Nate Silver: Budget Politics in the Doldrums

Those of you who have been missing Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight columns since the New York Times went behind a (partial) paywall might want to spend one of your 20 “free” ganders at his latest column, “Budget Politics in the Doldrums.”

With a government shutdown looming, Nate makes an observation, followed by a prediction:

  • Observation: the public (save political junkies, like yours truly) isn’t paying much attention to the budget battles in Washington.
  • Prediction: if a government shutdown takes place, people’s attention will rapidly focus on the budget battles, and the fickle public will quickly assign blame (in a not perfectly predictable, stochastic way).

Now would be a good time, and here would be a good place, to lay down your markers. How do you think this will play out?

About Monotreme

Monotreme is an unabashedly liberal dog lover, writer, and former scientist who now teaches at a University in an almost-square state out West somewhere. |
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140 Responses to Nate Silver: Budget Politics in the Doldrums

  1. Monotreme says:

    My markers:

    Government shutdown at midnight Friday.

    Tea Party activists, diehard Republicans blame Obama and Congressional Democrats, particularly Harry Reid (“just pass HR 1!”). Liberals and diehard Democrats blame Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party.

    In opinion polling, the public splits down the middle, almost 50-50.

  2. filistro says:

    I disagree with only one Treme’s markers.

    Government shutdown at midnight Friday. CHECK

    Tea Party activists, diehard Republicans blame Obama and Congressional Democrats CHECK

    Liberals and diehard Democrats blame Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party. CHECK

    In opinion polling, the public splits down the middle, almost 50-50. WRONG

    I think the Dems have done an excellent job (For once! Finally!) of getting out the message that the actual numbers are agreed on, and the fight is over “policy riders” related to the Tea Party’s social agenda. People can understand shutting down the government over billions and billions of dollars. But over defunding Planned Parenthood and Big Bird? No way.

    Public opinion will break 70-30 against the GOP. A huge, enormous, truly monumental blunder.

  3. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    I’d only go 60-40.

  4. filistro says:

    @ Max.. I’d only go 60-40.

    Oh c’mon, Max. Throw caution to the winds 😉

    Seriously, did you read Nate’s article? I love his analogy (Nate always does such awesome analogies) about how getting the public’s attention right now is like trying to get the attention of a teenager glued to his X-box… but shutting down the govt is like pulling the kid’s power cord.

    The public is suddenly going to sit up, blink, look around and say… “what the…?” And then they’re going to get REALLY MAD.

    70-30. Trust me.

  5. Mr. Universe says:

    Gotta go with fili on this one. Repubs are gonna get dinged pretty hard.

  6. Chris Rich says:

    I’m in. The Narcissism constituency, (Independents), foolishly thought they’d ‘send a message’ and it is blowing up in their faces. In nearly all of the various messy quarrels I’ve followed, the Alaska Recount, for example, and in Wisconsin, there is growing buyers remorse.

    I was reading the local papers in both situations and the common theme in reportage is how steamed the Indies are.

    In some fit of petulant pique, they were instrumental in opening the floodgates for these miserable scheming goobs and now it is haunting them like the hangover that follows a black out rotgut binge.

    The affiliated constituents are either superficially smug to mask big anxieties on the right or licking their chops in anticipation of further blunders to gloat about on the left.

    I’m waiting for the Narcissism Party to stop these melodramatic stunts and get with the program so it should be interesting.

    Most of the yammering tricorn crowd has faded and the press is learning to stop giving caribou Barbie so much url. And Beck does have that glorious future waiting for him at his state of the art Chinchilla ranch.

  7. shortchain says:

    If the events occurred in a vacuum, I’m inclined to think that the breakdown would be as Monotreme suggests. The problem is that this isn’t occurring in a vacuum. The independents voted for Republicans because they didn’t like the do-nothing Democrats (who couldn’t get much passed, thanks to the McConnell sandbagging strategy). They’ve already started showing signs, as Chris says, of significant (OK, raging) buyer’s remorse. Now, just how do you think they’re going to react to a significant government shutdown?

    But it won’t be 70-30. 60-40, probably.

  8. rgbact says:

    I suspect the Dems having been secretly hoping for this due to 1)the myth that 1995 was a big winner for them, 2) they think Obama’s dealing in late December made him look presidential. I think the longer this drags out, the more it kills the Dems though. Clearly they are at fault and have to count on a quick resolution before the public becomes engaged. So, if Boehner caves tomorrow, Obama wins. If we go to a few day shutdown, Repubs win. Hopefully Boehner knows that Obama has to deal.

  9. GROG says:

    What evidence do you have (other than leftwing PPP) that there is raging buyer’s remorse?

  10. clmbusboy1 says:

    Hard to believe anything can be 70-30 nationally. That has to be the absolute floor for any poll. It seems there is roughly 60% that *always* blame the other side. That leaves you fighting for at most, the middle 40%. Hard to believe that entire group is going to break one way.

    But I’m basically with monotreme. I’ll go 55-45 in favor of blaming the Rs. But that’s only with the group that chooses one side…

    Here’s where my belief differs from the initial people going on the record though. I say it will be something like 30-35-35. 30% blame the Ds, 35% blame the Rs, and 35% blame both. (Then again, I’m biased – that’s where I am.)

  11. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    fili, Last a girl said “Trust me”, had a bad time 6 weeks later until after the test!

    Well, not really, but it makes a good story.

    Because 40% will go Dem, and the big fight is over 20% in the middle and that leaves 40% who are going to go Republican, regardless.

    Make book on those numbers, within a VERY few percentage points.

  12. shortchain says:


    Since I’m the only one that mentioned buyer’s remorse, I guess you must be asking me.



    We already know what is happening in Wisconsin — an unprecedented come-from-behind surge in turnout in a judicial by-election, as well as the amazing success of the recall petition drives.

    Of course, we may imagine that Congress is immune to these feelings, given the way the House has passed measure after measure knowing that they were DOA in the Senate.

  13. filistro says:

    You all make good points… but you’re overlooking one thing, which is that the GOP is now controlled by a faction that is basically crazy. This group WANTS the govt shut down. They carry signs on Capitol hill reading ” SHUT ‘ER DOWN!”

    So to them it’s not a matter of blame… it’s credit. If asked not “who’s to blame”, but “who’s responsible” I think the dimmer ones will want to claim responsibility. “We shut it down and we’re proud!”

    So the Dems… 40%.. and the Indies… 20%… and 10% GOP who are slavering for this to happen and will be stupid enough to gloat over it (because they can’t be controlled and they don’t listen to anybody’s advice)… and you get 70%.

  14. Brian says:

    I can’t see how there wouldn’t be buyer’s remorse. 3 months after the new Congress convened might be a little early for “raging buyer’s remorse”, but after the 2010 election was supposed to be all about jobs, I haven’t heard much about job creation.

    Granted, Democrats are pretty much always going to point fingers at Republicans and vice versa, but the Independents have got to be getting frustrated. The election didn’t seem to be about the deficit, it was about the unemployment and the economy not growing fast enough. I feel like people want a budget passed, move on, and focus on job creation, not Planned Parenthood or NPR.

    Side note; I kept saying “feel like” and “heard” because I’m working on my PhD candidacy exam and don’t have time to research it properly. That’s also why my comments will be rather sparse until after May 10th.

    Side side note; I might need a fresh set of eyes if people are willing to read it, even if its just for grammar. Sorry if I’m getting off topic.

  15. Monotreme says:

    You’re right, fili. See the Weigel article linked above.

    I heard Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Constantinople) on “Marketplace” tonight. He’s absolutely unapologetic and wants a shutdown. His messaging was terrible, all about “we passed a continuing resolution” which means nothing to Joe Independent.

    This is the congressman (from a district south of where I live) who famously camps out in his office when Congress is in session, to save on rent. They asked him what he was going to do for showers, and he claims he’s going to the YMCA. He’s so buttoned-down he doesn’t even realize the ramifications of that statement, but as a veteran of the YMCA (pre-Village People), I would be willing to bet he’s got a real surprise in store. For one thing, I don’t think they operate residential hotels any longer.

    These guys are horribly tone-deaf.

  16. rgbact says:

    Intersestingly, Dick Morris sounding much more hawkish than Michelle Bachmann. Morris say Boenher should hold tough or resign. I tend to agree. Paul Ryan’s budget was pretty disappointing, so I think now is the time to take stand.

  17. filistro says:

    Nice to see you again, rgb. I’ve missed you. 🙂

    I’m curious to know what disappointed you in Ryan’s budget?

  18. filistro says:

    Oh… and not that I ever want to give advice to the other side, but… DO NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM DICK MORRIS!!!


  19. filistro says:

    Just posted by Andrew Stiles at National Review Online;

    Conventional wisdom: There is an tentative, tacit agreement on a deal, as of tonight. A Republican source tells NRO they “would be surprised” if this wasn’t the case. However, nothing is likely to be made official until Boehner can sell it to the GOP conference. There are indications that this won’t be as difficult as many have been predicting. House Republicans are scheduled to meet at noon on Friday, at which point they will have less than 12 hours to avert a government shutdown.

  20. rgbact says:

    Ha, thanks Fili. You’re a big reason I stay in touch. You represent the site well and I enjoy your passion for politics….even though we agree on nothing!

    Anyway, the Ryan budget is pretty tame. Obama has essentially won by presenting nothing or something totally unreasonable. Therefore, the GOP got sucked into offering something more centrist. cuz compared to Obama they look like misers. Then, of course they’ll meet in the middle….which will end up being on the left. Sort of what is happening now. Thats why I say it time to stand firm.

  21. filistro says:

    @rgb.. even though we agree on nothing

    Oh, c’mon. I’ll bet we agree on lots of things… even in politics.

    For example… I was also disappointed in Ryan’s budget. 😉

  22. the Ryan budget is pretty tame

    What would you have proposed instead that would have been, um, less tame?

  23. filistro says:

    LOL… I do miss Orly Taitz!

    Mind you, Donald Trump has now taken over for her and the haircuts and mindsets are pretty similar, so it’s all good….

  24. Mr. Universe says:

    Orly Trump…I’m liking it.

  25. Monotreme says:

    What’s interesting in this Gallup data is that Democrats and Independents favor compromise 2-to-1, while a majority of Republicans favor “shut it down”.

    While this may be subliminal now, as Nate suggests, I’d argue that when/if the shutdown comes, Indies will be thinking, “hmm…who has been talking smack and who has been at least acting like they want a compromise?” That’s my hope, anyway.

    I’m not coming off my 50-50 prediction, just offering a scenario in what I said above would probably be a stochastic, unpredictable process.

  26. mclever says:


    I’ll read whatever you’ve got… I edited dissertations at CalTech for a while, so I know what academic writing looks like even if I’m not as edumacated as some of the geniuses around here.


  27. rgbact says:

    Fili-yeah, I can’t figure out if Morris is a genius or just a yutz that talks trash to move books.

    Ryan budget–I would’ve front loaded more cuts. Actually cut defense and increased the Soc Sec retirement age. Even lib leaners seemed to be admitting cuts needed to be made. Only real cut was on Obamacare.

  28. GROG says:


    To prove your point that there is “raging buyer’s remorse” (I assume you mean nationwide buyer’s remorse, not just a couple states, especially in a discussion about federal budgets) you trot out another PPP poll in Michigan that found “47 percent of those polled wished Democratic candidate Virg Bernero would have been elected”. That’s “raging buyer’s remorse”? And that with PPP polling 41% Democrats vs. 28% Republican?

    Here’s another poll that shows a different story. 42 percent approval for the job Snyder is doing and 38 percent disapproval. Raging buyer’s remorse?–Snyder-s-approval-rating-slips

    The recent vote in Wisconsin was about one thing – unions. Half of Wisconsinites voted pro-union and half voted against unions. It’s shocking it was that close in a historically pro-union, rust belt state like Wisconsin. Hardly a show of raging buyer’s remorse.

    Using your logic there has been “raging buyer’s remorse” after electing Obama. A Republican wins Ted Kennedy’s seat shortly after Obama’s victory. We all know what happened with Congressional, gubernatorial, and statehouse elections in 2010. Obama has higher disapproval than approval ratings according to Gallup. Quinnipiac recently had him at an all time low 42% approval rating.

  29. dcpetterson says:

    If there is a shutdown, one effect it will have is to remind Americans of all the things they like about government. We’ll start seeing pictures in the newspaper of little Timmy and Becky in tears, whose parents saved up for years to bring them to Washington, their only real vacation ever, and the Smithsonian is closed. National parks — closed. Your tax return isn’t processed. Soldiers still fighting, but don’t get paid. Social Security checks go out, but no new applications are taken.

    All because the Republicans are holding their breath ’till they turn blue, because they really really really want to take medical care away from poor women, and they really want to kill Big Bird, and they really don’t want us to stop polluting the air.

    The Teapers will be insanely happy, crowing about how they shut down the big bad eeeevul gubmint. It won’t be hard to lay the responsibility on the Republicans, with the Teapers celebrating.

  30. shortchain says:


    Absolutely, there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse over Obama. But here’s the question you might want to answer: is it among the independents who wanted a middle-of-the-road, conservative-leaning Democrat — and got one — or among the fire-breathing, left-wing Democrats who wanted the anti-Bush — and didn’t?

    As for the situation in Wisconsin — polish that lump of fecal matter all you like. From the standpoint of the GOP, it’s not going well.

  31. Monotreme says:

    I’d be interested in the views of others (GROG, Muley, Jeff, rgbact) on this New York Times editorial:

    They seem to be indicating that blame for a shutdown will redound solidly to the Tea Party. Getting beyond the fact that it’s the hated NYT, what do you guys think?

  32. Monotreme says:

    I trust Turdblossom about as much as I trust Dick Morris, and for the same reasons. Still…

  33. mclever says:


    I don’t trust Rove either, but he is a savvy political analyst and very good at reading the tea leaves, so to speak.

  34. filistro says:

    @ Mac…

    Speaking of tea leaves… it’s so fascinating to watch how political memes take hold and spread. Some will become immutable, and others will shift and shade with time.

    Remember how relentlessly Bart kept assuring us the Tea Party was a vast grassroots uprising of non-aligned independent voters? At the time that actually seemed possible, or at least arguable.

    Now, without anything actually visibly happening to refute it, that’s all changed. Is there anybody in America who doesn’t now realize the Tea Party is just the most extreme part of the Republican base?

    It seems silly that anybody ever believed otherwise, yet even a keen a observer (like me 😉 ) is unable to put a finger on when the perceptual shift actually happened.

    Maybe when they started spitting on black legislators during the health care debate? I’m not sure…

  35. mclever says:

    Good question, filistro.

    Since I never saw the Tea Party as anything other than an astroturfed invention of Fox News to disguise an ultra-conservative movement as independent semi-libertarian, I’m not a good judge of when or why others began to shift their perceptions. I was more baffled and befuddled at how anyone could see them as “independent” to begin with, so I figure it was just a slow realization as little things piled up. The dawning probably varied for each person, depending how deeply they were in the dark with the “grassroots” meme. Each incident cast a little more light, until people began to see. Some people just have better nightvision than others, I guess…

  36. rgbact says:


    Lets just say that the NYT op-ed could’ve been written by the WH press team. The Dem spin is clearly to push the meme that there is agreement on numbers, but Boenher is having a crying spell over Social Wedge Issue X. Essentially, get the discussion off dollars and onto wedge issues. In the short-term, it might work. Thats why I recommend Boehner go for a shutdown and lay out his case over the next week. He can’t let the Dems appear to be heros by doing squat for 9 months, then running a 2 day spin war at the last minute to fool a public that not paid attention to the entire process.

  37. dcpetterson says:

    I’m curious how anyone can see the looming shutdown as having anything to do with budget numbers. The Democrats had basically agreed to the Republican numbers. Of course, every time the Democrats agree, the Republicans move the goalposts — but the fact is, the Dems are in line for 35 – 40 billion in cuts, which is what the Republicans demanded going in to the “negotiations” (read: “posturing”).

    If it was about dollars, then a) the Republicans shouldn’t care so much where those dollars come from, and b) the bill would already have been passed by both houses and signed by Obama. But no: it’s about the Republican / Teaper social agenda, which is why Boehnor is insisting on various policy riders that have no economic impact whatever (except for further screwing poor women, children, the environment, and anyone who has to pay for health care).

    Really, can anyone make the argument that denying health services for poor women in American or even other countries will reduce the deficit more than cutting somewhere else? Since PPACA is scored by Congress as actually reducing the deficit, does cutting off its funding help the Federal budget more than, say, not building one extra bomber?

  38. filistro says:

    @rgb.. In the short-term, it might work.

    It IS working. For once the Dems are winning the messaging war. And it’s not because they’re any good at messaging… they never are. (When it comes to noise-machine wars, the Dems always bring spitballs to a gunfight.) It’s because what they’re saying is the simple truth, there’s no disguising it, and everybody can see it.

    The best meme is one that can be boiled down to a simple declarative sentence, preferably without clauses, phrases or qualifiers, and carrying a strong emotional punch. This one is an absolute peach:

    The Republicans want to shut down the government over funding women’s health care.

  39. rgbact says:


    Where are you getting your info on whats been agreed on? Are you in the room? The GOP is asking for $61B in cuts. The Dems were offering $0 up until maybe 2 weeks ago. Keep pushing that its all about wedge issues. Maybe that’ll make people forget that we have the biggest deficit of all time this year and the Dems left the budget and the Bush tax cuts until the last minute cuz they’d rather fight 2 day spin wars then make their case over weeks of debate.

    Stock market is flat for the week. Markets seem to not care about a shutdown.

  40. dcpetterson says:

    The GOP is asking for $61B in cuts. The Dems were offering $0 up until maybe 2 weeks ago.

    So a reasonable compromise figure halfway between 61 and 0 would be …. ?

    And the budgetary purpose of the Republican policy riders is …. ?

  41. DC,

    the Dems are in line for 35 – 40 billion in cuts, which is what the Republicans demanded going in to the “negotiations”

    Sure, but agreeing to that means having to go back to the Tea Party and tell them that they’re getting less than half of what they promised in the election. And that, of course, is a real net increase in spending…to the tune of about $260 billion. But nobody’s going to bother mentioning that. Except me, I guess.

  42. rgbact,

    Stock market is flat for the week. Markets seem to not care about a shutdown.

    Look at the stock market for the shutdown period in 1995, and compare it to the same period in 1996. Basically identical. Goes to show that the market didn’t care then, either.

    Interesting question to ask, especially to one who makes a living crunching numbers: Why don’t the markets care?

  43. rgbact says:


    I don’t think the Tea Party will go for a 50/50 split. The GOP has been offering moderate cuts, so they can’t then accept 50/50 splits. The Dems can’t be rewarded for being batshit….by then being able to negotiate for half-batshit.

    I will give the Dems credit. Just like in WI, they’ve learned they need to get the discussion off of dollars and onto wedge issues. Push the meme that the dollars are agreed on. Media laps it up.

  44. GROG says:

    @DC: Of course, every time the Democrats agree, the Republicans move the goalposts —

    That IS the Democrat talking point this week. But what do you know that PolitiFact doesn’t?

  45. shortchain says:


    From the politifact article you linked to:

    So Democrats aren’t wrong when they say Republicans initially proposed one set of numbers, then later came to another. But it’s a stretch to say they were the firm position of House Republicans.


    So the only part of the claim that isn’t true is that is was the “firm position” of House Republicans — because there isn’t a firm position. And that’s a mark in favor of the Republicans? Is that your point?

  46. filistro says:

    Harry Reid says flatly, unequivocally, that when they left the White House last night, the only unresolved issue was Planned Parenthood.

    John Boehner, when asked about that, skates and slides around the question by saying “spending is still not agreed on.”

    There were lots of people in the room. If Harry Reid was flat-out lying, why wouldn’t Boehner seize the chance to call him on it?

  47. dcpetterson says:

    John Boehner, when asked about that, skates and slides around the question by saying “spending is still not agreed on.”

    To Boehner, Planned Parenthood is “spending.” That is: Are we, or are we not, going to spend money on health care for poor women? See? It’s a spending issue, and it’s still not agreed on.

  48. dcpetterson says:

    The GOP has been offering moderate cuts, so they can’t then accept 50/50 splits.

    So you’re saying the GOP refuses to come half-way, or to negotiate in good faith? That they will be intransigent and inflexible?

    If this really isn’t about a social agenda, what’s with all the policy riders? Why don’t they just drop those, and use the concession to ask for the Democrats to be more flexible on the question of dollars? In fact, if it’s not about the social agenda, why are they going the other way — giving up more than they say they want to on the spending cuts, but being completely inflexible on the policy issues?

  49. rgbact says:


    If I go to my boss and ask for a 30% raise, and he offers 2%-if we then decide to split the difference, he’s been played. Negotiations are all about setting markers. Obama has so far set an extreme one or in this case, the Dems set no marker on the budget, The GOP are suckers if they fall for this.

    1) Dem marker- “We propose biggest deficit in US hisory by 20%
    2) GOP marker- “We propose cutting it by 1%
    3) Settlement- “We have agreed on the biggest defict in US history by 19.5%.

  50. filistro says:

    In a way, DC and rgb are both right. From TPM, here’s a Tea Party freshman explaining why the policy riders are deal-breakers:

    “As Republicans, we promised in the pledge to America to cut $100 billion off of Obama’s plan. If we’re going to come back with less than that, we’ve got to come back with some policy riders to say look, I took less than $100 billion, but I’ve defunded Planned Parenthood or abortions in the District of Columbia. Or I’ve ended Obamacare,” Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) said in an interview with our Ryan Reilly this morning.

  51. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Regretfully, Mr Farenthold is now my Congressman during the time I’m in Corpus.

    I think I was better off when in Port Lavaca with Mr. Paul.

  52. GROG says:

    1) Dem marker- “We propose biggest deficit in US hisory by 20%
    2) GOP marker- “We propose cutting it by 1%
    3) Settlement- “We have agreed on the biggest defict in US history by 19.5%.


  53. filistro says:

    Max… your attendance is required in FFF. Justsayin’ is looking for an enchilada recipe.

  54. Max aka Birdpilot says:


  55. dcpetterson says:

    Filistro, you may be right. It’s hard to say, because the Republicans have not suggested they’d give up on the policy riders if the Democrats gave more on the spending numbers.

    The problem is that the Democrats have allowed the Republicans to control the budget debate. As usual, deficits only seem to matter when there is a Democrat in the White House. The Republicans were running up enormous record deficits all during the Bush years, and none of the Republicans seemed to care.

    The issue today is that we’re still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. This is the wrong time to be strangling the economy by reducing Federal spending. Sure, we need to get the deficit down — but the time to do that is after we’ve stopped the bleeding. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is still significantly better than it was after WW2. We’ll get it under control just fine, once the economy has recovered.

    The problem now isn’t spending. It’s jobs. It’s the refusal of corporations to make new investments. If they won’t do it, the Federal government is the only one who can.

    The Republicans handle the Federal economy backwards, spending like mad during boom times and starving us during lean times. The Federal government is the only body that can smooth out the highs and lows, but Republican policies make those troughs and crests worse — all the while redistributing wealth upward to the top couple of percent.

    The problem isn’t that we’ve got a big deficit. The problem is that we’ve got a big recession. It’s the recession that’s causing the deficit.

  56. dcpetterson says:

    rgbact, you’ve still ignored my questions about the policy riders. How can you maintain that any of the Republican concern is about spending, when it is the policy issues that they won’t budge on?

  57. rgbact says:


    Neither you or I are in the room. I’m not offering an opinion based on Chuck Shumer’s impression of negotiations. Clearly, the Dems did squat for 6 weeks and planned to win this in a media spin war. The point is–is this the way to pass major legislation? The Dems passed a bunch of stuff in a frantic 2 weeks before Xmas in a lame duck. Now we’re frantically trying to get a budget passed for last year. TARP was passed in a frantic couple days. I don’t like people holding guns to my head saying “take the deal or the world ends tomorrow.”

  58. dcpetterson says:

    I don’t like people holding guns to my head saying “take the deal or the world ends tomorrow.”

    On that, we can both be agreed. Which is the reason Congress should pass a clean spending bill now, then come back and consider policy issues in a more leisurely manner. It is inexcusable brinksmanship to inject policy riders into a discussion that is supposedly about merely funding the Federal government for the next six months.

    Pass a resolution that funds the government at its current level, then immediately begin substantive discussions about whatever is wanted for next year. Anything else is the “gun to the head” ultimatum neither of us wants.

  59. dcpetterson says:

    Here is what Republican legislators are trying to do, what they will shut down the government for if they don’t get their way. It’s not about the budget, not about deficits, and it never was.

    For my conservative friends — if the Republicans in Congress presented their negotiations as a choice between eliminating Federal support for medical care for poor women, or shutting down the government — instead of a choice between 2% of the deficit vs. a government shutdown — would you still support it? Are you willing to shut down national parks, delay income tax refunds, suspend Social Security applications, stop processing visa and passport applications, withhold payment to our troops, all for the sake of making sure we deny health care to poor women?

  60. shortchain says:

    I’d like to point out that, when you dealing for a used car (or a horse), it is a sound strategy to keep your real price points and goals quiet. Don’t give the other side anything that gives them an advantage.

    But when you are supposedly trying to find the best fit for the nation of which you are a part in consultation with others who may have different goals and priorities, it is hardly a moral strategy to pretend to want one thing while secretly holding out for something else. The ethical thing to do is put all the cards on the table and try to come up with the best hand possible.

    Unless, of course, it is your real belief that the other side isn’t really a part of the country you purport to be working to improve.

  61. GROG says:


    What services does Planned Parenthood provide that a woman would not be eligible to receive through medicaid at their family doctor or OBGYN?

    Obviously, the abortion issue is important for many conservatives. Federal funding is not supposed to be used to perform abortions, and PP says they are not used for that purpose. But without federal funding PP would not exist. In order for them to be the largest abortion provider in the country, federal funding is a must.

  62. dcpetterson says:


    It isn’t just Planned Parenthood. It’s all of Title X. A lot of the women who take advantage of it cannot afford insurance and / or are not eligible for Medicare.

    No Federal money goes to abortions currently. It is illegal. So that’s not the issue, it’s the excuse.

    But without federal funding PP would not exist. In order for them to be the largest abortion provider in the country, federal funding is a must.

    You might as well say that the low, low prices at WalMart allow poor women to save up money for abortions, so we must outlaw Federal tax deductions on all of WalMart’s income. It’s not a reasonable argument that you’re making.

  63. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    A better analogy would be that one cannot use one’s tax refund to purchase insurance that would cover abortions.

  64. dcpetterson says:

    Max, yes that’s another excellent example. No one should receive Federal tax refunds, because some of the money might go to abortions.

    But I like my WalMart example because it stresses that since money is fungible, any source of money can be linked to abortions if someone is silly enough to try. It’s an absurd argument, and it needs to be shown to be absurd.

    No Federal dollars go to abortions. Period. If Grog or Boehner (or anyone else) can prove otherwise, they can send people to jail.

    So it isn’t abortions that are at issue. It is health care clinics. And not just Planned Parenthood, but all Title X. I don’t think the Republican Teapers really care about whether or not they’re taking away health care for poor people. I don’t even think they care about abortions. It’s about power. And Boehner is spinelessly fighting for his political life.

  65. GROG says:

    The Wal Mart analogy is absurd. Wal Mart does not need and kind of federal subsidies in order to survive . They do just fine without it. Planned Parenthood and their abortions would not exist without the help of the federal government.

    Max’s tax refund analogy is even more absurd. Tax refund money doesn’t belong the the federal government and never did. It belongs to the taxpayer. The taxpayer can do whatever it wants with it’s own money as long as it’s legal.

  66. GROG says:

    Sorry for the above typos.

  67. rgbact says:

    I think you guys missed the question…..Is PP getting direct federal funding? Does the govt cut a check (ala NPR) to PP? Its one thing to offer discounts to poor people on food, its another to write checks to Walmart. Also if its direct funding, is PP providing services to non-poor?

  68. filistro says:

    rgb… I think *you guys* are missing the question.

    The question is… however fervently your party feels about the minutiae of this issue, is it worth shutting down the government over it?

    If by national consensus the answer is “no”, the public will not be forgiving.

  69. dcpetterson says:

    Grog, of course the WalMart analogy is absurd. So is the objection to Title X.

    And yes, WalMart gets direct Federal subsidies. It’s called tax breaks for big corporations.

    And filistro’s question cuts to the heart of the matter. Is denying medical services to poor women, under the transparently false excuse of also denying them a legal medical procedure that Federal money isn’t being used for anyway–is that important enough to shut down the government? Do you think a majority of the American people will agree with you?

  70. dcpetterson says:

    The taxpayer can do whatever it wants with it’s own money as long as it’s legal.

    Likewise, medical clinics can do whatever they want with their money, as long as it’s legal. You just negated your own argument.

  71. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    And the trap slams shut!

    Sorry GROG, you were the sucker, going for the bait.

    Neither is the funding for abortions federal money. It is a completely separate budget and expenditure for Planned Parenthood. By the Hyde Amendment there are NO abortions performed with federal money BY LAW.

    So the money that goes to PP for health services, such as cancer screenings, STD screenings and birth control assistance that avoids as many as 800,000 abortions per year, is NO DIFFERENT from the money that goes to the VA. But the VA is NOT being defunded, NOR is Medicare or Medicaid. Plus there are a number of other

    “Planned Parenthood and their abortions would not exist without the help of the federal government.” Your ideological falsehood is revealed.

    I repeat for you deaf and ideological impaired: NO FEDERAL MONEY IS SPENT ON ABORTIONS BY PLANNED PARENTHOOD. But, Title X funding avoids as many as 800,000 abortions per year.

    Since many of the other 1.5 million pregnancies per year that Title X are poor women that utilize government assistance, the amount of money SAVED by Title X far exceeds the couple hundred million dollars that it cost. Simple cost/benefit analysis shows the benefit of Title X. Approximately $7700 per person is spent on assistance to the poor annually. Multiply that time 2,000,000 additional children/yr, that cost to the government is about $15 BILLION!!!! assume those mother did abort 800,000 of those pregnancies and you still have about $8 BILLION going to those 1.2 million. Versus a couple hundred million for Planned Parenthood.

    It’s about ideology, as GROG let slip, NOT about the money!

  72. rgbact says:


    I think so. I think with a deficit at $1.65T, the corporate welfare that goes to NPR and PP can’t be justified and the GOP would be wise to go for the cuts. Liberals are free to tell the American people why we need govt subsidized birth control or govt subsidized news when we’re so in debt. I did ask if PP services are retricted to poor women?

  73. filistro says:

    If your party thinks it’s worthwhile, rgb, then you should go for it.

    And before long we will see what the verdict of the electorate is.

  74. GROG says:


    What do you mean I let it “slip”? I was blatantly obvious that it’s about ideology. Conservatives don’t want taxpayer dollars to support abortions.

    It’s not hard to understand. Planned Parenthood would not be able to be the leading provider of abortions without federal funding.

  75. filistro says:

    GROG and rgb.. just curious if either of you knows, without looking it up, what percentage of the activities of Planned Parenthood have anything to do with abortion?

  76. Monotreme says:

    Hey, you guys keep the focus on Planned Parenthood where it belongs. Don’t let Speaker Boehner’s insistence that it’s about the Federal budget deter you. By golly, you guys know it’s about social policy. Keep repeating that. The American people need to hear it.

  77. filistro says:

    My lads have gone silent.

    The answer is THREE PERCENT.

    And none of that tiny sliver of the whole… THREE PERCENT!!!… receives federal funding of any kind.

    And for that the public gets to see a rabid group of fanatics shutting down the federal government, halting the economic recovery and putting a million people out of work.

    Sure sounds like a great political move to me!!

  78. GROG says:


    Of course social policy is involved. Is PP, NPR, PBS, etc not about social ideology for the left?


    I know PP does a lot more than just abortions. What if PP agrees to stop doing thousands and thousands of abortions but keeps doing all the other things they do? There are plenty of other abortion clinics available that do not receive federal funding.

  79. Monotreme says:

    GROG asks:

    Of course social policy is involved. Is PP, NPR, PBS, etc not about social ideology for the left?

    Yes. Yes it is. Please tell me more.

  80. filistro says:

    @GROG>> What if PP agrees to stop doing thousands and thousands of abortions but keeps doing all the other things they do? There are plenty of other abortion clinics available that do not receive federal funding.

    What if the Republican party agrees to stop interfering in women’s lives but keeps doing all the other things they do? There are plenty of churches and counselors who can worry about female morality that do not have the responsibility for running the country.

  81. filistro says:

    Treme… you’re an evil little echidna 😉

  82. rgbact says:


    Abortion is about as relevant to me as NPR being liberal. Its not really. I don’t think the govt needs to be subsidizing these services . That said, if the govt provides direct funding to PP–that does seem to go against the intent of Hyde.

    Anyway, I suggest arguing in defense of PP by showing the great things it does rather that constantly flogging the “Christians are coming” mantra. When liberals resort to that, I always suspect their trying to hide something as its their reflexive defense mechanism in leiu of facts. I admittedly don’t know much about PP’s services, so aprreciate information, not scare tactics.

  83. filistro says:

    Deal in the works, via NRO:

    Numerous GOP and Democratic sources on and off Capitol Hill tell National Journal that the outline of the deal is as follows: up to $39 billion in cuts from the 2010 budget, $514 billion in spending for the defense budget covering the remainder of this fiscal year, a GOP agreement to abandon controversial policy riders dealing with Planned Parenthood and the EPA, and an agreement to pass a “bridge” continuing resolution late Friday night to keep the government operating while the deal is written in bill form.

    In short, Boehner agreed to drop the Planned Parenthood rider for a price of $1 billion in additional spending cuts.

  84. Monotreme says:

    fili: That’s what I’m hearing on Twitter as well.

  85. Monotreme says:

    fili sez:

    you’re an evil little echidna 😉

    Echidnas are not to be trifled with.

  86. GROG says:

    Anyone who doesn’t think a little ideology is involved is delusional.

    No one here is trying to tell women how they should run their lives. Go get your abortion, just don’t force everyone else to pay their money to secure federal funding of it.

  87. dcpetterson says:

    Boehner agreed to drop the Planned Parenthood rider for a price of $1 billion in additional spending cuts.

    I’m reminded of an apocryphal story about Winston Churchill at a party, having had a bit too much to drink, meeting a comely young woman.

    Winston Churchill: “Young lady, would you sleep with me for a million pounds?”
    Young woman: “Well, sir, I believe I would.”
    WC: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
    YW: “Sir! Five pounds? What kind of a girl do you think I am?!”
    WC: “We have established that. We are now discussing price.”

  88. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ rbg

    Per your request:

    Men’s Sexual Health Services at Planned Parenthood:
    checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems
    colon cancer screening
    erectile dysfunction services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral
    jock itch exam and treatment
    male infertility screening and referral
    premature ejaculation services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral
    routine physical exams
    testicular cancer screenings
    prostate cancer screenings
    urinary tract infections testing and treatment

    For Women:
    Breast Cancer Screenings
    Procedures to Prevent Cervical Cancer
    Female Infertility
    Ovarian Cancer
    Pap Tests & HPV Tests
    Pelvic Exam
    Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
    Yeast Infection & Vaginitis

    And, since abortions, BY THE HYDE AMENDMENT, are NOT PAID FOR WITH FEDERAL DOLLARS, and that service by PP is completely separate, it is self-financed.

    Cutting off the federal funding for PP WILL NOT STOP A SINGLE ABORTION!

    I repeat for the learning disabled among us, with due respect for your disability and recognizing your special needs:

    Cutting off the federal funding for PP WILL NOT STOP A SINGLE ABORTION!

  89. dcpetterson says:

    Grog, no Federal money pays for any abortions in America. Don’t pretend otherwise.

  90. filistro says:

    GROG… there’s this little thing called the Hyde Amendment. It exists. It is enforced. Look it up.

  91. filistro says:

    Max.. it’s futile. It’s like stopping to chat with that ragged guy wearing a sign that reads “REPENT! THE END IS NEAR!!!” and telling him, “Hey, cheer up, dude. Smell the roses. Go have a beer.”

    Fanaticism is impenetrable.

  92. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    My favorite Churchill quote, in an interchange with, I believe, Nancy Astor:

    Astor: Winston. You’re drunk!
    WC: Yes, and you’re ugly! But in the morning, madam, I shall be sober!
    Astor: If you were my husband, I’d put poison in your coffee.
    WC: If you were my wife, I’d drink it!

  93. filistro says:

    The real issue for political junkies is what happens to Boehner now. Does the Tea Party caucus stick with him, or do they throw him overboard in favor of Eric Cantor?

    The poor guy’s dreamed of being Majority Leader his whoel life. What a shame if he loses the gig after 3 months… over Pap smears!

  94. shortchain says:

    I’d like to point out that PP, NPR, PBS, the EPA, etc, do not just benefit “the left” as GROG appears to imagine. These are public services supported by the federal government for the good of the public.

    To listen to GROG, you would think that no Republican benefits from them.

  95. dcpetterson says:

    filistro, we have to stop employing young women in the Federal government. They might use some of their paycheck to buy food for their kids. The kids might then grow up and get abortions. We can’t have Federal money going to abortions.

  96. rgbact says:

    Be careful, I seem to remeber people reporting Al Gore wins Florida and Gabby Giffords was dead. Reporters love spreading rumors. Expect a backlash on Boehner if the deal is as confirmed though. Anything under $45B without a shutdown is failure imo. Poor teary eyed Boehner just couldn’t hold tough.

  97. filistro says:

    DC… I think all men should be subjected at puberty to government-mandated vasectomies. They would then never be able to impregnate anybody, and we would have no need for abortions OR family planning which is also a Bad Thing.

    Sperm could be kept stored in nice safe sterile sperm banks and doled out as necessary, so we would also be able to do away with Sex, which starts with S and rhymes with Mess and that means Mayhem… right here in River City…

  98. filistro says:

    @rgb… Poor teary eyed Boehner just couldn’t hold tough.

    That’s what the Freepers are saying. Poor old John… I’m going to miss him. 😦

  99. dcpetterson says:

    filistro, that’s not fair. I think only people opposed to abortions should have forced sterilization. Then they won’t be tempted.

    However, we do have to stop providing Federal student loans. Some of them go to doctors, and some of them provide abortions. We can’t have Federal money subsidizing abortions. That also means we can’t have Federal funds for roadways — can’t have Federal funds helping people drive to colleges to learn how to provide abortions. And we’d better not have Federal money going to national defense. It keeps all those abortion providers free and alive, and allows them to provide abortions. We’ve got to stop subsidizing this.

  100. Monotreme says:


    You’re on to something here. Almost all men should have vasectomies. Those men rich and powerful enough to support a family will be allotted a wife (who may be sterile) and a number of handmaids to have their children.

  101. filistro says:

    @DC.. I think only people opposed to abortions should have forced sterilization. Then they won’t be tempted.

    See, that’s where you’re wrong. I think the current crop of GOP politicians have shown us quite vividly that the moral standards they support are for Other People… not Them.

    Vitter, Gingrich, Kirk, Ensign,Sanford… the list is endless.

    They may not be very good at resisting temptation, but they make up for it by doing a WONDERFUL job of inserting themselves (oooh, sorry ;-)) into the perosnal lives of others.

  102. dcpetterson says:

    Unless something changes, there’s only about two hours until the U.S. government shuts down.

    Maybe we should liveblog?

  103. filistro says:

    There’s a deal, DC.

    They’ll announce it as soon as Boehner gets a grip on himself and stops crying.

  104. Monotreme says:


    We’ll call you Ofnewt.

  105. GROG says:

    DC and fili,

    Again, pretty simple stuff here. Without federal funding, there is no Planned Parenthood. Without Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood cannot perform abortions. Please stop pretending you don’t understand that.

  106. dcpetterson says:

    and a number of handmaids to have their children

    How biblical.

  107. rgbact says:

    333,000 abortions provided by PP in 2009. But way more jock itch exams… please keep subsidizing their critical life saving services.

  108. dcpetterson says:

    Grog, pretty simple stuff here. Federal funds do not pay for abortions in America. Please don’t pretend you don’t understand that.

    Without Title X, millions of Americans would be without adequate healthcare. Please don’t pretend you don’t understand that, either.

  109. Monotreme says:

    It’s the Republic of Gilead, dc. Watch it, or we’ll both be sent to California to clean up the radioactive waste.

  110. filistro says:

    @rgb… 333,000 abortions provided by PP in 2009.

    And 976,000 abortions provided by Mother Nature in 2009, through spontaneous miscarriage. No wonder they want to defund the EPA, too!

  111. Monotreme says:

    rgbact says:

    333,000 abortions provided by PP in 2009.

    830,000 cancer screenings and 4 million STD treatments.

    We need to stop those, too.

  112. dcpetterson says:

    Mono, God works in mysterious ways. If he wants to give someone cancer or STDs, who are we to intervene?

  113. dcpetterson says:

    Oh and Monotreme, I’m not watching Handmaid’s Tale any more than I’m reading Door to Women’s Country. There are some things men were not meant to know.

  114. dcpetterson says:

    filistro, it’s time we killed Mother Nature. Throughout history, she’s been the primary provider of abortions. (Unless you’re Christian, then it’s got to be Yhvh, because there is no Mother Nature.)

  115. rgbact says:

    God, imagine the dealing going on right now. Obama handing out PPACA waivers like it was Halloween. Doling out post offices and tax expemptions to crotchety senators. Some 9/11 survivor money to Chuck Shumer. Gonna be fun to see who was bought off to close this deal once the dust settles.

  116. dcpetterson says:

    rgbact, you mean Republican politicians can be bought? Who knew??

  117. Monotreme says:


    You’re low, by several million per year. The estimated rate of failure to implant (never recognized as miscarriage because it occurs before the beginning of the next menstrual flow) is 50%. You’re correct that another 15-20% of pregnancies abort spontaneously after implantation.

    With an annual birth rate of 4 million in the U.S., that’s another 4 million blastocysts and roughly 1 million babies with beating hearts lost each year. Maybe it would be lower if we required women to lay flat on their backs from day 14 to day 28 of each menstrual cycle, and during the entire 40 weeks of gestation. We should pass a law or something.

  118. filistro says:

    @rgb Obama handing out PPACA waivers like it was Halloween

    Obama’s not handing out anything. He’s watching the GOP slowly twisting in the wind, and trying not to smile. After they’ve squealed long enough and been sufficiently chastened he’ll deign to show mercy and cut them down…as long as they cross-their-hearts promise not to pull such a boneheaded stunt ever again.

    Utter and total humiliation for the GOP.

    Painful, really.

    Being a kind person, I may have to avert my eyes…

  119. filistro says:

    Mike Johans (R-NB) jumps the gun.

  120. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ GROG

    “Again, pretty simple stuff here. Without federal funding, there is no Planned Parenthood. Without Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood cannot perform abortions. Please stop pretending you don’t understand that.”

    “No one here is trying to tell women how they should run their lives. Go get your abortion, just don’t force everyone else to pay their money to secure federal funding of it.”

    That’s just purposeful, blind, ideological ignorance. Unless you actually ARE that stupid, which I don’t really believe. So I’ll repeat it again:

    And, since abortions, BY THE HYDE AMENDMENT, are NOT PAID FOR WITH FEDERAL DOLLARS, and that service by PP is completely separate, it is self-financed.

    Cutting off the federal funding for PP WILL NOT STOP A SINGLE ABORTION!

    PP could change the name of that “division” to Abortions ‘r’ Us, and STILL GO ON performing the procedures. Cutting off the federal funding for PP WILL NOT STOP A SINGLE ABORTION!

    At least ACT like you’ve got good sense, PLEASE.

  121. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    BTW, Planned Parenthood began in 1916.

    Planned Parenthood was around almost 60 years BEFORE Nixon signed Title X into law.

    Planned Parenthood will NOT disappear if their federal funding is cut, they will simply no longer provide the health services that the funding allows.

    Cutting off the federal funding for PP WILL NOT STOP A SINGLE ABORTION!

  122. Max aka Birdpilot says:


  123. rgbact says:

    Well, Boehner got rolled. The template is now set for Reid. Don’t engage in the Ryan debate at all. Let GOP debate against itself. Offer nothing. Wait till 2 days before D-Day, and begin massive spin campaign on how seniors/women will be eating cat food. Watch GOP crumble on everything. Get ready for 1.5 years more of this trench warfare with huge fights over $2B cuts, while the country goes bankrupt.

  124. dcpetterson says:

    From the sounds of it, the Republicans were forced to back down,0,1185517.story?track=rss

    38 billion in cuts, but none of the obscene riders.

    Way to go Obama!

  125. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ rgb

    Well, Boehner got rolled.

    And THAT, my friend, demonstrates a succinct lack of understanding of, not only HOW government works, but the very HISTORY of our nation.

    It demonstrates the reason as to why the half-life of the TeaParty “revolution” is much closer to Iodine-131 than to Uranium-235 when it comes to American politics.

    It demonstrates the attitude of the blind ideologue who has nothing to do but sit on the sidelines and complain, while reasonable people actually govern.

    rgb, for Chrissakes, sit down and listen to the 9th track off of the album released by The Rolling Stones in late 1969, over and over and over until the lesson sinks in.

  126. GROG says:

    @DC: Sanity has apparently prevailed

    What exactly is “sane” about the fiscal situation this country faces? What’s “sane” about our projected debt and deficits?

    What was “sane” about the Democrats refusal to pass a budget last year when they controlled 100% of the federal government instead of just 66% of the federal government?

    Sanity has prevailed? Really?

  127. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    We agree. The country faces a serious fiscal situation based on our debt and the deficits that add to it each year.

    Pointing at the Dems accomplishes nothing. Nothing, my friend. The GOP is AS RESPONSIBLE, some say more so, for the debt. Ultimately, though, it’s WE the People who are responsible. We have been asking for more from our government in the services it provides than we are willing to pay for, for AT LEAST the past 30 years.

    Remember my proposed Budget Amendment? The reason I wrote it the way I did was to create, under the Constitution, a balance between what we want and what we must pay for.

    If we want services, we have to pay for it, or as soon as the Debt exceeded 20% of GDP, a surtax Constitutionally kicks in. It’s a reminder to the voter, IN THEIR POCKETBOOK. If they don’t like it, they let their displeasure known at the ballot box.

    If there’s a National Emergency or a War that causes a justified increase in spending, a surtax Constitutionally kicks in. We pay it off as soon as possible instead of passing it down to children and grandchildren. In both cases, Congress has to go on the record in favor of the Emergency or War, so if the voters disagree, when that surtax lightens their wallet, they can express that at the ballot box.

    Time will tell.

  128. shortchain says:

    Yeah, GROG,

    As Ezra Klein said,

    In the end, the real negotiation was not between the Republicans and the Democrats, or even the Republicans and the White House. It was between John Boehner and the conservative wing of his party.

    Between those two parties, you expected a sane result?

  129. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    shortchain and GROG,

    If it is given that something has to be done about the Debt, yes, there are signs of sanity.

    Compromise occurred. It’s how we roll!

    For the first time in history, cuts actually were made to a Federal Budget. Major? No. Significant? Yes.

    Simple physics. Law of Inertia.

    One does NOT STOP a giant snowball rolling down the mountain with a dead aim on your house by jumping in front of it. One has to run alongside, giving enough minor pushes at 90 degrees to the path, so as to change the vector such that it misses your house and lands in the river instead.

    This was one of those initial sideways shoves. Major? No. Significant? Yes.

    Sane? Yes, actually.

  130. shortchain says:


    Until enough people realize that it is a political impossibility to get Congress to cut enough spending to balance the budget and leave enough of the country standing to be able to move forward as a nation, and that rolling back the insane Bush tax cuts is a necessity for any return to fiscal health, delusion will continue to be the prevailing mental state.

  131. rgbact says:

    I understand compromise, but Boehner is fighting these battles on the Dems terms. He should embrace the shutdown as it engages the public on the fiscal debacle that is DC. Boehner fears getting blamed for a 1 week shutdown over getting blamed for a $1.6T deficit. That is a loser.

    In the end, this was about both sides being able to get reelected by showing how they “compromised”. The media will hail Obama for holding the fire hose while we try to put out the blaze he created. Everyone enjoy a victory lap as the house burns down.

  132. shortchain says:


    Yeah, nothing says “I understand compromise” like saying Boehner “should embrace the shutdown” over funding for PP in the same breath.

  133. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ rgb

    The media will hail Obama for holding the fire hose while we try to put out the blaze he created.

    I note you posit no blame for the unnecessary tax cuts of two GOP presidents. I note you posit no blame for two wars commenced by Bush II without asking the American people to pay for them.

    Making your argument using partisanship leaves out half the problem AND WILL NEVER FIX THE WHOLE PROBLEM! Much as I pointed out to you above.

    It’s fine to hold your ideological beliefs. It’s American to recognize that many others, even a majority, do not agree with you and that you can’t always get what you want.

  134. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ rgb

    this was about both sides being able to get reelected by showing how they “compromised”.

    So, since you mentioned “both sides”, should the hard right conservatives NOT get reelected because they did not and the folks back home were pissed because the passport office shut down, Yellowstone was closed, their refund was delayed for weeks, etc., where is your voice then?

    How effective is that conservative politician no longer in office?

  135. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ fili,

    Max.. it’s futile. It’s like stopping to chat with that ragged guy wearing a sign that reads “REPENT! THE END IS NEAR!!!” and telling him, “Hey, cheer up, dude. Smell the roses. Go have a beer.”

    Maybe if I told him, “Find yourself a good woman, a glass of good wine and some Teddy Pendergrass”?

    It’s what I’d do under the circumstances!

  136. rgbact says:

    Most of us have agreed on many of Bush’s excesses. I have called Medicare Part D the most irresponsible law in the last 30 years….until the PPACA. I’m sympathetic to your war tax idea. If a Dem would embrace a war tax plus uncover pentagon waste….I’m willing to deal. Anyway, I’m not seeing any fixes so far. So far this seems alot like Bush 3. But we’ve added a war, added an entitlement, and added some tax cuts.

  137. dcpetterson says:

    Most of us have agreed on many of Bush’s excesses.

    I’ve heard a lot of conservatives say that sort of thing, starting, oh, about in the summer of 2008. I’d find it more convincing if conservatives had complained about “Bush’s excesses” while he was still in office – or, better yet, if they had actively worked against his reelection in 2004. Coming after Bush has been almost universally acclaimed one of the worst presidents in American history, it sounds more like an attempt merely to distance oneself from disasterous policies that Bush followed — and that the Right still unquestioningly supports.

    Even the current meme that Bush spent too much money — it was the Democrats complaining about that during the period 2002-2008, while the Republicans echoed Cheney — “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

    Anyway rgbact, the biggest difference between Medicare Part D and the PPACA is that the latter is paid for, and will actually reduce the deficit.

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