I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it.

It makes perfect sense to have some limit on how high government debt can get. You can’t have a situation where some poorly thought out program or budgeting accident runs up the national debt like a tween with no texting plan on her phone. After all, Congress can always raise the limit when the need comes up. Whoever put that in place no doubt took it as a given that any leaders who screwed around with the debt limit would have their fingerprints all over a financial calamity and get slaughtered in the next election.

And yet here we are. Mitch McConnell now says that we cut Medicare or the economy gets it.

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122 replies
  1. 1

    The debt limit is bad law designed by politicians who can’t stop themselves.

  2. 2
    EconWatcher says:

    Either I’ve lost my mind, or this–combined with the Ryan plan–is the GOP’s suicide.

    Dems should start running ads right now.

  3. 3
    4tehlulz says:

    They really are starting believe that default has no consequences, do they?

    Maybe they really go dancing with trains. Since, they’re sure that nothing will happen if you jump out of the way within a few seconds after getting hit, they would kick ass at chicken.

  4. 4
    WyldPirate says:

    And yet here we are. Mitch McConnell now says that we cut Medicare or the economy gets it.

    Watch the Dems willingly capitulate and do the dirty work for the Rethugs. Obama will probably lead the way by undercutting his own bargaining position…as usual..

    And the goalposts of sane government will move ever-further rightward towards Insaneville…

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    McConnell is delusional. though i don’t doubt that there are plenty of Dems willing to give him cover.

    OT:
    GOP Dream Ticket: Huntsman/Bachmann.

    no really. the author tries to make the case for it.

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    Ugh. I’m already feeling budget pressures at work. And I work for the fucking government. And I’m a fucking REVENUE GENERATOR for the government. I don’t really have much choice but to ride this shit out. And vote.

    @Suffern ACE: I read that too and I was like whaaa?? 9iu11ani?

  7. 7
    overeducated says:

    Whatever. 2 things make this total hogwash:

    1. Coming out and holding the government hostage unless you cut medicare is perhaps the most unpopular position a human can take. Seniors will literally burn their houses down.

    2. The moneyed interests that support the Republican party would never let them torpedo the economy for realz. If they do then all that support goes to the Dems and the Republican party ceases to exist.

    The democrats response should be an updated internet meme: “I highly encourage you to continue on your present course of action, you homosexual.”

  8. 8
    Suffern ACE says:

    OT – but the CNN polls on the right of the linked TPM article show that Guiliani leads the Republican field if his name is added to the list. Or am I reading that wrong…

  9. 9
    Violet says:

    I just heard on the radio that Governor Rick Perry (TX) will “think about” running for President after the legislative session is finished.

    That’s just what we need, another former Governor of Texas as President. We’ve all seen how that works out.

  10. 10
    fuzed says:

    o/T but.. via digby
    “RT @RickSantorumPR: We know we have a lot of work ahead, but by the end of this year,Santorum will be on the lips of every young Republican.”

    Ewwww

  11. 11
    Joe Bauers says:

    Fuck it. Stop negotiating with hostage takers and let them blow up the goddamn world. They’re going to do it sooner or later anyway. Just let them do it and get it over with so we can start sifting through the rubble.

  12. 12
    freelancer says:

    The Party of Wall Street will never stand locked arm in arm against the wishes of Wall Street, which is what they boast they’ll do. The financial lobby will never let them take it that far. Call their bluff (The stakes are huge, I know, but that’s what makes this posturing such a transparent bluff).

  13. 13
    Martin says:

    @overeducated: Exactly. Somehow, this so-called tough on terrorism, serious group of adults can’t seem to figure out how to get out of a hostage situation with a bunch of old people that wear funny hats and hold misspelled signs. Monty Python couldn’t parody these guys.

  14. 14
    PeakVT says:

    The Republicans are saying “We’ll shoot the patient unless you let us amputate.” (Ahem).

    The problem is that the patient only has pneumonia.

  15. 15
    Montysano says:

    The Republicans realize that, by endorsing the Ryan Plan (on record!), they made what must be one of the dumbest moves in modern politics. This is their strategy to un-paint themselves from the corner: hold a gun to the economy’s head and force the Democrats to join the Cut Medicare Club.

    This should be easy, but some level of spine will be required.

  16. 16
    Dennis SGMM says:

    From the article:

    The question now is whether Democrats will be on board with this, or whether they’ll try to call the GOP’s bluff.

    I think that we can eliminate the second option here. “Soft on deficits,” has joined “Soft on terrorism,” as an easy way for the Republicans to make the Dems roll over and play dead. Democrats who should know better have already joined the GOP and a complicit media in declaring Social Security (Fully self-funded through 2037) to be a component of today’s deficit. There is no rock to die on for the Democrats while the Republicans have a new one every day.

  17. 17
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I think the Turtle broke into the Catnip Closet. His puppet master will be along any time now to inform him to stop f’ing with the debt ceiling.

  18. 18
    danimal says:

    Call. The. Bluff.

  19. 19
    Martin says:

    @Dennis SGMM: I’m not so sure. I think Obama was (politically, not economically) smart to hold out on middle class tax cuts. The Dems can honestly deliver a message into 2012 that they’ve been trying to balance the budget by raising revenues off of the top 5% but the GOP won’t let them.

    Normally, I’d say that the Dems would completely blow the opportunity to turn that into a campaign message, but I have unusual faith in DWS to not fuck this up. She’s a bulldog, and she knows how to drill this right into the heart of retirees in Florida.

  20. 20
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    Calling the Bluff is the smartest thing to do. Which is precisely why we’re going to have at least 1/3 of the Dems hop on board with the ultimatum, because they have ‘serious concerns’ about the debt.

    We always have to live with situations where the Dems should do something smart, and a good full 1/3 will always jump aboard the other side, precisely because the other option is good for Dems, and thus ‘partisan’.

    Enjoy the collapse, folks, because it’s happening in real time.

  21. 21
    NamelessGenXer says:

    @fuzed:

    Santorum will be on the lips of every young Republican

    LO-freakin-L!

  22. 22
    Steve says:

    What makes no sense is decoupling the debt ceiling from the budget vote. Every other country does them at the same time, because it makes no sense to treat them separately. It’s like telling your kid they can spend up to $20 at the mall but then having a separate debate on whether to give them a $20 bill.

    I guess it’s just another form of American exceptionalism!

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @Steve: Most countries don’t have debt ceiling laws like ours. So they don’t have to go through this dance of stupidity every so often, which in a sense doesn’t really negate your point.

  24. 24
    Anoniminous says:

    Two choices:

    1. Raise the debt ceiling

    2. Crash the US economy and watch the global economy go under as well

  25. 25
    E. Nigma says:

    Question: It is possible Timothy Geithner can stop payments of the salaries of Congressmen as an emergency measure until the debt ceiling is raised?

    Congress shouldn’t be paid for the job it isn’t doing.

  26. 26
    jibeaux says:

    Paul Ryan finally responded to Ezra Klein’s questions. Did you know that it’s not cost-shifting and there’s no tax cuts?

    If there’s one thing that makes me happy, it’s to see these guys doubling down on that turd.

  27. 27
    Martin says:

    Well, at some point the stock market is going to get whacked over this, and then the people that matter will tell the GOP to knock it the fuck off. There’s not really that much to worry about here.

  28. 28
    Lev says:

    I just had a post on this over at my digs (click on my name to visit! We’d be glad to have you) and I came to the conclusion that Mitch McConnell’s attempt to secure senior support by trashing popular programs that seniors love is bound to fail for a few reasons, notably because the Democrats in Congress have already survived a campaign where they were accused of cutting Medicare benefits, the people challenging the 2010 GOP freshmen next year will not be voting on any such bill, and that if it came to that, Obama could pull a ’96 Bill Clinton and campaign on restoring the cuts, arguing that Republicans forced him to do it to escape a default/depression/apocalypse. Plus, cutting spending is not as extreme as phaseout/vouchers/privatization in the eyes of anyone. This might well be the dumbest thing McConnell has ever done.

  29. 29
    Fred says:

    Yawwwnnnn. Is there something in the air that makes IQ’s drop.

    It’s all a bluff. Rethugs are whispering to Wall Street and the Chamber that it’s all a bluff. Rethugs know that if they actually went through with it, what happened to them in Gingrich’s shutdown would look like childs play compared to the beating they would get over this.

    Oh, and NOBODY understands all this better than Obama and his administration. So settle the fuck down and talk about things you know more about like the fact Palin is an idiot!

    Or the speculation that Palin will run…which btw is another thing that is NEVER going to happen and was NEVER in the cards in the first place!

    http://29.media.tumblr.com/tum.....o1_500.jpg

  30. 30
    lacp says:

    @NamelessGenXer: It isn’t already?

  31. 31
    Poopyman says:

    @cleek: Don’t just say “the author”. This guy needs called out. It’s Ed Rogers, and as the WaPo sez:

    The writer, a former White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, is chairman of BGR Group, a Washington lobbying firm.

  32. 32

    @Fred: Do you have any actual, you know, “links” to back up your “whispering” theory?

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    Typically, when the Terrorist (Republican) is holding the hostage (America) while issuing death threats, the correct course of action is to call in the sniper shot.

  34. 34
    Ash Can says:

    I guess the GOP is going through its various leaders one by one — if people don’t like hearing the threat to crash the economy from Boehner, maybe they’ll like hearing it from Cantor instead. Or Priebus. Or Gingrich. Or Limbaugh. Hey, let’s try McConnell. People will be totally on board if he says it…

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @4tehlulz:

    They really are starting believe that default has no consequences, do they?

    The base, yeah, the people dumb enough to think 2 and 2 are 5 if that’s what Glenn, Rush and Sarah tell them to. The people who’re actually in charge, I suspect, know full well how horrific the consequences would be, they know the Democrats know it too, and they’re counting on that to force them to back down and grant the concessions being demanded of them.

  36. 36

    Posturing is posturing, and I assume everyone here expected tons of it during the negotiations. And they want the same thing they wanted last time and have wanted for ages.

    The only news here is that they’re fucking morons enough to say out loud that they’re attacking Medicare. In a way that nobody can miss or mistake.

  37. 37
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Fred:

    It’s all a bluff. Rethugs are whispering to Wall Street and the Chamber that it’s all a bluff. Rethugs know that if they actually went through with it, what happened to them in Gingrich’s shutdown would look like childs play compared to the beating they would get over this.

    It isn’t Obama or even the DNC (now in DWS’s capable hands) that has people freaked out over the possibility of the Dems snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It is the freaking Blue Dog Dems in the Senate, who view a winning Dem message in roughly the same way a dog views a fire hydrant, as something to piss on to mark their territory.

    And if the Senate Blue Dogs do what they always do in this situation, who do you think is going to be all over the TV “representing” the Democractic party, them, or somebody who actually has a brain and the best interests of the country at heart?

  38. 38
    cleek says:

    @Poopyman:
    oh, that guy.

    yeah, i didn’t get to the bottom of the article. i was afraid if my jaw dropped any farther, i’d injure myself.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    cleek says:

    @TenguPhule:
    what’s the sniper in this analogy ?

  41. 41
    Montysano says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    @Fred: Do you have any actual, you know, “links” to back up your “whispering” theory?

    I doubt that it’s a provable theory, but he’s correct: no way is Wall Street going to stand idly by while their puppets in Congress lead us into default.

  42. 42
    Poopyman says:

    @cleek: Yeah, another liberal in the liberal stable of liberal authors at the liberal Washington Post.

  43. 43
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Martin:

    The Dems can honestly deliver a message into 2012 that they’ve been trying to balance the budget by raising revenues off of the top 5% but the GOP won’t let them.

    As much as I’d like to see the Dems make a coup the whole thing runs aground on “deliver a message.” Between the media and the D’s wretched messaging the Republicans still have a reputation for cutting taxes while the Democrats do not.

  44. 44
    Chris says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Based on your corporate access policies, access to this web site (http://whatthefuckismysocialmediastrategy.com/ ) has been blocked because the web category “Tasteless & Offensive” is not allowed.

    Damn it! I’ll bet it was awesome, too.

  45. 45
    Poopyman says:

    @cleek: I’m only coming up with Barney Fife. Hope a better one comes along.

  46. 46
    Carl Nyberg says:

    What stops progressive Democrats from withholding their votes unless the Bush tax cuts are repealed and all U.S. troops are withdrawn from Iraq?

  47. 47
    The Dangerman says:

    @danimal:

    Call. The. Bluff.

    Exactly.

    The worst that can happen is the economy blows up; BFD. I can live on Ramen (I went to college). Let’s see some Fat Cats do similarly.

  48. 48
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Montysano: Of course, it is possible that all of them could feel properly hedged to profit handsomely against default only to find that the counterparties cannot pay.

  49. 49

    @Chris: So i assume most of the rw nutosphere is also not accessible at your office?

    It is pretty funny. You should look it up on a non-stuffy connection when you get a chance.

  50. 50
    Tony J says:

    @overeducated:

    This.

    The Republicans never had to explain how their “Where Are The Jobs?” campaign slogans from 2010 gave them a mandate for “Kill Medicare To Kill The Deficit” when they took The House because the MSM never asked them about it. But making “Kill Medicare Or We’ll Kill The Economy” their campaign slogan in advance of their own Primaries is just… what’s the word? Insane. Two words, Fucking Insane.

    All the polls that I’m aware of show that Americans are a lot more concerned about jobs than they are about the deficit, and NY-26 should be a loudly ringing alarm-bell for anyone who thinks privatising Medicare to pay for extra tax-cuts for billionaires is a vote-getter. The Republicans have done everything in their power to slow the economic recovery as much as possible under cover of “Taking The Deficit Seriously”, but I can’t see how even the most GOP-friendly MSM could help them out if the NY-26 dynamics go national in 2011/12.

    But then, I’ve been surprised before.

  51. 51
    Jesse Ewiak says:

    @Carl Nyberg: We want shit done, even if it’s imperfect. We won’t let Grandma starve and soldiers go without pay for our own ends. The other side will happily and be treated as Serious People.

  52. 52
    Triassic Sands says:

    @cleek:

    She is more thoughtful than she gets credit for.

    The author, Ed Rogers, actually wrote that about Michele Bachmann. When did anyone ever give Bachmann any credit for being able to think at all? And for good reason. She isn’t more thoughtful than she’s given credit for being; on the contrary, she’s less thoughtful than my cats, who at least have the good sense to keep quiet when then don’t have anything intelligent to say. Not so Bachmann. The emptier her head, the busier her mouth.

    Think about it. Unless there is a new dynamic to the 2012 campaign, Huntsman probably can’t win the nomination and Bachmann probably shouldn’t.

    Rogers is a real gem. Imagine putting someone you acknowledge to be unqualified to be president on a presidential ticket. Apparently, the concept of death is unknown to Rogers, because he seems to assume that even though unqualified, Bachmann poses no threat because she will never have to fulfill her only real role on the ticket — to become president in the event the president dies. I mean, who the hell would ever select an unqualified, inexperienced, right-wing crazy to be VP just because she appeals to the Far Right Crazies in the party? The answer is NO ONE. NO ONE. EVER! Well, no one except John McCain. And now Ed Rogers.

    One thing is beyond dispute — the GOP’s politicians and their pundits are well-suited to each other.

  53. 53
    Fred says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Yea, and you could too but you have to understand how to use something called ‘Google’ first.

  54. 54
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Of course, it is possible that all of them could feel properly hedged to profit handsomely against default only to find that the counterparties cannot pay.

    The problem with countertops counterparties is, you cannot take them for granite.

  55. 55

    @Fred: Why am i responsible for looking up links to back up your assertion? Is this a new internet tradition i’m not aware of, or are you just trying to shit on another thred like you did yesterday?

  56. 56
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Tony J:

    The Republicans never had to explain how their “Where Are The Jobs?” campaign slogans from 2010 gave them a mandate for “Kill Medicare….”

    Killing Medicare will create countless jobs.
    ER doctors.
    Morticians.
    Coffin manufacturers.
    Florists.
    Stone quarriers.
    Headstone makers.
    Backhoe operators and grave diggers.

  57. 57
    Comrade Mary says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: ARGHH! I hate, hate, HATE that crap.

    I work in eLearning. Most of my clients who offer these courses on their web or Intranet sites use an LMS (Learning Management System) to serve appropriate courses to their students, check that they’ve completed any pre-requisites, save their test scores, etc.

    I was recently looking for a Canadian LMS company I could recommend to a client. One thing I really needed to know was if the LMS followed SCORM standards as all our courses were built for SCORM.

    I hit one site and it did everything in its power not to answer the question. Their site was incredibly dense, full of text, images and video, but they may as well have built it out of whipped Santorum.

    [company] enables our clients to deliver engaging content, collaborate effectively, and realize their eLearning vision through a comprehensive and flexible eLearning solution. An innovative combination of best-of-breed teaching and learning tools, built-in accessibility adherence, powerful measurement and assessment options, and standards-based technology, [company] redefines what a learning management system should be.

    There was a lot more. I’ve spared you that. Even their “dig deeper” links led to even more marketing bafflegab and no specific details.

    These geniuses didn’t make it onto my short list of candidates. Marketing shouldn’t assume that it’s the pointy-headed boss who necessarily makes first contact: it’s often the tech grunt like me.

  58. 58
    Tony J says:

    @Carl Nyberg:

    What stops progressive Democrats from withholding their votes unless the Bush tax cuts are repealed and all U.S. troops are withdrawn from Iraq?

    The commonly held and quite rational belief that people who self-identify as ‘Progressive’ are capable of being interested in more than two issues at any one time and, having heard the story about cutting off noses to spite faces at least once in their lives, have taken the right lesson away from the experience.

    YMMV, but for me I don’t see Progressives taking 2012 as an opportunity to challenge Wingnutopia for the status of most stupidly short-sighted imbeciles in the country.

  59. 59
    Fred says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I have no idea what point you are trying to make. Pre-emptive strike at the Blue Dogs? wtf?

    Ok, you hate blue dogs. I hate blue dogs. But what is your point? With Rethugs running around trying everything they can to make Obama fail and you are worried about Blue dogs…….wtf???

    LOL!

  60. 60
    danimal says:

    @The Dangerman: They may start off as fat cats, but a second failure of capitalism/conservatism in 5 years will make everyone quite lean, and a lot of people, dare I say it, revolutionary.

    If it takes living on Top Ramen, I’ve done it before as well.

  61. 61
    The Dangerman says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    I work in eLearning.

    I worked in eLearning, too. Is that Canadian Company Elluminate? I suppose I could google the text you copied (and Elluminate really wasn’t an LMS when I was using it and I’m too damned tired (and pissed off at them) to look to see what their offerings are now; full disclosure, I was the customer, not Elluminate). How’s Blackboard holding up against Moodle and Sakai (and perhaps other Open Sourcers) now?.

  62. 62
    Zifnab says:

    I’m just curious to know if the economic Armageddon we’re planning to unleash will be worse for the upper class than the lower class. Let’s say we default. Who feels the pain first and who feels it worst?

  63. 63
    ruemara says:

    @WyldPirate:
    Man, you need serious mental help for the ODS.

  64. 64
    Fred says:

    @Triassic Sands: I like it. Would make a great “where is the birth certificate” type billboard.

  65. 65
    Tony J says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Yeah, but somehow that explaination never even had to be used.

    Somewhere there’s a Republican speechwriter with a sad face dreaming about what might have been. If only they’d listened to him and explained the basis of the GOP Jobs Plan at the start, then the Democrats wouldn’t be able to demogogue the issue the way they (maybe) are (thinking about starting to) now.

    Coffin-manufacturing alone has saved the jobs of everyone in ‘Salem’s Lot. And with Maine a target state for 2012, their story should be heard. Damn that Liberal Media and its mania for politically-correct theories on who’s ‘unholy’ and why ‘bloodsucking fiends’ aren’t Real Americans.

  66. 66
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Fred:

    But what is your point?

    Your comment implied that we have nothing to worry about, that Wall St. will take care of things. I don’t agree.

    The outcome of this game of chicken depends on which side has more leverage to negotiate with. And the leverage which each side enjoys in the negotiations over the raising the debt-ceiling hinge on the strength of their messaging. If no agreement is reached and things go BOOM!, who is the public going to blame for the mess? Whoever is most likely to get blamed, that side has less leverage, c.f. the Clinton vs Gingrich showdown. And the Blue Dog Dems in the Senate (note that few Blue Dogs are left in the House, the 2010 election took care of that) are the weakest point in the Dem messaging effort, a fact which GOP operators have been able to exploit in the past and will likely exploit this time around. You can already hear it with the fiscal austerity noises being made by Nelson and co.

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    @Zifnab:

    Rule # 1 of economic Armageddon: the lower class ALWAYS gets it worse than the upper class.

    Rule # 2: see Rule # 1.

  68. 68
    NamelessGenXer says:

    @danimal:

    revolutionary

    I’m in.

    If it takes living on Top Ramen, I’ve done it before as well.

    It was Generic Cheerios for me.

  69. 69
    maya says:

    @Triassic Sands: Also greeeting card manufacturers: Hi_______! I heard your granny died. So sad. Did I tell you about my new job?

  70. 70
    Peter says:

    I am absolutely flabbergasted that this is the fight they have chosen. I really can’t see a single way they can emerge from this in a better position politically. If they get their way, they become the party that killed Medicare. If the Dems call their bluff, they either let the economy blow up (which is staggeringly unlikely) and get to be the bad guys who blew up the economy because they didn’t like Medicare, or they don’t blow up the economy in which case they hand the Dems a big victory and STILL get to be known as the party that threatened to blow up the economy to kill Medicare.

    If they’re gambling on people caring more about deficits than Medicare, they’re completely delusional. It’s such an obvious bluff that the Dems would need to be TRYING to fumble it.

  71. 71
    Violet says:

    @NamelessGenXer:
    Generic oatmeal for me. Only food I had for several weeks once before the first paycheck came in. I was a few years out of college but hadn’t been so thin since I was in high school. I remember wishing I could afford something off the dollar menu at McDonald’s. I had no money.

  72. 72
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Montysano:

    The Republicans realize that, by endorsing the Ryan Plan (on record!), they made what must be one of the dumbest moves in modern politics.

    You know, I keep hearing this, but after closely watching American politics for over 40 years I am deeply skeptical.

    I wrote this on an earlier thread, and will repeat the comment (mostly out of laziness):

    Yeah, the overreach on Medicare will cause some damage in 2012, but really not much and nothing like the pasting Democrats took all across the nation (from state level offices to the Congress) in 2010. It’s a long game for the fascists, and they will never, ever stop.

    And this is very important – those already retired and receiving Medicare and their SS payments won’t miss out on one dime, and thus will happily continue to largely vote Republican, cuz, you know, they got theirs.

    Those 55 and under are the ones who will likely get fucked, not because we can’t afford it (we most certainly can), but because Republicans will find ways in our current economic and political order to at least seriously chip away at future Medicare and SS benefits, along with other aspects of the modern welfare state social compact in general (as their compatriots are doing, to a lesser degree, in western Europe).

    That’s why the current Medicare overreach looks to many like a defeat for Republicans (and it will be, in small and temporary ways mostly, like Hochul’s win in NY) but will likely end up as a strategic victory for them (advancing that “chip away”). I read somewhere earlier that the Medicare overreach was “the biggest political blunder in a generation”. I wish it were so, but I’m afraid not.

    It’s the same with holding the economy hostage over the debt ceiling. Too many even on “the left” have bought into the ridiculous notion that our national debt is some crisis we have to deal with right fucking now (because a Dem is president, mostly) along with the even more absurd notion that the cause of that ”horrible” debt is Medicare and Social Security.

    In the current political climate and conventional “wisdom”, I just do not see the fascists paying a high political price for their middle and working class-destroying policies.

    As Principal Skinner put it so well: “Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong”. Really, I hope my take on all this is absolutely, 100% wrong.

  73. 73
    Ash Can says:

    Count me among those who believe the big-money guys will ultimately bring the idiots in Congress — Republicans and Blue Dogs alike — to heel. However, I also believe these idiots are both dumb enough and self-centered enough that they could very well cause a fair amount of uneasiness in the financial markets before someone finally throws a net over them.

  74. 74
    Comrade Mary says:

    @The Dangerman: Well, that explains your name :-)

    No, not Elluminate, but I will take your comment as a cryptic but useful review and will avoid them. I barely played with Moodle years ago(should try them again) and have never touched Blackboard. Sakai is new to me, but their web site appears to have been written by geeks, so bless ’em.

    All my other LMS experience has been with two American companies. One offered a decent SCORM 1.2-compliant LMS that covered only the core elements and made it work reasonably well, but the other was some collection of ASSHOLES in Florida who claimed to be standards compliant, but weren’t. Not only did they claim that they could generate all the manifest files and other documents you needed, requiring that you upload naked Flash with no LMS calls and no other HTML, XML or js files, but they didn’t document their approach on the site and pulled in my well-meaning but naive clients and strung them along for months. I came in to bat clean-up a few months later and finally got a working course launched for them, but the company’s tech and support were completely arrogant and dismissive jerks.

  75. 75
    ericblair says:

    @Peter:

    If they’re gambling on people caring more about deficits than Medicare, they’re completely delusional.

    Absofuckinlutely. People don’t care about the deficit; it’s obvious from taking tax cuts and defense spending off the table without any protest from the fiscal scolds and the amazing rise of this issue a few minutes after January 21, 2009. It’s another in the long line of dog whistle references to giving THEIR tax dollars to THOSE people. Once you start actually doing things that affect their lives, like pissing on Medicare, to feed the deficit beast, the whole thing falls apart. Some goopers must understand this: I mean it’s the basis of the Southern strategy they themselves cooked up, but the younguns must be believing their own bullshit.

    I too think that Wall Street will squeeze the goopers’ balls as hard as necessary to get the debt ceiling raised, since default would be trigger such an enormous range of mostly very bad events with truly unknowable consequences. You can’t even put together a risk matrix together to reflect this besides a big red slide that says Armageddon on it. Still, the ability for goopers to fuck up execution of the simplest actual executive function makes me plan a few trips to the ATM in the next few weeks just in case.

  76. 76
    Don says:

    Planet Money did a good episode on the origin of the debt ceiling. Won’t make you feel any better about this current game of chicken but it’s interesting.

  77. 77
    Maude says:

    @Ash Can:
    If the US defaults, Greece would look like a rich nation next to us. Some here are getting the Debt Ceiling confused with a government shutdown over a budget impass. The US has never defaulted. It would tank Wall Street and the impact would be felt for a long time. But, who cares? The Republicans want their own way. I know you know this stuff.
    The full faith and credit of the United States isn’t just a saying.

  78. 78
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Peter:

    I really can’t see a single way they can emerge from this in a better position politically.

    If their goal was to win you’d be right. If voters had an attention span longer than that of a Gerbil with ADD you’d be even more right. And, if the media didn’t go along with the GOP’s bullshit we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. The point for the GOP isn’t winning; the point is to get the Dems to make concessions that chip away at the social safety net. By the time of the ’12 election the media, repeating GOP spin and lies, will have substantial numbers of voters convinced they the GOP tried to save Medicare by cutting costs.

  79. 79
    Tony J says:

    @Fred:

    Wasn’t his point obvious?

    With Rethugs running around trying everything they can to make Obama fail” like you said, you’re dismissive of someone showing concern for how the Blue Dogs (who you say you hate) might try to use their MSM-appointed position as “The moderate Democrats most likely to broker a bipartisan deal on the debt-ceiling” to dominate the airwaves with their ‘reasonable and serious opinions’ on what Obama has to do to avoid being held responsible for destroying the economy in the year before a General Election?

    You don’t think that’s how the MSM will spin the issue? You don’t think the remaining Blue Dogs in Congress would play their part? You don’t think Wall Street would give their guys in Congress a little leeway if they thought the crisis created might benefit them in the end?

    What was your point? I seriously don’t get it.

  80. 80
    General Stuck says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    What major concessions have dems and Obama made to the GOP on SS and Medicare, despite all the pol blather on both sides.? The answer is none. You really are full of shit dude. You know that

    edit – a case in point was the recent so called Obama capitulation on major social program spending cuts, the CR to keep the government running, that turned out to be the GOP getting rolled.

  81. 81
    Ash Can says:

    @Maude: Yep. You know that, and I know that. And the folks bankrolling the Republicans and Blue Dogs know that. But then you have visionaries such as Paul Ryan saying to the press that it would be no big deal if the nation’s state of default were allowed to last for only three or four days. I do think people like him won’t start to pay attention until JP Morgan Chase’s board of directors heads down to his Hill office and works him over with a 2×4 with a big nail through the end of it.

  82. 82
    Mogden says:

    Much as I would love to see a so-called default (in reality a partial government shutdown), there is no way it is going to happen. Our politicians are too short sighted.

  83. 83
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @General Stuck:
    And you misread my post, didn’t you? I used the word “Concessions” in the same sentence with the words “chip away.”

    If you can’t differentiate between chip away” and “major concessions” then your full of something – but it isn’t comprehension.

  84. 84
    Corner Stone says:

    So we’re all agreed then? No Medicare cuts of any kind to be agreed to for a debt ceiling increase?

  85. 85
    BGinCHI says:

    Remember “11th dimensional chess”?

    Well, we’re in the 9th dimension.

    Everybody hold still and be real quiet while the GOP loses the last of their constituency (not counting the fightin’ 27th).

    I really think their last resort is going to be to invade the country.

  86. 86
    Nemesis says:

    The gop threats simply afford the WH much needed air cover for cutting social programs.

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:

    @BGinCHI: You think we’ll get a clean bill passed to raise the debt limit?
    Or do you think we’ll see some bipartisanly goodness to get a deal done?

  88. 88
    madmatt says:

    @WyldPirate: exactly, and excuse to sell out the poor and middleclass will not be ignored.

  89. 89
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m not feeling the love for Harry Reid right now. I get the feeling he’s going to give them an out.

    Why not make the GOP base (teatards and especially the new class of House rep) go to war with the money guys (Chamber of Commerce et al.)?

    I’d say the Dems need to risk harming the economy in the short term if we can drive the single biggest threat to the economy off the political stage.

  90. 90
    General Stuck says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    By the time of the ‘12 election the media, repeating GOP spin and lies, will have substantial numbers of voters convinced they the GOP tried to save Medicare by cutting costs.

    You misread my comment. The point being, whatever the terms used, you bring constant negative outcomes predicted whenever something like this crops up, of some wingnut blathering this or that threat about SS or Medicare. And make it a point the game is lost by hapless dems no matter what else happens. They have given ZERO up on “chipping away” or whatever term you want to use to extend the idea of cuts that are more than nickels and dimes when added up, and they will not this time, just like all the others.

    And for everyone, read what Mcconnell said, he was careful to parse his words carefully, the he was talking about his personal vote only, not some leader effort to defeat the raising of the debt.

    But you have a perfect right to be a droll concern troll, whatever I say. So carry on.

  91. 91
    madmatt says:

    @General Stuck:

    apparently $400 BILLION in medicare cuts that biden has agreed to…but hell thats probably just a 100000 old or poor people dead, who cares!

  92. 92
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Corner Stone:

    So we’re all agreed then? No Medicare cuts of any kind to be agreed to for a debt ceiling increase?

    In other words: no negotiating with hostage-takers and political terrorists. None, zip, zilch, nada. Call their bluff.

    I second the motion. All in favor?

  93. 93
    BGinCHI says:

    @madmatt: Link?

    Straight up cuts or cost savings?

  94. 94
    General Stuck says:

    Whether we get a clean bill or not, there will be no damage done to medicare to raise the debt ceiling. Wingers know this is a nonstarter for dems, and Mitch is just posturing as a single voting senator. There may well be some token cuts somewhere else in the final agreement, that allows wingers to save some face after climbing off the ledge, but it will likely be like the last time for the CR. A pig in a poke, to soothe the tea bag natives clamoring for red liberal meat.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I’d say the Dems need to risk harming the economy in the short term if we can drive the single biggest threat to the economy off the political stage.

    And I would argue that there is no “risk” to the Dems.
    Anyone who believes the R’s will not vote for a debt ceiling raise needs to check their meds.
    The WH knows this. We all know the money men will put a horse’s head in the beds of every R Congressman if they need to.
    There is simply no need to negotiate on this beyond the optics of being the “adults in the room”.
    Give them nothing.

  96. 96
    BGinCHI says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Aye.

    (also, harrumph)

  97. 97
    General Stuck says:

    @madmatt:

    What are you talking about? link.

  98. 98
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Mogden:

    Much as I would love to see a so-called default

    Yes, because current federal government operations are the cause of our present economic woes, just like Medicare and SS are the cause of our horrible, horrible current federal debt.

    Christ on a cracker – what’s it like living with your head so far up your ass?

    No, don’t tell me, I really don’t want to know. You fascist motherfuckers are truly amazing – your minds experience the world like something out of Lewis Carroll.

    Shortsighted doesn’t begin to describe your crack-brained approach to governing, economics, well, pretty much anything in the public realm.

  99. 99
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: Oh, I agree.

    By risk/harm I meant to folks who would suffer in a downturn. And with the states out of money and asshole governors fucking everyone over, it’s gonna hurt.

    Let’s just hope it translates into votes against the GOP.

  100. 100
    Corner Stone says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I’m really just setting a marker for the shapeshifters here.
    Prepare yourself. There will be Medicare cuts included in a “Grand Bargain”. And we will hear 24/7 from a certain cadre here that the cuts are really not “cuts” in any way at all. And that even though cuts were agreed to they weren’t cuts so shut up, that’s why.

  101. 101
    priscianus jr says:

    @DFH no.6:

    In the current political climate and conventional “wisdom”, I just do not see the fascists paying a high political price for their middle and working class-destroying policies.
    As Principal Skinner put it so well: “Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong”. Really, I hope my take on all this is absolutely, 100% wrong.

    Nobody can PROVE you wrong, because the answer lies in the future, which hasn’t happened yet. However, what you are saying sounds to me like the rationale for the Republican strategy. Of course they have a rationale, they always do. Now, the Ryan fiasco put them in a very difficult position. But you know these guys, they can never, ever admit that they fucked up, even to themselves, so it’s still BANZAI. And you’re right, for them it will always be BANZAI. Like it was for that Japanese soldier on that deserted jungle island in the Pacific, 30 years after the war ended. It was still Banzai.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroo_Onoda
    My point is, yes, that probably is their rationale, but under the circumstances it’s not going to get them anywhere. In fact it’s counterproductive.
    I suspect that the Koch Brothers and similarly-minded extremists are literally calling the shots for the GOP at this point. And the Koch Brothers are now, politically, in over their heads. But I imagine they are very good at giving orders.

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What? Like the Catfood Commission and Obama gutting SS. LOL. Dems are winning this fight politically on Medicare, and they are playing it very well thus far. So all of a sudden they are going to give in to cutting Medicare? The Anti _ Obama Prophet and His Cadre of Clowns tell us so, once again.

    Let us all write it on a rock, thou Corner Stoned hath declared.

  103. 103
    BGinCHI says:

    @General Stuck: I’m worried about the Senate, not the rest of the Dems, and not Obama.

    The Gentleman’s Club might well see it in their narrow self-interest to compromise by giving in.

    Reid and the other millionaires worry me.

    (No, I’m not concern trolling)

  104. 104
    Tony J says:

    Let’s be honest here. We’re at a point where sensible, moderate Republicans who want to win elections are using the WaPo to quite literally beg their wingnut brethren for a temporary lull in the onslaught of crazy.

    Rogers is basically saying “Look, we’ll give you Bachmann as V-P if that’s what it takes to keep Palin out, but for FSM’s sake let us pick someone to head the ticket who won’t guarantee a 40+ State wipeout when they lose to Obama!”

    That’s where the Republicans are now. On the verge of civil-war as they approach Primary season. The people who know they’re just trying to get their Party into power are reduced to negotiating the least-worst compromise they can with their delusional Base, while the 27%ers are hot to trot in their post-Bush campaign to redefine the GOP as the proud cultural insurgency they just know most Americans are waiting to vote for.

    I know which Party I’d rather be in coming up to a General election year. The MSM can only spin so far before even they realise it’s a bridge too far. See McCain, John, 2008.

  105. 105
    Peter says:

    @BGinCHI: While I think it’s unlikely, I’ll certainly agree that if the Dems are going to fumble that football, the fumble will be in the Senate.

  106. 106
    BGinCHI says:

    @Tony J: Yes. And that’s why the Dems in the House and Senate should NOT compromise with them.

    The Dems should also be complaining mightily about the congress’s inability to pass substantive jobs legislation and about all the appointments being blocked.

  107. 107
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Agreed. And from a policy standpoint, if the GOPers get outfoxed by Obama the way they did on the 2011 budget, where 40 billion-with-a-B in cuts turned out to actually be more like 40 million-with-an-M, I’d be okay with that.

    But I don’t think this fight is just about policy, it is also very much about the optics of cutting Medicare. The GOPers shat their own bed with the Ryan plan. The smarter ones behind the scenes like Rove have to know it, and it scares them. For them, it is about damage control now. And the most plausible plan for them to control the damage from the Ryan plan is to get the Dems to sleep with them in the same shitty bed so the Dems wake up with stains on them too.

    Thatis the real reason why the GOPers are so desperate to get the Dems to sign onto some kind of Medicare cuts, anything so that in 2012 the GOPers can say “both sides do it” and have enough there that their trained parrots in the news media will go along with it. And right now, absent some sort of bipartisan deal, I don’t think they have enough material to work with. That is the real point of the debt ceiling negotiations now. Will the Dems sleep with the GOP in the Medicare cutting bed, or not? Come on baby, I promise I’ll still respect you in the morning.

  108. 108
    General Stuck says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Saying “you are worried” is not concern trolling. Barfing up some futuristic chain of events leading to disaster for everyone, is concern trolling. I am more worried about the tea bag and winger loons in the House, and Boehner not being able to control them, and their passions and they fuck up accidentally, if for no other reason, than the Senate.

    Senators, both dem and repub are much much more tied into corporate America, on both a statewide basis in their own state, and nationally as well. Even internationally. So for the Senate to defeat a motion to raise the debt limit, they would have to filibuster, and already 5 of them rejected the Ryan plan, so dems only need two more GOP votes to defeat a fili.

    But the point is, the Senate is much more connected to the Plutocrats than members of the House, and they are not going to destroy the world economy. And If they do, then it was only a matter of time till they did it this way, or some other way. But the least likely is to kill the golden goose with a headshot of defaulting our debt. Kock brothers won’t allow that. I don’t think. And dems are not going to kill their golden goose which is the parts of the New Deal.

  109. 109
    BGinCHI says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: This.

    Exactly what I said in the thread after this one.

    GMTA.

  110. 110
    BGinCHI says:

    @General Stuck: So we’re agreed?

    It won’t happen but what’s most dangerous is the Senate giving in to GOP demands?

    I’m afraid Reid is like a hostage negotiator who hasn’t confirmed that the guys in the bank actually have any hostages.

  111. 111
    General Stuck says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    You make good points on “the both sides do it” strategy of getting any cuts on medicare, that are benefit cuts that seniors can see in their coverage now. That is the pol game, And I have seen no reason whatsoever to think the dems are going to go for that ruse. Even a little. Maybe in savings not related directly to benefits, but I doubt that either, at least right now. Dems only need three or four GOP votes outside the 5 that voted down the Ryan plan, to beat a filibuster. So it is likely that the senate goopers find those few votes from members that aren’t up for reelection i 2012, or come from purplish states, to let all the pol theater play out, with the knowledge the debt ceiling will be raised.

    We are going to see lots of brinksmanship the next 18 months and nothing much will be what it seems, with loads of posturing blather coming from both sides trying to trap the other. So at least we will all have a nervous breakdown together

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: So President Stuck, you agree? The D’s and President Obama are winning the Medicare narrative and there will be no cuts agreed to?

  113. 113
    Montysano says:

    @priscianus jr:

    But you know these guys, they can never, ever admit that they fucked up, even to themselves, so it’s still BANZAI. And you’re right, for them it will always be BANZAI.

    Great analogy. “Banzai!” I like it.

    The only thing I can figure is that desperate times call for desperate measures. The GOP continues to alienate its constituency. The demographic clock is ticking. The hegemony of the Angry Old White Dude is in danger. Might as well start chucking hail mary passes and see what happens.

  114. 114
    General Stuck says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Reid may be wishy washy at times, but he is a stalwart for medicare when the rubber meets the road. As are all dems. Even whatshisname Ben Nelson. I’m not the least bit worried that dems are going to sell out of medicare. But they are powerless in the House. Though conceding some minor, non bennies savings could occur, giving the wingers a “both sides do it” talking point, but I doubt even that.

    But I don’t want to be the only one not worried, so I will designate 3 hours of hand wringing every day for the cause of unity. :-)

  115. 115
    BGinCHI says:

    @General Stuck: I imagine quite a few GOPs are saying Hail Marys before they have to throw a few.

  116. 116
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    no direct bennie cuts is what I believe, and it ought to be obvious to even the densest puma, that dems are walking all over the wingnuts on this one. If dems cut medicare bennies under threat like this, then it won’t matter anyways, they are toast as a party electorally. So it is a bet you can only win by not jumping off the cliff.

  117. 117
    General Stuck says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Oh hell yes, I sure wouldn’t want to be a senate wingnut right now. Their only choices are pol suicide by whatever method they choose. Kill medicare or kill the economy. jeebus, they are crazy fuckers to get themselves into such a jam, and I will agree it is not out of line to worry some about what insane people might or might not due. Not completely predictable, maybe 85 percent they don’t destroy something major.

  118. 118
    DFH no.6 says:

    @General Stuck:

    Here’s the thing.

    To use the somewhat hackneyed but still useful Overton Window metaphor, the fascists have very successfully moved the whole acceptable public discussion on the economy to the cloud cuckoo land of rightwing memes, where the current federal debt and deficit are some horrible problem that is somehow (in some unspecified way) causing our present economic woes, that this “evil” debt was created by too-generous federal “entitlements” like Medicare and Social Security (which therefore need to be “reformed”, which of course means destroyed, but that can’t be voiced cuz that’s crazy talk) and that only more tax cuts and a reduction of federal spending (on domestic programs, never the military) can solve unemployment and save our economy now by preventing some future potential fiscal calamity (why exactly would that work? shut up, that’s why).

    That’s what I mean by “chip away” (and I believe that’s what Dennis SGMM means, too).

    You’re right, the Republicans haven’t yet (and still may not, at least in the near future) acquired any actual cuts in either Medicare or Social Security.

    But they have gotten Democrats (including the most important Democrat) to buy into the Hooverian nonsense that current federal spending is too high (when, to deal with our actual current economic problem – excess capacity and lack of aggregate demand – it’s just the opposite), and fucking around with Medicare and Social Security is most definitely “on the table”.

    Whether that translates into any actual cuts, who knows? But what the public sees from the Dems on that account is blurry – they don’t have the bright line of “no cuts, period” that the Republicans have on, say, “no tax raises, period”.

    The fascists have most of the media convinced that they are the ones trying to “seriously” deal with our economic woes (when what they are doing is wrongheaded and just plain bad for most of the country) and that’s the filter through which the swing voters will be informed during the the coming election campaigns.

  119. 119
    DFH no.6 says:

    @priscianus jr:

    I meant “Prove me wrong, children” in the way Principal Skinner meant it – by actual events turning out differently than the negative prediction.

    Believe me, I WANT the fascists playing with fire on the economy in general, and Medicare and SS particularly, to redound to their well-deserved failure at the polls (which would at least help to preserve past progressive gains, if not bring us new ones). I WANT to be wrong in my current assessment that it won’t actually happen that way.

    My skepticism is based on watching American politics closely for decades, seeing the 2010 election results, and understanding all too well how in the tank for the rightwing most of our media is.

    Hell, western Europe is right now busily conducting stupid, counter-productive “pain caucus” measures (unfortunate but necessary austerity, doncha know) . And politically, we are generally more stupid than our surrender-monkey friends (“surrender-monkey” in the broader European sense, not just France). How we avoid going that way, and even worse, I don’t know.

    I hope I’m wrong, and worried I’m not.

  120. 120
    General Stuck says:

    @DFH no.6:

    I know perfectly well what Dennis meant, having read his fatalistic swill for a couple of years now. Guess what? the deficit is an issue when the economy is bad and people are looking somewhere to blame. That has always been the case. Just like when the economy improves, it will become a non issue again, and signs are it is improving.

    You can subscribe to the Overton Window moved bullshit by rhetoric, if you want. I see it moving from deft politicking toward getting passed progressive legislation, passed in spite of the rhetorical bullshit. Obama and dems have utterly cleaned the wingers clock at about every turn, and have given up little of substance, maybe a talking point or two for getting a law passed, that does not bother me.

    And all the while beating the repubs at their own game of petard hoisting on the deficit mania, and not giving them much of anything but a pig in a poke, like the last so called spending cuts that weren’t. I call it good and even fantastic politicking, you and Dennis can call it what you want, but so far you have nothing to go on, but what appears to be some kind of perverse wish that dems DO fail. I personally think that elected dems are not the biggest problem, that their faithless supporters are. YMMV

  121. 121
    mclaren says:

    Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-lightful! Bring it on, Mitch. Comes the day when the debt limit looms, every billionaire in America will be on speed-dial to this dumb bastard, screaming at him.

    The billionaires will put out hits on his children. They’ll Jimmy Hoffa this dumb fuck.

    Great! Let’s have the Republicans line up to commit hara-kiri. Take a number, motherfuckers. The billionaires will gut you and strangle you with your own intestines in numerical order.

  122. 122
    DPirate says:

    …and if the democrats were serious leaders, they would choose this time to make a boisterous push for single-payer health care. Even though they don’t want it, it would secure the future for them to draw the lines over this issue.

    Thank God they won’t, those assholes.

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