Legislative LARPing

…. With a side of poorly-thought-out BDSM. Dana Milbank brings news of how “Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government“:

… A band of the first-term members of Congress demonstrated their legislative maturity Wednesday by announcing, in a news conference outside the Capitol, that they wished to deliver a message to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But rather than merely send him an e-mail or hire a courier, the lawmakers instead marched up the East Front steps and presented themselves at a seldom-used ceremonial door.
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Being a ceremonial door, it was locked and alarmed — and so the freshmen used two strips of their blue tape to affix the letter, enclosed in a large manila envelope with the words “MR. REID” handwritten in four-inch letters.
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“We’re doing our job in the House of Representatives,” announced Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), a member of the blue-tape brigade. “We put forth a proposal that would cut $61 billion . . . and yet Senator Reid won’t even, uh, consider that. That is dereliction of duty.”
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Actually, Congresswoman, the derelict Reid did bring that proposal to a vote in the Senate — and it failed, 56 to 44.

The only difference between these jenkem-huffing Rethugs and the sweaty data analysts in elf-garb carpooling to the state park for a weekend of chasing each other around with sticks is that most Live-Action-Role-Players have a sense of humor about their hobby. Oh, yeah, and the LARPers aren’t getting paid by the taxpayers to strut a series of complicated imaginary personas.

Reid can afford to be serene. The March Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the public would blame Republicans over President Obama for a shutdown, 45 percent to 31 percent. Just a couple of weeks earlier, they were even.
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To overcome this, House Republican leaders announced a novel solution: They would suspend the Constitution to have the House enact a law without the agreement of the Senate. They will pursue this exotic maneuver on Friday — April Fool’s Day.
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Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announcing this “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act,” told reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.” Just like that!
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After several questions about this proposal, Cantor admitted that for his scheme to work, the Senate would first have to agree to surrender its constitutional authority.

There was also something about “winged monkeys flying out of the questioner’s posterior”, but that doesn’t seem to have been captured on the video.

I don’t think Roy Edroso’s seminal “Evil vs. Stupid Axis” is adequate to fully describe the new balls-to-the-wall FAILPARADE that is modern Republicanism. I propose a new Golden Triangle: Mean, Dumb, and Crazy. Start drawing those diagrams now… or, if you’re a federal employee, wait until April 8, ’cause you may have some extra time on your hands then.

63 replies
  1. 1
    Zandar says:

    The talk of a shutdown is bullshit. Never was going to happen.

    What did happen is that the GOP’s original proposal out of the House Appropriations committee for $32 billion in immediate cuts is now the minimum of what the GOP will get.

    Dems failed across the board on this one, falling for this shutdown “bad cop, insane cop” ploy from Boehner and Cantor. The corporate interests that run this country and the GOP won’t allow a shutdown, and they won’t allow a debt ceiling default either.

    So when the GOP makes their first hostage negotiation position on the debt ceiling public, pay attention to it. It’s what the Dems will pass, and they’ll pretend it’s a victory.

  2. 2
    stuckinred says:

    @Zandar: What else is new?

  3. 3

    Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announcing this “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act,” told reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.”

    Continued Cantor, “Then, instead of sending the bill to the President for his signature, my girlfriend Sherrie will hold it up in the air and walk around the House chamber in a bikini. Like between the rounds at one of those fights in Vegas. It’ll be awesome.”

  4. 4
    cleek says:

    they ain’t necessarily dumb; they’re simply powerless in Congress, but desperate to keep favor with The Base. can’t compromise on anything, can’t do anything on their own, but have to appear like they’re fighting the good fight. so, symbolic but impotent stunts is what they got.

    imagine if the Dems cared enough about their base to make a spectacle out of themselves just to curry favor.

    mmm. curry.

  5. 5
    kdaug says:

    Blue tape brigade.

    I’m sticking to it.

  6. 6
    JasonF says:

    If we had a real press, they’d ask each and every one of these idiots why it is so important that we cut $61 billion from the budget. Because the bond market certainly doesn’t seem to think it’s important.

  7. 7
    agrippa says:

    If anyone in Washington has any sense, there will not be a shutdown.

    I think that it is farce, as Washington usually is.

  8. 8
    geg6 says:

    @cleek:

    mmm. curry.

    I hate curry. It smells like dirty feet to me. Kinda like the congressional GOP.

  9. 9
    RosiesDad says:

    I don’t think Roy Edroso’s seminal “Evil vs. Stupid Axis” is adequate to fully describe the new balls-to-the-wall FAILPARADE that is modern Republicanism.

    And yet voting Americans continue to send these ass hats to Washington (and many state capitals) in numbers large enough to continue to destroy the nation, bit by bit. Tragically ironic doesn’t even begin to sum it up.

  10. 10
    jinxtigr says:

    they would suspend the Constitution

    WHAT

    No, literally, I saw that and went ‘what?!’ out loud.

    Surely a lot of traditionally Republican voters would, will, have a similar reaction? What an epic gaffe!

  11. 11
    p.a. says:

    Mean, Dumb, and Crazy

    Venn Diagram, one circle. What color does overlapping red, yellow, blue make?

  12. 12
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @JasonF: The bond market has numbers and percents and stuff. That’s complicated. They’ll just report on the latest Youtube video everyone is watching instead. It’s got a baby in it! Meanwhile the serious journalists (cough Jake Tapper cough) will keep explaining why Fox is too an objective news source and making witty jokes mocking his viewers on twitter.

  13. 13
    Scott says:

    @jinxtigr: That was my reaction, too. Entirely classic Flat What, in fact.

  14. 14
    RSR says:

    A few weeks ago, our six year old asked out of the blue, “What’s the difference between fools, maniacs and idiots?” Someday I’ll have him read this post and ask him to try to answer that question himself.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @p.a.: Tea.

  16. 16
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    p.a. @ 11: Well, white or black, depending on whether you are talking about additive or subtractive colour mixing.

  17. 17
    cleek says:

    @geg6:
    I hate curry cheese. It smells like dirty feet to me.

    FTFY!

  18. 18
    Meanderthal says:

    The only difference between these jenkem-huffing Rethugs and the sweaty data analysts in elf-garb carpooling to the state park for a weekend of chasing each other around with sticks is that most Live-Action-Role-Players have a sense of humor about their hobby.

    Speaking for the LARPers: Fuck you. Where the hell did that comparison come from, anyway? The video gamers, furries, Trekkies, and fan-fic writers weren’t available?

    “I know! LARPers! They’re weird! I’ll say they’re just like Republicans!”

    Funny, I don’t recall doing anything to deserve that shit.

  19. 19
    BobS says:

    For sometime now I’ve used a different triangle, with the corners marked HATE FEAR GREED, to plot Republican policy.

  20. 20
    Punchy says:

    the sweaty data analysts in elf-garb carpooling to the state park for a weekend of chasing each other around with sticks

    I almost ralphed my breakfast laughing so hard at this. Anne owes me a new monitor and will need to explain such new purchase to my boss.

  21. 21
    Svensker says:

    @p.a.:

    What color does overlapping red, yellow, blue make?

    Shit brown.

  22. 22
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Meanderthal: Well, there’s at least one LARPer who doesn’t have a sense of humor about the hobby.

  23. 23
    SpotWeld says:

    Small amount of deviation here. On some level LARPers know they are egaging in fantasy. A very immersive fantasy, but one they all realize ends and then they can go back to world of indoor plumbing.

    The Republican Freshmen seem to be working on some sort of cargo cult version of goverment.
    They don’t know how to make certain “magical” events work (i.e. passing of H.R. 1) so they go though these “special acions” that are supposed to somehow invoke the action they desire.

    To the GOP, PR events are magic.

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:

    @p.a.:

    What color does overlapping red, yellow, blue make?

    Turd brown, of course.

    ETA: Beaten to it by Svensker @#21. Looks like more coffee is in order for me.

  25. 25
    Meanderthal says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire: Man, you can laugh at me all you want; I don’t much care. But calling me a Republican? Them’s fighting words.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SpotWeld: Look, Democrats forced health care legislation down their throats; it’s only fair that they get to do something something. The fact that they don’t know anything about policy, economics, legislative procedure, or the Constitution is entirely immaterial. They won control of the House last fall and, in their minds, that means they can do whatever they want.

  27. 27
    Asshole says:

    “To overcome this, House Republican leaders announced a novel solution: They would suspend the Constitution to have the House enact a law without the agreement of the Senate. They will pursue this exotic maneuver on Friday — April Fool’s Day.

    “Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announcing this “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act,” told reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.” Just like that!

    “After several questions about this proposal, Cantor admitted that for his scheme to work, the Senate would first have to agree to surrender its constitutional authority.”

    Is there some provision in the Constitution that would let the Senate do this even if it wanted to? I haven’t checked yet, but I don’t remember Article I or any of the other Articles giving one House of Congress the right to ignore its Constitutional mandates if it feels like it- or the other House the right to send any resulting legislation to the President on its own authority.

    It’s mind-bogglingly stupid. Plus, what would happen then? Would they call on Obama to abdicate his Constitutional authority too, so that anything the House passed automatically became law? How the Hell would this system work even if Obama and Reid did everything they wanted them to do?

  28. 28
    rikryah says:

    they are simply trolls, plain and simple.

  29. 29
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Meanderthal: That’s a legitimate complaint. Except that nobody said that LARPers were Republicans. So I guess it’s not a legitimate complaint at all.

  30. 30
    Meanderthal says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire: Let’s see… “The only difference between these jenkem-huffing Rethugs and the sweaty data analysts in elf-garb carpooling to the state park for a weekend of chasing each other around with sticks”

    Basic reading comprehension really is beyond you, isn’t it?

  31. 31
    J Frank Parnell says:

    Bluegal and Driftglass did a funny show last summer rating the Stupid, Crazy, Evil-ness of all the stars in the Republican constellation.

    http://professionalleft.blogspot.com/ (Jul 16, 2010 episode)

  32. 32

    @Meanderthal: those helicopters in elf-garb are not laughing.

  33. 33
    Meanderthal says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire: Actually, my last comment to you was needlessly rude, and I apologize. FYWP for not letting me delete it.

    That said, exactly how should I interpret a line talking about the only difference between Republicans and LARPers?

  34. 34
    Meanderthal says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I… wait, what?

  35. 35
    rikryah says:

    they can go tack a letter to the WH door, and it still doesn’t stop them from being trolls.

  36. 36
    agrippa says:

    Those people have no sense. They are like children with no adult supervision.

    Black comedy/farce.

    And, the people who voted for them know nothing.

  37. 37
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Asshole: The Senate writes its own rules of order, so theoretically this could be done. Very, very theoretically, since it would require an entire legislative branch to say, “Aw heck, we didn’t want all that power and control anyway.” I’m pretty sure that unlocks the seventh seal, though, so there wouldn’t be much time to pass legislation before pillars of fire razed the land.

    There’d still be the President to get past before any bill became law, soooooo yeah. This is like referring to Common Law precedent from 17th century England to argue that mommy and daddy are required to give you more ice cream and let you stay up until midnight. It won’t work, but it might help with your self-righteous delusions.

  38. 38
    Roger Moore says:

    @Meanderthal:
    I was going to say that most of the Role Players I know care a great deal about getting details right and knowing WTF they’re talking about. If there were a US Congress LARP- not that far fetched, since Model UN is basically a United Nations LARP- these idiots would get laughed out of it for not knowing their shit.

  39. 39
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Meanderthal: She stated there was only one difference, then listed two. For comedic effect. Because it was a joke. As in, not serious.

    The point was that these Republicans, like LARPers, are play-acting a fantasy. Not that LARPers oppose abortion and support the wealthy and are about to shut down the government.

    Reading comprehension entails a bit more than tallying up the words used like a math problem. This is particularly true in a language like English, in which sarcasm, irony, and hyperbole are common. But, feel however you want.

    I suppose when someone tells you, “I’m hungry enough to eat a horse!” you respond with, “A horse has far too much meat for any one human to consume in a single sitting, you damn liar. Also, it’s not possible for you to eat every part, as bones are inedible. Stop insulting my intelligence!”

  40. 40
    t says:

    Would they read the constitution out loud before they suspend it? Maybe they could literally suspend it in the air with wires or something.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Roger Moore: FWIW when I was in high school in Wisconsin, lo, these thirty years ago, we had a program called Youth in Government. We did a model political convention and a model legislative session. I was floor leader of my convention delegation and in the legislature I introduced legislation to remove the tax on beer. I was much more successful as floor leader. One of the nice things ago the Youth in Government program was that bills passed by the program were automatically introduced in the actual legislature. IIRC this is how Wisconsin got its right turn on red law.

    My guess is that the FitzWalkers did not participate when they were in high school.

  42. 42
    Meanderthal says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire: Actually, it’s more like someone saying “I’m so hungry I could eat a gamer!” And, being a slightly paunchy gamer myself, I would reply with “Fuck you.”

    I can’t imagine we’re terribly nutritious anyway.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Meanderthal:
    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    This is possibly the worst blogfight ever.

  44. 44
    Meanderthal says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I suppose that’s a distinction of a sort. I’ll take it.

  45. 45
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That offends me terribly. I must now destroy you.

    LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT!

  46. 46
    Meanderthal says:

    Oh, and Anne Laurie, I would like to retract my earlier rudeness. I had a big ol’ bowl of Rage Flakes this morning (watched the news) and am quite well primed to react badly when I hear the word “Republican”. So yes, sorry.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    Is it just me, or does this seem like an attempt to use Gov. Walker’s strategy of ignoring the other branches of government on a federal level?

  48. 48
    Asshole says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    The Senate writes its own rules of order, so theoretically this could be done. Very, very theoretically, since it would require an entire legislative branch to say, “Aw heck, we didn’t want all that power and control anyway.” I’m pretty sure that unlocks the seventh seal, though, so there wouldn’t be much time to pass legislation before pillars of fire razed the land.

    Could they use the rules of order to completely circumvent their own constitutional authority, though? I mean, if somehow Cantor was able to brainwash the Senate into that bit of insanity using his mind-control ray, wouldn’t it make more sense just to have them rubber-stamp the House bill? Or did becoming an evil super-villain destroy that part of his brain that maybe once understood how the Constitution works and what ideas might create problems?

    There’d still be the President to get past before any bill became law, soooooo yeah. This is like referring to Common Law precedent from 17th century England to argue that mommy and daddy are required to give you more ice cream and let you stay up until midnight. It won’t work, but it might help with your self-righteous delusions.

    Maybe they’ll be impressed with my legal research and give in. Of course, for Cantor et al this would be too much work. So maybe it’s like arguing that the Magna Carta explicitly calls for all children to have ice cream and midnight bedtimes, facts be damned.

  49. 49
    Meanderthal says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT!

    See, now that was funny.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Asshole:

    Or did becoming an evil super-villain destroy that part of his brain that maybe once understood how the Constitution works and what ideas might create problems?

    Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

  51. 51
    Asshole says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    That’s why I worded it so hypothetically.

    It’s a huge leap of faith to assume that Cantor’s ever read the US Constitution word for word, I know.

  52. 52
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Asshole: I was thinking that the Senate could set its rules to simply be, “The Senate shall automatically pass any bill that is first passed in the House,” only in more legalistic terms. It seems that they’d still need a quorum present to even do that, however. If you thought C-SPAN was boring before…

    To be honest, I can’t help but feel this would be an improvement. Fuck the Senate.

    Of course, there are Marvel Comics superhero origin stories that are more plausible than this, so this idea is nothing more than wankery from some dude with a pocket Constitution.

    What worries me is that, after what’s happened in Wisconsin, we can expect a lot more fantasy legislative league bullshit from the Republicans. They seem to think that as long as they can hand-wave the rules with some kind of half-plausible rationale, they can do whatever they please. And, if they control the executive, they will.

  53. 53
    Judas Escargot (aka "your liberal-interventionist pal, who's fun to be with") says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, not just you. Definitely a theme/meme here.

    Is the Right spin-testing some new theory of “top-down civil disobedience”?

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ Judas Escargot (etc.) (Reply button isn’t working for some reason) I think many of those on the right are not comfortable with concepts like majority rule, minority rights, and separation of powers. Fundamentally, they want a monarchy or dictatorship.

  55. 55
    PWL says:

    I think what’s bothering me is that these people seem to get more and more crazy every day. Suspend the Constitution? Yes, I’m sure many of these Repubs would like that–especially that pesky Bill of Rights (well, except for the Second Amendment, of course).

    And then Cantor has to admit that the Senate would have to agree to surrender its Constitutional authority. Like that’s going to happen. These folks are all in la-la land.

  56. 56
    sukabi says:

    Cantor & crew are attempting on the national stage what the assholes in Wisconsin and other states are doing at the state level… the difference being that there is still some “official” opposition at the national level…

    State attempts at dictatorial rule will also fail, it will just take longer… as they don’t have substantial “official” opposition and this will have to work it’s way through the courts….

  57. 57
    Bruce S says:

    This is funny…or…er…it would be funny if it wasn’t so damned sick and sad. My guess is that Eisenhower started rolling over in his grave around the time of Nixon’s cynical escalations in Vietnam and Watergate, but the poor SOB has got to be doing quadruple spins these days. My family was Republican, but nothing like these grifters, psychopaths and demagogues.

  58. 58
    Asshole says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    I was thinking that the Senate could set its rules to simply be, “The Senate shall automatically pass any bill that is first passed in the House,” only in more legalistic terms. It seems that they’d still need a quorum present to even do that, however. If you thought C-SPAN was boring before…

    See, you’d be using the mind control ray much better than Cantor, though. he seems to believe that the Senate could just officially vote itself temporarily out of existence or something.

    To be honest, I can’t help but feel this would be an improvement. Fuck the Senate.

    For the moment, I’m forced to say that I’ll take them over the House. The House is a lot more entertaining, though, in a nihilistic pyromaniac way.

    Also, if Scalia or Thomas get sick and retires in the next several months and decides to retire (very unlikely, I admit), that Senate might come in handy.

    Of course, there are Marvel Comics superhero origin stories that are more plausible than this, so this idea is nothing more than wankery from some dude with a pocket Constitution.

    Some dude who didn’t read that pocket Constitution, either. At least, not before opening his second pint of Old Crow whiskey.

    What worries me is that, after what’s happened in Wisconsin, we can expect a lot more fantasy legislative league bullshit from the Republicans. They seem to think that as long as they can hand-wave the rules with some kind of half-plausible rationale, they can do whatever they please. And, if they control the executive, they will.

    I’m very eager to see what happens in Wisconsin. Will the judge start holding Attorneys General in contempt? Who arrests whom? Does the governor pardon everyone immediately? How does that even work? And, is it dress rehearsal for the Palin/Bachmann/Anti-Christ Presidency of January 2017-June 2017 when the world officially ends?

  59. 59
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    Gubmint takes some of my candy. GOP Daddy promise good rich boys and girls get more candy, no more candy for loser poor boys and girls.

    I wanna be rich, I gonna be rich someday real soon! I don’t wanna be loser poor boy or girl, so more candy for me if GOP Daddy takes over. I luves GOP Daddy!

    But GOP Daddy wouldn’t be mean and take away my gubmint candy, wudd he?

  60. 60
    Redshift says:

    Some dude who didn’t read that pocket Constitution, either. At least, not before opening his second pint of Old Crow whiskey.

    Hey, carrying it around in your pocket and waving it at every opportunity absolves you of all responsibility for actually reading it!

    The Constitution fetishists are exactly like the people who claim “I read the Bible every day!” — they just read their favorite bits over and over (probably one-handed) and take on faith the word of their favorite authority for everything else.

  61. 61
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    “The Constitution fetishists are exactly like the people who claim “I read the Bible every day!”—they just read their favorite bits over and over (probably one-handed) and take on faith the word of their favorite authority for everything else.”

    That’s why the GOP proposed 42 amendments to the constitution in the last congress.

  62. 62
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @SpotWeld:

    To the GOP, PR events are magic.

    I think you sum up, in one pithy sentence, exactly what is wrong with most of the Republican politicians these days. They still believe in magic (as they define it). Of course, no decent fundamentalist “Christian” conservative would openly advocate magic (see what they tried to do to the Harry Potter series). But they do suffer from magical thinking. Some of our very far leftists do, also, just for balance. But the far leftists aren’t running the Democratic Party.

    Most of the Republicans today seem to be permanently frozen in, at best, early adolescence, and some even still in elementary school. They don’t look at evidence, but reason from (I believe I’m using the term correctly) First Principles. If evidence contradicts their views they double down.

    It’s like little children who still believe that if they scrunch their eyes real closed and wish as hard as they can, they can get the magic pony or dog or bicycle or whatever their little hearts desire. And if they have parents who can afford to indulge their wishes, then they get what they wished for. But for the adult Republicans (and for the rest of us) there are no indulgent parents. Yet they continue to behave as if there were.

    I’m sure everyone here is familiar with Robert Altman’s work on authoritarianism. If you aren’t, google-fu and read his book (free online). Fascinating and illuminates a lot.

  63. 63
    Batocchio says:

    Mean, Dumb, and Crazy. Start drawing those diagrams now…

    As it so happens, I drew the Stupid-Evil-Crazy vortex last November…

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