Stupid Goddamned Centrists

Like I said, we know how this is going to play out:

A split has opened between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) over whether to hold a vote before the midterm elections on extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class.

In closed-door leadership meetings this week, Pelosi has pushed for the House to act on the middle-income tax cuts before lawmakers bolt Washington for the campaign trail, while Hoyer wants the House to wait for the Senate to act first, according to Democratic aides.

The disagreement between the two party leaders reflects a broader divide in the Democratic Caucus. Centrist and vulnerable Democrats want to push a vote on the tax cuts until after the election, and many want a temporary extension on rates for the wealthy in addition to a permanent extension of the current rates for the middle class. Liberal Democrats want an immediate vote on extending the middle-class cuts, arguing that the move would give incumbents an act to tout on the campaign trail and would force Republicans into a political corner.

Is there ANYTHING that centrists and moderates will not do to hurt themselves? Anything? The public is livid about jobs, centrists oppose job creation efforts. The public wants the middle class tax cuts extended while the taxes on the rich ended, the centrists oppose that. And on and on and on.

And who is it that is going to get wiped out in the upcoming election? The centrists. Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to lose her seat. Maxine Waters ain’t going anywhere.

Are they just masochists? Could we just get all the centrists to wear a cilice? Would that be enough self-inflicted pain that maybe they would go along with some decent legislation that might save them?

Just idiots.

206 replies
  1. 1
    steviez314 says:

    See, it’s still Rahm’s fault.

    Nothing he did this year, but for finding these morans.

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    They’re stupid. And whoever is advising them is doing a terrible job of it. Perhaps their advisers are secret moles for the GOP?

    Is there ANYTHING that centrists and moderates will not do to hurt themselves? Anything?

    They won’t do anything to dent their own stash of cash.

  3. 3
    Ross Hershberger says:

    Unbelievable. Unbefrikkinlievable. They had the big gun and right before the fight they shot themselves in the foot with it. Harry, get Sharron on the phone and see what color drapes she wants. Might as well order them now.

  4. 4
    Mark S. says:

    I think they want to lose. I can’t think of any other explanation. This is the stupidest political move I’ve ever seen.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    No good, dirty stinking, ratfucking Professional Left!

  6. 6
    Comrade Mary says:

    (Can I post ANYTHING?)

    EDIT: My original comment, bit by bit.

    Stupid, mouth-breathing motherfuckers.

    (Oh, and FYWP.)

  7. 7
    Kryptik says:

    This is what pisses me off. These assholes obstruct and essentially jump ship, out of piss-pants fear of being tarred with any vote by dint of being a Democrat, when they will own the result, success or failure, by sheer dint of the D by their name, no matter what they do. We’ve seen it time and time before, and yet these idiots still think acting chummy with the Republicans and running against their own party will somehow innoculate them. Hint, it doesn’t.

    You know what would really cap this whole shitfest off? If House dems, in their infinite wisdom, really did vote Pelosi off the party leader position in the house, and decide to insert Hoyer instead. Because god knows he’s been the one to bring the fight to the Republicans, and obviously the whole set of House dems absolutely despise Pelosi, seeing as they keep running ads running against her more than they are running against their actual fucking opponents.

  8. 8
    REN says:

    I know I’m in the right place with John Cole because when I send your thoughts to my Republican brother he always says “you wrote this didn’t you.”

  9. 9
    JGabriel says:

    Steny Hoyer must go. Here’s hoping Pelosi can a Dem that can beat that asshole in the next session’s leadership election.

    .

  10. 10
    Nick says:

    Obviously if Obama uses his bully pulpit, Congress will just do what he says.

    Right?

  11. 11
    John S. says:

    The answer, of course, is to stay home and pout. That will show the bastards.

  12. 12
    Kryptik says:

    @JGabriel:

    Which probably means he’s going to be our Glorious House Minority Leader post election, because Dems never miss a chance to shoot themselves in the goddamn foot. Just like Hoyer never missed a chance to totally undermine Pelosi at every fucking turn.

  13. 13
    Mark S. says:

    Oh, and here’s some idiotic anonymous aide:

    “We have a winning message now, why muddy it up with a failed vote, because, of course, Republicans are going to block everything,” the aide said.

    Because, you idiot, you have to get them on record blocking the middle class tax cuts. Jesus, do you ever leave the Beltway? People outside of DC do not pay that much attention to all of your inside baseball shit. To them, it just looks like you raised their taxes.

  14. 14

    @John S.:

    The answer, of course, is to stay home and pout. That will show the bastards.

    That’s what Congress just said.

  15. 15
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    Is there ANYTHING that centrists and moderates will not do to hurt themselves? Anything?

    The thing about centrists is that they have no ideology or political sense. Up to this point in their careers, they’ve made it by splitting the difference between Democrats and Republicans, not by having some unique insight into the electorate or a sense for what good ideas are.

  16. 16
    Nick says:

    @Mark S.:

    Because, you idiot, you have to get them on record blocking the middle class tax cuts. Jesus, do you ever leave the Beltway? People outside of DC do not pay that much attention to all of your inside baseball shit. To them, it just looks like you raised their taxes.

    Normally I’d agree, but putting Republicans on record as blocking popular shit hasn’t worked yet, why would it work now? Especially on an issue few are paying attention to.

  17. 17
    drc says:

    What on earth is their rationale? If I vote to keep the Bush tax cut for the middle class I will lose my re-election bid? If I vote to keep more money in the hands of those that will spend it and stimulate the economy I will lose? If I vote to help the large majority of voters in my district I will lose?

    How about if I vote to allow taxes to go back to pre-Bush tax cut levels for the wealthy I will lose my wealthy contributors to my election fund.

    There are elitist Democrats, Rep Hoyer please take your crown of shame and wear it proudly.

  18. 18
    jacy says:

    That’s it, I’m cutting myself off. I’m not even going to listen to NPR. No Daily Show. Nothing. La-la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you.

    I just don’t get it, it’s like slo-mo suicide every day anymore. Time to pretend I live in an alternate universe where Democrats in the House and Senate aren’t fucking chickenshits.

  19. 19
    Third Eye Open says:

    In the name of 11-D chess, I offer this: Dems are so convinced that they are going to take a bath this cycle that they believe letting the GOP have a bunch of seats will tar them with the same stink that the Donks are getting in this anti-incumbent mood. Maybe they figure a little motivation for 2012.

    When I move to New Zealand next year, I really am going to miss Netflix on-demand. Not much else, though…

  20. 20
    Binzinerator says:

    My god. These fucking incompetent morons. Words fail.

  21. 21
    Nick says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    The thing about centrists is that they have no ideology or political sense. Up to this point in their careers, they’ve made it by splitting the difference between Democrats and Republicans, not by having some unique insight into the electorate or a sense for what good ideas are.

    Things is, a lot of voters are exactly the same. They call themselves “independent thinkers”

  22. 22
    jc says:

    Blue Dog Democrats in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts aren’t doing it because they are afraid of the voters.

    Blue Dog Democrats aren’t idiots either and they know full well it won’t help the economy.

    So you all need to stop repeating that nonsense as the reason they continually vote against progressive interests.

    Blue Dogs vote against us because rich people fund their campaigns and because a majority of those blue dogs benefit personally by receiving those very tax cuts they vote on.

    It’s a matter of corruption not cowardice and it always has been.

    Please, stop calling them idiots and cowards and start calling them corrupt!!!

    How do you not grasp this???

  23. 23

    but john, if we don’t empower the centrists, that means empowering the professional left. you know, the fucking retards who need to be drug-tested, who won’t be satisfied until our health care system is like canada’s.

    cus let’s face it, every time the centrists come up with this destructive bullshit, who is it that tries to call them on it? the professional (and amateur) left. and what does the left get for it? scorn and the back of the hand.

    then, all of a sudden when the chips are down, everyone expects the left to do the lifting.

    i guess you reap what you sow. Blue dogs and conservadems have gotten pretty much every thing they wanted, and unfortunately their instincts were wrong. maybe if the left had been empowered more, the influence of these centrists that you don’t like so much would have been diminished.

    but what do i know? I’m a firebagger who won’t be satisfied until our health care system’s like canada, who isn’t pragmatic, who wanted stronger financial reforms, who looks back (as well as forward), etc etc etc.

    [adding, because I probably have to: i am voting for the democrats because the alternative is horrible, and have a joe sestak sign prominently place in my front yard. been blogging about him all week.]

  24. 24
    Legalize says:

    @Nick:
    Wait, FEW people are paying attention to the tax-cuts issue?

  25. 25
    Nick says:

    @drc:

    What on earth is their rationale?

    Every time we hold an unsuccessful vote on a popular issue, it only energizes them more, demoralizing us more, and makes us look as ineffective as if we weren’t doing anything, so we’re just going to make it a campaign issue. “Vote for us, we’ll cut your taxes” “Vote for them, they’ll cut rich taxes”

  26. 26
    Nick says:

    @Legalize:

    Wait, FEW people are paying attention to the tax-cuts issue?

    It’s like fourth on the most important issues to voters.

  27. 27
    Phritz says:

    Just astounding … I guess I can be thankful that Boehner published his pledge to america, because at this point, that’s the only compelling reason I can think of to drag my sorry ass to the voting booth and vote D.

  28. 28
    Nick says:

    @brendancalling:

    [adding, because I probably have to: i am voting for the democrats because the alternative is horrible, and have a joe sestak sign prominently place in my front yard. been blogging about him all week.]

    Well, I would hope s, you guys are the ones who told us we would win easily, how he’s doing btw?

  29. 29
    TR says:

    From a TPM reader:

    If the reports are true that the Senate is going to close up shop without holding the damn votes on the tax cut proposals, I think it’s worth considering the double whammy the Democrats have set themselves up for.

    Obviously, they’ll have handed the Republicans a gift for the fall elections — a message that “Democrats failed to do anything to prevent the coming tax increases, but we will!” It’s incredibly stupid, and any congressional staffer who thinks “the message is out there” that Democrats are for middle-class tax cuts and Republicans are for tax cuts for the rich needs to pull his head out of his Beltway.

    But it gets worse than that, because without ending on the tax cut vote, which win or lose is an electoral winner for Democrats, the final note of this Congress is going to be the failure to pass the defense authorization with DADT repeal and the DREAM Act attached. And that cuts both ways. As seen in Andrew Sullivan’s idiotic note that he’d vote for an anti-gay rights candidate like Angle over a pro-gay rights candidate like Reid because of Reid’s incompetence on the issue, the LGBT community is left mad and dispirited. But more important for the midterms, independents are now left with an image (fostered by the media) that the Democrats imperiled funding our troops because they kowtowed to “special interests” (gays, immigrants) with these amendments.

    Not only will the Democrats be pissing away a golden opportunity, but they’ve managed to replace it with something that alienates a core constituency *and* swing voters at the same time. Ridiculous.

    Yep. Unbelievably stupid.

    I have an even better electoral strategy for the Democrats: Why don’t you all drink cyanide-laced kool aid, and then you’ll be able to ride the massive sympathy vote to a landslide win? It’s about as smart.

  30. 30
    azlib says:

    If any Dem thinks not voting inoculates them against nasty Republican attacks, they are dreaming. The attacks will happen anyway. I am supporting my Blue Dog Dem anyway. He did vote for HCR and the Stimulus bills. HCR was my litmus test vote and he came through. I do not like his games on the whole tax cut issue, but he is still better than his Republican opposition. BTW, my district is a lean Republican District and rates right now as a toss-up.

  31. 31
    Nick says:

    But it gets worse than that, because without ending on the tax cut vote, which win or lose is an electoral winner for Democrats, the final note of this Congress is going to be the failure to pass the defense authorization with DADT repeal and the DREAM Act attached. And that cuts both ways. As seen in Andrew Sullivan’s idiotic note that he’d vote for an anti-gay rights candidate like Angle over a pro-gay rights candidate like Reid because of Reid’s incompetence on the issue, the LGBT community is left mad and dispirited. But more important for the midterms, independents are now left with an image (fostered by the media) that the Democrats imperiled funding our troops because they kowtowed to “special interests” (gays, immigrants) with these amendments.

    If failing to pass something will be seen as negative, why would failing to pass a tax cuts bill be seen as positive? It doesn’t make any sense.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    Wait a sec. I think I agree with Hoyer right here:

    Hoyer wants the House to wait for the Senate to act first, according to Democratic aides.

    There are, according to the last list I have, 372 bills passed by the House that are sitting around waiting for Senate action. If Hoyer’s thinking is that there’s no point in the House voting on something that’s just going to sit on the shelf in the Senate and never be acted on, I’ve gotta say, he’s right. Going out and telling your constituents, “Well, we tried to fix the tax thing, but the Senate hasn’t voted on it yet so nothing’s been done” is probably even worse than not voting on it.

    I hate to say it, but Hoyer may have the right strategy here, not Pelosi.

  33. 33
    Bullsmith says:

    Occam’s razor says they’re bought.

  34. 34
    John S. says:

    i am voting for the democrats because the alternative is horrible

    Congratulations on getting it.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Just idiots.

    Yup. They’re dumb. Corruption is in a lot of ways a more satisfying answer, but the more I follow politics, the more I’m convinced that it just comes down to stupid.

    At my former bloggy haunt, it was regularly opined that Nancy Pelosi was corporate sell-out for… well, I can’t remember what pointless fight(s) she didn’t pick. When I finally got annoyed and pointed out that the alternatives were Steny Hoyer or Rahm Emmanuel, I was of course called a sell out.

  36. 36
    Nick says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I hate to say it, but Hoyer may have the right strategy here, not Pelosi.

    Pelosi wants to pass it to create momentum and put the onus on the Senate.

    I’d normally agree, but we’ve proven that allowing votes that fail just to show Republican obstruction do not work because no one, liberals included, sees the Republican obstruction.

    Jon Stewart had to oportunity last night to show how Republicans obstruct everything and keep the government from functioning. He instead implied that everyone is to blame, Democrats included. He did that with the 9/11 bill too. Holding failed votes just to put the Republicans on record as opposing popular stuff does not work, because the only people pointing out their obstruction are Senators and the President.

  37. 37
    Senyordave says:

    I prefer the Republican mole theory. Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer simply have to be moles for the GOP. Nobody could accidentally be such poor strategists.

    I’m not entirely happy with Obama these days, but I do have to consider what he has to work with. A Democratic party that is dumb as a sack of cement, and a Republican party that is dumber, batshit crazy, and will gladly destroy the country to win an election .

    I still maintain that the country will be better off if the Reps wins the house than if the Dems retain a narrow majority.

    If the Dems retain a narrow majority nothing will get down for the next two years, if the Reps wins the house they will be forced to actually come up with policies to fix social security and Medicare (and it is now untouchable for Republicans, so they can’t try to eliminate it).

    Let Paul Ryan unveil his grand plan, people will start to pay attention when they hear the one certainty is that it will shift part of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class, similar to any flat tax plans (hence the reason why the developers of the flat tax admit that it will never get off the ground in the US)

    Let them try to have hearings on Obama, people will not react well if they go on fishing expeditions, with Clinton you did have something even if it was just a BJ.

  38. 38
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @drc:

    What on earth is their rationale? If I vote to keep the Bush tax cut for the middle class I will lose my re-election bid?

    I think the Blue-Doggy rationale is that disaggregating these votes will go like this:

    1) Blue-Doggies and Libs will team up to vote to establish a middle-class tax cut. So far so good.
    2) Libs will not vote to establish the upper-class tax cut. Blue-Doggies will. But there won’t be enough votes to pass.
    3) Republicans will run ads against both Blue-Doggies and Libs for having Raised! Taxes! In a Recession!
    4) Blue-Doggies who are clinging to their Congressional careers already will have yet another strike against them.

    Ergo, what Blue-Doggies want is to keep all the tax cuts together, thus eliminating the risk of 3), and helping them keep their tenuous grasp on their seats.

    If Blue-Doggies were willing to let 3) happen so that they could counterpunch, and say forthrightly that, yes, the top 2% of taxpayers will pay more, but, fuck, that’s the cost of doing business in a civilized society that takes care of the least among us… then leopards would be able to change their spots and Lucifer would be making gelato in Hell. Because that’s precisely what they have no idea how to accomplish. They have no idea how to counterattack against the tax-hikin’, big-spendin’, soft-on-defense shit that Republicans have running against them for 25 years if not 40.

  39. 39
    Johnny Pez says:

    @Mark S.:

    It’s not really the case that the Blue Dogs want to lose, they just don’t care whether they’re re-elected or not, because losing just means getting a high-paying K-Street lobbying gig.

    And the best way to get that lobbying job is to do what their future employers tell them to do. In this case, don’t vote for the tax cuts until after the election. Then, after the election, during the lame-duck session, they’ll vote to extend all the tax cuts.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nick:

    Pelosi wants to pass it to create momentum and put the onus on the Senate.

    What onus? They’ll just add it to the pile of bills that they’re already not voting on. At best, Reid will put it on the calendar and the Republicans will block cloture, because that’s what they do.

    We already know that the Republicans are more than willing to block cloture for bills they publicly support. Why would this one be any different, especially since it’s a win/win for Republicans either way. House doesn’t act — Republicans win. House acts, Senate Republicans block bill — Republicans win.

  41. 41
    Turgidson says:

    @jc:

    I’m just going to go ahead and call them both corrupt and cowardly.

    This election has become national. Blue Dogs have a D next to their name. Whether they like it or not, they’re going to be judged at least in part on the perfomance of their party, as well as their own voting record. Casting backstabbing votes on election eve, particularly on a can’t-lose issue like this, is bigger career suicide than voting with the party in this instance, I think. Many of these Blue Dogs are likely to get cast out either way, but I think they stand a better chance of hanging on if their party doesn’t look like a bunch of bumbling incompetents this close to the election. Worried about 30 seconds ads? Get out in front of the issue and make your own ads first! (hence, yes, they’re cowards…AND corrupt)

    Besides, with every controversial vote we’ve had so far, Pelosi has been able to release as many Blue Dogs as she could to vote against the bill if they thought it was the right political move. Why not do that this time? There must be a way to craft this issue so that Blue Dogs can have their precious “independent” cover if they need it so badly.

  42. 42
    Nick says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Libs will not vote to establish the upper-class tax cut. Blue-Doggies will. But there won’t be enough votes to pass.

    Actually, I think the problem is, there WILL be enough votes to pass.

  43. 43

    @Kryptik: You are so right. The only thing that will get rid of him is that if we lose enough seats, there won’t be enough Blue Dogs to vote for him as minority leader.

  44. 44
    Nick says:

    @Senyordave: You have much more faith in people than I do.

  45. 45
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Nick:

    Jon Stewart had to oportunity last night to show how Republicans obstruct everything and keep the government from functioning. He instead implied that everyone is to blame, Democrats included. He did that with the 9/11 bill too.

    Yeah, that bothered me too. It was like he accepted the Republican argument that, gee whiz, if only we had been allowed to offer more amendments, we would totally have had the vote. I think he’s starting to latch onto the John McCain theory of just locking everyone in a room and telling them to knock off the bullshit.

  46. 46
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Is there ANYTHING that centrists and moderates will not do to hurt themselves? Anything?

    Yeah, many of those idiots even voted for health care and finreg, the greatest legislative accomplishments since dirt was invented.

    Just idiots.

    Preach it, brother. These morons — you might want to sit down for this — also voted for the Stimulus, Lily Ledbetter and, on the House side, some of them voted for an energy-climate bill.

  47. 47
    GaBuck says:

    Fuck the centrists… the God damned President needs to tell Steny and all those other spineless assholes that it doesn’t matter to him if they vote at all, but if they do he aint signing any bill that extends tax-cuts to the top 3%, period.

    You know, at some point Mr Cool really needs to put his hide on the line for something instead of looking like a vacillating, “here take my milk money” pussy gettin his big ears thumped by Mitch McConnell. W would have never put up with this kind of bullshit, never.

    Thank you.

  48. 48
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Nick: I don’t think so — because if the Blue Dogs were confident the upper-class tax cut would pass, they shouldn’t have any objection to the two-vote strategy advocated by Benen, Marshall, and most other smart liberalish people. That has to be what the Dogs fear: that the House liberals will hang them out to dry by voting down a tax cut for the wealthy. And, if I were a House liberal, I would in fact do that, because I think giving rich people a tax cut is fucking idiotic.

  49. 49
    ruemara says:

    Then I think you guys know who to bitch at and it’s not Nancy Pelosi.

  50. 50
    superking says:

    Oh, John, you’re just a manic progressive.

  51. 51
    Bullsmith says:

    It’s not that confusing. Trying to pass tax cuts for everyone but the wealthy is a popular act. A vote cast is an actual vote cast and can be campaigned on as such. On the other hand, not doing anything and then campaigning on promises to do what you have already failed to do is likely to provoke the response: “I don’t believe you.” Because had a chance and didn’t do it.

    I heartily agree with those who read this as meaning they actually want to keep the top level tax cuts too, and don’t want to fully reveal that before the election. Politically there’s no rational reason for Blue Dogs to go to the public having let taxes go up for everyone and not lifted a finger to stop it. For once the Republicans don’t even have to lie.

  52. 52
    David says:

    I’m not giving the House or the Senate a pass on this one, they’re both wimping out rather than even attempting to do the right thing.

    As far as the House goes, who cares if the Senate votes on this or not, you’re still getting the chance to vote FOR a popular middle class tax cut. A lot of votes aren’t very fun, this one should be a gimme and maybe, just maybe take the focus off some of the votes that needed to be made but weren’t as fun.

    The Senate doesn’t get off any easier, if the GOP filibusters a middle class tax cut, well then you’ve got your next TV ad. This is so obvious I can’t decide which one has the weaker excuse, the House or the Senate.

    Both of you, just step up and do the right thing.

  53. 53
    Poopyman says:

    Sadly, I’m in Hoyer’s district. He never gets a viable opponent from either side. In fact, IIRC the frickin’ Green Party candidate came in second last time. And he’s flush with cash.

    Go here to follow the money.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bullsmith:

    A vote cast is an actual vote cast and can be campaigned on as such.

    How’s that working out in the wake of the DADT failure? How thrilled have gay activists been with the 56 Democrats who voted in favor of repealing it? Have they said that they will fully support them in November since, after all, those 56 Democrats voted for their legislation? Or have they been castigating them for their failure and threatening to vote for their opponents?

    Losing is losing. I can understand why Hoyer wouldn’t want another loss on the D side right before the election, especially on a popular bill.

  55. 55
    danimal says:

    I have a fantasy that the congress has enough courage to do nothing and let the tax rates return to Clinton-era levels. If that’s the plan, I can live with it.

    In the real world, the Dems are just going to punt until they have virtually no leverage and the GOP pushes them around until the top 2% get an even better deal than Bush gave them, while shrugging their shoulders and saying that the middle class gets shiny pennies back and the poor have all governmental programs slashed because there’s no money to pay for it all until there’s a fcuking war at which point the credit card can be maxed out without penalty. Have I missed anything?

  56. 56

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, but the Pukes will then run ads saying Democrats raised taxes on the middle class. We know that’s bullshit, but that never mattered to Pukes.

  57. 57
    klondike says:

    With friends like this, who needs enemies? With leaders like this, who in their right mind would follow? As a relentless critic of Obama, I note for the record that these are the troops he leads into battle every day. Easy Company it ain’t.

    Hand it to the Repubs, they bring the crazy, hardcore every day. If hurting the Dems requires one of them to contradict something he said five minutes ago, he does it. If claiming that Democrats lick toads would make one Blue Dog cringe, the entire caucus will be out there tomorrow talking about the toad-licking Democrat party as if it were something that Jesus wrote in the introduction to the Ten Commandments.

    Gotta admire those psycho bastards. They have us well and truly whipped and they’re not letting up. Doesn’t matter who we elect president or how big a majority we ever get in The Worlds Greatest Deliberative Bodies. Our only hope is that demographic trends and the relentless march of history crushes the Republican party because the Democratic party surely isn’t up to the job.

  58. 58

    Well, let’s all have a round of Hemlock over the death of the pre election tax vote pony. That little fucker would have saved the day, but now there is something/someone to blame the end of the democrats world on. Who would like to say a few words of obligatory self pity?

  59. 59
    goatchowder says:

    Stop buying the corporate media’s bullshit and spin. These tools are not “centrists” or “moderates”! They are CORRUPT CORPORATE-OWNED SHILLS!

    What they are, is CORRUPT. They are “representing” their wealthy campaign-donor special interests, NOT THEIR CONSTITUENTS. That’s the definition of corrupt.

    They are CROOKS, not “centrists”. They are BOUGHT, not “moderate”.

  60. 60
    numbskull says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    The thing about centrists is that they have no ideology or political sense. Up to this point in their careers, they’ve made it by splitting the difference between Democrats and Republicans, not by having some unique insight into the electorate or a sense for what good ideas are.

    I agree with the “no ideology”, but believe me, they have puh-lenty of political sense.

    By being “centrists”, they’ve got a job, or jobS, waiting for them when the voters retire them. They really, really don’t need to worry. Spend just ONE day up on The Hill and you will get this. It is sobering and sad, but you will understand it. Just one day. There is no downside for them as individuals.

    And I get to go re-learn this again next month.

    Sigh.

  61. 61
    Marc says:

    Fucking idiots.

    I live in Hoyer’s district and I include myself among those fucking idiots–I haven’t called his office, haven’t written. I even had a chance to see him in person at a volunteer organizing meeting this Tuesday but I had to pass up on it. Wish I could have gone. (I guess I had this crazy idea that the Democratic majority leader would actually want to have this vote.)

    I called his office just now to urge a vote on the tax cuts before November, and the person answering the phones could not have been less interested in my opinion. She didn’t bother to take down my address or contact info (which my senators’ offices ALWAYS do so they can send a generic follow-up letter). Hoyer doesn’t care what I think.

    Let’s make him care what we think:

    Personal office (for MD-05 constituents): 202-225-4131

    Personal office fax: 202-225-4300

    Majority leader’s office (for out of district calls): 202-225-3130

  62. 62
    Almost PhD says:

    Shall we contact Rep. Hoyer’s office? Can you let us have the number and we’ll call to press for a pre-election vote?

    RAD

  63. 63
    Almost PhD says:

    Shall we contact Rep. Hoyer’s office? Can you let us have the number and we’ll call to press for a pre-election vote?

    RAD

  64. 64
    David says:

    @Mnemosyne: Except Hoyer is in the House, and so he should be able to vote for the tax cut bill that passes the House. He has the choice to vote for something everyone likes and he thinks it would be better to wait until after the election? WTF?

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

    They’re going to do that even if the Democrats keep the middle-class tax cuts. They’re already defining “small businesses” as companies with 20,000 employees, so of course they’re going to insist that people who make $1M a year are “middle class.”

    Considering how many bills have been sent by the House to the Senate to die, I can’t blame Hoyer for thinking the better strategy in this case is to get it through the Senate first so there’s an actual success to point to, not another whine about how mean the Republicans are and how they won’t let us do anything.

  66. 66
    Bullsmith says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Fair enough. Personally I don’t understand why the Dems are taking such a bashing on gay rights issues overall. Of all their failures, this seems the most misplaced to thing to get worked up about. Gay folks is getting married in America, for the love of Pete. The overall status of gays has grown by leaps and bounds in this country since 2004, much less since the Clintons tried and failed so disastrously to de-bigot the military when they first got it. Sully’s rage is incoherent and stupidly misplaced and I hope it doesn’t speak for a large segment.

    It also is based on the ridiculous assumption that the Democrats were actually capable of handling any issue in a competent and complex way.

    edit- Even though they’re taking a bashing, being able to say “Hey, I voted to repeal DADT” really is a very good response to criticism on the subject. A lot better than I was for it but I didn’t feel it was worth bringing up for a vote.”

  67. 67

    @Nick:

    is that supposed to be a smart remark?

    because progressives like me have NEVER said the democrats would win easily, especially in the wake of health “insurance” reform. we have consistently said that the democrats weren’t doing enough for working and middle-class people, from the no-strings-attached bailouts that started under Bush and continued under Obama; to the jobs; to the attacks on teachers; to “health insurance reform” that is far from adequate and takes forever to kick in; to the refusal to fight, visibly, for much of anything. We have said, always, that it would be harder without tangible victories to brag on. Instead, to use the health insurance reforms as an example, you have a mishmash of stuff that phases in like a checkerboard, that’s difficult to explain, that’s riddled with compromises and loopholes, and that I don’t think anyone can describe in a 30-second elevator speech.

    As for the remark about Sestak let me tell you, Sestak ended up cleaning Specter’s clock after being down in the polls for most of the primary. he’s down in the polls now, but the election is 5-6 weeks away, and i wouldn’t count him out. No one works harder than that guy, and he will leave it all on the field.

  68. 68
    Hugin & Munin says:

    John, I think you mis-spelled ‘firebagger’.

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @ruemara:

    Then I think you guys know who to bitch at and it’s not Nancy Pelosi.

    Glennzilla?

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @David:

    Except Hoyer is in the House, and so he should be able to vote for the tax cut bill that passes the House. He has the choice to vote for something everyone likes and he thinks it would be better to wait until after the election? WTF?

    Everybody liked repealing DADT. It polls extremely well. It passed the House handily and yet it got fucking slaughtered in the Senate.

    And who has everyone blamed for it not passing? Have they blamed the Republicans? Complained about Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins flip-flopping?

    Not for a moment. Every bit of the blame for the failure of DADT has fallen on the Democrats. As mentioned above, even Jon Stewart is blaming them for its failure.

    Now multiply that a million times when the House passes a middle-class tax cut bill that gets killed in the Senate.

  71. 71
    Binzinerator says:

    @Nick:

    Normally I’d agree, but putting Republicans on record as blocking popular shit hasn’t worked yet, why would it work now? Especially on an issue few are paying attention to.

    This is so dunderheaded I don’t even know where to begin because the concept is so fucking basic.

    You always make your opponent go on the record when they’re blocking popular shit. Always. Jesus fuck why does that need to be explained?

    And when the gooper demand tax cuts for the rich instead you make them go on the record with that.

    There are no fucking downsides to this when a shit-ton of middle america is out of work and out of their homes and the rich assholes who put them there are whining about losing tax cuts on their millions.

    And where do you get this idea few are paying attention to it? What’s your source for that?

    It doesn’t really matter if it’s #4 or whatever on voters’ radar. You make the goopers look like the shitbox tongue-jackers of the rich that they are and you make it a center of attention.

  72. 72
    Nick says:

    @brendancalling:

    because progressives like me have NEVER said the democrats would win easily,

    No, but you identified candidates who would, and nearly all of them…are not.

    As for the remark about Sestak let me tell you, Sestak ended up cleaning Specter’s clock after being down in the polls for most of the primary. he’s down in the polls now, but the election is 5-6 weeks away, and i wouldn’t count him out. No one works harder than that guy, and he will leave it all on the field.

    I hope not

  73. 73

    @John S.:

    i’ve always gotten it. Just because i don’t like the idiots doesn’t mean I don’t recognize my civic duty to protect the country from frothing lunatics.

  74. 74

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

    . We know that’s bullshit, but that never mattered to Pukes.

    Since the public will not see any deduction of their paycheck before the election, I doubt it will have a great impact. This kind of reminds me a little of the thinking behind the Iraq war vote the wingnuts threatened to demagogue if democrats, who ran the senate then didn’t have it before the election in2002, so the dems gave in for fear repubs would call them chicken and unpatriotic. They had the vote and it passed and we got Iraq and the wingnuts still called dems chicken and unpatriotic

    If you go around knee jerk reacting all the time, rather than do what you think is right, then you usually end up not doing what is right and wishing you had. Holding a vote held no guarantee of whether they would pass or not. Maybe the wingnuts called the bluff and voted en bloc to extend the mc tax cuts, and a large number of liberals voted no because they want them to expire. Then wingnuts could claim they all supported mc tax cuts and look how many liberals didn’t.

  75. 75

    @Nick:

    citations please. if you said i did that, you have an obligation show me where.

  76. 76
    Nick says:

    @Binzinerator:

    This is so dunderheaded I don’t even know where to begin because the concept is so fucking basic. You always make your opponent go on the record when they’re blocking popular shit. Always. Jesus fuck why does that need to be explained?

    Because every the Democrats have done it, it has only made the Republicans stronger.

    There are no fucking downsides to this when a shit-ton of middle america is out of work and out of their homes and the rich assholes who put them there are whining about losing tax cuts on their millions.

    So then why hasn’t it worked for unemployment benefits, 9/11 health benefits, jobs bills? The DISCLOSE Act, very popular, will fail today with every Republican voting no on cloture. How is that going to play out for them?

    It may seem simple and logical to you, but simple and logical doesn’t work nowadays.

  77. 77
    Nick says:

    @brendancalling: not you personally, but generally.

    I was told people like Tom Periello, Alan Grayson, Joe Sestak, Virg Benerro, Paul Hodes, Russ Feingold were the type of Democrats who would win, and they’re all losing.

  78. 78
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Losing is losing. I can understand why Hoyer wouldn’t want another loss on the D side right before the election, especially on a popular bill.

    winning is better than losing, but voting with popular opinion on a popular bill that loses is much better than not having voted at all. it gives you the ability to say you did the right thing, and it gives you the ability to say your opponent did the wrong thing.

  79. 79
    Nick says:

    @cleek:

    winning is better than losing, but voting with popular opinion on a popular bill that loses is much better than not having voted at all. it gives you the ability to say you did the right thing, and it gives you the ability to say your opponent did the wrong thing.

    Again, that’s now how its been playing out. Instead, when we lose doing the right thing, we whine and that they’re also losers and our government doesn’t function because they’re losers.

    Do you really think a failed vote would be spun, even by us, as “Democrats did the right thing.” No, like everything else, it will be spun as “Fucking Senate can’t get shit done, they’re all assholes”

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Binzinerator:

    You always make your opponent go on the record when they’re blocking popular shit. Always. Jesus fuck why does that need to be explained?

    How’s that worked out so far for us? Who got the blame for the 9/11 workers’ healthcare bill failing — the Democrats or the Republicans? Who got blamed for the DADT repeal’s failure — the Democrats or the Republicans?

    Please give us an example of a situation in the past two years where the Republicans blocked popular legislation and paid any penalty for doing it.

  81. 81

    @Nick:

    no, nick: you said “you identified candidates who would, and nearly all of them…are not”. Anyone who’s ever read my blog, read my comments here, and read my comments ANYWHERE knows i have never said anything of the sort.

    and while i can’t speak to most of those names, it’s not crazy to assume that someone like Feingold would win in a walk (considering the historic power of incumbency), and neither Grayson nor Sestak supporters thought the campaign would be easy.

    I mean, hello earth to Nick, Sestak had to fight off the entire democratic establishment to win against specter. And he was the underdog against weldon too. he’s got a reputation for hard work, and that’s why I think he’s going to win. But please, let’s stop putting words in my mouth and then weaseling out with “i meant you generally”, since i’m not a member of any organized progressive groups and represent only myself.

  82. 82
    gex says:

    A lot of Republican “lites” might become loyal Republican or TeaParty seats. The only difference is the former caucus with us, giving the idiots who don’t know how things work ammo to blame Democrats for all the malfeasance of the GOP.

    If so, I sure do hope those real Republicans get replaced by a more cooperative form of centrist Democrat. Being nearly perfectly aligned with the far right can only pass as centrist for so long.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cleek:

    winning is better than losing, but voting with popular opinion on a popular bill that loses is much better than not having voted at all.

    How’d that work out with the DADT failure so far? Funny how none of the Democrats who voted for it are getting any credit for doing so, and in fact are getting blamed from all sides.

    The failure of a popular bill gets put at the feet of the party that pushed it. This isn’t youth sports where you get a medal just for participating.

  84. 84
    Dean says:

    Blue dogs are the suicide bombers of the democratic caucus.

    It would be nice if they went off into the woods and just took themselves out but unfortunately, they are dead set on taking everyone in the room out too.

    They deserve what’s coming to them but some very good Reps will not.

    Hello government shutdown 2011-2013.

  85. 85
    Binzinerator says:

    @Nick:

    Holding failed votes just to put the Republicans on record as opposing popular stuff does not work, because the only people pointing out their obstruction are Senators and the President.

    So you abdicate and let the goopers control the narrative?

    If you find it tough to score a goal only a moron would then decide the best strategy is to simply hand over the ball and let his opponent run with it. Christ on a trike.

  86. 86
    LGRooney says:

    I think Hoyer was probably thinking, “We’ve stuck our collective neck out for two years for a progressive agenda and the Senate has fucked us time and time again. Let them jump first, for once, and then we’ll follow up if they actually accomplish something.”

    Of course, they could have picked any of a dozen other times to do this well out of range of the election but, being as smart as they are, they picked now.

    They give morons a bad name.

  87. 87
    Dean says:

    Like the tax cuts bill is suddenly going to be any easier to pass after the elections, when Speaker-in-Waiting Boehner is going to be bitching about “stopping this holy undemocratic lame duck session” and “respect the will of the people!”

    Punt now, fail forever. Those tax cuts will never expire unless Obama vetoes any further bills.

  88. 88
    Nick says:

    @Binzinerator:

    So you abdicate and let the goopers control the narrative?

    No, but they control the narrative anyway. Good God, they fucking blocked funding for the military on Tuesday over two popular pieces of legislation and the only people I’ve heard call them out on it in the past 48 years are two Democratic Senators, Robert Gibbs, and the President. Where is Olbermann, where is Jon Stewart, where is Maddow? Where are you?

  89. 89
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    How’d that work out with the DADT failure so far?

    i haven’t seen any polls on the issue.

    have you ?

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dean:

    Those tax cuts will never expire unless Obama vetoes any further bills.

    Actually, you have it backwards: the tax cuts will automatically expire unless a bill is passed. If there’s no bill, then everyone’s taxes go back up as of 1/1/11.

    The Democrats are trying to prevent taxes from going up for the middle class by passing a new bill, but if they do nothing, the tax cuts expire anyway.

  91. 91
    Nick says:

    @cleek:

    i haven’t seen any polls on the issue.

    I don’t think that’s the point. The point was the result of that was even more demoralized liberals, even more excited teabaggers, and people like Maddow, Olbermann and Stewart calling them all assholes.

    The Republicans NEVER got called out or forced to defend their votes, by anyone.

    But as far as polls go, after blocking unemployment compensation, small business legislation, 9/11 health benefits, DADT and DREAM act, Republicans have not suffered at all in polls, Democrats have.

  92. 92
    Mark S. says:

    @Binzinerator:

    So you abdicate and let the goopers control the narrative?

    You’re asking Nick that? Nick thinks Rush has 300 million listeners that hang on his every word. I don’t know how the hell we ever got the WH and Congress in the first place.

    And the people here defending Hoyer, you’re still thinking too much like a pol and not like a voter. I didn’t even know what the hell you meant by the 9/11 bill; nobody remembers that. They will remember who did nothing to keep their taxes from going up, especially after they see 3,000 ads reminding them.

  93. 93
    TJ says:

    @drc:

    How about if I vote to allow taxes to go back to pre-Bush tax cut levels for the wealthy I will lose my wealthy contributors to my election fund.

    Bingo.

  94. 94
    Nick says:

    @Mark S.:

    I didn’t even know what the hell you meant by the 9/11 bill; nobody remembers that. They will remember who did nothing to keep their taxes from going up, especially after they see 3,000 ads reminding them.

    And who are they going to think did nothing?

    Both Democrats and Republicans. When people blame both parties, GOP wins by default.

  95. 95
    Oscar Leroy says:

    Oh, why do we have to have these circular firing squads? Fight the Republicans, they’re the real enemy ! ! !

  96. 96

    @Oscar Leroy:

    Oh, why do we have to have these circular firing squads? Fight the Republicans, they’re the real enemy ! ! !

    This is something we can agree on Mr. Leroy.

  97. 97
    NobodySpecial says:

    I see Nothing Can Be Done has been augmented by GOP Wins By Default.

  98. 98
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Binzinerator: @cleek: Conservative Democrats are very afraid that if they do something that can be spun as “raising taxes” they’ll catch more hell from middle-of-the-road voters, and it won’t be offset by the rewards they might reap from base voters. I think that’s probably true. I think that standing together would help all Democrats a little bit, but breaking apart helps _some_ Democrats _a lot_. (Isn’t that the “prisoner’s dilemma”?)

    So what conservative Democrats really need is an incentive to get with the program. But, like has been said several times in recent threads, no one has particularly good ideas about what that might entail.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    So what’s your plan? Hoyer’s plan is to have the Senate pass their bill first.

    There’s a difference between “nothing can be done” and “we keep beating our heads against this same wall, so let’s try something different.” I know you would prefer us to keep tilting at the same windmill over and over again and accomplishing nothing, but sometimes changing course and doing something different is a better plan.

    But, hey, if you want to keep charging at that brick wall with a cry of, “But if I don’t do this over and over again, it means nothing can be done!” go knock yourself out.

  100. 100
    Nick says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I see Nothing Can Be Done has been augmented by GOP Wins By Default

    Well since the professional left sees every failed vote they’ve called for having, as an opportunity to spread dismay among their follows with “everyone sucks” attitudes, yeah, GOP wins by default and nothing can be done. And YES, I am blaming people like you.

    For Chrissakes, Tuesday night Olbermann ran tape of Democratic Senators calling out Republicans for obstruction and THEN had David Corn to discuss how Democrats weren’t actually doing what he just showed them doing.

    Jon Stewart wanted to know if we’re run by assholes, not just Republicans, but Democrats, because Democrats didn’t give Republicans what they wanted, because they DID NOT CAPITULATE! They’re assholes. This is the second time he did this.

    When the Democrats actually do fight, we never back them up. EVER. why would they think this time would be any different?

  101. 101
    Davis X. Machina says:

    So what conservative Democrats really need is an incentive to get with the program. But, like has been said several times in recent threads, no one has particularly good ideas about what that might entail.

    We gave ’em a war — that’s always been incentive enough in the past. What do they want — two wars?

  102. 102
    Mark S. says:

    @Oscar Leroy:

    I agree, but it’s pretty discouraging when they make unbelievably boneheaded decisions like this.

  103. 103
    cleek says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    So what conservative Democrats really need is an incentive to get with the program.

    here’s a good incentive: if you do what the public wants, you could remain in the majority!

  104. 104
    Binzinerator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    How’s that worked out so far for us?

    So you just stop trying and let them run with it. Most excellent.

  105. 105
    Nick says:

    @Mark S.:

    I agree, but it’s pretty discouraging when they make unbelievably boneheaded decisions like this.

    It’s also apparently pretty discouraging when they don’t.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cleek:

    I’ve seen lots of polls with insane teabaggers leading Democrats by wide margins. Feingold is getting his ass kicked in the polls in Wisconsin. That seems like a pretty good indication to me that the Democrats pointing out that the Republicans are blocking everything they try to do is having zero effect on voters.

  107. 107
    Mark S. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So what’s your plan? Hoyer’s plan is to have the Senate pass their bill first.

    And that’s the stupidest plan in the world.

    Look, it’s pretty likely the Dems will hold on to the Senate. That’s not the case in the House. They need every advantage they can get.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Binzinerator:

    So you just stop trying and let them run with it. Most excellent.

    No, you try something different, like having the Senate pass the bill first. Jesus, what is it with you guys? How does “let’s do something else” get processed in your brain as “nothing can be done”?

  109. 109
    Blue Neponset says:

    @FlipYrWhig: A little class warfare would go a long way. Average taxpayers are pissed about AIG and the other assholes who devalued 401(k) plans and turned home values upside down getting billions of dollars of government money. A ‘screw the rich’ tax would play big in anytown USA.

    It seems like the Democrats just dont’ want to fight for the middle class anymore. Maybe the next batch of Dems to win back Congress will be better. I doubt it but hope springs eternal.

  110. 110
    Nick says:

    @Binzinerator:

    So you just stop trying and let them run with it. Most excellent.

    Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

    I mea Harry Reid put the Republicans on record as opposing DADT, DREAM Act AND funding for the Pentagon on Tuesday and what did he get out of it?

    People threatening to send money to Sharron Angle and Log Cabin Republicans.

    “We won’t be demoralized this time Harry and Nancy when you can’t get the votes, we swear!”

  111. 111
    Pug says:

    Hoyer wants the House to wait for the Senate to act first…

    “We’re waiting for Godot”, Hoyer said at a press conference.

    General Custer wanted to wait so he could get a fix on exactly how many Indians there really were. General Hoyer is employing that same strategy. It’s brilliant. Don’t you see?

  112. 112
    Blue Neponset says:

    @Mnemosyne: There is no way on God’s Green Earth that this bill will pass the Senate. Hoyer is passing the buck not trying something different.

  113. 113
    Nick says:

    @Blue Neponset:

    A little class warfare would go a long way. Average taxpayers are pissed about AIG and the other assholes who devalued 401(k) plans and turned home values upside down getting billions of dollars of government money. A ‘screw the rich’ tax would play big in anytown USA.

    We don’t need a Senate vote to do that! No one pays attention to Senate votes except to bitch how things didn’t pass.

    The White House did some class warfare today!

    “If Republicans in Congress think that pledging to continue holding middle class tax cuts hostage in order to borrow 700 billion for tax breaks to the millionaires and billionaires at a time of record deficits is the way to connect with working American families they are more out of touch than we thought.
    “The President would sign a bill tomorrow that would extend the tax cuts for the middle class to avoid saddling them with a crippling tax hike, but unfortunately Republicans in Congress have made it clear they would rather stall and obstruct instead of giving working families the assistance they need. The American people will be reminded of that every day.”

    You’re pissed when they don’t hold votes that will fail, and you’re pissed when they do. What is it you want them to do?

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @cleek:

    here’s a good incentive: if you do what the public wants, you could remain in the majority!

    “But they’ll say I raised taxes by billions of dollars!” Like I said, what we want them to do is counterpunch: “fuck yeah I raised taxes on a tiny segment of rich people, because why should the few people at the very top stuff their pockets while the rest of us suffer!” _But they don’t trust that_. They don’t think it will work. They think an ad about how they raised taxes will be deadly. So how do you/we convince them not to be such a pack of cowards, when behaving as a pack of cowards has never been punished and behaving bravely has never been rewarded? I don’t know. That’s the problem.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mark S.:

    And that’s the stupidest plan in the world.

    Why? If it fails in the Senate, then the House doesn’t have a failure on their record. If pointing to Republican intransigence is the winning strategy you think it is, the message is, “We weren’t even allowed to vote on the bill because the Republicans blocked it from getting to us.”

    Look, it’s pretty likely the Dems will hold on to the Senate. That’s not the case in the House. They need every advantage they can get.

    What I keep trying to tell you is, it’s not an advantage for House Democrats for all of their bills to get blocked by the Senate. It’s the opposite. It’s a record of failure as far as voters are concerned. “We passed all of these landmark bills … that, uh, will never be enacted because they were killed by the Senate. But we passed them! Yay us!”

    However, I do doubt that the Republicans are going to take the House. It would require an enormous swing that I just don’t see is there. They would need to keep every single seat they hold now AND win an additional 41 seats just to have a one-seat majority.

  116. 116
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    umm.. ok.
    but have you seen any polls about the DADT vote? you did bring it up, after all.

  117. 117
    Nick says:

    @Blue Neponset:

    There is no way on God’s Green Earth that this bill will pass the Senate. Hoyer is passing the buck not trying something different.

    Passing the buck IS trying something different. The Senate has fucked them over so many times, why should they be the ones to take the risk…again.

  118. 118
    Pug says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Conservative Democrats are very afraid that if they do something that can be spun as “raising taxes” they’ll catch more hell from middle-of-the-road voters…

    Oh, they are about to catch hell from middle-of-the-road voters and lunatic voters alike. If they think this will help save them, they are crazier than Sharon Angle.

  119. 119
    ghost of xmas past says:

    the hardest lesson has been that, even when we deliver large majorities in both chambers to the democrats, the GOP and their corporate masters run the place.
    democrats act like they can’t wait to hand back the majority so they won’t be under so much pressure.

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Blue Neponset:

    A ‘screw the rich’ tax would play big in anytown USA.

    You’d think so. That’s what polling shows. What does polling show when you ask people how they feel about “raising taxes during a recession”? What does polling show when you ask people how they feel about a “$700 billion tax hike,” not mentioning that it won’t be on them, because people never ever get that distinction?

    The Blue Dog types may be stupid, but they understand self-preservation. They think they won’t be able to preserve themselves if this goes through. What can they be promised as the benefits? Because they aren’t buying the argument that seems like an obvious political winner to us. They obviously need something else.

  121. 121
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Pug:

    General Custer wanted to wait so he could get a fix on exactly how many Indians there really were.

    You may need to read up on the battle of Little Big Horn if you think Custer would have done better by charging ahead. He was going to get slaughtered either way in any charge because he was wrong about how many Indians there were.

    General Hoyer is employing that same strategy. It’s brilliant. Don’t you see?

    Gosh, getting the lay of the land and getting an actual accurate count on the number of your opponents? What idiot would do that? No, we should charge ahead and do the same thing we always do even though the squadron right ahead of us (DADT) just got slaughtered. There’s no way that could go wrong!

  122. 122
    cleek says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    They think an ad about how they raised taxes will be deadly.

    i’d point out that the tax amounts to 3 cents on every dollar above $250,000.

    here’s Joe Blow. he makes $250,001 / yr.
    this tax increase will cost him three cents.
    not $7,500.
    $0.03

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cleek:

    umm.. ok.
    but have you seen any polls about the DADT vote? you did bring it up, after all.

    No polls have been done yet as far as I can tell. However, given that every other Democratic failure has been laid at the feet of the Democrats when it’s polled, I find it hard to believe that DADT is going to be the outlier and suddenly the Republicans are going to get all of the blame.

    At best, it’s going to be “both sides are equally to blame.”

  124. 124

    It’s kind of darkly ironic, that for the last year, the media and the wingnuts have been droning on about the deficit and too much spending, so here we are dems worried about being seen as not extending tax cuts that would greatly expand the deficit and the wingnuts talking out of both sides of their mouths about more and more tax cuts, and extending them also too for rich people all the while grinning like evil clowns while dems lurch around trying to negate the wingnut debauchery that always seems to take hold, at least with the white and anxious middle class majority who never learn that the wingnuts they elect to represent their tribe do not have their best interest in mind, but insist on swallowing their bullshit whole served up by a servile press. It would be nice to hold a pre election vote to extend upper income tax cuts for pol theater in dems favor if wingers played along, but with blue dog help, these cuts for the rich would likely pass the House, and remember that repubs are not against mc cuts, they just want the rich ones too, so those would pass as well. It is a setup for Murphy’s Law for dems to try to hard too play the wingnut game of lies and deception. They are not very good at it, which to me is a good thing when it comes to the politics of governing. So what’s a good libtard to do? Unfortunately, at least in the short term, it is what is always their only route. And that is doing what is right for the country, and taking whatever unfair criticism that comes their way, because at the end of the day, if dems don’t do what’s right, then who will?

    There is an opportunity for Obama and dems to take the initiative here, again doing the right thing, for them to propose their own tax cuts for the mc only, and announce the truth that the temp Bush ones have run their course. And tailor those DEM cuts to dem priorities and tell the rich to suck an egg, and the wingnuts. Rather than stage a phony vote that could well backfire on them in the end. The lizard brain is good at flanking such maneuvers from their prey.

  125. 125
    Mark S. says:

    Whatever. If I were as pessimistic as Nick, I would never vote. And Mnemosyne, part of politics is energizing your base. The base notices when you bring out bills they like, whether they pass or not. Do you think Bush and Rove pushed that Marriage Amendment because they thought it would pass? No, they were whipping up the Bible-thumpers.

    (And, no, Hamsher and Greenwald are not the same as the base.)

  126. 126
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Pug: I think they’re saying, give us what we want or we blow up the plane. The liberal side is calling their bluff. What we have is a game of chicken: the conservatives are saying, preserve all the tax cuts or nothing; the liberals are saying, preserve only the middle-class tax cuts. Neither side wants to cave. So here we are.

  127. 127
    Paula says:

    Hey, wasn’t someone saying something about how if only Obama used the bully pulpit more that he’d be more likely to get progressive legislation passed? Wasn’t the tax cut issue something he was “wasting his time” on when he could have been lobbying for DADT repeal and the DREAM Act because this tax cut issue was a no-brainer?

  128. 128
    Shalimar says:

    This is why the enthusiasm gap for me anyway. It’s hard to get too worked up about Bobby Bright getting tossed out on his ass. I will vote for him because he is better than the nut he is running against. But it will be his own fault if he loses, and cowardly crap like this is a major reason why. He isn’t for anything that distinguishes him from his opponent.

  129. 129
    Jhombi says:

    I have been cogitating on the seemingly politically suicidal behavior of the conservadems. When it comes to politics, I think like John does, in that my maxim has always been that there are no random, or foolish, or ill-considered decisions. Simply, these people are making conscious, well-thought out decisions for a reason. We need to figure out what those reasons are.

    These are not “legislators,” but businessmen that are local extensions of big business temporarily assigned to the Congress. To them there is no big chasm between the private and public sphere, no rising above petty financial concerns to “do what’s right for the country.” They deeply believe that all these corporate policies ARE what’s right for the country, so why change? To be defeated by a real Republican is no great shame. Their replacement will be a colleague from the business community from which they sprang and within which they have continued to participate without interruption. Their replacement will have as sympathetic an ear for their concerns as they did themselves. Defeat in this circumstance is merely a stepping stone to better things.

    After their defeat, these “Dems” will go onto bigger and better things- lobbying firms, big business enrichment for services rendered, “reasonable Democrat” anti-progressive TV appearances, etc. There is no fear in this life path. And without fear of defeat, there is no possible motivation we can conjour to change their minds on anything. As I said these are not public servants in any sense of the words.

    Many fervently hope, as I do, that they are defeated, but I personally think that with the unlimited resources of both big money and the imbecilic DNC, DCCC & DSCC this will not be a wholesale slaughter at all, and we will again be shaking our fists and railing against most of them November 3rd.

    Polls are tightening, and incumbents have great advantages still. As for any teabaggers who by some miracle manage to find themselves elected, the Corpo-Republican- Democratic machinery of corruption will soon temper their vitriol and direct it away from business areas that really count, and back towards welfare, social security, and brown people where it belongs.

    The terrible fact is that in order for the Democratic Party to really resemble the vast majority of its members, those average hourly-wage working Dems have to take over the machinery of the party from the ground up, as the corporations did over the last 30+ years. Since working people do not have the leisure time and scheduling flexibility to participate in all facets of party organization, that business people do, their interests will always be unrepresented.

    I have no easy solution to this conundrum. As a union man, a liberal, a progressive, I contribute my funding directly to those challenging this paradigm, but with the woeful knowledge that the Corpo-Republican-Democratic machinery of corruption will work on them daily til they fold.

    Today’s cowardly actions yet again confirm my hypothesis. It sucks being right about this. And at 49 years old, I doubt I will live long enough to see it change in any substantial way. These forces have become extremely adept at convincing people to abandon hope for their futures. My hopelessness, however, is based more on the empirical record of selfish, amoral ambition that has become our cultural paradigm.

  130. 130
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @cleek: I agree with you. But you have to make your local Blue Dog believe it. The Republicans will blitz him with ads about his Billion Dollar Tax Hike. He has to be _very_ confident in his explanation. That’s why I think the biggest issue with contemporary politics is how poor the Democrats in general, but especially the conservative end of the spectrum, understands counterpunching. You can give them one good attack line, and they’ll be all excited, but then Republicans will say something else, and they just lose it and run for cover.

  131. 131
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jhombi:

    I have been cogitating on the seemingly politically suicidal behavior of the conservadems.

    I don’t see why you think they’re being “politically suicidal.” They simply think that doing something that can be tarred as Raising Taxes does more to harm them than doing something that can be lauded as Cutting Taxes does to help them.

  132. 132
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hoyer doesn’t run the House. Pelosi does. If he wants Pelosi’s job, he’s gonna have to do a better job than saying ‘Look, I kept the Republicans from making us look like losers by doing nothing!’

    So how do you/we convince them not to be such a pack of cowards, when behaving as a pack of cowards has never been punished and behaving bravely has never been rewarded? I don’t know. That’s the problem.

    So your idea is to throw up your hands and do nothing, because you sure as hell aren’t signing on to the idea of making them put up a vote to run on.

  133. 133
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mark S.:

    And Mnemosyne, part of politics is energizing your base. The base notices when you bring out bills they like, whether they pass or not.

    Again, I draw your attention to the commentary surrounding DADT for the past couple of days. How many people said they were happy that it had even been up for consideration, even though it lost?

    I keep hearing this claim that, “Well, we just want them to put up bills we can be excited about even if they lose,” but when they do put them up and the bills lose, Democrats are pissed off and start talking about voting for teabaggers or staying home.

    Do you think Bush and Rove pushed that Marriage Amendment because they thought it would pass? No, they were whipping up the Bible-thumpers.

    What are you talking about? Rove put anti-gay-marriage amendments on the ballots of every state that allowed it in 2004 and it was a huge winner for him. Those won in every state, plus Bush won the general election thanks to them. The Marriage Amendment was going to build on that existing success.

    (And, no, Hamsher and Greenwald are not the same as the base.)

    How about Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann, both of whom devoted many minutes talking about how it was all the Democrats’ fault that the Republicans blocked the vote? Jon Stewart is still the most trusted name in news, so how do you think the base feels when he tells them that DADT was a huge failure and Democrats suck?

  134. 134
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    That’s not my quote — that’s from FlipYrWhig. People get us mixed up sometimes.

    So your idea is to throw up your hands and do nothing, because you sure as hell aren’t signing on to the idea of making them put up a vote to run on.

    No, my idea is to put pressure on the Senate to pass their bill first. Kind of the opposite of doing nothing, in fact.

  135. 135
    David says:

    Even if the cuts don’t pass and the GOP filibustered them in the Senate and the negative predictions came true, taking the votes is still the right thing to do.

  136. 136
    Corner Stone says:

    There’s a lot of false equivalency going on here. Using DADT to somehow level the playing field regarding the almighty TAX CUT is dishonest, IMO.
    It’s like saying a vote to rename a local Post Office has the same resonance as a vote for a SCOTUS nominee.
    Both go down in the ledger of voting record but they are worlds apart.

  137. 137
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s not my quote—that’s from FlipYrWhig. People get us mixed up sometimes.

    Completely understandable.

  138. 138
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    So your idea is to throw up your hands and do nothing, because you sure as hell aren’t signing on to the idea of making them put up a vote to run on.

    What if the sensible, good, smart idea of bringing sensible, good, smart things to a vote _doesn’t fucking work_? Because, you know, that’s what’s happening. What if Blue Dogs really are as stupid and cowardly as it seems? You’re stuck. Pelosi’s stuck. Obama’s stuck. The Blue Dogs and Blue Doggish abettors _really are_ that convinced that ideas that we all think are political winners are political losers.

    I mean, it’s stupid to smoke. You can tell a smoker that what she’s doing is unhealthy and expensive and she’d be a lot better off if she stopped. And she’ll say, all that may be true, but I’m going to keep doing it anyway, because I like it, and maybe I’ll quit later, but I’ve got a lot going on right now, so, you know, c’est la vie. That’s the mindset the Blue Dog types have. They either don’t listen to reason, or don’t agree that it _is_ reason. All their habits cry out to them to oppose “tax hikes,” so that what they want to do. Overcoming that is not a matter of rational convincing. I don’t know what it is a matter of, which is why it’s a fucking intractable problem.

  139. 139
    Blue Neponset says:

    @Nick: @FlipYrWhig: WWKRDIHWAD*? I am sure he would have been creating a narrative about how the Democrats are going to squeeze the fat cats who ruined our economy until they hurt as much as the honest working men and women who paid for the wall street bailout. Instead we get to talk about how the tax increase will hurt “small business”.

    I’ll be the first one to admit I believed in peak wingnut theory. After the Death Panels of August, however, I saw how wrong I was. You would think that every elected Democrats would have learned that lesson long before I did. Yet, they continue to fall for the Republican bullshit. It is disheartening to say the least.

    *What would Karl Rove do if he were a Democrat?

  140. 140
    Corner Stone says:

    Hoyer saying he’s not going to make his conservadem allies or his nominal Republican opposition go on record because he’s waiting for the Senate is about as transparent a move as it gets in politics.

  141. 141
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I guess all pragmatists look alike to you, you bigot.

    ETA: I almost never make suggestions about what politicians _should_ do. I don’t know that. I’m much more interested in trying to figure out why they do the things they do, even when they seem to be so stupid.

  142. 142
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Hey! Unfair!
    Some of my best friends are…

  143. 143
    gex says:

    @brendancalling: Except that John has been ragging on the Blue Dogs every bit as vehemently as the professional left. As far as I can tell the main difference is attitude, one of bitching about everything and one of taking your lumps, getting up, and moving forward.

    I’ll be the first to admit, I have an activist personality, which naturally makes me shrill. But in particular the endless rounds of activist vs. pragmatist wars on this blog have helped moderate that for me.

    And in the end, John is right. In fighting is not helpful when the other side thinks this is an existential war. I suspect that is why you want less centrism. Whereas I’m beginning to feel that cohesion amongst us, despite our differences, is essential.

  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:

    I wish someone would explain to me what Glenzilla and Hamsher did to poor Steny Hoyer that has caused him to hate Pelosi so damn much.

  145. 145
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Actually, in the “good old days”, before Republicans reckless abuse of the filibuster almost all of these bills would’ve been allowed onto the Senate floor for an up or down vote and damn near all of them would’ve passed, since America used to be based on majority rule and not minority obstruction, which requires a super majority to get around.

  146. 146
    ruemara says:

    Well, did my bit. for those of you watching the pie fights above, call Majority leader’s office (for out of district calls): 202-225-3130 and politely commiserate and abjure Hoyer to take the vote now. And thanks, Marc @ 60 for the numbers. Perhaps, if it means so much to you all, you’d quit swinging at each other and swing at your congress members.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @gex:

    Except that John has been ragging on the Blue Dogs every bit as vehemently as the professional left. As far as I can tell the main difference is attitude, one of bitching about everything and one of taking your lumps, getting up, and moving forward.

    Maybe. But one big caveat needs to be added to those ragging sessions. The Blue Dogs get a vote.
    Well, at least until the lame duck session is over and they are tossed out on their asses to line up, knee pads down and ready to do whatever it takes to land that lobbyist job.

  148. 148
    Emma says:

    Really one of the most stupid things Democrats have ever done, if not the most stupid. I called my Rep and Senators and told them that. Then I called a few to whom I give money regularly who are not my reps and gave them a piece of my mind as well. There is one from whom I receive regular fundraising emails who is on the list of Dems who not only want cuts for the part of anyone’s income that is over $250k, but they want higher cuts for that part of people’s income. And they are apparently willing to hold middle class tax cuts hostage to get that. I called her people and told them to unsubscribe me from her fundraising list immediately. Not that is really matters, since she will be toast after the elections anyway.

  149. 149
    gex says:

    I was wondering about a different strategy. What if Dems pointed out that Bush designed them to expire, as they were a result of a surplus. Prior to that put together a new tax cut bill that is appropriate for deficits and market that. Maybe a few people will be able to deduce that what you do when you have too much money isn’t the same as what you do when you have not enough money.

    I know, I know.

  150. 150
    NobodySpecial says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    What if the sensible, good, smart idea of bringing sensible, good, smart things to a vote doesn’t fucking work? Because, you know, that’s what’s happening. What if Blue Dogs really are as stupid and cowardly as it seems? You’re stuck. Pelosi’s stuck. Obama’s stuck. The Blue Dogs and Blue Doggish abettors really are that convinced that ideas that we all think are political winners are political losers

    You put them on record anyways. Then the next time around, you get their Blue Dog asses out and put in Democratic candidates more amenable to reason. That’s the second part of that whole ‘more and better’ that people like so much. There’s been a ton of evidence showing that they’re not Republicans in disguise (Lincoln on the FinReg bill, the DADT vote, for example), but you have to make them toe the line…which Pelosi is good for and Hoyer isn’t.

    Except, of course, the Nicks of the board will tell you that there’s no way anything can happen, and no dirty liberal can ever be elected anywhere that isn’t deep blue without being Blue Dogs. Because, y’know, America’s a center-right nation. It just happens to be the one with a black president and an overwhelming Democratic legislative majority.

  151. 151
    eemom says:

    I don’t think the DADT vote is a good point of comparison to the tax issue. Most of the people who give a shit about DADT are on the left, and a substantial subset in the “blame the Democrats no matter what” mindset.

    EVERYBODY cares about taxes. Now if only there were some way to hand out sufficient brain cells to all those people so they could comprehend the KG-level logic of limiting tax cuts to the rich.

    I’m tired of Teh Stoopid.

  152. 152
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I mean, it’s stupid to smoke. You can tell a smoker that what she’s doing is unhealthy and expensive and she’d be a lot better off if she stopped. And she’ll say, all that may be true, but I’m going to keep doing it anyway, because I like it, and maybe I’ll quit later, but I’ve got a lot going on right now, so, you know, c’est la vie. That’s the mindset the Blue Dog types have. They either don’t listen to reason, or don’t agree that it is reason. All their habits cry out to them to oppose “tax hikes,” so that what they want to do. Overcoming that is not a matter of rational convincing. I don’t know what it is a matter of, which is why it’s a fucking intractable problem.

    Where this analogy falls apart is that when the smoker gets lung cancer, the cancer affects her and her family but not the rest of society, and the smoker will almost certainly not blame your warning for causing her cancer. When these Blue Dogs lose, they’re turning the keys to the kingdom back over to refugees from the insane asylum and, cherry on top of the shit sundae, they’re almost certain to blame lefties and liberal policies for causing them to lose. Because we live in Dipshitistan, when Republicans lose it’s because they weren’t right wing enough, and when Democrats lose…it’s because they weren’t right wing enough. That’s more than a little bit frustrating.

  153. 153
    Paula says:

    @eemom:

    Well, you might want vent on people who were just yesterday suggesting that Obama was neglecting his duties towards those amendments … while he was making speeches about the tax cuts.

    Oddly enough, I don’t disagree that the issues are two different things, although I can’t do a thing about the fact that they are two issues that need addressing right now and therefore different people will disagree about what needs addressing “first”.

  154. 154
    gex says:

    @Bullsmith: A minor nit to pick, but you do know that gays getting married in America are not really married, right? A gay couple in Iowa does not have the same marriage a straight couple has. As such, there is virtually no such thing as gay marriage.

    Not to disagree with your overall point. But it rankles a bit when this seems not to be understood. (Which I’m not saying was the case with you.)

  155. 155
    Jhombi says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I said “seemingly” for a reason- it may appear to some that it is so, but the rest of my post lays out why that is a fallacy to see their actions as self harming in any way.

  156. 156
    Binzinerator says:

    @Nick:

    Good God, they fucking blocked funding for the military on Tuesday over two popular pieces of legislation and the only people I’ve heard call them out on it in the past 48 years are two Democratic Senators, Robert Gibbs, and the President.

    My local newspaper had the story in huge headlines and made it clear who filibustered for continued inequality. They looked like the intolerant god-bothering bigots they are, thwarting what a clear majority want.

    It’s just dumb to not even hold a vote because you know the goopers are going to block it and see no value in giving up control of their image on the issue. Which is what the Dems are doing with the tax cuts.

    If you don’t win the vote, you have the record to use as a club to attack them with. On record for refusing tax cuts for the middle class and for demanding tax cuts for the rich. Damn. That would have been something we could have slapped them silly with. They would have to defend making the rich richer with their randian supply-side producers bullshit and the hole they dug would only get deeper.

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:

    @Paula:

    Well, you might want to fire your guns on people who were just yesterday suggesting that Obama was neglecting his duties towards those amendments … while he was making speeches about the tax cuts.

    On this thread people are using the DADT vote to say “Nothing can be done!” WRT to the TAX CUT vote. Or somehow even more ludicrously that Hoyer’s “strategy” is a smart one.

    I don’t work for The Advocate but if their reporting has any credibility they were making an entirely different argument than Obama simply using his time at this stage to speak on topics that weren’t DADT.

  158. 158
    Binzinerator says:

    @eemom:

    I don’t think the DADT vote is a good point of comparison to the tax issue. Most of the people who give a shit about DADT are on the left, and a substantial subset in the “blame the Democrats no matter what” mindset.
    __
    EVERYBODY cares about taxes.

    And this. Especially.

  159. 159
    Paula says:

    @Corner Stone:

    “On this thread people are using the DADT vote to say “Nothing can be done!” WRT to the TAX CUT vote. ”

    Where do you see that?

  160. 160
    Corner Stone says:

    @Paula: What do you think Nick has been arguing this entire thread?
    With a background a capella from Mnemosyne and FlipYrWhig?

  161. 161
    cleek says:

    @gex:

    What if Dems pointed out that Bush designed them to expire, as they were a result of a surplus.

    they were designed to expire because that’s the only way such deficit-ballooning bills can be passed using … wait for it … reconciliation. it they didn’t sunset the cuts, they would’ve run afoul of the “Byrd Rule” which allows Senators to block deficit-increasing legislation during reconciliation.

    in other words: their effect on the future deficit was well-known when the cuts were proposed. the GAO knew it, the GOP knew it, the Dems knew it. everyone knew it. it’s the very reason they had to be made to sunset.

    wiki

  162. 162
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paula:

    CS sees “Nothing can be done!” every time someone says “Let’s try something different.”

    It’s a very weird tic of his.

  163. 163
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    You put them on record anyways. Then the next time around, you get their Blue Dog asses out and put in Democratic candidates more amenable to reason.

    OK, so let’s game it out:

    1. Pelosi decides, fuck Steny’s Boyz, we’re doing this anyway.
    2. Steny’s Boyz have a conniption, caterwaul in the press about how liberals are too dominant in the party and hanging them out to dry.
    3. Conservative-to-moderate Dems in the Senate get cold feet too. Nelson wants some attention, Lieberman wants some attention, etc.
    4. The policy doesn’t happen anyway.
    5. Many of Steny’s Boyz and some of the conservaDems lose their campaigns.
    6. The media narrative becomes, “Democrats lost their majority because the liberals ran roughshod over the moderates. Isn’t today’s polarized politics awful?” Jon Stewart agrees.
    7. Democratic strategists think, “You know what the party needs? Fresh faces who can win in hostile territory by appealing across party lines.”

    The only way to actually create more and better Democrats I see is the Schweitzer/Tester/Webb/Halter model where Democrats pitch themselves as more populist than liberal. But that’s going to take a long time, because the last strategy before that that actually succeeded in creating more Democrats was the DLC business-friendly, welfare-reforming, free-trade endorsing approach, and we’re still trying to untangle the mess that ended up making.

  164. 164
    gex says:

    @Corner Stone: I guess I’m tired of actually being negative on this, which seems weird. This is what liberals and real moderates have to learn to live with. Opposition that will never quit, will fight longer harder and dirtier than you, and you have to deal with the despair that can overcome you as you realize you can move forward only on millimeter at a time. I’m not sure if I’m even talking about the subject at hand anymore, either. I guess I’m done feeling demoralized even though I have little reason other than it is what I need to keep fighting.

  165. 165
    eemom says:

    If this is not addressed before the election, the default is that all the tax cuts will be set to expire, right?

    Which way does that “cut” (haw haw) on the question of strategy?

  166. 166
    jl says:

    What could be worse is that, actually, there is not solid majority in favor of ending any of the tax cuts in Congress.

    In that case it would not only be a political blunder, but a sign of a looming policy blunder that will cause serious problems wrt to long run deficit. (yes, I am a Keynesian, and yes, I do worry about unsustainable long run structural deficits).

    Depressing day. Something is good politics, and it is good policy, and it is important to get it done, or at least start to try to get it done, quickly because the chances of it not getting done at all increase with delay.

    So, of course, the Congressional Democrats cannot even seem to schedule a vote on it.

    Edit: and if nothing is done at all, then all the cuts expire with very little chance of getting offsetting fiscal stimulus for a balanced budget multiplier out of it. And that will be a shock to the economy.

    Perhaps these people are so insulated, so corrupt, so wired into the lifetime Very Serious Person gravy train, that the simply operate in a different reality than most of us do.

    Politics aside, from a policy perspective, it is important to start trying to get some sensible economic policies adopted, some day, any day, or at least to start trying, say, today, for example.

  167. 167
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t think I’ve said “nothing can be done.” I have said quite a lot that the thing everyone wants to see done doesn’t seem to be working. I think the “what can be done about it?” problem is colossal, and I don’t have an answer, and I hope someone else does, and soon.

  168. 168
    gene108 says:

    @Nick: If the White House can condense that paragraph into a five words or less phrase, they may have a chance of connecting with voters.

    There’s no way Americans have the attention span to listen to a whole paragraph of information.

    Unless the White House gets good at sound bites and catchy slogans, you can forget anyone thinking Republicans did anything wrong.

    **********************

    On a side note, I find it interesting that after the Republicans lost in 1976, they tacked further to the right with the nomination of Ronald Reagan, in 1980. When they lost in 1992, they tacked even further to the right with the “Gingrich Revolution”. And now, after losing in 2008, they’re hell bent on going even further to the right.

    I’m not sure why this happens, but it’s been a trend for Republicans.

  169. 169
    Corner Stone says:

    Because now we can make the very forceful argument that since the Senate would’ve held up legislation anyway, we didn’t see the point in getting it on record that there is an actual legislative difference between the two parties on this very heated topic.
    Oh, we can say the R’s are for the rich and would’ve voted in a way that was pro-rich and anti-middle class. But the R’s can now make any statement they like and we have no record to point to.
    There is a reason people rank voting records on certain issues, and then use them relentlessly in campaign ads and other literature.
    Sigh. It would’ve been good to have something we could put in a soundbyte or 30 second campaign spot. Oh well.

  170. 170
    gex says:

    @cleek: I realize that, I know that they chopped off the tail end of the projections for their proposal because they indicated that the tax cuts were a drag on the economy. And that’s the worst part. Not that they lead to deficits, but that they knew that it would slow the economy. That the period they slowed the economy is when the housing bubble burst is probably not coincidental and really a bad 1-2 punch.

    I’m thinking the best way to counter their tax cuts/deficits mantras (which are the ones they really care about and the ones that people are falling behind) is to just say these tax cuts were designed for surplus. We need a new set designed for deficit.

    But again, it seems too sensible and reasonable to work in our political environment.

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Binzinerator:

    If you don’t win the vote, you have the record to use as a club to attack them with. On record for refusing tax cuts for the middle class and for demanding tax cuts for the rich.

    Right, that’s why it seems like such a no-brainer. So why are the Blue Dogs refusing to do something that seems like such a no-brainer? That’s where it gets interesting. Potentially. My answer is, they are convinced that an attack ad against their Massive! Tax! Hike! will hurt them more than an attack ad against their opponents for giving the richest people even more money will help them.

  172. 172

    All this is detracting from what the dem message to swing voting indies who are the ones giving repubs the current edge in likely and enthusiastic voters, who always, or nearly so, decide elections in this country. And that is a droning constant reminder of it only being two years ago, the folks you are planning to vote for cause you are mad stuff (economy) isn’t humming along with ponies and easy credit are the ones that created your economic woes.

    And there are more than one kind of blue dog in the House, there are the mostly southern ones who are largely toast and nothing will save them, short of Obama turning white and republican, and then there are the ones out of the south, like Hoyer, who come from mostly Rockefeller repub districts and are genuinely fiscal hawks, but socially more liberal. I just posted a link the other day from two months ago of Hoyer saying, that the country can’t afford to make any of Bush tax cuts permanent, and only the middle class ones extended until the economy improves. These blue dogs are not against taxes being raised across the board and are more worried about paying down the debt.

    I look, or hope for Obama to announce his own new tax cut package for dems to rally around, and for an end to this pointless dem infighting over a phony vote that no one could predict it’s actual outcome. My last remark on this nonsense.

  173. 173
    Paula says:

    @Binzinerator:

    There are circles where pointing this out will get some angry responses, justifiable from the POV of anyone who is a member/ally of the LGBTQ community. The time to fight for equality is always now.

    That being said, I always wonder why DADT gets coverage, whereas I haven’t heard jack about ENDA in over a year.

    But then again I have no plans to either get married or join the military, and am basically a skeptic about those institutions …

  174. 174
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    Gosh darn it all, the one time President Obama deviates from the centrists and blue dogs, and this has to happen…

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Because now we can make the very forceful argument that since the Senate would’ve held up legislation anyway, we didn’t see the point in getting it on record that there is an actual legislative difference between the two parties on this very heated topic.

    Yes, because the very forceful argument we’re making right now that we tried, we really really tried, but those mean ol’ Republicans just wouldn’t let us vote is working out so well for us.

  176. 176
    Mark S. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Huh? Now it sounds like you’re agreeing with CS, and I know that would never happen.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mark S.:

    Related, but not the same. CS thinks we should keep banging our heads against a brick wall and sending House legislation to die in the Senate because doing anything else would be saying, “Nothing can be done!”

    I’m saying, hey, maybe we should try something different, like getting the Senate to pass the legislation first and then sending it to the House where we know for sure it will pass since we only need a simple majority there. But apparently that’s the same as saying, “Nothing can be done!”

  178. 178
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    @Corner Stone:

    > @Paula: What do you think Nick has been arguing this
    > entire thread? With a background a capella from
    > Mnemosyne and FlipYrWhig?

    That’s the Nairobi Trio. And you know where Nairobi is.

  179. 179
    gene108 says:

    My answer is, they are convinced that an attack ad against their Massive! Tax! Hike! will hurt them more than an attack ad against their opponents for giving the richest people even more money will help them.

    There’s a large chunk of the electorate that’s bought into trickle-down. If we tax the rich, they’ll take their balls and go home, thus ruining the economy.

    I’m in NJ-03, which was long held by a Republican, but flipped to Democratic in ’08, when the incumbent retired.

    Rep. Adler’s run a few ads attacking Runyan’s lack of political anything. The Republican Congressional Committee shot back with an ad on Runyan’s behalf basically stating Adler voted with Nancy Pelosi 90% of the time.

    The Republicans have demonized a few things, like tax hikes, Nance Pelosi and formerly Ted Kennedy. Any association with these things, sets off a dog whistle response to certain voters, who just reflexively vote against the person who is associated with the demonized thing.

    There’s a very good chance Massive! Tax! Hikes! will resonate with voters much more sharply than, “I voted to keep the Bush, Jr. tax cuts from expiring on the middle class, but raised it on the top 2% to help balance the budget”.

    What’s easier to stick on a campaign button? That’s probably what voters will remember.

  180. 180
    Corner Stone says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    And you know where Nairobi is.

    I hope to the FSM she’s at my house in that little white number she wears so exquisitely.
    If she’s at your house then I don’t wanna hear about it.

  181. 181
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m saying, hey, maybe we should try something different, like getting the Senate to pass the legislation first and then sending it to the House

    Ahhh! The vaunted and highly respected “Coyote chasing the RoadRunner” gambit!
    Not since ’84 have I seen such a move executed with perfect technical precision as the Russian Master Yorgi Kalkskyavitch performed it across the high wire at the circus!

  182. 182
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    we tried, we really really tried, but those mean ol’ Republicans just wouldn’t let us vote is working out so well for us.

    My way – we would’ve had a vote.
    Your way – we’re not having a vote, BUT we get to blame the Senate instead of the Republicans for why we didn’t have a vote.
    Brilliant!

  183. 183
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    My way – we would’ve had a vote.

    So? A vote does absolutely nothing if it dies in the Senate. In fact, it counts against you as proof you couldn’t get anything done.

    Your way – we’re not having a vote, BUT we get to blame the Senate instead of the Republicans for why we didn’t have a vote.

    And the problem with that is … ? What’s so magical about having a vote that goes nowhere and does nothing except make you look like a loser who can’t close the deal?

    Coffee’s for closers.

  184. 184
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I think we’re seeing the demise of two oft-repeated notions:

    1. The president can use the “bully pulpit” to speak directly to the people about Policy X, which is favored by The Base. They will then pressure their representatives, who will rethink their opposition to Policy X and embrace it. Policy X becomes law! The Base will then be pleased, and will turn out to vote on Election Day.

    2. Even if you’re not in a position to win a vote on Policy X, which is favored by The Base, you should still _hold_ a vote on it, because that way you put opponents on the spot. Hence even losing the vote sends a message and rallies The Base, who will be pleased by the good-faith effort, and therefore will turn out to vote on Election Day.

    Both of those are coherent. They should work. But we’ve seen them in action. I’m not sure they do. They’re the best ideas we have, but something ain’t right.

  185. 185
    Tim I says:

    But, they’re our idiots!

  186. 186
    Nick says:

    @Blue Neponset:

    *What would Karl Rove do if he were a Democrat?

    It’s irrelevant, there would never been someone as petty, petulant and evil as Karl Rove in the Democratic Party…or at least not one who would do that.

  187. 187
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The problem with #1 is that the right is organized and has the time to constantly flood their senators’ and reps’ offices with calls screaming about the issue of the day. Even in blue areas, when 90 percent of the calls you get are people demanding that you repeal health insurance reform, you’re going to start to think that that’s what your constituents want.

    I’ve noticed that my Blue Dog rep has started moving to the left now that he sends out a weekly newsletter with a poll in it. I’m guessing that he’s getting quite different results from his poll of people who e-mail him than he is from the phone calls they receive at his office.

  188. 188
    Nick says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    You put them on record anyways

    They’re already on record. We don’t need a roll call, who pays attention to a roll call?

  189. 189
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What’s so magical about having a vote that goes nowhere and does nothing except make you look like a loser who can’t close the deal?

    People like you and Nick and Andrew Sullivan may keep pushing this line but it does not make it true.
    I for one am glad they put DADT and DREAM in the Defense Auth bill, even if they did not overcome obstructionism.
    You and Nick are the only ones I see here pushing the line repeatedly that not passing a bill makes our legislators losers.

  190. 190
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think Congresspeople have learned to ignore emails because they can be too easily generated by an astroturf campaign. But phone calls and letters to the editor in whatever remains of the local paper are probably given a lot of weight. And every time I’ve read a local paper’s LTE section there’s just a cascade of right-wing drivel, like the dumbest drive-by trolls do it, but, there they are, broadcasting a poorly-thought-out intolerant opinion to the world, sucking up column inches that could be spent on alternatives.

  191. 191
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I for one am glad they put DADT and DREAM in the Defense Auth bill, even if they did not overcome obstructionism.

    Good for you. Now explain to all of your fellow Democrats who were demoralized by Jon Stewart and Dan Savage and Keith Olbermann that they should be happy about it. I’ve been trying to convince you for almost a year that we should be happy about health insurance reform and that was legislation that actually passed, but maybe you’ll do better than I did.

  192. 192
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I for one am glad they put DADT and DREAM in the Defense Auth bill, even if they did not overcome obstructionism.

    Right, me too, but it’s supposed to be a political winner, something to use as a cudgel against Republicans, and yet, and yet, my sense of the immediate reaction earlier this week was a lot of people profoundly pissed _at Democrats_ for not getting it done. That militates against the idea that it’s a political winner.

    ETA: How many times did you hear some version of “Lady Gaga tried harder than the president did!” If losing the vote is still politically potent, it seems to me that it shouldn’t matter much how hard anyone tried, because a loss is just an investment in a future win. But that wasn’t the reaction I saw.

  193. 193
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s the other way around — my rep e-mails me to get my opinion. Plus I never, ever send e-mails through petition sites, only through Schiff’s actual website at house.gov.

    I suspect they cull down the list to get just people who are actually in the district, because the polls lean heavily left 99 percent of the time.

  194. 194
    Nick says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I for one am glad they put DADT and DREAM in the Defense Auth bill, even if they did not overcome obstructionism.

    Well that’s very noble of you. You might want to bring your firebagger friends along who have spent the last three days whining over the FAIL.

  195. 195
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I get emails from Sen. Webb’s office, but he never seems to be asking for my opinion on things. My Congressperson is a Republican, so I don’t really want his communiques anyway. His direct mail is all stuff like “What are your biggest concerns about Obama’s big-spending, job-killing liberal agenda?”

  196. 196
    Emma says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Oh, the Senate is not going to pass middle class tax cuts without out bigs ones for the parts of people’s incomes that are over $250k. That’s a given. What we should have done is have two votes, one for the part of your income $250k and under, and, after that, at some point, for the part of your income that is over $250k. House will pass the under $250k part, because they’re all up in a month. Senate probably won’t, then we’ll have nice video of them voting against it for when they are up. And we’ll win the news cycle. For effing once.

    I’m going to go out on a huge limb here and say no way will we ever do anything so sensible.

  197. 197
    Mark S. says:

    @Nick:

    We don’t need a roll call, who pays attention to a roll call?

    Really? How exactly does that ad go?

    Congressman So-and-So says he’s for lower taxes, but we don’t think he would have voted for a tax cut bill that never came up for a vote.

    It works a lot better if he actually voted against it.

  198. 198
    Nick says:

    @Mark S.:

    It works a lot better if he actually voted against it.

    Because we have to actually say it like that

    When President Obama wanted to give you a tax cut, Congressman So and So said “not until my rich friends get it first.” (insert audio of So and So defending rich tax cuts). So and So, rich first, you later

    You don’t need a vote for it, and this way, we don’t have to hear the whining from the professional left when it fails.

  199. 199
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Emma: But what you’re describing as the benefits of that approach are actually the detriments if you’re a Blue Doggish Congressperson. You’ve just explained how the plan will be to get a winning vote for the tax cuts that help 98% of the people, and then a losing vote for the tax cuts that give extra help to the top 2% of the people. That’s what a Blue Dog _doesn’t_ want to see happen, because either he genuinely wants the top 2% to get an extra boost, or he is very afraid of the attack ads he’ll face for the failure of the vote to give extra tax cuts to the top 2% — because it’ll be transformed into a Massive Tax Hike by Republican ads. Your strategy helps the lion’s share of Democrats, but there’s a diehard group that thinks they will be punished for going along with it. They’re the ones making this difficult.

  200. 200
    Mark S. says:

    @Nick:

    If you have audio of Congressman So-and-So saying that. You might only have audio of him saying he wants to extend all the tax cuts, and then you have to spend twenty seconds explaining why that’s different from what you’re proposing.

  201. 201
    Nick says:

    @Mark S.: you don’t need audio, I added in there for extra.

    You might only have audio of him saying he wants to extend all the tax cuts, and then you have to spend twenty seconds explaining why that’s different from what you’re proposing.

    Then, to quote what they like to mock me for, nothing can be done. Even if you attack him over a vote, he’ll come back with this, and he looks like the hero defending all Americans from evil socialist Democrats who want to raise taxes and ruin the economy, on who it doesn’t matter.

    The best thing to do politically might be let them all expire and start all over, which I suspect is what the President wanted to do, but we may not have the ability to do that without Congress next year.

    The best thing to do for the country is let them all expire and keep it moving, but that isn’t an option.

  202. 202
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    How many times did you hear some version of “Lady Gaga tried harder than the president did!”

    Let’s be clear, how the issue was handled is not the same thing as the fact that it was brought up for a vote.

  203. 203
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Now explain to all of your fellow Democrats who were demoralized by Jon Stewart and Dan Savage and Keith Olbermann that they should be happy about it.

    Jesus. How pathetic. KO and the rest of the much touted Professional Left can say whatever they want for a solid year. All of them combined will not have the impact on morale this non-vote just had.
    If you can’t see that then that’s your problem.

  204. 204
    Pug says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    the conservatives are saying, preserve all the tax cuts or nothing…

    I agree. The thing now is will Obama have the cojones to let all the tax cuts expire and blame the Republicans or will he cave?

    I like the guy, but my bet is he caves and all the tax cut get extended. Then, he’ll get blamed for the resulting increased deficits.

    The Democrats just don’t get it. You take a stand and you stick with it. People like that even if they don’t agree with you.

  205. 205

    […] and John are caught up in the question that, if dwelt upon too long, can kick start an existential crisis in […]

  206. 206

    […] apologies to Ambrose Bierce Jamelle Bouie: John Cole is angry at the Blue Dogs: Is there ANYTHING that centrists and moderates will not do to hurt themselves? […]

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