Crazy train

Daniel Larison takes the long view on Republican obstructionism:

Is the GOP in a worse position than a year ago? On the surface, no, it isn’t. Once we get past the surface, however, the same stagnant, intellectually bankrupt, unimaginative party that brought our country to its current predicament is still there and has not changed in any meaningful way in the last three years. Why would it? The party’s leaders have no clue, its pundits are reveling in the luxury of opposition, and its rank-and-file has been whipped into such a state of agitation over their own impotence that they cannot see that they are led by people who will ignore and abuse them the moment they are no longer needed to win elections. It may seem that the GOP has derailed the majority’s agenda, but in reality it is the GOP that went off the rails long ago and has yet to begin to recover.

I think this is about right.

Obviously, it’s a cliche for a liberal like me to obsess about fucked up how Republicans are these days. But isn’t it right that the nihilism (I think Sullivan is right to used this word) of the Republican party is the most striking feature of contemporary politics? Seems to me you’ve got a capable, if reasonably mistake prone, White House, a Democratic majority that is about as disciplined as Democrats usually are (not very), and then a Republican minority whose cynicism and/or delusion are historic.

Do you think that’s accurate?

Update. Getting a lot of comments like these — anyone got a link?

If you all missed it, be sure to watch Obama’s Q&A with the House Republicans today. Wow.

Update. Here’s a link to video. Here’s a transcript.

Update. Jobs bill:

In an effort to spur job creation, President Obama unveiled Friday a $33 billion package of tax breaks aimed at encouraging businesses to hire workers and give employees raises.

The proposal would provide a $5,000 tax credit for each worker hired in 2010 and subsidize wage increases by reimbursing Social Security tax increases for businesses that expand their payrolls.

The tax breaks would be capped at $500,000 a business, meaning that they would mostly benefit small firms, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the plan. The tax break on pay increases would apply only to workers making $106,800 or less.

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92 replies
  1. 1
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    I think it’s absolutely accurate.

    How crazy is it though? Republicans are doing what they are doing because they think it will work for them. And they are probably right–just ask Scott Brown.

  2. 2
    Bill H says:

    Obviously, it’s a cliche for a liberal like me to obsess about fucked up how Republicans are these days.

    The question is, what purpose does that serve? I don’t see the Liberal side of the equation accomplishing all that much, other than tinkering around the edges, and I’d rather see time and energy spent pressing for constructive action from the party/movement that I support. Prating about how fucked up the other side is may make me feel superior and self-satisfied, but if anything it makes my side more prone to sit on what few pathetic laurels it does posess. “We don’t need to do much because the other side is too fucked up to provide any competition.”

  3. 3
    BombIranForChrist says:

    I think this is about right.

    Also, piggybacking on an earlier post, I think this is the reason that Senate rules need to change. The current Senate rules reflect a period where neither party was nihilistic. Now that one has chosen the dark side, I think you have to change the rules to reflect that. Not only does it generally seem like the right thing to do, but it divests the Republicans of power, which will force them to choose something other than nihilism.

    I am not a big fan of the Republican party, but I do think the country suffers a little when one party is absent / stark raving mad. I think “centrism” is a load of crap, but I do like to have some pressure exerted on whomever is in power, so that they don’t completely lose their minds.

  4. 4
    Kryptik says:

    @Bill H:

    I would hope that pondering just how fucked up the Republicans are would do the exact opposite: work to high hell to keep them from gaining power again any time soon.

    I honestly think that’s where a lot of problems in Congress and Washington have occurred: ignoring just how fucking crazed the GOP is for the sake of reaching out in the name of ‘bipartisanship’.

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    Prating about how fucked up the other side is may make me feel superior and self-satisfied, but if anything it makes my side more prone to sit on what few pathetic laurels it does posess.

    I hear you, but I think this blog is more of a commentary place and less of an activism place, though there is an element of activism. And Yglesias and Larison are commentators, not activists. So I think that if they are honest, they should repeat this stuff over and over and over again, because their function is to describe reality as they see it. We’re in between here so we should probably repeat it a lot too, though maybe slightly less often than they do.

  6. 6
    Napoleon says:

    @Bill H:

    The question is, what purpose does that serve?

    Here is what purpose it serves. The Dems are like the husband whose wife ran off with the oil change guy who thinks if he just keeps on trying she will come back to him, but she will not. So it has to be pounded into our elected Dems heads just how f— up the Republicans are so they finally reach the conclusion they have to move on from thinking the day of bipartisonship and prudent use of minority blocking tactics will ever come back. The second they do they will blow the filibuster up and finally be able to accomplish what they were sent to Washington to accomplish.

  7. 7
    garage mahal says:

    In my 44 yrs I’ve never seen conservatives this monumentally fucking stupid, and just ignorant of plain facts. And it’s not just obstructionism. They are this stupid. A cliquey cult. When I read con blogs, I have no idea what they are even talking about anymore.

  8. 8
    Mark S. says:

    But isn’t it right that the nihilism (I think Sullivan is right to used this word) of the Republican party is the most striking feature of contemporary politics?

    I sometimes wonder how important it is that many Republicans think the world is going to end soon. If you think Jesus is coming back pretty soon, do you worry a lot about global warming or the Social Security Trust Fund going broke in 2050 (or whenever)? Wouldn’t this be like worrying about the sun blowing up in 5 billion years?

    Now I’m not saying that the leaders of the GOP think the world is going to end; they are all about funneling as much money to the top 1% as they can. I’m talking about the millions of fundies who provide the votes for our plutocracy.

  9. 9
    Midnight Marauder says:

    Now this is entirely OT, but this is quite possibly one of the greatest videos ever made. It’s the official UAF Hockey Open from the 2009-2010 season for the Alaska Nanooks, a college hockey team. All I will tell you is that you will never see a more irrationally violent and psychopathic polar bear for the rest of your days.

  10. 10
    malraux says:

    Do the republicans have any incentive to get off the crazy train? It seems to me that the incentives currently work in the opposite direction.

  11. 11
    mo says:

    This is correct, in my view. It seems to me that the Republicans have completely inverted the McCain “Country First” proclamation to “Country Be Damned”.

    Even if the Republicans believe they are opposing on principle, I believe it’s Larison who has made the point that their refusal to cooperate means the policies that do get through are more likely to be more progressive.

    And this is why I don’t think it’s fair to fully compare Democrats’ behavior when Republicans were in power. Hopefully, the Democratic Party will never be so fully nihilistic or unreasonable or underconcerned about the details of the final policy outcomes.

  12. 12
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Accurate, but not complete. Republicans are batshitcrazy, yes. What hits have they taken for it, though? Post-2008 election, I mean. None. They have selected out all the moderates of the party over the year, so what we see now is the only possible result. Not only have they not taken hits for it, they are supported for it in the media. And, lets face it, the Dems are not helping matters by running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

    As to my media point, I was in my bank yesterday, waiting to talk to my banker. All they had to read were some boring real estate mags and Newsweek. I picked up a few of the latter and leafed through them, but I had to quickly put them down again because the framing of the pieces were relentlessly right-leaning.

    We, the people of America, may be left-leaning, but the structure of our country is firmly on the right.

  13. 13
    Kryptik says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    But..but…Newsweek is a bunch of flaming liberals! Just like that awful WaPo editorial board! Howie Kurtz told me so!

  14. 14
    Comrade Dread says:

    Well, there are still some rational Republicans out there (though I can’t really identify any in their caucus or leadership), but their voices are being overwhelmed by the screaming ninnies who unquestioningly accept Glenn Beck’s word as gospel truth, believe Obama is somehow both a stealth Hitler and an incompetent boob, and think Sarah Palin is the 2nd coming of Christ.

    But otherwise Larison (as usual) is spot on.

  15. 15
    Bender says:

    Do you think that’s accurate?

    Of course not, but this is the same old easy Punditry 101 that has been said about whichever party is out-of-power for the last couple decades. “Obstructionist…impotent…no clue…ignore and abuse their constituents for votes…” Sounds exactly like the Democrats from 2001-2007.

  16. 16

    Is Ronald Wilson Reagan coming back, because I’m name-jacking too, and it doesn’t feel so good. Here’s a kitteh for ya.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    matoko_chan says:

    I still think the system is WAI (Working As Intended).
    The Framers intended a tension between the two poles, and for every citizen to have some representation.
    At this point, conservatives only have tactics, and non-hispanic caucs still do represent 70% of the electorate…..however…
    It is a game theoretic tautology that strategy will eventually beat tactics.

    Bender, cher.
    The difference is the demographic timer continues to tick off.
    In 2040 non-hispanic cauc goes to less than 50%….roughly a third of non-hispanic caucs vote liberal…..36% of the electorate is a perpetual loozer.
    If white conservatives have no longterm strategy to appeal to black and brown conservatives…..well…..its game over.
    No one is going to put the demographic jinni back in the bottle.
    It can’t be done.

  19. 19
    geg6 says:

    @garage mahal:

    I’m just a few years older, but I remember when the GOP was pretty much just as batshit crazy as it is now. That would be the John Birch Society/Goldwater years, which led us to Nixonland, the reign of St. Ronnie, and, ultimately, the Cheney Regency and today’s Teabaggers.

    The only difference was that the John Birchers and most definitely Goldwater were smarter than the GOPers of today.

    So, IMHO, it’s not that they’ve gotten any crazier. Just lots and lots stupider.

  20. 20
    TR says:

    If you all missed it, be sure to watch Obama’s Q&A with the House Republicans today. Wow.

  21. 21
    Kryptik says:

    @TR:

    Summary for those of us sneaking around at work (where video is not an option)?

  22. 22
    Chat Noir says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.:

    Republicans are doing what they are doing because they think it will work for them. And they are probably right—just ask Scott Brown.

    During the campagin, he didn’t advertise that he’s a Republican. It’s still a very toxic brand.

  23. 23
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Love that little girl, AWS.

    @Kryptik: If Newsweek is a flaming liberal rag, then I don’t know what to call myself. I am so far left of it, I fall off the continuum.

  24. 24
    Mark S. says:

    @geg6:

    The only difference was that the John Birchers and most definitely Goldwater were smarter than the GOPers of today.

    I don’t know, the Birchers were pretty crazy, but reading Perlstein’s book on the 64 election, I found it surprising how crazy most of the country found Goldwater when he seemed a lot more rational than any Goopers running around today.

  25. 25
    geg6 says:

    And OT, but someone tell Thomas Frank that today there’s nothing the matter with Kansas. I’m loving Kansas today.

    http://www.kansascity.com/news.....15619.html

    Less than an hour of deliberation. Suck on that, Randall Terry.

  26. 26
    Batocchio says:

    Yeah, pretty accurate. I’d feel a little better about it if the media could report more of it and give the public context – for instance, pointing out the unprecedented rate of filibuster threats from the GOP, or noting when a Senator is voting against the will of his or her own constituents, etc. Currently, there aren’t many negative consequences, if any, to obstructionism or outright lying.

    To my mind, the single biggest failure is the media’s failure (and Dems’ reluctance) to point out how disastrous the Bush years were. There have been some articles on how bad the past decade was for the middle class economically, but not nearly enough. We’ve received painful proof some approaches just don’t work, and in fact do extreme harm. Acknowledge that, and simply note that the GOP is offering the same disastrous policies over and over again, and the idiocy of “bipartisanship” is clear. The key problem hasn’t been a lack of cooperation from Obama (not that all his policies have been fantastic); the problems are sincere dogmatism and cynical political games from the GOP. Most of the Beltway gang hate discussing policies and their probable consequences, who benefits, etc. Thus, they can look at the catastrophe of the Bush years, the repudiation of that approach in Obama’s election, and still conclude that the real problem is that Obama isn’t accepting the same crappy policies from the GOP.

    As it is, I think Obama’s using far too much of the Bush playbook, especially regarding Wall Street, due process and investigating torture, but those are hippie concerns to the Beltway gang. For the most part, our punditocracy is not reality-based, and they don’t give a damn about policies that aren’t reality-based, either, so it’s free reign by the GOP and Blue Dogs. (Or maybe more accurately, they’re largely establishmentarians who don’t care about policies that benefit the middle class and the country as a whole versus the rich and powerful.)

  27. 27
    Bill says:

    Doug, the whole thing is now up on CSPAN’s site. Best political TV I’ve ever seen, by far. It was as though Obama reauthorized torture for 90 minutes — a masterful performance.

  28. 28
    Max says:

    @Kryptik: The video is on CSPAN and it will be replayed at 8pm.

    It is quite simply, the most compelling thing I’ve watched in a long time. He countered everyone of their arguements with clear, consise, and common sense statements.

    Let’s put it this way, FOX turned away from it because it was so good for Obama.

    Obama is the jedi master and I love him even more than I did after the SOTU.

    But, I’m an O-bot.

  29. 29
    MattF says:

    I think ‘nihilism’ gives the Republican Party too much credit. Nihilism is a sort of world view, it’s based on evidence of some kind, there’s a nihilist goal. Yes, the nihilist goal is ‘everybody dead’, but it’s a goal none the less.

    Republicans have no interest in how the world actually works. No world view, no goal. The only view you get from Republicans is that of Bertrand Russell’s example of the solipsistic young lady who couldn’t understand why anyone disagreed with her belief that she was the only sentient being in the universe.

  30. 30
    geg6 says:

    @Mark S.:

    the Birchers were pretty crazy,

    I didn’t say they weren’t crazy. They were smarter, however, than the Teabaggers and the wingnuts you see today. I think that is pretty self-evident to anyone who has lived through both.

  31. 31
    Jules says:

    Here is Obama speaking before the House at their retreat and then doing a Q&A time:
    http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Me.....treat.aspx

    I’m watching right now.

  32. 32
    Bill says:

    The best way to describe it – I think Ambinder had the analogy – was a law professor just systematically owning his students. He spent 90 minutes just demolishing Republican talking points right to their faces.

  33. 33
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Are you off the space-time continuum? How have you been? Frigid, arctic temperatures here in the north-east. 14F and feels like -3.

  34. 34
    Adam Collyer says:

    Update. Getting a lot of comments like these—anyone got a link?

    A diarist on GOS has a link up from C-SPAN:

  35. 35
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Bill: I iz in Ur base killing Ur doods.

  36. 36
    El Cid says:

    30 years of outright propaganda, massively shifting the resources of the country out of the working and middle classes into not just the rich but the super-rich, racist codeword crap in every election, and a banking system collapse every time a Republican has been President back to Reagan. A President impeached because of made-up bullshit about a money-losing real estate thing and because of an affair with an intern.

    Still, though, we better treat them as the bedrock party of America, and Democrats better reach out to them at every opportunity, otherwise they’ll be seen as weird librul fringe extremists.

  37. 37

    Pres. Obama today spoke to House Republicans at their two-day retreat in Baltimore,

    I can’t get it yet. But “two-day” is a little short, right? I think it’s been a 30-year retreat.

    ETA: corrected, found the link

  38. 38
    Adam Collyer says:

    Well that worked well. Let’s try again.

    Link to Obama/House GOP Q&A

  39. 39
    TR says:

    Update. Getting a lot of comments like these—anyone got a link?

    This link has the transcript, but you really need to watch it. There’s a link to the C-SPAN feed there, and it’s supposedly being reaired at 8pm.

  40. 40
    Lee says:

    I watched while working out. I was reading the closed captioning.

    Was the smackdown Obama gave to Henserling as good as it read?

  41. 41
    El Cruzado says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    It’s called “Damn Commie and Proud of It” ;)

  42. 42
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @El Cid: I don’t get it, why is bipartisanship considered so important, by the chattering classes and also the politicians, even the Republicans pay lip-service to the idea.

  43. 43
    jayjaybear says:

    @Bender:

    The Democrats? Obstructionist? Seriously?

    The Democrats from 2001 to 2007 were easily the most pliable opposition party in the last 50 years! They signed off on useless or damaging Bush initiatives right and left. They were hardly obstructionist…if anything, they went way too far in the opposite direction.

    I challenge you to find a single Democratic principle that found its way into any bill that was passed between 2001 and 2007. And this was with a Republican majority that was far smaller than the one the Democrats had from 2009 up to now.

  44. 44
    Chat Noir says:

    @Max:

    But, I’m an O-bot.

    Me too.

    And BTW, you had some laugh-out-loud funny comments during the state of the union address the other night. I can’t remember what they were, but they made me laugh. I needed it, too, because I was feeling pretty lousy at the outset of it when Obama was talking about so many Americans having lost their jobs over the past couple years (I was one of them). Actually, the whole first thread that night was full of win. That’s why I really enjoy this joint.

  45. 45
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yes, I am off that continuum, too, damn it. I love the cold weather, so I am happy about that. However, I got cold yesterday, in a heated building, and I knew I was in trouble. I iz sick!

    @El Cruzado: Yeah, this is true. I am also a unabashed sockulist, so there you go!

  46. 46
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    It is not entirely accurate. The current American political system consists of three components: the financial industry, productive people, and a permanent underclass of low-IQ people. Orwell defined these groups as ‘The High’, ‘The Middle’, and ‘The Low’.

    The High fears The Middle and seeks to strengthen The Low to weaken The Middle. The Cloward-Piven Strategy expands the scope of the social safety net and breaks it. My theory is that Cloward had a small thingee and this made both him and his wife (Piven) cranky, despite the fact that they were well-compensated professors.

    But they will be successful in any case. President Barack Obama, who went to Columbia University, and whose records showing claimed country of Citizenship would surely be accessible to Goldman Sachs, but are not viewable by the public, in the name of transparency, has appointed a blue-ribbon panel consisting of Goldman Sachs advisors to investigate Goldman Sachs.

    This is Logical when you think about it. Glenn went through the names and financial connections yesterday. This would be a great thing for Balloon Juice to investigate.

    So the Republican Party, who surely would have appointed the same Blue Ribbon panel of Goldman Sachs advisors to investigate Goldman Sachs, really is, in large part, the Democratic Party.

    Go Teabaggers.

  47. 47
    Paul in KY says:

    Midnight Marauder, that’s one wacky video. Thank’s for posting it.

    Why did the giant polar bear not like the ship named ‘Sea Wolf’? I understand why he nuked all the other colleges & then the (alternate?) Earth, but I don’t understand why he sank the ship.

  48. 48
    Svensker says:

    @Lee:

    Was the smackdown Obama gave to Henserling as good as it read?

    Better. It was a thing of beauty. The whole thing was beautiful. There MUST have been a teleprompter in there somewhere.

  49. 49
    El Cid says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Because appearing to give a damn about bipartisanship serves to make a politician appear more rational given the distorted image of reality which is sold. Republicans don’t give the slightest sh*t about bipartisanship but make sure to repeatedly blame Democrats for failing to offer it, while many leading Democrats use a search for ‘bipartisanship’ as a propaganda excuse to fight against policies and leaders within their own party which or whom they oppose.

  50. 50

    This is daniel in the lion’s den, imho. very brave.

  51. 51
    auntieeminaz says:

    @Lee: Absolutely! I think I saw signs of Obama’s muted fury. This was must see TV. Hope it signals a new approach by the WH.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    El Cid says:

    @jayjaybear: The past does not exist. It never existed. Reality is what the right wing says it is, and was.

  54. 54
    Elie says:

    @Bill H:
    I am certainly not going to disagree that the Democrats have struggled.

    That said, I think that the Democrats are taking on really difficult, highly contested issues where its pretty easy for lone rangers with various agendas to derail things. The consensus FOR change also, has been contentious — the divisions within the progressives have been an example of this where the “lefties” have actually argued along with Republicans to throw out the hard work of consensus built over a year…

    Its always easier to say NO and to stop things. Anyone who has worked in any sector to achieve consensus on anything will tell you that is so. Bringing any interprise/organization/effort along to YES — where even the people who had to give up pet goals and notions, are satisfied, is very very difficult.

    So yeah, kvetch some if it makes you feel better (it won’t, never does). But realize we have the harder task and we have the best interests of this nation in mind, much more so than these folks you hold up as examples of success. They are only succesful in doing what is easy for anyone — stopping stuff and saying NO.

  55. 55
    Max says:

    @Chat Noir: Thanks. This is the best blog, hands down.

    I can’t even bear to go to the other “left” sites.

    They are full of ODS rage.

  56. 56
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Started the Obama smackdown. Just how long does the preacher pray????? (I know I’m going to hell, so don’t bother to tell me that).

    Fuck. You. Boehner. With a rusty pitchfork up your urethra.

  57. 57
    Svensker says:

    @Bender:

    Sounds exactly like the Democrats from 2001-2007.

    You mean the Dems who voted for the Iraq war, for Patriot Act, for just about every hare-brained constitution-shredding scheme that Little Shrub and the Evil Darth came up with? Those Dems were obstructionist?

    The only things Shrubbie didn’t get that he wanted was stuffed that pissed off the Repubs. (Edit: interesting freudian slip…)

    “The Dems did it, too!” doesn’t really work around here.

  58. 58
    TR says:

    There MUST have been a teleprompter in there somewhere.

    Of course. We’ve all been told Obama is only an effective speaker with a teleprompter.

    The Hensarling smackdown was a thing of beauty.

  59. 59
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Oh noes, drink lots of ginger tea and hug the kittehs, I hope you feel better soon.

  60. 60
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Lee: I seriously considered starting smoking so I could have a post-smackdown cigarette. Yes, it was that good.

  61. 61
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    @Bender:

    What the hell did Democrats obstruct during that time?

  62. 62
    scarpy says:

    I’d say Larison’s take is accurate about the GOP. They have no new ideas and their leaders are indeed clueless. But honestly that’s how I felt about the Dems going into 2008, too. I never saw a party that had discovered a sense of its purpose or had a bold vision of the future. I saw “the other guy” getting his shot after the long-time boss had fucked up so completely you couldn’t ignore it anymore.

    I think that that’s part of Obama’s problem this year. Look at what he’s done and hasn’t done, whether it’s on health, the economy, the wars, or torture. He’s adopted GOP framing and positions on several of these, not with full-throated support, but by failing to provide any serious counter. He’s just let things continue — like GITMO, most of the Bush tax cuts, the banking industry, etc etc. Even the event today, he calls out the GOP for its rhetoric but he doesn’t lay out his opposing philosophy with any force or clarity.

    And it’s worse in Congress, where most Dems are still scared to be called liberals and play defense rather than offense.

    So I guess my point is, yeah, the GOP may be on soft, swampy ground ideologically, but so is the Blue team. Neither one has laid out a clear vision of where this country is going.

  63. 63
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Midnight Marauder, that’s one wacky video. Thank’s for posting it.
    __
    Why did the giant polar bear not like the ship named ‘Sea Wolf’? I understand why he nuked all the other colleges & then the (alternate?) Earth, but I don’t understand why he sank the ship.

    That is by far my favorite part of that whole thing. It’s crazy enough that there’s a supernatural polar bear with lightning powers that lives in ice under the Arctic (is he related to Raiden?), but then he emerged, conjures a hockey stick made out of lighting from nothingness, and then just fucking destroys that ship. And that’s the thing: sure, he blows up the entire Earth; whatevs, as the kids say. But that boat…what was the point of taking out the boat, besides sheer nihilistic (hey, I’m on topic! Kind of!) fun?

    And if that doesn’t make you want to go back and watch the video if you ignored it before, I don’t know what else would.

  64. 64
    Xenos says:

    @Chat Noir:

    During the campagin, he didn’t advertise that he’s a Republican. It’s still a very toxic brand.

    Able Baker Charlie Charlie Baker is doing the same thing, with heavy advertising in Blue running for Governor, not mentioning the Republican Party nor even the Democratic governor he wants to run against.

    It is even all touchy-feely like a squishy-moderate Democrat.

  65. 65
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Fanks. Kittehs help. Except when they dive-bomb off the arm of the couch and land on the pillow on my face, waking me up and making me believe I am going to be smothered to death. Other than that, it’s all good.

    Now listening to the prez. Despite whatever grievances I have with him, it is still damn nice to have an adult in charge. A smart one at that.

  66. 66
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    I don’t get it, why is bipartisanship considered so important, by the chattering classes and also the politicians, even the Republicans pay lip-service to the idea.

    Well, polls show that voters hate putting party goals ahead of country. Of course, those are the same voters who don’t know how much filibustering is going on or how many votes in the Senate are required to pass something, and if you ask the same voters whether getting things accomplished or being bipartisan is more important, they will say “accomplishments”. Also.

  67. 67
    bemused says:

    I was doing errands & thought something was very unusual because every time I got back in the car on the radio, I heard Obama on CNN. No commericials & it sounded like Obama wasn’t letting anyone get by with bs. I get home & a reporter on MSNBC said an R that didn’t want to be named said the GOP made a BIG mistake insisting on the Q&A being open to the media. Ha, guess that didn’t go quite the way the R’s thought it would.
    Can’t wait to see the rerun.

  68. 68

    OK, I’m a little uncomfortable with a pasty old, upper class white man passing on that letter from the little boy. was that mike pence? because he needs to STFU.

  69. 69
    Chat Noir says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Fuck. You. Boehner. With a rusty pitchfork up your urethra.

    The camera caught Boehner and his wacky sidekick Sparky Cantor at one point during the state of the onion and both of them had that obnoxious teenage boy smirk on their faces. I cannot tell you how much I loathe the Republican members of Congress. Can’t wait to see Obama smacking them down.

  70. 70

    @Chat Noir:

    the state of the onion

    You can’t see me laughing out loud at that one, but it needs to be a tag.

  71. 71
    Dino says:

    Did Fox really cut away? Dumb fucks, that was the most compelling television since the Wire. Fox did show the Republican post press conference.

    I caught the last four questions to Obama from the Republican retreat. My siblings called me a couple of times during that period to wish me a happy birthday (how inconsiderate), so I didn’t get it all in.

    Obama was very impressive as per Ambinder (law professor with first year students). He demonstrated a command of the issues. I would love to see Sarah Palin, W. or even McCain try it.

    I swear Hensarling was a plant, his loaded question on the deficit (apparently Lazear’s misleading argument in the WSJ today) teed up Obama for a “there you go again” retort. Obama’s counterargument was along the lines of Orzag’s response to Lazear. I don’t know what Hensarling looks like, but I think he stalked the President after the speech in an attempt to salve his own ego.

    In addition Obama demonstrated a familiarity with Republican proposals, and he was especially flattering to Paul Ryan. I think he charmed them. (it won’t last)

    Obama even drew a smattering of applause when he chided the Republicans for their demonization, i.e. he’s a socialist, cogently noting that it limited the Republican’s participation in governance.

    Marsha Blackburn made a speech with a question tacked onto it.

    Tom Price brought up Health care. Obama deftly countered that he put a lot of Republican ideas (from 1994) into his plan. Obama also pointed out the deficiencies in selling insurance across state lines.

    Obama’s whole tack was not to dismiss their ideas wholesale but to attach caveats and objections to their implementation. Quite impressive.

  72. 72
    Ash Can says:

    @bemused:

    I get home & a reporter on MSNBC said an R that didn’t want to be named said the GOP made a BIG mistake insisting on the Q&A being open to the media.

    I mean, really, how dead-end hopeless fucking stupid are these people, anyway?? They really believed they’d come out looking good? How do these people walk down stairs without killing themselves?

  73. 73
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Chat Noir: Ugh. Mike Pence prays for Obama every day? Is that what he said? (The mikes sucked in the beginning).

    STFU, Pence with your touching story of the unemployed African American blah blah blah jobs. They all fucking suck. Really. Suck. You know, I only want to hear Obama speak. I know that’s wrong of me, but I do. And, really? Throwing out all that stupid shit and saying that ‘Republicans have a better plan!’ WTF ever. Deeply stupid man. Seriously. He offends me with his stupidity.

  74. 74
    bemused says:

    @Ash Can:
    You said it. They have only gotten away with it for so long because they just don’t get exposed. Talk about arrogance! A bad mix with stupidity.

  75. 75
    ellie says:

    @Midnight Marauder: I think the bear was pissed because the ice was falling on his head from the boat going through, so he went to teach them a lesson.

  76. 76
    trollhattan says:

    The Preznit certainly is showing brass ones today, and good for him.

    Quite the contrast with Dubya and Cheney and their appearance triangle of Heritage, AEI and whatever military base/academy is handy.

  77. 77
    ksmiami says:

    Republicans are like rats (sorry rats) and so the more light shone on them, the worse they look

  78. 78
    Max says:

    @Ash Can: The GOP didn’t insist, the White House suggested it and the GOP agreed.

    The David’s (Axe and Plouffe) in action.

  79. 79
    Ash Can says:

    @Max: I see. Thanks for the correction. Heck, that’s even better!

  80. 80
    MagicPanda says:

    Loved the CSPAN coverage. Loved it! Worth watching.

    Not 100% sure how it will convince anyone on the Republican side of the aisle — whenever I think that Obama is speaking clearly and eloquently, the rabid right seems to think he is halting and stumbling for words.

    As for the inane questions (example: why is the monthly deficit under democrats equal to the annual deficit under republicans? answer: you’re factually incorrect, you moron!) I think the Republicans actually believe this BS. I don’t think they’re just posing for the cameras. I think they believe their own spin.

    It’s one thing for someone standing in line at a Sarah Palin signing to get a few facts wrong, but it is quite scary to have members of the House being so unmoored from reality.

  81. 81
    nodakfarmboy says:

    @Midnight Marauder: He destroyed the boat named “Sea Wolf” because Alaska-Fairbanks biggest hockey rivals are the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves.

  82. 82
    Darkrose says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    They’re just showing that they care…about whether or not you’re going to be well enough to feed them.

    *hugs* Get lots of rest and feel better.

  83. 83
    Martin says:

    @Ash Can: Well, Obama didn’t have his teleprompter, so they thought they had the advantage.

    There’s a lesson there about believing your own bullshit.

  84. 84
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Darkrose: Yup. I actually agree. They know who’s the provider around here! If I die, then they have to fend for themselves. Thanks. Post-prandial nasal drippings are not yummy at all.

  85. 85
    twiffer says:

    The tax break on pay increases would apply only to workers making $106,800 or less.

    okay, maybe a silly question, but why $106,800? is there some method to picking a cutoff? why not 105K, or even just 106K? just seems weirdly precise for a seemingly arbitrary cutoff point.

  86. 86
    ericblair says:

    @Ash Can: I mean, really, how dead-end hopeless fucking stupid are these people, anyway?? They really believed they’d come out looking good? How do these people walk down stairs without killing themselves?

    The Repubs have long since hit that milestone of institutional rot called Believing Your Own Bullshit. Usually accelerates the decline significantly. I remember the Senate Repubs trying some supposed poison pill amendment to force Senate members onto the public option, and looking like confused rodents when Dem members rushed to cosponsor it.

    It looks like most of these morons actually do believe the garbage they spew. I suppose it’s easier than trying to keep your lies straight, and when most of these lies serve to justify why you deserve to be at the top of the shitheap you lucked or lied yourself into, it certainly makes you feel nice and speshul.

  87. 87
    Citizen_X says:

    Why did the giant polar bear not like the ship named ‘Sea Wolf’?

    Because The Sea Wolf was written by Jack London, who was a…SOSHULIIIIIISSSSTTTT!

    (Actually, nodakfarmboy‘s comment is probably the real reason. But why did they blow up the earth?)

  88. 88
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If you all missed it, be sure to watch Obama’s Q&A with the House Republicans today. Wow.

    Shorter Obama: I’m doing everything you guys want, why don’t you like me?

    It’s like reliving the Clinton years where Bill Clinton signed a fuckton of Republican legislation into law and they still impeached him.

  89. 89
    JohnMcF says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Wow. That polar bear was something else. Just wow.

  90. 90
    RareSanity says:

    From Malkin (so you don’t have to read it):

    Good on the House Republicans for throwing the doors open.

    And, yes, I’m going to compliment the president: Good on him for taking part.

    Wasn’t this Obama’s idea?

    Yet another dividend of the Massachusetts Miracle.

    The Massachusetts Miracle? Really?

  91. 91
    AZmando says:

    $106,800 is the earned income level at which a taxpayer no longer pays any social security tax on his/her earnings. Above that, only the medicare tax applies.

  92. 92
    Church Lady says:

    As to the jobs bill, as someone that actually employs people, may I just say: “Bwaaaaaahaaaaaahaaaaaa!”

    Yeah, that reimbursement of my share of Social Security taxes on my employees is really going to make me give all of them raises, especially in light of the fact that I’m doing everything in my power to keep from actually laying anyone off, or having to cut their pay. As far as actually hiring new employees? Shit.

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