Shock doctrine

If this happens, it’s an economic Reichstag fire. Manufacture a “debt crisis”, then use it as a pretext to end social welfare in this country:

Let’s first imagine that, on January 20, Romney takes the oath of office. Of the many secret post-victory plans floating around in the inner circles of the campaigns, the least secret is Romney’s intention to implement Paul Ryan’s budget. The Ryan budget has come to be almost synonymous with the Republican Party agenda, and Romney has embraced it with only slight variations. It would repeal Obamacare, cut income-tax rates, turn Medicare for people under 55 years old into subsidized private insurance, increase defense spending, and cut domestic spending, with especially large cuts for Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs targeted to the very poor.

Few voters understand just how rapidly Romney could achieve this, rewriting the American social compact in one swift stroke. Ryan’s plan has never attracted Democratic support, but it is not designed for bipartisanship. Ryan deliberately built it to circumvent a Senate filibuster, stocking the plan with budget legislation that is allowed, under Senate “budget reconciliation” procedures, to pass with a simple majority. Republicans have been planning the mechanics of the vote for many months, and Republican insiders expect Romney to use reconciliation to pass the bill. Republicans would still need to control 50 votes in the Senate (Ryan, as vice-president, would cast the tiebreaking vote), but if Romney wins the presidency, he’ll likely precipitate a partywide tail wind that would extend to the GOP’s Senate slate.

I realize not everyone’s comfortable with the Reichstag fire comparison, but I am. The American right’s real genius lies in fucking things up, then using that fucked-up-ness as the crisis that necessitates the implementation of the right’s policies. I don’t claim that the fucking up of things is always deliberate — they’re incompetent enough to fuck a lot of things up by accident — but the reaction is very cynical and very carefully thought out.






79 replies
  1. 1
    Teacherboy says:

    Hmm. Economic reichstag or food borne illness. Which uplifting story to comment on first…

  2. 2
    Cris (without an H) says:

    I realize not everyone’s comfortable with the Reichstag fire comparison, but I am.

    It’s hard not to Godwin when you’re talking about Republicans.

  3. 3
    danimal says:

    The problem with Godwin’s Law is that, sometimes there really is a comparison to be made. This is one such time. The Chait article is terrifying, especially since, unlike most conspiracy theories, this one is absolutely credible and possible. I’d even say probable.

    The American people really don’t have any idea what a President Romney would mean. Let’s make sure they never do.

  4. 4
    catclub says:

    If they actually implement _that_ plan, it will cause a substantial recession. And lots of unpopularity with voters. The slight improvements since 2009 will be lost.

    What they actually do, after appointing Ron Paul as the new Fed Chairman ( I kid, probably Glenn Beck), I have no idea.

  5. 5
    Cris (without an H) says:

    Though their agendas are hidden, both Romney and Obama have plans to dramatically remake the size and character of American government.

    I’m glad Jonathan Chait has the courage to say that both sides do it.

  6. 6
    Davis X. Machina says:

    What’s the problem? All I wanted to do was send Obama a message that I’m tired of being taken for granted.

    It isn’t like I asked for all that other shit.

  7. 7
    Maude says:

    This morning I was thinking that if Romney is elected with a Republican Congress, he could remove funding for Medicaid right away.
    Imagine what he could do to civil rights.

  8. 8
    Brachiator says:

    Manufacture a “debt crisis”, then use it as a pretext to end social welfare in this country.

    If Romney is elected and this swiftly happens, then those who voted for him will have received exactly what they asked for.

    The promise, of course, will be a cornucopia of jobs. And black people, women, Latinos and gays pushed safely back into the margins.

    I don’t doubt that this is the GOP plan. But if Democrats would be so stupid, outplayed and blind as to let this happen without opposition, then there would be no hope for anyone. At least, not in the short term.

    Funny how the wingnuts are all hot and bothered over the phony projections in the movie 2016: Obama’s America. Sounds like 2012: Romney’s America would be twice as scary.

    BTW, one of the last gasp attempts by the GOP to rally the nuts:

    From a recent LA Times story:

    ‘2016: Obama’s America’ coming to DVD, group screenings this week
    __
    With a tightly contested presidential election less than a month away, the successful right-wing documentary “2016: Obama’s America” will begin playing outside of theaters at the earliest possible moment.
    __
    The producers of the movie, which grossed a surprisingly strong $33.3 million at the box office this summer (the fourth-highest amount ever for a documentary), announced the film will be offered on DVD on Tuesday. It became available for purchase and rent online in the past few days.
    __
    In addition, the filmmakers are making a special license available for groups, including churches, to screen the picture — a clear effort to provide entertainment for conservative organizations looking to rally ahead of the election.

  9. 9

    The IMF just did an about-face on austerity, saying it exacerbates the debt problem.

    Not that conservatives listen to pointy-headed experts or anything but it will be hard for them to pull off their shock doctrine, especially as the US condition improves.

  10. 10
    Bulworth says:

    I realize not everyone’s comfortable with the Reichstag fire comparison, but I am.

    I’m buying up all the fainting couches, and clutching all the pearls I can.

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    Dare I point out that most historians now agree that the Reichstag fire was not set by the Nazis and the Dutch communist who was executed for it probably did it on his own?

  12. 12
    Bulworth says:

    In addition, the filmmakers are making a special license available for groups, including churches, to screen the picture—a clear effort to provide entertainment for conservative organizations looking to rally ahead of the election.

    Just like Jesus would do, no doubt. //

  13. 13
    Cris (without an H) says:

    @Mnemosyne: Dare I point out that most historians now agree that the Reichstag fire was not set by the Nazis and the Dutch communist who was executed for it probably did it on his own?

    2/27/33 WAS AN INSIDE JOB

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    @catclub: A substantial recession? Combined with the mind-blowing destructiveness of Europe’s austerity movement we’d be likely to end up with a Greater Depression, one that will very likely lead to a permanent contraction of the western economies as a whole.

  15. 15
    Zifnab says:

    The American right’s real genius lies in fucking things up, then using that fucked-up-ness as the crisis that necessitates the implementation of the right’s policies.

    In all fairness, that’s about the only thing keeping the US a two-party system. Republicans promise the moon and lie like rugs to trick independent voters into letting them into office. Then they fuck up royally and independent voters kick them back out again.

    If they didn’t fuck up there would be nothing to complain about – my primary objection to the right wing is that they’re fuck ups, after all.

    The problem is that Democrats are held to this weird standard in which they are required to fulfill at least some of the Republican pie-in-the-sky promises. Obama is required to cut taxes for the middle class AND provide all the social benefits the elderly demand AND be bipartisan while doing it.

    When a Democrat fails to deliver political miracles, he’s a failure. When a Republican fails to deliver, he’s standing on principle. It’s weird and dumb.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    @Mnemosyne: Um… links?

    Also, didn’t Hitler order the arrest of all Communist Party members of parliament and then proceed to declare martial law?

    That was kinda the crux of the scandal. Not implicating the Dutch bricklayer they originally busted.

  17. 17
    General Stuck says:

    Not a secret. Been part of the movement for decades, but was only contained by still sane republican leaders, that had a conscience about running up debt. Reagan and Bush senior, were the last of that breed of wingnut, and along came the Texas Mafia and Grover to start the revolution. Fast forward to Cheney Bush/deficits don’t matter, so let’s run that sucker up as far as possible, that ought to hobble new liberal social programs, and at once creating an argument to privatize the ones that exist, to where the plutocrats and wingnut preachers gets to decide who is worth saving.

    It started in 2007 with the new congress and dems running both chambers of congress, and the first words out of the mouths of now minority nutters was to play the tax and spend liberal card, on day one. Then came Tarp and the bailouts needed from right wing excesses, to put the deficit seemingly as the number one issue, and out of reach for bleeding heart liberals to dare spend any more, even with offsets from pay go.

    And I swear by the earth beneath my feets, that no other dem would have bulled forward to pass HCR and the huge stimulus bill under those conditions. The others, including Hillary, would have folded like cheap suits for political expediency, when the going got tough, under the barrage of right wing demogoguing about the deficits they largely created. Obama wasn’t playing, and is one of several reasons they hate him so.

  18. 18
    Trakker says:

    If Romney/Ryan/Tea Party actually gets elected and does this they will committing political suicide. If the American people sit still for this we can just kiss the country good-by. This might just get people off their asses and into the streets.

  19. 19
    chopper says:

    I realize not everyone’s comfortable with the Reichstag fire comparison

    fuck em, you’re right.

  20. 20
    Chris says:

    Ryan’s plan has never attracted Democratic support, but it is not designed for bipartisanship.

    I love how it’s not only okay but expected for them to admit this (“oh sure, we’re not even pretending to give a fuck what the other half of the country thinks, why should we?”) but somehow Obama being the most partisan partisan who ever partisaned, even when patently false, is some sort of crime against the constitution.

  21. 21
    matryoshka says:

    A young man I work with asked me this morning what I thought would happen if Romney was elected. I rattled off several things, the first of which was the repeal of Roe v. Wade with the bonus “eggs are people too” legislation making women who menstruate murderers (only slightly kidding here), the likely appointment of one or two more extremists to the Supreme Court, a complete bulldozing of every level of environmental protection (and a disaster on the XL pipeline within his term), the wholesale dismantling of public school systems, and an economic decline so fast and furious that we’d all do well to hold on to our hair.

    A nearby coworker rolled her eyes and said, “No one would let those things happen.”

  22. 22
    chopper says:

    here’s the other thing, ryan essentially went all-in on privatizing social security. want that to have an effect? talk to people you know about how that will destroy social security.

    seriously, talk to an old person. tell them ‘imagine if they have their way and people under 55 put all their SS money in a private account like a 401(k). it’s their private money, socked into the stock market. where will the money come from to pay your benefits? you think the $ people 55-67 put in to SS every day is going to cover the checks for retirees? fuck no. you get boned.’

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Zifnab:

    Here’s the Wikipedia link. The majority of the evidence points to van der Lubbe having acted alone, but the Nazis claimed he was part of a wider communist conspiracy, which gave them the excuse to suspend civil liberties. Most of the evidence that pointed towards the Nazis having set the fire themselves seems to have been manufactured by the Soviet Union.

    There’s the possibility that there was an agent provocateur working for the Nazis who convinced van der Lubbe to act, but the guy does seem to have actually set the fire.

    ETA: IMO, it’s perfectly fair to compare 9/11 to the Reichstag fire because it was an action by an outside group that allowed the government to act the way they needed an excuse to act. But, as with the Reichstag fire, there’s really no evidence that the Bush administration did anything more than act opportunistically when given the chance.

  24. 24
    Cris (without an H) says:

    @Trakker: If Romney/Ryan/Tea Party actually gets elected and does this they will committing political suicide.

    But it’s the George W. Bush model of political suicide: slow and relatively painless. If the guy was smarter, I would almost wonder if it was deliberate: soil your brand so badly that your own party doesn’t bother you to come out of retirement to speak at the convention.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    I realize not everyone’s comfortable with the Reichstag fire comparison, but I am.

    @danimal:

    The problem with Godwin’s Law is that, sometimes there really is a comparison to be made. This is one such time. The Chait article is terrifying, especially since, unlike most conspiracy theories, this one is absolutely credible and possible. I’d even say probable.

    I’ve been perfectly comfortable referring to the teabaggers as a proto-fascist movement since they first emerged early in the administration. The shoe fits. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

  26. 26
    wrb says:

    The really interesting part of that Chiat article is the second half, where he lays out how he thinks Obama will get a lot done rapidly if he wins, by shoving them off the Fiscal Cliff.

    I urge everyone to read it. If Obama does take that course there will be yowling from the village and from fire and other baggers that he’ll have to withstand.

  27. 27
    Cris (without an H) says:

    @Mnemosyne: the Nazis claimed he was part of a wider communist conspiracy, which gave them the excuse to suspend civil liberties

    “Through my tears I see opportunity.”

  28. 28
    Applejinx says:

    I like that article. Most of it is about how if Obama wins (which we are trying hard to make happen, right?) he ends up in a situation where if he just sits tight and does NOT act, on New Year’s Day 2013 we suddenly end up in a very interesting situation…

    …with all the different tax cuts reverted to Clinton levels, next to no deficits to worry about, and massive defense cuts.

    Bring it the fuck on. I’ll do my best to survive an additional tax burden- and I am in ‘going broke-ville’ , barely surviving. But my senator Bernie Sanders is busting his butt to get Vermonters health care, we’ve got a lot of things like heating assistance (that I won’t even need this winter- I got it paid for up front) and I’m Section 8 Homeownership Program so IF the government actually has revenue, I have some backup in myriad ways.

    Like hell the government can’t give people stable lives and the ability to function as a consumer in a working capitalist society. I know it can because I’ve seen it. I’m currently in a donut hole zone where I’ve been a good little worker and got myself to be self-supporting, which is what these wingnuts want everybody to do. But I wouldn’t be there rationing food and hoarding energy and resources to survive, if I hadn’t had lots of government support to GET to that point.

    If we land in defense-cut, Clinton-tax land, the wingnuts will goddamn explode, but the massive increase in revenue (trillions!) will pay for a lot of social welfare to prove the point that the wingnuts were WRONG. Let’s have the best society in the world and make everybody middle class again. I’m convinced my business will do better when people can afford to buy stuff.

  29. 29
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    I realize not everyone’s comfortable with the Reichstag fire comparison

    It’s apt. Apt!

  30. 30
    Joel says:

    If Romney implemented the Ryan budget plan, that would be terrifying. But I’m pretty sure that won’t happen, although plenty of other bad things probably will.

  31. 31
    Chris says:

    @Zifnab:

    In all fairness, that’s about the only thing keeping the US a two-party system. Republicans promise the moon and lie like rugs to trick independent voters into letting them into office. Then they fuck up royally and independent voters kick them back out again.

    Hence why I actually loathe the mushy centrists and moderates who make this possible again and again more than I do conservatives. I understand fascists voting for fascist policies, as despicable as it is. The fucking idiots in the middle who don’t want these policies implemented but keep coming back to the soothing tones and pretty colors again and again no matter how often they get burned, that’s a whole different level of really-want-to-punch-them-in-the-face.

  32. 32
    Reklam says:

    Eh. Does anyone really believe the debt is a crisis though?

    If you want to go full Godwin, January 20th in the Romeny Oval Office would be the Wannsee Conference

  33. 33
    Punchy says:

    Less taxes under Romney. He said so, so theres that.

  34. 34
    Chris says:

    @matryoshka:

    A nearby coworker rolled her eyes and said, “No one would let those things happen.”

    See? That, right there. FUCK that person. Oh yes, let’s vote for people who’ve explicitly said that they want all these things passed and have done their very best to make it so whenever they reach office, and just count that when they do it AGAIN, you’ll be able to go “oh save us, Democrats!”

    Personal responsibility my shiny metal ass.

  35. 35
    22over7 says:

    If Romney wins, at least we won’t have to worry about the deficit any more. All the endless talk about it will magically vanish. He’ll run it up as far as the Chinese will let him, give the Social Security trust fund to Wall Street and Medicare to the insurance companies, fund a huge war in the Middle East to give lots of money to the M/I complex (which of course will trickle down to the law enforcement complex) and things will be great! Whee!

    I’ve heard New Zealand is nice.

  36. 36
    El Cid says:

    “Godwin” is only a prediction of what tends to happen on internet bulletin boards, not some sort of intelligent prescriptive on how to discuss things and when and where which historical analogies are permissible.

  37. 37
    Bruce S says:

    This isn’t a “Reichstag Fire” – Starve the Beast has been core GOP strategy for three decades now. The only difference at this point is that they’re increasingly intent on closing the deal and starting to drown major government programs, including social insurance, in Grover’s bathtub. The necessary post-2008 stimulus and increased safety net spending in the wake of an already significant increase in deficits due to the wars, Bush tax-cut AND spend policies and economic crisis, has given them a major platform for totally insane, ideologically driven proposals that would have little-to-no credence in better times. Most voters still aren’t buying the deficit as our biggest problem. But this isn’t really news at all. It’s all part of an anti-government, fiscally irresponsible strategy that’s been admitted time and again by the GOPers, going back to Reagan’s comments on the implicit results of choking liberal policy options if his tax cuts didn’t magically increase revenues according to Art Laffer’s Napkin.

  38. 38
    gex says:

    True fiscal conservatives argue against vouchers because the prices will just go up to factor those in.

    So what do we have running around in fiscal conservative clothing? Con men.

  39. 39
    Bruce S says:

    @gex:

    In today’s world the only “fiscal conservatives” are liberals – with one or two exceptions like Bruce Bartlett.

  40. 40
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Haven’t we all seen this play before? George W. Bush and his Republican Congress did the most thorough job of fucking up this country in my memory yet here we are four years later with a Republican House and the popular vote for president within a couple of points. That would be comprehensible if the Republican candidates weren’t made out of cardboard or if the House had been doing a dynamite job. Republican voters are voting their stupid and as long as any Democrat speaks in complete sentences they’ll continue to do so.

  41. 41
    gex says:

    @matryoshka: She will be the first to wonder how this could happen. Never knowing her complacency was the thing that allowed this to happen.

  42. 42
    dollared says:

    @Mnemosyne: Totally agreed. 9/11 is an excellent analogue to the Reichstag fire.

    And think of the trillions wasted since that day…..and what we could have done with the money to make the world a better place.

  43. 43
    blingee says:

    Why don’t you and Cole shut the fuck up with your fearmongering. Rmoney cannot do all that without the Senate. Even if he had that he would need a fillibuster proof Senate and 100% that is not happening.

    They could do some stuff with executive orders and budgeting hijinx but not nearly the sort of social re-engineering you are fearmongering on about.

    I personally would be more worried about Supreme court nominations than anything else.

    Does Ginsburg have the option of resigning of Rmoney wins and give Obama the chance to appoint someone before his term ends?

  44. 44
    RyanayR says:

    Please stop comparing things to the Reichstag Fire!!! Does not apply!!!

  45. 45
    jomike says:

    economic Reichstag fire

    Pithiest description ever. This needs to become an internet meme pronto.

  46. 46
    gene108 says:

    @Applejinx:

    Problem is demand is very low. People are just getting buy. If people had to pay more in taxes, it would have a material impact on the economy right now.

    We aren’t at a point, where the economy can absorb tax hikes across the board and spending cut backs, without possibly falling back into a recession.

    It’d be great to just sit back and let the Bush Tax Cuts expire, but with people facing higher food and fuel prices (seemingly everyday) they just don’t have the savings to absorb losing any more money out of their pockets.

  47. 47
    Cris (without an H) says:

    @blingee: Even if he had that he would need a fillibuster proof Senate and 100% that is not happening.

    Read Chait’s article. He addresses this fact.

  48. 48
    Rich2506 says:

    Sorry to go all 911Truther on y’all, but I’ve always thought that 9-11 had much more in common with the Reichstag Fire than it ever did with Pearl Harbor.
    Does the budget deficit even remotely equal any sort of crisis situation? I wrote a letter to my local paper describing how it’s not a crisis at all and no one ever disputed that beyond a few right-wingers in the online comments. The top-level Democrats appear to have drunk the Pete Peterson Kool-Aid, but most of the public really doesn’t go for it.

  49. 49
    SFAW says:

    All the dull-normals who think “they would never do it” and “they’d be committing political suicide” are either exceedingly stupid, exceedingly naive, or have been slumbering for the last 20-30 years.

    As Higgs just pointed out (beat me to it, you SOB!), the Rethugs, after eight years of BushCo trying to destroy what’s left of the New Deal and the country in general, would be pariahs for a generation – in a rational world. But America hasn’t been too rational for at least 30 years, and has recently become borderline-insane. Well, half of it has.

    In a rational country, people would see Mittens changing positions every day or so, and laugh him out of the arena. In a rational country, Ryan’s “we’ll save Medicare by killing it” would be met with shock and gasps, and he’d be sent packing. In a rational country, Rmoney’s non-stop lying in Debate 1 would have caused his poll number to drop like a rock.

    But we’re not in a fucking rational country, OK?

    On Long Island, the cycle used to be: elect Rethugs to county offices; the Rethugs run the county into the ground; the people vote in the Dems to fix things; the people don’t like the un-fun stuff that has to happen to fix the Rethugs’ mess; the Dems get voted out next election. America 2010 was not unlike that. (Yes, I realize there were plenty of other contributing factors.)

    I am a hopeful person (believe it or not), and I am still hopeful that people smarten up before Election Day. But it won’t surprise me if they don’t.

  50. 50
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @danimal:

    The problem with Godwin’s Law is that, sometimes there really is a comparison to be made.

    The problem with Godwin’s Law is that people misunderstand or misrepresent what Godwin actually said:

    As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

    Although there is the Reductio ad Hitlerum logical fallacy—which essentially says that a belief or argument is bad because Hitler or the Nazis shared the same belief—Godwin’s Law does not mean “If you make a comparison to Nazis, you lose the argument,” which I hear all of the time. Godwin was saying that the longer an internet discussion goes, the more prone it is to developing irrational or hyperbolic arguments.

  51. 51
    SFAW says:

    Why don’t you and Cole shut the fuck up with your fearmongering. Rmoney cannot do all that without the Senate. Even if he had that he would need a fillibuster proof Senate and 100% that is not happening.

    Yes, because the Dems really showed the Rethugs how to block things the last time they were out of power.

    And because reconciliation has magically disappeared as a procedural tactic.

    I fell so much more confident now. Time for some more PFL!

  52. 52
    Napoleon says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Dare I point out that most historians now agree that the Reichstag fire was not set by the Nazis and the Dutch communist who was executed for it probably did it on his own?

    What was that line to Bluto in Animal House “Forget it, he is on a role”?

  53. 53
    Chris says:

    @SFAW:

    But we’re not in a fucking rational country, OK?

    This.

  54. 54

    @matryoshka:

    A nearby coworker rolled her eyes and said, “No one would let those things happen.”

    This is more common than it should be. And it’s just about the laziest, dumbest opinion anyone could have.

    Argument also doesn’t work with folks wired like this. “So the Republicans are lying when they say what they want to do? Then why vote for liars?” Or: “Who will stop them? The Democrats, you say? So why aren’t you voting for them?”

    You’ll get no answer beyond “They’re all the same”. But if they’re all the same, why spend so much energy favoring one side over the other?

    All a mystery, to me.

    Trained to favor red over blue. Like dogs.

  55. 55
    blingee says:

    @Cris (without an H): That argument assumes blue dog Democratic support. I already took that into consideration and he still cannot overcome a filibuster with the current number of bluedogs (I count 5 or possibly 6) and even if Dems only have 51 that still won’t get him to 60 even in the most pessimistic scenario. So the logic in that article is quite flawed imho.

  56. 56
    Bill Arnold says:

    @SFAW:
    Even if the Democrats barely keep the Senate, Romney would have a good chance of peeling one away to join in a reconciliation bill.
    I’m not sure how ACA repeal would work under reconciliation but defunding would be possible.
    From an old comment of mine:
    Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
    Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003
    The 2003 act was the one where the vote was 50/50 in the Senate with Cheney as a tiebreaker (2 democrats yea, 3 republicans nay).

  57. 57
    gex says:

    @Bill Arnold: And if the Dems tried to filibuster the way the GOP did these last four years, I’m pretty sure the filibuster will be gone.

  58. 58
    Spatula says:

    I’m not worried, because I know there is no way this will happen. We know from experience that the majority HAS to have 61 votes in the Senate for ANYTHING to get done, and I am sure the minority Dems will prevent that, moving Heaven and earth to…

    …oh wait…

  59. 59
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @blingee:

    Does Ginsburg have the option of resigning of Rmoney wins and give Obama the chance to appoint someone before his term ends?

    __
    This would most certainly be blocked in the Senate. It is climbing an 8000 meter peak without using supplemental oxygen levels of difficulty for Obama to get a even a mildly left-of-center SCOTUS nominee thru the Senate under normal circumstances. As a lame duck, he’d be lucky if the Senate approved him to use postage stamps without paying for them out of petty cash.

  60. 60
    SFAW says:

    @Bill Arnold:
    I think we’re in violent agreement

  61. 61
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    Trained to favor red over blue. Like dogs.

    At one point Pavlov’s lab was threatened by flooding, so they evacuated the staff but there wasn’t time to evacuate the animals. When they came back after the flood waters had receded, those remaining dogs who’d survived the flood had lost their conditioning. Apparently near-death trauma erases Pavlovian conditioning.

    Application of this principle to our present levels of socio-political conditioning, and possible analogies involving a hypothetical GOP administration are left as an exercise for the reader.

  62. 62
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This. My only objection to Reichstag references is that they’re about eleven years too late.

  63. 63
    Bill Arnold says:

    @SFAW:
    Yeah, I was piling on blingee, sorry.
    Reconciliation favors Republican priorities, since Republicans aren’t truly focused much on anything but changing spending levels. (This is perhaps an overly broad generalization but the idea is truthy enough.)

  64. 64
  65. 65
    danimal says:

    @blingee: A whole shitload of entitlement busting can be done via reconciliation. Read the Chait article. BTW, The Obama portion of the article is spot-on, as well.

    To all the internet purists: Sorry if I misapplied Godwin; I’m pretty sure the point I made is still defensible.

  66. 66
    Citizen Alan says:

    @matryoshka:

    A nearby coworker rolled her eyes and said, “No one would let those things happen.”

    If it happens, buy her a can of Fancy Feast and say “Here. You should probably get used to the taste of this before you reach your 60’s.”

  67. 67
    burnspbesq says:

    What Chait doesn’t say is that going off the fiscal cliff has the incidental but salutary effect of cutting Grover Norquist’s balls off, because it facilitates a Democratic win on tax policy that can disingenuously be called a tax cut.

  68. 68
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Apparently near-death trauma erases Pavlovian conditioning.

    That explains the sudden shift from laissez-faire orthodoxy to the New Deal in the Great Depression.

    A copy of Atlas Shrugged is a beautiful thing, but you can’t actually eat it.

  69. 69
    McJulie says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    a can of Fancy Feast

    A can? Much too expensive. We’ll be eating dry cat food from China and drinking tap water of dubious safety.

  70. 70
    TenguPhule says:

    What they actually do, after appointing Ron Paul as the new Fed Chairman ( I kid, probably Glenn Beck), I have no idea.

    If its not appointing XE as their new private security force, then it will be spending the last moments of their lives dangling from Made in America Hemp ropes.

  71. 71
    daveNYC says:

    @blingee: @blingee: If Romney wins the White House, odds are that the Republicans will have the Senate too.

  72. 72
    Steeplejack says:

    @blingee:

    Under reconciliation, neither a filibuster nor a “filibuster-proof majority” comes into it. For things on the “budget reconciliation” track, a simple majority of 51 votes does the trick.

    You don’t even have to read the Chait article. Just (re)read the snippet up top:

    Ryan deliberately built [his plan] to circumvent a Senate filibuster, stocking the plan with budget legislation that is allowed, under Senate “budget reconciliation” procedures, to pass with a simple majority. Republicans have been planning the mechanics of the vote for many months, and Republican insiders expect Romney to use reconciliation to pass the bill. Republicans would still need to control 50 votes in the Senate (Ryan, as vice-president, would cast the tiebreaking vote) [. . .].

  73. 73
    mclaren says:

    So here’s my question:

    If the Republicans can do all this stuff with only 50 votes, why couldn’t (and why can’t) Democrats and a Democratic president make equally sweeping change with more than 50 votes but less than 66 votes in the senate?

    Counting down to the craven obsequious excuses for Obama’s total spinelessness in…3…2…1…

  74. 74
    SFAW says:

    @mclaren:

    ‘Cause his stuff wasn’t a budget as such? And because he had Ben Nightwhore Nelson et al.?

  75. 75
    Steeplejack says:

    @mclaren:

    The “simple majority” thing applies only to bills specifically under the “budget reconciliation” process.

  76. 76
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @catclub:

    What they actually do, after appointing Ron Paul as the new Fed Chairman ( I kid, probably Glenn Beck), I have no idea.

    Using my remarkable powers of psychic forecasting, I’m going to say… it will involve the rich getting much richer at the expense of the common weal.

  77. 77
    slag says:

    I didn’t read the whole thing, but I’m wondering if somewhere in there Chait laughs at himself for dissing the Shock Doctrine.

  78. 78
    dww44 says:

    @matryoshka:

    A nearby coworker rolled her eyes and said, “No one would let those things happen.”

    Where’s she been since 2004 and especially since 2010? Definitely not been paying attention. The evidence abounds for those with eyes to see.

  79. 79
    TenguPhule says:

    why couldn’t (and why can’t) Democrats and a Democratic president make equally sweeping change with more than 50 votes but less than 66 votes in the senate?

    Because we have more then ten purity trolls like mclaren in the senate who turn their noses up to such dishonorable behavior and would rather die on their principles then get the job done.

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