Ohferchrissakes

The emo crowd is out in full force today, and apparently I am some sort of sociopath for ignoring random bullshit from anonymous sources “close” to the WH unsourced in the Washington Post. I remember when liberals and progressives ignored this sort of shit, calling it out for the nonsense that it is.

Listen, in case there is any confusion, I think any attempts to tinker with social security by Democrats would be ridiculous, stupid, and politically disastrous. When the Republicans refuse to budge on tax cuts for millionaires or any other revenue, it would be the height of stupidity for any Democrats to vote for reductions in social security. Period. And if Team Obama does something like that, they are being clowns. Social Security is fine.

But I refuse to get my panties in a bunch by a piece of thinly sourced crap in Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap. I’m not angry or attempting to police discourse, I’m not fluffing Obama, I’m not convinced it is some sort of 11 Dimensional Chess, and I’m not engaging in some morally bankrupt posturing to defend Obama. If they screw with Social Security, even minutely, it would be politically idiotic. Any messing with SS makes it easier for folks to do something worse at a later date, and it will be a Democratic administration that gets the blame for it because they opened the door. Not to mention, SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT A PROBLEM.

Having said all that, I still recognize this for what it is:

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

For all we know, that Democratic official could be Harold Ford or some other asshole. I’m just not going to freak out over what unnamed folks say.






303 replies
  1. 1
    meh says:

    +500 rep with the Clan of Meh

  2. 2
    Derf says:

    ADP non-farm payroll numbers today doubled analysts expectations. Where is the breathless headline from John Galt Cole? Just like he did when the last numbers came out worse than expected. Is this not enough evidence for all you lemmings that John Galt Cole is nothing but a Greenwald reading idiot?

    But no, that’s not bad news so why should a naive libertard like Cole care about that. No let’s focus on the latest feined pro left outrage over the latest pre-emptive strike on Obama over non-info about what hasn’t happened yet. Just like the last time.

    You are so predicable John Galt Cole. It’s getting boring being able to predict your horseshit day after day.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....rowth.html

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....8-000.html

  3. 3
    Rick Taylor says:

    I’m having deja vu.

  4. 4
    meh says:

    bad trolls are bad

  5. 5
    Han's Solo says:

    @Derf: Spamming out the same comment on multiple threads makes you a troll. Given that every line of your idiocy has been addressed in the last few posts, I won’t bother retracing all the reasons you are a half wit.

  6. 6

    Troll check in time: I see Derf showed up. Where’s Wyld and TimSchlong? And mclaren hasn’t shown himself yet, either.

  7. 7
    Dave says:

    This is an interesting take on the “cuts” supposedly being discussed for SS via the GOS.

  8. 8
    TreeBeard says:

    DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING JOHN COLE!

    IMPEACH HIM!

    WHO IS JOHN COLE GALT?

    I like fresh carrots.

  9. 9
    MattR says:

    Who cares if it is Harold Ford or any other centrist Democrat? What really matters is if the statement is an accurate representation of the Administration’s thinking. I understand where you are coming from about not freaking out, but I think you take the ostrich approach a bit too far. There is value to reacting to leaks like this (or trail balloons if you prefer) by calmly letting your elected officials know that this suggestion is not acceptable. That is a much better alternative than completely sitting it out and waiting until there is a more solid agreement reached before making your voice heard.

  10. 10
    Morbo says:

    Page hits must be down lately…

  11. 11
    AAA Bonds says:

    SOMEONE DID A THING

  12. 12
    cleek says:

    I BLAME EVERYTHING!

  13. 13
    gbear says:

    I blame John Cole.

  14. 14

    hmmmm. someone got banned recently – m_c_laren. My comment disappeared when I mentioned his name. Testing.

  15. 15
    foosion says:

    If it was bull, the administration would say so. It’s not just the WaPo, it’s also the NYT and WSJ.

  16. 16
    AAA Bonds says:

    The White House is going to agree to cutting benefits anyway. Watch it happen.

  17. 17

    John Galt Cole is WORSE THAN BUSH!

  18. 18
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    What really matters is if the statement is an accurate representation of the Administration’s thinking.

    True.

    Is it?

  19. 19
    JonF says:

    The devil is in the details. I remember both side whining about the budget deal, but it turns out Obama rolled Boehner in it.

  20. 20
    marcopolo says:

    all the reportage surrounding this budget armageddon crap just reminds me of the casey anthony news pron for the masses except it is for the much smaller group of folks who follow politics…

    yep, i said it, it is all a big distraction…

  21. 21
    Citizen_X says:

    JOHN COLE SET US UP THE BOMB!

    Someone has to cover the hits.

  22. 22
    JenJen says:

    Harold Ford!! Lolz!

  23. 23
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I’m just not going to freak out over what unnamed folks say.

    And yet you call yourself a blogger. Do you misunderstand what that occupation requires?

  24. 24
    Quiddity says:

    This is from the White House:

    “The story overshoots the runway,” said a senior administration official. “The President said in the State of the Union that he wanted a bipartisan process to strengthen Social Security in a balanced way that preserves the promise of the program and doesn’t slash benefits.

    “strengthening” means scaling back a program. That’s what the word means these days when discussing budget policies. The White House was talking about cutting Social Security benefits.

    The White House says they won’t “slash benefits”. That doesn’t rule out a CPI adjustment that could easily mean a 5% to 7% reduction in benefits.

  25. 25
    Han's Solo says:

    Chait has a piece up about a possible not-so-grand plan.

    a more modest package for roughly $1.7 trillion to $2.3 trillion in cuts with upwards of $500 billion in revenue increases, including $40 billion to $60 billion from ending tax breaks for corporate jets, yachts and race horses (and, possibly, a proposal to stop taxing hedge fund managers’ income as capital gains, thus subjecting it to a higher rate); plus $150 billion to $200 billion in increased revenues from requiring more pension contributions from federal employees, broadcast frequency auctions and getting rid of farm subsidies; and another several hundred billion dollars from pegging inflation to the Consumer Price Index. All of the new revenues would be offset by a permanent or long-term Alternative Minimum Tax fix, a popular bipartisan move, thus satisfying the Grover Norquists of the world. This deal would include modest Medicare cuts, but to providers only, and could also include some short term stimulus such as an employer payroll tax holiday.

    Let me try to explain what this means. The “Alternative Minimum Tax” is kind of a parallel tax rate, created in 1969, designed to ensure that very rich taxpayers didn’t amass so many deductions that they could avoid paying any taxes. If your tax rate falls below your “alternative minimum tax rate,” then you have to pay the AMT rate instead. It’s sort of a failsafe tax rate.
    The AMT has, over the decades, inadvertently grown to a point where it hits non-rich taxpayers, especially ones in high-tax states. Congress has responded by continually passing “patches” that keep the AMT from growing. Since these patches are passed generally a year or two at a time, the law assumes that the AMT will continue to grow in size and raise taxes at lower and lower income levels. The AMT is one of the differences between the budget baseline that assumes current law, and which shows the deficit falling to a modest level — and the budget projections that assume current policy.
    So according to Newton-Small, one possible deal will raise a lot of taxes, but offset the revenue by permanently fixing the AMT. That way, conservatives can say that they didn’t vote for a net tax hike — they just voted to close some loopholes and plow the revenue back into other tax reductions. This allows them to avoid contradicting their sacred pledge to Grover Norquist never to support a revenue increase.
    But wait, you ask! How does this help the deficit problem?
    The answer is that if you assume that Congress will continue to patch the AMT year after year anyway, then the revenue loss from that “tax cut” isn’t real. You’re just accounting for revenue that would be lost anyway, but paying for it rather than financing it with debt. In other words, you’re turning a future assumed debt-financed tax cut into a future paid-for tax cut. That’s genuine budget savings.

  26. 26
    danimal says:

    Why not fix Social Security now? The problems with SS financing are small and can be fixed by making slight adjustments to the CPI formula and increasing the tax cutoff (or eliminating the cutoff altogether).

    Taking away the GOP talking point about how “Social Security won’t be there when you retire boogah, boogah, boogah” is worth something, and if it takes the issue off the table for the next few generations, everyone will feel better about the political stability of SS. The devil is in the details, but I don’t see why a deal on SS is a non-starter.

    Commence firing, I’m now going to duck into a hole for a while.

  27. 27
    aisce says:

    cole, your attempt to be reasonable confuses and enrages me.

  28. 28
    Trabb's Boy says:

    I think this is exactly when the emo should happen. The Administration is floating a trial balloon. If nobody reacts, they go with it. It doesn’t have to involve shirt ripping or tears, but it’s absolutely fine for people to push back on this loudly.

  29. 29
    Tim O says:

    I agree Mr. Cole. Every body wants to seem like they’re “in the know” in the DC bubble and are very willing to leak some bullshit to achieve that end.

    Everybody, “STEP AWAY FROM THE LEDGE!”

  30. 30
    Trentrunner says:

    So much for “unnamed,” JC:

    Jennifer Psaki, White House Deputy Communications Director:

    “The President has always said everything should be on the table,” deputy communications director Jen Psaki told ABC News this morning in an interview in her office down the hall from the Oval Office.

    Psaki would not give specifics of any presidential offers on the table as talks move to a higher level, but she did say the President is ready to put his hand on entitlements often called the dangerous “third rail” of politics.

    “We wish there was an easy solution to bringing down the deficit and doing it in a responsible way but unfortunately, there isn’t.” Psaki said. “That’s why we need to go after some of the sacred cows in politics, things like entitlement reform, areas like changing the tax code. That’s a conversation the president is willing to have and he hopeful the Republicans will come to the table willing to have it, as well.”

  31. 31
    Rick Taylor says:

    While I agree with you one hundred percent that anonymous quotes in the Washington Post should be ignored, I’m disturbed by the sourced reply of an administration official.
    __

    mid media reports Thursday of Social Security’s inclusion in the debt-cutting talks, Obama’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, pushed back.
    __
    “There is no news here – the president has always said that while Social Security is not a major driver of the deficit, we do need to strengthen the program,” Carney said, providing that any such effort “doesn’t slash benefits.”

    __
    That’s not exactly encouraging. It make me nervous when any official talks about strengthening the program. And why are we talking about it at all in the lead up to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, two weeks before economic Armageddon?
    __
    But again, what really bothers me more than these statements, is the very idea we’re having secret discussions about multi-trillion dollar cuts to the budget, two weeks before a deal needs to be made in order to raise the debt ceiling, which should have nothing to do with any of this.

  32. 32

    Yeah, the natives are a bit restless today.

    One of the problems is that debt negotiations are taking place behind closed doors and therefore paranoia is going off like popcorn.

    Folks who are upset and worried might want to call their congresscritters and register opinions before any bills come up for a vote. It couldn’t hurt.

    And btw, anybody who tells you what is happening in the negotiations or describes what the principles are thinking are lying. They don’t know either.

    jeffreyw, where are you? We could use some food and animals about now.

  33. 33
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @6Dave – July 7, 2011 | 1:16 pm · Link

    This is an interesting take on the “cuts” supposedly being discussed for SS via the GOS.

    That’s the closest thing to a substantive take I’ve seen underneath all the sturm und drang. I keep looking for some confirmation or argument against it, but all I see is screaming.

  34. 34
    shortstop says:

    Hey, you know how you decide not to join the freakout every time the rumor mill starts churning out premature messages of DEEPEST BETRAYAL AND UNMATCHED PERFIDY AND MORAL TURPITUDE? Neither do you have to respond to every hysterical jackass who topples into your comment thread to shriek about how much you suck. Pick your battles. Unless you enjoy them all.

  35. 35
    evinfuilt says:

    @25 danimal

    Taking away the GOP talking point about how “Social Security won’t be there when you retire boogah, boogah, boogah” is worth something

    No, no it won’t. Much like this phony debt crisis (during a real employment crisis) they’ll just lie about SS endlessly.

  36. 36
    NonyNony says:

    @MattR

    Who cares if it is Harold Ford or any other centrist Democrat? What really matters is if the statement is an accurate representation of the Administration’s thinking.

    For the luv uv Pete…

    Look – the key point that John is making here is that we don’t fucking know that it IS AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ADMINISTRATION’S THINKING. That’s his entire point.

    Think about how that quote is weaselly worded. “A Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking”. Remember that journalists, when dropping anonymous sources, go with the MOST DESCRIPTIVE thing they can say about a person.

    So what we have here is someone who ISN’T “a member of the administration”, who ISN’T “close to the administration”, who ISN’T “involved in the strategy”. What we have here is someone who is a Democrat, who holds some kind of official position, and who can reasonably be said with a straight face to be “familiar with the administration’s thinking”.

    Who knows who this person is? How do we evaluate if they know anything at all about the situation?

    We can’t. The Post has, once again, made an anonymous source with no way for us to judge their credibility the center of the story.

    Imagine two different people being the Democratic “source” for this story. The first is Joe Biden. The second is unnamed White House media spinmeister #3 who happens to have been an old buddy of the reporter in college. If you knew which guy was giving you this information rather than “Anonymous Democratic official who knows how the administration thinks about stuff” do you think you would weigh the information differently?

    I’d hope so – something like this coming from Joe Biden means a hell of a lot more than it coming from Joe “the guy I used to make beer runs with”. And yet we have no way of evaluating how good this information is. And even the WaPo thinks that this information is shit because LOOK HOW THEY FUCKING IDENTIFIED THE PERSON GIVING THEM THE INFORMATION!

    Jesus – it’s like Media Critique 101 around here.

  37. 37
    Citizen_X says:

    I think we need to add “The story overshoots the runway” as a tagline.

  38. 38
    Quiddity says:

    @danimal: You prefer a CPI adjustment instead of lifting the FICA cap?

  39. 39
    Napoleon says:

    OT but we need a thread on the collapse of the News of the World. Murdoch taking it in the shorts in Great Britian is the best news I have seen in some time.

  40. 40
    LGRooney says:

    I actually chalked it up to Mark Warner this morning when I finally got to the opinion page because he has a big one about the bipartisan need to tackle both the spending and revenue sides and how we all know it’s a real crisis.

  41. 41
    liberal says:

    danimal wrote,

    Why not fix Social Security now?

    Because the GOP and many other people don’t believe in the Trust Fund.

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. SS isn’t projected to be forced to cut benefits for a fairly long time, whereas tax cuts for the filthy rich are here and now.

    I mean, come on, we’ve seen this movie since at least 2000.

  42. 42

    Let’s all take a step back and breathe a little. As Cole said, who the hell knows who’s peddling this stuff? It’s worth waiting to see before we freak out and begin casting about for some hero to come in and primary Obama. My guess is that E.J. Dionne is right, and that Obama is doing this to show how reasonable he is willing to be. It never hurts to point up how fucked up and chidish the Republicans are by behaving like a grownup. All the same, if you are freaking out, and you want to do something helpful, then do what somebody above already wrote about, and call your congressman and senators and tell them you don’t want the Democrats giving in at all on Social Security. And then just calm down.

  43. 43
    Jules says:

    Late last night my twitter feed was just full of Obama!rage involving a mess o’ CAPS LOCK and PRIMARY HIM NOW shit.
    They are so easily wound up.

  44. 44
    Dave L says:

    I agree with John that we need to wait for details, including whether or not there even is a deal. That said, this doesn’t look promising:

    Sources: House Dems Stunned By White House Debt Proposal, Read Obama The Riot Act

    Multiple senior House Democratic aides tell TPM that caucus members were caught off guard by news stories about President Obama’s push for deeper deficit and spending reductions — and particularly about the White House’s willingness to cut Social Security as part of a grand bargain to raise the debt limit.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....?ref=fpblg

  45. 45
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    MattR

    There is value to reacting to leaks like this (or trail balloons if you prefer) by calmly letting your elected officials know that this suggestion is not acceptable.

    Yes, but if they were actually doing that sort of thing, the freakers wouldn’t be here doing the freak out.

  46. 46
    cleek says:

    @danimal:

    The devil is in the details, but I don’t see why a deal on SS is a non-starter.

    because … compromise is failure! negotiations are evil! the imaginary government is better than the one the traitorous neo-CON Obama occupies! Obama sold us out down the river under the bus for a mess of pottage because he’s a secret Republican conspirator who hates America and wants the poor to die in the flowerbeds of the sick and elderly!

  47. 47
    Dave says:

    @31 Jim, Foolish Literalist – The only argument I have heard is that the adjustment could multiply over the course of year-after-year and have a cumulatively larger effect. But I haven’t seen the math backing that up yet.

  48. 48
    MattR says:

    @Dave: It looks like that GOS diary has a fundamental math error in determining the difference between CPI and C-CPI that grossly underestimates the difference. The diarist looks at the fact that C-CPI and CPI are different by .4% to mean that C-CPI = .996 times CPI. What it actually means is that C-CPI = CPI minus .4%

    So if the CPI is 4%, the diarist is claiming the C-CPI would be 3.984% but it would actually be 3.6%.

  49. 49
    Han's Solo says:

    I had a formatting fail and my previous comment went byby, but Chait has a good piece up on the possible end game.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonath.....might-pass

    a more modest package for roughly $1.7 trillion to $2.3 trillion in cuts with upwards of $500 billion in revenue increases, including $40 billion to $60 billion from ending tax breaks for corporate jets, yachts and race horses (and, possibly, a proposal to stop taxing hedge fund managers’ income as capital gains, thus subjecting it to a higher rate); plus $150 billion to $200 billion in increased revenues from requiring more pension contributions from federal employees, broadcast frequency auctions and getting rid of farm subsidies; and another several hundred billion dollars from pegging inflation to the Consumer Price Index. All of the new revenues would be offset by a permanent or long-term Alternative Minimum Tax fix, a popular bipartisan move, thus satisfying the Grover Norquists of the world. This deal would include modest Medicare cuts, but to providers only, and could also include some short term stimulus such as an employer payroll tax holiday.
    Let me try to explain what this means. The “Alternative Minimum Tax” is kind of a parallel tax rate, created in 1969, designed to ensure that very rich taxpayers didn’t amass so many deductions that they could avoid paying any taxes. If your tax rate falls below your “alternative minimum tax rate,” then you have to pay the AMT rate instead. It’s sort of a failsafe tax rate.
    The AMT has, over the decades, inadvertently grown to a point where it hits non-rich taxpayers, especially ones in high-tax states. Congress has responded by continually passing “patches” that keep the AMT from growing. Since these patches are passed generally a year or two at a time, the law assumes that the AMT will continue to grow in size and raise taxes at lower and lower income levels. The AMT is one of the differences between the budget baseline that assumes current law, and which shows the deficit falling to a modest level — and the budget projections that assume current policy.
    So according to Newton-Small, one possible deal will raise a lot of taxes, but offset the revenue by permanently fixing the AMT. That way, conservatives can say that they didn’t vote for a net tax hike — they just voted to close some loopholes and plow the revenue back into other tax reductions. This allows them to avoid contradicting their sacred pledge to Grover Norquist never to support a revenue increase.
    But wait, you ask! How does this help the deficit problem?
    The answer is that if you assume that Congress will continue to patch the AMT year after year anyway, then the revenue loss from that “tax cut” isn’t real. You’re just accounting for revenue that would be lost anyway, but paying for it rather than financing it with debt. In other words, you’re turning a future assumed debt-financed tax cut into a future paid-for tax cut. That’s genuine budget savings.

  50. 50
    cleek says:

    @Jules:

    They are so easily wound up.

    of course, because they never unwind.

  51. 51
    hildebrand says:

    “strengthening” means scaling back a program. That’s what the word means these days when discussing budget policies. The White House was talking about cutting Social Security benefits.
    The White House says they won’t “slash benefits”. That doesn’t rule out a CPI adjustment that could easily mean a 5% to 7% reduction in benefits.

    Paging, Mr. Orwell. Paging, Mr. Orwell.

    Or, to take another tack: Evidence, how does it work?

  52. 52
    ira-NY says:

    Cole must be doing something right.

    BJ had 1,689,427 visits in June 2011. That is up from 1,470,518 in June 2010.

    Conversely, the Queen of Heartds emo site had 1,809,189 in June of 2011. That is down from 2,499,469 in June 2010

  53. 53
    derf is a ehcuod says:

    Seriously, I don’t even think Derf is reading anymore. It’s just a spambot now.

  54. 54
    liberal says:

    40. Jimperson Zibb wrote,

    My guess is that E.J. Dionne is right, and that Obama is doing this to show how reasonable he is willing to be.

    Nope. The reasonable think would have been to refuse to negotiate—insist that he would sign no bill increasing the debt limit that attached any strings. And not cave or “negotiate”.

  55. 55
    Quicksand says:

    I am some sort of sociopath

    So stipulated.

  56. 56
    joeyess says:

    attempting to police discourse…… fluffing Obama…… 11 Dimensional Chess….. morally bankrupt posturing

    Not that Cole needs it, but I’ll defend him here.

    So, here goes……

    Fuck You.
    Fuck You.
    Fuck You.
    And definitely, Fuck You.

    I gotchyer back, Cole.

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    @hildebrand

    Evidence, how does it work?

    I think it works best when you have some.

  58. 58
    Superking says:

    I don’t really think this is happening either, but I am disturbed by the possibility. When health care passed, Obama came out and told everyone that, yes, it wasn’t a perfect law and it didn’t do everything that was necessary, but he compared it to Social Security and said look how that has grown since it was first enacted in the 1930s. Ostensibly, the growth and improvement of Social Security is his standard for the health care law. It would take a huge helping of cognitive dissonance to say that and then prepare to cut back Social Security. You can’t expect developmental progres in a new government program, and then enact deep cuts to the government program that is your model. These two things don’t work together at all. Cutting SS would be horribly disastrous for that reason, among all the others.

  59. 59
    Yevgraf says:

    Reading a multiply repeated Derf post is like ripping loose a wet fart. You’re obligated to do it, found the experience unpleasant and have to suffer a bit in the aftermath.

  60. 60
    Han's Solo says:

    @liberal:

    The reasonable think would have been to refuse to negotiate

    This word “reasonable” does not mean what you think it means.

  61. 61
    liberal says:

    Han’s Solo quoted,

    plus $150 billion to $200 billion in increased revenues from requiring more pension contributions from federal employees,

    Yeah, some compromise. We’ll cut the take-home pay of middle class federal workers.

  62. 62
    Cranky Observer says:

    = = = = =
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theno.....rgain.html

    “The President has always said everything should be on the table,” deputy communications director Jen Psaki told ABC News this morning in an interview in her office down the hall from the Oval Office.

    Psaki would not give specifics of any presidential offers on the table as talks move to a higher level, but she did say the President is ready to put his hand on entitlements often called the dangerous “third rail” of politics.

    “We wish there was an easy solution to bringing down the deficit and doing it in a responsible way but unfortunately, there isn’t.” Psaki said. “That’s why we need to go after some of the sacred cows in politics, things like entitlement reform, areas like changing the tax code. That’s a conversation the president is willing to have and he hopeful the Republicans will come to the table willing to have it, as well.”
    = = = = =

  63. 63
    Davis X. Machina says:

    This persistent shock at the specter of a politician, playing politics, is mysterious.

    Jobs may poll higher than the deficit as a source of voter concern, but I see no reason to disagree with Jonathan Bernstein on the general theory that the median voter has all of this stuff – debt, deficit, default—to add insult to injury they all begin with ‘d’—jobs, unemployment, a ‘strong dollar’ – inextricably mixed up in his or her head.

    If that was whom I intended to rely on for re-election, why wouldn’t I conflate it all, too? If my opposition had just cleaned my clock in the mid-terms by conflating it all, conflating it all to the point where Medicare-age voters swept into power a party hell-bent on blowing up Medicare, for chrissakes, to the tune of 70 House seats, why wouldn’t I do the same?

    Obama is a politician, and a good one, whatever his failings as a macro-economist. He got himself elected, which isn’t all that easy to do. I rather expect he’ll get himself re-elected, too.

    His purposes are not my purposes, nor, I suspect are they anyone else’s, not completely.

    But small-l liberalism was never about anything more than an overlapping consensus of different comprehensive doctrines.

  64. 64
    urizon says:

    Doubleplusgood the House Democratic leadership was in the loop on this:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....ot-act.php

  65. 65
    srv says:

    Bill Daley was appointed to gut Social Security and this is just the first phase. Next year we’ll be debating privatization.

  66. 66
    Scott says:

    Republican troll is a Republican troll.

  67. 67
    Fang says:

    A lot of us freaked out over Bush, and quite understandably so. I’ve wondered if some of we liberals have a kind of political PSTD, where we easily freak out over things – which makes us easily manipulated by, well, anyone. I of course figure I don’t have this . . . which may be a delusion, but let me continue.

    The freakouts we see, are not only poorly sourced at this time, but also unproductive. Obama could be cutting social security period and a bunch of freakouts and whiny posts would do NOTHING. What does things is organization.

    Don’t like what you see, organize with people of a similar vision and get active. Freaking out does nothing – and just tells people you can be manipulated.

    This is why the Tea Party types are so useful. They’re easily manipulated. So if the manipulators on the right know how to control their hysterics, do they also know how to control those on the left . . .

  68. 68
    AxelFoley says:

    Cole’s so cute when he goes off. To quote my namesake: “I love it when you talk dirty to me, get your ass in this pool with me. ”

    Eh-eh-eh-eh

    /Axel Foley laugh

  69. 69
    Quiddity says:

    John Cole will soon be “strengthening” Balloon Juice by reducing it to two contributors posting once a month. And the site will be hosted by a refurbished Radio Shack TRS-80 (with a Kaypro II for backup). Sure, it won’t be doing much, but since the demands are low it will be there for a long time, and therefore “strengthened”.

  70. 70
    danimal says:

    Quid–I prefer raising the FICA cap. I don’t understand why we continue with such a regressive FICA tax structure.

    I won’t automatically freak out about a minor tweak to CPI–depends on the details. I know that puts me to the right of Josh Marshall for a change. So be it.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    Multiple senior House Democratic aides tell TPM that caucus members were caught off guard by news stories about President Obama’s push for deeper deficit and spending reductions—and particularly about the White House’s willingness to cut Social Security as part of a grand bargain to raise the debt limit.

    So the fact that Congressional Democrats read this exact same story in the WaPo and also freaked out is proof — PROOF! — that those stories must actually be true?

    Because it’s not like Republicans and/or conservaDems have ever tried to sow dissension in the ranks with unsourced stories.

  72. 72
    liberal says:

    Han’s Solo wrote,

    This word “reasonable” does not mean what you think it means.

    On the contrary.

    I take “reasonable” to mean “the right thing to do, on principle, and moreover very likely to be tactically successful, because the President holds the cards, etc”.

    You unfortunately take “reasonable” to mean “what people imagine, with really very little evidence, what so-called moderates who don’t know a damn thing about the world around them might possibly think”.

  73. 73
    Lolis says:

    This looks and sounds bad. It is worrisome that Nancy and the House leadership were left out of the loop.

  74. 74
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    Jesus, can we please stop Derf from spamming the same comment everywhere?

  75. 75

    I’m not a big time political consultant, but I play one on the internet. And I’m thinking that soon, or maybe even now, would be a great time for the president to draw a line in the sand, clarify his identity with the voters, and rally his base by declaring that there will be no cuts to social security and no cuts to medicare. He should say to the Republicans, ‘Your goal may be more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but my goal is to stimulate the economy to get more jobs.’ He should say, ‘If you want to cut government spending, come to the table with the program in your state or district that you are willing to eliminate. Then we’ll talk. Don’t ask other people to make sacrifices without first telling us what you are willing to sacrifice.”

    And let the chips fall where they may.

  76. 76
    cleek says:

    @danimal:

    I won’t automatically freak out about a minor tweak to CPI

    hand over your Party Membership Papers, comrade. the Righthink Men will be here shortly to escort you to your Retraining.

  77. 77
    RalfW says:

    If they screw with Social Security, even minutely, it would be politically idiotic.

    So a COLA adjustment in exchange for a better indexing of income tax is a bad deal? I guess pragmatism is a fools errand.

  78. 78
    Joel says:

    News of the World The Sun on Sunday discusses their new marketing strategy.

  79. 79
    liberal says:

    danimal wrote,

    I don’t understand why we continue with such a regressive FICA tax structure.

    Depends. If you’re just looking at the tax itself, without considering political issues like whether SS is social insurance or welfare, then why should SS tax have any cap at all? Furthermore, why should it not be applied to capital gains?

    If you consider it a social insurance program and look at both outflow and inflow, it’s actually somewhat progressive.

  80. 80
    Quiddity says:

    @danimal: Thanks for your viewpoint. I think SS benefits are slim – at least for those getting the lower payments – and wouldn’t want them to feel a CPI adjustment. If the CPI adjustment could be paired with some other criteria – although I’m not sure how that would work – that wouldn’t be so horrible. But an across-the-board CPI adjustment strikes me as bad policy.

  81. 81
    Irony Abounds says:

    The most likely change to SS would be to means test the method by which the CPI changes are applied. In other words, the rich will get less of an increase than the non-rich. While I understand the need to keep SS itself from being means tested, that type of change makes eminent sense and should not alarm anyone.

  82. 82
    geg6 says:

    Dave L @42:

    I agree with John that we need to wait for details, including whether or not there even is a deal. That said, this doesn’t look promising

    And then you go on to quote from another unsourced report about how Congressional Dems were “stunned” by a bunch other unsourced reports about how Obama wants to strangle the New Deal in a bathtub as your reason for concern.

    Again, Josh Marshall needs to go and get his head on straight. He’s sounding no better than Politico the last few months and, if he keeps it up, he’s off my blog roll.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Han’s Solo

    Interesting. To me it looks as though there’s a real bomb in it:

    …and another several hundred billion dollars from pegging inflation to the Consumer Price Index.

    Because the Department of Labor calculates the CPI and also determines what is in the “basket” of costs used to calculate it this is a backdoor means of decoupling the inflation numbers from actual inflation. IF the DoL decides to exclude everything but rutabagas from the basket it’s hard to see how we won’t be looking good no matter how broke everyone becomes.

  85. 85
    Steeplejack says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Oh, hell to the no! I had a long-ass post in the open thread last night that kept getting eaten–not put into moderation–and I could not figure out what was wrong with it. But it was so long that at the end I wrote something like “Sorry to go all mc_laren on your asses, but I needed to vent.” Damn it all to hell. FYWP!

    By the way, what did he get banned for?

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    “Strengthen” means CUT omg sky falling worlds colliding what’llwe do oh noe on no nooo i told you i told all of you and no one would listen ah ahhh ahhhhahghghghh

  87. 87
    liberal says:

    73 cleek wrote,

    hand over your Party Membership Papers, comrade. the Righthink Men will be here shortly to escort you to your Retraining.

    LOL. It’s not about ideological purity, it’s about stupidity. As I’ve posted before, we’ve seen this movie before: tax cuts for the filthy parasitic rich in the here and now, in exchange for program tweaks that will “strengthen” the SS program for payouts due to be begin 20 years plus.

    The point isn’t that “strengthening” SS is a bad or ideologically suspect idea, in isolation. It’s that advocating doing so when the Republicans are just going to use the resulting bump up in unified budget revenue to slash taxes on the rich (or prevent taxes on the rich from increasing) is foolish.

  88. 88
    MattR says:

    @NonyNony: It sounds like we are agreeing. My point was that a centrist Democrat like Harold Ford being the source is a red herring. What is important is whether you actually believe the source knows what is going on within the administration.

  89. 89

    @Steeplejack: no idea why he was banned. I was just nymchecking all the firebagger trolls who had showed up today, and mentioned he was missing and then boom – comment down the memory hole.

  90. 90
    askew says:

    This is an interesting take on the “cuts” supposedly being discussed for SS via the GOS.

    I forgot how deeply dumb most of the posters at GOS are. That diary was fact-based and showed in detail what the SS cuts may be. And the comments are full of hysterical rantings by people too dumb to count to 10. The fact that GOS remains the most visited progressive site is just embarrassing.

    As for the SS cuts, I am not going to get worked up over an anon source saying that cuts are maybe on the table. This is the 20th article over the past 2 years that has said that Obama was announcing SS cuts and none of them have been true so far.

  91. 91
    OzoneR says:

    If it was bull, the administration would say so.

    which they did

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ geg6 / 79:

    Josh Marshall needs to go and get his head on straight. He’s sounding no better than Politico the last few months

    That’s what your stories look like when you have “insider” “sources.” You stop reading and analyzing and you just transcribe reactions.

  93. 93
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    But again, what really bothers me more than these statements, is the very idea we’re having secret discussions about multi-trillion dollar cuts to the budget, two weeks before a deal needs to be made in order to raise the debt ceiling, which should have nothing to do with any of this.

    Fiddling with Social Security, a future issue, in the context of a manufactured current issue is just stupid.

    There’s only three scenarios (and a bullshit 4th) that make sense to me:

    1. Everyone is wack and there is in fact no SS proposal non-cut cuts being floated.
    2. Giving Republicans the chance to put a bullet, any bullet, even a small non-lethal one into SS is just the sort of honey they need to make a deal.
    3. Wasting a lot of time and energy worrying about a bullshit SS proposal never intended as serious takes the heat off of the actual Medicare and Medicaid cuts that have already been offered up.
    4. The president is sticking it to all the lefty emos who haven’t been sufficiently loyal. Nick told me this was a possibility.

  94. 94
    edmund dantes says:

    Social Security was taken off the table back in the 80’s when the Dem and Reagan came to an agreement to raise FICA to pre-pay into the trust fund to help offset the baby boom generation. How often since then has Social Security been up for cuts? From my short memory it’s been part of the narrative since the early 90s. I wasn’t paying much attention in the late 80’s.

  95. 95
    Derf says:

    Why is there still not response from John Galt Cole on the Latest ADP employment numbers?

    Why no response from John Galt Cole about the fact Greenwald does work for the Koch funded think tank Cato institute?

    Why does anyone bother listening to such a moron?

    To my groupie fans who follow every word I say. I luv you all. Hugs and kisses

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    “strengthening” means scaling back a program.

    Or it means raising the salary cap from $100K to $250K as was recommended by the deficit commission. But, of course, everything suggested by the deficit commission was BAD BAD BAD, so we can’t even consider common-sense fixes like raising the cap because the deficit catfood commission thought they were a good idea, which de facto means that raising the salary cap to $250K would lead directly to seniors having to live on cat food because shut up, that’s why.

  97. 97
    liberal says:

    Han’s Solo wrote,

    The difference is that my definition is technically correct, and yours is not.

    Yawn.

    Except for the wee fact that allowing the Republicans to conduct blackmail via the debt limit is neither fair nor moderate, and is a capitulation to extremism.

  98. 98
    OzoneR says:

    The reasonable think would have been to refuse to negotiate—-insist that he would sign no bill increasing the debt limit that attached any strings. And not cave or “negotiate”.

    Wow, that’s the worst example of reasonable I’ve ever seen.

  99. 99
    Han's Solo says:

    @Dennis SGMM: True, but it is all speculation.

    The part I found interesting is offsetting any tax increases by fixing the AMT. That is actually not a bad idea IMO.

  100. 100
    JC says:

    Well, remember, that all the rumors flying around for extending the Bush tax cuts, in December, that DID happen. Now, the country got a lot for that, in terms of unemployment benefits, etc, but a lot of the rumors were accurate.

    AARP though, is going to push strongly against this.

    If we put SS on the table at all, it’s going to ceding an advantage to the Rethugs, which would be stupid. Even some small COLA thing.

    If anything, there is a HUGE opportunity here, between the bait and switch on Medicare, and the normal SS privatization stuff from Rethugs – to TAKE BACK a lot of the elderly, that are voting for the Republicans.

    Seriously, with hard hitting – and true – ads detailing the Rethugs and destroyers of SS and Medicare/Medicaid, again and again and again, we can share 15% of the elderly, getting them to vote for Dems, with the overreach of the Republican governors and the Tea Party republicans.

    In this case, I really hope that there are ad writers, storing up these images of Obama being reasonable, civic-minded, while images of Republicans being hostage takers.

    All of this will be gold going forward into 2012. Just GOLD.

    so many different ways to hit the Republicans.

    For a sitting President, at the end of the day, it’s a winner take all system, when the voting actually happens.

    The smart political strategy next year is war against the overreaching, ideological SS and Medicare destroying Rethuglicans.

    And that is NOT HELPED by these ‘everything is on the table’ conversations.

  101. 101
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ MattR / 85 : The source doesn’t know what’s going on inside the administration. If he or she did, he or she would be identified as something like “a source close to the negotiations” rather than “familiar with the administration’s thinking.” You get a tag like that when a reporter calls you up and says, “Hey, why would they do this, and what are they thinking?”

  102. 102
    RalfW says:

    One of the problems is that debt negotiations are taking place behind closed doors and therefore paranoia is going off like popcorn.

    I just wanna ask when have major negotiations like this — federal or state level — not been done behind closed doors? I mean, sure, there are media avails at some of them, but the real brass tacks work always happens in private. Seems that way to me, anyway.

    It just seems more noticeable now because fewer leakers and fewer outside lobbyists are in on this one. And the stakes are high.

  103. 103
    MattR says:

    @askew: Sorry, but the GOS diary has a fundamental math error that renders it meaningless. (as I mentioned upthread a bit)

    @FlipYrWhig: Yep. I agree. I don’t trust anonymous sourcing because it is anonymous, not because it might be some centrist like Harold Ford.

  104. 104
    OzoneR says:

    Except for the wee fact that allowing the Republicans to conduct blackmail via the debt limit is neither fair nor moderate and is a capitulation to extremism.

    the 2010 elections were a capitulation to extremism, now we have to deal with it.

  105. 105
    Han's Solo says:

    @Derf:

    Why does anyone bother listening to such a moron?

    We aren’t listening to you, that is the point.

    DIAF

  106. 106
    Tsulagi says:

    If they screw with Social Security, even minutely, it would be politically idiotic.

    Yep.

    If they did you could write the R-campaign ads for next year. My favorite would probably be something like “Keep Government out of Social Security!!”

  107. 107
    WyldPirate says:

    Ah shit, well get yer fresh dose of outrage right here!

    David Plouffe says unemployment come 2012 won’t matter::

    “The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’”

    The quote is from a Bloomberg article. The link is from Firedoglake just to send the usual Opologists into a tizzy. ;)

    I’ll go with digby’s take on Plouffe’s lunacy::

    I can understand Plouffe wanting to downplay this issue in this forum because it’s not going to work in their favor. But someone else might have done it by saying that the president is very aware of the people’s angst and believe that they understand he’s doing everything he can to fix it — that Republicans are hostile to job creation policies and stymie any attempt to pass them. Pretending that it doesn’t matter at all is very telling.
    __
    I think that’s just bizarrely out of touch. George-Bush-Sr-with-the-supermarket-scanner out of touch.

  108. 108
    cleek says:

    @liberal:

    It’s that advocating doing so when the Republicans are just going to use the resulting bump up in unified budget revenue to slash taxes on the rich (or prevent taxes on the rich from increasing) is foolish.

    the GOP will attempt to slash taxes on the rich no matter what Obama does today, tomorrow, or at any other day in his presidency. they will continue to do so as long as there are rich people, or Republicans. and they’ll use whatever’s handy at the moment as an excuse.

  109. 109
    liberal says:

    edmund dantes wrote,

    Social Security was taken off the table back in the 80’s when the Dem and Reagan came to an agreement to raise FICA to pre-pay into the trust fund to help offset the baby boom generation.

    IMHO one of the most important, perhaps the most important point, is that the Republicans think the Trust Fund is a fiction.

  110. 110
    OzoneR says:

    TAKE BACK a lot of the elderly, that are voting for the Republicans.

    dude, you are never going to win back the elderly with a black president, no matter what, because when he says “Republicans will cut Medicare.” they won’t believe him.

  111. 111
    cleek says:

    @Derf:

    Why does anyone bother listening to such a moron?

    good question.
    welcome to the pie factory!

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    I take “reasonable” to mean “the right thing to do, on principle, and moreover very likely to be tactically successful, because the President holds the cards, etc”.

    So you made up your own definition and now you’re all pissy because the rest of us haven’t adopted your new definition and use the actual definition instead?

    1. agreeable to reason or sound judgment; logical: a reasonable choice for chairman.
    2. not exceeding the limit prescribed by reason; not excessive: reasonable terms.
    3. moderate, especially in price; not expensive: The coat was reasonable but not cheap.

    Yep, nothing says “moderate” like “digging your heels in and refusing to budget.”

  113. 113
    Han's Solo says:

    @liberal: You just keep proving that you need a better dictionary.

    We have a name for people who change the meanings of words at their leisure: Republican. Maybe you should rename yourself. Or just stop tinkering with the English language.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ liberal / 94 : The problem with not dealing with extremists arises when there’s a majority of extremists in the part of the government that controls spending. Similarly, you can refuse to deal with creationists on the school board, but if creationists already control your school board, your “refusal” doesn’t start to mean much.

  115. 115
    OzoneR says:

    If they did you could write the R-campaign ads for next year. My favorite would probably be something like “Keep Government out of Social Security!!”

    You’re forgetting that whatever deal this is will be backed by Republican leaders, they’re not going to run ads against a bill they voted for.

  116. 116
    liberal says:

    Han’s Solo wrote,

    The part I found interesting is offsetting any tax increases by fixing the AMT. That is actually not a bad idea IMO.

    While the idea that any tax increases have to be offset by commensurate tax cuts is crazy, I agree insofar as fixing the AMT isn’t an unreasonble thing to do if you’re going to constrain yourself in such a fashion.

    But the fact that you and I think it’s reasonable means the Republicans won’t think so.

  117. 117
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Derf:

    To my groupie fans who follow every word I say. I luv you all. Hugs and kisses

    Hugs and kisses back. It’s not easy to keep John toeing the line. I like your proactive approach. Stuck would just usually wait until John made the wrong choice, then faint dead away.

  118. 118
    cleek says:

    @JC:

    And that is NOT HELPED by these ‘everything is on the table’ conversations.

    sometimes, saying “everything is on the table” during difficult negotiations is a way of making your opponent seem unreasonable.

  119. 119
    Brian R. says:

    Go ask Brad DeLong about how reliable the Post reporter responsible for this hearsay story, a woman named Lori Montgomery, really is.

    For real, he must have a dozen posts about her playing fast and loose with the facts and with anonymous sources like she does in this piece.

  120. 120
    Jim C. says:

    Maybe it is all negotiating posturing and the like, but I’m both liking and not liking what I’m seeing out of TPM today.

    I like very much that Pelosi pushed back against an unfair deal that is overwhelming structured towards the Republicans and politically stupid. (To paraphrase Cole above)

    I don’t like that TPM is reporting that Obama went there to begin with and blindsided Pelosi.

    I can totally understand that there’s a fog of war thing going on and not everyone trusts anonymous democratic sources or someone like Frum or what not, but this is Talking Points Memo we’re talking about. Maybe it’s just me, but when they’re pushing the panic button and saying shit is going down…

    …well, I worry a little.

    Maybe the situation isn’t as bad as it looks and it is just the murky details being impossible to really judge at this point, but I’m nervous.

  121. 121
    Culture of Truth says:

    Why do you hate Democraticofficialfamiliarwiththe administration’sthinking?

  122. 122
    Han's Solo says:

    @liberal:

    But the fact that you and I think it’s reasonable means the Republicans won’t think so.

    Sadly, this is true. Yes, it has bipartisan support today, but the moment Obama says he is for it the GOP will bolt.

  123. 123
    Trurl says:

    And when the reports turn out to be true, Cole will promptly switch tactics and start bleating about “President Bachmann”.

    The most hilariously predictable O-pologist on the Internet.

  124. 124
    liberal says:

    FlipYrWhig wrote,

    The problem with not dealing with extremists arises when there’s a majority of extremists in the part of the government that controls spending.

    I’ll have to respectfully disagree with that. First, Obama has executive powers; if pressed, he has other cards (14th amendment argument; can decide who gets paid; etc). Second, AFAICT from reading analyses of these things, the populace on balance would ultimately blame the Republicans.

  125. 125
    Napoleon says:

    You’re forgetting that whatever deal this is will be backed by Republican leaders, they’re not going to run ads against a bill they voted for.

    Where have you been the last 2 years. They have already done the same thing on other issues.

  126. 126
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ WP : I don’t know where “out of touch” and “unimportant” are coming from. If there’s a problem with that answer, it’s more along the lines of Michael Dukakis being asked about the death penalty for his wife’s hypothetical rapist/murderer. Plouffe is saying that there’s a difference between a number and the personal experience underlying that number. I.e., people won’t refuse to vote for Obama if unemployment is “10%,” but they might do so if they don’t think he’s sympathetic to their problems and doing what he can to try and fix them. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the reality the numbers describe. That doesn’t sound like an ideal answer because it’s kind of “meta,” but it also doesn’t sound like he’s saying “unemployment” doesn’t “matter.”

  127. 127
    askew says:

    Again, Josh Marshall needs to go and get his head on straight. He’s sounding no better than Politico the last few months and, if he keeps it up, he’s off my blog roll.

    I stopped visiting his site during the budget showdown. He was in near hysterics over the deal. His stories were dead wrong and he never corrected them.

  128. 128
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @liberal: Most of the country thinks the Trust Fund is a fiction. Repetitio mater studiorum est.

  129. 129
    Brian R. says:

    Why do you hate Democraticofficialfamiliarwiththe administration’sthinking?

    Funny, Lori Montgomery always seems to go to people like him for quotes.

  130. 130
    Baud says:

    @FlipYrWhig

    You clearly don’t speak firebagese.

  131. 131
    jeffreyw says:

    jeffreyw, where are you? We could use some food and animals about now.

    This seems suitable

  132. 132
    slag says:

    Nut-picking in your own comment threads, JC? Well, if nothing else, it shows that you care.

  133. 133
    WyldPirate says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Ah, I see a leading Opologist of the highset order applies pretzel logic at its finest:

    Because it’s not like Republicans and/or conservaDems have ever tried to sow dissension in the ranks with unsourced stories.

    Never mind that in her/his own quote it is “multiple unnamed White House aides” that are sowing “dissension in the ranks”.

    Let me ask you Mnemosyne, are YOU a paid Opologist? ;)

  134. 134
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    It is perhaps not a bad thing for Congressional Democrats to be all over the media defending Social Security (and, no, I’m not suggesting this was 11 dimensional chess)

  135. 135
    liberal says:

    116. Brian R. wrote,

    Go ask Brad DeLong about how reliable the Post reporter responsible for this hearsay story, a woman named Lori Montgomery, really is.

    Heh. That might be the most valid point after the “anonymous sourcing sucks” point.

    IIRC from reading the dead tree edition, LM reports on the Republican side of things, and as such apparently has decided to get access she needs to whore herself out to the Republicans. Maybe more subtly than the whores with access to Bush in Campaign 2000, but…

  136. 136
    Tsulagi says:

    @OzoneR:

    You’re forgetting that whatever deal this is will be backed by Republican leaders, they’re not going to run ads against a bill they voted for.

    If you’re counting on facts, a recognition of irony, or shame to dissuade Rs from saying and campaigning on whatever the fuck they think benefits them continually repeating it, good luck in that unicorn hunt.

  137. 137
  138. 138
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Baud / 127 : It’s hard to figure out a language comprised of nothing but tense and mood.

  139. 139
    boss bitch says:

    Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking.

    that could be a freaking blogger for all we know. “Familiar with the administration’s thinking”? HA LOLOL. That could be anybody.

  140. 140
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Please do not become discombobulated, peoplefolk. President Obama is simply “going big.” Little does he realize that this is what Ginni says when she wants the Supreme Gavel of Justice to be lodged firmly up her behind. “Go big, big Clarence” she says. And so I have to wonder – I simply have to – what is it like to fuck 98 percent of The American People in the ass? Man, that would be an historic achievement, to be sure.

    The court is now in recess. I have to ponder this deeply.
    .
    .

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:

    This is the 20th article over the past 2 years that has said that Obama was announcing SS cuts and none of them have been true so far.

    But, see, the fact that the previous 20 rumors didn’t pan out is proof that this one must be true! Otherwise, that would mean that the people who’ve been losing their shit over this for the past two years were wrong, and that’s unpossible!

    Once someone has convinced themselves that of course Obama is going to cut Social Security, any evidence — even evidence to the contrary — proves them right. That’s how conspiracy theorists think.

  142. 142
    liberal says:

    FlipYrWhig wrote,

    Plouffe is saying that there’s a difference between a number and the personal experience underlying that number. I.e., people won’t refuse to vote for Obama if unemployment is “10%,” but they might do so if they don’t think he’s sympathetic to their problems and doing what he can to try and fix them.

    Putting aside the question of whether the comment is tone deaf, this reasoning is muddled. If unemployment is high in aggregate, then the impact on Obama is going to be negative in aggregate. The only nuance being that maybe the empirical literature says the aggregate rate of change is important also.

  143. 143

    “The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’”

    i actually find that argument very persuasive, since a lot of americans don’t give two shits about anyone outside their personal acquaintances.

    Having said that, i don’t think those monthly job numbers are going to help obama make that case. And i don’t see a whole lot of room for him to maneuver to lower the number over the next 18 months.

  144. 144
    stuckinred says:

    jeffery

    these people don’t know diddly bout no epu’s!

  145. 145
    WyldPirate says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the reality the numbers describe. That doesn’t sound like an ideal answer because it’s kind of “meta,” but it also doesn’t sound like he’s saying “unemployment” doesn’t “matter.”

    Nice stab at an argument, Flip.

    as bad as it pains me, let me quote (or paraphrase) Ronnie Raygun; “it’s a recession when your neighbor loses their job and a depression when you lose yours”.

    I think that that was digby’s point in her GHWB “out of touch” analogy. I lot of people are scared, treading water or going backwards. They can’t move to better opportunities because they can’t sell their underwater home and can’t afford to take a bath on the loss.

    Time will tell, but empathy doesn’t put any groceries in people’s cupboards or fridge.

  146. 146
    Joseph Nobles says:

    http://thinkprogress.org/polit.....ment-debt/

    The GOP caucus has privately discussed impeaching Obama if he declares the debt ceiling unconstitutional.

  147. 147
    liberal says:

    askew:

    I stopped visiting his site during the budget showdown.

    I very rarely visit his site anymore. Mainly because of the banner headlines, cheap journalistic “look”, and lack of any real value-added. A pity.

  148. 148
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    i actually find that argument very persuasive, since a lot of americans don’t give two shits about anyone outside their personal acquaintances.

    True, but constant news reports about unemployment exacerbate anxiety. But on the third hand, the idea that Plouffe is saying “unemployment doesn’t matter!” is just hammering a square peg into a round hole of pre-existing, self-indulgent outrage.

  149. 149
    Wiesman says:

    I, for one, look forward to the joyous blog posts by the current hand wringers that say “We did it! We forced Obama to not touch Social Security!”

  150. 150
    IrishGirl says:

    Well, I agree John that we don’t need to freak out. I think there is nothing wrong with coming out and saying, this is my line in the sand. And for me it is. If Pres. O compromises on Social Security I will vote for him but I sure as hell won’t volunteer for him like I did in 2008.

  151. 151
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ WyldPirate

    I think you misunderstood what I was saying — the original WaPo article that started this whole kerfuffle is what I’m saying could have been created to sow dissension, not the fact that congresscritters read the article. Cause and effect, how do they work?

  152. 152
    liberal says:

    Joseph Noble wrote,

    The GOP caucus has privately discussed impeaching Obama if he declares the debt ceiling unconstitutional.

    So? If they could get away with it, they’d impeach him for not being a far-right Republican.

    There’s many cards Obama has. Aside from the 14th amendment, Treasury gets to decide who gets paid. Are they going to litigate that? There’s also been the suggestion that the Fed can just cancel the debt it owns, though I’m not sure if that’s legal on its face.

  153. 153
  154. 154

    COLA adjustment:

    Why mess with COLA? We’re already getting NO cost of living adjustment. What could be cheaper than that?

  155. 155
    Xenos says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    The GOP caucus has privately discussed impeaching Obama if he declares the debt ceiling unconstitutional.

    This has been the plan for months: force a constitutional crisis, impeach the president no matter what he does, because all choices are unconstitutional, and then… profit!

  156. 156
  157. 157
    EGrise says:

    Exactly right, John. Thanks for this.

  158. 158
    SIA says:

    Wish I’d come here before reading all that other shit and getting my BP up.

    This blog is becoming my sanity refuge in the way Al Giordano’s was during the 08 election.

  159. 159
    Poopyman says:

    “Obama Administration Tries to Tempt Congressional Democrats into Political Suicide”

    You can scroll over it, but I wouldn’t click on it.

    No, really.

  160. 160
    Han's Solo says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    The GOP caucus has privately discussed impeaching Obama if he declares the debt ceiling unconstitutional.

    The only way they will impeach Obama is if the Debt Ceiling gives him a blow job.

    Seriously though, I’d like to think they learned their lesson after the Clinton fiasco, but I’m less than confident.

  161. 161
    Brian R. says:

    For those of you who actually believe the rumors that this hack reporter is passing along as truth, please note that Lori Montgomery is the same reporter who once described Peter Orszag — yes, this Peter Orszag — as possessing “cowboy-booted, marathon-running swagger.”

    Do. Not. Trust. Her.

  162. 162
    YellowDog says:

    First off, what JC said.
    Second, there is no reason to believe that the wingnuts will accept anything short of what they really want–privatization of Social Security and elimination of Medicare. Every time there is a an offer by the Democrats, the response is “wait, we want this too.” Let the wingnuts control the debate until the 11th hour, when Boehner’s corporate masters demand a deal to avoid collapse. Boehner cannot get the wingnut votes and will need the Democrats in the House. Their response should be “wait, we want this too.”

  163. 163
    Trinity says:

    Thank.You.John.

    Couldn’t agree more.

  164. 164
    BDeevDad says:

    Joseph Nobles

    It’s not very private anymore.

    The amusing thing is Scott is a devoted 10th amendment guy who probably would have no problem with a literal interpretation of the 10th amendment, but would impeach for a literal interpretation of the 14th.

  165. 165
    Trinity says:

    @Trinity: @Trinity: my bad. didn’t mean to bold everything.

  166. 166
    fuckwit says:

    WHY ARE THERE SO MANY COLORS!!??!! WHAT IS IT TRYING TO TELL ME???!

  167. 167
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @WyldPirate

    Plouffe’s remark seems perilously close to that “We create our own realities..” remark that came out during the Bush years. Either that or he’s whistling past the graveyard. The U6 unemployment rate stands at 15.8%. Does Plouffe think that these people are so happy with their situations that that they’re going to vote for Obama anyway? And what of their families and friends? The unemployment/underemployment numbers have remained high so the notion that those who make up those cadres will vote for more of the same seems incredibly naive.

  168. 168
  169. 169
    stuckinred says:

    Jeffery

    I know what it means!

  170. 170
    Xenos says:

    What is up with TPM?

    “PELOSI BLINDSIDED BY OBAMA”

    Yeah, right… if Obama did not tell her what he is doing, it is only because it is so freaking obvious that he did not want to insult her by calling her up and spelling it out.

  171. 171
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    True, but constant news reports about unemployment exacerbate anxiety.

    Constant news reports about the deficit also exacerbate anxiety. As do constant news reports about the demise of Social Security.

    All of this is hoovered up by an electorate that has them, plus foghorns, cowbells, and the Casey Anthony trial, in constant Brownian motion between its ears.

    This is the nation you go to, when you go to the nation.

    Not us.

  172. 172
    OzoneR says:

    If you’re counting on facts, a recognition of irony, or shame to dissuade Rs from saying and campaigning on whatever the fuck they think benefits them continually repeating it, good luck in that unicorn hunt.

    It doesn’t benefit them to run ads against legislation they voted on. They were able to do it with HCR cause they opposed it.

  173. 173
    Heliopause says:

    No matter how many times the following is explained to you, John, it just never sinks in.

    No, Obama is (probably) not on the brink of cutting Social Security. What he’s doing is what the people in power have been doing for decades, sending out the trial balloon. Every time they do there’s a freakout. They’re going to keep sending out those trial balloons, because the first time they do and there isn’t a freakout they’re going to cut Social Security. Understand?

    It’s sad that sometimes old people and the “emo crowd” don’t express themselves in ways that you personally approve of, but you’ll muddle through.

  174. 174
    goblue72 says:

    Personally, I am non-plussed over the hysteria about “will the teabaggers win and let the U.S. default on its debt?” Answer: They won’t. And the market knows it.

    What is more worrisome, is the prospect that a repeat of the Clinton govt. shut-down might not result in the same outcome. Back then, Clinton clearly came out a winner. This time around, we’ve got a state-level version happening in real-time in Minnesota between a Democratic governor and a teabagger legislature. 6 days going with the governor offering up every possible compromise on the table, including forgoing any tax increases on the rich and using an increase in cigarette taxes as the only major revenue measure.

    The Minnesota teabaggers won’t back down on their no taxes, all cuts demands. And its frighteningly unclear if the Minnesota voting public really sees the teabaggers as being lunatics or not.

    We had the same thing in California, and we basically got an all-cuts budget with the slimmest of hopes of some revenue measures on the November ballot.

    The whinging Left doesn’t realize that the idiot voters out there have turned mean and nasty in the face of the recession.

  175. 175
    boss bitch says:

    It bothers me that House Democrats can get so easily riled up by news reports.

  176. 176
    Brian R. says:

    Yeah, right… if Obama did not tell her what he is doing, it is only because it is so freaking obvious that he did not want to insult her by calling her up and spelling it out.

    Or, you know, it could be that Obama isn’t doing it in the first place, and therefore Pelosi didn’t hear about it because it didn’t happen.

    I took Pelosi’s comments in that TPM piece to say, listen, if this shit were going down, I’d have heard about it from someone at the White House and not just from some anonymously sourced story in the Hiatt Herald.

    But yeah, that headline is all-kinds of pants-pissingly wrong. TPM needs to chill the fuck out or they’re getting off my daily to-read list.

  177. 177
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Dennis / 164 : No, it means that the important thing is not the unemployment _number_, but the tangible reality of unemployment. That’s not the same thing as saying that the number doesn’t matter, or that unemployment as an issue doesn’t matter. It’s not a scintillating piece of political rhetoric, but it’s pretty much standard-issue, and I don’t see why it’s worth getting worked up over.

  178. 178
    OzoneR says:

    Does Plouffe think that these people are so happy with their situations that that they’re going to vote for Obama anyway?

    yes because that’s how incumbents have won reelection since 1792.

  179. 179
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    This is the nation you go to, when you go to the nation.

    No argument from me. Don’t you live in Maine? No offense, but I was thinking the other day that Maine is the state that best exemplifies our fucked up electorate. Dems winning the presidentials by increasing double digit margins since ’96 (IIRC, I looked it up a while back) inviolable “moderate” Republican senators who vote in near-lockstep with Jim DeMint, and now whackadoo governor LePage.

  180. 180
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Heliopause:

    What he’s doing is what the people in power have been doing for decades, sending out the trial balloon.

    Or maybe what he’s doing is discussing taking this opportunity to do what _everyone_ _always_ says about Social Security. The going line is that it’s not in need of a major overhaul, and that it’s easy to bring it back into balance by making a few small adjustments (for instance, by raising the earning cap). Right? Remember? Well, if you’re a reporter for a major newspaper, and consequently both dimwitted and lazy, you might understand that to be a “cut,” commence the usual freakout, and have it interpreted by people who think they’re rather savvy as a “trial balloon” instead of typical media dumbfuckery.

  181. 181
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @FlipYrWhig

    I’m not worked up over Plouffe’s remark. I do think that a cavalier remark regarding the unemployed is startlingly stupid as we head into an election year. Angry people don’t usually vote for the incumbent.

  182. 182
    boss bitch says:

    @Brian R.:

    I took Pelosi’s comments in that TPM piece to say, listen, if this shit were going down, I’d have heard about it from someone at the White House and not just from some anonymously sourced story in the Hiatt Herald.

    This is exactly right.

  183. 183
    JC says:

    Goblue72

    The whinging Left doesn’t realize that the idiot voters out there have turned mean and nasty in the face of the recession

    Well, the voters get what they vote for, I suppose. 2010 was a failure of voters reality, and believing in things that didn’t exist.

    You more often than not win by betting on the worst from the US electorate as a whole.

    Not always, but often.

    This is a populace that seems to like reality TV over any other form of entertainment. Idiocracy is seeming prophetic.

  184. 184
    Zach says:

    Passing Obamacare after a year of Congressional debate following a year and a half of Presidential primary and general election campaigns debating health insurance reform: irresponsibly passing bills in the dead of night that are too long and confusing for anyone to understand!

    Fundamentally changing the social safety net with less than a month of debate to help solve the long term debt problem: totally responsible, serious, and necessary.

    Meaningful changes to any major social insurance program are so far off the table in the current debate that I have no idea why this story is worrying anyone.

  185. 185
    Bruce S says:

    I am not part of the touted “emo” crowd and have been defending the Prez for years.

    BUT anyone who doesn’t recognize that the Dems not only lost – but barely put up – a fight over the terms of debate on the budget and deficits in the midst of deep recession and lingering massive unemployment, and that the Prez shares much of the blame for the situation, given his weak pushback and even steady adoption, albeit in modified and subtly “sane” form, of the Tea Partyized GOP’s talking points needs their head examined. Per Ezra Klein, the Dems are offering the most reactionary spending cuts deal since…EVER!

    http://titanicsailsatdawn.blog.....crazy.html

    The reality is that the GOP’s base has scared the bejeezus out of them and dominated the noise machine and the Dem’s base is simply being asked to clap louder for what we can only hope is 7 Dimensional Chess. If we’re not screwed, I must be an idiot. Somebody explain to me just how stupid I am. This has nothing to do, incidentally, with the vapor-“news” about SS and Medicare. It’s about the core conflict which the GOP has decisively won, even if they’re still refusing to release their hostage.

  186. 186
    boss bitch says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    I do think that a cavalier remark regarding the unemployed

    How is it cavalier? he’s pointing out that people think first and foremost of themselves.

    startlingly stupid as we head into an election year

    voters don’t care what Plouffe says. they don’t know who he is.

  187. 187

    @goblue77 – the whinging left was too busy signing sternly worded letters with grover fucking norquist to understand how the long con is played.

  188. 188
    John PM says:

    Whoever said it would have been reasonable for Obama to not negotiate is incorrect. As a lawyer, I have often negotiated even though I knew that I would not reach an agreement with the other side. A judge will want the parties to make a good-faith effort to resolve a dispute. If a party refuses to negotiate, that typically pisses off the judge, which can bite that party in the ass. The Republicans refusal to negotiate will make them appear worse.

  189. 189

    @JC: The stupid doesn’t always win, but it always covers the spread.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: We have Gov. LePage thanks to a split non-conservative vote. I would be mean and say ‘thanks to a bunch of soi-disant I-vote-the-man-and-not-the-party ‘progressive’ Carter voters’, but I’m mean.

    That and two more third party candidates. Because more parties on the ballot are the answer.

    LePage didn’t crack 40% at the polls.

    And William Goldman was right when he said ‘Nobody knows anything’, not just about Hollywood, but about Washington.

    Probably because Jay Leno was right when he said “Politics is just show business for ugly people”.

  190. 190
    Davis X. Machina says:

    BUT anyone who doesn’t recognize that the Dems not only lost – but barely put up – a fight over the terms of debate on the budget and deficits in the midst of deep recession and lingering massive unemployment…

    Which Dems? The Democrats who are Democrats, or the Democrats who are Republicans? We may only have two labels, but we’ve got at least three parties.

    In the UK Cameron has office only by grace of a coalition, but everyone knows he has a coalition, because there are all those orange constituencies in the west of England on the BBC map.

  191. 191
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    BUT anyone who doesn’t recognize that the Dems not only lost – but barely put up – a fight over the terms of debate on the budget and deficits in the midst of deep recession and lingering massive unemploymen

    t,

    The problem is that a lot of elected Dems agree with the Republican terms of the debate. The paring down of the stimulus, health care, the infrastructure/jobs bill of October 2010, repeal of the top tier Bush tax cuts– all the work of conservative and timid Democrats when “we” had the House and “60 votes”

  192. 192
    Georgia Pig says:

    JC is right. Anyway, this makes sense as a false flag operation by the WH. Obama’s problem is that he can only veto legislation, and he doesn’t want a veto to cause a default. Boehner’s problem is that he probably needs Dems to get a debt ceiling bill through. He can’t rely on teabagger support because they really do want to burn down the house and, even if they don’t, they’ll catch hell from the knuckleheads in their districts if they vote to raise the debt ceiling. There’s two ways a new debt ceiling passes: (1) a straight republican majority or (2) a coalition of dems and non-teabagger republicans. So, Obama puts out some vague feelers about SS and Medicare being on the table. For a lot of Republicans with elderly and near-elderly constituents, that’s the last thing they want to agree to — they want to cut Medicaid, educational funding, food stamps and other stuff perceived as non-teabagger welfare.

    From the point of view of Obama’s own PR standing, the “offer” is excusable because, after all, he’s having a gun held to his head by a bunch of anarchists. There is no chance in hell that the offer is going anywhere significant. Rather, it enables Pelosi and others to do the “I’m shocked!” and “over my dead body” thing and puts the fear of god in the non-teabagger Republicans in swing districts, who know they’ll have to run as the guys who pushed gutting SS and Medicare. It would be Ryan Plan II. The “compromise” that comes about is the AMT/loophole thing Chait is talking about. Mission accomplished. All Obama wants right now is to raise the debt ceiling and AMT was going to be fixed anyway. The AMT fix is most helpful for the lower-upper and upper-middle class anyway, not the super-rich. It’s another stimulus, albeit not the type you’d prefer. Eventually, the republicans will get tired of giving middle and lower middle class tax cuts (remember the payroll tax cut?), and will agree to some infrastructure spending to help their business cronies and buy popularity in their districts.

  193. 193
    Brian R. says:

    The Republicans refusal to negotiate will make them appear worse.

    Bingo.

    The White House saying vaguely that all things are on the table isn’t the same thing as really putting all things on the table. They’re taking pains to look reasonable and be willing to compromise, nothing more. And they’re gift wrapping responsibility for the economic consequences of the default at the recalcitrant GOP’s doorstep.

  194. 194
    4tehlulz says:

    BTW Barney Frank just knee-capped Obama on the 14th.

    Cold Water on the “Constitutional Option”

    I’m sure Boehner and Cantor appreciate the cover.

  195. 195
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Bruce S #182:

    I endorse this post.

    It just feels like there’s been so much coopting and lurching toward the GOP, either out of misguided attempts at bipartisanship or simple electoral gamesmanship, and GOP responding by lurching even further rightward because they know they can get away with it. Between that and people readily voting against policies they agree with standalone simply because they dare not give victory to fucking hippies, and it feels like there’s no way out but total abject failure at this point.

    GOP has won wholesale. We’re just waiting to see by how much at this point. :/

  196. 196
    ruemara says:

    Don’t particularly care about the latest blograge story. Just not enough facts to get more worked up than a phone call to my rep. However, the David Plouffe outrage story fascinates me. I’m part employed, my mate is unemp. I can say I would not give a flying fuck about the percentage of unemployment of the US on election day 2012. I will care about whether I still have my job, whether my mate has a job and I will be fucking thankful that the President did his deal with the devil back during Christmas of 2010 for UE benefits because it let me live in my home for a bit longer. I may care about 9 or 10% UE as an abstract because I’m wonky, but personally, no it will not be factor. I’d even say that the factor isn’t the number of UE, it is whether or not you’re suffering from it or see it affecting those around you. For FDL to spin it as out of touch suggest they’re the ones out of touch. The personal will impact decision making much more than the abstract every day.

  197. 197
    Bruce S says:

    More here on the “Democratic” deal – which is essentially the same as that proffered by AEI economists advising the House GOP –

    http://titanicsailsatdawn.blog.....o-get.html

    Where the hell has the movement that put Obama into office been while the Tea Partiers took the offensive? That’s my biggest question for the Obama team.

    But of course, they’re just campaign operatives, so all of the “Organizing for America” rhetoric was calculated bullshit. We – and I’m talking about the folks who helped Obama get off the ground early on and believed that he could change the political landscape and inspire people at the grass-roots – allowed ourselves to be dumbed down into a DNC mailing list with cool stuff. I don’t hold myself above this failure. I wish I’d done a lot more when there was still some fire and enthusiasm to engage issues rather than just patting ourselves on the back. Periodic phone banks and GOTV do not a movement make…

  198. 198
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @4tehlulz: …no organized party. Again.

  199. 199
    WyldPirate says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    “Incredibly naive” is what came to my mind as well.

    I think it is a hell of a gamble on their part, but they have little else to play as the economy isn’t getting much better for the vat lot of Americans. In fact, they are going backwards.

    I think Plouffe’s “put on a happy face” attitude is the best he’s got considering that basically, all Obama has done for the middle and working class is kept the knife from getting twisted in the middle class’s back any worse than it has.

    I think all bets are off if Obama grabs the third rail. He will find out pretty damned riki-tiki that he will get crispy-crittered.

  200. 200
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Brian R. #192

    Bingo.

    The White House saying vaguely that all things are on the table isn’t the same thing as really putting all things on the table. They’re taking pains to look reasonable and be willing to compromise, nothing more. And they’re gift wrapping responsibility for the economic consequences of the default at the recalcitrant GOP’s doorstep.

    And that worked out so damn well in 2010. Oh, wait, the GOP was able to market their intractable monolithic obstructionism as proof positive that the DEMS were the evil hyper-partisan demons and rode that all the way to victory, to which they’ve already managed to fucking ingrain and institutionalize their social and economic policies wholesale across the fucking country in a matter of a half-a-year, most of which would take at LEAST a decade just to even get a chance to overturn.

    Yeah….

  201. 201
    mcd410x says:

    The scary part isn’t Social Security — the President has been on about that since the inauguration. The scary part was Wednesday declaring unemployment “structural” — when it’s clearly both structural and cyclical — and saying, good luck, y’all, hope it works out well.

  202. 202
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ruemara:

    For FDL to spin it as out of touch suggest they’re the ones out of touch.

    It just so happens that I just went out to the kitchen to unplug the dishwasher, and there, in my yard, was a whole conga line of Eastern black bears, heading for the woodlot, each with a roll of Charmin in one hand, and a back issue of The Nation, or a Grisham novel, in the other.

  203. 203
    OzoneR says:

    Also this

    According to a poll published Wednesday, 59 percent of Americans want the government to make national debt reduction its top priority, even if it comes at the expense of kick-starting the economy. Only a third think the focus should be on stimulatio

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....lp00000008

  204. 204
    WyldPirate says:

    @ruemara:

    For FDL to spin it as out of touch suggest they’re the ones out of touch. The personal will impact decision making much more than the abstract every day.

    FTR, the link I provided as “spinning it as out of touch” was from digby. She has a damned good track record on being right about stuff. The Plouffe wuote I sighted was originally in Bloomberg. I simply used the FDL link to yank you Obotter’s chains.

    And is it any surprise that President Immaculate Perfection can do no wrong in your eyes? Hell, you’re in the “Obama earns a pass on skull fucking kittens territory”.

  205. 205
    Bruce S says:

    “We may only have two labels, but we’ve got at least three parties.”

    Yeah – the Democratic Party carries the burden of being the sane conservatives, with a handful of liberals keeping the flame alive. Given that “balance” – with one party essentially representing the twin poles of not-insane conservatism and authentic liberalism, while the other tugs political discourse into an alternate reality, to ask for even the articulatioin of a modest liberal agenda starts to seem like Utopianism.

  206. 206
    OzoneR says:

    BTW Barney Frank just knee-capped Obama on the 14th.

    Too bad Obama didn’t flat out say he’d consider using at as an option.

    Oh wait, he did

  207. 207
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @OzoneR: All those wrong people. We need to tell them they’re wrong. A lot. Loudly. Because they’re wrong.

    It’s especially important for anyone running for office to tell them they’re wrong, a lot, loudly. Because that’s what wins elections.

  208. 208
    Bruce S says:

    But Ozone – other polls show people opposing the spending cuts over tax increases. People need leadership…it has been wanting.

  209. 209
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @4tehlulz #193:

    That statement by Frank pisses me off more than anything else in this thread. Dunno why, maybe cause it seems selfish (bitching about the pres encroaching on what he perceives to be a unique role of Congress), whilst ignoring how many peons will be hurt by a default.

  210. 210
    Bruce S says:

    Davis – false choice. But of course, nothing can be changed so we might as well grin as we help sell the Republican’s ideology.
    Actually, the one’s here who show contempt for the people are folks like you and Ozone, who rationalize anything by citing how dumb everyone is because they respond predictably to stupid polling.

  211. 211
    Martin says:

    Here’s my question to you all: who here thinks Congress can start writing, run through committee, vote in the House, send to the Senate, run through committee, amend, vote, reconcile and have on Obama’s desk a $2T budget deal – all in 3 weeks?

    The bigger this gets, the more impossible it becomes. Budgets like this take 6 months, minimum to work out, and usually start getting written at the start of one Congress and passed at the end – nearly 2 years. The GOP has been promising big dramatic action, and with every day that big dramatic action becomes ever more impossible, and Obama is the one who is actually making the case for it. The best the GOP will be able to actually deliver within their own caucus is something small and timid, or worse yet, just the standard debt ceiling increase with no budget changes. The GOP is being set up to fail.

    Someone show me how this thing gets to Obama’s desk in 3 weeks.

  212. 212
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Bruce S: The articulation of a modest liberal agenda ceases to seem like Utopianism, and becomes instead an obtainable objective, when you’ve got a majority of modest liberals in Congress.

    Not in the White House.

  213. 213
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    It’s fine to be skeptical about the fact that this isn’t official policy and only a rumor, but the reason people are talking about it is:

    A) it presents a good opportunity to talk about the fact that there’s a good chance that Obama is about to preside over the death of Social Security.

    B) Once this thing is officially announced, it’s over. It’s probably too late already. You can say you’re jumping to conclusions in condemning the Obama administration, but now is the time to stake out your opposition to the prospect of gutting SS.

  214. 214
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Bruce S: The inerrant wisdom of the common man is reflected here. Tell me how we change it.

  215. 215
    Martin says:

    A) it presents a good opportunity to talk about the fact that there’s a good chance that Obama is about to preside over the death of Social Security.

    Since the only proposed change to SS that I’ve seen actually presented in any detail is the shift from CPI to C-CPI, are we now calling that the ‘death of Social Security’? If so, that’s even stupider than the death panel nonsense the teaparters were doing.

  216. 216
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I can’t speak for Davis or Ozone, but I myself do hold in minimum high regard those who vote against their own interests because somebody stuck a flyer under their windshield saying that Obama wants to confiscate their guns, or people who think they don’t get any government services because they don’t get a check in the mail (and even more so when they do), or people who think their taxes have gone up because Sean Hannity told them so, et cetera, et cetera. I get that not everybody has the time or inclination to be a political junkie, but if we can’t blow off a little steam about the effect they have on our country, what’s the point of blogs?

  217. 217
    dogwood says:

    BTW Barney Frank just knee-capped Obama on the 14th.

    I am shocked! That’s how democrats roll. People want the President to use to bully pulpit to make a case. What’s the point? Democratic presidents don’t have the luxury of a caucus that can stay on message for two minutes.

  218. 218
    Bruce S says:

    Davis – I’m going to make that YOUR homework.

    Frankly, given your glib notion that the otucome of an election last November was both inevitable and reflective of immutable human nature, you need to spend some more time with yourself.

    Also, do you know the difference between “articulation” and legislative success? We’re having neither…the Dems are proposing what AEI cooked up. If all anyone hears from the White House is echoes of the danger of deficits, of course they’ll spit that back to pollsters. Of course, when asked about priorities, it’s almost always “jobs”, so people aren’t all that stupid. Polls tend to be stupid.

  219. 219

    Someone show me how this thing gets to Obama’s desk in 3 weeks.

    boilerplate language, fast-tracking and lots of coffee. Nobody’s going to read the fine print. IF it happens.

  220. 220
    RalfW says:

    IMHO one of the most important, perhaps the most important point, is that the Republicans think the Trust Fund is a fiction.

    Well, it is a fiction. A better term might be “artifact of finance.” But it’ not like the money is in a Swiss vault. As soon as we have to actually start retiring the bonds invested in with SS surplus, that will shift the cash flow of the US Treasury significantly. That money’s gotta come from somewhere.

    From taxpayers. I think the taxpayers gotta pay. But it will cause a structural shift in our finances. The GOP sees an opportunity to dismantle SS because of the fiction, and that’s a policy QED I strongly disagree with. Their being right about one part does not make them right about the conclusion.

  221. 221
    askew says:

    Wiesman

    I, for one, look forward to the joyous blog posts by the current hand wringers that say “We did it! We forced Obama to not touch Social Security!”

    Ugh – you know that is coming.

  222. 222
    different church-lady says:

    Fang @66:

    A lot of us freaked out over Bush, and quite understandably so. I’ve wondered if some of we liberals have a kind of political PSTD, where we easily freak out over things – which makes us easily manipulated by, well, anyone.

    Glad to see I’m not the only person who’s had this thought.

    Quiddity @68:

    John Cole will soon be “strengthening” Balloon Juice by reducing it to two contributors posting once a month.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  223. 223
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Bruce S: Davis – I’m going to make that YOUR homework.

    I teach for a living. Inter alia, speech & debate. All my students come out equipped to stand up in a town meeting — we still have those — and do stuff.

  224. 224
    Martin says:

    Nobody’s going to read the fine print.

    Nobody is going to fucking write the fine print. This isn’t like the zillion iterations of HCR where they could swap in parts from already written bills that had already been run through committee and scored – nothing here has even been proposed. This isn’t even like TARP where there is a widely recognized urgency of a problem. The only urgency is over a one page bill that usually passes by unanimous consent to raise the debt ceiling. We have a budget – there’s no need to rewrite it or to write next year’s.

    Every middle manager knows that the best way to kill a modest proposal is to grow it to such a size that it can’t possibly be agreed upon or implemented. The modest proposal then vanishes. Shit, every husband should know how to do this as well:

    “Honey, can you fix the leak on the outside faucet?”
    “Sure, dear, I just need to cut a hole in that wall, and in the kitchen and replace the pipes that go to the sink, re-drywall, re-stucco, and paint inside and out. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks.”
    “Oh. Well, that’s okay, I think we can probably live with it as is.”
    “If you say so. Hey, while you’re up, you mind grabbing me another beer?”

  225. 225
    OzoneR says:

    But Ozone – other polls show people opposing the spending cuts over tax increases. People need leadership…it has been wanting.

    this poll doesn’t poll spending cuts vs. tax increases, it polls deficit vs, jobs. People want to focus on the deficit, perhaps with tax increases, but their priority is NOT jobs, it’s the deficit.

    The President isn’t out of touch here and neither are the Republicans

  226. 226
    dogwood says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    The White House is going to agree to cutting benefits anyway. Watch it happen.

    And if it doesn’t you’ll simply claim it did. Watch it happen.

  227. 227
    cleek says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois:

    there’s a good chance that Obama is about to preside over the death of Social Security.

    oy.

    a few tweaks to the percentages isn’t the death of anything.

    take a deep breath.

  228. 228
    RalfW says:

    Han’s solo wrote “I’d like to think they learned their lesson”

    Hah.

    Since when did ideologues of the first order learn anything from experience?

  229. 229

    @martin: that’s an interesting theory. Since obama’s declared a july 22 deadline for an agreement, i think they’ve calculated in what they consider enough time on whatever. But ianae or a congressional staffer or cbo accountant.

  230. 230
    Bruce S says:

    Sorry Ozone, but most polling has shown the opposite.

    I don’t have time to do your homework for you, but you’re on very thin ice. I read that polling and even in the article you cite they not that it conflicts with “jobs” vs. “deficits”, wherein jobs generally top the priorities.

    You’re trying to create your own reality to validate your sorry cynicism. I’m not really interested in this kind of discussion – you’re “debating” cheap, not smart or engaged.

  231. 231
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @OzoneR: If The People are saying ‘I’m worried about X’ because they’re awash in a climate where loud voices are telling them ‘Worry about X!’, they could be completely sincere, and completely wrong about the implications of one particular method of dealing with X at the same time. And most of them have a lot more to do than pay attention to this stuff the way we do.

    I don’t fault them, but I don’t put more than highly qualified trust in them, either. There are levels of intermediation built into every politics, even that of town meeting — not even remotely everyone goes — for a reason.

  232. 232
    Linnaeus says:

    @Martin: You may be right. Given that the GOP has become the Keyser Söze of American politics, however, there’s much less that I feel I can take for granted these days.

  233. 233
    Bruce S says:

    “The poll marks a departure from other recent surveys about the big concerns facing Americans.”

    But why not cherry pick to make oneself feel good. And polling questions are always smarter than folks polled.

  234. 234
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Dennis / 180 : It’s not a “cavalier remark” unless you twist it into one for the purposes of complaining about cavalier remarks. For some reason, huge swathes of the liberal blogosphere enjoy doing that.

  235. 235
    OzoneR says:

    Sorry Ozone, but most polling has shown the opposite. I don’t have time to do your homework for you, but you’re on very thin ice. I read that polling and even in the article you cite they not that it conflicts with “jobs” vs. “deficits”, wherein jobs generally top the priorities.

    most polls also show Americans are fine with destroying the economy by not raising the debt ceiling, my point is basically no one knows what the people want, because they keep changing their minds, so lets stop pretending we know.

  236. 236
    Jay B. says:

    this poll doesn’t poll spending cuts vs. tax increases, it polls deficit vs, jobs. People want to focus on the deficit, perhaps with tax increases, but their priority is NOT jobs, it’s the deficit.

    The President isn’t out of touch here and neither are the Republicans

    Also polled well: The Iraq War.

    This is a perfect point of circular logic. Why do you think the deficit is suddenly a priority? Because that’s what the GOP and the President have been talking about for almost a year. When, for a brief period, the GOP pretended to care about jobs — in order to beat the fuck out of a President who has completely ceded the issue — job creation was the number one priority, by far, because that’s what people heard about. In January, jobs was the #1 priority for 43%, the deficit lifted 14%. That was all of 5 months ago. The unemployment rate is still basically the same. The deficit is still the same.

    Why do you think it changed?

    In no small part because the GOP has way better messaging than the Democrats and the President is hopeless at it. But then, he can’t really talk about jobs either. So deficit is it! Win the Future!

  237. 237
    OzoneR says:

    In no small part because the GOP has way better messaging than the Democrats and the President is hopeless at it.

    When pundits call the President a dick and say that his message is “news-less,” then certainly he is hopeless at it.

    But then, he can’t really talk about jobs either.

    No, he can’t, because as we learned yesterday, that’s not worth telling people about. so deficit it is.

    As long as Americans are going to decide what’s important to them based on what the right wing media tells them is important, progressives will always have to play on right wing turf.

    Fucking deal with it…or do something to change it

  238. 238
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Bruce S: How many people do you think understand that Doing Something about the deficit is the _opposite_ of Doing Something about jobs? Almost none. This is why discussing The Deficit is always so frustrating. I guaran-damn-tee you that overwhelming majorities of the Republican party, both grassroots and elected officials at every level, understand The Deficit to mean “excessive spending on free goodies for moochers, paid for with my taxes.” Hence “Do something about the deficit” means “Cut off the moochers and give the rest of us hardworking Americans a break.”

    With that in mind, when “Is it important to Do Something about The Deficit?” is polled, is it any wonder that it attracts a lot of support? And even if there wasn’t any deficit in the technical sense of the term, don’t you think that poll question would still attract a lot of support from people who understand it the way I hypothesized above?

  239. 239

    @jay b:

    In no small part because the GOP has way better messaging than the Democrats and the President is hopeless at it. But then, he can’t really talk about jobs either. So deficit is it! Win the Future!

    is this that fabled Bully Pulpit i’ve heard so much about?

  240. 240
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B. : I’d like to see the poll results on this question: would reducing the deficit help to create jobs? My guess is that at least 85% of the public would say “Yes.” People want the president to “create jobs,” and people want the president to “reduce the deficit,” and they also don’t want the president to take up “economic stimulus.” It’s all fucked up. The only logical way to explain it is that people believe that “reducing the deficit” _also_ “creates jobs,” but “economic stimulus” _doesn’t_. People are stupid. But that’s who you’re trying to get to vote for you.

  241. 241
    Poopyman says:

    Because I can’t help myself …..

    Jane’s at it again. “The Breaking Point”. Srsly? These things are looking more and more like the Tea Party spam that keeps showing up in my mailbox.

  242. 242
    Bobby Thomson says:

    “There is no news here – the president has always said that while Social Security is not a major driver of the deficit, we do need to strengthen the program,” Carney said, providing that any such effort “doesn’t slash benefits.”

    Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Nothing. Unless you are engaged in accounting shenanigans.

  243. 243
    handsmile says:

    I realize this breaking news may be off-topic, unless the topic is construed to be reliable media sources:

    Murdoch’s ‘News of the World’ will cease publication after Sunday’s edition because of the metastasizing scandal over the newspaper’s phone-hacking. Corporate advertisers have been stampeding away from the paper since yesterday’s revelations.

    But wait…it gets better!

    Andrew Coulson, David Cameron’s former director of communications (former because of an earlier chapter in the scandal) will be ARRESTED tomorrow because of suspicions of his knowledge or direct involvement in phone-hacking while he was managing editor of NoW from 2003-07.

    Now THAT my friends is change I can believe in. Effing A!

    (As always, I recommend going to the Guardian website for updates.)

  244. 244
    Jay B. says:

    As long as Americans are going to decide what’s important to them based on what the right wing media tells them is important, progressives will always have to play on right wing turf.

    Pre-baked bullshit excuses. We fail for many reasons — and certainly an inept media doesn’t help — but the possibility remains that the Democrats, many of them at least, agree with the right-wing. The President included. He’s moderate after all, and at least equally aligned with the aims of the Blue Dogs as progressives, right?

    Fucking deal with it…or do something to change it

    Hilarious. That’s pretty butch from a guy giving the fucking President excuses for not talking about unemployment or doing anything about it.

  245. 245

    @handsmile: meh. Get back to us when brooks is in the brig, or that spawn of murdoch.

  246. 246
    Jay B. says:

    It’s all fucked up. The only logical way to explain it is that people believe that “reducing the deficit” also “creates jobs,” but “economic stimulus” doesn’t. People are stupid. But that’s who you’re trying to get to vote for you.

    So…You shouldn’t try and persuade them otherwise? Obama’s the genius who picked people who also believe this shit — including his Treasury Secretary and most of his economic team — you one can only assume that he too believes it.

  247. 247
    OzoneR says:

    We fail for many reasons—and certainly an inept media doesn’t help—but the possibility remains that the Democrats, many of them at least, agree with the right-wing.

    Oh, is that way they can’t come up with a deal?

    No, Jay, they don’t “agree” with the right wing, they “agree” on vague concepts, conventional wisdom, because they aren’t taken seriously if they don’t. They’re barely taken seriously when they are.

    That’s pretty butch from a guy giving the fucking President excuses for not talking about unemployment or doing anything about it.

    He talked about unemployment yesterday, he talked about it when he visited Iowa and Ohio last month, he talked about it when he slammed Paul Ryan’s plan, he talked about the importance of infrastructure projects like high speed rail, he talked about it when discussing green jobs.

    NO ONE FUCKING PAYS ATTENTION TO HIM WHEN HE DOES.

    and yet you blame him.

  248. 248
    OzoneR says:

    So…You shouldn’t try and persuade them otherwise?

    How do you persuade people, and mind you these are Americans, when you can’t even reach them to begin with?

  249. 249
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Again, Josh Marshall needs to go and get his head on straight. He’s sounding no better than Politico the last few months and, if he keeps it up, he’s off my blog roll.

    The last few months?

    I gave up on Josh when he admitted that he takes editorial direction from the 24-hour news channels.

  250. 250
    OzoneR says:

    I said I’d trot it out again and I will

    As predicted, this was an almost entirely news-less affair that allowed Obama to talk about what he has done and what he plans to do in office. He almost never went off his message script — pushing Republicans to compromise on tax increases for “millionaires and billionaires,” emphasizing the need for comprehensive energy and immigration reform and making sure people know that the economic stimulus money wasn’t wasted.

    you got that @JayB, Obama trying to persuade people IS A NEWS-LESS AFFAIR

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ml?hpid=z2

  251. 251
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jay B.:

    Also polled well: The Iraq War

    . Only after we were in it…..

  252. 252
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Now look here, you evil stupid firebaggers. President Obama knows that the U.S. budget is like a household budget. Nobody here disputes that. And if the U.S. doesn’t pay its rent with the money in its Social Security and Medicare pockets, then the U.S. will be kicked out of North America. That’s right, we will all be homeless. Got that? So, the great and kindly President Obama is just trying to save you all from this, and what you do? You criticize this President of the United States relentlessly and accuse him of making terrible decisions, as if that were even possible, and as if he were just any fallible man. Shame on you! And Jane Hamsher, keep those sexy thoughts of yours away from this man! He is married in the eyes of The Lord Jesus H. Christ!
    .
    .

  253. 253
    Martin says:

    The polling around this is bullshit, btw. Context matters so much in these questions. An example: 2/3s of Americans are pro-choice and 2/3s of Americans are pro-life. That sounds impossible, but if you properly set the context it’s completely accurate: the ‘extra’ 1/3 are people that believe that women should have the right to choose, but say they themselves never would choose. They’re both, but shitty ‘design the poll to get the outcome you want’ polling never reveals that.

    Polls will constantly draw out conflicting answers, which is why you want to do things like rotate questions and ask seemingly redundant questions because if you ask about reducing debt first, everyone will say ‘yeah, we should do that!’ not knowing that a stimulus question is coming later. If the stimulus question comes up first, everyone will say ‘yeah, we should do that!’ not knowing that a debt question is coming later. If you ask them to choose between them, you get yet a different result because even in the rotation some people won’t understand that you can’t do both simultaneously.

  254. 254
    Anya says:

    A delusion is a fixed false belief, despite the evidence of being not true.

    Oh Lord, I am tired of this shit. Every freaking time, it`s the same fucking thing.

    Republicans do their usual psychopathic stuff.
    Bloggers talk about how Obama is selling us out
    Republicans in the Sunday talk and with other shows: Obama is evil. Also, too tax cuts.
    Obama makes a strong statement
    Media for a second talks about how Obama got his mojo back.
    Republicans: Obama mean, un-American, uppity Kenyan. Also, too, tax cuts.
    `progressive `bloggers still talk about what he should have said. Someone (maybe Rachel Maddow or Crooks and Lairs) will even create the speech that Obama should have made
    Krugman`s “don`t blame me I voted for Hillary” column
    More left blogsphere freak-out about what a weak, sell out leader Obama is.
    Republicans: Obama mean, un-American, uppity Kenyan. Also, too, tax cuts.
    Ben Nelson and other conservadems: Look at me, look at me, I despise and disagree with Obama too. Also too, tax cuts.

    An article centered on an unnamed source(usually, Politico or Washington Post)about how Obama is selling out the base and is planning to conspire with the Republicans to destroy or undermine a major democratic party principle or issue.

    More freak-out from the left
    Republicans: Obama mean, un-American, uppity Kenyan. Also, too, tax cuts.
    Adam green and company appear on Lawrence O’Donnell`s show to talk about what a weak-corporate sell-out Obama is.
    Media panels: Obama a weak leader. Can he be re-elected

    Can we learn anything from these freak-outs or are we destined to repeat them periodically.

  255. 255

    Reporting at the time was that the GOPers walked out of talks when the deal was 83/17 cuts/revenue. That was the offer. That was “negotiation.”

    Now if you want to talk about the “left” having its hair on fire you might consider the base line that passes for negotiations. From there, exactly what constitutes compromise? Since I find that ratio incredibly stupid I have no desire to try to predict how much worse some compromise is going to be.

  256. 256
    bardgal says:

    The “MEDIA” is universally enraged because POTUS went around them yesterday with his Twitter Townhall. That was an HISTORICAL OCCURRENCE, and shot across their bow, showing them he doesn’t really NEED them like they thought he did, and they’ve lost their collective minds over it.

    I see it as a setup. The GOP will (predictably) run with this at their peril. However, they’re not going to know what hit them – as long as the Dems have a spine, and are in on it (the ones who aren’t bought off, paid for whores.)

    Our main problem is the lazy, hysterical, easily panicked Left who jump at any chance to hate on Obama instead of using their brains, or READING the FACTS, and not running with hearsay.

    He’s STILL the smartest guy in the room, nothing has changed that. I have no doubt in my mind that he is totally playing this with some ginormous BOOM (a “Here’s my Birth Certificate, and oh, by the way, I got Bin Laden” – so STFU) thing, that will make them look even more foolish and thug-esque at the end of the day.

    Think about it. He got HCR done. It wasn’t perfect, but in the long run, it WILL lead to single payer, and drive the for-profits out of business. It won’t happen over night, but there’s no way to repeal it unless they get him out of office. That was a long-range plan to get it done.

    He buried Trump, and permanently shut him the *F* up in one of the most epic comedy moments of all time.

    I have no doubt that Obama has a plan to make SS and Medicare MORE secure AND equitable for EVERYONE. So to say it’s off the table is foolish. The second HE says get rid of the cap – the GOP will scream it’s a tax hike for the rich (and their MediaMachine™ will run with it 24/7 like the Anthony trial), instead of asking them to pay the SAME percentage as the poor and everyone else. So that has to come from US – WE MUST DEMAND that the contribution cap is taken away so everyone pays the same percentage and those making more than $106k aren’t carried by those who make less.

    But he IS saying, “Here – we have THIS. You still have NOTHING.” And that makes them look like the spoiled, petulant silver-spoon babies they are and protect.

    Anyone who thinks Obama is weak and stupid is simply an idiot who lives in their own Fantasyland. Unfortunately, that’s a large number of people, but Obama is well aware of that.

  257. 257
    handsmile says:

    arguingwithsignposts (#244)

    You may well be right. And I certainly don’t want to interrupt the circle jerk of speculation here (a sport in which I am a hairy-palmed veteran by the way).

    But this sudden collapse of an central element of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is spinning centrifugally as we type. It’s a bracing tonic that journalists and their editors can actually be held accountable for their actions. (Actions other than protecting sources.)

    The relationship of both the Conservative and Labor Parties with Murdoch’s seemingly invulnerable operations and machinations will now be aggressively scrutinized (blood in the water, you know). And maybe, just maybe, some domestic journalists might feel emboldened to direct some sustained attention at Murdoch’s American media holdings. (And on that day, I will no doubt be crowned the King of Brunei.)

  258. 258
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ Chuck Butcher:In a negotiation, I can offer 95% of what the other side wants and not get a deal if the part that I don’t offer is the thing the other side really needs to get (but I look like I was willing to go more than halfway). If Obama is playing to the middle, to Wall Street, and to the media, it makes sense for him to offer up a lot, especially if he knows that the other side can’t say yes. He gets to look reasonable; pressure comes on from the big money boy for the GOP to make a deal, any deal as long as there is no default, and the GOP is set to get rolled. The GOP is in a no win situation. People need to stop pre-panicking. Contacting Congresscritters and telling them to buck up is a good use of time. Same goes for the White House.

  259. 259
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Anya: That was an epic rant. And epically accurate.

  260. 260

    […] looks like Karl in comments was close, & John Cole was dead on, as to the proper perspective here. We’ll see… Poison someone else's […]

  261. 261
    Georgia Pig says:

    The polling around this is bullshit, btw.

    Yup, because everyone wants a pony and no horseshit. Everyone thinks big deficits are bad, no one wants to pay taxes. That’s why these polls are worthless.

    Polls only matter as to who is popular and who isn’t, and what matters there is who is perceived as crazy or evil. An example is the 2008 panic, when McCain was completely whacked out and probably lost the election because of it (the Palin pick helped). That’s why the Republicans have latched on to all those conspiracy theories, they have to try make Obama look evil to get any traction against him, and it’s easier to do that because of ignorance, racial prejudice and the power of fear. The deficit mongering is all about demonizing Obama. Obama’s job is made easier because the Republicans act like a bunch of lunatics, and all he has to do is not look crazy or evil. It’s theater.

    Martin’s right, it would take too much time to do any kind of significant rework of SS or Medicare in three weeks, and the Republicans aren’t going to do that unless the Democrats in Congress do it for them, which ain’t gonna happen. The only thing they’ve got lying around right now is the Ryan Plan, and that’s a boat anchor. Little shit like changes in CPI indexing take years to matter and can be undone by future congresses in better economic times. Boehner has to make a deal and he may have put his own nuts in a vise.

  262. 262
    cleek says:

    @OzoneR:

    and yet you blame him

    well duh. it’s easier than watching the news!

  263. 263

    Omnes
    So 83/17 looks reasonable? OK, I get it. So, the Democrats and Obama are the best Republicans we could have elected?

    And here I thought I was a Democrat, maybe it is time to reconsider – or possibly better join the great unwashed in not giving a damn about any of them.

  264. 264
    Cain says:

    @WyldPirate:

    * applause *

  265. 265
    danimal says:

    Martin @ 210–

    Here’s my question to you all: who here thinks Congress can start writing, run through committee, vote in the House, send to the Senate, run through committee, amend, vote, reconcile and have on Obama’s desk a $2T budget deal – all in 3 weeks?

    You’re obviously unaware of Herman Cain’s magical legislation-shrinking machine. The one that reduces all bills to 3 pages or less.

  266. 266
    Cain says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Once someone has convinced themselves that of course Obama is going to cut Social Security, any evidence—even evidence to the contrary—proves them right. That’s how conspiracy theorists think.

    Of course, it’s so plausible even if it is not true, it will definitely happen in the next upcoming rumor! CURSE YOU RED BARON Obama!

  267. 267

    I do think that the outcome of this ceiling bullshit will actually give you a pretty good definition of what Democrats actually are. I’m not particularly sanguine…

  268. 268
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ Chuck Butcher: Yeah, that is the point of what I was saying. I was talking about appearing “reasonable” to the people watching. If you say to the spectators, “I offered 83% of what they asked for and they wouldn’t budge on anything,” which party looks like the intransigent asshole?

  269. 269
    Jay B. says:

    cleek – July 7, 2011 | 4:44 pm · Link

    @OzoneR:and yet you blame him

    well duh. it’s easier than watching the news!

    Perfect. The media is so mean it freezes out the President’s message on jobs and I’m too dumb to watch the media to find out the opposite.

    The President has mentioned jobs, of course. But mainly in this context:

    There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to be much more efficient with fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you see it when you go to the airport and you use a kiosk instead of checking at the gate. What we have to do now, and this is what the jobs council is all about, is identifying where the jobs for the future are going to be, how do we make sure that there’s a match between what people are getting trained for and the jobs that exist, how do we make sure that capital is flowing in those places with the greatest opportunity.

    A jobs council. That’s not a jobs program, well, except for the people on the council. And that’s not exactly leadership. It’s not even really rhetoric. And it was broadcast on the tiny “Today Show” on the obscure NBC network.

  270. 270
    les says:

    @RalfW:

    Well, it is a fiction. A better term might be “artifact of finance.” But it’ not like the money is in a Swiss vault. As soon as we have to actually start retiring the bonds invested in with SS surplus, that will shift the cash flow of the US Treasury significantly. That money’s gotta come from somewhere.

    It’s neither a fiction nor an artifact; it’s treasury bonds. Part of the debt that we’re arfing about. One of the things that will be paid from future revenues. Not paying the bonds held by the SS trust fund is default, just as much as not paying the pension funds or the Chinese holders. It won’t shift cash flow at all–it’s part of the existing debt.

  271. 271

    Omnes,
    OK, so how does a deal get done from that point? No deal whatever? We’ll see, and probably find out a lot about Democrats in the process.

    You can say pretty much the same thing if you’ve offered 50/50 so 83/17 seems a bit … weak.

  272. 272
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    So lemme see if I got our options right:

    1. emo

    2. didn’t care until it was too late

  273. 273
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    The “MEDIA” is universally enraged because POTUS went around them yesterday with his Twitter Townhall. That was an HISTORICAL OCCURRENCE, and shot across their bow, showing them he doesn’t really NEED them like they thought he did, and they’ve lost their collective minds over it.

    Our main problem is the lazy, hysterical, easily panicked Left who jump at any chance to hate on Obama instead of using their brains, or READING the FACTS, and not running with hearsay.

    Used to be only Republicans manufactured evil intentions for “the media” and complained bitterly about The Left.

    Good to see Obama bringing the country together.

  274. 274
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    Now look here, you evil stupid firebaggers. President Obama knows that the U.S. budget is like a household budget. Nobody here disputes that. And if the U.S. doesn’t pay its rent with the money in its Social Security and Medicare pockets, then the U.S. will be kicked out of North America. That’s right, we will all be homeless.

    lolz

    homelandless

  275. 275
    cleek says:

    @Jay B.:

    The media is so mean it freezes out the President’s message on jobs and I’m too dumb to watch the media to find out the opposite.

    i’m only making 1/2 of that argument. and i’m not sure i care to defend the half i didn’t make.

  276. 276
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Nothing. Unless you are engaged in accounting shenanigans.

    Well, that’s precisely the problem. Republicans blew the retirement money on wars and tax breaks for the wealthy, because they are the party of fiscal responsibility. It will need to be paid back in a few years and they’re looking for a way to avoid that, because they are the party of fiscal responsibility.

  277. 277
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Poopyman:

    Jane’s at it again. “The Breaking Point”. Srsly? These things are looking more and more like the Tea Party spam that keeps showing up in my mailbox.

    Awesome, now we can make it all about Jane Hamsher. I’m already strutting around in self-satisfaction.

  278. 278
    Jay B. says:

    i’m only making 1/2 of that argument. and i’m not sure i care to defend the half i didn’t make.

    The guy you were agreeing with made the other half. But whatever.

    We’re in a ginned up crisis that is totally false, over a completely bullshit issue that the President himself buys into and we’re all sitting here trying to parse out what it really means.

  279. 279
    Berial says:

    Just Some Fuckhead –

    Used to be only Republicans manufactured evil intentions for “the media” and complained bitterly about The Left.

    This isn’t the way I remember it. I’ve always seen both the left and right complain about the mainstream media.

    The Right complains that the media is “Liberal” when the media questions them about anything or when the media isn’t cheer-leading their (obviously correct) point of view hard enough.

    The Left complains that the media is “Conservative” when it fails to point out lies, or gives fact based and non-fact based opinions equal time and equivalence through he-said/she-said analysis.

  280. 280

    The debt ceiling “arguement” is entire horseshit, the debt is a contractural agreement legally entered into so 83/17 or 50/50 is just so much bullshit. There is a budget that has to be dealt with as a budget which is the proper place and any other approach is nonsense. If the point of all this is to make GOPers look like what they are before using a Constitutional ballbat then there is some kind of sense to it, though the numbers used still are stupid. All points from there are just piling stupidity on itself.

  281. 281
    El Cid says:

    __

    The Right complains that the media is “Liberal” when the media questions them about anything or when the media isn’t cheer-leading their (obviously correct) point of view hard enough.

    Anyone and anything which are not screaming the most right wing views and urgings on any topic whatsoever is Liberal if not Communo-Muslinist.

  282. 282
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ Chuck Butcher: If it is all theater, 83/17 looks like more than 50/50. Primarily, because it is. Look, if the GOP had any sense, they would take yes for an answer, accept what has been offered, and win a huge victory. I don’t think they can do that. I think Obama is counting on them not being able to do it. As a result, what is being offered doesn’t matter except as evidence of which side was trying to make a deal. As far as what deal come out of this goes, I look at what Martin has said and note that you can’t really do a complicated deal in the time remaining. Therefore, I see a fair clean bill raising the debt ceiling with promises to negotiate cuts sometime down the road. I sense that you think Obama is either getting rolled here or is interested in cutting SS and Medicare for his own reasons. If that is the case, I doubt I will persuade you otherwise.

  283. 283
    AxelFoley says:

    @Anya:

    A delusion is a fixed false belief, despite the evidence of being not true.
    Oh Lord, I am tired of this shit. Every freaking time, it`s the same fucking thing.
    Republicans do their usual psychopathic stuff.
    Bloggers talk about how Obama is selling us out
    Republicans in the Sunday talk and with other shows: Obama is evil. Also, too tax cuts.
    Obama makes a strong statement
    Media for a second talks about how Obama got his mojo back.
    Republicans: Obama mean, un-American, uppity Kenyan. Also, too, tax cuts.
    `progressive `bloggers still talk about what he should have said. Someone (maybe Rachel Maddow or Crooks and Lairs) will even create the speech that Obama should have made
    Krugman`s “don`t blame me I voted for Hillary” column
    More left blogsphere freak-out about what a weak, sell out leader Obama is.
    Republicans: Obama mean, un-American, uppity Kenyan. Also, too, tax cuts.
    Ben Nelson and other conservadems: Look at me, look at me, I despise and disagree with Obama too. Also too, tax cuts.
    An article centered on an unnamed source(usually, Politico or Washington Post)about how Obama is selling out the base and is planning to conspire with the Republicans to destroy or undermine a major democratic party principle or issue.
    More freak-out from the left
    Republicans: Obama mean, un-American, uppity Kenyan. Also, too, tax cuts.
    Adam green and company appear on Lawrence O’Donnell`s show to talk about what a weak-corporate sell-out Obama is.
    Media panels: Obama a weak leader. Can he be re-elected
    Can we learn anything from these freak-outs or are we destined to repeat them periodically.

    Damn. Summed it all up succinctly.

  284. 284

    @OzoneR 246:

    “NO ONE FUCKING PAYS ATTENTION TO HIM WHEN HE DOES.

    and yet you blame him.”

    Short, sweet, and brutally honest….you’re dead right on this, Ozone.

  285. 285
    OzoneR says:

    A jobs council. That’s not a jobs program, well, except for the people on the council.

    No, you know what was a jobs program; much of the stimulus, high-speed rail that was rejected by numerous state governors elected in 2010 on the platform of rejecting said programs.

    Obama tried the jobs programs route and once again the public rejected it, in part because they weren’t be told correct information about it.

  286. 286

    “Anyone who thinks Obama is weak and stupid is simply an idiot who lives in their own Fantasyland. Unfortunately, that’s a large number of people, but Obama is well aware of that.”

    Not really…it’s just a bunch of loudmouths who feel that spewing out nonsense online like crap through a goose makes them somehow smarter and better than the guy who’s actually trying to fix the mess that his predecessor caused.

    Of course, they’re so busy spewing s**t that they don’t even notice when he does the right thing, which has happened many times. And even if they do notice it’s followed with, “So what, it’s not what I want because he still didn’t give us the public option/locked Bush-Cheney up in jail/give us the progressive utopia with a wave of his magic wand!”

  287. 287
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I sense that you think Obama is either getting rolled here or is interested in cutting SS and Medicare for his own reasons. If that is the case, I doubt I will persuade you otherwise.

    I sense you are banking on an 11 dimensional chess strategy followed by a hope there isn’t enough time to do the dirty deal Obama has proposed. I doubt I will be able to persuade you with logic.

  288. 288
    Jay B. says:

    No, you know what was a jobs program; much of the stimulus, high-speed rail that was rejected by numerous state governors elected in 2010 on the platform of rejecting said programs.

    If “half” is “much”, then yes. The other half was tax cuts. And it worked. But as was predicted, it was too small and while he can rightfully point to the fact that we narrowly avoided a Depression because of it, the 9.1% unemployment which he claims is structural makes the stimulus look like it didn’t do anything. Which is false. But it certainly didn’t do enough.

    As far as the “rejecting” of said programs, that’s of course part of the problem. The Democrats, including very much the Administration, are completely inept explaining why more stimulus was needed. Of course, to come to that conclusion, you have to think that many of them even understand what stimulus is — because everyone seems to be on the austerity bandwagon. And it’ll be a bigger disaster than the GOP governors (who are wildly unpopular now, in case you didn’t notice) who misread, like you do, what people were voting “for”.

  289. 289
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ JSF:

    I doubt I will be able to persuade you with logic.

    I doubt you of all people would try. Seriously though, it’s not 11-D chess; however, it is theater.

  290. 290
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Seriously though, it’s not 11-D chess; however, it is theater.

    The reports coming out of the negotiations don’t indicate theater, but rather a desperate attempt on the President’s part to make a deal happen.

    Now, I know reporters hearsay lie lie lie delusions! blah blah but I’d be more inclined to give credence to that in conjunction with the way Obama’s “negotiated” everything so far than put any faith in the continual excuses made by the Obots.

    ETA: The same Obots who, by the way, keep explaining away the presidents latest giveaway as nothing more than a fleshwound, black knight-style.

  291. 291
    Bruce S says:

    I have to say that I think it’s pathetic to maintain not only that Obama knows best and does the best possible thing all of the time, but that it would be impossible for what we broadly think of as his base to be more engaged and help to change the context in which he does what he needs to do. This is the worst sort of bullshit apolitical fatalism. It’s assuming that a Daddy will take care of all things Democrat and that the grassroots are just infantilized idiots, that the public is impervious to politics and that what will be will be since we’ve got one smart guy in charge.

    Very sad and a large part of why we are where we are. I will at least credit the Tea Party crazies for not being that lame and weak-willed. At least they’ve got some sense of agency and possibility, which is more than I can say for some of the commenters here.

  292. 292
    Bruce S says:

    bardgal – July 7, 2011 | 4:32 pm · Link

    The “MEDIA” is universally enraged because POTUS went around them yesterday with his Twitter Townhall. That was an HISTORICAL OCCURRENCE, and shot across their bow, showing them he doesn’t really NEED them like they thought he did, and they’ve lost their collective minds over it.

    I don’t have any big stake in this issue, but I think it’s pretty elementary to assume that most of the public – by huge margins – knows whatever they know about what went on yesterday at the Twitter Town Hall because they read or see bits about it in the “MEDIA.”

    You don’t really think that anyone except the most fervent – either in following Obama or following Twitter (and he didn’t actually respond on Twitter, so far as I know) – caught this in real time or were engaged with the event.

  293. 293

    OO

    I sense that you think Obama is either getting rolled here or is interested in cutting SS and Medicare for his own reasons. If that is the case, I doubt I will persuade you otherwise.

    Mind reading is a pretty iffy proposisition, bucko. I said the numbers suck. I will be clearer – 83/17 is complete and entire horseshit. You want to make something of that, feel free but don’t lay your shit on me. I blame Obama and Congressional Dems for bringing that number. You want to call it theatre, that’s fine, but markets aren’t going to like the play and us nobodies will get to pay for their dislike. If you have no intention of getting a deal, then ask for what you want and stick to that – markets be damned, since that is what you’re proposing.

    All this ever should have been was a clean vote and playing their game means this happens. The debt is not subject to some kind of deal, the budget certainly is.

  294. 294

    Jayzus,
    The GOPers should be getting their nuts cut off for making the debt contingent on something when it is not, Constitutionally it is not. They are abusing their Constitutional duty to honor the debt – fucking period end of page.

    I certainly do not look forward to the budget battle, but that is where it belongs.

  295. 295
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Bruce, if you love Jane Hamsher so much, why doncha marry her?

  296. 296
    LT says:

    This is becoming a formula, John. Write an angry post about the emo firebagger haterz club and go farther than your usual sensibleness.

    And yes, I’m partly talking abut the DDayen post. You’re doing the same thing here: ignoring the larger picture (in this case the that the Obama admin obviously might actually end up “tinkering” with SS), to go after little shit, all for the great cause of emobashing. I do not get it. It is below you.

  297. 297
    Bruce S says:

    JSF – actually, if you’re talking to me, I can’t stand Jane Hamsher. I also can’t stand glib asshole sycophants who get the vapors whenever real political issues come to the fore.

  298. 298
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bruce S:

    I also can’t stand glib asshole sycophants who get the vapors whenever real political issues come to the fore.

    Well then you’re definitely in the right place. None of those to be found in this blog locale.

  299. 299
    ruemara says:

    Davis, is your comment supposed to have meaning or is it some sort of dadist experiment? Whatever you’re trying to get to, the relevance escapes me.

    Bigoted Douchebag Lickspittle known as Wylde
    Sorry that you think waiting for facts is an “Obot” thing. Actually, not sorry. It also is obvious you can’t refute what I said, which is why you have dismissed me as an Obot. Not that it matters, you’re just a moron with an axe to grind. Fuck off.

  300. 300

    Eh, the fact that Nacy Pelosi knew nothing about it and stormed into the White House says this is complete kabuki.

    However, I do look forward to the high fives the emo cutters give themselves when the “plan” that the Administration never had is announced to be “off the table”. A real self esteem builder I imagine, and proof positive that angrily pounding on your keyboard all day can change the world.

  301. 301
    Harvey says:

    i can see all is safe and secure in this distraught Emo land. nothing to see here. all just kabuki. no facts at all. just move on.

    wondering when the facts start to matter. but i guess i have to “just move on.”

  302. 302
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Maybe the president figures that he has nothing to lose by saying everything is on the table when it comes to cuts, as long as it includes closing of tax loopholes on the wealthy/corporations. I think the freakout on the left will only help Obama by showing that he must be serious because they are freaking out. Of course the Repubs refudiate the whole thing and the Dems/Obama come off as the reasonable adults in the room with the moderates/independents.

    IMO Obama is playing his part and everyone else is reliably playing theirs, as he probably expected.

    John, the fainting couches are getting a bit worn. You may want to look into getting these recovered or buy some new ones.

  303. 303
    El Tiburon says:

    Cole, have you revisited this since Greenwald linked back to you?

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