More of This, Please

Sen. Menendez tells the truth:

Following several hours of floor speeches hammering the GOP, a handful of Democrats including Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) attacked Republicans in a press conference, repeatedly using the word “hostage” to characterize the status of middle-class tax cuts.

“Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done, when in fact it might be perverse in its ultimate results? It’s almost like the question of do you negotiate with terrorists,” Menendez said when asked whether he and other Democrats would accept a compromise with Republicans.

I’m sure this will give David Broder the vapors, but the truth hurts. Negotiating with Republicans is like negotiating with terrorists, although there is a slight difference. Usually, terrorists are more straight-forward with their demands. Republican demands shift with every day, and to demonstrate, here is Susan Collins.






71 replies
  1. 1
    PeakVT says:

    Good line. Now repeat it a billion times.

  2. 2
    RalfW says:

    The American people are indeed being held hostage by hostile GOPers. I think I just saw an unemployed person get dumped out the door of the fetid TWA 727. It was gruesome when he hit the tarmac with that sickening little bounce.

  3. 3
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I would LOVE to see the Senate Democrats do some more of the rhetorical heavy lifting. If Obama’s instinct is to bring people together, let’s empower Senate Democrats to be Bad Cop! Of course, there are a lot of squishy not-very-democratic Democrats in the Senate, so I’m getting ahead of myself.

  4. 4
    Quiddity says:

    I hope David Broder recovers quickly from this terrible example of non-bipartisanship. He's the "Dean" and we need his wise counsel more than ever. I look forward to his column this Sunday. Maybe we will be lucky and he'll have more to say about the Glorious Deficit Commission.

  5. 5
    John O says:

    @PeakVT:

    John Cole is at his very best just pre-Galt.

  6. 6
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @RalfW: Actually, I think that was Louie Gohmert.

  7. 7
    cyntax says:

    Yep, already sent an attaboy to Senator Menendez.

  8. 8
    Bob Loblaw says:

    “Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done, when in fact it might be perverse in its ultimate results?”

    Yes. Especially if that last part is true. Passing perverse legislation due to Republican intransigence is the Democratic way.

    I wonder how many years the Party needed to get on top of this ridiculous tax cut problem. Because clearly ten wasn’t enough.

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    Like i always say, and believe, it’s not that dems are weak, it is more that if they don’t act like adults, who will? But there is a limit to that, and hopefully we are reaching that limit, and the gloves are coming off.

  10. 10
    Carnacki says:

    While comparing the Republicans in any way to terrorists seems extreme, people DO die in this country from hunger, from lack of access to affordable health care, from poisoned environments.

    I remember some sane Republicans. Even Nixon’s welfare reforms were intended to save money, but also to get more assistance into the hands of those in need. The “moderate” Republicans of today like Collins and Snowe are just as bad as the worst of the right wingers if not even more so. I suspect many of the extreme right wingers actually believe their views, but Collins and Snowe know how dangerous those views are and speak out against them but in the end too often vote to support them for partisan reasons.

    Now if we could get those Democrats to say how America is held hostage by Wall Street and the corporations then we’d be on the road to sanity…

  11. 11
    slag says:

    Collins said again on Friday that, while she would vote with Democrats to end the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, she wouldn’t do so until a debate over tax cuts has been resolved.

    You’d think the word “shame” would at some point enter these people’s lexicons. I can’t possibly imagine when that point might be, but it’s gotta happen, right? Like Peak Wingnut?

    ETA: I’m also starting to be disconcerted by the number of liberals who are so willing to give these people any credit at all: If only Obama had held back some bargaining chips, we’re just sure Lindsay Graham would be on board with cap and trade. Just sure of it.

    Surrounded by assholes, indeed.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’m sure this will give David Broder the vapors

    Oh, fuck “The Dean” sideways with a rusty, syphilis tainted chainsaw with a kung-fu grip.

    The guy I worked so hard to put into the Senate two years ago, Jeff Merkley, has once again proven that my efforts to do so were well expended.

    This is how you deal with terrorist Rethuglican scum. More like this, please. Hey, you…Obama, are you taking notes?

  13. 13
    hildebrand says:

    Nice to see the Senators actually do a bit of heavy lifting. Perchance if they had been doing this since January 2009 things might be a bit better. Usually they just leave Obama out to dry.

  14. 14
    cyntax says:

    @Carnacki:

    Now if we could get those Democrats to say how America is held hostage by Wall Street and the corporations then we’d be on the road to sanity…

    Hey now: baby steps.

    These spontaneous spinal transplants could fail at any time. But really, if you like what they’re saying, it can’t hurt to let them know.

  15. 15

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    We did pretty well with Merkley didn’t we?

  16. 16
    Steve L. says:

    Go Jersey!

  17. 17
    Nick says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I would LOVE to see the Senate Democrats do some more of the rhetorical heavy lifting. If Obama’s instinct is to bring people together, let’s empower Senate Democrats to be Bad Cop!

    I think that’s how it SHOULD be.

  18. 18
    Mike in NC says:

    Negotiating with Republicans is like negotiating with terrorists, although there is a slight difference.

    Terrorists are actually committed to their various causes, however insane or perverted. The Republicans pols are just cynics in it for the power and money.

  19. 19
    Legalize says:

    I’d like to see Sherrod Brown in on statements like this.

  20. 20
    Mark S. says:

    You know, I think it’s time for someone to write Profiles in Courage 2. I realize half the book would be about the Maverick, but Susan voting against civil rights so millionaires can keep their tax cuts would at least warrant a chapter.

  21. 21
    Redshift says:

    @Mike in NC: That is their cause. Though I suppose if the cause is power and money, extortionists might be a more accurate term.

  22. 22

    @cyntax:

    These spontaneous spinal transplants could fail

    This is utter horseshit. There are a bunch good Democratic Senators and a guy like Mekley hasn’t needed the encouragement of you to maintain his spine. The problem is the politics of the Corp Stucks of the world who figure any fucking (D) trumps an R. What you get is R stalking horses like Nelson, et al, mucking up the works with their essentially veto power to make a GOPer bill before it ever gets to the actual GOPers. It matters not, the Stucks will out and the slide continue.

  23. 23
    cyntax says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Pull the stick outta your ass and go have a drink.

  24. 24
    Redshift says:

    My congressman (Jim Moran) was one of the twenty House Democrats who voted against the tax cut bill, and he’s no Blue Dog, so I wanted to check on why. I called and talked to a staffer today, and was told that he voted no because the tax cuts are permanent, and he believes that will be harmful.

    I said I agree completely, and asked him to thank the congressman for me. I understand that Obama is pushing for the middle-class extension because he ran on that, but the tax cuts didn’t help the economy and I doubt ending them would hurt the economy. The only reason this isn’t more generally accepted among Democrats is that they live in fear that they’ll be accused of raising taxes, and never seem to get that nothing they do will stop that, not even after an election when they cut taxes and Republican propaganda still convinced a majority of the country their taxes had gone up.

  25. 25
    General Stuck says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Well, since you are going off your rocker again, I will add that I think Merkley is a fine figure of a senator, but I doubt he could win in Nebraska, or SD. I swoon to your sage wisdom in these matters. Otherwise, merry christmas Butcher.

  26. 26
    myiq2xu says:

    It doesn’t help that the Democrats fight like the Iraqi army.

  27. 27

    @cyntax:
    first of all I don’t drink, second – you’re full of shit as I noted. I get the press releases from both Wyden and Merkley since I’m on first name basis with both.

    Responding to this shit out of boredom isn’t a good idea.

  28. 28
    Nick says:

    @Redshift:

    My congressman (Jim Moran) was one of the twenty House Democrats who voted against the tax cut bill, and he’s no Blue Dog, so I wanted to check on why. I called and talked to a staffer today, and was told that he voted no because the tax cuts are permanent, and he believes that will be harmful.

    interesting.

    I don’t support any of the tax cuts, think they should expire and we should move on, and I mulled over the idea that if I was in Congress, I’d vote no too, for that reason, unless the leadership needed me.

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    @myiq2xu:

    Was wondering when you’d show up. The manic progressive storm may be over here for the short term. But stick around, you little puma vulture, you just never know, these days.

  30. 30
    Nick says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    There are a bunch good Democratic Senators and a guy like Mekley hasn’t needed the encouragement of you to maintain his spine.

    It helps to be a US Senator from Oregon not up for reelection for another four years.

  31. 31
    cyntax says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Wow, you really are a special little piece of work aren’t you?

    I’m glad to hear that you’re on a first name basis with two senators but I don’t give a rat’s ass. So unless you’re going to tell me how all of those senators are more special than all the rest, including McCaskil (good luck on that one), do whatever it is you need to do to relax.

  32. 32

    @General Stuck:
    And so who useful got elected? 58 or 59 worked out to be such a fucking magical number didn’t it? If that had meant trying to find a couple “reasonable” GOPers it would be one thing, what it meant was finding half a dozen to a dozen GOPer stalking horses in the Caucus first. If there is some idea that parties counter balance each other it totally fails when the outcome of one is defacto the other’s and the idea of negotiating vanishes.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Nick:

    It helps to be a US Senator from Oregon not up for reelection for another four years.

    Of course, that is exactly why he should be, and is, doing some of the heavy lifting. People in safe seats and people with a long time until reelection have the freedom to get out and make noise and, therefore, should do so.

  34. 34
    General Stuck says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    And so who useful got elected? 58 or 59 worked out to be such a fucking magical number didn’t it?

    Worked out as well as could be expected, imo. Considering the GOP has been conducting a congressional coup of sorts.

    But I agree that Nelson of NE needs to go, the little Benedict Arnold is a festering boil on the donkey’s ass. But without his yea vote, HCR would not have passed. That’s a true fact

  35. 35

    @cyntax:
    If you’re going to expect the entire Caucus to have a spine (or something resembling one) then you’re going to need to address the idea that any D is better than an R.

  36. 36
    Nick says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    And so who useful got elected? 58 or 59 worked out to be such a fucking magical number didn’t it?

    Were were able to pass HCR? FinReg? the stimulus, extend unemployment benefits multiple times, confirm two SCOTUS justices?

    Then I’d say it worked out fine.

  37. 37
    Nick says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    If you’re going to expect the entire Caucus to have a spine (or something resembling one) then you’re going to need to address the idea that any D is better than an R.

    Any Dem is better than any Rep if you look at specific races. Ben Nelson is not going to be running against Lincoln Chafee.

  38. 38
    JC says:

    It would be nice to see less generalizing about ‘the Democrats’. There are good Senators, who are reality based, and do the right thing.

    Of course, this is Balloon Juice, so maybe you like picking a fight by generalizing about all Senate Dems – but it isn’t true.

  39. 39
    Redshift says:

    @Nick: I suspect he probably would have voted with the majority if they needed him, but still, I’m pleased to have someone who voted against it who’s willing to do it for the right reasons and explain them, instead of just Blue Dogs being let off the hook because they claim they have to be Republican-lite.

    Our district is safe; Moran got re-elected with his usual 65% or so in a race where the Republicans convinced themselves they actually had a shot, so I’m glad he’s using that position to be another one who’s doing the “heavy lifting.”

  40. 40

    @General Stuck:

    But without his yea vote, HCR would not have passed.

    I will only disagree with this to the extent that how things would have played out without the GOPers essentially freed from any responsibility by the “size” of the majority isn’t known. In order to be anything remotely resembling liberality or progressivism the Democratic Party is going to be a big tent party, when it tries to coopt the GOPers the tent simply becomes outsized and impossible.

  41. 41
    Redshift says:

    @General Stuck: And it was a weird bit of cognitive dissonance to watch Lieberman and Nelson speaking out rather eloquently in favor of DADT repeal yesterday.

  42. 42
    Nick says:

    @Redshift: Nelson supports it?

  43. 43
    General Stuck says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    fair enough

  44. 44
    General Stuck says:

    @Redshift:

    strange days

  45. 45
    cyntax says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I don’t expect that entire caucus to, that’s exactly my point.

    I wasn’t talking specifically about Merkley but making a semi-flip reponse to the idea that the the Dems could now start talking about how much Wall Street actually owns everything which–realtive to the whole caucus–seemed a tall order. That was upthread of where you went full-metal Merkley supporter.

  46. 46
    azlib says:

    The Dems should stick it to the GOP on this issue. Even if some are afraid of being painted in the next election as tax and spend liberals because all the tax cuts expire, who cares? They will be painted that way anyway. Look at the way the GOP has successfully painted the Dems the past two years even though taxes on everyone went down significantly. I will guarantee even if the Dems cave on the tax cuts, they will still be painted as tax and spend liberals in 2012.

  47. 47
    Devildawg says:

    Bernie Sanders also got a little riled up today.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5OtB298fHY

  48. 48
    Nick says:

    @azlib:

    The Dems should stick it to the GOP on this issue. Even if some are afraid of being painted in the next election as tax and spend liberals because all the tax cuts expire, who cares? They will be painted that way anyway. Look at the way the GOP has successfully painted the Dems the past two years even though taxes on everyone went down significantly. I will guarantee even if the Dems cave on the tax cuts, they will still be painted as tax and spend liberals in 2012.

    The next question is how do we stop making “tax and spend liberals” a negative thing?

  49. 49
    Nick says:

    “Here we disagree,” Obama said at the end of the two-hour session. “I continue to believe that it would be unwise and unfair” to extend the tax cuts for those with higher incomes.

    sellout!

  50. 50
    Mattminus says:

    Let’s not all start sucking each others dicks just yet. I’d say it’s even money that Menendez winds up apologizing for this by Monday.

  51. 51

    People like to talk about the moderation of a Snowe or Collins, it is crap they are GOPers. I’ll forgive a whole bunch of you for not knowing who Rep Greg Walden (R OR2) is, but Eastern Oregonians think he’s a moderate GOPer. He isn’t much smarter than Ghomert but he keeps his head down. He is every bit the plutocrat/corporatist that defines the GOP and regularly votes in a manner counter to damn near the entire population of his district. These people are poison because they are not what they are thought to be. This is the result of any R or D trumps the other.

    While the Ds try to win with psuedo Collings they in effect become the GOP and give them leave to go fucking nuts. The counter balance goes missing. I have no thought that a Sen Merkley could win in OK or TX and he won by very little here. The point is that putting a GOPer in office with a D after their name in one of those states is pointless and drives the politics right for little real gain.

    I may understand the point of near confiscatory tax rates on extreme wealth (it isn’t Fed revenue) but I’d be satisfied with an expiration of the Bush rates. Given the D Caucus chances aren’t good. I’ll hold fire until whatever is acutally done, but a Caucus that is forced into starting from the GOPer point of view isn’t likely to have the “spine” to do it.

    It is my left position that high top tax rates and indexing capital gains the same way and no cap of FICA isn’t so much about revenue as it is the economic proposition that being discouraged from taking the last cent out of the system pushes that money back down the scale. I also understand that there isn’t a chance in hell of persuading the America of today of it. The left is generally shown to be correct later, but is ridiculed at the time (no retards I don’t mean Hamsher).

  52. 52
    Nick says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    People like to talk about the moderation of a Snowe or Collins, it is crap they are GOPers

    I don’t think they’re moderates, but the people of Maine, and a sizeable number of the states’ Democrats and liberals, do

  53. 53

    @cyntax:
    I saw that and simply enough, Merkley has been making that point from the election forward, certainly not in as strong a terms as I might like, but not neglected either. I don’t expect Merkely to become me.

  54. 54

    @Nick:
    That is exactly my point

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mattminus: Off hand, can you think of anything about which you aren’t reflexively negative?

  56. 56
    Ken says:

    @Nick: If I were in Congress – or rather, the Senate – I would put an anonymous hold on any bill to extend the Bush tax cuts. Especially if I were an outgoing (D) in this lame-duck session.

  57. 57

    I haven’t noticed any of that bunch being particularly apologetic.

  58. 58
    Merkin says:

    @Ken:

    If I were in Congress – or rather, the Senate – I would put an anonymous hold on any bill to extend the Bush tax cuts. Especially if I were an outgoing (D) in this lame-duck session.

    I’d filibuster it, unless it had a DADT repeal, DREAM Act, unemployment extensions or a combination of them in it.

  59. 59
    Nick says:

    @Ken: Senate’s a different beast. I’d vote for tax cuts for the middle class in the Senate, despite my objection to them, because otherwise the leadership may craft a bill less friendlier to get Republican votes, like what Feingold did to FinReg.

  60. 60
    WyldPirate says:

    @cyntax:

    Well, maybe we could get Dick Durbin–who was kicked around pretty good on the thread on the Catfood Commission–to repeat this:

    “And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place,” he said on WJJG 1530 AM’s “Mornings with Ray Hanania.” Progress Illinois picked up the quote.

    I wouldn’t count on it happening much more than once a decade. Wall st. tycoons and bankers have a tendency to buy off everyone–sort of like the Mafia.

  61. 61
    WarMunchkin says:

    The fuck? Why are there only six of them? Get. The. Entire. Caucus. The phrases “tax cuts” and “hostage situation” should be ringing in everyone’s ears.

  62. 62
    azlib says:

    @Nick:

    The next question is how do we stop making “tax and spend liberals” a negative thing?

    We have to stand up for an unabashedly liberal economic agenda. This means educating the public about Keynesian economics and more importantly the role of government in guiding economic policy and moderating the business cycle.

    Obama has done a very poor job of doing this. His message needs to be twofold:

    1) Doing everything it takes to jumpstart the economy including temporary deficit spending with the sole purpose of getting the economy on its feet.

    2) Saying “no” to any Congressional proposal which increases the deficit after the economy is back to full employment. This is basically enforcing PAYGO which the Republican House will ignore next year.

  63. 63
    Gian says:

    @Redshift:

    about the tax cuts all-in-all being bad policy:

    I’m not certain I agree. Reason being that the St. Reagan tax changes shifted burdens to the middle class, a middle class tax cut and the repeal of the yacht and summer in the hamptons tax cut does a little something to reverse that bit of class warfare.

    when we can get the country to tax capital gains as much as if you worked for the money, I’ll be happy.

    the notion that some trust fund baby day trades, while sitting at home and some other dude works at a 7-11 and risks getting his ass blown off get’s taxed a whole lot less is just morally wrong – and stupid econ. If we don’t have peole who can buy stuff, there’s no reason to make/import stuff.

    want to fix Social Security? lift the limit where it stops being deducted…

    So yeah, I can see where Obama comes from on the “middle class” tax cut.

  64. 64
    jcricket says:

    In my dream world I wouldn’t really mind the middle class tax cuts – if they were paired with sharp tax increases on income above $250k and new brackets at $1m, $5m, $10m, etc. Throw in a transaction tax on wall st. trades, raising the capital gains rate back to 25% (at least), limiting deductions for people making $250k and up (i.e. capping mortgage deduction at $1m), and cap-and-trade.

    I actually do agree that the poor and middle class are taxed too much – esp. in relation to what we get. And the rich and the corporations pay a smaller percent of the tax burden than basically any time in history (all while the US crumbles around them).

    But we’re never going to get that. We’ll just try to fumble our way (at best) or austerity-budget our way out of this (double-dip recession here we come). Ugh.

  65. 65
    MattMinus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Hmmmmmm…..

    Scotch?

    You know, I’d never really thought about it before, but it’s almost like my handle is describing my persona…

  66. 66
    Nick says:

    @azlib: Obama couldn’t make that message work, even if he was a fire-breathing Roosevelt on steroids. Half the country fucking hates him and would never listen to a word he says.

    Non-elected lefties need to do this, I think.

  67. 67

    @Nick:

    Non-elected lefties need to do this

    Well, you certainly didn’t have to go far to find a group more despised than the President, now did you? Within the ranks of Democratic voters you got a group less popular than the Pres with the GOPers.

  68. 68
    SIA says:

    @Devildawg: Can I trade Ratfuck Chambliss for Bernie?

  69. 69
    bob h says:

    As an NJ resident, I am proud of Menendez. But an NJN poll talked about yesterday showed that fully half of NJ Dems don’t even know him, don’t know enough about him, or “disapprove” of him.

  70. 70

    The Republicans say we can’t raise taxes on anyone during a recession. For the upper brackets, the recession is over!

  71. 71

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