shared prosperity.”
I don’t think the American people are that stupid. However, the President could be providing them with better information.
Yawn. This kind of pseudo-gnomic crap wouldn’t even count as a coherent post on Twitter.
I agree with Kthug when he says this: “Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation.”
I am not interested in whether Krugman is “thoroughly appalled by Obama’s performance.” Krugman on the impact of the GOP stupidity on the economy is useful. Krugman on politics, not so much.
Fair point. But what would a less accommodating president accomplish, given the intransigence of the Republicans?
@Brachiator: The “personalities” of the people in Treasury, and on the economic team are irrelevant compared to the outcomes we’ve seen. And some here have made the argument their prior history was indicative of future actions.
Surely even you with the Purity Progressive ™ stick driven so far up your ass can recognize this fact?
I thought Obama was elected to govern and to fix the economy (to the extent that he can do anything about it). The presidency is not a lecture tour or a re-education camp.
And what the hell is a 25% effective tax rate? And the main problem now is the Congress, Republican control and the presence of some current Democrats. Apart from Obama’s outline of what he wants from tax reform, every proposal coming from Republicans or the supposedly bipartisan Gang of Six would enshrine permanent benefits for the wealthy and corporations and screw the middle class and low income Americans.
And Obama’s tax reform proposals are timid and unimaginative, even though they are far better than the current alternatives.
It’s a stupid, largely uninformed argument, that seeks empty credit for being “right” about Obama’s choice of appointees.
The typical purity progressive argument is that Treasury and the Fed are still doing Wall Street’s bidding, and that only a pure heart progressive can deliver us from evil.
Back in the day, FDR appointed Joe Kennedy to head the SEC because he figured that someone who understood how crooked financial wizards worked could rein them in more effectively than Ferdinand Pecora (who did great work in shining a light on the conniving bastards).
Prior history is rarely a consistent indicator of anything.
Surely even you with the Pointless Hostility(tm) stick up your ass can recognize this fact?