The Clusterf**K Continues

And the Democrats will take that same skill and precision that they used to craft the HCR bill now on life support to financial regulation:

I don’t think anybody anticipated this turn of events back in June, when we saw the first relatively detailed Treasury proposal on the subject. Sure, there were a lot of problems with it, but it was necessary, the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress, and at least it was something. What’s more, insofar as there were weaknesses in the proposal, they were generally a direct consequence of the fact that Treasury had been careful to put together a proposal which could pass political muster.

Except, Treasury’s finely-honed political calculations turned out to be somewhat awry: it wasn’t long before Barney Frank was tearing into one of the key legs of the proposal, removing both community banks and the vanilla option from the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

And then Chris Dodd came along, with his own set of entirely idiosyncratic ideas: where Treasury put the Fed at the center of the regulatory nexus, for instance, Dodd wanted to remove it from that role entirely. And where Treasury soft-pedaled on regulatory consolidation, for fear of angering powerful constituencies, Dodd went much further, combining not only the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency with the Office of Thrift Savings, but throwing in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for good measure.

At this point, all semblance of party discipline had clearly broken down. Did the Republican leadership in the Senate ever put forward versions of White House proposals which were fundamentally at odds with what George W Bush’s White House wanted? There’s a time and a place for negotiating these things, but Dodd seemed to have slept through that entire time period, releasing his list of bright ideas a good five months after the release of the Treasury plan should have put an end to the discussions.

Please note- this is before the moderates have even weighed in. And the shit show fail parade that is the Democratic Congress marches on, each to the beat of a different drummer.






120 replies
  1. 1
    Econwatcher says:

    If Obama and Rahm are not all over this, pushing and pulling behind closed doors, then they certainly deserve a goodly share of the blame.

    The State of the Union would be a fine opportunity to announce an aggressive and specific package of financial reforms that the White House expects Congress to deliver. If we don’t hear that, I think this administration is circling the drain.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    Chris Dodd has revealed himself as a complete tool. Now that he’s announced he will no longer represent the people of Connecticut, he’s gone all out in representing his real constituents, the banksters.

  3. 3
    Punchy says:

    I predict there will not be a single major legislative initiative passed during Obama’s 4 years.

    Dems are too gutless, Republicans too ruthless. Nothing gets done on any front. Just you watch.

    Cant wait to see what happens if Obama gets to replace a conservative SC judge, now that the R’s can filly every single nominee until 2012.

  4. 4

    C’mon John give them a break. They bent over for eight years, sniffing W’s codpiece. You couldn’t expect the World Greatest Deliberative Body to keep it up forever, could you? By golly, those Democrats are going to show us they don’t roll over for everyone! Just the banksters, Republican Presidents, and anyone else who won’t cave to threats from Strongly Worded Letters.

    BTW kudos on the new front pager. Excellent choice.

  5. 5
    aimai says:

    Well, yes, John. This is exactly what we’ve been arguing about using the shorthand “Obama/Rahm/Reid” complaint. It is simply insane that the Democrats went into the most difficult, demanding, and historic year of the party and the country’s life without an upfront agreement from all active democrats in the house and the senate that they would be good team players and push, collectively, for the best bills possible. But its clear that each senator and each congressman thinks its every man for himself time. The very fact that Pelosi is having to pursue individual votes instead of being certain that her caucus will support her when she tells them “its now or never” is a sign of serious mental weakness on the part of the democrats as a party. I’m not saying that Obama/Rahm etc.. can fix this foundational ego problem but I’m saying that if they’d spent half as much time working on the democrats as they did working on bipartisanship with the intransigent republicans, or taking democrats out to the woodshed and beating them over the head to get unanimity instead of taking out only select progressives and insulting them they might have a unified caucus. They chose to try to unify the caucus around its least liked, most fragile and egocentric parties (the stupaks, the landrieu’s and nelsons) and they publicly and privately shafted the progressives and the real centrists and made it impossible to trust corporate/party leadership. The end result is a “sauve qui peut” mentality.

    aimai

  6. 6
    Kryptik says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    By golly, you’re right.

    Democrats have a spine, dammit! Just look how quickly they acted on that horrible scourge known as ACORN!

  7. 7
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Democrats aren’t lemurs. They will march off their own individual cliffs.

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    OT, but I just realized that the incredible dengre is now on the front page here. Balloon Juice has become the refuge for Kossacks in exile. Their loss.

  9. 9
    BenA says:

    All this makes me very tired.

    The Democratic Party as a whole is just too divergent. It’s a side effect of the fact that the Republican Party is way to narrow…

    You add in the fact that Harry Reid is perhaps the worst majority leader in the history of the Senate… and you end up with a giant pile of fuck-all getting done.

    You’d think these morons in the Senate and House would notice that they’re getting KILLED and that a Democrat just lost to a teabagger in MASSACHUSETTS and actually try to acomplish something…

    I’ll spell it out for you: People don’t give a shit about what gets passed… just fucking pass some stuff and make it look like you know what you’re doing.

    The FDL jackasses aren’t right, the reason the idiots in Mass went out and elected themselves a douchebag who’s only claim to fame is producing a kid that can sing reasonably well…. isn’t because the HCR wasn’t progressive enough… it’s because nothing was fucking getting done!

    I hate everyone right now… including myself. Fuck everybody…

  10. 10
    Corner Stone says:

    @Econwatcher:

    The State of the Union would be a fine opportunity to announce an aggressive and specific package of financial reforms that the White House expects Congress to deliver. If we don’t hear that, I think this administration is circling the drain.

    Without being a wanker here, can I ask you what difference it would make?
    A lot of things get said, promised, discussed and mentioned in uplifting speeches. It’s the execution that matters.
    I predict Obama will light up his SOTU with quite a few vague references to many things we all will enjoy hearing. And then?
    He still has to get Congress to fulfill those points, and that means he will have to push or encourage or threaten (or whatever term you like) them, in one way or another, to do the right thing by his agenda.
    We’ve seen no evidence revealed in public that this is how he governs.

  11. 11
    Obliterati says:

    Imagine you work in an office with 60 or so people.

    Now imagine that several of your most influential and capable officemates left for better jobs about a year ago, but they were replaced with useless temp workers.

    Imagine that some highly experienced upper-management co-workers have either passed away suddenly, or have already announced their retirements at the end of the year.

    Imagine that another of the highly experienced upper managers has spent the past five years actively working with your competetors across the street, and has faced no serious consequences.

    Now imagine that the boss of this wreck is a weak-willed paper-pusher who abhors confrontations, and everyone knows he has a 70% chance of being fired at the end of the year.

    I agree John, that the Democratic Congress is in chaos…but are you really surprised? Look at this mess!

  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    @aimai:

    This. Dammit, yes. This.

  13. 13
    inkadu says:

    John —

    Could you include mixed drink recipes with posts like these?

    Thanks.

    Your pal,
    ink

  14. 14
    Irony Abounds says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Nor are they lemmings

    But seriously, the one aspect of the tea party that isn’t just a bunch of cranky white guys is the total disgust with the ineptitude of government. Seems our choices range from the criminally insane to the criminally stupid. As of yet, none of the above is not an option, which is a damn shame.

  15. 15
    BenA says:

    @inkadu: I have one that works reasonably well.

    Take a highball glass, add ice, pour vodka of choice (I like Stoli), garnish (I like lime)…

  16. 16
    Kryptik says:

    @inkadu:

    Mixed drinks?

    Times like these call for doubles on the rocks.

  17. 17
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    But we’re now up to four competing conceptions of financial regulatory reform: Treasury’s, Frank’s, Dodd’s, and Volcker’s. And that’s just within the Democratic party;

    Calm down Cole. Jeebus, Only 4 competing conceptions for dems is like manna from heaven. When it gets to 10, we can start to worry.

    This is how dems do things, or make sausage by first spreading all the entrails out under The Capital Dome, so all of them can read them, maybe sling some at one another, then picking the turds out and turning them into law.

    Of course, as always, with the stamp of approval from the Chaos Sisters Lieberman and Nelson. Welcome to the new dem majority.

  18. 18
    Uriel says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): It’s lemmings that you’re looking for here.

    Lemurs have very different habits in regards to cliff jumping: which are, simply put- they don’t. Nothing like Dems.

  19. 19
    AhabTRuler says:

    BenA@15: Ice is an insult to good Vodka. Just keep the bottle in a handy snowbank.

  20. 20
    BenA says:

    Another thing… how come no one in the leadership of the Democratic Party can see the bigger picture?

    Appear to govern effectively so you can keep a president in power for greater than 4 years so you can make sure the higher courts aren’t stocked to the gills with complete assholes?

    You’d think the Supreme Court decision last week would be another giant friggin wake up call?

  21. 21
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @aimai:

    It is simply insane that the Democrats went into the most difficult, demanding, and historic year of the party and the country’s life without an upfront agreement from all active democrats in the house and the senate that they would be good team players and push, collectively, for the best bills possible.

    LOL. You’d just as soon pin down the meaning of life.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    @aimai:

    I’m saying that if they’d spent half as much time working on the democrats as they did working on bipartisanship with the intransigent republicans, or taking democrats out to the woodshed and beating them over the head to get unanimity instead of taking out only select progressives and insulting them they might have a unified caucus.

    This. Yes.

    I think this is where Obama’s community organizer background comes up to bite him – and all of us – in the ass. As a community organizer, he worked knowing that everyone is in the community and wants problems to be solved. So even if someone doesn’t get the problem solved in the way they want it to be solved, the goal of solving the problem is there. They have a vested interest.

    Obama has naively assumed that Republicans want to solve problems. They don’t. They want power and they want whatever is best for them and their constituents right now. They don’t think past the next election. That’s it. They have no vested interest in solving long term problems. That kind of thing doesn’t get them re-elected.

    Republicans will never play ball. They’ll obstruct because it works for them. Obama/Rahm/whoever needs to spend all their energy on the Democrats and keeping them in line. It’s the only option. Let the Republicans say no and make it clear that’s all they are willing to do. The American people want RESULTS. And “No” is not a result.

  23. 23
    scav says:

    In the name of all our sanities, I think we should follow John’s example and just go change our shower curtains. All Week. Mixed or Unmixed drinks as desired.

  24. 24
    m3872 says:

    @Econwatcher:

    Nice job of setting-up the media-theme no-win situation, Econ.

    The Senate Dem caucus works in every way except in coordination with each other. Then there’s the House with their own direction.

    This has been the Democratic party for decades.

    How Obama is supposed to handle this through back-room negotiations, as you state, is beyond any sense of reality.

    Dodd, Reid, and the rest of the current Dem leadership have been in their office much, much longer than Obama has been around.

    They are not about to change course because of something Obama wants …

  25. 25
    beltane says:

    @Violet: Yep. The Republicans would greatly prefer to enjoy unchecked power over a wrecked shell of a country than to be part of a coalition in a prosperous, vibrant country. Even in a country such as Haiti, there is a psychopathic elite that has done quite well for itself; the Republican party and its backers would have no qualms about destroying America if it means they have exclusive rights to what remains.

    How is it that the Democrats in Washington can’t figure out the obvious?

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    If we don’t hear that, I think this administration is circling the drain.

    Who would have thought it would be like this a year ago? sigh.

  28. 28
    Sly says:

    I have absolutely zero problems with Dodd’s proposals on this issue and, quite frankly, neither should the White House. Gaming the regulators was a serious precondition to the catastrophe. And after Treasury shot him in the back on the compensation issue, the clamors on the left to fire Geithner is their one hissyfit to which I throw a great deal of sympathy. A regulator that is terrified of the institutions it regulates is a waste of resources.

    Frank’s proposals is a bit of a different issue. I’m sympathetic toward leaving vanilla options and community banks out of the CPA because they’ve never been a problem and anything that makes them preferable to exotic options and mutant banks that were created on the Island of Dr. Moreau is a good idea. But if that’s standing in the way of getting regulatory reform through, however, it isn’t necessary.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    Please note- this is before the moderates have even weighed in. And the shit show fail parade that is the Democratic Congress marches on, each to the beat of a different drummer.

    This wouldn’t even be a bad thing in a saner Congressional session. Ideally, you have a bunch of Senators and House Reps, each with their own ideas and their own agendas, all putting forward their legislation. And you debate and you argue and you campaign, and at the end of the day you vote, with the most popular piece of legislation winning out.

    This would work – abet haphazardly and with varying degrees of success – if the Republican Party wasn’t in lockstep opposition. You’re supposed to be able to peal off some Republicans here and there depending on what their constituencies support. But Republicans aren’t getting pealed off, and you can’t pass legislation anymore without appeasing 100% of the Democrats.

    The Democrats just aren’t organized like that. The power structure simply isn’t that centralized. You’re going to have to bring out the Tom DeLay and Karl Rove style politics if you want the Dems to line up. And you’re going to have to cull a lot of talent out of the party, because – frankly – both Dodd and Frank have some good ideas in their legislation, despite them not being compatible. If you want them both to buckle under to the White House, you’re going to have to toss a lot of good ideas out the window just to break a few stubborn egos.

  30. 30
    Frank Chow says:

    Shorter Dodd: Anybody know if Goldman Sachs is hiring?

  31. 31

    @Chad N Freude: I put up a post on my own blog about this. What struck me was this:

    But Dr. Rubin said UnitedHealthcare’s approach is particularly aggressive and might be part of a wave of pressure insurance companies feel from employers to cut costs and to keep premiums lower to avoid penalties, like the “Cadillac tax” on expensive insurance plans.

    “It’s an example of the insurance company getting between you and your doctor,” Dr. Rubin said.

    hhhmmm … all this sounds very familiar

  32. 32
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Balloon Juice has become the refuge for Kossacks in exile.

    First we take their posters. Then we take their power. Then we take their women.

  33. 33
    The Moar You Know says:

    Balloon Juice has become the refuge for Kossacks in exile.

    @beltane: It has been for quite some time; I showed up here in late 2006 when I woke up one day and realized every commenter, most of the front pagers at the GOS, and especially Markos himself, were full of shit.

    And Markos and the front pagers standing by while dumbshits not fit to wash his jockstrap chased bonddad off the site was the last straw for any page hits I give that site. Fuck those people.

    My favorite thing here is the lack of moderation and threads; say something stupid, and you’ll get flogged by the community without mercy or even a shred of human decency. My kind of people. Mostly unapologetically moderate and all completely irreverent.

  34. 34
    ominira says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Win! (w lemmings substituted for lemurs, of course)

  35. 35
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    We are democrats. The CCr’s are also. Just look at the diverse scratchings from each one of us and the non stop food fight here on BJ. We have individual opinions, we all think are important. The CC’rs do also. This is the baseline for our mentality that carries over into politics and lawmaking by our dem reps, and it isn’t very pretty nor orderly.

    Though somehow, more often than not, something gets done. Usually, as a conglomeration give or take, of all these competing notions. Some folks call it utter chaos or undisciplined. But I choose to call it the cacophony of real democracy, at least when I’m in a good mood. And you have to admit, it is not boring, and always provides decent material to opine about with our individual takes we cherish, which is btw,why we aren’t lockstep wingers.

  36. 36
    Woodbuster says:

    What Aimai said.

    Life was a great deal easier when I didn’t give a shit about politics or politicians in general.

  37. 37
    inkadu says:

    @BenA: That one seems easy. I think that will be my drink of choice for posts on the end of the Obama administration.

    I’ll still need drinks for:
    – calls for bipartisanship
    – electoral losses (different ones for house and senate, please)
    Each major bill will have it’s own signature drink on its inevitable failure, but we should have drinks for all the little defeats:
    -every week stuck in finance committee,
    -every time Joe Lieberman decides not to vote for it, -every time popular support tips from for to against, etc.

    And I think that will be the extent of my participation in politics for the next few years. Unless Obama starts the speech by putting a loaded gun on the podium, I wont even be able to watch the SOTU.

    Now off to get a case of Stoli. It looks like its going to be one of those end-of-the-Obama-administration weeks.

  38. 38

    Parties that march entirely to one drummer are poison to the health of a democracy – we have recent history with the GOP to show just how dangerous that can be. Putting aside the reasons for disunity (factual or assumed) within the Democratic party, I believe that accommodating different views within a party is key to steering us down a balanced road. We *must* break this ludicrous cycle of “left vs right” that serves nobody but greed and power brokers. It seems that we’ll be forever stuck with two parties so it is vital that the two are molded into something other than simple catch phrase variants of “us vs them”.

    The GOP must be fixed or be relegated to the fringes while a real conservative party is built. The key to fixing the GOP is not forcing Democrats to march lock-step behind Obama – it is to help the American people understand the dangers of the GOP as it exists today. You don’t (and can’t) force Democrats to rally behind one policy banner – that will only add to the destruction of our democracy. You get them to rally and march lock-step behind the message that the current GOP does NOT stand for conservatism and it is bad for our democracy, that we desperately need a broad spectrum of sincere and serious conservative voices to be heard.

    Then again maybe the majority of people in this country are too lazy or ignorant to ever be open to it. It seems that people love to say that it’s raining when they’re getting pissed on. Feh. These are not new problems – power brokers have always exploited the ignorance and fears of the masses and they always will.

  39. 39
    beltane says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: The providers are hardly the innocents in all of this. As with universities and every other goddamn institution in this country, hospital administrators are grossly overpaid hacks who are addicted to costly, unneeded building projects, etc. It is not only the insurers who operate on a for-profit basis, it is also the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, and the diagnostic imaging crooks who are out to game the system. If someone gave the mob the task of designing a health care system, the result would look exactly like what we have today.

  40. 40
    Et Tu Brutus? says:

    Starting to look like a classic goatfuck, alright. Although there exists the possibility that Obama’s handlers are beginning to panic, seeing re-election in 2012 slipping away, and will push him to begin acting a bit more like a leader of the majority party, ie find some ways to kick ass and twist some arms to accomplish something in a legislative manner, rather than just rolling over for special interest while giving lip service to the needs of average Americans.

  41. 41
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    When the skies are brighter canary yellow
    I forget ev’ry cloud I’ve ever seen,
    So they called me a cockeyed optimist
    Immature and incurably green.
    ___
    I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
    That we’re done and we might as well be dead,
    But I’m only a cockeyed optimist
    And I can’t get it into my head.
    ___
    I hear the human race
    Is fallin’ on its face
    And hasn’t very far to go,
    But ev’ry whippoorwill
    Is sellin’ me a bill,
    And tellin’ me it just ain’t so.
    ___
    I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
    And appear more intelligent and smart,
    But I’m stuck like a dope
    With a thing called hope,
    And I can’t get it out of my heart!
    Not this heart…

  42. 42
    BenA says:

    @inkadu:
    I try not to get too invested in the whole process… I just wish the Dems would realize that they’re the party in power…. just use the tools available to them to effect legislation… and stop looking like a bunch of idiots… I can live with watered down semi-effective legislation because the alternative is just too horrible.

  43. 43

    @The Moar You Know:

    My favorite thing here is the lack of moderation and threads; say something stupid, and you’ll get flogged by the community without mercy or even a shred of human decency. My kind of people. Mostly unapologetically moderate and all completely irreverent.

    Irreverence and beer make life worth living. I am particularly fond of those moments when The Heater (aka John Cole’s Temper) shows up. It really is a treat.

  44. 44
    Ana Gama says:

    Anyone want to lay odds that we have a repeat of “You lie!” at the SOTU?

  45. 45
    WereBear says:

    Yeah, I know. But really, it’s like the house has reached the point where a jack is holding up the foundation, half the windows are ready to fall out of their frames, and we just got the leaking propane tank shut off.

    We’ve fired the old caretakers and hired a new one with a good-looking resume. But we aren’t going to have the house ready for company right away, no matter what happens.

    I get as ticked off as anyone that perfectly simple and sensible solutions are bypassed because someone is up to their pelvis in the corruption trough, sucking up that sweet sweet taxpayer money. My money! But no one has addressed that, either.

  46. 46
    HIram Taine says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.:

    Who would have thought it would be like this a year ago? sigh.

    Someone anyone who has been watching Democrats since oh, Jimmy Carter or so?

  47. 47
    inkadu says:

    @BenA: The problem isn’t at the legislative level, it’s at the propaganda level and the ideology level. They make absolutely no effort to tear down Republican, Republican propaganda, or Republican ideas, while doing nothing to support their own.

    And I told myself I wouldn’t engage in this pointless nonsense anymore. Maybe I’ll punish myself with some Baileys.

  48. 48
    Chad N Freude says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    say something stupid or intelligent, and you’ll get flogged by the community without mercy or even a shred of human decency

    Fixed.

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.:

    First we take their posters. Then we take their power. Then we take their women.

    Personally I’d settle for just taking their sugar.
    They can keep the posters.

  50. 50
    Econwatcher says:

    @m3872:

    So you think Obama and Rahm should just sit back and not even try to herd the cats–really? And setting specific expectations for good reform is so futile that Obama should not even try? Come on.

    Here’s the thing: Just about everyone who’s not on the payroll of Wall Street hates Wall Street; that includes red staters. The wirehouses make the perfect villains–and what a record they have compiled since Septemeber of ’08 (and even before).

    Obama needs to use his silver tongue to make them politically radioactive, so that anyone in Congress who shills for them in the reform process–R or D–has to fear a heavy price. That’s the only way good reform is going to happen. And you know what? That’s also the only chance the Democratic Party has to save its sorry carcass. It’s very belated for O even to try this, but it’s his last chance to avoid irrelevance and failure as President.

  51. 51
    Chad N Freude says:

    Then we take their women

    Some of the commenters here will take there men.

  52. 52
    nepat says:

    Barney Frank is turning out to be a world class A-hole. First the craven reaction to Scott Brown’s election, then this. Malcontent!

    aimai – agreement? Among Dems? You characterize the impossible as something achievable if only Obama/Rahm/Reid… There is no actual evidence that what you prescribe has not been tried. Tried and failed. Turns out our mavericky Dems like to tweak the president as much as the Republicans. Did the insta-reaction from our Congressional and Senate members to line up behind President Brown when he won in MA escape our notice?

  53. 53
    Nick says:

    @Econwatcher:

    So you think Obama and Rahm should just sit back and not even try to herd the cats—really?

    Oh, they’ve tried, remember “I hope you know what you’re doing, Harry?”

  54. 54
    DougJ says:

    You naive O-bots make me laugh. As if Rahm was ever going to let any kind of financial regulation through.

    This has Rahm’s fingerprints all over it. It’s not the first time Rahm has gotten Dodd and Frank to push confusing alternatives that derail “intended” legislation.

  55. 55
    mandarama says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    **And Markos and the front pagers standing by while dumbshits not fit to wash his jockstrap chased bonddad off the site was the last straw for any page hits I give that site.**

    bonddad left? Because of attacks? (I haven’t been there in many moons.) That sucks. His work was so helpful when I was trying to understand the financial crisis, and I’d be interested in his take on the upcoming fight as well.

    But I looked briefly at the comments under dengre’s farewell post, and thought, “HOLY CRAP!” Talk about bats in the belfry.

  56. 56
    mcd410x says:

    Speaking of drinks, last night I had a Fuller’s London Porter, a Sammy Smith’s Imperial Stout and a Lagunitas Cappucino Stout. Really, you can’t beat that.

    Atrios:

    So the fate of our economy, or at least the parts of it that Timmeh cares about, depends on the confirmation of One Great Man, otherwise everything goes to hell. What if Ben has an accident and is unable to continue in his position? Are we just fucked because The Great Man is gone? I hate these people.

  57. 57
    Chad N Freude says:

    The entire text of the upcoming SOTU address:

    “The Union is in the toilet. Thank you and good night.”

    No teleprompter needed.

  58. 58
    cat48 says:

    @Ana Gama Excellent chance. Like Inkado, I wish he would put a loaded gun on the podium before beginning the speech. That might prevent it.

  59. 59
    HIram Taine says:

    January 20, 2013

  60. 60
  61. 61
    mandarama says:

    @Ana Gama:

    Anyone want to lay odds that we have a repeat of “You lie!” at the SOTU?

    I would give just about anything if the President would yell back, “And you SUCK!” I guess the president can’t go there, though. My problem is I just got done watching Idiocracy for the bazillionth time.

  62. 62
    Sly says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    My kind of people. Mostly unapologetically moderate and all completely irreverent.

    I’d agree on the second part, but not the first. The sense I get is that the regular commentators are fairly liberal, based on where they’re from*, just not stupid. Being intelligent is not a prerequisite of being a moderate, and ideology has little or nothing to do with political strategy. My own objection to the Bill Killers and whathaveyou is that they’re throwing away tangible results because those results don’t live up to their fantasies about what is possible. Progressives are supposed to be about, you know, progress. Even if that progress is incremental.

    *There’s no such thing as a nationwide political ideology. Liberal, moderate, and conservative are filtered through a largely geographic prism defined by local culture.

  63. 63
    Malron says:

    Just be glad Dodd isn’t running for reelection. I just hope he doesn’t gum up the works even more before he leaves.

  64. 64
    Zifnab says:

    @Et Tu Brutus?:

    ie find some ways to kick ass and twist some arms to accomplish something in a legislative manner, rather than just rolling over for special interest while giving lip service to the needs of average Americans.

    Obama stepped into the middle of economic class-based civil war and thought he could make both sides happy with a bit of compromise. I just don’t think he’s realized that the GOP went Conan the Barbarian (What is best in life?!) on partisan politics about ten years ago.

    I mean, in a sane world, every industry but the insurance companies should be chomping at the bit for Universal Coverage (especially after watching the Auto Industry’s books get curb stomped by exploding premiums). Likewise, you’d think they’d appreciate truly effective economic stimulus and infrastructure improvements rather than corporate tax cuts for a bunch of businesses that are having trouble just turning a profit.

    But the partisans are running the show, the Chamber of Commerce is swimming in it’s own kool-aid, the corporationists can’t see past the next quarter’s earnings report, and the majority of the country doesn’t speak High Econ well enough to know what the hell the actual problems are.

    This isn’t about “rolling over for special interests”, this is about using the “can’t we all get along” rhetoric in the middle of a trench war. Obama’s flanks keep getting rolled, because he can’t take a stand and hold is ground.

  65. 65
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @DougJ:

    This has Rahm’s fingerprints all over it.

    Just wait till Israel becomes the 51st state.

  66. 66
    Interrobang says:

    Lemurs have very different habits in regards to cliff jumping: which are, simply put- they don’t.

    Neither do lemmings, godfuckingdammit.

    That whole “jumping off a cliff” thing was made up out of the whole cloth by Disney back in the 1950s, for some stupid bullshit mockumentary they were doing about the high arctic, and bears about as much resemblance to reality as anything else Disney ever did. In other words, none. (Lemmings, like all other small herbivorous prey species, do have population crashes from time to time, but when that happens, they generally starve to death.)

    Democrats are the only animals in existence who will jump off cliffs if not chased or pushed. That said, I think there’s a passel of mounted Republicans chasing them; why not just rename Washington, DC “Head-Smashed-In Democrat Jump”?

  67. 67
    aimai says:

    Nepat,
    I think that’s wrong factually. I think its very clear that the Administration would have had to have had *weekly meetings* with senators and blocks of house democrats to make sure they were all on the same course. They never did that. We know they never did that because the house progressives were begging for attention/discussion with the president and were given the back of his hand right before the last SOTU speech and every other time they’ve sent a letter to the President asking for a meeting. We also know that the House as a whole feels burned by the president and doesn’t trust him, or the senate, to behave with minimal responsibility with respect to legislative priorities. Obama and Reid can’t even get 51 of their own senators to sign a letter promising to handle critical issues through reconciliation? What do you think that is about except that Obama and Reid have failed to dominate even the strongest/most liberal part their own caucus? And yes, I think they could have done so. Dysfunctional as the Democratic senators are, egocentric as they are there are only *fifty such votes* that they need. Given biden’s role in breaking a tie. Do you seriously tell me there isn’t a way to get the compliance of a mere fifty senators? Not enough bribes, threats, gifts, etc…?

    I agree with Sly’s point “there’s no such thing as a nationwide political ideology. Liberal, moderate, and conservative are filtered through a largely geographic prism defined by local culture.

    But its really clear from watching the seduction, or evolution, of ordinary candidates when they get to the big top/big leagues that there are many settings and moments when individual congressmen and senators get molded into the new model. The Republicans clearly groom their membership: offer them inducements and penalties, free room and board, chicks or guys, and a concrete ideology of doing nothing to disturb the corporate masters. The dems seem to let their party float free: no parties, gifts, goodies, threats, help, carrot, stick you name it. Is it too much to ask for a fucking three day retreat at camp david for the entire democratic caucus with charts, graphs, and lectures? But it never happened, and it apparently never will.

    aimai

  68. 68
    Svensker says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.:

    First we take their posters. Then we take their power. Then we take their women.

    No problem with the first two, but I’d like first pick of the guys, please.

  69. 69
    Chad N Freude says:

    @twiffer: State of the Onion.

  70. 70
    BenA says:

    @inkadu:
    I’m with you to some extent… a huge issue there is that the media itself has no interest in being a vehicle for rational discourse and is more interested in parroting Republican talking points as if they were some sort of “common sense” answer to the problems we face. For christ sake, a quarter of the Dems believe Republican propaganda and talking points….

    “Conventional Wisdom” and “common sense” are going to be written on the tombstone of the United States.

  71. 71
    Econwatcher says:

    @DougJ:

    I’m not an Obamabot. But I’ve been operating on the assumption that Obama is smart enough to smell the mortal peril his presidency now faces, and has enough sense to look for real options.

    But I may be wrong in making that assumption. Maybe the hiring of Rahm and Geithner told you all you needed to know from the beginning (as some said at the time). I think we’ll know for sure in the next few days.

  72. 72
    mcd410x says:

    If there were any actual leaders in the Democratic caucus, Obama could just be president and not lead that ragtag, fugitive [Congress], on a lonely quest—for meaningful legislation.

  73. 73
    Svensker says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Just wait till Israel becomes the 51st state.

    Didn’t you get the memo? That happened a long time ago. Only thing is, they get 98 senators and 429 reps.

  74. 74
    Church Lady says:

    @DougJ: Wake up feeling feisty this morning? Sessing Strauss all night must have put you in a cantankerous mood.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    I just want to say how funny it is to watch the same people declaring that they shouldn’t have to support everything the president does in lockstep just because they’re in the same party complaining when Congress doesn’t support everything the president does in lockstep just because they’re in the same party.

  77. 77
    BenA says:

    @Kryptik:
    Things are so fucked… that I’m not sure if this is good or bad news…

  78. 78
    bob h says:

    The share price of SLM, the student loanshark firm, also seemed to respond to Senator Brown’s election positively. That signals that overhaul of the corporate-welfare-based program may also fall victim.

  79. 79
    Ana Gama says:

    I’d gonna hope that Rahm & Geithner start craving more time with their families soon.

  80. 80
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I think its very clear that the Administration would have had to have had weekly meetings with senators and blocks of house democrats to make sure they were all on the same course.

    I don’t. There are constant meetings the WH has through it’s leg affairs office with congress. Now if you are talking about between principles, like the Speaker, Reid, and Obama, then maybe not weekly. But the principles had been burning the midnight oil working out the kinks between the House and senate for a final HCR vote, until Mass happened. And the House never trusts the senate and is perpetually pissed at them because of their anti-majoritarian rules and processes.

    Please stop with the meme making when the only vote that has mattered is Liebermans and a few other senate dems to get the 60 needed to keep the leg trains running. Without the filibuster in the senate, dems could phone it in and every piece of legislation would be passed the way you and I want it.

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @mcd410x: The SS Imperial Stout is a HIGHLY recommend beer for anyone who enjoys a stout.
    I’ve only ever had one I liked more than the Imperial and it was at a restaurant that did it’s own microbrew with an onsite brewmaster who would come out to your table and talk with you.
    The Smith Imperial Stout is a MUST try for people of that persuasion.

  82. 82
    Brian J says:

    Hmmm.

    On a somewhat related note, I finally finished my personal statement for law schools. After going through several drafts and struggling to find something to talk about relating to myself, I talked about how my mom’s difficult life never kept her down and, after maturing, I now had the sort of stamina and strength that she has. I briefly talked about how this would serve me well based on what I wanted to do, which was end the overwhelming influence that the financial industry has on our lives, because it’s a threat to economic security and liberty. I tried to keep it very brief, because of length issues and because, while I wanted to show passion, I also didn’t want to come across as too opinionated considering my relative ignorance compared to a professor. I figured pissing off a conservative who was reading my paper wouldn’t help. A lot of people, including a cousin who is a very successful (Republican) trial attorney who used to do admissions, warned me about this. But while I don’t scream loudly in the statement, it’s not hard to figure out where I stand. I sort of hope that, on the day this was read, there would be some outraged splashed across the front page. Perhaps my hope isn’t that far off.

  83. 83
    PanAmerican says:

    Dodd isn’t acting like a lame duck? Anyone think maybe Dodd is running against unholy Joe in two years?

  84. 84
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Here is a suggestion. Since the illusion of a filibuster proof senate is no longer, how about we focus our attention on shining the light on the real culprits here. The wingnuts in the Senate, who are currently in a tight ideological fist as a group of opposing and obstructing anything Obama tries to do.

    And directing whatever fury we might have toward Obama into goading him into taking it to the GOP, now that they can be held responsible by having 41 votes. I think Obama will adjust to this new reality, but to help him, give him hell to start right now. Just an idea.

    I am but a humble obot, so what do I know?

  85. 85
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, there is a difference between street corner debaters and legislators.

  86. 86
    danimal says:

    I’m beginning to believe there is a simple solution to a lot of our congressional problems: make ’em vote. The posturing and the constant negotiations for small advantages are because the congresscritters are able to avoid accountability.

    Making them vote will flush out a lot of the bs and we would know where things really stand. For example, is Rep Grijalva really willing to kill HCR, or is he trying to negotiate the best compromise available?

    So many congresscritters talk out of both sides of their mouths, it’s amazing they can’t be sold as stereos. Make ’em vote.

  87. 87
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @danimal:

    Make ‘em vote.

    yes

  88. 88
    Joshua says:

    Dunno if you guys have seen this from FDL yet, but apparently they’re going after the leader of the House’s Progressive Caucus to kill the Senate bill. While people are calling their own reps, maybe it couldn’t hurt to call up the Firebaggers’ latest target, too.

    http://action.firedoglake.com/finalnotice

  89. 89
    Cain says:

    @aimai: <blockquotean upfront agreement from all active democrats in the house and the senate that they would be good team players and push, collectively, for the best bills possible. But its clear that each senator and each congressman thinks its every man for himself time.

    It is clear that we need to be the hammer to pelosi’s anvil. I’ve been advocating this kind of citizen organization. We need to start hammering everyone. It’s got to be done. I felt good calling my rep.

    I had a call from the democratic party two days ago in regards to passing measure 66 and 67 (which I intend to do, tax increases) and the first words out of my mouth was “you poor fool…” Which incited a good laugh. He said the base is angry, and he knows that the party is in trouble. He was saying that the local and state level things have been good in Oregon but just about all of us are frustrated with national level Democrats. We pretty much joked about me coming over and heading over to Ringlers for shots to drown in our misery. There is a palpable fear that these guys will bring everyone down. Selfish fucks.

    cain

  90. 90
    rootless_e says:

    @aimai:

    The dems seem to let their party float free: no parties, gifts, goodies, threats, help, carrot, stick you name it. Is it too much to ask for a fucking three day retreat at camp david for the entire democratic caucus with charts, graphs, and lectures? But it never happened, and it apparently never will.

    The Republicans have a huge, corporate funded infrastructure that works both as a farm team and a disciplinary committee. There is no Democratic counterpart with the funding and reach of the Chamber of Commerce and that’s just the tip of the iceberg – Club for Growth, AEI, Cato, Fox, the RW radio conglomerates, etc. etc.

    Unfortunately, the few Democratic leaning billionaires are like Soros – in it for the self-congratulation – much like Democratic Senators.

  91. 91
    Corner Stone says:

    @DougJ: You’re not even trying with this one DougJ and frankly it seems a little beneath you.
    Leave the wanking to the experts.

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I just want to say how funny it is to watch the same people declaring that they shouldn’t have to support everything the president does in lockstep just because they’re in the same party complaining when Congress doesn’t support everything the president does in lockstep just because they’re in the same party.

    Pretty much any policy that comes down I support. I may fight around the edges, or wank that we need to try harder before we accept some of the results but I’m onboard D’s passing legislative policy.

    One issue, which I personally do not consider “policy” related no matter how others choose to describe it – is torture and all the related items. I will never support anyone’s decision to continue to hold individuals indefinitely and deny them their rights. I could go on but I hope in other comments I’ve made myself clear.
    To me that isn’t “policy” and it isn’t “partisan”.

    Otherwise I support the planks of the D party in general and any resultant legislation or policy. Except for gun control which I believe they are just wrong on.

  93. 93
    BenA says:

    @Joshua:
    I just can’t believe how arrogant and stupid they are over at FDL. I mean I’m probably with them on core issues 85-90% of the time, and yet they are so utterly tone deaf to the reality… it just makes my head hurt.

  94. 94
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Chad N Freude: I will be back in dystopian mode soon enough. Today I are Pollyanna and humble Obot naif.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ve only ever had one I liked more than the Imperial and it was at a restaurant that did it’s own microbrew with an onsite brewmaster who would come out to your table and talk with you.

    And now that I’m reliving that memory I recall the Porter they had was out of this world good too. Their Brown was above average but not mindblowing like the Stout or the Porter.
    They had a seasonal beer at the time too that I want to say was a Pumpkin Beer, but not a “Pumpkin Spice” beer. It was really good too since it had a very fresh quality to it.

  96. 96

    Anybody read Harold Ford’s op-ed in the NY Times this morning? He’s basically saying, “OK, OK, I’m a Republican.”

    Thank God Harry’s got more ambitious plans for us and his cronies on Wall Street.

  97. 97
    Uriel says:

    @Interrobang:

    Neither do lemmings, godfuckingdammit.

    Yes, I know that. But, you know, the metaphor has a life of it’s own at this point, and I just thought correcting the statement to that was sufficient.

    Besides, “Democrats aren’t lemmings- which were cruelly driven off a cliff by Disney camera men in a pointless effort to recreate a piece of folk wisdom that was never really true in the first place, and don’t naturally engage in cliff jumping, but lets pretend for the sake very brief comment post that they do because it wont work otherwise. They will march off their own individual cliffs” ?

    I dunno, lacks a bit of a zing, don’t you think?

  98. 98
    Randy P says:

    I know it’s popular around here to hate the Great Orange Satan, but Darcy Burner has an analysis over there that has given me some much-needed hope this morning. Burner was an unsuccessful candidate in 2006 and 2008 for the seat currently held by Dave Reichert in the state of Washington. She goes through the vote counts and makes a cogent argument for why a public option via reconciliation is the winning path.

  99. 99
    danimal says:

    @Uriel: Do the lemmings all jump off the cliff into a giant pot of water? And would they jump out of the water if it was slowly heated to a boil?

    @jurassicpork: I think Ford is going to run as an independent and is in the race to take votes away from Sen. Gillibrand.

  100. 100
    Keith G says:

    @Randy P: Sorry, even her detailed analysis is, well maybe cogent, but not impressive. Its basically “We can just talk them into it.”

    All you need to do is figure out what fixes can be passed through reconciliation that would make the bill palatable to 218 House members. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are discussing that now. Then you have the Senate pass that reconciliation bill and send it over to the House. The House passes the reconciliation fixes and the underlying Senate bill. The President signs them (in the correct order), and viola! You’re done.

    I wish it were that easy.

  101. 101
    aimai says:

    I started reading that darcy burner analysis and then I gave up. McJoan has a long post up about how the Senate is refusing to responsibly guarantee that they will get to work on reconciliation and make it happen. And clearly the house thinks the senate is going to backstab them. So, there isnt going to be a “voila” moment.

    aimai

  102. 102
    CalD says:

    Has anyone ever done anything right? And given that everything in life is a trade-off and every solution reveals a new problem, do you suppose that anyone ever will?

  103. 103
    inkadu says:

    @BenA: Media sucks. The question is how much longer I want to be involved in this mess with a party that isn’t interested in the fight.

  104. 104
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @inkadu:

    The question is how much longer I want to be involved in this mess with a party that isn’t interested in the fight.

    I feel this way also, much of the time. More fight, yes. Just not with each other.

  105. 105
    Elie says:

    @BenA:

    That is pretty much how I feel. I may have to leave blogging for a while…I am feeling totally insane

  106. 106
    over_educated says:

    BrianJ –

    Take some friendly advice:

    If you love the law go to law school, but do not, I repeat do not, put yourself 150k in debt to do so. the legal profession is really hurting right now.

  107. 107
    TuiMel says:

    @aimai:
    This captures the essence of my frustrations with Obama and his spokespeople. I am not seeing them as leading a charge; they seem to be stoking the chaos. I know this is not the majority view here, but it is at the center of my own disappointment.

  108. 108
    TuiMel says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Ever met a graveyard you could not whistle past?

  109. 109
    Tbone says:

    “shit show fail parade” – can I use that? It somes up the Dems perfectly

  110. 110
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Elie: I hear ya Elie. may do the same, at least till the SOU speech. Answering The Razorbladers like Tuimel are like being stuck at the all night dentist. It is largely the ebb and flow of Presidencies. I think Obama will get the changes needed, but do it smartly. But we shall see. They could be right.

    But I am just an Obot naif so hear me whistle.

  111. 111
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    And for anyone that remembers, the current situation is much like Reagan’s first term at this point. People were asking wtf did we do electing this incompetent, he and his advisers adjusted and the rest was history. And though I did not support his policies hardly at all, I didn’t and don’t consider him an incompetent presnit either.

  112. 112
    Elie says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    But I will no longer be satisfied with “pretty words”

    I would rather he be a one term President who “went to war” for what he believed — took on change as a mission — even if he fails… than be some slippery politico who cuts corners and talks out of both sides of his mouth while madly retreating from the field of battle.

  113. 113
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    he and his advisers adjusted

    There’s always a catch.

  114. 114
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Elie: sorry to hear that Elie. I don’t agree. at least not to that degree.

  115. 115
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    And the shit show fail parade that is the Democratic Congress marches on

    My personal feeling is that some sort of health care reform is very important for the Dems, and financial reregulation is about twice as important as that. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ten months.

  116. 116
    Glocksman says:

    @mcd410x:

    If there were any actual leaders in the Democratic caucus, Obama could just be president and not lead that ragtag, fugitive [Congress], on a lonely quest—for meaningful legislation.

    Might I suggest bringing some outside help and putting Laura Roslin in as Senate Majority Leader?

    I hear that airlocking works wonders as a means of enforcing caucus discipline.

  117. 117
    Elie says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Believe me, I do not want to feel that way. Have just lost confidence and am unsure of his leadership after having trusted that they knew what they were doing and on top of the process, the outcome and the fire in the belly necessary. I just did not see this coming …feels like a meteor hit the WH..

  118. 118
    Elie says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    General — I am just totally confused and perplexed at what I am seeing… how do you advance your cause from such a fullthroated retreat? There was no sense of “retreating to fight on” in any of the WH response to this…more of a “lets just change the subject” – from his signature, centerpiece initiative? Half way through putting a new story on their house, they decided, “oh, never mind’?!

    I am just trying to put all of this into some way of understanding and yes, to me, the words without action just have no meaning to me. Posturing is different from doing and being brave ..

    I knew that this would be difficult — very difficult. I knew that he would take some lickins I just did not expect him to show retreat like he has — I am truly shocked.

  119. 119
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ten months.

    Bette Davis could have fixed this in a matter of minutes.

  120. 120
    johnny walker says:

    Someone ring up Jon Walker. We need ourselves a motherfucking pep talk.

Comments are closed.