That Whole Respectful Disagreement Thing

Digby is dead right when she raises all kinds of alarm bells about the Dems’ number 2 guy in the House, Steny Hoyer, talking to Our Centrist Third Way Betters about deficit reduction legislation.

In a speech hosted Monday morning by Third Way, Hoyer revealed that he and other lawmakers are looking for the right moment to introduce a bill that would achieve the sorts of deficit reduction goals that have eluded Congress and the White House thus far.

“Members of both parties, and on both sides of the Capitol, are working to ensure that the next time we find ourselves at an impasse — which could be sooner, rather than later — we will be ready, with a legislative package in hand to address our debt and deficit in a comprehensive, long-term way,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer declined to discuss the specifics of this bill, but suggested it would deal with spending and tax policies of all kinds. He and his colleagues face one key problem: there’s a lot of white space on the legislative calendar this year, and that means they’ll have a hard time leveraging unwilling members into action.

If, however, he can get members of both parties to vote in significant numbers for this bill — including broad Republican support for higher taxes — it would have significant implications for both Congressional elections, and the ultimate policy direction the government takes when it ultimately does lock in a deficit reduction plan.

Yeah, I trust Steny Hoyer about as far as he can throw me.  He serves a useful purpose as long as Nancy Pelosi is the one calling the shots, but if Hoyer had his druthers, we’d be up to our necks in Blue Dog crap with no pooper scooper in sight.   My issue is with Digby’s characterization at the end:

I’m beginning to think we should elect the most crazed Tea Partiers we can find and encourage them to hold fast and never pass any bill that President Obama might sign. With Democrats like Hoyer around, it’s probably our only hope.

Ironically if that’s Colbertian satire, it’s not funny, because that’s basically what 2010 proved when voters did exactly that in the House and in state legislatures across the country in a redistricting year (hindsight and all.)  If she’s being truthful, it’s even less funny and for the same reason.  Yeah, we need better Democrats than Hoyer, and the bar for that is “breathing and recognizes President Obama as the leader of the party and will not piss on him repeatedly in public” and all, but c’mon.

First of all, there’s no way Hoyer’s deficit reduction foolishness means he’s going to get anything done that the President can sign as bi-partisan anything during an election year.  Republicans aren’t serious about deficit reduction at all (see the payroll tax cut) and if anything, they want to increase the deficit in order to push up a debt ceiling fight from 2013 to as close to October as they can (again, see the payroll tax cut).

Secondly, giving the President something the centrists will get tingles over in an election year is not something the GOP is going to allow, period.

And finally, the irony this is that “electing the most crazed Tea Partiers we can find” is how we got into this entire mess we’re in right now.  No matter what President Obama signs, it has to go through Congress and the Sausage-Making Process(tm) first.  The key there is getting more and better Dems.

I know, I’m reading way too much into this, but it’s not like the stakes aren’t Mt. Everest high.  So far, the joke’s been on us for the last fifteen months, or do we really think that having birth control, affirmative action, and separation of church and state reviewed is a good idea or something?  Maybe there’s more pressing issues than what Steny Hoyer might “give away at the table” right now, people.  Just an observation.

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165 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I have never liked this guy.

    The solution to the deficit is really quite simple:

    Stop pissing away money on wars.

    Tax the living shit out of the 1%. If they complain in the slightest, time for tumbrel rides.

    Very, very simple.

  2. 2
    taylormattd says:

    I know, I’m reading way too much into this

    That’s what Hullabaloo should change its name to.

  3. 3
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    God, I fucking hate Steny Hoyer. I hate him so damn much. It’s like he lives to completely undermine the party from a leadership position.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    You’re right – the Republicans want the deficit to INcrease, not DEcrease.
    All the better to f*ck the poor, sick, old, black, brown, and young, with.

    Steny’s got about as much of a chance of passing anything even remotely not draconian to the above-mentioned groups, as he has of looking out of his office window, and finding a leprechaun leading a unicorn to his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  5. 5
    Hawes says:

    It’s astounding to me how the Manic Progressives tend to take every utterance they disagree with at face value. Steny Hoyer said some shit about a plan? Who cares? I’m sure it will suck. I’m just as sure it won’t pass whoever wins control of the House in November.

    Every time we get a “Catfood Commission” or whatever, they issue a “plan” that is immediately shelved and only referenced by the courtier class in DC. No one cares.

  6. 6
    hildebrand says:

    including broad Republican support for higher taxes

    And this is why nobody needs to take any of this seriously – at all.

    Get all worked up into a frenzy of concern when we actually live in a world where Republicans would consider raising taxes.

  7. 7
    c u n d gulag says:

    Oh, and I call them “Red Dog Democrats” – ’cause there ain’t nothin’ blue ’bout ’em!

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    including broad Republican support for higher taxes

    Also equally likely to happen — Newt endorses Obama, the Cubs win 90 games this season, and Cole gets laid in the next 30 days.

    That may be the stupidest, most inane premise I’ve ever seen offered in a political article.

  9. 9
    Hawes says:

    Steny Hoyer is Nancy Pelosi’s Beard. It allows blue dogs to say they have a guy in leadership. Hoyer is their cover story.

    Ultimately the Speaker calls the shots unless it’s Boehner.

    Everyone remembers the “more and better Democrats”, but more is more important than better. GOP control of the House sucks. I’d rather have compromised, half-assed progressive legislation than the crap billowing from the current House.

  10. 10
    taylormattd says:

    @Hawes: No shit. Honestly, they are obsessed with Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emmaneul. OBSESSED.

  11. 11
    Tractarian says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t worry too much about a major bi-partisan deficit reduction act getting passed this year.

    Problem is, Hoyer was really vague about the proposal. No specifics at all, except for higher taxes and spending cuts. Obviously, if “higher taxes” is in the final bill, you can say goodbye to “bi-partisan.” But there is a possibility that Hoyer, blue dog that he is, will squeeze out a bill with 100% spending cuts, 0% tax hikes. I am confident that the President would veto such a bill, however.

    Fortunately, while increasing taxes and slashing spending right now would certainly harm the recovery (and thereby exacerbate the deficit problem), merely talking about those actions shouldn’t be too damaging. So let Hoyer pander to the Village idiots, if he must.

  12. 12

    C’mon people. Those contradictions don’t heighten themselves.

  13. 13
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    The reality is that Pelosi is in charge and Hoyer isn’t. Most of his blue dog buds are gone, which does not bode well for him becoming leader anytime soon. And you are correct, he serves a political purpose, and that is to counter, at least in hot air what the House wingnuts are proposing for a Jobs Act, or more like Larding Up the Plutocrats Act by Deregulating Everything. None of it will become law, and imo, should only be viewed that way, mostly for the benefit of sweet talking the true swing voters, who again will likely decide the election. It’s all theater from here on out to the election. If you’re a purist, make no compromise progressive, you might want to treat a Valium deficiency. There will be lots of impure stuff said by Obama and the democrats. The swelling will go down at some point though and you’ll feel better when we’ve won.

    And Digby has gone so far off the rails, her ravings do not even warrant a response. Obama Derangement Syndrome. Tertiary Stage.

  14. 14
    taylormattd says:

    @hildebrand: Don’t worry, now that Digby is wringing her hands, we will have people at Daily Kos, Talk Left, and FDL reposting her deep concern.

  15. 15
    Comrade Dread says:

    If, however, he can get members of both parties to vote in significant numbers for this bill — including broad Republican support for higher taxes

    And if I could poop gold, I’d never have to worry about money again.

    I think my fantasy is more likely to happen.

  16. 16
    gbear says:

    I’m beginning to think we should elect the most crazed Tea Partiers we can find and encourage them to hold fast and never pass any bill that President Obama might sign. With Democrats like Hoyer around, it’s probably our only hope.

    The way things have been going for the last two years, that’s a stupid (or clueless) thing to say no matter how she meant it.

  17. 17
    Tractarian says:

    @gbear:

    that’s a stupid (or clueless) thing to say no matter how she meant it.

    Agreed. There is no functional difference between (1) a Tea Partier voting GOP to block the President’s crazy left wing policies, and (2) a disgruntled liberal voting GOP to block the President’s crazy centrist policies.

    Digby’s comment is basically like saying “I’m beginning to think I’m actually a Republican.” So if it was a joke, it’s not funny. If it’s serious, well, that tells us all we need to know about her.

  18. 18
    amk says:

    typical emoprog reaction, colbertian joking or not.

  19. 19
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @taylormattd:

    Digby wants Obama to lose to prove she was right and that we should have elected Hillary Clinton instead.

    I’ve read Hullabaloo since it began and Digby Downer”s act has dulled my interest in the blog. I have it in the same category that I have Andrew Sullivan…I only read them when I’m so bored that I’ll read anything. Both Digby and Sullivan are very bright, but are prone to profound moments of pissiness.

  20. 20
    Poopyman says:

    The trouble is that down here in Hoyer’s district three counties went for McCain in 2008 and are likely to go for not-Obama in 2012. He gets elected mostly on the half of his district closer in to DC. So his election strategy is to not piss off the independents and stay Democratic enough to keep Dems voting for him. He lives in mortal fear of a popular Republican rising up to challenge him.

    All of this just to say that Steny will always be Steny, and there’s not much hope of a bluer Democrat winning MD-5.

    And yes, Nancy is still the leader.

  21. 21
    Walker says:

    And this, sadly, is why Digby is no longer relevant.

  22. 22
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Tractarian:

    Problem is, Hoyer was really vague about the proposal. No specifics at all, except for higher taxes and spending cuts. Obviously, if “higher taxes” is in the final bill, you can say goodbye to “bi-partisan.” But there is a possibility that the Hoyer, blue dog that he is, will squeeze out a bill with 100% spending cuts, 0% tax hikes. I am confident that the President would veto such a bill, however.

    The fact that he is vague means he has nothing that wouldn’t be laughed at. Republicans will not cut defense. Republicans will not raise taxes. Democrats, especially Senate Democrats, are very unlikely to cut defense spending. It does not make sense to have discussions.

    Hoyer’s secret plan (it will be called a “path”) to close the budget deficit (by the year 2112) will not see the light of day.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    So in other words, David Brooks made more sense today than Digby.

    Sad.

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:

    Since Steny Hoyer was one of the “geniuses” who decided that the Democrats shouldn’t pass a budget for 2010 in case voters got mad at them about it, I don’t think any Democrat should listen to him about jack shit right now.

    But, yeah, it’s a little scary that Digby is looking at Walker dissolving public unions in Wisconsin and McDonnell championing vaginal probes in Virginia and thinking, “You know, we need MORE of that!”

  25. 25
    srv says:

    BURN THE WITCH!

  26. 26
    hamletta says:

    @Mnemosyne: Which is why I don’t read Digby anymore.

  27. 27
    Kiril says:

    Jesus, people. It’s hyperbole. She wrote two sentences in the post. The other one is “Apparently Steny Hoyer is determined to slash the safety net before there’s even the slightest chance that a few sane Democrats might be elected next fall.” Not exactly a firebagger rant. She, more than a lot of people, is working to elect more and better Democrats, and she gets frustrated at having Hoyer pull the rug out whenever he’s feeling Broderian. Many bloggers and commenters have expressed some version of this sentiment over the past decade, and no one really means it. Get upset if you want to, but don’t pretend this is anything more than wanting to be upset about something.

  28. 28
    ruemara says:

    What. The. Fuck. I’m sure she means something to someone else, but this kind of bullshit is why there’s a term called “Professional Left”. If she was ever relevant, she sure isn’t now.

    @Kiril:
    You know, the only problem with your view is that it was expressed fully in 2010. Guess what? It wasn’t successful at pushing everyone into leftist paradise.

  29. 29
    Brachiator says:

    Digby, unfortunately, is not quite right. Consider:

    The push is intended to disrupt the consensus among most political leaders that Congress will punt budget consolidation efforts until after November — when the election returns are in, and the January 1, 2013 expiry of the Bush tax cuts and deep across-the-board spending cuts make real action inevitable.

    Uh, no. Along with the budget and budget deficit fight, there are a boatload of tax provisions scheduled to expire December 31. These include biggies such as expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Credit, the Adoption Credit, the American Opportunity Credit, the Mortgage Relief Act, increased standard deduction for married filers, the heart of middle class relief. (see references to the Joint Committee on Taxation doc JCX-1-12).

    And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of business related provisions.

    None of this can be put off until January. The president and the Democrats will have a huge fight on their hands. And they will have to compromise big time to get any of this through. Look for Repubicans to try to strip the Child Tax Credit from tax returns filed by people with ITINS (undocumented workers) just for starters.

    Defict battles and spending cuts are just part of a much bigger tax policy showdown.

  30. 30
    jibeaux says:

    including broad Republican support for higher taxes

    Yes, I think this has previously been pointed out, but I don’t feel that I’m being hopelessly naive when I say that’s extraordinarily unlikely. As in free taxpayer-funded gay abortion unlikely.

  31. 31
    NR says:

    I love how you guys are conveniently ignoring the fact that the only reason that Obama’s offer to cut Social Security and Medicare by $650 billion didn’t become law was because the crazed Tea Partiers wouldn’t accept it. That’s what Digby was talking about.

  32. 32
    Dave says:

    Jesus tits, people. Digby is not suggesting that’s something she’d like to see. It’s frustration– an acknowledgement that sometimes it’s easier to tear an old structure down than to keep trying to repair it with spit and bailing wire.

    Stupid tea-party republicans will continue to vote for stupid tea-party ideas and politicians right up until the point when it hurts them personally. Your idiot uncle on Medicare who screeches about the deficit and entitlement programs will not STFU until it’s taken away from HIM.

  33. 33
    Kiril says:

    @ruemara: I don’t understand what what you’re saying. What view? Don’t freak out at the drop of a hat?

  34. 34
    andrewsomething says:

    if that’s Colbertian satire, it’s not funny

    I think the way to read it is more along the lines of depressive sarcasm.

  35. 35
    Satanicpanic says:

    A friend of mine has an aunt who is really nice but super negative and will talk your ear off if you get cornered by her at family events. Digby is starting to remind me of that lady.

  36. 36
    some guy says:

    take your heads out of the sand, Hoyer is pushing Simpson-Bowles, and pushing it hard.

    “There is ongoing work…to put concrete proposals to paper in legislative form, so that as I said there will be an opportunity to offer those proposals,” Hoyer said. “Obviously you want to create a large consensus for that before you offer it so that its defeat is, if defeated, temporary only and not undermining of what the objective is, and that is getting a big, bold, balanced plan adopted.”

    this motherfucker wants to put Deficit Reduction back on the table, before the election. Catapult GOP frames much, Steny? this is why “more and better Democrats” allows corporate toadies to take such a prominent place in the party. Better Dems should be the emphasis, not More Dems.

    “Simply walking away from sequestration would be waving the white flag in the face of [the Congressional Budget Office’s] projection of a dismal fiscal future. However, sequestration remains an irrational response. It was the blunt instrument established to force both sides to the table and keep them there.

    Let the tac cuts expire, let the sequestration occur and the deficit goes away. But that’s not the world Steny and his 3rd Way backers want, they want to protect the intersts of the lobbyists who put money in their pockets. Steny doesn’t want tax hikes on the rich, he wants tax hikes for all of us. he wants to gut medicare and Social Security, and he wants to accomplish this (or at least try) this fucking spring.

    asshole. and you are all whistling past the graveyard if you think this ploy won’t suck up the oxygen this spring. which is exactly what it is designed to do.

  37. 37
    Marc says:

    @Poopyman: Yeah, I live in MD-5 and this is complete nonsense. Our district is 30% black, 75% urban, and the Democratic voters in PG and Charles counties outnumber all the rest. Hoyer hasn’t gotten less than 60% of the vote since the 1990s. He has a safe Dem seat and he’d be a perfect target for a primary challenge if he weren’t so well entrenched in the state and national party machines.

    But we could do a hell of a lot better.

  38. 38
    some guy says:

    @NR:

    ding ding ding, we have a winner!

  39. 39
    "Fair and Balanced" Dave says:

    One thing I’ll say for the Rethugs in the House, when they pick their House Whip, they generally go for a partisan junkyard dog. Does anyone really believe Dick Cheney, Newt, or Tom De Lay would have wimped out the way Steny continuously does?

  40. 40
    ladies auxiliary fuckhead (f/k/a eemom) says:

    Oh, fuck Digby. Nobody gives a shit what she says.

  41. 41
    Keith G says:

    Before hair gets set ablaze, is there a tangible outline to Hoyer’s ideas? Maybe waiting for a target before shooting would be a neat idea.

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I wish your ideas could work, but they do not conform to reality. Sorry.

  42. 42
    Culture of Truth says:

    but the cat food!!!!!

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dave:

    Digby is not suggesting that’s something she’d like to see.

    But that’s our point — Digby doesn’t seem to realize that her sarcastic “oh, why not just let the Republicans do what they want?” world is already here. She seems to be writing from an alternate universe where we haven’t spent the past two years trying to beat back the flood of horrendous legislation being spewed from Republicans in every state.

    She sounds like she’s writing in mid-2009, not the beginning of 2012. Frankly, she sounds out of touch with what’s actually going on right now.

  44. 44
    some guy says:

    the funniest part of Hoyer’s speech to 3rd way was his claim that deficit reduction (with “deep cuts to discretionary spending”)is actually a stimulative measure.

    Austerity=Stimulus, in Hoyer’s mind. if you need more proof than Steny fervid imagination you just need to look how well it’s working out in the EuroZone right now.

    feh!

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    I love how you guys are conveniently ignoring the fact that the only reason that Obama’s offer to cut Social Security and Medicare by $650 billion didn’t become law was because the crazed Tea Partiers wouldn’t accept it.

    Yes, I realize you guys are convinced that the offer was made in all sincerity and not with the full realization that the crazed Tea Partiers would never accept it. This is why none of us listen to you about strategy — you don’t even seem to understand basics like how to back your opponent into a corner by over-agreeing with him.

  46. 46
    Veritas says:

    so from what I hear Romney’s lead in absentee and early voting in Michigan makes it impossible for Santorum to overtake Romney tonight given that the polls are currently 50/50. Romney’s massive edge in early voting combined with the Super PAC offensive is going to bear some sweet fruits tonight, together with his win in Arizona it’s going to be a bad night for Lil’ Ricky.

  47. 47
    Chyron HR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But it doesn’t matter what Obama says does, the only thing that matters is what he does says.

  48. 48
    Chyron HR says:

    @Veritas:

    So from what I hear, Romney believes that when he dies he’ll be reincarnated as the magic space god of an alien planet. Do you think that’s why he’s barely bothering to run for the mere office of President of one little country?

  49. 49
    Veritas says:

    @Chyron HR:

    More hateful religious bigotry from the left. Keep it up.

  50. 50
    Quincy says:

    I think Digby may be correct in acknowledging that tea party obstruction saved us from some odious entitlement compromises by Dems last year. Where she goes wrong is in speculating (even unseriously and out of frustration) that this provides any kind of strategy for preserving important government programs going forward. It was a fluke benefit that doesn’t make up for the numerous other awful consequences tea party politics have had these past 14 months, especially below the federal level. The only way to permanently preserve government programs is to demonstrate that campaigning to cut government programs loses elections.

  51. 51
    Linnaeus says:

    Digby’s engaging in a bit of gallowsesque political humor. It’s fine if folks don’t like it, but that’s all it is.

  52. 52
    pragmatism says:

    i thought Baghdad Bob’s career was over when he was ousted as the Iraqi Information Minster, but here he is, rebranded as veritas.

  53. 53
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This is why none of us listen to you about strategy—you don’t even seem to understand basics like how to back your opponent into a corner by over-agreeing with him.

    That, or, you know, you could disagree with them in the first place. One has the advantage of being popular — not cutting essential and very popular programs — the other runs the risk of, you know, cutting $650 million dollars from them because of your stated agreement.

    11 dimensional chess is alive and well in the cult!

  54. 54
    Zifnab says:

    Am I the only person here who doesn’t really think this is so terrible? (A) The proposal has tax increases. Does anyone here believe Republicans will vote for a tax increase this electoral cycle? Anybody? Bueller? (B) What magic juju does Steny Hoyer have that’ll bring Democrats and Republicans to the table when Republicans have a vested interest in obstruction for re-election purposes? Assuming they go with the ’10 playbook (and I can’t see why they wouldn’t – it’s the only play they’ve got that they think might work) it’ll be vilify, vilify, vilify the Dems and play hard to the base. Does that sound like the kind of political style that engenders compromise? Do you think Eric Cantor is going to sign on to a Hoyer compromise? :-p

    This is classic DC kabuki. Hoyer makes a bunch of noise about how everyone is coming to the table. Republicans join in and dance around pretending like they are all a bunch of rational people. Then both sides hit a hot-button issue, the compromise collapses, we descend into screaming fits and name-calling. And everyone remembers why Congress has a single-digit approval rating.

    Hoyer’s doing his job. He’s trying to turn the shits into Congress into a digestible shit sandwich. I’m not going to fault him for that. But I’m not going to put much faith in anyone eating said sandwich.

  55. 55
    Veritas says:

    @Jay B.:

    11 dimensional chess is alive and well in the cult!

    Indeed. The liberal lemmings are following Dear Leader right off the cliff of their own political annihilation.

  56. 56
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: If that was the strategy, it was a fucking stupid one. In politics, agreeing with your opponent sends the message that their positions are good. By agreeing with batshit crazy Republican ideas, Obama makes them more mainstream.

    Seriously, when was the last time the Republicans defeated a Democratic initiative by publicly agreeing with it? This idea is beyond ridiculous.

  57. 57
    NR says:

    @Jay B.: Yes. This, exactly.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    That, or, you know, you could disagree with them in the first place.

    Yes, the negotiating by refusing to negotiate strategy! Brilliant! I’m sure that refusing to negotiate would totally have made the Republicans back down and give Obama everything he wanted, because that’s how negotiation works. You walk into a car dealership, you say, “I’ll give you $1 for that car,” and they give it to you, because that’s negotiation!

    One has the advantage of being popular—not cutting essential and very popular programs—the other runs the risk of, you know, cutting $650 million dollars from them because of your stated agreement.

    I think the only person on the planet who actually thought the Tea Partiers would take the deal is you.

    11 dimensional chess is alive and well in the cult!

    Ah, basic negotiation is now “11 dimensional chess.” No wonder you guys are confused and frightened by every public statement made by Democrats.

  59. 59
    amk says:

    @Jay B.: yeah, emoprogs are so adept at this chess thingy that they managed to get a buncha teabaggers elected in 2010 and are advocating the same moves now. That’s the ticket to win your nth dimensional chess.

    Fucking clueless maroons.

  60. 60
    Martin says:

    @Keith G:

    Before hair gets set ablaze, is there a tangible outline to Hoyer’s ideas? Maybe waiting for a target before shooting would be a neat idea.

    Why would we do that? We’ve got outrage that needs expressing.

    Hoyer’s just giving Dems something to campaign on. This won’t go anywhere because the tea party freshmen won’t vote for it, and everyone knows it.

  61. 61
    Culture of Truth says:

    yep Tea Party sure is mainstream now

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    In politics, agreeing with your opponent sends the message that their positions are good. By agreeing with batshit crazy Republican ideas, Obama makes them more mainstream.

    Sorry, that horse left the barn in 1993 when Clinton started “triangulating” and adopting Republican positions. I know you guys love to pretend that Clinton was the master negotiator who got everything he wanted from Republicans, but what Clinton wanted from Republicans was welfare “reform” and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

  63. 63
    amk says:

    @Mnemosyne: and fucking DADT.

  64. 64
    Schlemizel says:

    I wish I lived in the same world as some of you guys. Never get frustrated, never get upset with our side no matter what they say or do. That must be very pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable. The world I live in (and I am going to guess its not unlike the one Digby inhabits) causes me to sometimes get so frustrated at the malice and malfeasance of some of the people on our side that I just want to throw up my hands and say “fuck you all, let the devil take the hind most”. That happens particularly after a long stretch of putting myself out trying to help good things happen. It can last for a few days then I get over it & its time to move on.

    Its amazing how quickly some of you can cast someone who has worked as long and hard as Digby has out of your tribe. It going to get awfully lonely in there what with your standards so high. everybody, Digby included, chill out a bit.

  65. 65
    Tyro says:

    Digby wants Obama to lose to prove she was right and that we should have elected Hillary Clinton instead.

    Basically this. In 2003, digby was an absolute must-read. By 2008, she was in constant irritation mode over the fact that America was drawn to a charismatic politician rather than someone merely charmingly wonkish. I think her problem is that she can’t really see outside herself and has a problem understanding that politicians are trying to appeal to voters who are not her. And I say this as someone who tends to agree with her regarding Obama’s personal/political weaknesses.

  66. 66
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Are you STILL pretending you don’t know the difference between cuts to the provider side and cuts to end-user benefits? Or remember that we all used to say that Social Security wasn’t a problem, Medicare was, so we should deal with that first… But once anyone tries to do something with Medicare it inevitably unleashes a death-panel-style dystopian hellscape?

    There is, in fact, a progressive case for deficit reduction that moves slowly and deliberately and wonkishly and avoids “austerity.” Mike Capuano, liberal alternative to the ill-fated Martha Coakley in the MA Dem Senate primary, is one politician who has been articulate about it. It’s not my policy priority, honestly, but I think it’s madness to take a Norquistian view of all potential “cuts,” including those that “bend the cost curve” for health care spending.

  67. 67
    Linnaeus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Sorry, that horse left the barn in 1993 when Clinton started “triangulating” and adopting Republican positions. I know you guys love to pretend that Clinton was the master negotiator who got everything he wanted from Republicans, but what Clinton wanted from Republicans was welfare “reform” and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

    Even earlier, I’d say. The Democratic Party has spent years moving in its current direction and it will take years of hard work to reverse that.

  68. 68
    Schlemizel says:

    @Veritas:
    Is that like “you can take that check to the bank” that you promised us about Colorado?

    That whistling sound from your ass is your brains leaking out

  69. 69
    gwangung says:

    @Jay B.: Um. I think we’re talking Politics 101, which seems to be beyond the grasp of too many people on the internets….

  70. 70
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Also, despite the incessant bellyaching about clueless Obama’s clueless compromises and wicked betrayals, there just may be a reason why the public’s affection for and approval of Obama runs well beyond what the economic conditions would dictate — and all the olive branches and reasonableness that aggravate True Blogosphere Scotsmen have at least a little to do with that. If the public liked stubbornness and recalcitrance, they’d have gravitated towards Congressional Republicans by now, no? That’s what they do, yes?

  71. 71
    Jay B. says:

    @amk:

    Blahblahblah. Having been alive and voting in 2010, it seems that Obama was in basic agreement with the tea party over their larger goals of deficit reduction and entitlement reform and THAT, not “emobagging” may have had slightly more to do with why independents left the Democrats in droves and not your “stabbed in the back theory” of intraparty politics. Liberals voted for Democrats in 2010. Independents didn’t. That’s an actual fact and not your paranoid fantasy life.

  72. 72
    Brachiator says:

    @Zifnab:

    Am I the only person here who doesn’t really think this is so terrible? (A) The proposal has tax increases. Does anyone here believe Republicans will vote for a tax increase this electoral cycle?

    Not really the point. The sticking ground will be tax credits, which the Democrats will want desperately to preserve since their elimination would mean a de facto tax increase on the middle class.

    Compromises will be made.

    In an ideal world, the Democrats would retake the House. This would give them clout to back up any budget deal that takes place before the end of the year. But it’s not an ideal world.

  73. 73
    Jay B. says:

    Brilliant! I’m sure that refusing to negotiate would totally have made the Republicans back down and give Obama everything he wanted, because that’s how negotiation works. You walk into a car dealership, you say, “I’ll give you $1 for that car,” and they give it to you, because that’s negotiation!

    Yeah, except in this case, the Democrats offered $650 million over sticker price and the other side wanted more. That’s not a negotiation, it’s abject stupidity and not really that complicated. THERE WAS NO NEED TO NEGOTIATE. Pretty simple.

    But yes, i’m living in a fantasy world where Social Security and Medicare are incredibly popular programs and the former is easily sustainable with minor adjustments while the latter vitally important and needs to be a priority. Silly me.

  74. 74
    LAC says:

    @gbear: Amen.

    Fucking emprog is why we are were we are now. I am pretty fucking tired of hearing from a twat like Digby offering another one of her patented “we will just sit on our hands and pout and that will show ’em” electoral strategies. Not this time. Voting and volunteering, that is what is going on this year.

    And veritas, there are waste products coming out of clinically brain dead people in hospitals that are more useful than your sad deluded commentary. Maybe Mitt can hire you to comb his hair. It shouldn’t be too challenging.

  75. 75
    amk says:

    @Jay B.: so you admit your type is politically impotent to elect all those ‘progressives’ you so crave for ? fuck, you couldn’t even save your idols like grayson, saint russ.

    As I said, fucking clueless maroons.

  76. 76
    runt says:

    Sarcasm – how does it work?

  77. 77
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay B.:

    THERE WAS NO NEED TO NEGOTIATE.

    Ya know, putting it in all caps doesn’t make it so.

  78. 78
    Tractarian says:

    @Jay B.:

    Having been alive and voting in 2010, it seems that Obama was in basic agreement with the tea party over their larger goals of deficit reduction and entitlement reform and THAT, not “emobagging” may have had slightly more to do with why independents left the Democrats in droves and not your “stabbed in the back theory” of intraparty politics. Liberals voted for Democrats in 2010. Independents didn’t.

    Huh? Obama was in “basic agreement” with the tea party over deficit reduction and entitlement reform?

    And that’s why independents didn’t vote for Democrats in 2010?

    This theory makes absolutely zero sense. (It does, however, simultaneously distort Obama’s record and absolve the Professional Left/Firebagger community from any fault over 2010, so it has that going for it, I guess).

  79. 79
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.: Yes, Social Security needs minor adjustments. Medicare, all the charts show, needs major adjustments. (For instance, more efficiently managing what procedures are actually effective to patient health, which would result in less money being spent but for better outcomes.)

    Every one of these tweaks will be demagogued as a cut amounting to billions of dollars over x many years. Even the salutary ones, like stopping the scheduling of many versions of the same test, or encouraging patients to be more clear about how aggressively they want to be treated at the end of life.

    And in your attempts to protect the good kind of spending on social welfare that gives vulnerable people better lives, you’re inadvertently abetting that demagogic framing. Don’t, please.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @amk: No, see, those defeats were also Obama’s fault. Dolchstosse and all that.

  81. 81
    geg6 says:

    This is why I quit reading Digby quite a while ago. I have come to the conclusion that, while she seems to have a lot of information about California politics that I would never have read otherwise and about how awful the whole Taser situation has become, she’s not very smart when it comes to national politics and is too wedded to her ideological purity for me to take very seriously. I’ve always known who and what Steny Hoyer is. Apparently, Digby didn’t.

  82. 82
    Jay B. says:

    @amk:

    What are you even talking about? Seriously. You live in a fucking bubble. You idiots jump through hoops to support things that if a Republican supported would make you recoil in horror. So you contort yourselves in really stupid ways to prove that it was the right approach all along. For example “negotiating” with $650 million in cuts in two very popular programs. It was a stupid, stupid move, playing right into the stupid, stupid fake deficit mania that Obama was also espousing in a stupid way. If it was a bluff, what if they said yes? Why negotiate AWAY from a position of strength? Social Security, even if you idiots don’t realize it, is by far and away the most popular program that exists in America. Fucking with it, or even bluffing with it, is really, really, really stupid. There is no upside to it.

    Do you remember what happened after the “bluff”? Republicans ran ads saying that Democrats were looking to cut Social Security and Medicare. And they were truthful (while omitting that they wanted it cut more).

    But since Obama did it, it was all good. Investigating whistleblowers? All good. Losing the 2010 midterms? Liberals fault.

    Bubble.

  83. 83

    @Linnaeus:

    The Democratic Party has spent years moving in its current direction…

    Which years, you might ask? All of them. Since 1936. Remember the Bourbon Democrats? The Blue Dogs weren’t even new when they were new.

    The ‘ordinary, pre-sellout, liberal Democratic-Party-being-the-really-Democratic Party’ lasted for a long weekend sometime right after the ’74 mid-terms.

    It, in other words, was an aberration, and not the norm. Wasn’t, isn’t, ain’t gonna be in the lifetime of this Eisenhower baby anyways.

  84. 84

    @Davis X. Machina: too many hyphens magically becomes overstrike? And no ‘edit’ button?

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    THERE WAS NO NEED TO NEGOTIATE.

    That’s right, I forgot you were one of the people who thought there would be no consequences if the debt ceiling was not raised and the US defaulted on its debt, so there was no need to come to an agreement with the Republicans to raise it.

  86. 86
    taylormattd says:

    @srv: LEAVE DIGBY ALONE!!!

  87. 87
    Jay B. says:

    @Tractarian:

    Huh? Obama was in “basic agreement” with the tea party over deficit reduction and entitlement reform?

    Yes. It’s why he offered them $650 million in cuts. Or are we talking about something else? Steny Hoyer is pretty clearly in basic agreement too.

    And that’s why independents didn’t vote for Democrats in 2010?

    Yes, because why vote for a Republican-lite when you can vote for a real one? That’s been said before, you know. It’s not exactly a stunning insight.

    This theory makes absolutely zero sense. (It does, however, simultaneously distort Obama’s record and absolve the Professional Left/Firebagger community from any fault over 2010, so it has that going for it, I guess)

    No. It’s accurately states Obama’s stated position regarding “belt-tightening, family budget” bullshit. THIS absolves the Left/Firebagger community over any fault over 2010. That you guys are so fucking oblivious to reality DOES NOT preclude the facts.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    Do you remember what happened after the “bluff”? Republicans ran ads saying that Democrats were looking to cut Social Security and Medicare. And they were truthful (while omitting that they wanted it cut more).

    Er, no, they ran those ads about six months before the “bluff” we’re discussing, and the claim was that Obama had “cut” Medicare by implementing ACA.

    Is the problem here that you can’t keep your negotiations straight? The rest of us are talking about the $650 million offer that was on the table during the debt ceiling crisis. You seem to be talking about something else entirely that happened prior to the 2010 midterms but using the numbers from the debt ceiling crisis.

  89. 89
    Linnaeus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Which years, you might ask? All of them. Since 1936. Remember the Bourbon Democrats? The Blue Dogs weren’t even new when they were new.

    Oh, I know there were – and are – longstanding divisions within the Democratic coalition. But even that coalition managed to sustain a reasonably consistent vision that was, I’d argue, a mildly social democratic one. That visibly cracked in the 1970s.

    I’m not arguing for a “pre-sellout” Democratic Party, but I don’t think it’s incorrect to say that the party made a visible shift in ideology about 30 years ago.

  90. 90
    taylormattd says:

    @Mnemosyne: you are forgetting Mnem, all Obama and the democrats have to do is bullypulpitleadership —> WIN!!!

  91. 91
    Tyro says:

    It does, however, simultaneously distort Obama’s record and absolve the Professional Left/Firebagger community from any fault over 2010, so it has that going for it, I guess).

    Neither of those groups were at fault for 2010. If anything, they were one of the few groups (and a small one at that) motivated to vote for the democrats in the mid terms
    It was the party leadership, in congress and the white house, that decided that they didn’t need to bother with any organized political action in the field and figured their midterm strategy would be to keep their heads down, keep quiet, and hope that voters would reward them for an improving economy, or at least that the losses would be moderate enough to ensure they kept ahold of congress.

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.: The moment you make and publicize the plan to shore up Social Security with “minor adjustments,” you will ALSO create the opportunity for strident ads about your billions of dollars in cuts or your billions of dollars of tax hikes. Even the thing you say you’re _for_ is going to play the way you’re criticizing here, as monkeying with a popular social program. You’re not going to be able to say, “no, you don’t understand, these are just Minor Adjustments that infuse billions of dollars into the program to protect it” and be confident that you carry the day. You’re still fucking with it and you’re still going to be hammered with harsh ads.

  93. 93
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s right, I forgot you were one of the people who thought there would be no consequences if the debt ceiling was not raised and the US defaulted on its debt, so there was no need to come to an agreement with the Republicans to raise it.

    Just to prove there is a sucker born every minute. If you don’t think it was all a manufactured crisis created by people who want to cut entitlement programs, then I don’t know what to tell you. The money wouldn’t let it happen. The reason the GOP caved wasn’t Obama, it was the money finally saying “enough”.

    Of course there would be consequences if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised. But there was never a real chance it wouldn’t.

  94. 94

    @Linnaeus: It’s right where it was in the 80’s. For every Mondale in the Senate, a Hollings, for every Drinan in the House, a Larry McDonald.

    Hell, it’s been there my whole life…

  95. 95
    taylormattd says:

    @Schlemizel: the problem with your post is this part, at least with respect to digby and the democrat deranged trolls here:

    sometimes get so frustrated at the malice and malfeasance of some of the people on our side

    If you replace the word “sometimes”, with “each and every single time, forever, no matter what the issue”, well then, yes.

  96. 96
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Tyro: IMHO it was the entirely predictable consequence of running a 2008 strategy that spiked turnout among groups that care more about the President than they do about local Democrats. Those people anomalously turned out for ’08, then went back into the woodwork for ’10, while angry oldsters had their own spike in ’10. I don’t buy any of the explanations that arise from the idea of Democrats disaffected by things Obama did or didn’t do.

  97. 97
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    If you don’t think it was all a manufactured crisis created by people who want to cut entitlement programs, then I don’t know what to tell you. The money wouldn’t let it happen. The reason the GOP caved wasn’t Obama, it was the money finally saying “enough”.

    Ah, yes, Obama dragging out the negotiations while the money boys screamed had absolutely nothing to do with the Republican collapse. Two completely separate and unrelated situations. After all, it’s not like Warren Buffett ever sides with the Democrats about anything, so his support for an increase in the debt ceiling was completely unrelated to anything Obama was doing or saying.

  98. 98
    Marc says:

    @Jay B.:

    We keep on seeing this second-guessing crap from fringe left wingers. After the 2010 election we had this all-deficit-all-the-time discussion. We’re now talking about tax increases on the rich and payroll tax cuts for the middle class. Obama achieved this – despite pissing and moaning by leftists in their isolated online bubble. He got there by demonstrating that the Republican deficit tactics were a fraud, and that they would never agree to a tax hike on their masters. There was no danger that Republicans would ever agree to anything that he proposed.

    If he had dug in his heels and just shouted “no” this point would never have been made to the broader public. Chest-thumping is popular with the online warriors – but people not isolated in fringe online discussion groups really don’t like it.

    There is a reason why Obama is the President. There is a reason why normal people now tune out useless writers like Digby – because their repeated proclamations of doom have been repeatedly wrong, they’ve misjudged the politics, and their judgment is demonstrably poor. And seeing this crap from Digby on a day where the president makes a strong liberal case in a speech tells me that her quarrel is with an imaginary Obama in her head, not what the actual man is actually doing.

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Davis X. Machina: The idea that all liberals are Democrats and all Democrats are liberal has never held up. And that’s the mythos on which all the claims of rightward drift are based. The deficit-hawk, business-friendly DLC style Democrat replaced the populist racist in the coalition.

  100. 100
    Jay B. says:

    We’re now talking about tax increases on the rich and payroll tax cuts for the middle class. Obama achieved this – despite pissing and moaning by leftists in their isolated online bubble.

    Again, a contortion that flies in the face of reality Marc. Obama didn’t lead this conversation — Occupy did. I don’t know how you can possibly say otherwise.

  101. 101

    @Marc: …not what the actual man is actually doing.

    What the actual man is actually doing is not always, but often a.) orthogonal to liberal-conservative politics, and b.) successful because of a.

    No small measure of Obama’s 2008 electoral appeal, especially to independents, and new voters, and especially in contrast to Mrs. Clinton, is that he represented a potential end to the political trench warfare of the two prior presidencies. (Nominating Mrs. Clinton, was often considered, perhaps unfairly, a guarantee that the trench warfare would continue.)

    That Fairey “Hope” poster wasn’t resonating with people consumed by a longing for the Revolution and the withering away of the state, or a return to the Democratic coalition of ‘36, or ‘66, or ‘74, or ‘96, or whatever putative year represents the progressive Eden from which we have been expelled. “Make the awful noise stop!” turns out to have been a helluva platform on which to fight an election. Squishes can, and do, deliver elections.

    What you see, depending on where you stand, is the virtue of Obama’s vices, or the vice of his virtues.

  102. 102
    Marc says:

    @Schlemizel:

    People like Digby don’t treat people like me, or Obama, in good faith. They’re always attacking our motives, making up betrayal fantasies, and insulting anyone who dares to disagree with their drama games.

    If you can’t tell the difference between Rick Santorum and Barak Obama you don’t have the common sense that the Good Lord gave to a housefly. If you can’t tell that electing Republicans today leads to crazy people making crazy laws…see above. And there is just no reason to give platforms and attention to people who are both lacking in judgment and nasty to their supposed allies.

  103. 103
    Marc says:

    @Jay B.:

    Are you really saying that it’s impossible for more than one thing to change a conversation? Or that Obama didn’t take that energy and harness it?

  104. 104
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Dave:

    Jesus tits, people. Digby is not suggesting that’s something she’d like to see. It’s frustration

    Digby has been looking for the dark cloud in every silver lining ever since Hillary Clinton went scrabbling for votes in scared-of-the-brown-guy Appalachia. One can be disappointed with Obama’s desire to accommodate, and his embrace of executive power w/r/t national security, but it’s a bit of a fucking luxury to sit in Santa Monica and talk about the politically possible.

  105. 105
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Marc: Or that people at this point remember Occupy Wall Street any more than they remember that there was an uprising in Egypt? Sorry to say, the great majority of people are not walking around actively reminiscing fondly about these events.

  106. 106
    geg6 says:

    @Marc:

    This. Exactly this.

  107. 107
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: It’d be nice to think that, considering that all Democratic presidents frustrate the self-avowed left, at a certain point there would be a reassessment of the relationship between the Democratic party and the left — i.e., that the left is one part of the coalition but not the dominant segment. But instead there’s only this persistent belief that -the king across the water- the real battling progressive will arise and make everyone realize that they were liberals all along.

  108. 108
    Jay B. says:

    @Marc:

    Obama followed, and that’s a good thing for this country. Which is also why Hoyer’s latest bow to the deficit “issue” is particularly out of place.

    But to answer your first question, yes many things can contribute to “changing the conversation” but in this case, Obama had nothing at all to do with it.

  109. 109
    Linnaeus says:

    @Davis X. Machina: @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s not just a matter of the makeup of the Democratic coalition – I agree with you both that the Democratic Party has long had right and left wings. You can always point out dissenters within a political party.

    I would argue that the DLC types, relative to other factions in the party, gained more influence and that’s had a demonstrable effect on the positions the party has taken, particularly on economic issues. One doesn’t have to argue for a “progressive Eden” (which I also don’t think ever existed) to argue that the party has changed.

  110. 110
    Mike Lamb says:

    @Jay B.: Assuming arguendo that Obama was bluffing with his $650 million offer, you are pissed at his tactics based in part on the “what if they had accepted?” argument, yet you would have no problem calling the “bluff” on the debt ceiling even though the stakes are much higher?

  111. 111
    Auldblackjack says:

    And finally, the irony this is that “electing the most crazed Tea Partiers we can find” is how we got into this entire mess we’re in right now.  No matter what President Obama signs, it has to go through Congress and the Sausage-Making Process™ first.  The key there is getting more and better Dems.

    Not mutually exclusive. In elections where it is not possible to elect a liberal (see Kerrey, Bob) why not work to get an obviously crazy member of the other guy’s party elected who is sure to piss off a significant portion of the electorate? For decades the Republicans have proceeded on

  112. 112
    catclub says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik: I agree Hoyer is no favorite, but he is far better than many: (mostly senators) Manchin, Landrieu, Ben Nelson, far, far better than Lieberman. Far better than most Blue Dogs (I am pretty sure that Hoyer was NOT in the Blue Dog caucus.)

    So, no prize, but by no means the worst.

  113. 113
    Tyro says:

    “Make the awful noise stop!” turns out to have been a helluva platform on which to fight an election. Squishes can, and do, deliver elections.

    This did not work out so well in 2010. Personally, I think Obama did a massive misreading of public sentiment and Republican sentiment and/or began to believe his own BS about being a conciliator. I mean, he couldn’t had known in 2007 that the economy would melt down in late 2008 and that the public would be hungry for some populist recriminations which ended up being harness by republicans and targetted straight at him, but he didn’t change course for a while, thinking he could coast on the virtue of his charming personality.

  114. 114
    pablo says:

    Once I hit the next big Powerball….I’m earmarking $10 mill to set up a PAC to primary that blu dog Stenty Whore-er!!!!!

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tyro:

    Personally, I think Obama did a massive misreading of public sentiment and Republican sentiment and/or began to believe his own BS about being a conciliator.

    Actually, I think his mistake was different: he underestimated just how dysfunctional Congressional Democrats were and went along with their incredibly, incredibly stupid and harmful decision to not do a budget while they were still in power. There would not have been either a Bush tax cuts crisis or a debt ceiling crisis if Congressional Democrats had not been running scared from their own record and decided to try and lay low during the 2010 midterms.

    If the Democrats do somehow manage to take back the House and retain the Senate this year, I hope he’ll be willing to take a much harder line with his own party and not let them run roughshod over him like that again.

  116. 116
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Sorry, that horse left the barn in 1993 when Clinton started “triangulating” and adopting Republican positions. I know you guys love to pretend that Clinton was the master negotiator who got everything he wanted from Republicans, but what Clinton wanted from Republicans was welfare “reform” and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

    So your defense for Obama offering the Republicans $650 billion in Social Security and Medicare cuts is “Clinton triangulated too?”

    Weaksauce.

  117. 117

    @amk: How well did all those Blue Dogs that got slaughtered in 2010 work out?

  118. 118
    NR says:

    @taylormattd: Yeah, when Democrats offer to gut beloved Democratic programs that are both extremely popular and effective at achieving their goals, we get upset. How dare we! Why can’t we all be drones, blindly accepting what our Party leaders tell us? The world would be so much simpler if we were all like you.

  119. 119
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    Jay B

    Obama followed, and that’s a good thing for this country

    Ha ha ha. Of course he did. NOT. Obama gave his Joint Congress Speech on econ inequality a week or so before the first Occupy event. But it’s mighty white of you giving credit for Obama ‘following’. Give it up dude, you and the others flogging the same dead horse for the past three years have been found out.

  120. 120
    NR says:

    @Mike Lamb:

    Assuming arguendo that Obama was bluffing with his $650 million offer

    There is absolutely no reason to assume this.

    And it’s $650 billion, not million.

  121. 121

    @catclub: Hoyer is a Blue Dog. Even if he doesn’t officially call himself one. Just look at his history. He has a history of trying to stab Nancy Smash in the back.

  122. 122

    @Linnaeus: Of course, because the DLC was once flush with corporate cash. That is who their constituency is. They never had any grassroots donors. Just rich people trying to destroy the Democratic Party from the inside.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    So your defense for Obama offering the Republicans $650 billion in Social Security and Medicare cuts is “Clinton triangulated too?”

    Well, see, you and I have two very different views of that offer. You seem to think it was a completely sincere and honest offer that Obama would have implemented if the Republicans had agreed. I think it was a negotiating tactic that Obama used to split Boehner from the Tea Party at a time when Boehner was desperately trying to look like he was in charge of his own caucus.

    Given that the final, negotiated settlement was, “I’ll raise the debt ceiling whenever I want and you guys can take a non-binding vote saying you disapprove,” I think my view is closer to the truth, but, hey, maintaining your view of Obama as a total incompetent who just happens to be the luckiest bastard on Earth seems important to you, so I doubt I’ll be able to convince you otherwise.

  124. 124
    Mike Lamb says:

    @NR: Sorry fo the mix up on the numbers.

    I’m just going by Jay B.’s earlier statements in which he accepted for argument’s sake that even if Obama was confident that the offer would not be accepted, it was still poor strategy on the “what if they had accepted?” argument.

    And why is there no reason to assume this? The offer wasn’t accepted, and deficit reduction is now waaaay down the list of talking points.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    Yeah, when Democrats offer to gut beloved Democratic programs that are both extremely popular and effective at achieving their goals, we get upset. How dare we!

    Being upset at the time makes sense. Maintaining your sense of grievance even after it all shakes out and the offer is shown to have been a negotiating tactic is silly.

    You’re not the same guy as the one who was still pissed off after the DADT repeal because he thought it should have been done by Executive Order instead, are you?

  126. 126
    MBunge says:

    @NR: “So your defense for Obama offering the Republicans $650 billion in Social Security and Medicare cuts is “Clinton triangulated too?””

    The point of bringing up Clinton is to give some practical, realistic context to the political situation Obama has to deal with, instead of starting with the self-satisfying assumption that everything Obama accomplishes is the minimum ANY Democratic President would have done.

    Mike

  127. 127
  128. 128
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Linnaeus: I think you’re right about the influence of pro-business types as having had an ideologically deforming effect on the Democratic party — but the problem, such as it is, is that politicians cut from that cloth did, in fact, start to win in places where champions of race, class, and gender equality probably would lose. It’s hard to convince a party to be more populist and/or more liberal when the pro-business, less-spending candidates are already winning and when the alternative is a Republican who’s a rabid nitwit. That’s why the Jim Webb, Jon Tester, and Bill Halter campaigns were interesting: they were heterodox populists challenging pro-business establishment figures — but they weren’t _liberal_ in the race/gender/sexuality way I would also like my ideal Democrat to be. What I mean is that if you want all Democrats to be both socially liberal and economically populist, you’re going to end up accepting defeat in a _lot_ of districts, and no amount of bully-pulpit-style pointed rhetoric is going to offset that. And that’s why Democrats get stuck between the things liberals want and the things “centrists” want.

  129. 129
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Yup, like I thought, you’re still dedicated to obfuscating the difference between kinds of cuts. That’s just Reverse Norquistism.

  130. 130
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You’re not the same guy as the one who was still pissed off after the DADT repeal because he thought it should have been done by Executive Order instead, are you?

    If he’s not, then he’s exactly the same guy in every way that counts for this discussion.

  131. 131
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Actually, you’re the one making the right-wing argument here: The idea that there’s a lot of “fat” in Medicare that you can just cut with no negative impact on patients.

    If you cut reimbursements to providers, fewer providers will accept Medicare patients. It’s really that simple.

    And you are conveniently ignoring the fact that Obama also offered cuts to Social Security, where there isn’t even the fig leaf of a “provider-side” excuse.

  132. 132
    geg6 says:

    @Phil Perspective:

    Rick Perlstein is a fine historian. I do not see any actual political work on his CV. I would have no problem with him writing a history of the Obama years, when his expertise might actually be useful, say about 30 years from now. But I also see no reason that his political advice right now is any better than the political advice I’d give the president. In fact, mine might actually be better since I actually have some expertise in political science and in actually working to elect politicians.

  133. 133
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Being upset at the time makes sense. Maintaining your sense of grievance even after it all shakes out and the offer is shown to have been a negotiating tactic is silly.

    Except that hasn’t been “shown” at all. The only thing you have to support your belief that Obama’s offer wasn’t sincere is your blind faith. Sorry, but that’s not enough for me.

  134. 134
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    The only thing you have to support your belief that Obama’s offer wasn’t sincere is your blind faith.

    Well, that and the actual, final, negotiated settlement that gave up absolutely nothing. But, hey, I’m sure that Obama just stumbled into that one, right?

  135. 135
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: That’s not a right-wing argument, man. That’s the argument of every health policy wonk: use changes in practices to “bend the cost curve,” for instance by creating disincentives to running test after test after test when the results don’t improve treatment or quality of life. The way you’re talking about it, changes to reimbursements for scooters and talking diabetes meters, or reining in ineffective tests and treatments, would be just as devastating as cutting off people from essential life-saving treatments, because you’re fixated on “billions in cuts” rather than what those billions are purchasing. If those billions are purchasing medical services that don’t improve people’s lives, they should, in fact, be cut.

    I’m pretty sure we’ve had this same discussion dozens of times. I don’t know why it’s still anathema to you.

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    Except that hasn’t been “shown” at all. The only thing you have to support your belief that Obama’s offer wasn’t sincere is your blind faith. Sorry, but that’s not enough for me.

    I’m curious. Where is all this headed? Are you saying that you are not going to vote for Obama because he has disappointed you? And since there is not going to be any draft Hillary movement, and no progressive third party candidate in the wings (not there ever has been), I guess the question is which Republican you prefer, Romney or Santorum?

    ETA: have no idea how this double post happened.

  137. 137
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    Except that hasn’t been “shown” at all. The only thing you have to support your belief that Obama’s offer wasn’t sincere is your blind faith. Sorry, but that’s not enough for me.

    I’m curious. Where is all this headed? Are you saying that you are not going to vote for Obama because he has disappointed you? And since there is not going to be any draft Hillary movement, and no progressive third party candidate in the wings (not there ever has been), I guess the question is which Republican you prefer, Romney or Santorum?

  138. 138
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Yeah, I think it’s true that some of the successes that the pro-business Democrats had was a powerful incentive to keep supporting them, particularly if the alternative is a very right-wing Republican. Which leads to larger questions about why that was necessary, e.g., to what extent did the Democratic Party have a hand in creating the political environment that allowed for the ascendancy of the DLC wing (there were, of course, other forces at work here, too)?

    And you can’t get that “ideal” combination of liberal Democrat in all districts and all states. That’s one reason why I’ve mentioned here before the importance of creating progressive institutions, movements, etc. that are independent of political parties and particular candidates. They will then have the political space to articulate policies and help broaden the realm of the politically possible.

  139. 139
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: IIRC the “cuts” to Social Security had to do with indexing to curb the rise in benefits. I don’t have as good a sense that that’s not funny business as I do when it comes to reining in the costs of health care. But it’s also often said, even earlier in this very thread, that Social Security does in fact need _some_ adjustments, even if it’s raising the cap on income subject to the SS withholding — and even that is going to be treated as tinkering with a popular program and/or a multi-billion tax hike. So even the “good” way of handling Social Security, to bring in more money rather than to cut benefits, is going to involve scary-scary ad blitzes. You’re never not going to have that staring you in the face when attempting to do even the “minor” fixes to SS.

  140. 140
    Keith G says:

    Imagine the year was 2003 and the person speaking is the chairperson of the Dallas County GOP:

    Rick Perlstein is a fine historian. I do not see any actual political work on his CV. I would have no problem with him writing a history of the [Bush] years, when his expertise might actually be useful, say about 30 years from now. But I also see no reason that his political advice right now is any better than the political advice I’d give the president. In fact, mine might actually be better since I actually have some expertise in political science and in actually working to elect politicians.

    A reasonable response might be a snarky, “Yeah, right.”

  141. 141
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Well, that and the actual, final, negotiated settlement that gave up absolutely nothing.

    Nothing except a bunch of mandatory cuts to domestic spending (military spending was included as well, but a lot of domestic programs are going to be hit hard) now that the Super Congress has failed.

    But that’s neither here nor there. You can’t claim that Obama’s offer wasn’t sincere because the Republicans refused to accept it. The one has nothing to do with the other.

  142. 142
    NR says:

    @Brachiator: If you’re looking for loyalty oaths, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m undecided as to how I’m going to vote in the short term.

    In the long term, though, it’s clear that voting for Democrats is a fool’s errand that is only going to lead to the destruction of the New Deal and more increases in already ever-expanding corporate power. We need a new party in this country–one that puts working people first.

  143. 143
    Brachiator says:

    @Linnaeus:

    That’s one reason why I’ve mentioned here before the importance of creating progressive institutions, movements, etc. that are independent of political parties and particular candidates. They will then have the political space to articulate policies and help broaden the realm of the politically possible.

    Isn’t this arguing for the status quo in which progressives impotently yell from the sidelines about how they are being betrayed?

    The Tea Party People were unhappy with the way Republicans compromised their values and got elected to Congress as part of the pemanently obstructive wing of government. Progressives, who must more than anything else preserve their ideologically purity, want to articulate policies and broaden realms.

    Where are the freaking progessives who want to get shit done?

  144. 144
    Mike Lamb says:

    @NR: He’s/she’s not “claiming”, he’s/she’s arguing his/her case based on subsequent events.

  145. 145
    Marc says:

    @NR:

    I look at what the Republican party has become and see them as a mortal threat. You think that the biggest problem is…the Democratic party. You’re not sure whether you’d vote for Barack Obama, even if his opponent is a far-right wing extremist like Rick Santorum.

    Feel free to preach the Leninist true faith, and just don’t be surprised if the rest of us don’t want to be collateral damage for the maybe perhaps glorious revolution of the distant future.

  146. 146
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    If you’re looking for loyalty oaths, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m undecided as to how I’m going to vote in the short term.

    It’s a simple question. If you don’t think Obama deserves to be president, where is the better candidateright now, and how are you going to get that candidate installed as either the nominee or a plausible third party candidate?

    And if you don’t vote for Obama, or don’t vote at all, which Republican do you want to see elected, Romney or Santorum? Because this is the outcome if large numbers of people believe as you do. You can’t dance around the consequences, or pretend that anyone is demanding a loyalty oath from you.

    In the long term, though, it’s clear that voting for Democrats is a fool’s errand that is only going to lead to the destruction of the New Deal and more increases in already ever-expanding corporate power. We need a new party in this country—one that puts working people first.

    What exquisite timing. Months before the national election, with Republicans doing what they can to destroy the New Deal at the state and federal level, and you’re talking about the mystical long term, and offering fantasies of new parties, nothing specific, no policies or platforms, just pablum about concern for the working man, even as actual working men and women get ground into the dirt.

  147. 147
    Dr. Loveless says:

    Every time I read Digby, I’m reminded of how much I miss Steve Gilliard. He was just as spot-on as Digby about the nature of the Rethug menace, but he wrote about it in a way that made you want to keep fighting. Digby just makes me want to run up a white flag. Digby Downer, indeed.

    It helped that Steve himself had no patience with the kind of relentless negativity and ideological purism that bloggers like Digby wallow in. “Revolutionary defeatism,” he called it.

  148. 148
    coldie says:

    Digby is smart. Smarter than almost any other dem politico I read. I understand she has a realistic/pessimistic view, but she isn’t wrong, and she is paying closer attention than most. It is easy to pull any one of her threads out and find some radical words/views, but the thing the Obama cheerleaders hate is that she is right. And she understands the long game really well. Much better than anyone in this democratic administration. And Obama has been a huge disappointment. Lets not pretend that isn’t the case. Regardless of your support levels on any given day, forgetting his political malpractices is an injustice you commit unto yourself. Pretending he didnt squander the progressive wave he rode into office on (purposely), proceeding to govern like Bob Dole, while not even attempting to prosecute the banksters or try for the public option he promised on the campaign trail does not change the fact that that is his history. For the love of god, he didnt even make a half hearted attempt to shift the Overton Window, well maybe to purposely shift it rightward. Digby has not forgotten that, and she is not wrong. I oppose the American conservative movement as much or more than the next guy. Certainly more than Obama. His healthcare plan is not a change for the better. Pointing out his intentional orchestrated failure is important. Things could have been very different. Love Ya Digby! And VS Radio is fantastic.

  149. 149
    mclaren says:

    You guys think too small. Expect the Supreme Court under Roberts to reverse the Dredd Scott decision. Then expand slavery to white folks.

    That’ll be a real rollercoaster ride! Fall behind on your credit card payment, and the credit company can auction your ass off at a slave market!

  150. 150
    Linnaeus says:

    @Brachiator:

    Isn’t this arguing for the status quo in which progressives impotently yell from the sidelines about how they are being betrayed?

    The Tea Party People were unhappy with the way Republicans compromised their values and got elected to Congress as part of the pemanently obstructive wing of government. Progressives, who must more than anything else preserve their ideologically purity, want to articulate policies and broaden realms.

    Where are the freaking progessives who want to get shit done?

    To answer your first question, no, it’s not.

    “Getting shit done” and creating political space for more progressive policy are not mutually exclusive propositions. We can look to the right as a good example of this. The ability of right-wing candidates to get elected didn’t happen in a vacuum. The right has spent years and years building up an infrastructure that 1) puts right wing ideas out there and gives them currency and 2) gets their people in office. The two complement one another.

    As for your second question, come on down to my county labor council meeting sometime. I’ll introduce you to a few.

  151. 151
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    @coldie:

    Blah blah blah – Purity FIREBAGGER is pure — blah blah blah. Are you morons gonna keep this up shit all through the election? Ever been Snipe hunting? Or a spoof?

  152. 152
    Mino says:

    To DLC apologists: There is no excuse for Blue Dogs to uphold the Republican filibuster of a Democratic bill. Why that was allowed, I will never know. Political malpractice of the highest order.

  153. 153
    mclaren says:

    @Brachiator:

    If you don’t think Obama deserves to be president, where is the better candidate right now…

    Elizabeth Warren.

    …and how are you going to get that candidate installed as either the nominee or a plausible third party candidate?

    Write her in on the presidential ballot in November 2012.

  154. 154
    shep says:

    …the irony this is that “electing the most crazed Tea Partiers we can find” is how we got into this entire mess we’re in right now.

    Not even. It was, “the (corporatist) Dems are no better than the (corporatist) Repubs so let’s just withhold our votes from the Dems to teach them a lesson.”

    In the past year or two, I’ve learned why Beltway centrist types (see: Joe Klein) became so hostile to liberals and liberalism. I just had no real exposure to teh liberal brand of crazy in the seventies; using almost any means to get us the fuck out of Vietnam, equal rights for women, minorities and gays, and decriminalizing private drug use made perfect sense to me. And then as now, they’re still waaaay better than the alternative. But since Obama was elected and started disappointing liberals (yours truly included), I’ve seen that they can bring their own brand of the crazy just the same.

  155. 155
    Brachiator says:

    @Linnaeus:

    “Getting shit done” and creating political space for more progressive policy are not mutually exclusive propositions. We can look to the right as a good example of this.

    Uh, no. The right wins elections and then tries to rule with brute force. You know, like Bush and Cheney, and innumerable conservative governors. They push moderates out of the party, and any ideas get distilled down into Christian no tax deregulation.

    Meanwhile, progressives drift away into the airy meaninglessness of creating political space.

    As for your second question, come on down to my county labor council meeting sometime. I’ll introduce you to a few.

    If they are not running for, and winning, elective office, it would not be worth my time.

    @mclaren:

    Write her in on the presidential ballot in November 2012.

    This is dumber than a sack of Nader voters.

  156. 156
    Linnaeus says:

    @Brachiator:

    Meanwhile, progressives drift away into the airy meaninglessness of creating political space.

    You and I will have to agree to disagree on this, then. No need to continue that conversation.

    If they are not running for, and winning, elective office, it would not be worth my time.

    Running for office isn’t the only way to get shit done. You can also do things like work for candidates running for office, lobby elected officials, mobilize people to lobby, GOTV activity, etc. My local and the county labor council do a lot of this kind of work. I’ve been involved in a lot of it myself.

  157. 157
    handsmile says:

    Hours late to this thread, but I want to state directly how disgusted and yet not at all surprised I am to read the drivel from those from whom I would expect nothing less on the subject of Digby/Hullabaloo.

    There is a reason why the phrase “What Digby said.” is widely employed and recognized as Internet short-hand for astute political analysis and quality writing. It’s an honor this blog and its personnel has yet to merit.

    Her on-going commitment to exposing police brutality through indiscriminate use of tasers is far more consequential and more important to the public good than anything any front-pager, much less any commenter, has done on this website.

  158. 158
    taylormattd says:

    @NR:

    Yeah, when Democrats offer to gut beloved Democratic programs that are both extremely popular and effective at achieving their goals, we get upset.

    Omg, how terrible, a Democrat has “offered to gut beloved Democratic programs”?

    Well no wonder you and Digby are so upset.

    I thought all of the whining and hemlock drinking were the result of couple utterly meaningless, contentless words uttered by a person who isn’t even the minority leader.

    Silly me, I guess you all aren’t stupid fucks who live in some delusional land where every sneeze is interpreted as betrayal.

    I should have known that truly, a Democrat has “offered to gut beloved Democratic programs”.

  159. 159
    mclaren says:

    @Brachiator:

    Your alternative, presumably, is to vote for a guy who signs off on more tax-cuts for the super-rich, more endless unwinnable wars (look for an Iran attack during Obama’s second term if he gets re-elected) and more extrajudicial assassination and kidnapping of American citizens.

    Genius.

  160. 160
    mclaren says:

    @handsmile:

    And I want to state directly how disgusted and yet not at all surprised I am to read the drivel from this clown, who has added nothing and suggested nothing and has no policy proposals and no substantive contributions of any kind to offer to anyone.

    The last political critic who contributed as little as you to the actual process of governance was named “Lee Harvey Oswald.”

  161. 161
    NR says:

    @Marc:

    I look at what the Republican party has become and see them as a mortal threat.

    Then why do you tolerate a Democratic party which adopts their policies and their rhetoric, thereby bringing those things further and further into the mainstream?

    Having an “opposition” party that caters to the crazies in power is actually worse than having the crazies themselves in power. At least when the crazies implement their own policies, they’re the ones who get blamed when those policies inevitably fail and cause untold damage. When the Democrats implement those policies for them, they’re the ones who get blamed.

  162. 162
    mclaren says:

    Amid the internet tough-guy talk about ‘whining’ and ‘disgust’ for the `firebaggers’ who allegedly accomplish nothing except to clog up the works and prevent dazzling collections of geniuses like the people on the supecommittee from waving their magic wands and eliminating our oh-so-terrifying deficit tomorrow, let’s get back to some fucking observable proven facts, shall we.

    FACT #1: America’s current deficits are trivial by comparison with historical American norms, and by comparison with the deficits of other countries.

    Hard cold fact — America ran a deficit three times as large during WW II…without destroying the country, without incurring financial ruin, without having to tear the wiring out of our streetlights for the copper content.

    So Obama’s entire obsession with reducing the deficit is either a) economically hopelessly ignorant, or b) a fig leaf for a genuine desire to gut the New Deal and destroy America’s social net — which, by the way, is also economically stupid and ignorant, because studies have shown that countries with better GINI coefficients have more productive faster-growing economies than countries with worse (more economically unequal, with more sparse social safety nets) GINI coefficients. So either Obama is being stupid, or ignorant, or evil when he talks about being primarily concerned with reducing the deficit — possibly all three.

    FACT #2: America currently spends more money on its military, broadly defined, than on medicare. More than 1.2 trillion on our military every year, right now. That’s more than medicare. So Obama talking about the need to ‘reform’ entitlements is insane horseshit. It’s either so grossly ignorant it’s a high crime & a misdemeanor, or it’s so laughably stupid it’d be pathetic if it weren’t so outrageous. Medicare spending is 560 billion as of 2010, whereas U.S. pisses away on its military every year:

    720 billion fy 2011
    73 billion military retirement
    70 billion VA hospital system
    50 billion Pentagon “black projects” not listed in Pentagon budget
    20 billion DOE (mostly for Buck Rogers superweapons like airborne lasers that are useless and don’t really work)
    50 billion DHS (a paramilitary arm of the Pentagon used to murder and bully U.S. citizens and enforce illegally extended copyrights by giant monopolistic U.S. corporations)
    50 billion CIA (fleets of drones, armies of assassins worldwide)
    50 billion NRO (military satellites)
    60 billion for Xe, which its founder Eric Prince confessed was a ‘front for the CIA’ to allow the Pentagon to engage in wars which were not congressionally approved (the final triumph of Reagan’s illegal Iran-Contra end run around congress and the War Powers Act)

    That’s 1.15 trillion per year right there. Include a few other odds and ends like the military component of the U.S. manned space program, and you get up to 1.2 trillion dollars per year. That’s a metric shit-ton of money, almost all of it wasted, yet Obama chooses to talk about…entitlement reform! Instead of talking about slashing our goddamn useless corrupt incompetent military and ending our endless unwinnable futile wars everywhere in the world.

    FACT #3: Obama was a professor of constitutional law, yet he ordered an American citizen murdered without even accusing him of having committed a crime, much less giving him a trial.

    That alone should send Obama in an orange jumpsuit with leg chains to a trial for murder, as well as impeachment.

    You people need to get your heads out of your asses and stop sneering about “firebaggers” and “whiners” because when the president of the goddamn united states starts ordering the extrajudicial murder of American citizens without even accusing them of a crime, THAT’S A BIG FUCKING DEAL.

  163. 163
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    @handsmile:

    If we are so unworthy, then why are you here and not over at Digby’s place. No one is twisting your arm to stay.

  164. 164
    xian says:

    @Marc: I might add “…and/or feel free to be a concern troll tactically working to suppress emancipatory voting.”

  165. 165
    xian says:

    @mclaren: can’t wait till she’s elected and disappoints you somehow

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