The ‘Tell’

Picture of hole cards in a game of texas hold 'em

Image via Wikipedia

Those of you who play poker probably know this. There are several variations on the game but I like to play Texas Hold ‘em. Poker players often become hypersensitive to body language when looking for clues as to whether the opposing player has a winning hand or is actually bluffing. It’s called the ‘tell’. It can be a nervous twitch, a blink of the eyes, a dilation of the pupils; anything that gives the impression of lying about your odds of winning the pot.

The television show Lie to Me is based upon this principle of body language and there is science to back it up. When moral humans engage in deception, physiological changes take place. If you know what to look for, it becomes easy to detect.

In poker, there is a tendency to over-play one’s hand based on the supposition that your opponent is trying to make you believe he or she has a better hand (sidebar: never go all in on two pair. Chances are you’ll get burned). That’s when you look for the tell. After a few hands, if you haven’t figured it out, you’re the sucker at the table.

That’s what is happening to the Republicans. They have already overplayed their hand. And I can see by their body language, they know it. They have become the suckers at the table.

I should also note that I can read in President Obama’s body language and his actual language that he is disappointed at how things are going; maybe even dejected. Despite his best efforts, he knows the whole conversation has become about beating him. I suspect it’s crossed his mind that he feels that he isn’t doing the country any good by being the focus of so much animus. It’s the Republicans vs the President. A popular President. A black man. How dare he? And by juxtaposition, it’s the Republicans vs the rest of us. We are a partisan nation. The Republicans and FOX media have seen to it. It’s the Republican way or the highway (or battlefield, depending on whom you listen to).

We sent Obama to change the way Washington works. Surprise! Washington didn’t actually want to change. They’ve been doing business as usual for decades. They’re ALL good at it by now.

Here’s a recent example: probably the greatest contribution that Ronald Reagan ever gave this country was the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). It allowed inspectors from both America and the former Soviet Union to visually check each others reduction of nuclear arsenals and delivery systems. And it kept nuclear weapons from falling into terrorist hands when the Soviet Union fell apart.

The Boneyard at Davis Monthan

START is about to expire. President Obama made an agreement with Russia to continue START (an idea first endorsed by Republicans). But just recently John Kyl declared that Republicans wouldn’t back the renewal of the proposal (even though he personally supported it in the first place).

Why?

I bet you can guess. Mitch McConnell’s call for Republican solidarity to defeat President Obama at all costs. Jim DeMint’s call for Obama’s ‘Waterloo’. They are proposing to not support the renewal of the START treaty because of their obsessive desire to crush President Obama. This would be a really nice Christmas present for terrorists around the globe who are looking to grabs some loose nukes. I frankly find this behaviour borderline treasonous. What happened to the days when we supported our President no matter how we voted?

But God bless Republican Dick Lugar. He finally said ‘Enough!’ and issued a plea to call the Republicans’ bluff. He rightly stated that not renewing the treaty with Russia would represent an extreme security risk to both America and the world.

The Republicans over-played their hand believing they had enough political capital in their chip pile. They went all-in right after the November elections. They denied unemployment insurance in a time of economic crisis. They demanded ‘no compromise’ on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy when posing as fiscal conservatives. They insisted on the Bush tax cut that would ad $7 trillion to the deficit, and now this? They want to risk the security of the world just so they can beat Obama and get back in power? Are you fucking serious?

Gentlemen, I don’t think you have the cards or the stones. America has seen the ‘Tell’ and they call your all-in.


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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16 Responses to The ‘Tell’

  1. Eusebio Dunkle says:

    I don’t disagree, but your analogy doesn’t feel quite right. It is not possible that the republicans are the suckers at the table. More like a distraction that is part of a collusive effort to run the table.

  2. dcpetterson says:

    Over the next two years, Republicans will continue to overplay their hand and will do their best to bankrupt the nation, morally as well as economically. Their desire is to simply beat Obama, headless of the cost to the country or the world. One shudders at the damage they’ll cause. The only question is whether the public will wake up and see it.

  3. @dc

    “The only question is whether the public will wake up and see it.”

    I sure hope so, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have some serious doubts.

  4. Bart DePalma says:

    :::rolls eyes:::

    U, the Obama Administration and the GOP have been negotiating over this treaty for months. We have an aging stockpile of nukes and, as time goes on, more and more of the nukes will fail to detonate if they are ever used. If we have a large stockpile of nukes, you can fire more than one at a target to account for the higher failure rate. However, Obama wants to cut the stockpile and thus the security of redundancy. In exchange, the GOP has been demanding more money go into modernizing and maintaining the remaining weapons so the redundancy is unnecessary. The sides have not arrived at an agreement and the GOP correctly believes that its hand in these negotiations will be strengthened in January with six more Senators.

    For you authoritarian Dems used to ruling by decree over the past two years, this is what is known as bipartisan compromise. Get used to it.

  5. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    As usual, you have no idea what you are talking about. You might take a look at what real scientists and engineers say about the lifespan of the weapons in the arsenal. (Hint: probably about 80 years or more.)

    It’s extremely rich to hear you accusing anyone of being “authoritarian”. Thanks for the amusement.

  6. dcpetterson says:

    Authoritarian Republicans are used to getting their way. Their iron-fisted autocratic rule during the Bush years was broken by the election of Obama. They really can’t conceive of not being in power. “Compromise” to Republicans means “you do it my way.”

    Bush ran an imperial presidency, dictating his whims to Congress and to the American people. Obama broke that pattern by inviting all sides to participate in all the decision-making of the last two years. Republicans have refused to participate, being used, as they are, to simply declaring what they want and forcing everyone to go along. The constant Teaper cry of “No compromise!” is very revealing.

    Unrelenting Republican obstructionism was their response to Obama’s attempts at bipartisanship. It didn’t matter how many Republican ideas he included in his economic politics, and in the PPACA and ARRA bills. Republicans couldn’t get everything they wanted (which includes having a Republican in the White House), so they simply and mindlessly opposed.

    They are continuing this mindless unthinking opposition with the historic arms treaty, and with the expiring Bush tax cuts. They are willing to risk the health and safety and security of the nation because they have been unable to re-institute their autocratic and authoritarian Bush-era rule. Expect this to continue for the next two years.

  7. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    Authoritarian Republicans are used to getting their way. Their iron-fisted autocratic rule during the Bush years was broken by the election of Obama.

    LMMFAO!

    Upon what distant world do you reside because it is not Earth.

    Every single major domestic and foreign legislation during the Bush Administration was bipartisan.

    The Dems are the ones who insisted in 2001 that the government issue welfare/rebates, that tax rates would not decline for years and then there would be a sunset provision on the tax rate reductions.

    The Dems cosponsored and cowrote NCLB.

    The Dems cosponsored and cowrote Medicare Part D.

    The Dems helped write both authorizations for military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The Dems and Bush enacted the energy bill which outlawed the incandescent light bulb and poured billions of corporate welfare into electric cars and ethanol.

    The Dems and Bush enacted TARP against nearly unanimous GOP opposition.

    In utter contrast to the Bush years and indeed the entire previous history of the Republic, the Dems drafted their major legislation in secret without any GOP input and then rammed it through with between a handful and no GOP votes.

  8. Monotreme says:

    Not satisfied with distorting the truth, now Bart just makes shit up.

  9. Monotreme says:

    No Child Left Behind:

    Bush’s efforts to reach out to Democrats were limited and short-lived. … Bipartisan cooperation on No Child Left Behind gave way to bitter battles between the parties over its financing. The glow of national unity after September 11 faded within months as the president resumed a more partisan approach to Congress. (Broken Branch,p. 130)

  10. Monotreme says:

    Sadly, the same cannot be said of Congress during Bush’s tenure in the White House. What we were struck by during this period was how supine the first branch of government was in responding to the president’s aggressive denial of information that Congress thought was essential to its work. Members of both parties were quite open with us about the utterly dismissive attitude, indeed the contempt, with which Bush and Cheney greeted such requests from Congress.

    (Broken Branch, p. 161)

  11. Monotreme says:

    Regarding the 2001 tax cuts:

    Whatever one’s ideological disposition on [tax policy] matters, there is no avoiding the conclusion that this bill was enacted in a recklessly dishonest fashion and was itself a dishonest product.

    (Broken Branch, p. 218)

  12. Mainer says:

    And let us not forget the signing statements of lord Bush the last. The all time unitary president.

  13. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:

    No Child Left Behind: Bush’s efforts to reach out to Democrats were limited and short-lived. … Bipartisan cooperation on No Child Left Behind gave way to bitter battles between the parties over its financing. The glow of national unity after September 11 faded within months as the president resumed a more partisan approach to Congress. (Broken Branch,p. 130)

    NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush immediately after taking office.[4] The bill, shepherded through the Senate by Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the bill’s co-authors, received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.[5] The House of Representatives passed the bill on May 23, 2001 (voting 384-45),[6] and United States Senate passed it on June 14, 2001 (voting 91-8).[7] President Bush signed it into law on January 8, 2002. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

    Whatever one’s ideological disposition on [tax policy] matters, there is no avoiding the conclusion that this bill was enacted in a recklessly dishonest fashion and was itself a dishonest product. (Broken Branch, p. 218)

    Dishonest? If you want to see how major legislation is enacted through the Committee process subject to hearings and debate in the sunshine, go to the Way and Means Committee site link below and note how the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 was approved with full Dem participation.

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/graphics/status107.htm

    The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act was enacted with ongoing bipartisan compromises which actually extended into the final votes:

    “The rhetoric about the legislation, which President George W. Bush signed into law on 8 December 2003, reflects the ideological divide that almost led to its defeat. Liberals believe that the benefit is too skimpy and that private insurers will skim off the healthier beneficiaries, driving up the costs of traditional Medicare and undermin- ing it over time; on the other hand, conservatives do not like the establishment of a big new entitlement program (3). To bridge this gap, Congressional leaders designed a bill to attract enough votes from Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Senate without losing the support of too many Republican conservatives in the House of Rep- resentatives. They bridged the ideological gap by allowing beneficiaries to keep traditional Medicare with improved benefits, while offering them more choices of private plans.”

    http://www.annals.org/content/141/5/391.full.pdf

    I personally opposed two out of three of these bills, but that does not prevent me from honestly noting that they were enacted in the full light of day and were the products of bipartisan compromise.

    If the author’s of Broken Branch were unhappy with the sausage making process in Congress before 2008, the current 111th Congress’ Politboro and Supreme Soviet impressions should have appalled them.

  14. Mr. Universe says:

    McCarthy would have been so proud of Bart

  15. dcpetterson says:

    I personally opposed two out of three of these bills, but that does not prevent me from honestly noting that they were enacted in the full light of day and were the products of bipartisan compromise.

    And there we see the difference between Republicans and Democrats. When Democrats are in the minority, they still are willing to work with Republicans in an attempt to do something useful for the country. When Republicans are in the minority, they engage in simple mindless obstructionism, and no matter how far backwards the Democrats bend to include Republican ideas, the R’s simply vote NO. And then complain about being left out, playing the victim card as if the situation were not of their own making.

    Pathetic.

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