Obama Strategery

On tonight’s The Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell dropped it like it was hot.

This is a must watch for those of you who have been nervous about the debt ceiling shenannies:

[cross-posted… sorta]

179 replies
  1. 1
    SIA says:

    When Lawrence is good, he’s very, very good.

    ETA – and I’m first! And it’s my birthday!

  2. 2
    Genine says:

    Happy Birthday, SIA!

  3. 3
    Lavocat says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how agonizingly stupid most Republicans are. They have so few higher functions that they should be grateful to whatever deity they so chose that breathing is not a matter of free will.

  4. 4
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @SIA: Happy birthday.

    I’m still nervous about this whole debt ceiling thing but Boehner is looking sick about the whole thing. At the end of the day, they might pass a one-line debt ceiling raise without the spending cuts or tax increases.

  5. 5
    Steeplejack says:

    @SIA:

    Happy birthday!

  6. 6
    Brad says:

    I suppose evaluations of economic policy by actual economists must take a back seat to cable TV blowhards, but whatever.

  7. 7
    Martin says:

    Hmm. I think I said pretty much just that earlier today. Well, clearly LO’D must be wrong.

  8. 8
    stinkdaddy says:

    I hope he’s right, but I’m not optimistic. We’ll see. Crossing fingers, toes, gluing the cat’s toes together, sacrificing a goat…

    Now I need some horseshoes I guess.

  9. 9
    Martin says:

    At the end of the day, they might pass a one-line debt ceiling raise without the spending cuts or tax increases.

    That’s my bet. The easiest solution to the impasse is to do exactly that, and Wall Street will read them the riot act if they don’t.

    The ace up Obama’s sleeve comes about one week out from the debt limit when Geithner gets to hold a press conference and announce to the nation what bills we aren’t going to pay. I have no doubt that’ll end the game.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    23 minutes. Longer than I thought it would take. I tend to agree with Krugman on economics, but he displays a weird kind of willful ignorance about politics, and his recent spate of bitter petulance doesn’t make him more persuasive to those who don’t share it.

  11. 11
    stinkdaddy says:

    Ok, so I’m 3 minutes in and O’Donnell says Obama’s big score is getting Boehner to admit the debt ceiling has to be raised.

    So, uh…

    That would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy. I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table.

    –John Boehner, 1/30/11

    I hope there’s more to this, because the idea that getting back to square one five months later is the biggest rope-a-dope in history is not very comforting.

  12. 12
    JGabriel says:

    Happy Birthday, SIA! Pass the blunt and the Jayer-Gilles Echézeaux!

    .

  13. 13
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I personally think the ace in the hole here is Nancy Pelosi. I think that Boehner can’t get a bill that raises the debt ceiling in any way at all through his teabagger-infested caucus-and they’re only going to get crazier about it-so he goes to Pelosi, and she says, “we’ll give you the votes, but we won’t accept spending cuts above X and tax raises below Y.” Boehner has to raise the debt ceiling, as LOD points out, so he’ll eventually crack, and the negotiating will be done on Pelosi’s terms. I think that situation will turn out a lot better in both policy and political terms-Dems will be seen as saving the day by providing the votes, and the policy will be better overall. Establishment media does love attacking the Dems, I know, but not on this: they’re part of the elite class that’s wigging out about default right now, and we all now how much they love bipartisanship.

    What worries me is that, maybe I’m just slow, but I couldn’t see the “tell” that showed that this is Obama backing the Republicans into a corner, and not just Obama actually thinking that $3T in spending cuts must happen. I think, even if just for political reasons, SS and Medicare will remain essentially the same: it’s not like they’re too dumb to realize that Republican backstabbing on Medicare politics was a big thing in the midterms. But I am worried that spending cuts will be far bigger than they need to be, and my hope that this won’t happen lies in Pelosi being a good negotiator and Obama not getting in her way.

  14. 14

    @stinkdaddy: And then Cantor and the Teatards shit themselves and started taking hostages and making demands, so yes, this WOULD be a big victory in not only getting what we wanted all along, but getting the Teahadists pissed at the GOP AND showing how crazy, unreasonable and unserious they are about the debt.

  15. 15
    FollowtheDough says:

    I will answer the moderates with a quote from a C & L member named Wilber1. I think he sums up why we really don’t just trust moderates anymore. But it was a good run, we will always remember the great hype marketing of “11 dimensional chess” to so many wonks that downed the audacity kool aid. Lawrence O’Donnell does some great speechifyin’ though.

    No, not at all. Although I think you are just a mindless left winger Ricky.

    Look, we moderates don’t need to know economic history. We don’t need to think about the structural problems of the economy that the millionaire media and the out of touch politicians don’t talk about. We don’t need to think critically about the narrow range of options being discussed.

    What we moderates do is we look at what one party says, the Democrats, and we say, “ok, that’s the left”. Then we look at the other party, the Republicans, and say “that’s the right”. We DO NOT look at popular opinion on the issues. Within that narrow range of opinion is what we moderates, the serious people, consider. That’s what acceptable opinion is. Again, non-orthodox economics, economic history, understanding the structural problems of the economy, that doesn’t matter tons to us. The Democrats are the “left”, the Republicans are the “right” and within that range of opinion are the only policies options worth considering.

    If the whole thing crumbles, which we know it will, we can pretend that we are shocked and we’ll also ignore that the left was once again right in its criticism. Cause NAFTA, and similar deals, was going to create jobs and raise wages. It wasn’t going to de-industrialized and exploit working people. The WTO would help investment and create certainty in the markets. Financial liberalization is just peachy. The Iraq War will allow us to spread democracy. We were going into Iraq because of WMD’s and 9/11, not oil. The neo-liberal policies we’ve forced on developing countries will improve growth and lift those countries out of poverty. Austerity in depression like conditions, with the only thing keeping the economy afloat is government spending, is good for working people and the real economy of production. All of this the left pointed out as nonsense, we moderates ridiculed them, but we sure were shocked. None the less, we rich bastard, out of touch moderates don’t care about all of that.

    We’ll mock you when our policies harm you, even when you predict correctly they were going to horribly fail, then we’ll pretend WE are the reasonable ones. That’s how it works hippie, now go smoke your bong and watch your Democracy Now.

  16. 16
    CaliCat says:

    Oh, but Obama’s a lousy negotiator. Hahahahaha. Are you listening, Adam Green? You fucking moron. As usual the clueless left has no idea what’s going on. The president is always at least 50 steps ahead of them at any given time.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    Our impressively appropriate conservative defenders of the 2nd Amendment, one of only two Amendments in the Bill of Rights (the other being the 10th).

    Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein {R}, a gun-rights champion, keeps a loaded raspberry-pink handgun in her purse, and during an interview with Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas, she took it out and pointed it at him.
    __
    “Oh, it’s so cute,” Klein said, before aiming the gun at Ruelas’s chest to show off the red beam of the laser sight. Klein’s gun, a .380 Ruger, has no safety, but the senator assured Ruelas that he wasn’t in danger.
    __
    “I just didn’t have my hand on the trigger,” she said.
    __
    Klein told the Arizona Republic that she owns a number of guns and has had “informal” training sessions on each of them, and that she was taught gun safety by her father.
    __
    Local gun activists have criticized Klein for pointing her gun at Ruelas, however.
    __
    Rob Mermelstein, the range master of the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club, told the Arizona Guardian, that Klein’s actions were “unconscionable.”
    __
    “Whoever would do something like that needs to have a better grounding in gun safety before ever laying a hand on a firearm,” he said.

  18. 18
    stinkdaddy says:

    The whole thing is definitely a lot better than it sounded three minutes in, but he has to assume it’s only a negotiating position to make his case. That means that Obama is so slick that he’s been setting this trap since at least the Stephanopolous interview in 2008, before the Tea Party existed or the deficit was even an issue. To me that’s kind’ve a stretch.

    There’s also the issue of translating a brilliant negotiating strategy (if that’s what it is) into votes. O’Donnell takes almost 15 minutes to explain why this isn’t such a bad thing, but the GOP’s version that tells us why Obama is history’s worst monster takes 5 seconds. O’Donnell lays out a plausible case that Obama’s going to negotiate back down to a clean debt-ceiling increase, but it seems like a hell of a convoluted way to get there and I’m not sure looking like an adult on deficit reduction — assuming that sticks — is worth being the guy who put SS on the table, and generally (at least imo) just being all over the map the last month or two.

    I hope someday the Dems recognize the last couple things as a problem. Maybe this really is the ultimate long game, but if they’re really this slick I would hope they could come up with a way that makes them look a little more, well, like they have a plan.

  19. 19
    Lolis says:

    Time will tell

  20. 20

    @FollowtheDough: I’m probably WAY further left than you, and I’m tired of being called a moderate because I’m pragmatic and realistic and understand the difference between the ideal and the doable.

    It’s a fucking miracle Obama has accomplished as much as he has, and the midterms only made his job even harder.

  21. 21
    SIA says:

    Thanks for the birthday wishes!

    And @ Felanius Kootea,

    Boehner is looking sick about the whole thing. At the end of the day, they might pass a one-line debt ceiling raise without the spending cuts or tax increases.

    I thought he looked pretty rough too, but it might just be after his Fuck It Saturday Night Statement, he had one too many and has a big hangover. He woke up in Hobb’s Lane and I don’t think he can get out of it now.

  22. 22
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Larime, 14 — Is that worth spending the rest of his presidency as the guy who put SS and Medicare on the table? He could’ve spent the last six months reminding the country that the GOP have said over and over that the debt ceiling must be raised, yet he hasn’t gone there once. In the most recent press conference he said something about what he’d have been willing to agree to if the GOP actually meant what they say. Suppose throwing in, ie. “After all, they’ve been saying for months that default isn’t an option.”

    The GOP’s public statements about the necessity of raising the debt ceiling are a huge leverage point that Obama has completely declined to use. There are plenty of ways to get the clean bill and the Tea Party freakout without having to get your fingerprints on potential SS and Medicare cuts. This is the way he’s chosen to go, and if ’10 is any indication (imaginary Medicare benefit cuts in ACA) this is going to get him creamed.

    Like I said, I hope O’Donnell’s right but I’m not optimistic.

  23. 23
    Karen says:

    Thank you ABL and LOD.

  24. 24
    Martin says:

    What worries me is that, maybe I’m just slow, but I couldn’t see the “tell” that showed that this is Obama backing the Republicans into a corner, and not just Obama actually thinking that $3T in spending cuts must happen.

    Well, Obama would probably be content to do the grand bargain on his terms, but he knows the GOP would never agree to that, and Reid would never agree to doing it on the GOP terms. Hell, even the Mainers won’t do it on the GOP terms (or guys like Nelson on Obama’s terms). Plus, there’s no way to actually write a $3T spending bill in the next 2 weeks, and get two chambers to reconcile and pass it.

    What Obama is asking for is effectively impossible. What Boehner is asking for is effectively impossible. This is almost 100% politics playing out. Obama has been asking for bigger and bigger things, and the GOP or teabaggers keep taking the bait, holding out for bigger and bigger things. Just read what the various GOPers in the House are saying – there’s no agreement in the GOP caucus. Half of them are happy to let the country default and are pissed at Boehner, and the other half finds the prospect of default horrifying. Boehner doesn’t want to float a bill that requires the Dems to pass so he’s trying to find a way out – Nancy could pull the Dems into a coalition, Boehner can’t – he’s basically leading two different parties over there. The closer to the deadline we get, the tougher the job is for Boehner to get a solution within his party, and the smaller the solution will be because he’s going to have to go crawling to Nancy to get that one page bill, with the teatards voting in opposition.

  25. 25
    FollowtheDough says:

    20) Larime, this isn’t a contest who is more left. When you embrace right wing framing points, you lose in the long term. “Entitlements” “Means” “Austerity Philosophy” I’m not saying Obama hasn’t accomplished anything. What i’m saying is, the right wing has boxed him in to accept this tired belief system.

    Not many have the attention span for an entire press conference to explain why a segment of middle class america doesn’t have a job. That’s why we are up a creek, Larime. Do you get that? What do you think the right wing media is doing right now,hmm? There’s a little eagle that flies all across right wing media outlets “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs squawk Jobs Marriage, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” This eagle doesn’t take breaks, he flies 24-7 while still squawking in the air from destination to destination. We are an impatient nation, I am sorry to break this to you.

  26. 26
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Boehner can’t – he’s basically leading two different parties over there. The closer to the deadline we get, the tougher the job is for Boehner to get a solution within his party, and the smaller the solution will be because he’s going to have to go crawling to Nancy to get that one page bill, with the teatards voting in opposition.

    OK, that sounds good, but then what’s the benefit to Obama talking like this about huge spending cuts? To create more division in the GOP caucus by making the teabaggers think they had a huge spending cut within their grasp and Boehner lost it for them? Because I can totally get behind that, but I’m just a bit worried that Obama’s living on the edge here, and like stinkdaddy said, all this big talk about cuts can be used against him.

  27. 27

    @stinkdaddy: There are several flaws there.

    First, nothing is really on the table until it makes it into the bill. Saying that you’re willing to consider certain cuts and actually putting those cuts in the bill are very different things. He’s basically said that he’s put everything on the table that they’ve ever dreamed of, and they still won’t take it. That’s the whole point of why he did it. He’s showing how they really aren’t serious about anything they say except opposing him. He’s also showing that nothing is more important to them than protecting the tax cuts for the richest of the rich and all of their insane loopholes they get.

    Saying that default is not an option, and pointing out that they’ve agreed, isn’t really going to get him anywhere. they will say yes, it’s not an option, but it has to be done with all of these cuts. They’re trying to sound serious because they want all of these responsible cuts in order to agree to raising the debt limit – something, by the way, that a majority of Americans don’t think we should even do because they have no idea what the hell it means other than it sounds like we’re spending too much money. What he’s doing, instead of pointing out that they already agreed that it had to be done, is pointing out that they aren’t willing to consider anything they say they want if it means that their rich buddies have to pay more in taxes.

    At the end of the day, which is more powerful?

    A. The republicans agreed that default isn’t an option.
    B. The republicans would rather rich people get tax breaks for their personal jets than fix the budget.

    I know which I think is more powerful.

  28. 28
    goblue72 says:

    Healthcare reform that included largest expansion in Medicaid in several generations. ARRA Stimulus with massive spending on green initiatives. Saving the American auto industry. Two liberal broads appointed to the Supreme Court – a Jew & a Puerto Rican. Lilly Ledbetter. Ending DADT. Finding Osama bin Laden and putting a bullet in his head. He even appointed some Asian physicist nerd from BERKELEY to be in charge of our nuclear program fer chrissakes.

    All the while dealing with an economic DEPRESSION, with the opposition party being composed of down-and-out neo-Confedrate traitorous scumbags and the entire corporate kleptocracy allied against him.

    ALL THE WHILE PRESIDENTING WHILE BLACK. With a Muslim-y name.

    Let me repeat – MoFo WON the Presidency. While Black. With a Muslim name.

    But no – some white dude in his pajamas and a keyboard knows the politics better than he does.

    You take too much shit around here ABL. Don’t know how you deal with it.

  29. 29
    goblue72 says:

    P.S. George Lakoff and his “its all about the frames” – and his sycophants in the Left – can kiss my dick.

    Dear Lefties – Do you know what its all about in politics? Winning. The. Next. Election. Nothing else matters. Nothing.

    You win – You get to drink the other guy’s milkshake. You lose – you eat ass until the next election.

  30. 30
    SIA says:

    @ goblue72, I completely concur with all points, including the last.

    ETA mine refers to the 1:55 comment

  31. 31
    driftglass says:

    Meanwhile, poor David Brooks sheds big, mayonnaisey tears over how cruelly the Silent Reasonable Majority is being abused by…
    wait for it…
    wait…
    by…both sides!

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com.....alism.html

  32. 32

    @FollowtheDough: No one has boxed anyone to anything. Not recently at least. The right wing frames have been set in the public’s mind for decades. We lost that fight when liberal became a bad word. If you want to try to convince me that Obama is suddenly buying into right wing talking points that were just recently created, I wish you luck with that. I hate to break it to YOU, but that ship sailed a long time ago.

  33. 33
    Martin says:

    That means that Obama is so slick that he’s been setting this trap since at least the Stephanopolous interview in 2008, before the Tea Party existed or the deficit was even an issue. To me that’s kind’ve a stretch.

    No. Obama really wants to fix the deficit, but look at what he’s bargaining. He’s offering long-term entitlement reform, stuff that won’t have much impact in the next few years and largely won’t be felt for 5, 10, 20 years in exchange for tax increases today – money that will show up next year. If you have to accept a compromise, that’s a good one because you get what you want right away and have time to repair the stuff you gave away.

    Watch LO’D again – Obama wanted a clean bill just a couple of months ago. He wasn’t pushing for this grand bargain then. Basically, the teatards have taken this routine occasion and blown it up into some huge objective, so Obama pulled out something from his past to trump it. I don’t know why everyone insists on taking all of these ‘behind the scenes offers’ at face value. There isn’t going to be a raise of Medicare to 67. That was just bait. He did the same thing during the budget fight when it was reported he’d be willing to raise SS to 70. Everyone freaked out then, too, and said that Obama was going to swallow Bowles-Simpson whole, and the GOP got almost nothing in the budget fight because they did the same thing – they demanded more and more, Obama pushed the stakes higher while also looking more reasonable, and when the deadline came, Boehner wound up with almost none of the things he demanded (spending actually went up slightly), and sure as hell none of Bowles-Simpson arrived.

    Apparently nobody on the left remembers that or if they did, they learned nothing from it.

  34. 34
    dogwood says:

    stinkdaddy:

    Is that worth spending the rest of his presidency as the guy who put SS and Medicare on the table?

    If democrats want to push the idea that he put SS and Medicare on the table they are free to do that. But the Republican budget put Medicare on the table first. In fact they didn’t even put it on the table as a negotiating chip, they unilaterally voted to end it. Politically this could work out great if the Dems can stand together and take advantage of it. Liberals who are skeptical about Obama and his motives, intelligence, competence etc. want him to be the Eric Cantor of the Democratic party. I have no doubt Cantor’s getting more powerful within his own caucus and the far right every time he says “No Compromise!” However, there is little evidence that the vast majority of Americans respond to the “no surrender” rhetoric. The dems should be reminding Americans every day that the Republicans voted practically unanimously to kill Medicare in order to save it, and when the Dems offered to find another solution they walked away.

  35. 35
    ABL says:

    ETA – and I’m first! And it’s my birthday!

    Hey! Happy Birthday! Lots of Cancers ’round here.

  36. 36
    ABL says:

    OK, that sounds good, but then what’s the benefit to Obama talking like this about huge spending cuts?

    helping him win reelection by playing to the bipartisan-loving middle.

  37. 37
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Larime, 27 —

    He’s showing how they really aren’t serious about anything they say except opposing him. He’s also showing that nothing is more important to them than protecting the tax cuts for the richest of the rich and all of their insane loopholes they get.

    To people who follow this stuff obsessively, yeah. How many of us are there? The average voter sees a headline or a 45-second news segment that says Obama offered Social Security cuts and then Cantor walked away over taxes. Polls show that right now, popular opinion says

    a) Do not cut Social Security or Medicare

    b) Do not raise taxes

    and

    c) Do not raise the debt ceiling

    So yes, there is this argument about looking like an adult and there’s the mitigating factor that popular opinion says “Lower the deficit” as well, but Obama’s on the wrong side of 3 outta 4 there. To my mind, you have to think the ‘adult’ thing is going to play pretty strongly to believe this is the right move, and I just don’t see how it overcomes the SS/Medicare stuff which is always a guaranteed way to make people freak out.

    When I call my Senators (my congressman is an R, so meh) I always remind them that we’re not a nation of 300 million political strategists, and expecting people to follow all this backroom intrigue stuff is… well, either one of the Dems’ largest and most consistent messaging fails, or their main way of playing Good Cop, depending on your perspective.

    they will say yes, it’s not an option, but it has to be done with all of these cuts.

    Well of course you have to anticipate and be prepared: here is a highlight reel of the speeches you guys gave before voting to increase the debt ceiling during the Bush administration. Here is a list of all the members of your caucus who voted in favor. Here are the Wall Street bigwigs who are going to end your political careers if you don’t pass a clean bill. I’m not going to waste any time negotiating over this, so if you need time to think about it we’ll just be over here airing these videos constantly on our “Don’t Kill The Economy” website blah blah blah fanfiction whatever. Point being, it’s not as though every little thing the Republicans come up with is some amazing, unforseeable political stunt.

    At the end of the day, which is more powerful?

    A. The republicans agreed that default isn’t an option.

    B. The republicans would rather rich people get tax breaks for their personal jets than fix the budget.

    I know which I think is more powerful.

    I agree that B is more powerful. Problem is, I think it’s much more accurate if B reads, “The republicans would rather rich people get tax breaks for their personal jets than fix the budget even though I offered to cut Medicare and Social Security in exchange.”

  38. 38
    MagicPanda says:

    Random thought: Mitch McConnell compared the US to Greece. But isn’t it true that greece’s problems stem from the fact that no one pays taxes? In conservatopia, shouldn’t that lead to amazing economic growth?

  39. 39
    SIA says:

    @ ABL starting with 2 of our esteemed front pagers! this place is crawlin’ wiith the crabs :) Hope yours was good.

    Edited for clarity

  40. 40

    I do not see this working out the way O’Donnell describes. The president already put the programs that sustain the Democratic Party on the line. He did so getting nothing valuable in return.

    Causing some Republicans to be pissed off at some other Republicans is worthless because they will all close ranks at election time. The right-wing crazies who call themselves the tea party are not going to stay home over a debt issue. The tea party didn’t come from concerns about the debt ceiling or the federal debt; it arose from resentment against a black president.

    Raising the debt ceiling should have been automatic, just as it always has been in the past. That should have been where the president, and the entire Democratic congress, should have been from day one and every day since.

  41. 41
    FollowtheDough says:

    24) Martin, America is not paying attention to this charade. This is for the political dungeons n dragons. What class are you? What spells do you have? That’s all this is. Politico n Dragons. And you want to know something? The Right wing loves that we spend time on this shit.

    Meanwhile the GOP are cranking out the different bumper stickers for 2012 election season,campaign strategies,running the focus group studies, etc. What works better? Bumper stickers or audio book presentations from the president? The right wing is laughing at this distraction they orchestrated.

    I’m sorry but Joe Watercooler is not paying attention to a debt ceiling squabble. He’s wondering why he can’t buy that new Plasma Television model. Let’s enter his mind right now,shall we?

    “Why am I out of work? It’s got to be that guy in the white house. I will show him when the next election season comes around. He barely mentions god and he sure talks a lot. I heard he didn’t want to wear the flag lapel pin. Well, aint that something! La dee da, I went to Harvard. Well, that don’t mean you can rob me, Barry! Another democrat robbing me of my hard earned pay! Oh I can’t wait til he has the nerve to say he wants a second term. That no good chicago mobster is golfing again? Gas went up again?!?! It’s time to drain the swamp!”

    If you are sobbing right now, welcome to reality. That’s the epitome of an american. We live in a microwave mentality for everything. We are the last of an endangered species that is known as “Rational patient informed citizens”

  42. 42
    Martin says:

    OK, that sounds good, but then what’s the benefit to Obama talking like this about huge spending cuts? To create more division in the GOP caucus by making the teabaggers think they had a huge spending cut within their grasp and Boehner lost it for them? Because I can totally get behind that, but I’m just a bit worried that Obama’s living on the edge here, and like stinkdaddy said, all this big talk about cuts can be used against him.

    How can it be used against him?

    Look, everyone overstates this ‘framing’ business by a mile. Obama hasn’t talked about any huge spending cuts. He talked about huge deficit reduction, which is inevitable because we have a huge deficit. If the economy finally rebounds, it’ll happen purely through revenue increases, or through tax increases, or possibly through spending cuts – but Dems are more than happy to knock $1.2T out of the budget through cuts over the next 10 years simply by getting out of Iraq/Afghanistan.

    Obama is being a lot more clever in his wording here. He talks about deficit reduction and everyone hears what they want to hear – the GOP hears tax increases because that’s what they fear, the left hears spending cuts because that’s what they fear. No matter how it gets solved, Obama will claim victory, and he can speak boldly knowing that Dems control the Senate and won’t let anything too damaging through.

    In the negotiations he says that anything is on the table, and it is – he’ll listen to any proposal and counter appropriately. I’m going through this right now in my job with resolving our budget issues. Everything is literally on the table, including stuff we would never individually tolerate. But married up against something else and it becomes palatable, sometimes even attractive. An example: would the left accept increasing Medicare minimum age to 67 if single-payer came along with it? Or even the public option? I’m not saying that’s realistic, but I don’t see a problem with honestly saying that you’d consider it under the right circumstances. If you offered to trade Medicare @ 67 for single payer – I’d take it in a heartbeat.

  43. 43

    @stinkdaddy: I think we’re pretty much on the same page on most things, and just disagree on the tactics.

    @FollowtheDough: I have to say, if you think Joe Watercooler as you present him was ever going to vote for Obama, I want what you’re smoking.

  44. 44
    Martin says:

    helping him win reelection by playing to the bipartisan-loving middle.

    He’s playing to the ‘don’t act like a douchebag’-loving middle.

  45. 45
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    How can it be used against him?

    Well, you know, cutting medicare is considered the third rail of politics for a reason. Like I said, I’m not betting on any actual substantive cuts to Medicare, but there weren’t substantive cuts to Medicare in 2009-2010, and the GOP lied their ass off about it and it won them a lot of seats. If he talks to much about the need to put SS and Medicare on the table, the GOP will (cynically, hypocritically) use it against him. It already worked once.

  46. 46
    Martin says:

    Geithner dropped the bomb earlier than I expected.

    I guess Monday’s meeting was a shitpile and Obama is turning up the heat for Tuesday’s:

    As the nation inched closer yesterday to what the White House says would be a catastrophic default on its massive debt, President Obama’s administration ratcheted up the pressure on Republicans by suggesting Social Security checks for some 55 million Americans could be in jeopardy if no deal is reached in the next three weeks.

  47. 47
    Martin says:

    the GOP lied their ass off about it and it won them a lot of seats.

    No, the GOP won a lot of seats because Dems couldn’t bother to vote. The GOP didn’t flip any voters, they simply turned out their base and the Dems didn’t.

  48. 48

    @Spaghetti Lee: No, they won a lot of seats because “Soshulism!!11shiftone”. Their base went apeshit, and ours went ‘Meh’.

  49. 49
    Sly says:

    OK, that sounds good, but then what’s the benefit to Obama talking like this about huge spending cuts?

    Because politics is 95% theater, and most of the time you are not a member of the audience.

    This is all for people who find out about the latest goings-on in Washington through outlets like the evening news the front page of AOL. People who don’t pay much attention at all to politics, know little to nothing about the processes of political action, and think it is their responsibility to elect people who just won’t fuck things up. For those people, the man or women who appears to be the most “reasonable” (or least scary) wins, and you must work with the electorate that you have.

  50. 50
    Yutsano says:

    @ABL:

    Lots of Cancers ‘round here.

    Pot of boiling water. Old Bay. It’s gonna happen here one of these days.

  51. 51
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I’m getting Ron Paul’s banner ad everywhere, because Internet Jesus has decided I’m some kind of libertarian for whatever reason, and Lee Atwater would be proud. Showing Obama and Boehner walking close together, faces real close, almost touching, both smiling…heh heh heh, they’re gay, y’see. And you don’t want to support no faggoty plan, do you? So kick some money over to Mr. Paul and reassert your masculinity.

  52. 52
    different church-lady says:

    @ Brad (6): I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, but within the last 24 hours I have started to wonder if Krugman is the only economist left in the world, since I never seem to see any others cited.

  53. 53
    RadioOne says:

    O’Donnell has also emphatically stated (on many, many occasions) that T-Paw must be the eventual GOP nominee. He is either the most brilliant political seer we have in our modern era, or he’s someone who desperately needs to deviate from the CW to hopefully generate new viewers at 8 o’clock on MSNBC.

  54. 54
    different church-lady says:

    He (Obama) talks… (snip) …and everyone hears what they want to hear.

    This appears to be the true Obama way. It certainly explains a lot of the Sturm und Drang coming out of the left earpiece of the headphones.

  55. 55
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: My banner ad is for heartburn medication. How did they know? I could use some.

  56. 56

    Martin #46

    Geithner did drop a bomb. Wow.

    Who is in that picture with the article? That’s not Geithner is it?

    Edited because I can’t spell.

  57. 57
    hstram says:

    “Do you know what its all about in politics? Winning. The. Next. Election. Nothing else matters.Nothing.

  58. 58
    ProgressiveTechie says:

    @Martin spot on! Indeed, why do we keep not learning from the past? Do we not have faith in PBO at all? He’s done it once, and he’s going to do it again. The progressive cause is in good hands with this president. Of course, not everything is going to go our way–politics doesn’t work without compromise. But seems like the right wing nuts haven’t learned either and keep thinking they can outplay PBO and then in the end find themselves being played instead.

  59. 59
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Nope. Or I hope not. Would explain a lot, though. We’re going through a soap opera right now so maybe they changed actors and didn’t bother to tell the viewers. Two months from now when we’re going through this again for the FY12 budget, they’ll bring back the old Geithner wearing an eyepatch explaining the plastic surgery.

  60. 60
    dogwood says:

    Raising the debt ceiling should have been automatic, just as it always has been in the past.

    Well, of course it should have, but Repblicans have decided to turn even the most mundane congressional procedures into an all out war. That’s not something the President or the Dem caucus can do a damn thing about. The difference here is that until now, a lot of the stuff they’ve been doing to obstruct the administration has been under the radar. Secret holds, filibustering bills they used to support, stalling the appointment process etc. It’s hard to get the attention of the public on these types of behaviors because they involve too much explaining of arcane procedures. But now, they’re fighting out in the open and we’ll see how the public reacts.

    A year from now when the general election is heating up and the voting electorate is vastly larger than during midterms, if the Republican Party and a faction of the Democratic base want to make Obama the president who wanted to cut Medicare it won’t be as easy as they think. It’s counterintuitive. A Dem. cutting Medicare doesn’t fit voters’ preconceived notions of what Dems. do. On the other hand, Dems. can talk until they’re blue in the face about only raising taxes on the wealthy, and they still have trouble beating the rap that – they say that but………

  61. 61

    suffern #58

    LOL. :-)

  62. 62

    What do you think would happen if SS payments stopped?

    Personally I would cry and crawl under the bed and suck my thumb.

    But really, what would happen?

  63. 63
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    But really, what would happen?

    A lot of poor old people would starve to death, I suppose.

  64. 64
    Yutsano says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    A lot of poor old people would starve to death, I suppose.

    Those without any external means of support anyway. Which is about 40% of the population that collects SS.

  65. 65

    @Linda Featheringill: What do you think would happen if SS payments stopped?

    I’d lose my utilities, maybe be evicted, definitely stop eating…

  66. 66
    Karen says:

    @Martin

    Apparently nobody on the left remembers that or if they did, they learned nothing from it. or cares because Obama will never ever be accepted by them and they’ll just find another reason to primary him.

    Fixed.

  67. 67
    Martin says:

    But really, what would happen?

    Well, I guess we would test the resolve of the GOP base. I suspect by August 2, the calls into Congressional switchboards will reach such a rate that it could take down global communication networks.

    I mean, what the fuck better thing do seniors have to do besides call their Congressman? (I rib my parents about that constantly – so it’s an affectionate comment from me.)

  68. 68
    Triassic Sands says:

    The president has already won the contest for who looks more flexible or reasonable or willing to compromise…

    I’m not sure that is true, or at least it’s not true in a way that matters in the end. I’ve noted before that in a discussion between Brooks and Dionne last week, they both agreed that Democrats had bent over backwards to compromise with Republicans. Brooks even used the word “caved” to describe Obama’s willingness to give in to the GOP’s demands.

    Yet, at the end of the discussion, Dionne’s conclusion — and the generally perceived conclusion of the entire discussion — was that NOW it was time for BOTH SIDES to get serious, compromise, and come up with an agreement.

    That makes no sense to a sane, fair-minded person. If the Democrats have already done lots of compromising, and the Republicans have done none, then obviously what has to happen now is that the Republicans have to compromise — it is up to them to make the final concessions that will lead to an agreement. But that isn’t how the conventional wisdom sees it. As usual, after lots of compromise, after moving further and further to the right, now it is up to Democrats to split the remaining difference with the Republicans to reach an agreement. And if it’s necessary for Democrats to do 100% of the remaining compromise in order for them finalize an agreement, well, that’s OK, too. All the GOP has to do to get full credit in the negotiations is to put their signature on the final agreement, no matter how little they did to make it possible.

    If recent history is any guide, Obama will be willing to split that difference, because he, apparently, sees himself as the endlessly reasonable guy. (I would argue that compromising with insane people isn’t reasonable at all.) Further, the media and conventional wisdom expect him to make further compromises to reach an agreement — Dionne and Brooks are reliable spokespeople for the “Village” and CW and they agree that Obama and the Democrats, despite all the past compromises, still are equally obligated to compromise with Republicans now in order to finalize an agreement.

    If that is how things play out, then the president has won nothing meaningful, because, at best, in the end he’s going to get only equal credit for compromise, and the final agreement will likely (inevitably) be far to the right of center of what were the opening positions for each side.

    (Note: right now I’m listening to mainstream media figures (Diane Rehm Show on NPR) discuss these very issues and they all agree that the negotiations are being held entirely in the context of a government that spends too much, i.e., the problem is entirely one of too much spending and not at all a problem of too little revenue, otherwise known as having lowered the taxes of the wealthy much too much.)

  69. 69
    Valdivia says:

    @Yutsano 50

    LOL. That was too funny. Hope things are good with you!

  70. 70
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Martin: If the bankers can’t convince them, I doubt the voters will, either. Have them call Grover and Priebus. Heck, Grover has and office. Why not send them there to return the love Republican leaders have always shown for them?

  71. 71
    Yutsano says:

    @Valdivia: Old Bay rocks man. Plus I can get dungeness right off the docks a few blocks from my work.

    I’m good. A decent day at work was a great assist there. I just wanna have a job after August 2 ya know?

  72. 72
    Valdivia says:

    @ Yutsano

    Yes it was the old bay part that made me LOL in agreement :)

    Keeping fingers crossed for you and all of us.

  73. 73
    Yutsano says:

    @Valdivia: I already know I’m in an essential function, so technically my job is secure. And since collections will become a high priority if the debt ceiling goes boom I should be fine. I however take nothing for granted. I have no idea how much of a budget we’ll have. It’s a good thing I’m putting off buying a new car.

  74. 74
    dogwood says:

    Good timing by Geithner and the WH. I know that lots of people wanted dems to get the word out about the dire effects of default earlier, but that would have forced them to take more of the responsibility if default occurred, since no one really knew what exactly was going on in the negotiations and the press wasn’t that jazzed about the story yet. Now that Casey Anthony is free and the press is focused , the President holds a press conference and tells the public he was willing to talk about the spending cuts the Reps want, but they said no. Sending Geither out to talk about the consequences of saying no, is a good move. The Republicans aren’t denying the facts of anything the President said. If they keep this up, the Republicans will be the party that can’t take yes for an answer. That’s not the image you want going into a general election.

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    Oh, look, our newest high court: Amazon:

    Amazon has refused to collect the 7.25% base sales tax since the law took effect July 1, saying it is unconstitutional.

    Our newest sovereign corporation, everyone. Unfortunately for Amazon, their net margin is less than 7.25% and they’re still on the hook for the 7.25% (plus penalties if they don’t pay on time), so either they’re going to face losses on all sales in CA, or they’re going to have to give up some of their price advantage. No wonder they’re fighting so hard, this is a big threat to them.

  76. 76
    Valdivia says:

    @Yutsano totally agree not taking thing for granted is my motto

    ETA great post ABL, and good’night.

  77. 77
    Martin says:

    I doubt the voters will, either.

    Do not underestimate the power of old cranky callers who are guaranteed to turn out to vote. If House GOPers start getting pissed off calls from their reliable voters they’re going to fold in a hurry. It’s one thing to talk about policy in nebulous terms, it’s another when the SecTreas is telling you that your check next week will come in $550 light.

  78. 78
    cat48 says:

    @goblue72:

    This.

  79. 79
    dogwood says:

    Triassic @67:

    That makes no sense to a sane, fair-minded person. If the Democrats have already done lots of compromising, and the Republicans have done none, then obviously what has to happen now is that the Republicans have to compromise—it is up to them to make the final concessions that will lead to an agreement. But that isn’t how the conventional wisdom sees it.

    You’re right. It makes no sense to a sane, fair-minded person. So most of them won’t pay as much attention as you think to the conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom in the first presidential debate of 2008 had McCain winning. Then the polling came in and the public preferred Obama by a fairly wide margin. These guys just say stuff and collect a check.

    I think Martin is right that this “framing” stuff is overblown. The press’s influence over American politics isn’t about how they say anything. It’s about what they cover. Assignment editors have much more influence over public opinion than any columnist or talking head.

  80. 80
    dogwood says:

    Martin:

    Do not underestimate the power of old cranky callers who are guaranteed to turn out to vote.

    I’m always amazed at these political journalists who see the Tea Party as some new phenomenon. Have they never listened to a C-Span call in- program in the last 30 years? Well the Tea Party is those guys with a Facebook page and some corporate sponsorship. They have always been among us.

  81. 81
    NobodySpecial says:

    I think Martin is right that this “framing” stuff is overblown.

    Ask a liberal about death panels or the death tax and see what he says.

    For that matter, just talk to the Secretary of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security. I’m sure they’ll all tell you framing is bunk.

  82. 82
    Ash Can says:

    FWIW, this story is greeting readers of the Chicago Tribune this morning. It’s the number-two feature story on page one of the on-line version, just below the story of hundreds of thousands of ComEd customers losing power in the latest round of storms. The gist of the story is that Eric Cantor is mucking up the debt/budget negotiations because of his rivalry with Boehner for party power, and specifically because his quest for power has prompted him to align himself with the teabaggers. My own personal take-away is that we have Chicago’s traditionally Republican paper of record highlighting for its readers this morning the situation of top-level fiscal negotiations in this country being distracted and potentially derailed by squabbling Republicans. There’s no he-said/he-said, no both-sides-do-it, no shifting the focus of the blame. It’s that Cantor is power-hungry and the teabaggers are intransigent. Period.

    Make of that what you will.

  83. 83
    kdaug says:

    @NobodySpecial: Seconded.

  84. 84
    kdaug says:

    @Ash Can:

    Achilles, meet heel.

    “Grandma had to die” vs GOP poutrage.

    Let’s dance.

  85. 85
    Calouste says:

    Gordon Brown has done an interview with the BBC about the phone hacking scandal (which in his case includes a lot more than phone hacking), and he lays into NI:

    I do know that in two instances, there is absolute proof that News International hired people to do this and the people who are doing this are criminals, known criminals in some cases with records of violence and fraud.

    News International pursued an incredibly aggressive agenda in the last year. News International were distorting the news in a way that was designed to pursue a particular political cause. This was an abuse of their power for political gain. The record will show that some people at News International abused their power. There is absolutely no doubt that News International were trying to influence policy. This is an issue about the abuse of political power as well as the abuse of civil liberties.

    Quotes from the Guardian

  86. 86
    Calouste says:

    Speechless, also from the Guardian:
    __

    My colleague Marina Hyde has more information about what happened when the Sun rang Gordon Brown to say that it was running a story about his son having cystic fibrosis.
    __
    Are you insufficiently repulsed by the Sun’s mysteriously-obtained exclusive on Brown’s son’s cystic fibrosis? Don’t worry – like everything about the hacking scandal, there are always more details to emerge to compound the horror. I’ve been speaking to a source close to Gordon Brown at the time of the story, who recalls that it was served up with a chaser of threat.
    __
    Gordon insisted – despite a heavy brow-beating from Rebekah – that he was not willing to let his son’s medical condition be the stuff of a Sun exclusive,” recalls this source. “So he put out a statement on PA to spike their scoop and make clear that despite his condition, Fraser was fit and healthy. The Sun were utterly furious, and Brown’s communications team were told that if Gordon wanted to get into No10, he needed to learn that was not how things were done.”
    __
    Yes, how DARE the then-chancellor refuse to accept that his child’s health was not technically a commercial Murdoch property? I’d like to tell you there’s a sick bag located in the rear pocket of the seat in front of you. But I’m afraid you’re on your own.

  87. 87
    Cliff in NH says:

    Thread Needs more hot fresh deep dish pizza!!:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/6...../lightbox/

    Thanks jeffreyw, Its This one!!:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/j.....hotostream

  88. 88
    rikyrah says:

    Lawrence was also hilarious slamming Newsweek about the Caribou Barbie cover story.

    Lawrence was having fun last night

  89. 89
    Norwonk says:

    I guess that’s how it looks in the 11 dimensional view. In the world we actually inhabit, Obama lost big the moment he accepted the notion that the raising of the debt ceiling was a subject for negotiations. They’re just arguing over how much he will have to pay for that blunder now.

  90. 90
    stuckinred says:

    Norwonk

    Thank you Ms. Hamsher

  91. 91
    harlana says:

    All the food pr0n on this blog. I can’t cook, dammit! One of these days, I’m going to put up a pic of a stale, day-old sammich

  92. 92
    kay says:

    Norwonk
    In the world we actually inhabit, Obama lost big the moment he accepted the notion that the raising of the debt ceiling was a subject for negotiations.

    You know, that’s a really safe position. Obama loses any which way this comes out, which is nice for you.

    For someone who purports to insist on bold moves and definitive positions on the part of leaders, you’re very cautious. There’s no way you’re ever “wrong” in your scenario.

  93. 93
    WereBear says:

    I can only assume a lot of people have not personally experienced what is going on in DC right now; the Abusive Relationship.

    That’s nice, but it also makes you clueless.

    Taking bold stands, declaring independence, using reason; none of this matters at all. Republicans are crazy and want their way and the only, only, only thing that works is to have someone bigger than them notice what is going on, come into the situation, and STOP THEM.

    The electorate doesn’t notice the bruises until the abuser is marched out in handcuffs. That’s what the White House has been trying to do.

    When you have the whole press corp chanting, “You fell down the stairs,” it takes a lot to overcome.

  94. 94
    Norwonk says:

    @Kay:

    Yes, Obama loses no matter what. But that’s his fault, not mine, and it wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

    If Obama was a master of multidimensional chess, he would have made sure that the debt ceiling was raised last year, when he had a majority in the House. Failing that, he should have insisted on a raise being included in the tax deal he made with republicans before Christmas. After he had let these opportunities slip by, he then announces that, while he would like a clean bill, he is willing to negotiate about spending cuts. So the debt limit, which used to be a formality, has now become a hostage which Republicans can hold at gunpoint every couple of years. And now I’m supposed to think Obama’s a genius because he (probably) won’t actually have to slash Social Security and Medicare to get a deal — this time around?

    If that’s a triumph, I’d hate to be around when Obama loses. Of course, I won’t be, as I’m a furrener. But if I were you, I’d be more than a little worried. This whole thing actually reflects better on Obama if you assume that he is really playing against his own base, and that he wanted to enact these spending cuts all along, but wanted the GOP to get the blame. That way, you get to assume that he really is clever.

  95. 95
    kt says:

    Far from agreeing with him, I see this as Lawrence O’Donnell’s blue dress moment.

  96. 96
    AxelFoley says:

    @goblue72:

    Healthcare reform that included largest expansion in Medicaid in several generations. ARRA Stimulus with massive spending on green initiatives. Saving the American auto industry. Two liberal broads appointed to the Supreme Court – a Jew & a Puerto Rican. Lilly Ledbetter. Ending DADT. Finding Osama bin Laden and putting a bullet in his head. He even appointed some Asian physicist nerd from BERKELEY to be in charge of our nuclear program fer chrissakes.
    All the while dealing with an economic DEPRESSION, with the opposition party being composed of down-and-out neo-Confedrate traitorous scumbags and the entire corporate kleptocracy allied against him.
    ALL THE WHILE PRESIDENTING WHILE BLACK. With a Muslim-y name.
    Let me repeat – MoFo WON the Presidency. While Black. With a Muslim name.
    But no – some white dude in his pajamas and a keyboard knows the politics better than he does.
    You take too much shit around here ABL. Don’t know how you deal with it.

    This should be posted at every so-called progressive site, so none of them muhfuckas will forget.

    Primary him? Bitch, please.

  97. 97
    kay says:

    Yes, Obama loses no matter what. But that’s his fault, not mine, and it wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

    I just think it’s really, really easy to sit on the sidelines and announce what should have been done, and then take that analysis and use it as a shield. That’s been my personal experience over the years, so I generally don’t do it, because it pisses me off when I’m the actor and it’s applied to me.

    ABL made a definitive call on what she thinks is going to happen here, and as I have no idea what is going to happen here, I think that was ballsy. It’s easy to take a position like yours. You’ve covered every eventuality. I don’t know that people “in the real world” can do that. I know I can’t, in negotiations or anything else. There’s risk in everything, and there’s always someone who is happy to tell me what I should have done. I have learned to avoid those people. It’s too easy for them.

  98. 98
    Ash Can says:

    @Norwonk: As a “furrener,” you can certainly be forgiven for your lack of understanding of how the U.S. federal government works. If you Google “United States government branches,” it will give you a wealth of information from official sources.

  99. 99
    agrippa says:

    The GOP, as a group, is pretty dumb. Of course, the debt ceiling has to be passed and Boehner knows it.
    I am not sure how it work out, but something will happen 24 to 72 hours before the deadline. We are approaching the end game.

  100. 100
    agrippa says:

    Norwonk, In one word, No.

    You do not understand politics.

  101. 101
    AxelFoley says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    @Spaghetti Lee: My banner ad is for heartburn medication. How did they know? I could use some.

    You notice that ad on the left side with the chick holding that big ass cucumber in mouth? Talk about suggestive.

  102. 102
    kay says:

    But if I were you, I’d be more than a little worried.

    Well, thanks. I’ll immediately start worrying, because that’s always so worthwhile and effective :)

    I’m an idiot, because I’m addicted to following negotiations and wrangling, I love that stuff, so I’ve become inured to it. I must love it, because I can’t turn away. I monitor, because it all goes to hell without me, right? :)

  103. 103
    cleek says:

    @Norwonk:

    Obama lost big the moment he accepted the notion that the raising of the debt ceiling was a subject for negotiations.

    this is just so fucking backwards it stings.

    the President cannot dictate legislation. period. Obama started out this process with a demand for a “clean bill” and in response, Boeher told him to go piss up a rope – thus ending the FDL-approved stage of the negotiation. now, three months later, they’re at a point where everybody has to lose something in order for everybody to win something else.

    but, no. it’s all about Obama. always. and he’s always wrong. always. it’s never about the 535 other motherfuckerswho have a say in the process. nope, it’s always Obama. idiots.

  104. 104
    overeducated says:

    This played out exactly the same way during the budget debate. Progressive freak out about how Obama is selling us down the river followed by a deal that in the end maintained all the Democratic core principles and had nominal cuts (this in the face of a massive electoral loss mandated with eviscerating the work of the previous 2 years).

    I will be angry if the final deal is bad. But I imagine it won’t be, everything up to that point is Kabuki.

  105. 105
    kay says:

    Obama started out this process with a demand for a “clean bill”

    They did more than that. They did “test votes” in the House, which failed.
    But he’s covered even that, cleek. The answer to you is, they should have done the vote prior to losing the majority. See? They’re still right. This is endless. There’s no way they’re ever wrong.

  106. 106
    Bruce S says:

    I hope people realize that O’Donnell is spinning this like a top. I hope he’s right at the level he’s analyzing it – it’s literally the only hope we have as Democrats – but Ezra Klein made the central point about this scenario on Ed Schultz:

    “The way you get conservative columnists (like Brooks) to write columns that you’re offering Republicans the Deal of the Century is you’re actually offering them the deal of century, and if the Republicans wise up and take it, Democrats are going to be left with some pretty crummy terms.”

    But, hey, it’s all about jiujitsu and 3-dimensional chess and positioning for 2012. I guess I’m supposed to be impressed. At the level of political gamesmanship, I am. At the level of political leadership, not so much. The entire terms of the debt ceiling debate are a win for the most obnoxious conservatives in the country – the Norquist faction. When you’ve got Democrats defending an 85-15 cuts vs. taxes plan that’s indistinquishable from AEI policy papers, it’s a losers game.

    Medicare and Social Security have no place at “the table” in these talks. No place. That is madness. Total irresponsibility and dishonesty with the American people. It reinforces the biggest lies out there. Playing chicken with extreme proposals might turn out to be a “win” for the President, but the willingness to toy with fundamentals of any coherent Democratic agenda is stunning. This isn’t Kabuki. It’s the kind of “chicken” where there’s a real cliff. In fact, several of them. There’s the debt ceiling cliff which spells doom if we go over – and then there’s the cliff that Democrats would walk over if Boehner actually convinced his people to offer to take what the President appears to be giving on. Maybe that’s an impossible scenario – but I’d hate to bet my retirement savings on it.

    That alternate disaster would mean either a “crummy deal for Democrats” that could literally destroy their most potent message in congressional districts for 2012 – protection of Medicare – or it would mean that the President would have to back off of what has been reported as the “deal” and lose that 3-dimensional chess thing that’s supposed to be all-important to his electoral image.

    More to the point, from the vantage point we “little people” occupy, if we shut up about our concerns over the Tea Baggers having won the entire framing of this “debate” and just say to each other “I’ve got a tingle in my leg, because Obama is sooooooo much smarter than John Boehner” we are worthless. Worse than worthless. We stand for nothing and will stand for anything. If there’s ever going to be a brighter day for Democrats, consistently stronger leadership, more skillful and viable candidates at the congressional level who are seen to stand for something, with an agenda that doesn’t start out reeking of the most extreme compromise, playing the part of complacent spectators telling who raises their voice to shut up is not a plan.

    This “calm down” message is total bullshit IMHO. The more it’s repeated, the worse it sounds because it’s so obviously even counter-productive to whatever strategy the President has chosen to play. It’s not helpful to have his base just sit down and shut up and bask in the brilliance. Making Jane Hamsher, Kos and Adam Green the central villians among Democrats in one’s so-called “political analysis” of the debt ceiling talks is about as pathetic as it gets. I don’t follow Kos or Hamsher, but the more I listen to some of the “wisdom” imparted in these threads, the more I’m glad they’re there.

    The Right has forced “our side” into this 85-15 AEI-friendly Democratic proposal supposedly being the “moderate” plan of the liberals – when it’s actually insane to be focused on any such agenda when there’s 9% unemployment and no end in sight.

    Further, to even be discussing Social Security or Medicare as central to the debt ceiling issue is stepping straight into the Ryan Funhouse Mirror and looking out the other side. It’s an utter distortion of any reality related to the deficits and plays into the worst ignorance – and any sentient Democrats’ worst fears. Proposing a “Grand Bargain” – everything on the table – with a GOP congressional majority isn’t what I consider brilliant strategy. If the “win” is betting that they’re as crazy as they sound, one might also consider that some in their leadership might be crazy like a fox and could draw them into the dreaded “acceptance” of what Klein calls a “crummy deal for Democrats.”

    The GOP has had a bunch of loudmouths pushing them aggressively and shaking things up at the grassroots, taking on their own wing of congress, etc. The Dems have next to nothing in this debate – except stuff like “crossing your fingers.” And Yoda. Doesn’t make me proud…

    Sorry if this just seems like a redundant rant, but it needs to be said. It’s all well and good for the President to project “calm”, but I’ll be damned if that’s an appropriate posture for grassroots Democrats when their own side is echoing the AEI and the “need” to “cut” Medicare, etc.

    We either grow up and grow a pair, at least attempting to articulate an economic and budget reality beyond what’s been constructed as “conventional wisdom” by the media and an aggressive Tea Partyized GOP or we might as well quit talking about any of this altogether, because…uh…you know…smarter folks than us are taking care of things and not to worry.

  107. 107
    Norwonk says:

    Ok, I now realise Obama is completely powerless and can’t possibly put Republicans in a position where they have to choose between blowing up the economy or raising the debt limit. Just like Bush was completely powerless and had no influence in the 8 years he dozed in the Oval Office.

    How silly of me. Why are we even discussing this guy? Shouldn’t we focus on President Boehner?

  108. 108
    agrippa says:

    kay:

    “There’s no way they’re ever wrong.”

    According to them.

  109. 109
    kay says:

    According to them.

    No, I mean there’s no way. If it “works” one one level of analysis, they just push the failure back to the step prior. If it “works” mechanically or procedurally, well, then there’s always the messaging and political end, and that failed, so process doesn’t matter.

  110. 110
    Bruce S says:

    Incidentally, folks here who reason with great nuance about cuts in Medicare that distinguish between “benefits” and “costs” should consider that one of the biggest Tea Party weapons against ACA was the cuts in costs that went to insurance companies.

    But try to make these distinctions in a campaign ad – or defend against opportunistic campaign ads that use them to make Dems seem like something other than staunch defenders of Medicare in the wake of Ryan’s scheme. All they have to do is promote the notion that “both sides” have proposed “reforms.” And the press will amplify the crazy.

    If the President is even putting Medicare “cuts” (Press Secretary Carney’s words – not Jane Hamsher’s) on the table as a “brilliant plan to destroy John Boehner with formidable jiujitsu that unfortunately makes the little people in the Democratic Party’s base nervous”, this is NOT “genius politics” – no matter how you spin it.

  111. 111
    Chris says:

    That would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy. I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table. – John Boehner

    Good, because according to Gallup, Americans back in May (last time it checked) opposed raising the debt ceiling by 47% to 19%.

    Republican lunacy taking effect. They pump mounds and mounds of crap out there for public consumption in order to get people to agree with them, but once you’ve whipped up people into enough of a frenzy, your rhetoric takes on a life of its own. What’s he supposed to say to all the teabaggers who believe the debt ceiling shouldn’t even be raised at all?

  112. 112
    kay says:

    But try to make these distinctions in a campaign ad – or defend against opportunistic campaign ads that use them to make Dems seem like something other than staunch defenders of Medicare in the wake of Ryan’s scheme.

    Right, I see that risk, but there’s another side to that, too. Democrats in Congress would happily run as “saving” Medicare and SS from whomever; Obama, Ryan, they don’t give a shit. Debbie WS and “her seniors” and such. They’ll stand up there and boldly announce opposition to any cuts in benefits, particularly those running in competitive districts where Obama polls poorly. Schumer is an excellent pol. Remember when he ran Senate races? He’ll love to vow fealty to Medicare and raise hell.

  113. 113
    Steve LaBonne says:

    The attempts to spin Obama’s unbelievable incompetence and malfeasance get more desperate all time. They’d be hilarious if the dire consequences for real people weren’t so serious.

  114. 114
    overeducated says:

    If the President is even putting Medicare “cuts” (Press Secretary Carney’s words – not Jane Hamsher’s) on the table as a “brilliant plan to destroy John Boehner with formidable jiujitsu that unfortunately makes the little people in the Democratic Party’s base nervous”, this is NOT “genius politics” – no matter how you spin it.

    Yes, it is. If the “Democratic base” is stupid enough to stay home next election or vote for whatever crazy the Republicans put forward because there was “theoretical” talk of cutting Medicare then they will get exactly what they deserve. This was the same argument that lost us the 2000 election i.e. “there is no fundamental difference between Al Gore and George Bush, so I am going to vote for Ralph Nader.” That sure turned out well.

    Maybe folks should save the whining and histrionics for after we see the final product. In the end Obama has gotten his (and a lot of the progressive) agenda through pretty consistently in the face of a lot of opposition precisely because he proceeds in a methodical manner.

    I used to like Jane Hamsher, but the past 4 years have convinced me that her and her ilk are pretty much morons and the data backs up that claim.

  115. 115
    Ash Can says:

    @overeducated: I don’t think they’re all morons. Some of them simply have questionable agendas.

  116. 116
    Steve LaBonne says:

    If the “Democratic base” is stupid enough to stay home next election or vote for whatever crazy the Republicans put forward because there was “theoretical” talk of cutting Medicare then they will get exactly what they deserve.

    Hey idiot, the old folks who voted Republican in 2010 because of the ads attacking “Democratic cuts to Medicare” were low-info swing voters, not “the Democratic base”. And those are the voters who will again be lost by this kind of stupidity. The Republicans love nothing better than opportunities to dishonestly run against the Dems on old-folks issues from the left. And Obama just wrote the fucking ads for them. Political malpractice.

  117. 117
    MomSense says:

    @Martin #47
    Yes, exactly!!

    I love how all the “emos” as they are called love to rail about the betrayals of the President but, GE we bring good things to life like Fukushima and Comcast owned MSNBC for months had the prime time pundits constantly criticizing the President with genius Ed primary Blanch Lincoln Shultz telling people to stay home and not vote in November and not a squeak about a corporation co-opting progressives into losing the House of Representatives.

  118. 118
    overeducated says:

    I don’t think they’re all morons. Some of them simply have questionable agendas.

    Yeah, I agree with that assessment. Some really are true believers, others I imagine are Republican spoofs. just because I agree philosophically with someones political agenda doesn’t mean I can’t recognize that they are an idiot.

  119. 119
    Lojasmo says:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2666497

    Testing that.

    @goblue #28

    Agree, absolutely

  120. 120
    Bruce S says:

    Kay – I don’t see how you run on saving Medicare if the White House is signaling “cuts.” Seems like it destabilizes what Wasserman-Schultz, Schumer, et. al. SHOULD have the opportunity to make their centerpiece at the congressional level in 2012. And let’s face it – congress is where the game is now. With the GOP in control even of one legislative house, what we get are AEI proposals sold as the “Democrat’s plan.” If the Tea Baggers weren’t completely nuts, we’d be screwed totally with what appears to be the current offer on the table. And I’m not convinced the crazies can’t be reined in. That would be a nightmare for Obama and the Dems, given what the press and the White House itself has signaled as the President’s position.

  121. 121
    overeducated says:

    Hey idiot, the old folks who voted Republican in 2010 because of the ads attacking “Democratic cuts to Medicare” were low-info swing voters, not “the Democratic base”. And those are the voters who will again be lost by this kind of stupidity. The Republicans love nothing better than opportunities to dishonestly run against the Dems on old-folks issues from the left. And Obama just wrote the fucking ads for them. Political malpractice.

    Yes, the black dude with a muslim name who is now President of the United Stated, who beat the Democratic party’s scion (a Senator and wife a beloved former President) clearly has no conception of how to triangulate, frame issues and win elections. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  122. 122
    Steve LaBonne says:

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    Translation: overeducated is too stupid to remember the 2010 campaign.

  123. 123
    OzoneR says:

    That would be a nightmare for Obama and the Dems, given what the press and the White House itself has signaled as the President’s position.

    What position? hos inflexible bargaining position?

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....030801.php

  124. 124
    overeducated says:

    Translation: overeducated is too stupid to remember the 2010 campaign.

    Good point, how could I forget when Obama lost the Presidency in the 2010 election.

  125. 125
    OzoneR says:

    Obama lost big the moment he accepted the notion that the raising of the debt ceiling was a subject for negotiations.

    Yes, he did, that was after he tried the professional left negotiating strategy of starting in the extreme position; demanding a clean bill, which failed test votes in I believe BOTH houses of Congress.

    Like I’ve said since day one, there is no reason for Obama to listen to the left because if he does, and it fails, he’ll NEVER get credit for trying.

    EVER

  126. 126
    OzoneR says:

    The Republicans love nothing better than opportunities to dishonestly run against the Dems on old-folks issues from the left. And Obama just wrote the fucking ads for them. Political malpractice.

    Because they wouldn’t do it anyway? when was the last time old folks voted Democrat? 1996?

  127. 127
    OzoneR says:

    I now realise Obama is completely powerless and can’t possibly put Republicans in a position where they have to choose between blowing up the economy or raising the debt limit.

    THEY WANT TO BLOW UP THE ECONOMY, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD

    and so do the American people apparently

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/....._blog.html

  128. 128
    Bruce S says:

    overeducated – apparently you’re so “overeducated” that you go straight into debate over your straw man and don’t deal with what I actually put on the table. Emotional heat – not much in the way of light. Don’t pull a quote from me that has absolutely nothing to do with Ralph Nader or staying home in 2012 – that’s the last thing on MY agenda. I was referencing a quote by Jay Carney, who as noted isn’t a contributor to Firedoglake, wherein he suggested that “cuts” to Medicare (unexplained beyond the use of that word”) were indeed being considered by the President as part of the “Grand Bargain.”

    Putting “cuts” to Medicare is an utterly stupid path to go down in this context of debt ceiling negotiations. IMHO. If you want to debate that point and think it’s some brilliant plan to introduce Medicare cuts into the debt ceiling conversation, fine. But don’t saddle me with bullshit about Ralph Nader while you’re calling others morons. Because your using my quote as your point of departure for a straw man rant about Nader is nonsensical. Sort of suggests that there’s a lot of “emo” on the other side of this that can’t tolerate any critical discussion of how the White House plays a particular political situation.

  129. 129
    cleek says:

    @Steve LaBonne:

    And Obama just wrote the fucking ads for them.

    actually, it’s the self-proclaimed lefty base who are turning Obama’s every statement and head tilt into THE DEATH OF SOSHUL SEKKKURITY! there’s no deal, but the permanently-outraged have already concluded that it destroys everything they think the Dem party stands for. every place i look, every day, there’s some idiot claiming Obama has destroyed Medicare or SS.

    the GOP doesn’t have to do anything, when the idiot left is so fucking eager to shit all over its own party. they can just sit back and giggle while the jerk-off ideologues burn the Dem party down from the inside.

    it’s absurd that you’re worried about the effect of as-of-yet-commercials when the firebaggers and perma-butthurt anti-O crowd has been running against Obama for three fucking years now.

  130. 130
    Steve LaBonne says:

    Good point, how could I forget when Obama lost the Presidency in the 2010 election.

    Thanks for clarifying that you’re an Obamacrat, not a Democrat. Not that I doubted that.

    But your hero is risking the same treatment from wrathful seniors in 2012 that the party’s congressional candidates got in 2010. You’d think an Obama supporter would worry about that. I certainly do, given how much worse the alternative will be. Apparently, though, for all your overeducation, you prefer knee-jerk defense of everything your hero does to thinking.

  131. 131
    OzoneR says:

    I was referencing a quote by Jay Carney, who as noted isn’t a contributor to Firedoglake, wherein he suggested that “cuts” to Medicare (unexplained beyond the use of that word”) were indeed being considered by the President as part of the “Grand Bargain.”

    I love how suddenly lies about cutting Medicare lost the Dems the 2010 elections and not the economy.

    Old people are not the Democratic base, they haven’t been for quite a while and they were the only age group that didn’t vote for Obama in 2008, they won’t again in 2012 whether he cuts Medicare, expands it, gives them free tea and cookies. It doesn’t matter, they won’t vote for him either way.

    Those voters the left talks about, the ones Obama shouldn’t bother to reach because they’ll always hate him no mater what, these are them.

  132. 132
    Bruce S says:

    Ozone – simply put, Medicare has no place in this bargaining, whether one is “flexible” or “inflexible.” And if it becomes a chip, yes the defense of Medicare as a key Democratic message in the 2012 congressional races is undercut. I know your position is that people are stupid so nothing matters – other than scoring points against some phantom “left” – but I’m not that cynical. Nor are my political goals that constricted. The “professional left” – whatever that might be – is irrelevant. The potential impact – or not – of Democratic Congressional campaign committee messaging is not irrelevant. It will matter a lot.

    Update: that was a response to your earlier comment. The one just above this isn’t even worth responding to, it’s so clueless.

  133. 133
    Steve LaBonne says:

    I love how suddenly lies about cutting Medicare lost the Dems the 2010 elections

    There are plenty of polls whose crosstabs show it made a significant contribution. But go ahead, stick your fingers in your ears and shout “la la”.

  134. 134
    cleek says:

    as-of-yet-commercials = as-of-yet-unmade commercials

  135. 135
    AAA Bonds says:

    I dunno, I’m trying hard to see this as a victory and I’m coming up empty.

  136. 136
    OzoneR says:

    the defense of Medicare as a key Democratic message in the 2012 congressional races is undercut.

    That’s fantastic, they can run against the grand bargain if they want, Most Dems in the House aren’t going to vote for it and they’re not the majority there. “If we were in the majority, there would have never been cuts” is a campaign message.

    Besides, we’ll be so far removed from the Ryan budget by then, defending Medicare is not going to be an issue at all.

  137. 137
    kay says:

    Kay – I don’t see how you run on saving Medicare if the White House is signaling “cuts.” Seems like it destabilizes what Wasserman-Schultz, Schumer, et. al. SHOULD have the opportunity to make their centerpiece at the congressional level in 2012. And let’s face it – congress is where the game is now.

    Well, I don’t know why they can’t run on saving Medicare from Obama. They’d be more than happy to run Left/populist of Obama. Look, I think you’re a reasonable person and your concerns are valid. I just have this recurring problem with portraying Obama as not a Democrat. He is a Democrat. He’s not the enemy of Democrats. I can’t get my head around it. I don’t understand where it comes from. There is no mythical entity called “the Democratic Party”. There’s just the organization that exists, with the ideological spectrum that exists. If you want to get aspirational, as an advocate, great, go crazy, but don’t tell me the Democratic Party leaders are all on the Left, putting Obama far to the Right. That isn’t true. It isn’t even true at the state level, organizationally. One of my strangest memories as a Democrat is realizing I was the single person in a hall NOT standing and applauding Hillary Clinton’s anti-flag burning law. I was the single dissenter. Lonely!
    Would it really be a shocker to you if the Democratic President was to the Right of the progressive caucus in the House? Of course he is. That doesn’t make him “not a Democrat”.

  138. 138
    OzoneR says:

    There are plenty of polls whose crosstabs show it made a significant contribution.

    Good, then we have nothing to worry about in 2012 re: unemployment.

  139. 139
    AxelFoley says:

    LOL @ this LaBonne idiot.

  140. 140
    overeducated says:

    But your hero is risking the same treatment from wrathful seniors in 2012 that the party’s congressional candidates got in 2010. You’d think an Obama supporter would worry about that. I certainly do, given how much worse the alternative will be. Apparently, though, for all your overeducation, you prefer knee-jerk defense of everything your hero does to thinking.

    overeducated – apparently you’re so “overeducated” that you go straight into debate over your straw man and don’t deal with what I actually put on the table. Emotional heat – not much in the way of light.

    Come on, you two can troll better than that. The fact that the majority party lost seats in Congress during mid term elections for the past 50 years (excluding the Bush 9/11/security mid term) has no relationship to the Democratic mid-term losses. And the fact that the democrats expended a lot of political capital to pass healthcare reform that included largest expansion in Medicaid in several generations.

    Also in the meantime the President:

    Included ARRA Stimulus with massive spending on green initiatives.

    Bailed out the American auto industry.

    Appointed two liberals, a female jew and female hispanic to the Supreme Court.

    Ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    Found Osama bin Laden and dumped him into a watery grave.

    Oh and he accomplished this all during an economic depression with corporate America aligned against him while being black with a muslim sounding name.

    I’m not addressing your argument Bruce S, because its ridiculous. There are going to be no consequential cuts to Medicare: it’s an obvious bargaining ploy.

    Cry more.

  141. 141
    AAA Bonds says:

    The President is never my friend. I realize that’s “not his job”, but still, the President is never my friend.

  142. 142
    AAA Bonds says:

    There are going to be no consequential cuts to Medicare: it’s an obvious bargaining ploy.

    Who will sign on to this?

  143. 143
    Chris says:

    @ OzoneR,

    and so do the American people apparently

    Yep.

    Cheerful, innit?

    Which is why the long-term problem will remain the same no matter how this turns out – a massive part of the voting public that either doesn’t realize it’s sinking the country or doesn’t care. There’s only so much any government can do when so many of the people themselves are determined to commit national suicide.

  144. 144
    Norwonk says:

    @kay:

    Bruce S. has pretty much made my case. But I’d like to address the notion that I state it in a way where I could never be proven wrong. You want testable hypotheses? Here goes:

    1. Obama could blame Republicans for blowing up the economy over something that has always been a pure formality. True/False?
    2. Obama could tell voters that no president has ever been forced to bargain on a huge scale to get a debt ceiling vote, and that he won’t be the first. True/False?
    3. Obama could have made the argument (correctly, as far as I can see) that a refusal to raise the debt limit would be a violation of the 14th Amendment. True/False?
    4. Obama could have seen the test votes for what they are — symbolic tests — and forced Republicans to make them real or stand down. True/False?

    That’s one hell of a poker hand, as far as I’m concerned. It’s doubtful that Obama will ever hold stronger cards in the future. If you hold those cards and you choose to fold, I have to assume the reason is either incompetence or that you actually don’t want to win. That’s not testable, but I don’t think it’s a baseless conclusion, either. It’s the same conclusion which is drawn by people as varied as Paul Krugman, James K. Galbraith, Digby and Jonathan Chait. That’s not to make an appeal to authority, but rather to demonstrate that if this is just whining from the extreme left, the Great Communist Conspiracy against Obama is wider than one would think.

    I’ll give you some for future reference, as well:

    1. I believe Obama has created a precedent for the debt ceiling to be the subject of intense negotiations in the future. True/False? Time will tell.
    2. I believe this would be a very bad thing, and that it is something Obama should have fought harder against. True/false? I think we can already answer “True” on this one, but you may disagree.
    3. I believe it will be more difficult for Democrats to pull out arguments like the 14th Amendment in the future, as they didn’t do it this time around. True/False? Time will tell.
    4. I believe Republicans will use Obama’s professed willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare against him in the coming campaign. True/False? Time will tell.
    5. If Obama agrees to anything less than a clean bill, I believe it will be seen as an error in the long run — even by a majority of his supporters. True/False? Time will tell.

    It may be that Obama is a genius and that I’m totally wrong about this. But you can’t pretend that that question can never be answered. My possible idiocy should definitely be within the scope of scientific inquiry!

  145. 145
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Is the Medicare thing still going to look like smart trickery when Mittens runs his first “Obama wants to raise the Medicare eligibility age” ad? Because he will, and the hypocrisy will be utterly lost on most voters.

  146. 146
    Loviatar says:

    me nervous nahh, not with Obama’s 11 dimension chess Strategery

    Why liberals should thank Eric Cantor

    Here’s what appears to have been in the $4 trillion deal they offered the Republicans: A two-year increase in the Medicare eligibility age. Chained-CPI, which amounts to a $200 billion cut to Social Security benefits. A tax-reform component that would raise $800 billion and preempt the expiration of the Bush tax cuts — which would mean, for those following along at home, that the deal would only include half as much revenue as the fiscal commission recommended, and when you add the effect of making the Bush tax cuts a permanent part of the code, would net out to a tax cut of more than $3 trillion when compared to current law.

    I wonder what the bobble heads will say when he ends up selling everything and everyone down the river in his chasing of a Grand Bargain compromise.

  147. 147
    lol says:

    Like I’ve said since day one, there is no reason for Obama to listen to the left because if he does, and it fails, he’ll NEVER get credit for trying.

    THIS.

    Did Obama get any credit from the left for trying to pass a lower-to-middle class tax cut extension last winter?

    Nope.

    Did Obama get any credit from the left for trying to pass the DREAM Act?

    Nope.

    Hell, he doesn’t get credit for the stuff that does pass. I don’t know why Firebaggers persist in pretending they’d praise Obama IF HE’D ONLY TRY.

  148. 148
    Loviatar says:

    Appointed two liberals, a female jew and female hispanic to the Supreme Court.

    Please stop saying this.

    Justices Kagan and Sotomayor, while to the left of most of today’s Supreme Court can not in any way be considered liberal. I’ll grant you moderate or even left leaning, but in no way are they liberal.

  149. 149
    Bruce S says:

    over-educated – good job of extending the ad hominem and continuing to avoid dealing with the fact that you took my using a direct quote from Jay Carney related to Medicare apparently “being on the table” to some nonsense about Nader and sitting out elections. I don’t need repetitions of the obvious. You leaped to some bullshit. You’re a distortionist. And you’re using slurs. Pretty worthless comments. Can you discuss a discrete issue coherently, or are you just all “emo?”

  150. 150
    Bruce S says:

    Loviatar – Ezra Klein is a well-known contributor to FireDogLake and was big in Ralph Nader’s 2000 campaign. I’m pretty sure. Why do you inject the ravings of “professional left” lunatics who hate Obama and have never given him any credit for anything into these discussions. You’re a troll…

  151. 151
    pika says:

    I am late to the party as usual, but I hope everyone with commitments to entitlements has written–and I MEAN A HAND-WRITTEN F*IN LETTER–to the Pres, their reps, senators, etc. Adding a line to a MoveOn or Progressive Change Campaign or whatever petition isn’t going to do a darned thing. If you care, really care, you’ll pick up the old technology and get on it.

  152. 152
    karen marie says:

    we moderates, the serious people

    I’m laughing so hard I think I broke something.

  153. 153
    overeducated says:

    over-educated – good job of extending the ad hominem and continuing to avoid dealing with the fact that you took my using a direct quote from Jay Carney related to Medicare apparently “being on the table” to some nonsense about Nader and sitting out elections. I don’t need repetitions of the obvious. You leaped to some bullshit. You’re a distortionist. And you’re using slurs. Pretty worthless comments. Can you discuss a discrete issue coherently, or are you just all “emo?”

    I apologize for upsetting your delicate fee-fee. Holy shit! Jay Carney said it was on the table!!! Doooommmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!! He sold us down the river!!!!

    Yes, I am ridiculing your argument, because it is premised on the idea that we are being sold down the river when empirically, Obama has done more for the progressive cause than any President in the last 50 years. All the while you keyboard commando from your basement bunker about how Obama, the Muslim-sounding named black dude who is president of the United States, doesn’t understand how to play politics and promote a progressive agenda.

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.” Thomas Jefferson.

  154. 154
    Bruce S says:

    overeducated – has anyone told you recently you’re nothing but an asshole. You pulled a strawman out of your butt. Now you’re raving on about whatever appeals to your apparently indelicate “feefee.” Not impressive…

    If you think it’s smart for the White House to signal that Medicare “cuts” are on the table in debt ceiling negotiations, you could have made that point. Now you’ve gone past the point of intelligent discussion. You know where to stuff it.

  155. 155
    karen marie says:

    in exchange for tax increases today – money that will show up next year.

    Actually, that’s not true. The “tax increases” proposed wouldn’t go into effect until at least 2013.

  156. 156
    overeducated says:

    overeducated – has anyone told you recently you’re nothing but an asshole.

    No, but it is good to hear it occasionally. Thank you.

    Also you may want to wikipedia the term “strawman” so you could use it correctly in the future.

  157. 157
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Martin

    No, the GOP won a lot of seats because Dems couldn’t bother to vote. The GOP didn’t flip any voters, they simply turned out their base and the Dems didn’t.

    Actually, the GOP did dramatically flip one group of voters in 2010, the rich. There was a fairly even split between Obama and McCain (after Bush trounced Kerry with rich voters in 2004) and, cumulatively, the Republicans won their House vote by slight margins in 2008. In 2010, higher income voters went for the GOP by huge margins and made up a significantly higher percentage of total voters. I don’t think Medicare, SS or unemployment were what made them flip back. The rich people’s revolt, and the fact that almost all the House seats they won back were in Republican leaning districts, are the almost completely ignored stories of the 2010 elections. Any analysis by paid or amateur pundits that doesn’t take those two factors into consideration is worthless to anyone sincerely trying to figure out what happened in 2010. None of the blogs or other liberal news sources I read regularly has paid the tiniest bit of attention to what really happened in 2010.

  158. 158
    Bruce S says:

    “All the while you keyboard commando from your basement bunker about how Obama, the Muslim-sounding named black dude who is president of the United States”

    Incidentally, you little cretin – I worked hard for Obama from Day One. I was an Obama precinct captain in West Oakland, among other things. I know what his accomplishments have been. I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in the campaign. Don’t “keyboard Kommando from your basement” me, you little worm. If it’s beyond your comprehension that there could be disagreements with the White House over policy, strategy or tactics, why don’t you join the fucking Revolutionary Communist Party, where everyone worships the guy in charge. In the Democratic Party we can and do have disagreements. You are obviously incapable of debating discrete issues and simply want to shout people down and shut people up. You’re a disgrace.

  159. 159
    Bruce S says:

    overeducated – the straw man was your bringing Ralph Nader in of your own volition, when it had nothing to do with what I was referencing. You dig your holes very deep…

  160. 160
    overeducated says:

    Incidentally, you little cretin – I worked hard for Obama from Day One. I was an Obama precinct captain in West Oakland, among other things. I know what his accomplishments have been. I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in the campaign. Don’t “keyboard Kommando from your basement” me, you little worm. If it’s beyond your comprehension that there could be disagreements with the White House over policy, strategy or tactics, why don’t you join the fucking Revolutionary Communist Party, where everyone worships the guy in charge. In the Democratic Party we can and do have disagreements. You are obviously incapable of debating discrete issues and simply want to shout people down and shut people up. You’re a disgrace.

    Gah, I can’t decide between “u mad?” and “cool story bro”!

  161. 161
    Bruce S says:

    overeducated – I’m not your “bro.” Sorry, I didn’t realize I was dealing with a teenager.

  162. 162
    Chris says:

    Actually, the GOP did dramatically flip one group of voters in 2010, the rich.

    Yeah, if you can call that a “flip.” As you observed, the rich went disproportionately Republican in 2004, and that’s more or less the way it’s been for the last thirty years.

    In 2008, the Republicans had left such a horrific record behind them that it was more or less a given that they’d lose. Wall Street changed horses for the duration of that election because it made no sense to remain on the losing side – especially, since there were fears for a brief moment of a new New Deal type of shift towards the left and against laissez-faire economics, it was that much more vital to make inroads into the “change” party.

    2010 was simply them returning to the status quo.

  163. 163
    overeducated says:

    overeducated – I’m not your “bro.” Sorry, I didn’t realize I was dealing with a teenager.

    Welcome to the Internets. I assume you are aware of all of its traditions….

    Seriously though, it’s not a strawman to attack the premise of your argument, which (I will paraphrase) is that “offering Medicare cuts is a strategic mistake because it will allow the Republicans to take that issue off the table in next years election.” My response is that the “theoretical possibility” of cuts is not what is going to define next years election, but rather the actual results that Obama achieves in the negotiation. I used Nader to illustrate the point that punishing the President on the Democratic side for a bargaining position is ultimately counterproductive.

    The premise of your argument is that this is a real position held by the President, and not just a bargaining position to make the Republicans look foolish. I would argue the realpolitik of the situation suggests the latter.

  164. 164
    Bruce S says:

    It was a straw man to introduce the notion that my argument had anything to do with Naderism. You leaped directly to something that isn’t in any way related to anything I was referencing. If criticizing a White House strategy is the same as voting for Nader, one has entered the realm of insane hyperbole.

    And frankly, given your little shit-fit accusing me of racism, I’m doing you a favor by even acknowledging your existence at this point. I’m not interested in any discussion with you. You went way past the lines of rationality or common decency.

  165. 165
    overeducated says:

    And frankly, given your little shit-fit accusing me of racism, I’m doing you a favor by even acknowledging your existence at this point. I’m not interested in any discussion with you. You went way past the lines of rationality or common decency.

    What? I don’t even… When did I ever accuse you of racism?

    But please don’t stop replying to me, my entire existence is validated by the replies of psychotic, paranoid lunatics.

    Clown.

  166. 166
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Chris

    Yeah, if you can call that a “flip.”

    I definitely do call it a flip because that’s what it was. A gigantic flip that generally doesn’t happen in American politics. Wall St. is only a small part of the story. I’d like to see someone with the time and knowledge and some prominence take a crack at explaining why this happened in 2006 and 2008. Certain individuals, through contributions and other actions, might have tried to make inroads into the Democratic party to exert influence, but we’re talking about millions of people. When people go into the voting booth they’re just voting anonymously whether they’re rich or poor. The vote totals in 2010 cumulatively favored the Republicans heavily, but in dozens of races their margins were very small. If the rich people flip had not happened in 2010, we’d have a very different political landscape than we ended up with and it’s frustrating that this story has been so thoroughly ignored. I think it’s because pundits are almost all lazy and this doesn’t fit any pre-packaged narrative already on the shelf.

  167. 167
    amk says:

    @ 28 goblue72 – Great post. Fuck yeah.

  168. 168
    Kilgore Trout says:

    Medicare and Social Security have no place at “the table” in these talks. No place. That is madness.

    If you mean that in an ideal world there should be no negotiation over increasing the debt ceiling I’m with you.

    But any talks about future deficits that don’t include Medicare are whistling past the graveyard – that is the single biggest driver of long-term deficits, at least on the spending side. And until we bring inflation in the cost of medical care under control that will always be the case.

  169. 169

    […] Balloon Juice.   « Drone Warfare, Soccer Dept. | […]

  170. 170
    Nemesis says:

    LO’D declares Obama a brilliant negotiator. Wish I had two brains so I could better understand how Galatic Overlord Obama operates.

    Guess we can all sleep well tonight now that the fake, gop-induced, default “crisis” has passed.

    Oh, wait…

    The crisis will be averted at the very last minite by a short term deal OR by putting the bill to congress with seconds remaining on the default clock. What? Read the legislation? No time for that during a crisis. On to the next created crisis!

  171. 171
    Monkey Business says:

    I see this whole mess playing out one of three ways.

    Option #1) Boehner realizes that he can’t pass a pure GOP version of a debt ceiling compromise, because his caucus has gone fucking nuts. He, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, and the President sit down in a room together and hammer out a two year, $3-4 trillion-ish debt reduction package with cuts and revenues. The Teatard base goes fucking nuts, but it passes the House and Senate in time. If this does not happen in the next week, move to Option #2.

    Option #2) Having exhausted enough time for a comprehensive debt reduction package, the clean bill goes to the House and Senate and is passed by Democrats, with token GOP support. Obama signs it into law, and the GOP beats the Dems over the head with it in 2012. If this does not happen in the next two weeks, proceed with Option #3.

    Option #3) With one week remaining until default, Timothy Geithner begins daily press conferences on what programs are going to be shut down or cut. The Congressional Switchboard is overloaded by seniors freaking out about losing Social Security and Medicare. Congress is paralyzed. With hours remaining until the debt ceiling is hit, President Obama has a primetime press conference in which he is invoking the 14th Amendment and unilaterally removing the debt ceiling so that the United States may meet it’s obligations. He explains he is doing this because Congress has been unable to reach a deal, either on a comprehensive debt reduction package or on a clean bill, and to prevent the United States from defaulting for the first time in history, he is acting without Congressional approval or support. He explains that this was the only way to prevent default, that all other options had been exhausted, and that not doing this would have plunged the planet into a worldwide economic depression, causing untold pain and misery not just for Americans, but for people around the world. He explains that the Executive Order he has signed authorizing this action expires in January 2013, at which time Congress and the White House will decide on how to proceed.

    So, let’s see what happens.

  172. 172
    kay says:

    Norwonk –
    @kay:
    Bruce S. has pretty much made my case. But I’d like to address the notion that I state it in a way where I could never be proven wrong. You want testable hypotheses? Here goes:

    How are those “testable hypotheses?” They’re all vague rhetorical maneuvers.

    I’m willing to give you “because he didn’t say THIS, THAT didn’t happen” (which I think is generous of me) but we’re not going to pretend that’s in any way “testable”.

    I’ll just take your word for it, how about? Had he followed your script, he’d be in a very different place, most likely, you honestly believe.

  173. 173
    Matthew says:

    I really wish this blog came with an ignore button so that I could simply avoid having to read ABL’s pathetic cheerleading. There’s nothing angry about you, at least insofar as it relates to your boyfriend / crush / President. Maybe being the least coherent and most ideologically simplistic contributor to this blog makes you angry, but the solution to that is to spare the world your rah-rah-Obama routines.

  174. 174
    Tone In DC says:

    Matthew – July 12, 2011 | 1:55 pm · Link

    I really wish this blog came with an ignore button so that I could simply avoid having to read ABL’s pathetic cheerleading. There’s nothing angry about you, at least insofar as it relates to your boyfriend / crush / President. Maybe being the least coherent and most ideologically simplistic contributor to this blog makes you angry, but the solution to that is to spare the world your rah-rah-Obama routines.
    _____________________________________________________
    I can only imagine someone is making Matt read ABL’s posts, since there is no “ignore” button at B-J. Obviously, an armed Obot came to this guy’s house, and made him read and comment on ABL.
    If you’re so outraged, Matt, comment about the B-J dogs or Tunch. Or maybe just…
    SCROLL PAST.

  175. 175
    Bruce S says:

    overeducated – “All the while you keyboard commando from your basement bunker about how Obama, the Muslim-sounding named black dude who is president of the United States…”

    Your words, asshole. Now kindly go fuck yourself. You’re worthless as a commenter.

  176. 176
    Bruce S says:

    overeducated – “I didn’t accuse you of racism…”

    overeducated – “All the while you keyboard commando from your basement bunker about how Obama, the Muslim-sounding named black dude who is president of the United States…”

    Your words, asshole. Now kindly go fuck yourself. You’re worthless as a commenter. I think it’s become apparent where the hysterical “emo” is coming from in this alleged discussion.

  177. 177
    overeducated says:

    Your words, asshole. Now kindly go fuck yourself. You’re worthless as a commenter. I think it’s become apparent where the hysterical “emo” is coming from in this alleged discussion.

    Wow, reading comprehension seems to be one of the many things you fail at. I love how you left out the last part of the sentence which was the point of the antecedent clause.

    Let’s review the whole sentence, shall we?

    “All the while you keyboard commando from your basement bunker about how Obama, the Muslim-sounding named black dude who is president of the United States, doesn’t understand how to play politics and promote a progressive agenda.”

    The point of that sentence was to show that despite the handicaps of being a black man with a muslim sounding name he is still President of the United States, ergo he knows very well how to play politics and support a progressive agenda. Not to call you a racist.

    Obviously the question of whether you are a paranoid, delusional retard is still up for debate.

    u mad bro?

  178. 178
    Lawnguylander says:

    He definitely did not accuse you of racism. Here’s what he said:

    Yes, I am ridiculing your argument, because it is premised on the idea that we are being sold down the river when empirically, Obama has done more for the progressive cause than any President in the last 50 years. All the while you keyboard commando from your basement bunker about how Obama, the Muslim-sounding named black dude who is president of the United States, doesn’t understand how to play politics and promote a progressive agenda.

    He’s piggy backing on what goblue72 up there said and pointing out that a black guy with a Muslim-sounding name who managed to get himself elected president might understand more about politics than you do. It’s pretty clear to me. Understand?

    ETA: Oops, overeducated did not need my help so I’ll just add that, yes, it’s clear who’s being hysterically emo here. Do you get accused of racism so often that you’re on a hair trigger against such charges?

  179. 179
    Betsy says:

    @ Triassic Sands: If “history is any guide,” Obama will punk the GOP yet again. If “history is any guide,” he’ll get massive long-term cost containment and policy advantage that will be very hard to undo. If “history is any guide,” this will happen despite Tea Party ravings and intransigence. Also, if “history is any guide,” he’ll be pilloried by the right (and the left) no matter what he says.

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