Does the B Stand for Bueller?

A good question:

Indeed, let’s also say, just for the sake of conversation, that the liberal policy experts lose the argument and Congress rejects the agreement. Dems decide it’s a bridge too far, so they scuttle the deal and take their chances.

What’s Plan B?

I don’t mean this to sound snarky and this isn’t a rhetorical question; I’m genuinely interested in understanding the back-up strategy. When I posed this question yesterday to some Capitol Hill aides I know, they said they’d recommit to fighting even harder for the original Obama tax plan — permanent breaks for those under $250k, Clinton-era top rates for those above $250k. If/when this week’s compromise goes down, Republicans, they said, would likely cave and accept the Democratic approach. They’d be out of options — it’d be a choice between the Dem plan and higher taxes for everyone. Dems would regain the leverage they lost before the midterms.

And that could work. The plan came seven votes shy of 60 the other day, but when push comes to shove, maybe those seven additional votes would come together, and Dems would win this fight over taxes.

But what then? How would extended unemployment benefits pass for the millions of jobless Americans who need them? What happens to the economic stimulus? What’s the strategy for getting quick approval for an expanded earned-income tax credit and the continuation of a college-tuition tax credit? With almost no time left on the clock, after winning the fight on tax policy, is the plan to simply punt on New START ratification, DADT repeal, the DREAM Act, food safety, and health care for Ground Zero workers, hoping for the best in the next Congress?

I understand very well what opponents on the left want to do to the tax deal, and why. I’m less clear on what happens next.

Let’s just start out by saying “I HATE REPUBLICANS.” I simply can not express how much it infuriates me that they are holding all this important legislation hostage for tax cuts for the super-rich. Despite the hissy fit about the small portion of Obama’s presser yesterday in which he chided his critics (and while I agree with what he said there, for the most part, I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking when he said it- you just knew it was going to infuriate the professional left), most of his presser was about the Republican perfidy and how he has to make the best out of this bullshit the Republicans are causing. Let’s always remember who the problem is here. It isn’t Obama. It is the Republicans and spineless Democrats in congress and the worthless blue dogs. And where to begin with Mary Landrieu, who is so concerned about the budget she had a personal hold on Obama’s nominee for the OMB for months. If hypocrisy is a sin, Dante needs to come up with a new level for that asshole.

But what happens if this is blocked? Are we under the impression the Republicans will just say “Ok. Let’s move on to the other stuff.” NAGA HAPPIN.

What is the plan to get just the middle class tax cuts extended? Pelosi, who I have decided is the hero of Capitol Hill, made sure a bill got out of the House last week and the Senate voted on that on Saturday and it died with only 53 votes in favor. What is the plan to get unemployment benefits extended for these millions of people? Jim DeMint and the nihilist/teahadist wing of the GOP doesn’t even want that to pass even WITH the tax cuts for the rich. What is the plan to do it separately?

If this deal is scuttled, then what? That is a serious question, and not snark. Personally, I’m cool with all the tax cuts expiring. I think taxes need to go up to start paying for our wars, our roads, our elderly, and our medical care, along with all our debt. But what about unemployment benefits. What about stimulative spending? What about DADT and the other must pass bills? How do we get there from here?






332 replies
  1. 1
    Jimbo says:

    John – You nailed it. Like you, I’m okay if my taxes go up (thank the FSM that both my wife and I are employed and doing okay), but what about the other stuff?

    Honest question – Does the far left really think that if the Republicans lose this, they’ll “play ball” on all the rest?

  2. 2
    stuckinred says:

    @Jimbo: They are not going to play ball either way.

  3. 3
    ChrisWWW says:

    You have to let this stuff expire and pin it on the Republicans, day after day, week after week, month after month.

    Right now the Republicans looks like master negotiators, in a month when the laws expire, they will look like hostage takers.

  4. 4
    Punchy says:

    I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this, but I really couldn’t care less about the other shit, as long as these ridiculous tax-cuts for the wealthy are allowed to DIE. These rich fucks are the very root of social inequity, and if they are not left to expire, they’ll just be extended again in 2012, and then made permanent by President Palin. It’s either they die this year, or they never will.

  5. 5
    Allan says:

    Exactly. Oh, and if DADT gets bumped, I’m hanging it around Keith Olbermann’s thick neck and Rachel Maddow’s lean, vampire-bitten one. Then setting it on fire.

  6. 6
    Tony says:

    I’m neither a member of the professional left nor a supporter of this deal. My feelings on the matter are basically what K-thug said, i.e., just because this is the best option available doesn’t mean Obama needed to throw hippies under the bus. Maddow did a segment last night asking why this angry Obama only comes out when it’s time to punch a hippie, and it’s a good question.

    The bully pulpit does still have some power to move public opinion, and a public tongue-lashing of the Human Turtle and Mister Orange would let fence-sitting senators and representatives know that they have some support on their left flank. I’m not saying he could singlehandedly break the filibuster of the tax cut votes, but he could probably get more progressive stimulus in the deal, in the form of increased food stamps, unemployment insurance extension for the 99ers, etc.

    Even if you don’t believe that, what purpose does Obama’s tongue-lashing serve? The next time a standoff like this happens, he’s going to need his left flank to support him. Why would a Democrat in a vulnerable state stick their neck out for spending increases when Obama has validated the wingnut position that tax cuts are the only way to stimulate the economy?

  7. 7

    What about DADT and the other must pass bills? How do we get there from here?

    Do you seriously, honestly believe any of those bills are still going to pass this session? They’re already sending out the feelers for the big disappointment on DADT.

    And in a week there’ll be blog posts saying how we should all shut up about it and it’s our fault because shut up that’s why. Oh well, better luck in ten years, everyone!

    Edit:

    Exactly. Oh, and if DADT gets bumped, I’m hanging it around Keith Olbermann’s thick neck and Rachel Maddow’s lean, vampire-bitten one. Then setting it on fire.

    Holy shit did I actually say a week? A-fucking-mazing.

  8. 8
    harlana says:

    Are Republicans really that stupid? Obama has made this compromise public and the unemployed are expecting to receive their extension of benefits from this “deal with the devil” scenario. You don’t think they will be called out for reneging on their promise? Am I really that naive? Throw me a bone here. Please.

    no snark intended

  9. 9
    Pender says:

    If DADT is a “must-pass” bill, you’d think Reid could have found time for it on the calendar before impeaching Judge Whatshisname and passing poker pork for his home state.

    There’s still some hope of it passing, but I think it’s faint hope, and at this point I’m not convinced that the faint hope is worth validating Obama’s strategy of pissing on the left and appeasing the Republican hostage-takers.

    I say, let the cuts expire, and then pass new cuts (at the same levels) for non-rich people through reconciliation (just like the Bush tax cuts were initially passed) when the Senate reconvenes. Fuck the GOP.

  10. 10

    I think it’s important for the left to make noise about this, to keep their line of argument in the public consciousness, so the window doesn’t shift inevitably to the right. Make it clear that there is a faction to Obama’s left.

    But the right way to do that isn’t to sink the deal, but to denounce what they don’t like and articulate their position. That’s what people who are actually interested in ideas and advocacy would do. Asking about a Plan B assumes that these are people who are interested in governing, and whose criticisms are based on an alternative strategy for actually running the government.

    They’re not, and they shouldn’t pretend to be. They should make the case that what they don’t like in the bill is bad policy, not indulge in this overdone meta criticism.

    If there’s one progressive message that can get hammered home over the next week in the public’s mind, should it really revolve around negotiating style?

  11. 11
    eric says:

    If I had a dime for every time I heard a football fan chide the head coach for not going for it on fourth and inches I would be a rich man….it is always easy to make that call when you dont have to actually make that call and suffer the consequences if it fails.

    If you are a human being and have been paying attention, then you know people are really suffering in the US and if you want to help, you have to do something. Yet, we know that the only way you can do something is to do something else that is a combination of reckless, stupid, counter productive and in the end, anathema to your basic principles.

    So, you can fight and lose (and you will) or you can take the crappy deal and help people. Take the deal and help. If it means you lose the election, that is not up to you, that is up to the rest of the country. It reminds me of King’s letter from the Birmingham jail: you should never break the law, but if you do so for some higher purpose, then you do so lovingly and accept the consequences.

    The “greater good” as a departure point for self-sacrifice is obviously a slippery slope, but when real lives are at stake, you take the deal and sleep at night.

    Obama is not a republican; he is about as far to the left as an American elected president is gonna get. He has to fight the systemic obstacles of (i) the Senate and its fillibuster and the disporportionate power it provides to lower populated states; a (ii) corporate owned media that is anti-labor to its very core; (iii) a star-based system of network coverage and newspaper editorializing that favors making money and not speaking truth to corporate masters; (iv) a Supreme Court that is openly hostile to progressisivism; and (v) a segment of the populace that is openly racist and hostile to his very existence and they make a lot of noise that serves the interests of all of the above.

    Welcome to the thunderdome.

  12. 12
    ChrisWWW says:

    @Allan:
    DADT isn’t going to happen anyways. Don’t convince yourself otherwise to make yourself feel better about the Grand Capitulation.

  13. 13
    Dave says:

    This. The Progressive Purity Brigade is so damned single-minded on making this a case of Obama betraying Democrats that they aren’t recognizing the reality.

    Republicans control the House in January. Control the Ways and Means Committee. Control any and all bills that come to a vote. Would someone from the PPB please explain to me a plausible scenario where Boehner brings an unemployment benefits extension to the floor? Or extending tax credits for the working class?

    Republicans have no shame. They truly DO NOT CARE how many Americans get hurt by their policies. So “pressing” them will not work. The only chance to do this without compromise was by voting on the taxes before the election. And Senate Democrats killed that.

    It kills me how people at the GOS and elsewhere bitched about Republican ideologues before 08 and then became ideologues in 09.

  14. 14
    Allan says:

    @Punchy: Crunch! under the wheels of the prog bus goes START, DADT, DREAM Act.

  15. 15
    pbriggsiam says:

    We are not the far left who feel President Obama has capitulated . . .along with Democratic Party leaders in Congress. This country has moved so far to the right that there are actually people who would call people like me “far left” for believing and working for:

    social justice (first)
    peace

    and attempting to hold my elected officials accountable for it.

  16. 16
    Dave says:

    @Tony: I’d wager Obama gets pissed because his left flank seems to usually be made up of people bitching that their pony isn’t magical enough.

  17. 17
    Gotta Ask Why says:

    Amen brother. I’d like the tax cuts to expire, I’d like a jobs program that would guarantee a wage commensurate with feeding a family. I’d like better access to quality early education, universal health care and an immediate return of our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, but the reality, like you said… NAGA HAPPIN.

    We have a political system that has proved itself incapable of providing the structure for addressing big problems outside of crisis response. And, in truth, it barely even responds to that when one side of the aisle decides that it has NO interest in governing whatsoever.

    So for all of my fellow lefties that feel as if this is the mountain upon which we should stand and proclaim our principles, what are the alternatives? Furthermore, what do we say to the people whose unemployment benefits expire as we “fight the good fight?”

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    If this deal is scuttled, then what? That is a serious question, and not snark.

    The problem is in the Senate and the solution has to be in the Senate. Reid needs to break the filibuster. Honestly, he needed to break the filibuster over a year ago but now he REALLY needs to break the filibuster.

    There aren’t a lot of other options. If you want legislation to pass, it has to go through the Senate. And if you want it to go through the Senate, it has to survive cloture. Reid’s played nice with Senate rules up till now, but come January they are going to have to completely overhaul this bitch. Keeping Senate rules as they stand will guarantee gridlock or capitulation for the next two years.

  19. 19
    John Bird says:

    I am willing to accept the possibility that we are totally fucked now. I just don’t think the White House is blameless, and I think the White House will proceed to fuck us further in the future.

    How hard is that to understand?

  20. 20
    Allan says:

    @ChrisWWW: I’m pleased as punch with the Grand Capitulation, thankyewverymuch. If DADT repeal dies because the Senate can’t rustle up the votes to pass it when it comes to the floor, I’ll direct my wrath there.

    If it doesn’t come to the floor of the Senate, I’ll direct it at you.

  21. 21
    eric says:

    @ChrisWWW: You cant do this…it is not possible…the instrument for pinning it in the GOP is the MSM and they wont do it. Just look back at the lies during the health care debate!! Heck look at the recent op-ed in the Post supporting the Iraq invasion. The books are cooked: the means to message is bought and paid for and goes the other way. You cannot win the messaging war. THAT is the singular fact that undermines the left.

    Look at how little is done to rebut the global warming deniers!

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    Last night on NewsHour Stephen Moore was asked about the deficit and taxation. Since he chose not to answer the question Krugman did and spoke about the hypocrisy displayed by the Republicans. The Republicans don’t know how to put the country first.

  23. 23
    Tim H says:

    Look at it this way. If we give the GOP tax cuts for the rich we no longer have anything left to bribe them with.

    UI I’d take out of leftover HAMP money. If the GOP screamed Obama can’t do it I’d let them squeal. At least the people who were screwed under HAMP would see their money going to a good cause.

    The tax cuts are so minimally stimulative I don’t care. Besides, I can’t see the GOP not instantly reinstating the middle-class tax cuts anyway. They’re tax cuts, remember?

    DADT and DREAM are collateral damage, I’m afraid.

  24. 24
    zattarra says:

    @harlana:

    Turn that question around and ask it of the Democrats who are balking on this deal also. Are they that stupid. A Democratic President came out for this deal and then Democrats in Congress are going to reject it? Yeah, that will look good for them.

  25. 25
    cmorenc says:

    Overheard yesterday in a Chipolte restaurant was a conversation between two 40-ish propserous-looking business dudes sitting closeby at the adjacent table:

    BD1: What do you think of keeping the reduced tax rates for people making over $250K?
    BD2: You know, in New York City, people making $250k per year aren’t rich at all, they’re just comfortably “getting by”.
    BD1: Another thing is that the tax rates on that bracket will affect real estate values: taxes staying lower would help increase real estate values that are now depressed.

    OK, so what I was overhearing was more of a state-of-mind discussion between two dudes than a passionate policy debate, but OTOH I’d have bet $20 that both of these guys voted for John McCain in 2008. I’m omitting more of the conversation along roughly the same vein from the account, along with occasional cites to a Wall Street Journal article one of them intermittently made. I could tell these were not the sort of dudes hurting all that badly personally in the current economic climate, except that they might not be getting substantially richer over the last couple of years, and that to them might have seemed economic adversity.

  26. 26

    @Allan:

    @Punchy: Crunch! under the wheels of the prog bus goes START, DADT, DREAM Act.

    God damn all those progressives and bloggers at Firedoglake for not voting for it on the floor of the Senate!

  27. 27
    celticdragonchick says:

    If this deal is scuttled, then what? That is a serious question, and not snark. Personally, I’m cool with all the tax cuts expiring. I think taxes need to go up to start paying for our wars, our roads, our elderly, and our medical care, along with all our debt. But what about unemployment benefits. What about stimulative spending? What about DADT and the other must pass bills? How do we get there from here?

    Uh…we don’t get there at all.

    Didn’t you know that Reid is more interested in his bill to legalize internet gambling than DADT?

    Roads and bridges?

    Yeah….(head meet desk)

    Check out this depressing essay from a historian at Salon about four possible 2020 scenarios for the decline of America

    After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world’s reserve currency. Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter. By now, however, it is far too late.

    Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace. Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Dave:

    Republicans have no shame. They truly DO NOT CARE how many Americans get hurt by their policies. So “pressing” them will not work.

    It’s not just a question of not caring, and it’s not just Republicans. there’s a whole lot of stupid on both sides, people who believes that a return to Clinton-era tax rates on the top margins will “stifle job creation”. Lieberman may be motivated by spite, but Webb, Nelson, Lincoln: I think they’re genuinely stupid ideologues.

    And Mary Landrieu, who voted for the tax cuts in ’01, trying to set herself up as a champeen of the people, is the final leap through the looking glass on this whole thing.

  29. 29
    El Tiburon says:

    The Dems still own the Presidency and the Senate for two more years. The world does not end at the end of this session.

    Unemployment has ended for many Americans and this legislation does not address that. My understanding is this legislation does not have much stimulus other than tax credits, which is not a good stimulus.

    But here is what we do know if this passes: right-wing, conservative ideology advances yet another giant step; progressive & liberal ideology shrinks yet again.

    This does not alter the political landscape one iota, except that Republicans are giddy with joy. The rest of America not so much.

    I would still like to hear what line can’t be crossed. At what point do some of you say, “Uh, okay, this is not acceptable regardless of what trinkets we, the middle-class, may get.”

    We have already rationalized away our principles against wars and torture and rendition and indefinite detention and government lawlessness. Are we so weak that we can’t fight this fight?

  30. 30

    @Allan:

    Crunch! under the wheels of the prog bus goes START, DADT, DREAM Act.

    Of course, if no deal had been struck, that too would have proven how awful Obama is. He deliberately sunk DADT repeal, waahhh!

  31. 31
    cleek says:

    How do we get there from here?

    we don’t. time’s up.

    the Dems waited too long.

  32. 32
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    At least one headliner at FDL has a constructive way to deal with this – call Obama President Pissypants.

  33. 33
    stuckinred says:

    @celticdragonchick: You don’t think we’ll just cook up a nice BIG war to come to our rescue again? I’m not talking about this half-stepping bullshit we’ve got going on now either.

  34. 34
    Zifnab says:

    @Dave:

    I’d wager Obama gets pissed because his left flank seems to usually be made up of people bitching that their pony isn’t magical enough.

    Republicans have been taking a steaming dump on Obama’s shoes for the last two years, and Obama has been dutifully cleaning himself up and apologizing for getting in the way of GOP turds.

    He keeps negotiating with Republicans in good faith, and he keeps getting rolled. Snowe rolled him on health care reform. Graham rolled him on immigration and climate change. Kyl rolled him on START. McConnell has openly proclaimed “Winning the White House in ’12” to be the singular and exclusive goal of the Senate for the next two years.

    And Obama still bends over backwards to appease the Republicans. We want to see him stop playing the nice guy. Find something the executive branch has full control over that the Republicans love, and break it. Make them feel pain. Because up until this point, for all the wailing and crying and nashing of teeth, the Obama Administration has been entirely too nice to his GOoPer constituency.

  35. 35

    @August J. Pollak:

    God damn all those progressives and bloggers at Firedoglake for not voting for it on the floor of the Senate!

    Good point. The firebaggers are a fringe of a faction of a minority. They don’t matter, they don’t speak for any significant number of people (however much their fans may choose to delude themselves), and they get a great deal more attention than their significance warrants.

  36. 36
    eric says:

    @El Tiburon: the dems have never owned the Senate. The 60 vote super majority has made sure of that and when it wasnt enough, the dems from very Red states saw to it that nothing truly progressive happened.

  37. 37
    Dave says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I agree. Senate Democrats are the real problem here. They consistently derail real meaningful reform.

  38. 38
    Tony says:

    @Dave: Sure, but unlike other wishing for a pony situations, there was a pretty clear path to improving the end result. Reid and Pelosi can hold the lame duck open through the holidays, and when push has come to shove, Republicans have caved on extending unemployment benefits. I refuse to believe that, at the very least, they couldn’t have forced Republicans to give something to the 99ers. They could have also offered a better stimulative measure than the payroll tax cut, which gives Republicans an opening for “starving the beast” of Medicare and Social Security in the future when it comes up for renewal in 13 months. There were opportunities to improve this bill while not letting the window slide to the right as Joe from Lowell @9 mentions. That’s all I’m saying.

  39. 39
    Kryptik says:

    My take, honestly, is generally the same as Krugman’s and Maddow’s. Yes, this might be the best deal we could have gotten, at this point in time. But the fact is that we should never have been in this position in the first place, where this shit sandwich really is our ‘best deal’. And the messaging still fucking sucks. We might get a better view on how this plays out in weeks to come, but my impression is still that Republicans are the ones that get the glory if it goes well, and Dems get the shitstains if it goes to pot.

    As well, Obama cannot be above the blame here. He has to share as much blame as all the Dems do, as president and leader. Yes, no one there, not the Dems or Obama himself, is as much to blame as the selfish assholes that comprise the whole of the GOP, but they cannot be blameless or above criticism.

  40. 40
    eric says:

    @Dave: really? name one major bill that got less than 50 dem votes?

  41. 41
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Zifnab: Whatever happens when the rules are made for the Senate will tell us what the next two years will be like. If they don’t break the 60+ rule, then I feel for everyone who wants to get something done.

  42. 42
    celticdragonchick says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    I agree. DADT, ENDA and DOMA are dead legislatively.

    We have three or four years of court maneuvers ahead of us to get anywhere at all and that is far from certain. I think the GOP is happy with leaving it to the courts, because they won’t have to weigh in on an issue (DADT especially) that 75% of the public favors but their base is hell bent against.

    Also, they get to send out fund raising letters complaining about librul black robed tyrants. Bonus.

  43. 43

    @El Tiburon:

    Unemployment has ended for many Americans and this legislation does not address that.

    Umwut? This legislation extends unemployment for 13 more months.

    You want a line? “We don’t let people go hungry.” There’s my line in the sand, and yes, I think less of those who cross it. It’s clear you don’t think anything of the poor except as cannon fodder for your crusade.

  44. 44
    Tony says:

    @joe from Lowell: Unemployment for the 99ers continues, Joe — the deal does nothing for them.

  45. 45
    mantis says:

    What about stimulative spending? What about DADT and the other must pass bills? How do we get there from here?

    All Obama needs to do is use the bully pulpit, silly. That thing is magical.

  46. 46
    Dave says:

    @eric: Really? Are we still pretending that you just need 50 votes to pass something in the Senate? That’s just intentionally ignoring the fact that with a unified Republican bloc, you need 60 votes to actually pass something worthwhile.

  47. 47
    Erik Vanderhoff says:

    @Tony: Maybe Obama just hates hippies. I think it’s a real possibility. He has a lot more in common with the conservatives of yesteryear than the left-liberals of today.

  48. 48
    Suck It Up! says:

    As you can see John, no one opposing the deal can answer your question.

  49. 49
    Pender says:

    However this situation turns out — and I think there’s a lot of substance to the concern over negotiating with terrorists — it is becoming ever more obvious that the final do-or-die moment for the Democratic leadership will come in January, when they decide whether to overhaul the filibuster.

    If they do not, I will completely despair for any hope of a functional government. There are always more hostages for the GOP to take, and the biggest one will be raising the debt ceiling to prevent a default by the U.S. government.

    The GOP may well have the nerve to do it — they can demand the heaven and earth in exchange for not shattering the global economy, and with this as the precedent, once they have issued their ultimatum, we will all be in an extremely unenviable position.

    Obama would probably protest that he really isn’t appeasing hostage-takers, because extending all Bush tax cuts for two years probably DOES make sense, dispassionately, in a recession. But it’s beside the point. The issue has already been framed as the Republicans holding the government hostage and Obama paying their ransom, which is all the justification they will need to raise the stakes and raise their demands when the debt ceiling comes due for an increase.

  50. 50
    Allan says:

    @joe from Lowell: Your comment makes no sense to me. Did you reflexively assume from my support of DADT that I blame Obama for something? If I recall correctly, Obama said he wanted it gone this year in his SOTU address, and the holdup is in the Senate.

    My comments about DADT repeal have to do with the competing demands for Senate floor time in the final days of the lame duck session, and how additional time spent haggling over tax cuts threatens that possibility.

  51. 51

    @Zifnab:

    We want to see him stop playing the nice guy. Find something the executive branch has full control over that the Republicans love, and break it. Make them feel pain. Because up until this point…

    Up until this point, he’s has the opportunity to pass very real legislation, which required a vote or two from the other side, and he has made the most of it. And then some. Now, he’s trying to squeeze just a few more bills out of the lame duck session.

    Next year, when his legislative majority goes away, he’s already discussed his priorities to be about implementation of that legislation and running the government. I don’t think we’re going to see him trying to get big legislation through the next Congress, and as a result, we’ll see much less of his bipartisan outreach.

  52. 52
    eric says:

    @joe from Lowell: Yes, yes, and yes.

  53. 53
    iocaste says:

    How about instead of a payroll tax holiday – which many have argued will start us on a road toward gutting social security, and I have trouble seeing the flaw in that logic – we have a tax refund or credit, paid for out of general revenues? It would kick in a little later, which would be bad from a stimulus perspective, but if Paul Krugman is right, the stimulative effect of the “holiday” will expire quickly, before the 2012 elections – a credit or refund will come just in time for them.

  54. 54
    Lupin says:

    Dear Mr Cole:

    Maybe this will help:

    Replace “country” with “Titanic”.

    Replace “Republicans” with “Iceberg”.

    Replace “Democrats” with “crew”.

    Replace “Americans” with “passengers”. (“steerage” if you’re a minority.)

    Good luck.

  55. 55
    celticdragonchick says:

    @stuckinred:

    You don’t think we’ll just cook up a nice BIG war to come to our rescue again? I’m not talking about this half-stepping bullshit we’ve got going on now either.

    Disasterous micro wars are in scenario three, although a major war disaster a’la Athenian Army in Sicily (Peloponnesian Wars) is a possibility. Even a succesful war costs money that we don’t have.

  56. 56
    NobodySpecial says:

    I assumed that nothing was getting done on November 4, just by reading the headlines. Why did you assume different?

    Tax cuts might very well fall down the drain, since there’s an unhealthy rigidity in the system. Even if they don’t, the best I can see is UI getting bundled in there.

    DREAM? DADT? Done. Senate Dems, again, ran out the clock while they were supposed to be on offense. Don’t blame the various elements for not wanting to join their team the next time around. I will, but I understand where someone’s coming from when the only time it seems their issue gets on TV is when Democratic leaders are out to take a healthy dump on them in the names of ‘bipartisanship’ and ‘consensus’.

  57. 57
    Dave says:

    @Tony:

    I see your point. But there is a difference here, and that is the GOP retaking the House. With a clear end in sight of having to negotiate, there is no “pressure” to make the GOP cave. These assholes think UI benefits increase unemployment. It’s bad enough the 99ers have been hung out to dry (and that does suck and its wrong). But millions of other people are about to join them. And if the GOP has control of the spending agenda, those people are screwed.

  58. 58
    Ash Can says:

    I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking when he said it

    My guess is that all the Monday-morning quarterbacking was making his ass tired, and that he recognizes that his most crucial voting bloc is actually that great big squishy center that dwarfs the “professional left,” insists it likes compromise, and will change its vote on a whim.

  59. 59
    celticdragonchick says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Umwut? This legislation extends unemployment for 13 more months.

    It does not affect the “99ers” who have already run out of benefits.

  60. 60

    @Tony:

    Unemployment for the 99ers continues, Joe—the deal does nothing for them.

    This is quite a a way from saying that the UI extension does nothing for the unemployed, and that the package includes only “baubles for the middle class.”

    That UI extension is a big deal. It’s dishonest and unseemly to dismiss how much that means.

  61. 61
    Nick says:

    @cmorenc:

    You know, in New York City, people making $250k per year aren’t rich at all, they’re just comfortably “getting by”.

    My Nader-voting coworker felt the same way.

  62. 62
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    It’s not just a serious question, John. It is the only question.

    And there are probably about two likely answers.

    A is that there is a trainwreck, and the country gets fucked.

    B is that a miracle happens and votes for good government magically appear in the Senate.

    There is no third likelihood that I am aware of. Faced with that, the only decent choice is Pass The Deal. It gets important things done, provides stimulus, gives relief to the middle class, and governs the country into the next congress.

    Until somebody on the All State Concern Troll team comes up with a better solution, that’s where we are at.

  63. 63
    eric says:

    @Dave: That was my point.

  64. 64
    Murc says:

    How will we get there?

    We won’t, and we were never going to.

    Honestly. There was, maybe, a deal to be made re: tax cuts and unemployment benefits. The Republicans wanted something, they could have been bribed.

    But all that other stuff? It was never going to happen. Obama could have offered to remove the entire uppermost tax bracket and DADT and START and DREAM would all have died miserable deaths anyway, because Republicans CAN block it, so they WILL block it.

    Sidebar: What the hell? How does Obama get blindsided by the Senate on his ‘deal?’ He’s the PRESIDENT. He has next to no formal control over the legislative branch of the government. When you sit down to hammer out a legislative compromise, shouldn’t, bare minimum, a whole bunch of your parties LEGISLATORS be in the room? If I were a Senator and Joe Biden sat me down and told me this is the way its gonna be, I’d be pissed too.

  65. 65
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Tony:

    Unemployment for the 99ers continues, Joe—the deal does nothing for them

    no it doesn’t and I contacted several senators, reps, to ask them to include help for 99-ers in the deal. The 13 month extension, however, should not be dismissed.

    Oh how I wish the left got as angry and mobilized over help for tier 5 folks as they did when KO got suspended. There was even more anger last night over Obama’s presser than there has been over unemployment.

  66. 66
    ChrisWWW says:

    @eric:
    If Democrats are unwilling to even try to convince the media and the American public that they are right and the Republicans are wrong, then it’s time to just give up. Seriously.

  67. 67

    @Allan: I was just following up your observation about the progressives unhappy with this deal by noting that they’d be equally unhappy without one.

  68. 68
    Ash Can says:

    @Suck It Up!: In all fairness, I don’t think anyone supporting it can answer these questions either. My own preference would be to break out the individual components of the compromise and vote on them separately, but given the time constraint that would be impossible.

  69. 69
    celticdragonchick says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    He deliberately sunk DADT repeal, waahhh!

    Possibly. It has not been any sort of priority for him and gets into culture war issues he shys away from.

  70. 70
    RosiesDad says:

    Lead pipes and blowtorches.

    This shit doesn’t stop until the People say, “Enough.”

    The People are being held hostage here. So don’t cave to the hostage takers, let them “kill” the hostage and then face the consequences.

    More pain is coming, sooner or later. It might as well be sooner. Because if you cave, take on another trillion in debt, the pain down the road doesn’t get smaller, it gets larger. Because the long term effect of this legislation will make it harder, not easier, to make these tax cuts go away. If this shit passes, what happens in two years?

  71. 71
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    I think taxes need to go up to start paying for our wars, our roads, our elderly, and our medical care, along with all our debt.

    Yes, and what you have now is a country at war with itself.

    The country wants those things, and then wants to be polite to people who want no government and to pay no taxes, at the same time.

    Those latter morons cannot win the war, but they can win a lot of battles along the way to the final resolution. And they are in the middle of winning their battles right now. Until the people make up their minds to fix it, it will remain broken.

  72. 72
    eric says:

    @Suck It Up!: It might make a difference to policy makers if people made aid to the 99ers a real demand, perhaps the deal breaker but that would mean that certain people would have to go along with the rest of the deal. Personally, getting the 99ers more help (especially for 99ers over 50) should be the Left’s waterloo far more than the tax cuts, even if the latter is a greater long term systemic problem. People are suffering and they could suffer far worse and far longer than they have to date.

  73. 73
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Murc:

    What the hell? How does Obama get blindsided by the Senate on his ‘deal?’ He’s the PRESIDENT. He has next to no formal control over the legislative branch of the government. When you sit down to hammer out a legislative compromise, shouldn’t, bare minimum, a whole bunch of your parties LEGISLATORS be in the room? If I were a Senator and Joe Biden sat me down and told me this is the way its gonna be, I’d be pissed too.

    Incompetent advice and badly misreading the mood of Democrats would be my guess.

  74. 74
    mantis says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    Oh how I wish the left got as angry and mobilized over help for tier 5 folks as they did when KO got suspended. There was even more anger last night over Obama’s presser than there has been over unemployment.

    Seriously. It’s widespread high dudgeon every time the “professional left” feels slighted or insulted in some way, but when it comes to actually working towards progress, even if not as quickly as they would like, meh.

  75. 75
    jonas says:

    Obama’s advisers have basically decided that in order to regain the support of “independents” (viz. conservative voters too embarrassed to call themselves Republicans or Tea Partiers), he needs to really punch a lot of hippies between now and 2012. Even if the hippie-punching and tax cutting win back some independents who went back to being Republicans in the fall, he’s basically lost his liberal base.

    If he doesn’t come through on some serious shit for liberals soon, namely DADT, START and the DREAM Act, he will get primaried. Lots of people these days are pointing to areas where Reagan effectively compromised with Democrats on some stuff as a way of understanding Obama’s strategy here. But there’s a key difference — and conservatives remember it: Reagan never forgot his base. Even as he compromised on things like taxes, he was also committed to making sure that real conservatives got to have their say in the working of his administration, from regulatory agencies, to judicial appointments, to foreign policy. That’s why despite Reagan’s generally conciliatory public persona, the 1980s fundamentally pushed our country and its government towards the right. I don’t think that was a good thing, of course, but it explains why despite some moves that would have him tarred as a RINO in today’s Republican Party, Reagan nonetheless remains a hero to conservatives. And for good reason.

    That’s the lesson of Regan Obama needs to internalize.

  76. 76
    Suck It Up! says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    Possibly. It has not been any sort of priority for him and gets into culture war issues he shys away from

    total utter bull. these are the lies some on the left keep telling themselves so they can use it as an excuse to do nothing.

  77. 77
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    The People are being held hostage here

    Disagree. The people are the hostage takers. The people voted for the government they have. The people just voted for a system that won’t work, three weeks ago. They elected Rand Paul and John Boehner. FoxNews did not elect them.

  78. 78
    Corey says:

    Republicans won’t actually vote against UI benefits. They were bluffing, Obama bit, and gave away the store in the process.

  79. 79
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I have been saying for a long fucking time that it isn’t Obama that’s the problem. While he ain’t perfect, blaming everything on his actions or inaction is intellectually lazy and dishonest. He has repubs who refuse to embrace sanity on one side and the spineless amoebas that are his party mates on the other. That he has got done what he has in the face of this opposition is nothing short of amazing yet the manic progressives call him a failure.

    No, they are the failure. They think blogging and posting on the internet is activism, that it actually accomplishes something. That confronting and embarrassing politicians who are on their side is smart politics, studiously avoiding any confrontations with or protests against Repiblican lawmakers. Why? Because the Republican lawmakers won’t listen to them. Never mind that the M$M was in a feeding frenzy when the teabaggers were doing the very same thing to Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

    Teabaggers are fucking crazy but they are better activists than what the left has right now. Stupid is mercilessly beating the shit out of smart.

  80. 80
    patrick II says:

    They shoot the hostage.

  81. 81
    eric says:

    @ChrisWWW: they did try. during the health care debate, did you see the dems or the tea partiers? before the start of the iraq war, did you see repeated pictures of the large anti-war rallies? no.

    How many times have franken, sanders, feingold, beat on the sunday talk shows? do you think that they turn down the chance? they are not invited.

    Here is a simple one: watch ESPN and listen to how many people refer to the lock out as a “work stoppage.” The owners opted out of the CBA and the owners are going to lock out the players. Those are two undeniable facts. yet, ABC (and its parent corporate masters) will never ever report those facts in a meaningful way.

  82. 82
    mantis says:

    @Corey:

    Republicans won’t actually vote against UI benefits.

    Says who?

  83. 83

    @celticdragonchick:

    He deliberately sunk DADT repeal, waahhh!

    Possibly.

    See what I mean? Obama cuts a deal that opens up the calendar for the passage of DADT, and absolutely none of the people who’d spent months wailing about that issue can be bothered to even acknowledge it. It just doesn’t matter – but you can bet your ass that they’d be denouncing Obama for “running out the clock” and sabotaging DADT repeal if he hadn’t cut a deal to get past tax cut extensions.

    There’s no winning with these people, because bitching is what they want.

  84. 84
    Suck It Up! says:

    @mantis:

    yep. and they’ll tell you ‘oh, well if Obama did/said/hadn’t said ________, then maybe we would__________________’. I’ve seen that excuse many times and now I just believe they are just a bunch of frauds. If you claim to be all about helping the people, you wouldn’t stroking from anyone to go do it.

  85. 85
    Allan says:

    Meanwhile, conservadem holdout Mark Pryor supports DADT repeal and wants it voted on this year.

  86. 86
    Joe Beese says:

    Mr. Cole, the fact that you say “Obama should have known he would piss off the professional left” shows that you have quaffed too deeply of the Oval Office Flavor-Aid.

    Had you dropped by the Great Orange Satan yesterday, you would have seen the very amateur left – who probably did more footwork to get him elected than the members of any other web site – spitting with rage at this latest stab in the back. Their question is no longer whether he deserves primarying but who, if anyone, could be hoped to do it. [The answer may well be “No one”, but that’s not the point.]

    Now I understand that you dismiss them as pony-wishers, etc. But you can not simply wish away the fact that there will be no bonanzas of contributions from them in 2012. [And the corporations, having gotten what they wanted from him, are already discarding him.] No GOTV. On the contrary, the most they’ll be able to tell people is that he’s the smaller of two shit sandwiches.

    So one might well ask: What is your Plan B for 2012?

    As notorious professional leftist Keith Olbermann correctly observed: Your base has just disappeared.

    And if you think the independents will be enough while unemployment remains 10%, you’re in for a rude awakening.

  87. 87
    Tony says:

    @Corey:

    Republicans won’t actually vote against UI benefits. They were bluffing, Obama bit, and gave away the store in the process.

    Exactly. There’s a reason Crazy Jim Bunning was the point man on opposing it in the Senate.

  88. 88
    Mumphrey says:

    I don’t know. I saw Rachel Maddow last night, and one thing struck me: Last year whiny liberals–I’m quite liberal, but I don’t think I’m much of a whiner–were yelling about how awful all the compromises on the helath care bill were, but liberal politicians for the most part, were saying it was a good deal–the best we could hope for under the circumstances. The difference here is that this time it’s people in Congress, Sherrod Brown, Sanders, Van Hollen, Pelosi, and others, who are saying it’s a bad deal and that we can do better. If it were only posters at Daily Kos saying this, I might not buy it; but when Brown and Van Hollen chime in, I’m more likely to believe them.

    I heard Obama say something about taking the long view or something along those lines in his conference. But my long view is that sooner or later, the Democrats are going to have to make a stand against the Republicans. I know real people are going to suffer if the jobless benefits don’t get extended. I know all kinds of people are going to suffer if DADT doesn’t go down. We’re all worse off if START doesn’t got through. I know that. But I think we’re also worse off if the Republicans get to hold everything up every session until they get just what they want, since what they want is so destructive. I wonder if it would be better to just let things die here this time and then blame the Republicans for the mess, really pin it on them for the next 2 years. Make them pay at the next election.

    I guess what I’m saying is that there is no good outcome here, and that’s the Republicans’ fault. They aren’t doing anything in good faith. That makes any good outcome pretty much impossible. And it’s just untenable for this to go on. There have to be some consequences for behaving this way, not only because simple justice demands it, but also because it’s poisonous for the country. I don’t know if blowing everything up this session will do anything to bring this to a head and screw the Republicans, but I do know that if the deal goes through, it won’t give the Republicans any incentive to change.

    And as it happens, it looks like DeMint might torpedo this thing anyway, since it’s socialism or something to extend the bobless benefits. He wants them to be loans. Hard to believe the guy is human…

  89. 89

    @RosiesDad:

    More pain is coming, sooner or later. It might as well be sooner

    Another German willing to defend to the last Italian.

    Ever been on UI, Rosie’s Dad?

  90. 90
    Drlemur says:

    While it is easy to feel frustrated by the professional left who wants to do something crazy like primary Obama, I think it’s good to remember that we do want to have a left flank. If you can’t find anybody whose opinions are more extremely leftwing than yours, then you might be an extremist.

    Sure, they are going to be wrong a lot and we want to figure out and explain why. But we don’t want them to disappear. For example if the “whackos” who really wanted socialized medicine had gotten a little more airplay, we might have a public option now.

    The Rethugs get this game better. They are more than happy to have always-wrong extremists among them and they just keep saying nobody listens to them except when it’s useful to them to pretend otherwise.

    So when somebody says primary Obama, don’t attack them, you shake you head sadly and speak to the admin: see what you’re driving them too? And lobby for incremental improvements in the bill. I haven’t seen anybody suggest small horses we could trade to improve this bill. John is right that we don’t want to lose all of it, how do we make it better?

  91. 91
    Nick says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    If Democrats are unwilling to even try to convince the media and the American public that they are right and the Republicans are wrong, then it’s time to just give up.

    don’t freakin’ act like they haven’t tried.

  92. 92
    Redshift says:

    I think a big problem is that people are assuming that Republicans care about the tax cuts for the rich in the same way that Democrats care about unemployment and the various other measures, and will deal on them if we stand strong.

    Sure, they want the tax cuts for the rich, but I’m reasonably certain they’d let them go down rather than give in on anything. The portion of their base that would actually benefit from them surely knows that a three percent change in the marginal tax rate isn’t that significant, and if it happened, they’d get years of fuel about broken promises and taxes raised for the majority of the base. When you don’t give a damn about governance, and everything is just a bargaining chip, you have a major advantage over an opponent who actually cares about the effect of legislation on real people, and there’s no getting around that.

  93. 93
    Jon says:

    Amen. I’ve been asking these questions since the deal was announced. If this thing is blocked, and the GOP pushes down our throats the same cuts without any of the good stuff – we will be faced with a far worse situation in January – the President will have to accept the cuts without the compromises, or he will have to veto the cuts for everyone. And if you think that the bill that the GOP will pass in the house will not pass the Senate, remember that there were a handful of Democratic Senators who refused to vote in favor of the bill keeping the cuts in place for only the middle class.
    I think we are also forgetting that the GOP are also divided on this bill – we have been waiting for 2 years to have a divided GOP, and finally McConnell has given it to us, but since we are ourselves divided, nobody has noticed.

  94. 94
    Allan says:

    @joe from Lowell: Thanks. It was nice of celticdragonchick to provide an illustration of your point, which I misunderstood before.

  95. 95
    mantis says:

    @Joe Beese:

    But you can not simply wish away the fact that there will be no bonanzas of contributions from them in 2012.

    Hear that? Kos diarists won’t be bankrolling Obama’s reelection campaign! He’s doomed!

  96. 96
    Suck It Up! says:

    Republicans won’t actually vote against UI benefits.

    arrrrggghhhh!!! who is telling you this nonsense? they have done it several times before.

    After spending months telling Obama that he can’t negotiate with Republicans, all these tax deal opponents are saying those same Republicans now have a conscience. OY!!!

  97. 97
    Redshift says:

    @Corey:

    Republicans won’t actually vote against UI benefits. They were bluffing, Obama bit, and gave away the store in the process.

    They already have, repeatedly. Why exactly wouldn’t they do it again?

  98. 98
    Nick says:

    @Joe Beese:

    As notorious professional leftist Keith Olbermann correctly observed: Your base has just disappeared.

    They aren’t the motherfucking base.

  99. 99
    ChrisWWW says:

    @eric:
    You’re arguing in essence that because liberals/Democrats couldn’t get a public option and stop the Iraq War, that they should just concede on every policy issue from now on?

  100. 100

    @Corey:

    Republicans won’t actually vote against UI benefits.

    Corey, name me a single time in the past two years when Republicans obstruction of something necessary for the public’s well-being came back to harm the Republicans politically, instead of harming the Democrats for “not getting it done?”

    Can you?

    Of course the Republicans would vote against a UI extension. Why wouldn’t they?

  101. 101
    Bobby Thomson says:

    If this deal is scuttled, then what? That is a serious question, and not snark. Personally, I’m cool with all the tax cuts expiring. I think taxes need to go up to start paying for our wars, our roads, our elderly, and our medical care, along with all our debt. But what about unemployment benefits. What about stimulative spending? What about DADT and the other must pass bills? How do we get there from here?

    We don’t. Any hope for that ended in the midterms. Face facts, Flounder. It’s just na ga happen.

    Once you accept that the Republicans will never agree to anything, and that any “compromises” agreed to by McConnell will be undone by the rest of the party (with his tacit blessing), it becomes easy to see the pathway forward. Fight No with No. At least the tax cuts expire and we haven’t laid the groundwork for the destruction of Social Security.

  102. 102
    cleek says:

    BJ: where the self-righteous left complains about the self-righteous left complaining about the self-righteous left.

  103. 103
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    You can believe what you like. Obama’s record speaks for itself at the end of the day…and his record is one of almost comical deference to the military on the issue(no action on it until the issue of a massive report that was only to be released this month?? Little mention of it in public adresss despit massive favorability in the public) and basically ignoring other GLBT concerns aside for a couple of minor executive orders that were poorly publicised.

    He said it himself yesterday: He is a pragmatist. He stays away from culture war hot button issues and anything regarding GLBT rights is as hot as they come.

    Obama is not a transformative or idealistic President. He is a technocrat…and the sooner we make peace with that, I suppose, the better.

  104. 104
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Your base has just disappeared.

    Not likely. There is nowhere for it to go, other than third party, and unless they have forgotten the great triumphs of Naderism, that dog won’t hunt.

  105. 105
    eric says:

    let me make this simple: the GOP wants Obama to lose everything, everytime. Period. Repeat. They dont care about collateral damage, and certainly not if that damage is suffered by anyone other than their corporate masters. Once you understand this point, everything the GOP does and will do makes perfect sense. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT HELPING PEOPLE. THEY WANT TO DESTROY OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS.

  106. 106
    Nick says:

    @Corey:

    Republicans won’t actually vote against UI benefits. They were bluffing, Obama bit, and gave away the store in the process.

    Why not? They voted against it before, over and over and over again. Why wouldn’t they again?

    It’s funny how suddenly Republicans stopped being crazy.

  107. 107
    Suck It Up! says:

    If Democrats are unwilling to even try to convince the media and the American public that they are right and the Republicans are wrong

    poll after poll after poll shows that the public agrees with the Democrats on almost every single issue. The problem is members of congress need to be convinced and they don’t care about polls.

  108. 108
    hilzoy says:

    We should take the deal.

    I really understand not wanting to. I loathe and abhor cutting the estate tax. As far as I’m concerned, they could raise the estate tax to 90%, and I’d be happy. I loathe and abhor extending the tax cuts for people making over 250k: the last people in the world who need help, especially after several decades of getting their way on everything, and they’ll be getting tax cuts on the first 250k of income in any case.

    (Note to any Republicans who might be reading this: no, I am not hostile towards the rich. Helping them is not my top priority, but that doesn’t mean I dislike them.)

    But: we will not get UI extension any other way, given the election results. That means families becoming homeless. It means a lot of meals cooked up using whatever the food pantry has on offer, and a lot more that just don’t exist.

    Not taking the deal also means a lot fewer jobs for people who badly need them. — Obviously, we could get more jobs for the money if I were cosmic dictator. But so what? I’m not. This is probably the best deal we could get, as far as jobs are concerned, given the election results in November. And that means a lot — especially given the prospects for cyclical unemployment becoming structural, long-term unemployment.

    We need to have a long national debate about taxes in the next few years. But we’re not going to have it before Jan. 1, and if we did, our side would lose. This is the best we’re going to do. It matters. I hate it, but opposing it would hurt a lot of people who really need help.

  109. 109
    ChrisWWW says:

    @joe from Lowell:
    The dynamics are different now that they actually control part of the government again. The f***ing filibuster (which I will never forgive Senate democrats for not abolishing) was hard for the media and the Average Joe to understand. That Republicans control the House is not.

  110. 110

    @Joe Beese:

    Had you dropped by the Great Orange Satan yesterday, you would have seen the very amateur left – who probably did more footwork to get him elected than the members of any other web site – spitting with rage at this latest stab in the back.

    The same handful of people who’ve been doing it since March of ’09.

    The people who stopped putting polls in their anti-HCR diaries, because even at DailyKos, they were a distinct minority.

    I’m sure Obama’s trembling in his boots at the Sistah Souljahs over there.

  111. 111
    eric says:

    @ChrisWWW: It is not about conceding, it is about jointly (i) trying to get as much as you can and (ii) fighting against the systemic barriers to change when you can. Dems, however, are also undermined by the senate dems that come from deeply red states, for reasons that have mor eto do with individual political survival than principle.

    You still take the message to the people.

    Let me be clear, and I apologize for not saying so earlier, I think Obama’s messaging team should be fired. Terrible. But i think, in the end, it matters little to what actually happens. That is sad, and perhaps too fatalistic for some, but i think it is the unfortunate reality we have right now.

  112. 112
    Racist Hippie says:

    But what about unemployment benefits. What about stimulative spending?

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. When Social Security is underfunded for the next decade to the tune of a trillion and millions are literally eating cat food, be sure to pat yourself on the back for your compassionate realism.

    It must warm your hearts to know as you kick that can farther down the road, that there will always be someone else to blame.

  113. 113

    @joe from Lowell:

    Obama cuts a deal that opens up the calendar for the passage of DADT, and absolutely none of the people who’d spent months wailing about that issue can be bothered to even acknowledge it.

    BECAUSE YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT SAYING THIS AND YOU KNOW IT.

    The Republicans said they will automatically filibuster EVERYTHING until “tax issue is resolved.” Which, by the way, even with this “deal,” STILL ISN’T. They HAVEN’T VOTED YET.

    Within days of this hostage taking statement, they suddenly declared on the Sunday shows that there was a previously-unspoken-of mandatory requirement to spend TWO WEEKS debating the bill. Oh, and there HAS to be open amendment processes, so they can propose amendments like, you know, stripping out the DADT repeal.

    They have been running out the clock for months and it is fucking obvious that there is no push back on this and you are deliberately, infuriatingly and blatantly pretending that all of a sudden the magical failure to pass a piece of legislation that was created YESTERDAY is what will stop the DADT repeal vote from happening for no reason, absolutely NO REASON WHATSOEVER other than punching straw-hippies. Fucking STOP IT.

  114. 114
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    I don’t need to make peace with it. It’s one of the reasons I voted for him. I have had it with slick ideologues and demagogues. I want cool practicality. And I am not afraid of the tooth gnashing and foot stamping that is provoked by cool practicality. I am not afraid of terrorists, not afraid of Republicans, and not even afraid of knowitall progressive chest thumpers. The kind of assholes on Capitol Hill who are now trumpeting their courage after two years of rolling around in their own urine on the floor of congress and now trying to blame their failures on the White House.

  115. 115

    @Nick:

    They aren’t the motherfucking base.

    One good thing about a 2012 primary: we’d get to see the unions and the African-American voters slam these pencil-necks up against the wall, and demonstrate exactly who are this party’s base.

    “Unhand me! I have an MFA, and a blog!”

  116. 116
    Zifnab says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Next year, when his legislative majority goes away, he’s already discussed his priorities to be about implementation of that legislation and running the government.

    That’s going to be a damn high hurdle with three different committee heads trying to subpoena everyone from cabinet members to dish washers, looking for something dirty enough to impeach over.

    What’s more, the UI extension he was trying to pass would last only 13 months. If the economy is still in the tank come 2012 (and I don’t see a lot of indicators that it won’t be) that means he’ll need more unemployment extensions.

    All that’s assuming we don’t have another oil well explosion or hurricane or terrorist attack or bank collapse that will require emergency legislation to resolve. You can’t just not pass bills for two years. Hell, “Government Shutdown” is the new GOP watchword. Good luck running your government without a payroll.

  117. 117
    MBunge says:

    The rage against Obama would be somewhat authentic if it were accompanied by even more rage at Congressional Dems. I didn’t see all of KO’s special comment, but did he spend an extensive amount of time reaming out Pelosi and Reid for punting the tax cut debate into the lame duck session? How exactly was that going to make it easier to fight this fight? These people took over Congress in 2006. The had 4 frickin’ years to prepare for this tax cut fight. 4 FRICKIN’ YEARS. Yet when the moment came, they didn’t have a plan, a strategy or even the slightest idea of how to handle the issue. And Obama’s the one to blame?

    Mike

  118. 118
    Punchy says:

    @Allan: I must believe you’re either spoofing or smoking crack for you to believe that Republicans would agree to not filly any one of those acronym’d pipe dreams.

    Not a single one of those comes up for a vote regardless of tax cut “compromises”. Just what Republican party do you think this is?

  119. 119
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @hilzoy:

    Wow, here I am on the same thread with maybe my favorite blogger in the world.

    Honestly, it makes my whole day.

  120. 120
    jacy says:

    @eric:

    If I had a dime for every time I heard a football fan chide the head coach for not going for it on fourth and inches I would be a rich man….it is always easy to make that call when you dont have to actually make that call and suffer the consequences if it fails.

    And everything else you said.

    I’m sick to death of all this. I don’t want the job, that’s why I voted. I don’t have the “temperament” to be in charge of this handbasket we’re in.

    And what’s up with all the “temperament” talk? Obama’s not a fucking housepet. Call me an obot, I’m going back to work.

    Useless motherfuckers.

  121. 121
    ChrisWWW says:

    @eric:
    The message is completely undercut by the actions of the President. That’s the problem.

  122. 122
    celticdragonchick says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Obama cuts a deal that opens up the calendar for the passage of DADT,

    No. There is no calandar opening for DADT, no matter how hard you spin it. Reid has made the decision to let it sink this term and Obama is certainly aware of it. SecDef Gates is not happy about it, btw…

    You reflexive defense of your own personal narrative (which you seem to be substituting for empical observation) is not serving you well here…but we all do it from time to time.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/na.....5999.story

  123. 123
    mantis says:

    To everyone who thinks that the big problem is “messaging,” bully pulpits, and that “Democrats are unwilling to even try to convince the media and the American public that they are right and the Republicans are wrong,” could you please come back to reality with the rest of us?

    Face it. The media long ago internalized the notion that they are liberal, or perceived as liberal, and have institutionalized a rightwing bias on nearly every single issue the country faces in order to combat the perception, because they want to be objective and fair. Of course, lopsided coverage, 3:1 right to left guest ratios, and bringing total idiots or blatant rightwingers on TV to represent the left are not the slightest bit objective or fair practices, and they don’t convince those who think the media is liberal of anything, but it’s just standard practice now.

    We complain about Fox News and Drudge driving the news, but the fact is the rest of the news media is almost exactly the same as Fox News, and they have been since before Fox News existed. The only difference is when Fox says they are fair and balanced it’s tongue-in-cheek, while the rest of the news media are deadly serious about it. They think they are being fair by denigrating, marginalizing, and dismissing Democrats and the left, and letting Republicans constantly lie through their teeth unchallenged. They really do.

    So seriously, shut the fuck up about messaging. You don’t know how to penetrate the bullshit cloud that is our news media any better, even if you think you do, and just saying one thing or “framing” an issue in some different way does not do jack shit in reality, only in your imaginations.

  124. 124
    Tony says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    The dynamics are different now that they actually control part of the government again.

    Exactly. And, to those who keep saying Republicans did oppose unemployment benefits, please note that it’s already been extended four times.

  125. 125

    @ChrisWWW:

    The dynamics are different now that they actually control part of the government again. The f***ing filibuster (which I will never forgive Senate democrats for not abolishing) was hard for the media and the Average Joe to understand. That Republicans control the House is not.

    I wonder.

    We live in the era of the Cult of the Presidency. I don’t share your confidence that control of one house of Congress will make the Republicans into an incumbent party.

  126. 126
    some other guy says:

    With almost no time left on the clock, after winning the fight on tax policy, is the plan to simply punt on New START ratification, DADT repeal, the DREAM Act, food safety, and health care for Ground Zero workers, hoping for the best in the next Congress?

    Forget “Plan B”. What’s “Plan A” on the above, exactly? Do we honestly expect the Senate Republicans to allow these pieces of legislation to even come up for votes in the lame duck session in any case?

    I mean, fair enough on the other stuff in the compromise not getting passed if the compromise gets defeated, but we’re seriously deluding ourselves– or making a dishonest argument– if we’re going to pretend that Republicans are going to play ball on any sort of pro-gay or pro-immigrant bills because the Democrats agree to extend the top marginal income tax cuts for 2 years.

  127. 127
    El Tiburon says:

    What tbogg said that the other dude said.
    http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/

    I’m really sorry about that. I supported Obama in the past–raised money for him, door knocked for him and I will do so in the future. I’m am totally opposed to a primary of a sitting Democratic President. And I personally think Obama’s a pretty good guy and pretty smart and well intentioned. But this was an absolute tragedy of mamoth proportions–a total failure of leadership and logic. You just don’t fuck with your core supporters and their principles and then lecture them on TV and call them losers and jerks. You do that privately. You do that with love. You do that with key opinion leaders on your side–and I don’t mean David Broder.

  128. 128
    celticdragonchick says:

    @August J. Pollak:

    They have been running out the clock for months and it is fucking obvious that there is no push back on this and you are deliberately, infuriatingly and blatantly pretending that all of a sudden the magical failure to pass a piece of legislation that was created YESTERDAY is what will stop the DADT repeal vote from happening for no reason, absolutely NO REASON WHATSOEVER other than punching straw-hippies. Fucking STOP IT.

    Joe from Lowell is just making shit up at this point, and I am not going to bothr getting annoyed by it. He is saying things he wants to happen and thereby through magical thinking they become fact for him. It’s a bad habit, but not uncommon.

  129. 129
    Suck It Up! says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    what I have realized is that the left is full of a bunch of frauds. No solutions, no self-reflection, no discipline, just perpetual victims seeking the next poutrage.

  130. 130
    lllphd says:

    apologies; no time to read any of the posts, but i’m sure someone has already suggested this.

    my sense is that, come dec. 30 and no one has budged, the republicans will be the ones to blink. why do i suspect this?

    remember dan bartlett’s incredibly disgusting admission that, given how hard it is to undo a bill, he felt pretty damn good about setting this trap.

    well, if the dems let the damn tax cuts expire, then the trap is unset; we’re released. WE FREE, MASSA BOB!

    taxes would go up for the rest of us, but so marginally, few if any of those suffering would notice.

    but there’s the messy business with all those other bills.

    so what needs to happen to push this over to our side is a massive ad campaign from moveon et al., NOT nagging obama, but SHAMING THE G.D. REPUBLICANS! give them just a taste of what their campaigns will feel like in 2 years.

    god knows they’ve given us enough rope to hang them from the highest tree. hell, from the f***in’ space shuttle. but, whatever.

    just want to say that i am really lovin’ john’s position on these matters. and to say again that, bottom line in the midst of all this republican insanity, i can say i truly TRUST obama to do the absolute best that he can, adhere as closely to his principles as pragmatism allows, and navigate their greedy swamp without creating martyrs or reasons to secede.

  131. 131
    Tractarian says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Thanks for the visual. Made my day.

  132. 132
    El Tiburon says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Umwut? This legislation extends unemployment for 13 more months.

    Not for everyone. I think 2 million will not get any relief. My understanding the ’99’ (gone over 99 weeks) are shit out o’ luck.

    But screw ’em. They prolly don’t have the internet anyway so they don’t exist.

  133. 133
    RosiesDad says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Ever been on UI, Rosie’s Dad?

    Yup. Spent 18 months unemployed during the early 1980’s when the unemployment rate was over 11%. It sucked and I wouldn’t have made it without the help of family and friends. Just as I do what I can to help family and friends who find themselves in the same unfortunate position today.

    Back then, before Reagan institutionalized “Borrow and spend” governance, the nation was less than $1T in debt. Our situation is quite a bit more tenuous now and it needs to be addressed. Making the Bush tax cuts permanent (and don’t kid yourself; if they get extended now, they will not go away in two years) will make it exponentially more difficult to address those problems in the future.

    Looking at the deal Obama negotiated, he got too little for the cost of concessions he gave to Republicans, IMHO.

    I can see where some think this is the best he could do, and that he had no choice. I agree that it is a hostage situation. I just think that a tipping point is coming and I would rather see it come sooner than later.

  134. 134

    @August J. Pollak: Fuck you.

    BECAUSE YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT SAYING THIS AND YOU KNOW IT.
    The Republicans said they will automatically filibuster EVERYTHING until “tax issue is resolved.” Which, by the way, even with this “deal,” STILL ISN’T. They HAVEN’T VOTED YET.

    Spare me. There were DADT diaries on Daily Kos multiple times a day for the past month. Even the jackwagon who wrote the famous “DADT is Dead” diary in early November was back to telling people to call their Senators, and talking about feeling more optimistic.

    But now, suddenly, all of you people are pretending that it just doesn’t matter, and isn’t worth fighting for, and is doomed – an, oh, you just so happened to decide this the very day that Obama cuts the deal necessary to get to DADT in the lame duck.

    What a fucking surprise. You’re pissed at me, because I have you nailed.

  135. 135
    Ooparts says:

    I don’t think it helps to rage against Obama at all. Nevertheless I disagree with the deal he is pushing. From his perspective this is a way to help the unemployed and the middle class such that when the economy recovers the help can be withdrawn, the taxes can go back up, and the government can recover this temporary expenditure. The problem, however, is two years from now this exact debate is going to happen again, but now with a $700B hole.

    The point is, there is going to be pain, and it’s better for the pain to happen now rather than later when the pain will be even greater.

    I’m as mad as everyone else at the Republicans’ behavior – this is all their fault. To continue the hostage-taking analogy, if an agent gets a reputation for shooting hostages, that strategy won’t work on him or her. Everyone hates congress anyway, so let Obama be the reasonable one who wants to cut a deal, and let congress pull the trigger.

  136. 136
    ChrisWWW says:

    @mantis:
    As Barack Obama said during his campaign, “Change” is slow and it’s difficult. We can’t expect proper messaging to change the political dynamics overnight. However! It won’t ever change if we don’t f***ing try.

  137. 137
    Allan says:

    @Punchy: Yes, and if that happens AFTER they get their way on tax cuts, then it would be the Republicans’ fault, right?

  138. 138
    Kryptik says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Yes, from my understanding of the deal, it simply extends the funding of benefits, not extending the threshold of when they expire, meaning 99ers are still shit out of luck.

  139. 139
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @MBunge:

    I didn’t see all of KO’s special comment, but did he spend an extensive amount of time reaming out Pelosi and Reid for punting the tax cut debate into the lame duck session? How exactly was that going to make it easier to fight this fight? These people took over Congress in 2006. The had 4 frickin’ years to prepare for this tax cut fight. 4 FRICKIN’ YEARS. Yet when the moment came, they didn’t have a plan, a strategy or even the slightest idea of how to handle the issue. And Obama’s the one to blame?

    Given that he’s the one who asked them not to make it an issue before the elections, hells yeah.

  140. 140
    mantis says:

    @El Tiburon:

    But this was an absolute tragedy of mamoth proportions

    Perspective. FDLers need some. Being legitimately criticized is not a tragedy, let alone of mamoth (sic) proportions. Fucking whiney, delicate little flowers, all of them.

  141. 141
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    As I said: You can believe what you like. I believe in putting time and energy into productive avenues. The President is predictably having his ‘Sista Solja” moment and David Broder is spunking all over his keyboard in ecstasy. I don’t regard any sort of reliance on the President or congress to be productive at this point, so I will support legal efforts to remedy DADT and DOMA.

  142. 142
    ChrisWWW says:

    @joe from Lowell:
    I recall a lot of media masturbation over the idea of “Divided Government,” which gives me hope about widespread perceptions.

  143. 143
    Nick says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    It won’t ever change if we don’t f***ing try.

    someone please define what they mean by “try,” because if flying around the country for two months making your case and demanding Congress vote on it before an election doesn’t constitute “trying,” then I don’t know what the fuck does.

  144. 144
    mantis says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    It won’t ever change if we don’t f***ing try.

    Implicit in your comment is nobody tries. That’s total bullshit.

  145. 145
    El Tiburon says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    This is quite a a way from saying that the UI extension does nothing for the unemployed, and that the package includes only “baubles for the middle class.”

    That UI extension is a big deal. It’s dishonest and unseemly to dismiss how much that means

    Look, I don’t want to go all Greenwald on your ass, but IF you were referring to my original comment, then you are very mistaken in your characterization of it:

    Unemployment has ended for many Americans and this legislation does not address that.

    Of course UI is a big deal, and I NEVER intimated anything to the contrary. But for the grace of God go I and so on…

    Fact is millions will continue to go without UI and no prospect of jobs. This legislation does nothing for them or to increase any real prospects for job creation. It does, though, allow for millionaires to have a very Merry Fucking Christmas.

  146. 146
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @El Tiburon:

    You just don’t fuck with your core supporters and their principles and then lecture them on TV and call them losers and jerks. You do that privately. You do that with love. You do that with key opinion leaders on your side–and I don’t mean David Broder.

    While I agree Obama picked an unnecessary political-media fight– more because Jake Tapper and John King will want to talk about Obama’s troubles with his base than because of actual troubles with a sliver of his base– the sad fact is that David Broder has more influence with people who don’t know who David Broder is, the people who get their news from LocalSevenActionNews and Springfield Daily Shopper, than Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow have with people who watch them every day. I lost count of how many “swing voters” were telling reporters that Obama “overreached” so they were voting Republican. They didn’t say and weren’t asked about this “overreach”, but that concept started with Broder and his ilk saying that people were saying that Obama was in danger of overreaching.

  147. 147
    tomvox1 says:

    A bit OT but interesting to see that Reid is planning a showdown on DADT tonight. Either Pryor coming out for it was a sign that he’s got the votes or he is simply trying to bring it to resolution (i.e. table it until next year) so they can clear the decks for the tax negotiations. Either way, I like it–at least it shows the Dems on the front foot and forcing the GOPers to take a tough vote for or against discrimination.

  148. 148

    @celticdragonchick:

    No. There is no calandar opening for DADT, no matter how hard you spin it.

    You give up too easily. I’ve seen it declared dead a dozen times already.

    What we do know, for sure – what isn’t speculation, but empirical fact – is that the possibility of repeal was absolutely dead if a deal wasn’t cut on tax cut extensions. Even those who came out for repeal and put it over 60 votes, like Brown and Collins, made their support contingent on getting the tax cut extensions done.

    But, like I said, isn’t it an amazing coincidence that DADT repeal went from the #1 issue that the internet left was working for, to a dead letter that only a fool would care about, on the very day that the tax cut deal was announced?

    So many of these strange coincidences over the past two years.

  149. 149
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @El Tiburon:

    What a total crock of SHIT.

    This is what progressives come down to … being cooed at by the president during a shitstorm?

    Listen, half of registered voters DID NOT VOTE three weeks ago. The half who voted said Fuck You to progressives. How do I feel about it? Well, first of all, I am a goddammed progressive. Second, I voted. But third and most importantly, the reason why progressives are being dissed is because progressives can’t lead and persuade their own choir from one day to the next. As the old saying goes, progressives can’t sell a piece of ass on a troop train. They have nobody to blame but themselves. Nobody.

    And a non ideological, basically left-centrist like Obama is not going to save us from ourselves. So suck it.

  150. 150
    RosiesDad says:

    @hilzoy: It’s awfully nice to see you commenting here, hilzoy. Miss reading what you think.

    We need to have a long national debate about taxes in the next few years. But we’re not going to have it before Jan. 1, and if we did, our side would lose. This is the best we’re going to do. It matters. I hate it, but opposing it would hurt a lot of people who really need help.

    I agree that we need to have this national debate. But I believe we have a much greater chance of actually having it if the tax cuts are allowed to expire. If they are continued, the only debate we are going to have is when to make them permanent and how to reduce the tax liability of the wealthy even further.

  151. 151
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Bobby Thomson: I’m not exactly sure where to look this up, but I’m pretty sure he asked them to pass this before the election.

  152. 152
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Next year, when his legislative majority goes away, he’s already discussed his priorities to be about implementation of that legislation and running the government. I don’t think we’re going to see him trying to get big legislation through the next Congress, and as a result, we’ll see much less of his bipartisan outreach.

    A good template to look at would be TR’s administration. Teddy made compromises with Senate conservatives to get watered down progressive legislation passed, but when we lost his working majority in the Senate and lost the cooperation of Joe Cannon in the House, he increasingly turned to the use of executive orders to get things done while bypassing Congress. For example anybody who has ever visited Grand Canyon National Park has TR’s use of that tactic to thank for it, since the initial creation of the park was an egregious abuse of the National Monuments Act.

  153. 153
    Joe Beese says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    One good thing about a 2012 primary: we’d get to see the unions and the African-American voters slam these pencil-necks up against the wall, and demonstrate exactly who are this party’s base.

    The leader of the largest U.S. labor federation portrayed the deal President Barack Obama cut with Republicans to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts as caving in “to Wall Street and moneyed interests.” “Two years ago, working Americans had high hopes that we would ultimately emerge from the deep, punishing financial debacle,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said today in an e- mailed statement. “Today, that vision has dimmed.”

    Yeah, sounds like Obama’s got the unions deep in his pocket.

  154. 154
    MBunge says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Given that he’s the one who asked them not to make it an issue before the elections, hells yeah.

    Where did you hear that? The reporting I’ve seen says that the Obama folks wanted the tax cut debate before the election, but it was Congressional Dems who balked at it.

    Mike

  155. 155

    @El Tiburon:

    Not for everyone.

    And those people who do get an extension?

    There is one of us – only one – is deciding that some unemployed people don’t matter, and it is you, who are coming up with reasons to throw the people helped by this UI extension under the bus.

  156. 156
    celticdragonchick says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    There were DADT diaries on Daily Kos multiple times a day for the past month.

    So?

    Kos doesn’t set legislative calandars.

    Even the jackwagon who wrote the famous “DADT is Dead” diary in early November was back to telling people to call their Senators, and talking about feeling more optimistic.

    Senator Levin had agreed to keep DADT in the Defauthoization Bill, so hopes rose. That was before the GOP insulted the President with their little declaration the morning after the tea and cookies meeting.

    We saw the writing on the wall at that point…and Senator Reid has prioritised his internet gambling bill(!) over DADT as of yesterday.

    But now, suddenly, all of you people are pretending that it just doesn’t matter, and isn’t worth fighting for, and is doomed

    We are used to getting strung along at this point. It has happened for the last twenty years on one thing or another. Why should now be any different? This time, we have legal avenues that are open, however, and that makes a difference.

    What a fucking surprise. You’re pissed at me, because I have you nailed.

    Your field experience in anthropology and psychology is impressive, no doubt.

  157. 157
    Nick says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Given that he’s the one who asked them not to make it an issue before the elections, hells yeah.

    Wow, that’s a complete and utter lie. He WANTED them to make it an issue before the elections. HE made it an issue before the elections.

    Now we’re writing our own reality?

  158. 158

    Well, let’s see…

    We have:

    Increased Deficits
    Broken campaign promise
    This
    A rehash of this battle in two years
    Demoralized base
    Emboldened opposition party

    vs.

    Possible START ratification
    Extended unemployment benefits for a year
    Possible action on DADT

    Seems like a very raw deal, assuming the opposition even keeps their word and lets the other legislation come to a vote.

    Personally, I think they should plan on letting taxes go up if necessary, as politically unpalpable as that is.

  159. 159

    @Ooparts:

    The problem, however, is two years from now this exact debate is going to happen again

    I’d rather have this debate in two years, after two more years of recovery, with a presidential-year electorate getting ready to vote (as opposed to the first off-year election of a president’s new term), and without the Republicans at their strongest political point for the foreseeable future.

  160. 160
    Martin says:

    Plan B is to let them fail. The GOP has been playing chicken all along. The Dems haven’t, but I think they’ve finally relented.

    The only way the Dems can get something is to give the GOP something they want. Problem is, they don’t want anything that the Dems don’t also want except for the tax cuts on the rich, and the only way to force that issue is to force the issue on the tax cuts for the middle class.

    The GOP believes the Dems won’t hold out and let all the tax cuts expire, and even if the Dems do that, their plan B is to wait until the next Congress when they have a decent majority in the House and then hold up the debt ceiling vote to have those cuts restored.

    The Dems, ultimately, would prefer that the cuts all expire but they’re skeptical about the timing (they shouldn’t be, but they are) fearing that a tax increase in a weak economy will hurt the lower income earners and slow the recovery. But if their hand is forced, I think they’ll let them all expire and then rely on the fact that the GOP will call for a tax cut as their first effort out of the House next Congress to try and negotiate them back, which will take us right back to where we started, but with the Dems in a weaker bargaining position.

    One problem I have with the current debate is that neither party is particularly thrilled with the current tax arrangement, but the nature of the tax cut expiry presents a rather narrow range of solutions for them, and so the best option is pretty shitty to both groups.

    The problem with high marginal taxes (and this is a much more valid argument than people give the GOP credit for) is that they are unreliable. If the economy goes in the shitter and you lose some of that top income – you’re fucked. Let’s take this to a hypothetical boundary condition to see it more clearly. Steve Jobs becomes far and away the highest income earner in the nation and we levy a 99% tax rate on him, relying entirely on him for federal revenues. The one most able to pay is paying. And then he dies. Or someone ships an unquestionably better smart phone than the iPhone. Or whatever. We’re fucked. We just lost all of our federal revenue.

    The problem is that the last dollar of income to be lost is the first dollar of income earned, and the first dollar of income to be lost is the last dollar earned. Relying on the last dollar earned is not a great plan. It might be out best plan politically, but let’s not delude ourselves about the problem it presents. And that’s why the argument over taxation has been over how broad the base of federal revenues should be. That’s a good argument. The more workers or companies or goods you tax, the more stable the revenue will be.

    And we need to take a peek at the federal revenues for 2009 and 2010. We have 10ish% unemployment, down from 4%, but we didn’t lose 6% of our income tax revenue, we lost 25% of our income tax revenue from 2008 to 2009. We lost 25% because we were counting on the rich to cover our income tax revenues and in a broad sense, they got hit hard – a lot harder than incomes below $100K. They could afford it, so nobody should cry for them, but that translated to a HUGE drop in receipts. And that’s a real, and clearly demonstrated weakness of the tax code – the very tax code that Dems and the GOP are trying to poke around the edges of because the current system of taxation means that the Federal Government needs the rich to stay rich and get richer, because that’s the only way the Fed gets paid.

    Plan B, if we roll into next Congress without an agreement, might translate into real tax reform. Maybe not the whole deal, because that takes a long time, but rather than just a repeal of the Bush tax cuts, a rethinking of how that revenue gets replaced that is less fragile than the only solution before Congress now. Rather than an increase on the top tax rate, how about a cap on the mortgage interest deduction, to deter over-reaching on mortgage debt as an effort to reduce the tax burden (something we need). It’d uniformly affect the wealthy and because it would start taxing income at an earlier point, even if they shifted their income to cap gains, it’s more likely to result in an effective tax increase. With some measures like that, we could recover the $700B in revenues and keep the tax cuts in place, and address a market distortion that lead to this economic problem, and stabilize revenues all in one move. I don’t think we’ve seen that kind of creativity in the discussions so far.

  161. 161
    chopper says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    lol. don’t forget latinos too.

  162. 162
    Nick L says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    I know it’s kind of an old comment on this thread, but nobody seems to have addressed this bit of dumbfuckery:

    You have to let this stuff expire and pin it on the Republicans, day after day, week after week, month after month.

    Great! Raise taxes on everyone – even lower-middle class people drowning in debt – without any additional stimulus or unemployment benefits. The economy can take the hit – we have some Republicans to beat in short-term tactical politics.

    Seriously, this is exactly what Obama was getting at yesterday. Beating the GOP might be emotionally cathartic, but it’s lunacy to hurt the economy to do so.

  163. 163
    celticdragonchick says:

    @tomvox1:

    Interesting if true…but since he will not be allowing for amendments in that short a time frame I suspect it will be a show and tell for our benefit just like last September when he didn’t make any effort to get it passed in the first place.

    I would love for Joe from Lowell to be right about this and I be wrong…but I would read a suprise/no notice legislative move as “we did the best we could so you angry gays can please shut up now” strategy.

  164. 164
    ChrisWWW says:

    @Nick and @mantis:
    It goes back to what I said in my first comment. Trying, in this case, means being willing to let these laws lapse. Once that’s happened you try to control the ensuing media circus and make your case before a captive audience.

  165. 165
    Mike R. says:

    It wasn’t so long ago that Jim Bunning made headlines for having the audacity to oppose the extension of unemployment benefits; look where we are now. This is a war, republicans smell blood and until some some impenetrable barrier comes between them and their agenda they will take and take and take. This is how we came to be where we are today, caviar for the elites of our society and a bone for the minions. Perhaps Obama’s heart is in the right place but as a democracy it’s imperative that all levels of society are given their due. Unemployment benefits have become the tool that republicans use to get their way, they have a very high value because no self-respecting Democrat can fail to support that cause.
    I’m unemployed and losing those benefits would be a huge problem but at the same time being used as a pawn in order to further establish the power of the very people who tried to destroy the world economy and who are dead set on amassing their wealth at the expense of the middle class feels very, very wrong.

  166. 166
    MBunge says:

    @celticdragonchick: We are used to getting strung along at this point. It has happened for the last twenty years on one thing or another. Why should now be any different? This time, we have legal avenues that are open, however, and that makes a difference.

    If DADT repeal passes this month…what are you going to say then?

    Mike

  167. 167

    @joe from Lowell:

    Fuck you.

    Smoochies!

    oh, you just so happened to decide this the very day that Obama cuts the deal necessary to get to DADT in the lame duck.

    You still haven’t said you actually believe this “deal” means DADT passes. You just want to bitch that saying it won’t means I’m wrong and you’re right. Well, go ahead, please, genius, tell me how if this “deal” actually passes by the end of the week, the Senate stays open past December 17, Susan Collins changes her mind about amendments being her requirement for her vote, and Jim DeMint suddenly forgets that he said three days ago that the DADT bill needs two weeks of debate. Go right fucking ahead. Tell me how that issue gets forced and the Republicans cave… like people like me have been saying needs to happen.

    What a fucking surprise. You’re pissed at me, because I have you nailed.

    I’m not angry at you at all, sweetie. You’re adorable. I love it when people get angry at me for pointing out that they love attacking strawmen… by creating a strawman of what my thoughts on something are.

    Also, special tip: telling someone you “have them nailed” sort of works only when you’re Stephen Colbert, and I’m pretty sure you’re not Stephen Colbert since Stephen Colbert is funny and only pretending to be a moron.

  168. 168
    john b says:

    @Suck It Up!:
    “Oh how I wish the left got as angry and mobilized over help for tier 5 folks as they did when KO got suspended. There was even more anger last night over Obama’s presser than there has been over unemployment. ”

    a-fucking-men

  169. 169
    Nick says:

    @Ooparts:

    The problem, however, is two years from now this exact debate is going to happen again

    We would have had it anyway. Republicans have nothing else to run on, and they would run on “Obama let your taxes go up in a recession because he won’t compromise with us, we’ll cut your taxes” instead of “Obama wants the tax cut you hate to expire!”

  170. 170

    @El Tiburon: If I misunderstood you comment, I apologize, but what you wrote here:

    Unemployment has ended for many Americans and this legislation does not address that. My understanding is this legislation does not have much stimulus other than tax credits, which is not a good stimulus….At what point do some of you say, “Uh, okay, this is not acceptable regardless of what trinkets we, the middle-class, may get.”

    Looks very much like a statement dismissing the value of the UI extension and the “pro” side of this deal as a whole.

  171. 171
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Nick L:

    Exactly right.

  172. 172
    ChrisWWW says:

    @Nick L:
    If the situation is so dire, then certainly Democrats can win an argument on the merits and get some good policy out of it. Right?

  173. 173
    windshouter says:

    Generally, Republicans agree that tax cuts don’t have to be paid for. Therefore, the only parts of this deal that potentially are problematic after the new year are those that involve new spending. I agree with others that UI extension in some form is likely to pass in the new year given appropriate pressure on Congress. Congress is hiring now, and they should get resumes from every unemployed person in their district.

    Now, if (big if) this opens the Senate calendar to give up or down votes on big items on our agenda that have majority support, this is a good factor in favor of the deal. If this is bait and switch, not so much.

    What I do like about this deal is that it exposes Republican fraud on the economy and the deficit. Both Democrats and Republicans actually agree that the economy is such that massive deficit financed stimulus is needed. The Tea Party won a house election pretending this wasn’t true and the deficit was the big deal. The party just used them and threw them out even before the new term. All the Republican party really cares about is tax rates on the rich.
    Now, if you package all this up as stimulus, you can unwind it as the economy gets better. In 2012, we need to return to a tax system that actually funds the government, so lets get the cuts on the table now so we can judge them at election time.

  174. 174
    celticdragonchick says:

    From the linked story provided by tomvox1 at comment 143…

    Reid’s decision to move on this may or may not be good news.

    The optimistic scenario: Reid has talked to some GOP moderates and finally secured the votes needed to overcome the Republican filibuster. He’s acting tonight because he found a window of opportunity, and he doesn’t want to let it slip away.

    The pessimistic scenario: Reid doesn’t have the votes. He’s starting the process tonight, but Republican objections will be insurmountable, and that will be that.

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

    Again, I would be pleasantly surprised if Joe From Lowell is right. My cynicism keeps getting in the way.

  175. 175
    daveNYC says:

    …and the Senate voted on that on Saturday and it died with only 53 votes in favor.

    And this is exactly why we’re fucked. Over half the Senate voted for it, so it died. WTF freaking bizarro hell are we in that that sentence needs to be written?

  176. 176
    chopper says:

    @El Tiburon:

    You just don’t fuck with your core supporters and their principles and then lecture them on TV and call them losers and jerks.

    neither ‘the professional left’, nor the progressive movement, are obama’s ‘core supporters’.

  177. 177
    celticdragonchick says:

    @MBunge:

    If DADT repeal passes this month…what are you going to say then?

    I would be delighted to be wrong.

  178. 178
    goblue72 says:

    @Martin: And how exactly is the problems posed by the mortgage interest deduction at all related to high marginal rates? Answer: It isn’t. So why bring it up? To make an argument that the GOP are right?

    And you haven’t even controlled for the fact that the tax structure changed from where it was in 2008 – this little thing called ARRA (aka the Stimulus Act) – it included almost $300B in temporary tax cuts and tax credits.

    Try looking beyond the top line of data and do some digging before throwing around theories based on WAGs. Unless Megan McArdle-ish is the new standard around here.

  179. 179

    @Joe Beese: Yeah, sounds like Obama’s got the unions deep in his pocket.

    I’m waiting for you to point out where Trumka wrote that he wasn’t going to support Obama.

    Yup, he’s got Trumka deep in his pocket. If pwoggles like you had been as important and loyal as the unions, you might have gotten all of the goodies Obama’s executive branch has been showering on the unions, too.

    But you aren’t. Heck, you don’t even understand, on a theoretical level, the difference between disagreeing with the president on an issue, and abandoning the coalition.

    And it’s that anti-pragmatic confusion that goes a long way to explaining the utter irrelevancy that is progressivism today.

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Given that he’s the one who asked them not to make it an issue before the elections, hells yeah.

    Cite, please. Every story I’ve seen so far specifies that it was senators in tight races — including, embarrassingly enough, my senator Barbara Boxer — who refused to have a tax cut vote before the election. I haven’t seen anyone other than random internet commenters claiming that the Senate was just going along with what Obama secretly wanted, even though Obama spent the three months before the election flying around the country talking about how important the middle-class tax cuts are.

  181. 181
    goblue72 says:

    @chopper: That’s a laugh. Liberals ARE one the core bases of the Democratic Party and key to Obama’s electoral success. It sure ain’t the fickle, squishy “moderate” independents who 2 years later fled the Democratic Party in droves to vote for the Republicans.

    What do we want? Moderation! When do we want it? As soon as can be reasonably expected!

  182. 182
    Nick says:

    @Nick L:

    Beating the GOP might be emotionally cathartic, but it’s lunacy to hurt the economy to do so.

    Interestingly, more Conservative/Moderate Dems want to extend unemployment than Liberal Dems, according to Gallup (85%-82%), which seems to explain why the unemployed are expendable for some liberals who just want to stick it to Republicans.

  183. 183
    celticdragonchick says:

    @chopper:

    neither ‘the professional left’, nor the progressive movement, are obama’s ‘core supporters’.

    Since they are the ones who donate time and money, I would interested in how you define “core supporters” in that event.

  184. 184
    celticdragonchick says:

    Catch you all a bit later. I am having a bad pain day and I still have to write a paper for a history class.

  185. 185

    @celticdragonchick:

    There were DADT diaries on Daily Kos multiple times a day for the past month.

    So?

    I don’t feel like explaining this to you a third time. If you don’t get it by now, it’s because you’re determined not to.

    Senator Levin had agreed to keep DADT in the Defauthoization Bill, so hopes rose. That was before the GOP insulted the President with their little declaration the morning after the tea and cookies meeting.

    No, dearie, they were still coming thick as flies as Scott Brown announced his support. They stopped the day the tax cut deal was said to be imminent.

    We saw the writing on the wall at that point…and Senator Reid has prioritised his internet gambling bill(!) over DADT as of yesterday.

    Oopsie; he’s bringing it up for a test vote tonight.

    We are used to getting strung along at this point. It has happened for the last twenty years on one thing or another. Why should now be any different?

    Why was it any different in the days and weeks before the tax cut extension deal? Because people were still flogging away on that issue then.

    Go on, give up. I’m calling my senators.

  186. 186
    Nick L says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    Ah, of course! The Republicans that are needed to pass anything in the Senate will be convinced by a well-reasoned argument about the merits! Why didn’t Democrats try this before?

    You do realize that Democrats are politicians in America, right?

  187. 187
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    Do I qualify as a core supporter? I gave over $4k to the Obama campaigns, almost the legal maximum.

    And I don’t think I “bought” anything. And I don’t have my pet things from government yet. Should I ask for my money back?

    I am ashamed to even be associated with most of the whiny pricks who helped us get Obama elected. As politics go, it seems to me that the biggest obstacle to progressive advances in this country is not from Republicans, it is from Democrats or people who claim to be Democrats.

    Republicans know how to stick together and fight together. They don’t need facts, or logic, or even good intentions. They just need to stay on message. We don’t know how to do those things, and we don’t deserve, and did not elect, a president who will cover for our shortcomings.

  188. 188

    With almost no time left on the clock, after winning the fight on tax policy, is the plan to simply punt on New START ratification, DADT repeal, the DREAM Act, food safety, and health care for Ground Zero workers, hoping for the best in the next Congress?

    None of these goodies are included in “the deal”. So I’m not expecting any of these things to pass, even if “the deal” goes through.

  189. 189

    @August J. Pollak:

    You still haven’t said you actually believe this “deal” means DADT passes.

    I don’t know if it will. What I do know is that you’re preferred route means a 100%, absolute capitulation on the issue – the surrender of the best chance for legislative repeal we’ve ever had, and will have for years to come.

    I’m not angry at you at all, sweetie. You’re adorable.

    That’s a cute little line to take, but coming on the heels of your spittle-flecked, ALL CAPS, profanity-filled tirade, striking this pose just makes you look a little…desperate? Pathetic? Dishonest?

    BECAUSE YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT SAYING THIS AND YOU KNOW IT.
    The Republicans said they will automatically filibuster EVERYTHING until “tax issue is resolved.” Which, by the way, even with this “deal,” STILL ISN’T. They HAVEN’T VOTED YET.
    Within days of this hostage taking statement, they suddenly declared on the Sunday shows that there was a previously-unspoken-of mandatory requirement to spend TWO WEEKS debating the bill. Oh, and there HAS to be open amendment processes, so they can propose amendments like, you know, stripping out the DADT repeal.
    They have been running out the clock for months and it is fucking obvious that there is no push back on this and you are deliberately, infuriatingly and blatantly pretending that all of a sudden the magical failure to pass a piece of legislation that was created YESTERDAY is what will stop the DADT repeal vote from happening for no reason, absolutely NO REASON WHATSOEVER other than punching straw-hippies. Fucking STOP IT.

    But you aren’t mad.

  190. 190
    ChrisWWW says:

    @Nick L:
    You convince the public and media of the merits, they in turn shame the Republicans into dealing on more favorable terms.

  191. 191
    Ooparts says:

    @joe from Lowell @Nick:

    You’re both right, if the deal goes through, and the economy improves, the dems would be able to argue from a position of strength on what needs to happen. If things don’t get better though, it will be “failed policy from democrats does nothing to help economy, but adds nearly a trillion to the debt.” Never mind that Republican efforts are what throttled a more reasonable approach – ‘Pubs will happily lie and media outlets won’t challenge them. So things must get better.

    On the other hand, whether the economy gets better or worse, Republicans will control the house in 2012, and any new decision on the tax cuts will have to be made in the context of satisfying the demands of a Republican house that you can bet won’t send anything to the Senate that doesn’t include some kind of budget-busting give away to the rich.

  192. 192
    Admiral_Komack says:

    John Cole:

    With all due respect, what is Plan C?

    Plan A: President Obama wanted the tax cuts tackled in September 2010, but the Democrats didn’t want to do it.

    Plan B: The President’s plan, that he talked about yesterday.

    Plan C: The Republicans control the House after January, 2011, and NONE of the President’s agenda is accomplished, if the Republicans have anything to say about it.

    Oh, and Mary Landrieu can kiss my ass.

    Carry on.

  193. 193

    @joe from Lowell:

    Oh I was angry at your first comment for it’s outright stupidity, but I certainly wasn’t angry at you because “you nailed me.” I mean, honestly, dearie, I would think telling someone that a comment you just wrote is so awesome it just destroyed me is, oh, how you say… “desperate? Pathetic? ”

    What I do know is that you’re preferred route means a 100%, absolute capitulation on the issue – the surrender of the best chance for legislative repeal we’ve ever had, and will have for years to come.

    Ah, the “best chance for legislative repeal” of DADT turns out to have been waiting until a week before the Senate session adjourns and being told that if Democrats give Republicans everything they want they might consider thinking about not filibustering it?

    Haha alright then, champ.

  194. 194
    moron says:

    If Obama were someone who did not suffer from Obama’s crippling intellectual and psychological limitations, what he could do is this:

    Announce that he has instructed the IRS to treat the Bush-era tax rates as the effective tax rate on the first 250K of income, in the following sense — taxpayers must report their full income, but pay only Bush-era tax rates on the first 250K, pending a final resolution of the crisis. The IRS will pursue no attempt to collect taxes owed above the Bush-era tax rates on the first $250K, until the political standoff is resolved, or the end of the Obama administration, whichever comes first.

    Clinton-era tax rates on income over $250K will still be considered in force, and subject to the usual enforcement by the IRS.

  195. 195

    @celticdragonchick:

    Again, I would be pleasantly surprised if Joe From Lowell is right. My cynicism keeps getting in the way.

    You should be skeptical, not cynical. Skepticism is a desire for more information before drawing a conclusion. Cynicism is just a tendency to draw negative conclusions, regardless of information.

    Here’s the information: Scott Brown (R-Raytheon) and Susan Collins (R-Bath Iron Works) want to vote for the National Defense Authorization Act. It means $billions and $billions in military contractors funds for their home states.

    This isn’t about the Republicans holding up their end of a deal, so much as a couple of Republicans, from blue states, acting in a manner that is consistent with their own political interest.

  196. 196
    Nick says:

    1. Let the tax cuts expire. We have wars to pay for; that needs to be made clear, repeatedly.

    2. Unemployment becomes a state problem. They elected a bunch of Republicans, let them deal with the immediacy of the issue on the state level, and let them come begging for money. when they can’t solve it.

    3. START–every day pound out that Republicans in Congress are going against the foreign policy recommendations of their own experts–purely out of spite, with no good reason.

    4. DADT–Going to have to wait. It’s really small potatoes considering what we are facing.

  197. 197
    chopper says:

    @goblue72:

    i know the internet is an echo chamber so pissed-off progressives who spend all day on progressive blogs listening to pissed-off progressives bitch about obama must think the dude is totes doomed and shit, and think that they’re the lynchpin upon which all of his support rests.

    obama’s main support is in organized labor and minorities. you know, blacks (13% of the population, reliably votes 90+% dem in every single election). or latinos (you know, the guys that kept CA democratic this last election when all the ‘progressives’ couldn’t get off the fuckin couch).

    self-centered spastic progressives aren’t the democratic party’s core constituency. they just think they are.

  198. 198

    @Ooparts:

    If things don’t get better though, it will be “failed policy from democrats does nothing to help economy, but adds nearly a trillion to the debt.”

    If the economy doesn’t get better over the next two years, it won’t matter what Obama and the Democrats did on this issue in December 2010.

  199. 199
    John Cole says:

    So I guess there is no plan B, since not one of you bringing the butthurt has come up with anything constructive. Not even something as simple as “we probably won’t get it passed, and need to have a grass roots campaign to reform the Senate.”

    Nothing. Just whining and “Obama hates me!”

    Let’s all throw poo! Whee!

    Losers.

  200. 200
    4tehlulz says:

    Hopefully, this deal gets through or gets killed quickly or BJ might die.

  201. 201
    Surly Duff says:

    @Nick L:

    So the theory now is that tax cuts = economic stimulus? OK. Just trying to stay atop of the changing winds.

  202. 202

    @chopper:

    self-centered spastic progressives aren’t the democratic party’s core constituency. they just think they are.

    The several million young, black and Latino voters who didn’t bother to show up this time aren’t all spastic progressives. You just want to think they are.

  203. 203
    hilzoy says:

    “You just don’t fuck with your core supporters and their principles and then lecture them on TV and call them losers and jerks.”

    Here’s where I think it really, really matters to think about this in terms of the choices available to actual people, not in terms of e.g. cosmic fairness.

    If I were Obama, would I have said this? I hope not — though I can’t say that I would have; I’d be pretty frustrated and exhausted round about now, and when I’m frustrated and exhausted, I don’t always get this stuff right.

    But if I were me — a liberal citizen who is upset with Obama on a number of scores — detention, not prosecuting the torture folks, not going for a bigger stimulus, etc., etc. — would I let what Obama said affect my actions in any way? No. — Back during the campaign, when people were all upset about Obama dissing the netroots, I thought: fine, let him do that. I don’t care. In general, I think that politicians spend much too much time being solicitous to their supporters; I’m happy to be disregarded, since I only ever wanted a president to be, well, a president, not my bff. Same here.

    I want to keep my eyes on the ball. As far as I’m concerned, in this fight “the ball” is a family whose parents have worked hard, played by the rules, and been laid off; who are wondering how they’re going to keep making the rent, and praying that no one gets sick; whose kids are aware, in the way kids are, of the strain, and listen to the kinds of fights about money that people have when they have to choose between one essential thing and another, not between two different luxuries, and who just wish that Mom and Dad could be happy again; who have given up on this Christmas and are just hoping that there will be enough money for minor presents for the kids on some future Christmas, sometime; and I’m thinking: what helps them?

    Whether I have been slighted is of no — NO — consequence by comparison. My job, as I see it, is to keep trying to work for whatever will help that family. And this deal looks like it, to me.

  204. 204
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Liberals are entitled to their pet laws and programs, just as religious conservatives are entitled to their outlawing of abortion.

    What’s the difference? You figure it out. Conservatives can govern better with 41 votes in the Senate than liberals can with 59 votes in the Senate, in some situations.

    Whose fault is that? Hint: It’s the voters. If you want a better congress, you have to elect one.

  205. 205
    Ooparts says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    True enough – it’s still the economy, stupid.

  206. 206
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Nick:

    1. Let the tax cuts expire. We have wars to pay for; that needs to be made clear, repeatedly. 2. Unemployment becomes a state problem. They elected a bunch of Republicans, let them deal with the immediacy of the issue on the state level, and let them come begging for money. when they can’t solve it. 3. START—every day pound out that Republicans in Congress are going against the foreign policy recommendations of their own experts—purely out of spite, with no good reason. 4. DADT—Going to have to wait. It’s really small potatoes considering what we are facing.

    Holy shit. Other than the “small potatoes” remark, I agree completely with everything you just said.

    ETA: FYWP

  207. 207
    mantis says:

    You don’t get to call yourself a “core supporter” if you exhibit no support.

  208. 208
    Nick says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    You convince the public and media of the merits, they in turn shame the Republicans into dealing on more favorable terms.

    LMFAO, oh, it’s that simple is it?

  209. 209

    @August J. Pollak:

    I mean, honestly, dearie

    Yeah. You’re trying too hard.

    At this point, if you have anything to say (which I doubt), you should just say it. I’m feeling pretty good about slapping your phony act down, and I don’t imagine your explanations about how your ALL CAPS SWEARING are a sign of your coolness and humor are terribly impressive to anyone reading this.

    @August J. Pollak:

    Ah, the “best chance for legislative repeal” of DADT turns out to have been waiting until a week before the Senate session adjourns and being told that if Democrats give Republicans everything they want they might consider thinking about not filibustering it?

    It is what it is. The choice is to work on it now, or give up.

    I can see how stout-hearted you are. Big surprise.

    But this brings me back to my original point: here you are, complaining about how useless it is to try to pass DADT repeal in the lame duck, when just a week ago, you were all fired up about trying to pass DADT repeal in the lame duck. Call you senators!

    The only thing that has changed is that the road is now more open than it used to be – so, you’re decided that DADT repeal just doesn’t matter anymore, because what REALLY matters is…you know…not doing the one thing that had to get before DADT repeal could come up.

  210. 210
    ChrisWWW says:

    @John Cole:
    Plan B is let it die and pin the blame on the Republicans until they relent.

  211. 211
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    It’s not about winning an argument. It’s about counting votes on the floor of the Senate. Arguments are hot air. Votes are what count.

    No votes, no pony. If you want more votes on the floor, then elect more senators who will vote your way on the floor.

  212. 212

    @Nick: 2.

    Unemployment becomes a state problem. They elected a bunch of Republicans, let them deal with the immediacy of the issue on the state level, and let them come begging for money. when they can’t solve it.

    The unemployed in those states didn’t elect the Republicans. Their neighbors, who don’t give a crap about the unemployed, did. You’re punishing the wrong people.

    4. DADT—Going to have to wait. It’s really small potatoes considering what we are facing.

    “What we are facing” is slightly-higher deficits for two years. Sure, the upper-income tax cut extensions are all-but-useless, but they’re not going to kill anybody.

  213. 213
    Cycloptichorn says:

    John,

    Plan ‘B’ starts with a realization that the ONLY THING REPUBLICANS CARE ABOUT IS LOW TAXES FOR THE RICH. It is their only legislative goal. They don’t give a shit about DADT, START, UI, job creation, anything. They could care less about all that crap. Just get the taxes low. They were never going to go for any of that other stuff.

    So, plan B is for Obama to refuse to sign a bill that lowers taxes for the rich unless he gets everything he wants – period. For Obama to constantly and daily talk about how the Republicans are fucking the country with their bullshit. Fucking the military with it. People’s unemployed relatives and friends. Everyone – in the name of lower taxes on the super-rich.

    Get their votes on everything first, THEN do the tax issue. They want it so fucking bad they’ll go for it, or they’ll do something stupid like refuse to raise the debt ceiling or shut the government down and the public will murder them.

    Obama and the Dems have nothing to lose here. Giving in to these guys – who really are hostage-takers – is the worst possible choice and just sets up more and more years of the same bullshit.

    Instead, call their bluff. Clinton did it and it worked. Obama can do the same thing – he just needs the guts to do it. And he needs people like you to back him, rather than advocate capitulation to the hostage-takers.

    If nothing else convinces you that this deal is bunk, the cuts to SS and the inheritance tax are absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable. Both are terrible for the future sustainability of our country.

  214. 214
    chopper says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    sorry, but if your group is actually trying to primary an incumbent president, you are pretty much by definition not his ‘core supporters’. shit, the sort of guys who helped put bush in the white house out of sheer spite calling themselves ‘the democratic base’? don’t make me laugh.

    histrionic progressives who shit the bed every week over something obama said or did may be reliably liberal, but that does not make them reliable democrats.

  215. 215
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @goblue72:

    Liberals ARE one the core bases of the Democratic Party and key to Obama’s electoral success. It sure ain’t the fickle, squishy “moderate” independents who 2 years later fled the Democratic Party in droves to vote for the Republicans.

    Liberals are.

    Blogosphere liberals who follow every twist and turn obsessively and are very concerned about optics, messaging, framing, and landing blows on their ideological adversaries are a tiny, tiny wedge of that. They’re loud, and the legacy media has taken a liking to them now. But they’re totally kidding themselves to think of themselves _as_ “the base,” and they’ve been doing it for 3 solid years.

    Not every liberal is a belligerent information addict. Blogs are not coextensive with liberals, and neither is coextensive with “the base.”

  216. 216
    mantis says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    Again, stop living in a magical fantasy land.

  217. 217

    @John Cole:

    Let’s all throw poo! Whee!

    This.

    The most important thing to Protest People is their self-image as Protest People.

    Look at all the poo they were flinging because ZOMG! The Senate isn’t going to pass DADT repeal! Why won’t Obama and Reid do anything?

    So, they do something to make it more likely, and what do we hear? “Meh, it doesn’t matter much anyway.”

  218. 218
    mantis says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    Instead, call their bluff.

    It’s not a bluff.

  219. 219
    Bullsmith says:

    Isn’t it lovely that the derogatory term “the professional left” was created by this White House for all to use in bashing his base. Good politicians, these guys.

  220. 220

    @John Cole:

    So I guess there is no plan B, since not one of you bringing the butthurt has come up with anything constructive.

    Holy Christ, really?

    “I’m hungry.”
    “Here’s an apple.”
    “I don’t want an apple! You’re not providing any solutions to my hunger!”
    “Well I’m not gonna go to the fucking store. Eat the apple or starve and don’t blame me when you do.”
    “Why aren’t you providing constructive solutions?”
    “Shut up. I’m eating my apple. If you want half let me know.”
    “You are giving up on my hunger! Why are you so butthurt?”
    “I offered a solution to your hunger.”
    “Chop off your leg and feed it to me!”
    “Are you fucking insane?”
    “THERE IS NO MORE TIME! Unless I eat your leg RIGHT NOW nothing will be accomplished and it’ll be YOUR FAULT!”
    “You’re a stubborn asshole and just want to blame me for not wanting to eat a fucking apple.”
    “Well I expected you to do nothing but call me names.”

    And wow, I can’t believe no one ever thought of a grassroots campaign to reform the Senate until now.

  221. 221
    Nick L says:

    @Surly Duff:

    Er, what? It’s not a binary thing – there’s a stimulus multiplier that relates cost to impact on GDP. For unemployment benefits and food stamps, the multiplier is high – well above 1 – so that more is added to the GDP as a whole than is spent on economic relief. Other stimulus programs with high multipliers include infrastructure/public works and simply handing people cash (this idea might work quite well in very poor countries).

    Tax cuts can also be stimulative, albeit less so than more liberal proposals. Tax cuts for the top 1% are the worst – I think Krugman cited the multiplier as .18, meaning that for every buck given to upper-income tax cuts, we get 18 cents added to the GDP. But it’s still, by definition, a stimulus. The additional tax breaks Biden negotiated have a higher multiplier, thankfully.

    Tax cuts aren’t a great stimulative policy. But they are much easier politically than public works programs, and easier to implement. As I don’t think there’s any political will in the Senate to enact another big public works program, we might as well take what we can get.

  222. 222

    @Surly Duff:

    So the theory now is that tax cuts = economic stimulus? OK. Just trying to stay atop of the changing winds.

    Lower- and middle-income tax cuts and credits = economic stimulus. This is such a “changing wind” that it was a major part of Obama’s stimulus efforts in the first three months of his presidency.

  223. 223
    ChrisWWW says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:
    Votes aren’t set in stone. Public opinion can and does sway politicians. Changing public opinion is about winning arguments.

  224. 224
    mantis says:

    Isn’t it lovely that the derogatory term “the professional left” was created by this White House for all to use in bashing his base.

    They’re not his base.

  225. 225
    Nick says:

    @Cycloptichorn

    :Instead, call their bluff.

    They’re NOT bluffing. They’re perfectly fine with letting the tax cuts expire.

  226. 226

    @August J. Pollak:

    The several million young, black and Latino voters who didn’t bother to show up this time aren’t all spastic progressives.

    Young, black, and Latino voters always drop off more from presidential years to mid-term elections, compared to older, white voters.

    There is actually more to the study of politics than self-serving, ahistorical reading of events.

  227. 227
    chopper says:

    @mantis:

    exactly.

  228. 228
    ChrisWWW says:

    @mantis:
    Again, I don’t buy a line a logic that leads to preemptive capitulation. Just because you fear losing an argument or a battle doesn’t mean that you don’t have it.

  229. 229
    El Tiburon says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Looks very much like a statement dismissing the value of the UI extension and the “pro” side of this deal as a whole.

    Fair enough. But taken as a whole, in the long run and compared to what the wealthy are receiving, this legislation doesn’t offer much for the working class.

    I am not being insensitive to those on UI. Like I said, probably most of us are a paycheck or two away, if not already on it.

    But yes, once again we are losing by slow reduction.

    “Hey, we’ll extend your benefits for 13 months, you give us billions for two years. Hey, we’ll give you benefits for six months, give us trillions for 10 years”

    So UI is a trinket compared to a real jobs program, yes. In the Big Picture, yes, it is. Also, what about those who don’t have it anymore? Where is your outrage for those people? Why do you not mention them? Hell, you didn’t even know they were screwed. Why are you selling them down the river? Oh right, best we could do.

    I think I will trademark “Hey, it was the best we could do” and charge a nickel for every time one of you People use it. I’ll make a shit-load of nickels.

  230. 230
    chopper says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    wasn’t like 40% of obama’s stimulus package tax cuts and credits?

  231. 231

    @joe from Lowell:

    There is actually more to the study of politics than self-serving, ahistorical reading of events.

    And there is actually more to drastic reduction in Democratic vote turnout than the anger of bloggers you all keep saying don’t matter anyway.

  232. 232
    valdivia says:

    @John Cole:
    love you John. That is all.

    @hilzoy:

    what you said, many times over. keep the eyes on the prize.

  233. 233
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cycloptichorn: Republicans can achieve their goal of lower taxes when they take over the House in January. Whatever they want, they won’t be wanting it for very long. Now, if as many Democratic Senators are mad about the deal as purported, maybe they would stand firm and not allow a Republican tax-cut bill to go forward. Then you’d be having an argument about taxes against the ticking clock of everyone already paying higher taxes. But it seems to me that it would end up in a similar stalemate: the House bill will be for tax cuts for everyone; the Senate would have to decide whether to embrace that or hammer out a compromise; and the last time they tried some compromises, they got 53 votes, not 60.

    Again, where does it go? I think the path of least resistance is that some of the center-right Democrats would link up with Republicans in the Senate and pass a tax-cut bill for everyone, and dare Obama to veto it.

  234. 234
    Nick says:

    Joe from Lowell:

    1a. Unemployment is a local problem and should be dealt with by local government, with federal funding when needed. I’m not punishing anyone. I want the system to work so that officials are responsive to the electorate.

    1b. I doubt that all the unemployed voted Democrat; that’s buying into the false Republican myth that Democrats are lazy bums who are looking for a handout.

    2. We are facing a hell of a lot more than two years of deficits. We are living in a time of decreasing petrochemical resources and rapidly increasing demand. This is very unlike the last Great Depression, when we still had plenty of easily pumped oil in our own soil. This is going to be much, much worse, because we didn’t heed Carter’s words from 35 years ago and prepare. We are facing real poverty, on a sustained level we’ve never seen. Things are going to get really, really bad.

  235. 235
    Nazgul35 says:

    We don’t, but caving will only allow the Republicans to make further gains in 2012, the senate and perhaps even the Presidency.

    But allowing the Republicans to block and thwart popular legislation, after throwing everything you have into it and fighting for it…will at least give your supporters a reason to turn out and perhaps sway over the independents.

    The thing about hostage takers…giving in to their demands only encourages them to take more and make more bold attacks.

    What Obama needs is not Iran-Contra, but Entebbe.

  236. 236
    Cycloptichorn says:

    @mantis:

    It is a bluff – because they cannot let those taxes on the rich go up. They’ll do anything they can to keep them low, anything, because it is the issue that most directly affects themselves and their families, let alone their primary base.

    Can you honestly see a situation in which the Republicans let this drop? If no bill passes, they won’t do anything else until one does – because it’s what matters to them the most. This is a situation in which the power can be flipped to Obama easily.

    He doesn’t even have to DO anything! Just refuse to sign the damn bill lowering taxes for the rich! And watch them scramble.

  237. 237

    @goblue72:

    Liberals ARE one the core bases of the Democratic Party and key to Obama’s electoral success.

    And liberals still support Obama by overwhelming numbers.
    @Bullsmith:

    Isn’t it lovely that the derogatory term “the professional left” was created by this White House for all to use in bashing his base.

    They aren’t his base. They’re a very small appendage to his governing coalition, who can choose to be good little Democrats, or go into the wilderness.

    Hint: the wilderness looks like the first 6 years of Bush 2.

  238. 238

    @ chopper

    90% of self-identified Liberals voted for Democratic Representatives in November 2010.

    On a good day 20% of Americans identify as liberal.

    20% of self-identified voters in November were “liberal”.

    Liberals came out to vote in record numbers and voted for as a block for Dems and did so more cohesively than any other self-identified group.

    Obama smacks liberals around like an abusive husband because he knows his partner has no where to go.

  239. 239
    Blue Neponset says:

    @John Cole: Give me the resources available to President Obama and I will come up with plan b or plan 9 from outer space. If Obama and Co are waiting for me to come up with a brilliant way to save these bills with three weeks left in the lame duck session then they are dumber than even the firebaggers think.

    All of this didn’t just happen two weeks ago. The issues you have mentioned have been going on for years and years and years. That fact that the Democrats have painted themselves into a corner and have to eat this shit sandwich of a deal is no ones fault but the Democrats. I don’t understand why anyone is ragging on the professional left for calling out Obama and the Dems for the horrible job they have done.

    IMO, Pelosi is the only one who doesn’t deserve a ration of shit over this fiasco.

  240. 240
    ChrisWWW says:

    @mantis:
    It doesn’t matter if they are his base or not, Obama needs to keep as many people as happy as he can in a country where a 4% popular vote victory is considered a landslide.

  241. 241
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bullsmith: The “professional left” originally meant the people who make a living being critical from the left, like the front-pagers at FDL and DKos, and PCCC. After Gibbs made the comment, those people told all their minions that _they_ had been attacked too, because the real target wasn’t the “professional” left, it was “the left.” And all their readers and petition-signers bought it, because the people who sell them outrage do it well. And now some guy reading blogs and getting mad thinks he’s a part of the “professional left,” and is probably proud of it, because he thinks he’s a real thorn in the side of the president.

  242. 242
    Sarcastro says:

    self-centered spastic progressives aren’t the democratic party’s core constituency. they just think they are.

    OK, the Dems ignored the progressives in 2000. And lost. Ignored them in 2002. And lost. Ignored them in 2004. And lost.

    But lo and behold, they court the anti-war/progressive left and they win in 2006. And in 2008.

    Now comes 2010 and they throw the left under a bus. And lose.

    You’re right though. We are not the core constituency you can rely upon to vote for you no matter how badly you fuck them; We’re just the constituency you need to actually win elections.

  243. 243
    Joe Beese says:

    You “clap louder” folks remind me of the White House’s bullshit on WikiLeaks.

    “There’s nothing of importance here. But releasing it is a vicious attack on the whole world!”

    “You disaffected progressives don’t count for shit. But it will be all your fault when Palin is elected in 2012!”

  244. 244

    “PRAGMATISTS” looking at the facts would conclude that:

    Obama’s “base” is Goldman Sachs, predatory Corporations, and the über-wealthy.

    The evidence is overwhelming.

    It’s amazing how many people don’t see the Big Elephant (R) in the room.

    Then again, authoritarian followers can justify anything their leader does.

  245. 245
    mantis says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    Again, I don’t buy a line a logic that leads to preemptive capitulation. Just because you fear losing an argument or a battle doesn’t mean that you don’t have it.

    No one said don’t have the argument, and they already do. The point is that your idiotic assertions that all Democrats need to do is present the argument and they win.

  246. 246
    chopper says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    one of the worst side effects of the internet echo chamber is it makes everyone think they’re a real writer/journalist/editor.

    “i’ve had 10 diaries on the rec list this year! gibbs must have been singling me out!’

  247. 247

    @El Tiburon:

    But taken as a whole, in the long run and compared to what the wealthy are receiving, this legislation doesn’t offer much for the working class.

    This is the wrong measure. Minimizing what the wealthy get isn’t a core purpose. The “cost” of the tax cut extensions to the wealthy is 2 years of slightly-higher deficits. That’s a cost, all right, but is it really that great a cost?

    So UI is a trinket compared to a real jobs program, yes. In the Big Picture, yes, it is. Also, what about those who don’t have it anymore?

    Those items weren’t on the table. This deal also doesn’t remove the hard-water stains from my shower. So?

    Where is your outrage for those people?

    I’ve got plenty. My standard for bringing something into a conversation, however, isn’t “Am I outraged?” but “Is it relevant?”

    The issue here is the deal Obama just cut. Do the pros in that deal outweigh the cons? That you can think up other goodies you’d like to see isn’t really relevant.

  248. 248
    ChrisWWW says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    You make the entire group sound delusional, but it makes a ton of sense in terms of human psychology and influence politics.

    If you insult Sarah Palin, a lot of people that aren’t Sarah Palin will take it personally. And it’s important to note that Sarah Palin derives her power from her popularity among those people who would feel insulted. They are more of one entity than you’d like to admit.

  249. 249
    JAHILL10 says:

    @joe from Lowell: If I wasn’t already married, I’d ask you to marry me. That is all.

  250. 250
    goblue72 says:

    @chopper: Whatever Champ – in 2008, 89% of self-identified liberals voted for Obama (aka the “professional left”, “the Left”, “progressives”, etc.). 70% of LGBTs voted for Obama. Meanwhile, 67% of Hispanics voted for Obama. And only 59% of Union members voted for Obama. Amongst women, 54% went for Obama.

    So if “the Left” isn’t a core supporter, then I don’t know WTF that word means.

  251. 251
    Martin says:

    @goblue72:

    And how exactly is the problems posed by the mortgage interest deduction at all related to high marginal rates? Answer: It isn’t. So why bring it up? To make an argument that the GOP are right?

    Well, you want to raise their top tier tax rate by 5% points to 40%. If they earn $500K after deductions, you’ve increased tax liability by $12,500 by taxing that top 250K at 5% more than before (from $87,500 to $100K). I would argue that it’s better to eliminate, say, half of their interest deduction – maybe $50K for someone with that income (and by using a cap, it wouldn’t touch anyone in the middle class), and generate an extra $50K of top-bracket income ($550K after deductions now) and taking the 35% rate off of that gets us $17,500 in revenue (from the same $87,500 to $105K), which I’m pretty sure is more than the $12,500. Their marginal rate didn’t go up, but their effective rate went up more.

    Now lets say their income drops by $100K for whatever reason. With the current proposal, their taxable income is $400K because that mortgage deduction comes off the first dollar earned, so the taxable income base is 20% lower. Now you’re picking up 40% on $150K = $60K.

    With my proposal, their taxable income would be $450K, a drop of only 18% rather than 20%, and the 35% they pay on the $200K in the top bracket is $70K.

    The problem with a higher marginal rate is that when incomes drop, tax revenues drop as fast as the top rate. With the higher income, the differences in revenues between the proposed plan and my plan was $5K. With the lower income, the differences in revenues is $10K. The tax base is more stable to fluctuations by taxing more of the income at a lower level than less of the income at a higher level.

    So why not offer to trade one for the other – especially when the GOP has expressed openness to this approach? I don’t understand why it is so important to claim that top marginal rate over a lower rate that extracts more revenue from the same people. Is the revenue what matters, or the top marginal rate symbolic victory?

    And you haven’t even controlled for the fact that the tax structure changed from where it was in 2008 – this little thing called ARRA (aka the Stimulus Act) – it included almost $300B in temporary tax cuts and tax credits.
    Try looking beyond the top line of data and do some digging before throwing around theories based on WAGs. Unless Megan McArdle-ish is the new standard around here.

    I don’t need to control for that because nobody else has in this argument, so don’t hold me to a unique standard here.

  252. 252
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    It is a bluff – because they cannot let those taxes on the rich go up. They’ll do anything they can to keep them low, anything, because it is the issue that most directly affects themselves and their families, let alone their primary base.

    But they can fix that problem in one month, no? Taxes go up 1/1, new Congress comes in with a new House setting tax policy a couple of weeks later, Republicans set up a big juicy tax cut and dare Democrats to block it. I don’t get how people paying higher taxes–everyone–isn’t a great pivot for _Republicans_ to address. “The Democrat Party just raised your taxes. It’s your money. We’re giving it back. And if the Democrat Party cares what the American people want, they’ll support our bill that gives all Americans a tax cut.”

  253. 253

    @chopper:

    wasn’t like 40% of obama’s stimulus package tax cuts and credits?

    Yes, concentrated on low- and middle-income people, and businesses engaged in certain sectors (like green jobs).

  254. 254
    ChrisWWW says:

    @mantis:
    They have to first let Republican obstructionism kill the tax cuts. Then they can present the arguments, and they *might* win.

    All of this bullsh*t just seems like political wankery (which Republicans excel at) until the laws actually expire.

  255. 255
    liberal says:

    @Nick:

    Interestingly, more Conservative/Moderate Dems want to extend unemployment than Liberal Dems, according to Gallup (85%-82%), which seems to explain why the unemployed are expendable for some liberals who just want to stick it to Republicans.

    On public policy issues, anything north of 80% is as close to unanimous as you’re going to get, so to claim some kind of meaning from those stats is ridiculous. Not to mention margin-of-error issues.

  256. 256
    Allan says:

    @Nick: No, really, it’s OK. I’m fine down here under the bus tires. You really get used to it after a while.

  257. 257

    @Nick:

    1a. Unemployment is a local problem and should be dealt with by local government, with federal funding when needed. I’m not punishing anyone. I want the system to work so that officials are responsive to the electorate.

    Bullshit, Pontius. You’re washing your hands, but the decision not to fund further unemployment certainly is punishing people – and, in fact, you single out those supposed Republican-voting unemployed for punishment.

    1b. I doubt that all the unemployed voted Democrat; that’s buying into the false Republican myth that Democrats are lazy bums who are looking for a handout.

    Lower-income people in red states vote Democrat. It is lower-income people who are suffering most from unemployment.

    2. We are facing a hell of a lot more than two years of deficits

    We’re talking about this deal. What we are facing from this deal is slightly higher deficits because of the upper income tax cut extension – which I don’t like, but which is not going to cause petroleum to run out sooner, or anything else.

  258. 258
    Nick says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    They have to first let Republican obstructionism kill the tax cuts. Then they can present the arguments, and they might win.

    Oh yeah, we should do something economic destructive in order to maybe, possible, but not likely, win an pissing contest we’ve never won before.

  259. 259
    kimp says:

    Perhaps all of those people who are dependent on unemployment payments should have made their way to the polls.

  260. 260
    goblue72 says:

    @Martin: You’re the one who raised it buddy, so yeah, I’m gonna hold you to the ARRA issue. You don’t get to use “everyone body’s else’s calculator doesn’t go that high” argument.

    As for the mortgage interest vs. marginal interest trade-off, its an interesting hypothetical but of the kind that only gets to happen in ImaginationLand or libertarian magazines. The mortgage interest deduction (and any other widely used, and thus revenue valuable deduction) is never going to get cut because politicians know they’ll get creamed for it.

  261. 261
    ChrisWWW says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    How about Obama says he wont sign a tax cut bill that gives anymore bailout bonuses to millionaire bankers.

  262. 262
    Ash Can says:

    According to Christine O’Donnell, the extension of unemployment benefits is a tragedy just like the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the death of Elizabeth Edwards.

    (apologies if this has already been mentioned)

  263. 263

    @News Reference:

    Obama smacks liberals around like an abusive husband because he knows his partner has no where to go.

    No, Obama doesn’t smack liberals around.

    I’m a liberal. John is a liberal.

    Obama smacks a tiny fringe of a minority of a faction around, because 1) they’re always smacking him around, 2) they keep smacking him around regardless of what he does, and 3) it’s manifestly in his interest to be seen pushing back, strongly, against ideologues who are out of touch with the reality of most Americans.

  264. 264
    chopper says:

    @Sarcastro:

    wow, that’s some revisionist history, filled with a whole bunch of ‘look what you made me do’.

    after helping put bush in the white house, crazy progressives split into two types – one, which realized that they had gone full retard and walked back from the edge and became regular liberals again, and another that started a long trip down rationalization lane, with stops at self-importance junction.

  265. 265
    jsfox says:

    @Pender:

    DADT is being brought to the floor tonight

  266. 266

    And the alternative to the “professional left” is what?

    “Professional appeasers?”

    “Professional sycophants?”

    “Professional followers?”

    OBAMA attacked everyone on the left that wouldn’t go along with his Professional Appeasement of “hostage takers”.

    Obama just ‘Sister Souljah’d’ 20% of the electorate and around 50% of Democratic voters.

    It wasn’t the first time, this last time was just the most blatant.

  267. 267
    Allan says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    So, they do something to make it more likely, and what do we hear? “Meh, it doesn’t matter much anyway.”

    Aesop would have to re-write his fable. In the modern version, the wolf would howl incessantly at the grapes until the farmer came out, cut them down, and tossed them to the wolf, after which the wolf would taste one and spit it out because it didn’t taste like chocolate.

  268. 268
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    You make the entire group sound delusional, but it makes a ton of sense in terms of human psychology and influence politics.

    Not really. There’s no reason a guy sitting in a cubicle posting anguished comments on blogs should think that the term “professional left” applies to him. It’s like having a guy on ESPN say that the Carolina Panthers need to get their act together, and Carolina Panthers _fans_ getting livid and dashing off angry emails to ESPN HQ about the dismissive attitude they’ve been subjected to. Maybe it’s just because I spent a long time in Philadelphia, where being a fan of a team and hating the management of that team at the same time are commonly-held positions.

  269. 269
    Allan says:

    @Ash Can: Apparently, the hotel where O’Donnell stayed the night before offers its guests complimentary copies of USA Today.

  270. 270
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @News Reference: 20% of the electorate may be _liberals_, but 20% of the electorate is not purist liberals who evaluate everything according to an abstract standard of perfection. That’s who he chastised.

  271. 271
    El Tiburon says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Do the pros in that deal outweigh the cons?

    Yes. Right now. But taken all in context and thinking down the road, I think it is absolutely the wrong deal.

    Not that it matters, but are you currently on UI and need this extension? I don’t mean to impugn your motivations at all if so. I know my view would probably be different if I was on UI and depended upon it to keep a roof over my head.

    You know it’s the ‘between a rock and hard spot’ deal, I just think this deal is the wrong deal.

  272. 272

    @Sarcastro:

    But lo and behold, they court the anti-war/progressive left and they win in 2006. And in 2008.

    No, they didn’t.

    For a brief, shining moment, the issues that were important to the anti-war/progressive left were also important to the great middle of this country. It was pure coincidence that the anti-war types liked what they were hearing in 2006 and 2008.

    Besides, seriously? 2008? Obama promising to fight harder in Afghanistan and not propose a single-payer health care system was “courting” you?

  273. 273
    goblue72 says:

    @FlipYrWhig: By that logic, the whiny “pragmatists” on this blog ain’t his base neither. Swings both ways.

  274. 274
    chopper says:

    @goblue72:

    89% of self-identified liberals voted for Obama (aka the “professional left”, “the Left”, “progressives”, etc.).

    see, here’s your problem. you’re conflating ‘the professional left’, e.g. crazy, histrionic progressives, the people we’re talking about here, with liberals overall. lying with statistics. crazy histrionic progressives aren’t obama’s core support, and pointing to statistics about “liberals” doesn’t change that fact.

    it’s like saying that cuban americans are obama’s core support, pointing to statistics about ‘minority voters’.

  275. 275
    Cycloptichorn says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Wow, you’ve really bought into the Republican memes on this.

    But they can fix that problem in one month, no? Taxes go up 1/1, new Congress comes in with a new House setting tax policy a couple of weeks later, Republicans set up a big juicy tax cut and dare Democrats to block it.

    So the Democrats block it at that point, either in the Senate or the Obama veto. Then what happens? You think the Republicans just give up on it, say ‘oh well’ and move on? No. They will either begin negotiating with the Prez to get it passed (which equals a win for us, with better terms to the deal than this idiotic one they proposed) or they throw a pity-party and start doing increasingly extreme stuff like shutting down the gov’t – which is also a win for us.

    I don’t get how people paying higher taxes—everyone—isn’t a great pivot for Republicans to address. “The Democrat Party just raised your taxes. It’s your money. We’re giving it back. And if the Democrat Party cares what the American people want, they’ll support our bill that gives all Americans a tax cut.”

    First of all, it’s a lie. The Dems could easily point out that the Republicans passed the tax cuts that expired and Bush signed em. Then the Dems tried to pass extensions and the Republicans block them.

    Unless you think there is no point in ever standing up to lies, to just accepting whatever the Republicans say is true and not pushing back against it, this is the route that should be taken.

    Man, I gotta say – lots of you guys here are shitty negotiators. You’d get taken to the cleaners by the Republicans if you were in charge. Because they are willing to go all in and you simply aren’t. They will exploit this over and over and over again and you will be perceived by the public as weak. It’s a lose-lose. Instead, try fighting for stuff – and see what happens.

    I should add that my preferred position would be for taxes to rise on everyone. We’ve all been ignoring our financial duties to the nation for far too long.

  276. 276

    @goblue72:

    Whatever Champ – in 2008, 89% of self-identified liberals voted for Obama (aka the “professional left”, “the Left”, “progressives”, etc.).

    No, this is not even close to true. “Self-identified liberals” still support Obama by about the same percentage – even as the “professional left” has jumped ship.

    African-Americans, union members, and Latinos continue to support him by the same numbers as they did in 2008, thus showing that none of those groups are “the professional left.”

    You know whose support for Obama has dropped precipitously, though? White people, especially upper-income white people. That’s where you’ll find your “professional left,” not among union members or minorities.

  277. 277

    @News Reference:

    Obama just ‘Sister Souljah’d’ 20% of the electorate and around 50% of Democratic voters.

    86% of statistics are made up on the spot.

  278. 278
    chopper says:

    @goblue72:

    nobody said commenters here were the president’s base.

  279. 279
    Surly Duff says:

    @Nick L:

    I apologize for my short and quick response. Reading and responding during my short lunch break leads to hasty responses.I should have stated tax cuts = effective stimulus? As you stated, unemployment, food stamps and jobs creation programs have a greater impact as stimulus spending, while tax cuts are extremely minimal in the overall impact. However, the tax cuts are the primary focus, and the substantial monetary portion of the recent deal. Might be a little short-sided, but we shall see.

  280. 280
    Hugh says:

    and while I agree with what he said there, for the most part, I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking when he said it- you just knew it was going to infuriate the professional left

    I have yet to hear any real definition of this term – professional left. And for the record in case anyone might be put off by some sarcasm and run for the hills, my thesis is that this term is meaningless beyond being an easy insult often used to devalue any progressive person making a critique of Obama one doesn’t like. It’s lazy and really annoying.

    I think scuttling this agreement would be a terrible idea. I think a primary challenge to Obama would be a terrible idea. This deal was better than I’d expected it to be. Obama made some mistakes prior to it that tied his hands somewhat. I will vote for him in the next election.

  281. 281
    liberal says:

    @Martin:

    That’s a good argument. The more workers or companies or goods you tax, the more stable the revenue will be.

    Why are you fetishing revenue stability when Treasury can issue more debt during a recession?

  282. 282
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    They have to first let Republican obstructionism kill the tax cuts.

    Of course if “they” do that, instead of Harkin being mad that the deal isn’t tough enough, you’ll get Lieberman, Nelson, Manchin et al. stepping to the cameras to say that by failing to make a deal, everyone has to pay higher taxes, and then they’ll go on talk shows to insist on the importance of tax cuts for everyone, and then the “Democrats in disarray” stories play out from the other side.

    I think what’s happening is that Senate Democrats don’t really know what they want, either as a group or individually. Some of them want to have all the taxes go back up, some of them just want the income over $250K ones to expire, some of them want them none of them to expire, and no one is persuading anyone else.

    It might be the case that _Obama_ is better served by letting Senate Democrats dither and bicker, while he gets to say that he offered a deal they didn’t take, and re-articulate his same position, which is to cut taxes on income up to $250K and not on over $250K. That way he gets to capitalize on public anger at how Congress fucks up everything it touches.

  283. 283

    @El Tiburon:

    Yes. Right now. But taken all in context and thinking down the road, I think it is absolutely the wrong deal.

    Down the road, there will be other fights. Right now, the Democrats are at their political low point, the Republicans at their high-water mark. I’d be happy to have that fight again. How does the summer and fall of 2012 work for you?

    Not that it matters, but are you currently on UI and need this extension?

    My unemployment ran out this past summer, but at least I’m working. Some. And my wife still has her job, so I’m fine. More than fine. Even with everything going on, we’re a lot better off than a lot of people.

  284. 284
    goblue72 says:

    @El Tiburon: Exactly – because in a mere three months, the debt ceiling will expire and the GOP – having recently seated a new House and Senate – will take a new hostage and demand budget cuts out of Obama. Who will cave. And the stimulative effects (such as they are) of the poorly targeted tax cuts & credits in THIS deal will be completely wiped out by the anti-stimulative budget cuts. Which leaves this deal being mainly borrowing from the Chinese to give the rich a tax cut and the crumb of a 13-month UI extension which does zip/zilch/nada for the 99-ers & other structurally long-term unemployed.

    And don’t even get me started on the sheer naivete that says that if we all support this deal, magically DADT, START and DREAM will get passed in the two weeks before Christmas. On the other hand, I do expect the South Korean free trade pact to get passed as that involves the long-term stiffing of working people.

    There’s 11-dimensional chess being played here – its just Obama isn’t one playing it.

  285. 285
    Nick says:

    Joe from Lowell:

    “[T]he decision not to fund further unemployment certainly is punishing people – and, in fact, you single out those supposed Republican-voting unemployed for punishment.”

    Not funding unemployment will have effects far beyond those who lose benefits. 10’s of billions in funds will be removed from local economies throughout the country, affecting practically all aspects of the local economies.

    Yes, people are going to suffer in poverty. People have been suffering in poverty from Day One. You’re acting like this is going to visit some new sort of catastrophe on us. It’s not; only the faces will change.

  286. 286
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @goblue72: Your logic does not hold. I would, and always have, describe[d] myself as a liberal. I am also a pragmatist. I would be counted in the 89%. Liberals are a far broader group than just the “profession left.”

  287. 287

    Obama’s a right-wing ideologue to anyone looking at the evidence and informed about history.

    I’ll grant you he’s mostly better than Republican Bush2 and I’ll even vote for Obama in the 2012 General Election.

    But the FACTS:

    Obama sold US Republican Nixon’s health insurance plan.

    Obama’s FinReg is weaker than what was under Republican Reagan and Bush1.

    Obama’s environmental policies are worse than Republican Nixon.

    Obama’s military policies are farther to the right of Republican Eisenhower (GENERAL Eisenhower).

    Obama’s business policies are far, far, far to the right of Republican Teddy Roosevelt.

    Fergawd’ssake, Obama is to the right of Republican Dick freaking Cheney on gay rights.

    Obama’s authoritarian followers aren’t capable of honest assessments of their leader.

    Don’t be an authoritarian.

  288. 288
  289. 289
    goblue72 says:

    @Cycloptichorn: I actually do negotiate business deals for a living and I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve stated the same before around here and was ridiculed for it and told go back to negotiating in my fantasyland.

    It would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.

  290. 290
    Suck It Up! says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The “professional left” originally meant the people who make a living being critical from the left, like the front-pagers at FDL and DKos, and PCCC. After Gibbs made the comment, those people told all their minions that they had been attacked too, because the real target wasn’t the “professional” left, it was “the left.” And all their readers and petition-signers bought it, because the people who sell them outrage do it well. And now some guy reading blogs and getting mad thinks he’s a part of the “professional left,” and is probably proud of it, because he thinks he’s a real thorn in the side of the president.

    All of this.

  291. 291
    Suck It Up! says:

    Three words John:

    We Don’t Know.

  292. 292
    chopper says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    60% of the time it works every time.

  293. 293

    @goblue72:

    Exactly – because in a mere three months, the debt ceiling will expire and the GOP – having recently seated a new House and Senate – will take a new hostage and demand budget cuts out of Obama. Who will cave.

    I wouldn’t count on that.

    Obama is still, as of this month, working to get elements of his legislative agenda through Congress – his affirmative, transformational legislative agenda. He’s trying to squeeze a few last items through in the lame duck. He has actual goodies he wants to get, can get, and is willing to deal for.

    Next year, with a Republican Congress, he’s not going to be trying to get any trophies. He’ll have the great legislating period of his first term behind him. I expect we’ll see a different strategy under those circumstances than the “do what we have to do to get to 60 votes” strategy that has defined the past two years.

  294. 294
    Brachiator says:

    @John Cole:

    What about DADT and the other must pass bills? How do we get there from here?

    People need to quit tying DADT to the compromise tax proposals unless they know of some promise or deal by legislators to vote for DADT in exchange for vote on the tax compromise.

    Otherwise you are just making shit up.

    As for Plan B, this would be an actual tax plan outlined by the president and proposed by the Congress. As far as I can tell, this is part of their actual job.

    The compromise deal, oddly enough, includes new proposals, not just an extension of the Bush tax cuts (e.g., increased bonus depreciation), so clearly Obama and his advisors are pushing tax policy, not simply trying to work a deal.

    Also, I don’t know whether this would be possible legally, but I wonder if Obama could have used some TARP money for paying for an extension of unemployment benefits. Or pointed to the profits the government made from the sale of auto company stock and used this to justify spending for extending the benefits.

    Apart from this, I understand more why Obama chose this path, but I still think he could have won more, without tax increases, had he held firm on letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

  295. 295

    “Joe from Lowell”,

    I’m referring to CNN’s exit polls. You are welcome to check my math.

  296. 296
    goblue72 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Granted, but I’d bet doorknobs to donuts, along the demographic spectrum, those who self-identified as “very liberal” probably voted even more overwhelmingly for Obama. (I’ve tried to find some exit poll survey data that breaks down liberal-moderate-conservative in more granular detail but haven’t yet – however, I’d put real money that I am correct).

    And if the “very liberal” aren’t the same thing as progressives et al., then the perjorative “professional left” doesn’t mean anything. Its just a bullshit strawman WATBs like the throw around when challenged on their limited thinking skills. B/c if you could go around and poll every left-wing blogger out there (from DailyKos to Atrios to Digby, etc), you’d sure as heck find to a woman and a man that every one of them voted for Obama and plan to in 2012.

  297. 297
    Tsulagi says:

    But what happens if this is blocked? Are we under the impression the Republicans will just say “Ok. Let’s move on to the other stuff.” NAGA HAPPIN.

    Hate to piss in your snow (well, maybe not “hate”) but NAGA HAPPIN anyway. They’ve got what they wanted in the remainder of this Congress. After the votes confirming, they’re going to be pushing to go home to dream of happier days ahead in the 112th Congress. Boner will want time to pick out an attractive shade of orange to accessorize his Speakership. Bachmann will need time to come up with another name for earmarks for her district.

    Once they have their top tier tax cuts and estate tax in their pocket, those “serious people” will say other legislations needs time for careful and serious deliberation. In the 112th Congress.

    Sure, that hasn’t happened yet. But what do you think is more likely, that scenario, or R-baggers filled with holiday benevolence gleefully and quickly taking up DADT, DREAM, START, and other nyms with open hearts and minds. Yeah. Or even more laughable Dems other than Pelosi pushing them to do so.

  298. 298
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    The Dems could easily point out that the Republicans passed the tax cuts that expired and Bush signed em. Then the Dems tried to pass extensions and the Republicans block them.

    That hasn’t worked yet. You can’t just say, “just run against obstructionism,” because running against obstructionism has never been a winning strategy. You need to work out a _winning_ strategy for dealing with Republican obstruction. No one has ever come up with one.

    It’s cognitive dissonance pure and simple. You’re not going to get traction with people who don’t pay that much attention to politics by saying to them, “Republicans made your taxes go up.” It makes no sense. Republicans are the low-tax party. That’s a huge hurdle to overcome.

    Man, I gotta say – lots of you guys here are shitty negotiators. You’d get taken to the cleaners by the Republicans if you were in charge. Because they are willing to go all in and you simply aren’t. They will exploit this over and over and over again and you will be perceived by the public as weak. It’s a lose-lose. Instead, try fighting for stuff – and see what happens.

    I don’t give a fuck if I am perceived as “weak.” Standing firm and letting someone else suffer for your principles is a shit thing to do. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to trade “strength” and sadism for “weakness” and compassion. I will freely admit it: I care more about what happens to people who are suffering and need help than I care about my political organization looking “strong.” I am a bleeding-heart liberal. This “strength” meme doesn’t suit me, and it doesn’t persuade me.

    You can’t stack the deck and act like “strength” is a winning hand every time. If you’ve got a shit hand, you have to fold. If you’ve got a shit hand, you can’t throw millions of unemployed people into the center of the table and raise.

  299. 299
    goblue72 says:

    @joe from Lowell: Oh really? You don’t think the GOP won’t take the debt ceiling hostage? And that Obama won’t cave in the end? That he’ll force a government shutdown and bear down?

    Man, you really are one naive SOB.

  300. 300
    chopper says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    this. obama had to have known that he wasn’t likely to keep the house during a midterm under these conditions. that’s why economic bills have been at the forefront of his agenda for the past two years, so they could get passed before the goopers got ahold of the pursestrings.

    the next two years are going to have a different legislative agenda. i’m hoping obama is able to wheel and deal to get something or other done before the next term in the waning weeks of the lame duck session.

  301. 301

    CNN Exit Poll 2010 Election
    “U.S. House … National Exit Poll … 17,504 Respondents”

    “Vote By Ideology”

    ——-=Total—Democrat–Republican–Other/No Answer

    Liberal (20%)——90%——–8%————2%

    Moderate (38%)—–55%——-42%————3%

    Conservative (42%)-13%——-84%————3%

  302. 302
    Brachiator says:

    @Nick:

    They’re NOT bluffing. They’re perfectly fine with letting the tax cuts expire.

    Interesting speculation, but we don’t know this to be the case, especially since the president claims that the American people are behind him.

    I’ve seen notes in this thread and elsewhere suggest that the Democrats need to capitulate because the voters would blame them anyway and the evil media would never ever let the Democrats get their message out. But the Democrats will never achieve anything if they insist on operating in pre-failure mode.

    On the other hand, I could easily see Americans getting angry and pressuring the Republicans to yield had the Democrats clearly laid out the consequences of Republican obstructionism.

  303. 303
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Hugh:

    professional left

    the person who interviewed Gibbs said the term “professional left” applied to pundits. He said so in an interview. No I can’t find a link to it, but I do not understand why there is confusion over what it means. PROFESSIONAL left. should be self explanatory.

  304. 304
    Pangloss says:

    You convince the public and media of the merits, they in turn shame the Republicans into dealing on more favorable terms.

    This is the silliest thing I’ve read all week. Have you been paying attention for the past two years and three weeks?

  305. 305
    Nick says:

    I question the life experiences of some posters here who get indignant at the idea that some people are going to take a harsh hit if unemployment benefits expire. What world do you live in?

    I have spent most of my life either poor or working with the poor. If you do that, you notice the effects of poverty most easily if you look at the teeth of the poor, particularly the missing ones. Start there. The point is that we have never eradicated poverty.

    Some of you sound as if you’ve never been poor and never knew anyone who was.

  306. 306
    aaron says:

    having principles and integrity means making tough decisions. the tax cuts for the super rich have to die, and if that means unemployment insurance ends, thats the republicans fault.
    yes it sucks.

  307. 307
    ChrisWWW says:

    @Pangloss:
    Democrats were in control of the *entire elected government* at during that time.

    Blaming the Republicans during the last two years was just a distraction from the fact Democrats wouldn’t go nuclear on the filibuster and that they suffer party traitors like Lieberman.

  308. 308

    Liberals represented over 40 percent of the Democratic electorate in the November 2010 election.

    Using CNN’s exit polls “Vote By Ideology”
    “U.S. House…National Exit Poll…17,504 Respondents”
    ———— =Total-Democrat–Republican–Other/No Answer
    Liberal ____=(20%)–90%——–8%————2%
    Moderate ____=(38%)–55%——-42%————3%
    Conservative =(42%)–13%——-84%————3%
    ================================================
    MATH:
    .09 x 20 = 18
    .55 x 38 = 20.9
    .13 x 42 = 05.46
    ================
    _________+_44.36

    18 / 44.36 = 0.405770965
    40.5770965 %

    You are encouraged to check the math.

  309. 309

    “Joe from Lowell”, I did your math for you.

    You are welcome.

  310. 310
    chopper says:

    @News Reference:

    how much of the democratic electorate was made up of the kwazy manic progressives who are claiming to be obama’s “base”? got any ‘math’ for that one?

  311. 311

    “chopper”, do you understand the math above?

    If you don’t, there’s no shame.

  312. 312
    chopper says:

    @News Reference:

    you’re not answering the question.

    we’re not talking about ‘liberals’ in general here. if we were, your stats would make some difference.

  313. 313

    “chopper”, you stated that “neither ‘the professional left’, nor the progressive movement, are obama’s ‘core supporters’.”

    The only identifier that’s equivalent is “liberal”.

    Liberals overwhelmingly voted for Obama in 2008.

    Liberals overwhelmingly voted for Democratic Representatives in 2010.
    (Obama wasn’t on the ballot.)

    Liberals represented 40% of the entire Democratic electorate in 2010.

    It’s clear you don’t understand the math, there’s no shame in that.

    But do you even understand the subject being discussed?

  314. 314
    Hugh says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    the person who interviewed Gibbs said the term “professional left” applied to pundits. He said so in an interview. No I can’t find a link to it, but I do not understand why there is confusion over what it means. PROFESSIONAL left. should be self explanatory.

    Thanks for the response. Because it is routinely used to imply a monolithic block of people, the only common denominator appearing to be that they have said critical things about Obama. If it refers only to left-leaning pundits, then pundit is a word that Merriam Webster defines as:

    : a learned man : teacher

    3: a person who gives opinions in an authoritative manner usually through the mass media : critic ,

    That’s a big, diverse group of people that includes Keith Olbermann, John Cole, Ezra Klein, Rachel Maddow, Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Angry Black Lady, Glenn Greenwald, Duncan Black, Josh Marshall, Matthew Yglesias, Kai Wright, etc. This list is pretty huge. All are professional and all are on the left. Many are strong defenders of Obama.

    Really the term is almost solely used as an insult and it’s true intent is to dismiss the person being called “professional left” as unserious for whatever reason. I have never seen it used otherwise. It’s a lazy tactic.

  315. 315

    Classic “joe from Lowell”:

    “One good thing about a 2012 primary: we’d get to see the unions and the African-American voters slam these pencil-necks up against the wall, and demonstrate exactly who are this party’s base.”

    Thuggish authoritarianism is thuggish authoritarianism.

  316. 316
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @News Reference: You’re going in circles. Yes, liberals constitute a large part of Democrats who vote. Is Obama pissing off _liberals_ — or _a small portion of liberals who demand no less than perfection_? That’s who he whales on. If he lost liberals, that would be bad. But he’s not losing liberals across the board. He’s losing a teeny tiny wedge of obsessive wannabe radicals.

  317. 317
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Hugh:

    it is routinely used to imply a monolithic block of people, the only common denominator appearing to be that they have said critical things about Obama.

    That’s because it _originally_ meant “pundits,” then the pundits who were smacked told all their fans that it didn’t really mean just pundits, it meant all of them too, so some of them took it on as an ironic label: “I may be just part of the ‘professional left,’ harhar, but I think Obama’s really blowing it this time!” So now “professional left” is used ironically from the other side as well, to mean “all those people who flatter themselves by thinking they’re the ‘professional left.'”

  318. 318
    Hugh says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    That’s because it originally meant “pundits,” then the pundits who were smacked told all their fans that it didn’t really mean just pundits, it meant all of them too, so some of them took it on as an ironic label: “I may be just part of the ‘professional left,’ harhar, but I think Obama’s really blowing it this time!” So now “professional left” is used ironically from the other side as well, to mean “all those people who flatter themselves by thinking they’re the ‘professional left.’

    Don’t you think it’s time to drop it? It sounds like it has no meaning anymore. It’s just an insult. Which of the circles-within-circles meaning did John Cole use in this post for example?

  319. 319

    FlipYrWhig “a small portion of liberals who demand no less than perfection”

    There is a logical fallacy named for FlipYrWhig’s argumentation style that is common with Obama and his authoritarian followers….

    Nobody demanded “perfection” and Obama and his authoritarian followers know that.

    But it’s easier to tear down people who don’t exist (ahem, “strawmen”) than it is to honestly acknowledge the long and growing list of substantive criticisms of Obama.

  320. 320

    FlipYrWhig “a small portion of liberals who demand no less than perfection”

    There is a logical fallacy named for FlipYrWhig’s argumentation style that is common with Obama and his authoritarian followers….

    Nobody demanded “perfection” and Obama and his authoritarian followers know that.

    But it’s easier to tear down people who don’t exist (ahem, “strawmen”) than it is to honestly acknowledge the long and growing list of substantive criticisms of Obama.

    (reposted)

  321. 321
  322. 322
    Elie says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    This too..

    I would add that within that teeny tiny group there is another even smaller group of lefty “liberals” who are neither lefty, nor liberal but agents of whatever stripe who benefit or who advocate for entities that benefit in keeping the left progressives split and at war with each other…

  323. 323

    @Joe Beese: C’mon Joe – unemployment’s going to be down to at least 9.6% thanks to the massive rounding error stimulative effects of the Great Stealth Stimulus Package of 2010!

  324. 324

    Oh, and as for Plan B:

    – Let the Bush tax cuts and estate tax boondoggle expire
    – Veto any attempt by the new GOP congress to pass new rich people tax cuts
    – Happily welcome any new legislation that offers middle class tax cuts, UI extensions, etc, if and when it arrives
    – Enjoy the extra revenue from the higher marginal tax rates and use it for targeted stimulus wherever possible, trumpet your deficit busting creds when not
    – Get out and off your ass and help people in need in your community as much as you can (plan on doing this times 10 in the out years if the compromise goes through)
    – Jockey for a Palin presidential run as well as you can, so Obama is guaranteed a second term despite likely political fallout from Plan A failing

  325. 325
    Cycloptichorn says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t give a fuck if I am perceived as “weak.”

    I am a bleeding-heart liberal. This “strength” meme doesn’t suit me, and it doesn’t persuade me.

    Guess what? Shit like this is why people like you should be kept as far from the negotiating table as possible. Because this is how politics works. There’s no room for your bleeding heart here, the stakes are far too high for all of us.

    If you are ALWAYS willing to compromise – because you just can’t bear the thought of not getting at least part of what you want – and the other side NEVER is, you will lose. Every time. In fact, you’re doing everything you can to fuck all of us who have similar principles as you. You’re advocating a constant and never-ending retreat away from what is right.

    The Republicans are going to do everything they can to screw the country, because folks like you will just let them. You say,

    . If you’ve got a shit hand, you have to fold. If you’ve got a shit hand, you can’t throw millions of unemployed people into the center of the table and raise.

    Do you even play poker? And win? I doubt it. The whole point of poker is that the other dude doesn’t know if your hand is shit or not unless you tell them through your actions that it is. And everything about your attitude just screams ‘take advantage of me!’

    The truth is that the REPUBLICANS have much more of a shit hand than the Dems do… they don’t have the power to pass a single bill that Obama and the Senate doesn’t let them pass. So fuck ’em. Tell them that they will get nothing unless they play ball – nothing at all. And see what happens.

    Like one of the posters above, I should point out that I conduct business negotiations all the time. And I can tell you right now that your insistence that we have to do whatever the other side wants, right now, because the alternative is just not possible, is the worst attitude and most losing hand possible. It couldn’t be worse. I would eat your lunch if you came to the table with such an attitude. And that’s exactly what the Republicans have been doing with Obama and this Congress this entire year, and that is what they will continue to do if we don’t stand up to them.

  326. 326

    @celticdragonchick:

    The President is predictably having his ‘Sista Solja” moment and David Broder is spunking all over his keyboard in ecstasy.

    Exactly. Every time Obama & Co. take a big steaming dump on their base, the less the base comes out to vote during election times, the more the Cro-Mag Repugs win, the more the “Centre” moves to the right, the more “Centrist” Dems and “Centrist” overpaid jerk-off artists stamp their feet & temper-tantrum at genuine progressives saying that their losses are our fault & if we really want to succeed we need to “move to the centre” & be more like Republicans.

    Repeat Ad Nauseam.

    & watching Obama throw genuine progressives like Van Jones & S. Sherrod under the bus every time those paragons of integrity Beck and Breitbart snap their fingers doesn’t help either.

    They aren’t the motherfucking base.

    Of course not. They’re just the schlubs who busted their asses getting out the vote, getting people to registered to vote, donating money they could’ve spent on groceries and volunteering time they didn’t have to get people to the polls because they’re blissfully unaware that the more people you have voting, the more people vote Democratic. & Obama has never been called a Marxist / Socalist / DirtyFuckingKenyanNiggerCommieDeathPanelDrone by his opponents because he didn’t espouse progressive wish-list items like Universal Health Care during his 2008 campaign. Right-o.

    One good thing about a 2012 primary: we’d get to see the unions and the African-American voters slam these pencil-necks up against the wall, and demonstrate exactly who are this party’s base.

    Are you taking about the African-Americans who are routinely targeted by racially-motivated & viciously effective voter supression campaigns (i.e.: Florida 2000, ACORN) or the unions who’ve had to watch their influence wither on the vine for the last 16 years because their members don’t have the jobs that pay the wages that allow them to afford the Union Dues because the manufacturing base has been outsourced to slave-labour countries like Mexico & China under NAFTA, which was passed under Democratic president and was touted by the same press that didn’t raise a peep in opposition to Gulf War version 2.0 as “Clinton’s Stunning Victory!”? That “Real Base”?

    I’d like to go nuts now. Everybody else is doing it. It kinda looks like fun. If all of them are getting a free pass to talk to themselves in public, blab on the phone all the time, scream, spit, piss, puke, run you over with their car – whatever – I want one. At the very least you get more sidewalk room.

  327. 327
    Sweet Fanny Adams says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    “Unhand me! I have an MFA, and a blog!”

    You made me LOL. Thanks for that.

  328. 328
    DPirate says:

    I don’t see what legislation is all that important other than raising taxes. Even START isn’t a big deal – keeping Russia from building more nukes while we turn a blind eye to Israel trying to sell them (and Bushetal trying to steal them) is uninspiring [for those who’ve forgotten, we survived the Cold War].

    Taxes have to go up. That’s it for import. Why that is true ought to be the discussion, because that is the basis for our troubles.

    If Obametal insists on ignoring our problems by allowing his loyal opposition to block his high-minded do-nothingism, well then, he is the problem, too.

  329. 329
    DPirate says:

    @Nick: They haven’t. I don’t think you find progressivism from poverty here, but rather something more akin to ivy league liberalism. Hopefully it is wrong, but when DADT is considered “must pass” while excuses are made for not taking a stand on taxation, it isn’t any great leap to pigeonhole the commenting population.

    Anyway, the poor will always be the most willing to sacrifice, simply because they haven’t anything to lose. I think that may be a factor with why the democrats don’t fight, in that their decentralized leadership inevitably tries above all to keep from losing what it has. It ends up losing everything slowly.

  330. 330

    @News Reference:
    Hey, at least he’s taking his anger out on someone. Too bad his target is fellow Dems and not the Repugs.

  331. 331
    Ron E. says:

    Here’s a plan to get only the middle class tax cuts extended, additional stimulus, the DADT repeal, the DREAM act, and debt limit extension passed: change the Senate rules to get rid of the filibuster RIGHT NOW then pass all those bills that have already passed the House with a simple majority in the Senate. Yes it’s not going to happen but there’s no reason it couldn’t. Unfortunately a significant number of Senate Democrats are perfectly happy to have the GOP to filibuster everything and watch our country circle the drain.

  332. 332
    mm says:

    @mantis: Amen. It’s like trying to paddle your canoe up Niagara Falls.

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