Pirates Off the Starboard Bow

Jolly Boehner

I remember once I went with a girlfriend for her first new car purchase. I’d been through the whole dance routine with new car salesman before and she wanted me to walk her through it. So I told her all the car salesman negotiation strategies such as: don’t take the first offer, don’t tell them you have $20,000 in cash from Daddy, every time the salesman says ‘let me talk to my manager’ you can get a lower price, always be ready to walk out no matter how much you love the car, etc.

So we test drove a couple of things and she fell in love with one car in particular. The list was $32,000 and she immediately told the guy Daddy had given her $20,000. I literally saw his pupils dilate. He said, “We can go to $29,000”. Before I could pull her aside she said, “I’ll take it”.

Sometimes I think the President is like my old girlfriend. So eager is he for compromise that he is willing to give up a lot to get even the appearance of playing nice. So far it has worked. Remember the lame duck session? The president was able to get everyone to cooperate and he got DADT, START, middle class tax cuts, and unemployment extension among other things. But it cost us. He had to dangle that two year extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich in front of the Republicans like a golden piñata. And it will cost the country a cool trillion in lost revenues over the next few years to pay for it. But the President came out looking heroic because no one really thought the Republicans would budge.

Budget crisis? Shocking!

Now the Republicans are shocked, shocked I tell you, that we’re in a budget crisis. It’s time to tighten the belt, call for austerity measures for everyone (wink), and cut spending, cut spending, cut spending. And where did Republicans demand to cut spending? We aren’t completely sure yet but we know a lot of it was from social programs and other programs that will cause job losses. Hey…didn’t these House Republicans just ride into power in 2010 on a platform of job creation?

So now we’re faced with working out the budget for the remainder of the year because Democrats were too afraid to address it last summer lest they curry disfavour and lose control of the Hou…oops.

The problem with the Republicans controlling the House is they get to write the bill first. That means they can demand all kinds of things that don’t necessarily have to do with the budget like de-funding NPR, Planned Parenthood, eviscerating the EPA, and so on. The Senate, even though it is in Democratic hands does not have a filibuster proof super majority so they become essentially a veto vote like the President.

The one thing that Republicans have learned through all this is how to hold the country hostage. Give them what they want or they’ll shut down the government; a strategy they apparently didn’t learn from the first time. Or perhaps they did because Speaker Boehner managed to avoid the shutdown by getting his caucus to agree to the final deal at the 10 ½ hour. Another crisis averted and the President says, “See? We can all come together”. Meanwhile no one is really happy with the deal and realistically it barely makes a dent in the budget.

But we’re just getting started. After George Bush rolled into town and squandered the Clinton era surplus on tax breaks for the rich and a couple of unfunded wars, we’re up to our ears in debt ($14.5 trillion last I checked) and the deficit needs to be addressed. We will need to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid defaulting on our debts. Were we to default on our debts, the consequences would be much graver than shutting down the government; it would destabilize the world economy. No brainer, right? Raise the debt ceiling to avoid the calamity then figure out how to deal with the debt and deficit.

And this is where the outrage comes in. The Republicans are planning the same strategy as the recent budget fight over raising the debt ceiling. They plan to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to get more of their conservative agenda enacted. I’m surprised they haven’t demanded overturning Roe v. Wade in return for agreeing to raising the debt ceiling; something they have never failed to agree to. They would rather burn down the world economy in a selfish game of chicken to get their way.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)

I’m proud of my local Representative, Peter DeFazio. Affectionately known as ‘Da Faz’ because he’s kind of cool for such an unassuming guy, Rep. DeFazio recently called President Obama out on his seemingly insecure desire for everyone to like him. He is hoping to rally enough Democrats to encourage the President to push back against the Republican hostage tactics.

.

Co-founder of the House Progressive Caucus, DeFazio said that he and other caucus members will be pressuring the president to keep his campaign promises and “act like a Democrat,” adding that the biggest mistake House liberals made in November was to not push back against the president when he failed to represent the party.

“That’s what the House did wrong in the last Congress,” DeFazio said on MSNBC on Monday, “and in part why we lost is we never pushed back no matter how wrong he was or how off-base he was; we never pushed back.”

My Congressman is right. It’s time to take a stand against the House Republicans using this strategy of hostage taking. It’s dangerous, irresponsible, unreasonable, unethical, and a host of other adjectives I don’t have time to think up. Everyone knows the debt limit will have to be raised. How to address the core of the problem is a separate matter.

Oh the Republicans have a plan for addressing the debt and deficit. Rep. Paul Ryan has assembled the Republican’s ‘Path to Prosperity’. Any idea what some of their ideas for prosperity are? How about tax cuts for the wealthy; permanently? How about gutting and dismantling social programs like Medi-care? Yes it’s a path to prosperity for someone, just not for 95% of Americans.

The President will outline his idea for addressing the nations fiscal straits soon. I hope that he takes a hard line this time. Playing nice may have gotten him this far but play time is over. I hope that he governs the rest of this term as though he were a one term President. If it’s his last thing to do in office, I want to see those Bush tax cuts expire. The wealthy and corporations must pay their fair share like the other 95% of us.

We’ve got better things to do in this country than continually playing defense to the Republican conservatives in congress.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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60 Responses to Pirates Off the Starboard Bow

  1. parksie555 says:

    Hey U, don’t complain about the Republicans with regards to the budget. Your party had both houses of Congress and the White House last year and still couldn’t be bothered to pass a budget for 2011.

    In the immortal words of Will Rogers – “I belong to no organized political party – I’m a Democrat”.

    There’s always an excuse with liberals.

    “It’s the damn filibuster rule”…”Those darn Republicans playing chicken with the world economy”…”it’s those paper ballots”…”It’s those electronic voting machines”…”The whole problem is this Electoral College thing”…”Can’t these stupid people see they are voting against their own economic interests”…”Those darn Republicans have Fox News and all we have is the rest of the media”… “Our programs are great, it’s our messaging that sucks”…Etc., etc., etc.

    Aaaand of course the ever popular – “It’s Bush’s fault!” – although even our wobbler in chief is starting to realize that one is a little used up.

    It’s part of the whole liberal mindset – it’s not really about rolling up your sleeves to solve a problem, by whatever means necessary, it’s about complaining about how good the other guy has it and blaming the system.

    And when you lose or your program goes belly-up…well, there’s always an excuse.

  2. Mule Rider says:

    I get sick of this “Republicans/conservatives are trying to destroy America and destabilize the world economy” schtick from some of you liberals….for one thing, it makes me laugh out loud when you then turn around and complain about Reps/cons being the only ones who resort to fear-mongering . But it’s not ‘fear-mongering’ if it’s true, right? Yeah, spare me….

    No, the problem is the unfettered growth in spending on liberal-backed social programs without paying for it. Yes, we can raise taxes on a few, but ultimately we need to CUT SPENDING and, in some cases, we need to make SIGNIFICANT CUTS. We’re even being called out by the IMF now…

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc1aadea-652e-11e0-b150-00144feab49a.html#axzz1JQ6yyHe0

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the US lacks a “credible
    strategy” to stabilize its mounting public debt, posing a small but significant risk of a new global economic crisis. The IMF said the US was the only advanced economy to be increasing its underlying budget deficit in 2011 at a time when its economy was growing fast enough to reduce borrowing.

  3. rgbact says:

    I don’t get liberals complaining about Obama caving. He rammed thru a huge permanent increase in spending and a HC plan in his first 2 years. His job is now to preserve both and play rope-a-dope on entitlements while appearing moderate. Then wait for economy to improve to move forward on stuff like green intiatives and immigration. He’s winning the debate imo. He has the GOP proposing milqeuoast plans as if they were revolutionary.

    The big failue was not raising taxes in 2010. The Dems would likely still have got shellacked in Nov-so there really wasn’t much risk. Now raising taxes will never happen without a massive concession on entitlements.

  4. shortchain says:

    rgbact,

    What “permanent increase in spending” was that?

  5. dcpetterson says:

    Mule Rider, I’m curious — in specific, which programs would you cut? What would you expect the economic impact of those cuts to be?

  6. GROG says:

    Obama giving a sales pitch on big government. Shocking.

  7. Mule,
    I note that the quoted text said nothing about spending. It’s about increasing deficits. There are, of course, two different ways to address deficits. One is by cutting expenditures, and the other is by increasing income. My read on the economy is that the time is way overdue to return to at least the 39.5% top rate.

    Incidentally, I seem to recall you also endorsing increased income taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

  8. Mule Rider says:

    “Mule Rider, I’m curious — in specific, which programs would you cut?”

    Pretty much anything and everything. I don’t care what it is, it probably needs to be scaled back.

    “What would you expect the economic impact of those cuts to be?”

    It’s tough to quantify, but short-term there would definitely be some pain as capital is transitioned from predominantly malinvested sources to more efficient ones….something that is absolutely necessary for long-term health, stability and sustainability.

    By the way, what would you expect the economic impact to be of perpetually growing the debt to a level that we can’t pay back?

    I can guarantee you that that’ll be much more painful than the temporary hardships resulting from these cuts.

  9. shortchain says:

    If we’re just going to cut, then the things to cut the most are the defense budget and Medicare.

    So the biggest buck for the bang would be to just pull out of the middle east, shut down or mothball the shipyards in Mississippi, eliminate a couple of carrier groups, and close most of the airbases, especially in the midwest.

    For Medicare, repeal the no-negotiation clause in the Medicare drug benefit and chop the rates at which doctors are compensated for procedures.

    Sound good?

  10. Mr. Universe says:

    @Parksie

    There’s always an excuse with liberals.

    Not excuses: every one of those criticisms is true

    it’s not really about rolling up your sleeves to solve a problem, by whatever means necessary, it’s about complaining about how good the other guy has it and blaming the system.

    Not true. We have to spend all our energy fighting the misconceptions that you have accepted without examination. I’ve been fighting for renewable energy, sustainability (which means a cleaner environment, social justice, and economic prosperity for all, not just the rich), education, innovation, and myriad other things that will keep our country competitive in a changing world; not some archaic Roman Empire stuck in its past.

    The only reason for this income disparity is that the system has been gamed for thirty years. That’s going to change.

    Think outside the conservative cage there, Parksie

  11. Mule Rider says:

    I don’t disagree with anything you said, Michael, and I don’ t have a problem with raising taxes on the upper class as a partial solution to the problem. But they only have so much income that can be taxed to address the issue so the bulk of the deficit reduction will have to come from unsustainable growth in spending on many government programs.

    When an individual gets into dire straits with their personal finances, how often do we say, “Boy if they could just be making more money; either by taking a second job or squeezing out more money at their primary job. Or by selling off their personal effects or blood/semen or whatever it takes to raise cash.”? Hell no! We say, “They need to cut their friggin’ spending back to where they’re living within their means!”

    Sure, working overtime/2nd jobs, selling off assets, etc. will bring in more cash in the short-term but it’s not really a viable long-term plan. Eventually the extra work will wear you down and leave you lonely and tired or you’ll run out of “extra assets” to sell. No, the simple solution is to cut your spending back to a level that you can afford. And right now, we’re not doing that as a country.

  12. parksie,
    Surely you’re not so naïve as to be unaware of the historical difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to legislative discipline. You can call it an excuse if you wish, but it hardly changes the causal relationship.

    And the rest of your list of “excuses” has a similar list from the right: “it’s ACORN stuffing ballots” … “it’s the Black Panthers scaring away voters” … “it’s the unions shipping in protesters” … “it’s the liberal media” … “all Democrats want to do is create a nannystate where people are dependent on the government for everything”

    So, sure, you can go painting others with a big brush, but what’s the point?

  13. Mule,
    There are (at least) two problems with making the comparison between the government and the individual. First, the individual’s expenditures have nearly zero impact on the individual’s income. The same cannot be said for government. Second, individuals are generally predisposed to maximize their income. The same cannot be said for government.

    So trying to draw those analogies between government finance and personal or corporate finance don’t work beyond the most superficial levels.

  14. rgbact says:

    SC-

    My reading of the numbers is there has been a huge jump in spending since 2008 (the last sane year), mostly under the guise of “stimulus”. So, we are now essentially in a permanent stimulus economy–which is kind of like the “permanent war” scenario—use a short term crises to instill a permanent new reality. Liberals should love this. The GOP has essentially bought in that all govt is far to important to the economy to risk shutting it down or curtailing.

  15. Mule Rider says:

    “….don’t work beyond the most superficial levels.”

    Only a liberal would dismiss the idea of “spending within your means” as superficial. If you can’t see that as what’s at the core of the problem, then you’re part of the problem, and God help this country if that’s the predominant mindset, because we’ll eventually spend ourselves into a big black (err, red) hole.

  16. drfunguy says:

    @MW
    Translation: No true Scottsman would object to my analogy!

  17. drfunguy says:

    @Mule
    Where does Michael dismiss “spending within your means” as superficial?
    His points, if I read them right, are:
    First, it is not very useful to look at Government spending the same way one looks at an individuals spending.
    Second, that how the government spends is also important. For example, some kinds spending creates more jobs (and therefore tax revenue) than other kinds…

  18. rgbact says:

    Obama proposes trillions in cuts. Evidently, $61B for this year was gonna lead to the end of America, but in 2021 we’ll be cutting stuff like crazy. Keep kicking that can. In 2040 we plan to get really serious. Just not today.

  19. Mr. Universe says:

    So, we are now essentially in a permanent stimulus economy

    I don’t buy that for a minute. Would you have preferred that we be standing in soup lines at this moment?

    If tax levels went back to Clinton era levels, it would generate about $7 trillion over the next 10 years. Paul Ryan wants to give away more tax breaks. His plan would generate a measly $155 billion during that period; hardly enough to drag us out of the morass we’re in now.

    The sooner every middle class person; Democrat and Republican, in this country realizes the true motives and mission of the Republican party and just who is pulling their marionette strings, the sooner we can really work together to fix this so that we all win.

  20. Mule Rider says:

    This post and ensuing comments from our liberal regulars make it clear that the Left is not serious about confronting our unsustainable spending.

    3rd World USA – here we come!!!

  21. Mr. Universe says:

    This from Nate’s site:

    Perhaps the most important piece of reporting that you’ll read on the debt limit debate is this one, from The Times’s Jackie Calmes:

    “The Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has privately urged the conservatives not to filibuster, without success, say three people familiar with the talks. He argued that if Republicans did not filibuster and just 50 votes were needed for passage, the Republicans could try to force all the votes to come from the 51 Democrats — including 17 who are up for re-election. But if 60 votes are required because of a filibuster, ultimately some Republicans would have to vote for the increase lest the party be blamed for a debt crisis.”

    So McConnell wants Senate Dems to own this. That’s fine.

  22. shortchain says:

    rgbact,

    The “Stimulus” spending has already started to wind down. I don’t think you have a clear understanding of what “permanent” means.

    Permanent is what our defense budget is. Permanent is Medicare (well, until all us boomers die, so call it “semi-permanent”). Permanent is the cost of maintaining storage for spent nuclear fuel.

    The Stimulus expires this year, as I understand it. The tax-cut bill of last December will carry stimulus spending a little farther, but even that expires in a year and a half (unless, of course, the cuts are made permanent).

    “My reading of the numbers ” — there’s your problem.

    Oh, and Mule? I think you have no reputation for seriousness upon which to base a criticism of others.

  23. Mule Rider says:

    “I think you have no reputation for seriousness upon which to base a criticism of others.”

    Oh, that’s right, I keep forgetting…my reputation as a Serious Person and Intellect is tarnished by a handful of far left bloggers and commenters at a very small political website, most of whom have never studied or don’t seem to grasp the basics of economics. Trust me, I still sleep well at night knowing there are a dozen or so of you here who think I’m an ignoramus and my mostly conservative outlook and ideas are stupid.

  24. shortchain says:

    Mule,

    Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that you are not knowledgeable. I’m saying that your consistent answer to questions being “go study it yourself” doesn’t prove your understanding.

    I apologize for the tone of that previous comment, BTW. I should have been less confrontational.

  25. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    . . . my reputation as a Serious Person and Intellect is tarnished by a handful of far left bloggers and commenters at a very small political website, most of whom have never studied or don’t seem to grasp the basics of economics.

    Actually, that is incorrect. You do such a fine job of tarnishing your own reputation here, that what any left bloggers add to that is extremely marginal. You REALLY DON”T WANT me to go back and copy a number of your previous comments into this thread as examples. It would only further embarrass you and add another layer of tarnish.

    I, for one, do NOT believe your “conservative outlook” to be stupid. In fact, I truly wish you would spend a damn sight LESS time pissing and moaning about the unfair treatment you receive and a damn sight MORE time actually expounding on your conservative ideas and letting us have some insight as to the WHY you believe that way. Much of what I wrote about GROG on the Intimidation Nation thread applies to you as well, my friend.

    Demonstrate some respect by honestly answering challenges with reasoned arguments and citations where appropriate, instead of going all gangsta’ on us.

    You will find that I, and most others here, will accept a good argument, even though we may disagree in principle.

    The respect will be mutual.

    Please.

  26. Mule Rider says:

    Max, I’ve slapped you in the face with facts and common sense and yet you look for every opportunity to berate me, harass me (for not giving answers that YOU don’t like), and then deflect with sophistry by talking about shit that barely even resembles the original point just to obfuscate the fact that you rarely, if ever, know what the f**k you’re talking about.

    I’ve given up on you as a Serious Person, so I’m glad the feeling is mutual. I was hoping we could reach a Truce of Silence but, back to the whole berating and harassing thing, you just can’t let something go, can you?

    Hey, I’m smart enough to realize I’ll never answer a question to your warped satisfaction in the convoluted way you like to twist every single discussion so I’m not trying anymore, and you know what, as I said above, I’m perfectly fine with NOT having your approval and NOT feeling the need to try and hash it out with you. Evidently you’re a little too uncomfortable or insecure in your own beliefs in your perpetual need to argue and piss and moan and seeming inability to just let well enough alone.

    In summary, you’re not going to get an argument with me, not NOW not EVER, and if you want to give yourself a pat on the back for a “moral victory,” then be my guest….and if you wanna keep taunting me as a know-nothing, again, be my guest….

    Just know you really look like a pathetic piece of shit to continually try and “call out” people who’ve written you off as a serious person and don’t give two shits what you say?

    You understand that, old man?

  27. Mule Rider says:

    “I’m saying that your consistent answer to questions being “go study it yourself” doesn’t prove your understanding.”

    I’ve played that card maybe twice and it was either A) to make a point because Mr. Universe had gotten flustered one day when confronted with some data/information that challenged his ideas/beliefs, and that’s how he responded (i.e. what’s good for a liberal moderator/author is good enough for us poor little conservatives who dare come on here and throw you guys a fact or two to chew on that doesn’t jive with your worldview), or B) I was literally being goaded about something where there is a ton of material online that’s easy to find and, hearkening back to point A and quoting Mr. Universe, I’m not anyone’s damn research assistant.

  28. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    Precisely the answer I expected.

    Precisely the same old, same old.

    You don’t have the ability to put forth the sensible, reasoned arguments, it seems. It’s really a shame.

    It’s as I said about GROG, all you can do when asked for reasoned, thoughtful positions, is whine and cry and point “over there” and blame everybody else for everything but sunspots, AND YOU NEVER, EVER get around to SIMPLY GIVING IT A RUN AT REASONED ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT of your assertion, regardless the title of the thread!

    Blame me all you wish.

    But, Michael is STILL waiting for your insight from the Laissez Faire thread, after asking quite politely for your opinions on a subject you claim to be quite knowledgeable.

    Mr. U and shortchain are STILL waiting insight from the Disaster Capitalism thread, after asking quite politely for your opinions on a subject you claim to be quite knowledgeable. Instead, you deflected to the Tea Party and never got around to any depth on the original subject.

    Your behavior is both typical and predictable.

    Sorry if calling you out for your trollishness annoys you. Only you hold the key that will end my doing so.

    Please.

  29. Mr. Universe says:

    Mr. Universe had gotten flustered one day when confronted with some data/information that challenged his ideas/beliefs, and that’s how he responded

    I don’t remember the day but I think I recall that we were crossing posts on two separate topics and we got a bit convoluted.

    Any flustration I may have expressed was due to having to repeatedly debunk the same argument over and over again. I’m trying these days to let others chime in on those topics.

  30. GROG says:

    MW said: So, sure, you can go painting others with a big brush, but what’s the point?

    That was exactly my point on DC Pettersen’s Intimidation Nation thread.

    MW, you said on that thread….
    Well, I know why I don’t like the Tea Party. They have an absolutist, zero-compromise policy, which is pure poison to democracy.

    Obama and the Democrats were willing to shut down the government and not pay our troops over funding Big Bird and Planned Parenthood. They too have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” when it comes to their ideology.

  31. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ GROG,

    Bullshit!

    Cut in half to pro rate for half the year being over already, the GOTParty demanded $50 billion in FY2011 budget cuts. The final agreement was for $39+ Billion.

    That’s SEVENTY-EIGHT PERCENT of what they were wanting!!! 78%!!!!

    At the end, they added the policy riders to try to also defund NPR, the EPA and Planned Parenthood. That was when the President drew the line in the sand.

    After giving the GOTPers SEVENTY-EIGHT PERCENT of what they were asking for.

    Bullshit argument, GROG!

  32. shortchain says:

    I see GROG’s point. If I make a deal with myself (or my tea party caucus, which resides in my right gluteous maximus) then if you don’t go along with it, you are “ideologically inflexible”. At least from where part of me is sitting.

  33. Mule Rider says:

    “Precisely the answer I expected.”

    If my answers are so predictably moronic and unfulfilling, then I’d think that you’d have figured out by now that it’s not worth your time engaging me in a conversation. That you continue to speaks volumes to your narcissism and insecurity.

    I’ll make this easy on you and we’ll see if you can respond in kind. From now on, you don’t exist to me. It’ll be as if I can’t see anything you write or it’s in another language that I don’t understand, so I’ll simply scroll past.

    Sorry, my time wasting with you ends NOW!

  34. GROG says:

    Mule,
    I rarely read what Max writes anymore. He’s proven to be incapable of any serious debate.

  35. Mule Rider says:

    “He’s proven to be incapable of any serious debate.”

    Yeah, and I shouldn’t have wasted as much time as I have trying to be reasonable. Not any more though…

  36. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Blame others.

    “It’s Max’s fault!!!!”

    Poor Mule and GROG.

    GROG, Blame me all you wish. Til the cows come home!

    That does NOT answer the factual point I made concerning the SEVENTY-EIGHT PER CENT that the Dems and the President moved in the direction the GOTParty demanded and only drew the line when the policy riders were tossed in. shortchain made essentially the same point.

    Since your claim was, “Obama and the Democrats were willing to shut down the government and not pay our troops over funding Big Bird and Planned Parenthood. They too have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” when it comes to their ideology.“, AND it has been demonstrated empirically that Obama and the Dems went SEVENTY-EIGHT PER CENT in the direction of compromise, your assertion of “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” is STILL bullshit, as you make no effort to refute otherwise.

    Blame me for making you look foolish if you will. Actually, you don’t need MY assistance. YOU are the one who leaves out the facts.

  37. GROG says:

    See Max, this is where you’re just not engaging in serious debate.

    “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” were not my words. They were Michael’s. That’s why I put quotes around them.

    If the Republicans settled for 78% of what they were looking for, then they compromised. Why did you not call out Michael when he said the Tea Party has “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” when they clearly do not have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy”?

    Also, I said the Democrats have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” regarding their ideology, which in this case was Big Bird and Planned Parenthood. You tell me, where did they compromise on Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.

  38. rgbact says:

    Max-

    The point for compromise should not be on the amount of cuts—but what to cut. If Obama didn’t like the GOP’s cuts in something–propose some defense cuts instead and put the GOP on the defensive. Fighting to get the level of cuts as low as possible, rather than where to cut, is not exactly showing fiscal credibility.

  39. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    Won’t we have to wait and see who votes for and against the bill before we can say who has an “absolutist, zero-compromise policy”? Will you agree that anyone who votes against this has failed to accept the compromise?

    Or is it your position that the Democrats should have accepted the social agenda proposals to basically eliminate the EPA, to de-fund PP, and eliminate funding for PBS?

  40. shortchain says:

    rgbact,

    Since it’s well documented that the GOP chose the amount of the cuts as 100 billion — without specifying what was to be cut (see here, for example),

    By saying “Fighting to get the level of cuts as low as possible, rather than where to cut, is not exactly showing fiscal credibility.” — you are accusing the GOP of not showing fiscal credibility, right?

  41. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG,

    I completely serious.

    Your actual quote: “They too have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” when it comes to their ideology.

    “When it come to their ideology”. “When it comes to their ideology.” Nope, it did NOT say: “They too have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” when it comes to Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.

    GROG, trying to backtrack and rephrase ex post facto and after you have had your head handed to you is an admission of error. Compromising on SEVENTY-EIGHT PER CENT by the Dems, versus compromising on 22% and being told “No you can’t throw a joker into the deck now. Ain’t happening.”, and THEN threatening to primary their own party’s Speaker Boehner!

    Kinda hard to say the two compare, in all honesty. And it seems that most Americans agree with that.

    I believe Michael to be correct, for the most part, which was why I did not challenge his assertion.

  42. rgbact says:

    SC-

    Reid’s first offer was $0. Not alternative cuts—-no cuts.

  43. shortchain says:

    rgbact,

    I wasn’t asking if you thought the Democrats showed fiscal credibility, so your reply is off the mark. I pointed out that the Republicans did, in fact, choose an arbitrary figure for cuts, with no indication ahead of time on what they would cut. Which you said did not demonstrate fiscal credibility.

    And I ask again: doesn’t that mean that you think the Republicans did not display fiscal credibility in this affair?

  44. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Sorry, I didn’t include the Gallup page.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147080/Americans-Back-Budget-Deal-Declare-No-Winner.aspx

    In the poll, 62% of national adults FAVOR the budget and 25% oppose. Since by 2-1/2 to 1 favor, sounds that Americans overwhelmingly thought that enough was enough and an agreement necessary.

    The same poll did NOT show that Americans felt that either side “won”, by a LARGE margin.

  45. rgbact says:

    SC-

    Given the target was about 5% of the actual deficit, I’m not concerned. Someone’s gotta set a goal. Beats zero.

  46. GROG says:

    Now Max, come on man.

    I said:
    “Also, I said the Democrats have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” regarding their ideology, which in this case was Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.”

    How in the hell is that backtracking from my original quote:
    “Obama and the Democrats were willing to shut down the government and not pay our troops over funding Big Bird and Planned Parenthood. They too have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” when it comes to their ideology.”

    You are incapable of engaging in both serious and honest debate.

  47. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    How can you pretend to be interested in “serious and honest debate” when you don’t mention any of the things that the Democrats did agree to cut?

    Or, to put it a different way, is it really “serious and honest” to pretend that the entire cuts were only to “funding Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.”?

  48. GROG says:

    SC,

    That was never my point. My point was that Michal Weiss said Republicans (he actually said the Tea Party, but since they’re not a political party I assume he meant Republicans) have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy”. But they compromised.

    So I pointed out the Democrats have “an absolutist, zero-compromise policy” regarding Big Bird and Planned Parenthood. How is that different than the zero-compromise policy of the Tea Party?

    Why is that so difficult to understand?

  49. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    If I were you, I’d take what MW says at his word. When he says “tea party”, I think he means “tea party”.

    Actually, you may not have heard, but there is, in fact, a “tea party caucus” — and they’re supposedly threatening to vote against the compromise.

    My problem with the tea party caucus is that they utterly lack a coherent, implementable set of political goals. The level of cuts they espouse cannot make it past the Republicans, let alone the Democrats + Republicans + Obama. Furthermore, if they did manage to make the cuts they supposedly espouse, they would immediately turn around and vote the people out that they just elected, because the people in the tea party rely on their entitlements just like (and probably more like) the rest of us.

  50. GROG says:

    And the members of the Tea Party caucus are Republicans and they can threaten whatever they want. That’s yet to be seen.

  51. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    No, it’s not “yet to be seen”. See here.

    As for whether the tea party caucus are Republicans, that’s only a label. They owe little or now loyalty to the national party, in a lot of cases. And without a coherent set of political goals, shared with the rest of the Republicans, how do you know they’re Republicans? (Note that this criticism applies also to a lot of Democrats — except that Democrats have never even pretended to have a coherent set of political goals. And the national party supports them anyway, strangely.)

  52. I did mean Tea Party. Mostly, I’m referring to the caucus, which represents a subset of the Republican Party in Congress. It’s always much tougher to pigeonhole people who vote for a particular party (or, in this case, for those who self-identified with the Tea Party, while appearing on the ballots as Republicans), so I’m trying to avoid being too descriptive of the voters.

    It seemed pretty clear (from the public posturing, anyway…who knows what really goes on behind the scenes) that the Tea Party was the anti-compromise element, while the rest (mainstream?) of the GOP was willing to compromise.

  53. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG,

    In the spirit of compromise and the fact that, unlike the cowardly Mule, you are mensch enough to continue to engage, I will concede your point.

    I will take your recent comments as clarification and accede your point to be as you restated. We will have to agree to disagree on how we view the carnage.

    I encourage you to confront any assertion I make that I do not back-up with a reasonable independent citation, except where I make clear I am simply voicing opinion. Even the I hope you will challenge that opinion with fact-based arguments of your own where you disagree.

    I greatly admire your persistence and I truly hope you continue to provide a conservative stance here. Please do not take personally any argument I make against your positions. (Only those where I criticize your argument style.) If I call you out for a deflection, I just ask that you demonstrate my mistake in that opinion and how you see it relates to the original debate.
    :-)

  54. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya . . .

  55. filistro says:

    Well, 2012 is officially under way and I am (as often happens) baffled by the Republican strategy and messaging.

    This Ryan budget is an absolute electoral gift to the Dems. Dismantle the country’s most beloved safety-net while giving additional tax cuts to millionaires… Really?

    What were they THINKING?

    It seems so monumentally stupid that there must be a trap in there somewhere. Is it their clever deployment of the Overton Window… ask for the moon and then look reasonable when you finally settle for a comet and a few larger asteroids (which was what you really wanted all along?)

    The problem with that strategy is …. Republicans are not a group that likes to see their leaders “settle” for anything, ever. They tend to be absolute absolutists.

    I’m truly baffled by this one.

  56. mclever says:

    @filistro

    Just a guess that they trust the Democratic Party’s (lack of) message-crafters to be unable to take proper advantage of this. Basically, they’re relying on the historic disunity and disarray of the Democrats to let them get as much as they can with little or no political punishment except from those on the far right who will never be satisfied no matter how much government is destroyed.

  57. It seems to me that they were thinking that the tax cuts are very popular with their constituents. And that they can continue to shift the Overton Window to the right. And that they can do this successfully enough that compromising after the shift won’t cause them to lose significant numbers of votes from the base.

    But that’s just me.

    By the way, my memory of 1995 may be a little fuzzy, but I don’t recall there being as powerful a “compromise on nothing, ever” sentiment then, even in the early heady days shortly after Gingrich took the gavel. Do any of the rest of you here have a different recollection?

  58. dcpetterson says:

    I think it’s a matter of Republican arrogance and overreaching. They’ve never liked Medicare. They see this as their once chance in a generation to kill it. They’ve got a loud and short-sighted Teaper caucus pushing for the most extremist policies we’ve seen in decades to cheer them on. Ryan-type Republicans may think they can intimidate Democrats into going along, with threats of shutting down the government, refusing to pass any budget at all, declining to raise the debt ceiling, etc.

    Ryan et al really think that killing Medicare is a Good Thing. And that they can convince the public to go along. After all, the Republican messaging machine is usually right on the mark, able to convince people to vote against their own interests almost every time. Why shouldn’t it work this time as well?

    Republican voters tend to like the idea of giving tax breaks to the wealthy, and of cutting social programs (which Republican voters tend to think only benefit poor minorities). So the Ryan budget is fodder for the base, something to get them all energized for 2012. You’re right, the Teapers don’t like the idea of compromise. I suspect the strategy is that when the Ryan budget gets rejected, Republican candidates can run on the meme that “We couldn’t get it all passed because there are those damn Democrats still in Congress,” and use that as their campaign rallying cry.

  59. shortchain says:

    Michael,

    I recall 1995 very clearly. When Clinton stole the GOP’s thunder, their response was to get angry and frustrated.

    Their response this time is to simply slide farther to the right.

  60. 10kzebra says:

    Jesus Imaginary Christ, the derp is so strong in the thread.

    Why do you guys insist on engaging trolls? They are intellectually dishonest and a monumental waste of your time.

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