“Let’s Not Make A Deal”


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Capsule summary of the latest skirmish, from Dashiell Bennett at the AtlanticWire:

Both President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner have revealed their opening gambits in the great fiscal cliff debate and they are basically starting from the same spot they’ve been in forever. Boehner held a second press conference on Friday morning to reiterate his position that raising taxes is not acceptable. Obama followed it up with a short White House speech in the afternoon reiterating his position that the wealthy need to pay more in taxes. The president basically admitted that not only should this news not be surprising, it’s basically what the entire election was fought over. An election that he won, by the way: “On Tuesday, night we found out the majority of Americans agree with my approach.

But a deal still has to be made, so Obama also announced that he’s inviting Congressional leaders (as well as other business and community leaders) to the White House next week to get the ball rolling on negotiations. Obama said, “I am not wedded to every detail of my plan. I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas.”…

My emphasis. Professor Krugman, another certified winner, has this strong reminder:

It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal cliff isn’t really a cliff. It’s not like the debt-ceiling confrontation, where terrible things might well have happened right away if the deadline had been missed. This time, nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013. So there’s time to bargain.

More important, however, is the point that a stalemate would hurt Republican backers, corporate donors in particular, every bit as much as it hurt the rest of the country. As the risk of severe economic damage grew, Republicans would face intense pressure to cut a deal after all.

Meanwhile, the president is in a far stronger position than in previous confrontations. I don’t place much stock in talk of “mandates,” but Mr. Obama did win re-election with a populist campaign, so he can plausibly claim that Republicans are defying the will of the American people. And he just won his big election and is, therefore, far better placed than before to weather any political blowback from economic troubles — especially when it would be so obvious that these troubles were being deliberately inflicted by the G.O.P. in a last-ditch attempt to defend the privileges of the 1 percent.

Most of all, standing up to hostage-taking is the right thing to do for the health of America’s political system.

So stand your ground, Mr. President, and don’t give in to threats. No deal is better than a bad deal.

As for Getting to Yes, I like Gail Collins’ suggestion:

Root for a bipartisan solution that does not involve the White House being hijacked by a guy who keeps babbling about going halfway over a cliff…

If all else fails, strap John Boehner to the roof of a car.

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140 replies
  1. 1
    PeakVT says:

    I’m convinced we should fly the economic airplane through the fiscal downdraft because I’m tired of the cliff metaphor but can’t think of a better one.

  2. 2
    hildebrand says:

    The Fiscal Grassy Knoll

  3. 3
    OmerosPeanut says:

    Strap him to the roof and call him Seamus.

  4. 4
    nitpicker says:

    The exit polls showed that those who voted for president thought taxes should go up by a 25 percent margin over those who opposed all increases. Mandate, bitches.

  5. 5
    the Conster says:

    I’d like to know what business and community leaders were invited. I’m sure they were carefully chosen to apply testicular pressure to certain House members. My confidence fairy is telling me that Obama’s going to get most of his way on this.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    When I mute my TV, I have closed caption. The typist misinterpreted the words, I think, and typed fiscal crap. From now on it will be known as fiscal crap to me.

    This comment was left by Larry at the NYTimes..
    I’m scratching my noodle
    Despite all that boodle
    The SuperPac efforts were vain.
    Their pundits have noted
    The “wrong people” voted,
    I’m hoisting my glass of champagne!

    With TV ads flying
    Well larded with lying,
    Mitt Romney’s a loser again,
    Despite Karl Rove’s twaddle
    ‘Gainst Nate Silver’s model,
    We’re sending Romney back to Bain!

  7. 7
    Julia Grey says:

    If all else fails, strap John Boehner to the roof of a car.

    There was an ad for a Jeep Wrangler right under the post…and for moment I thought it was an illustration.

    Hey, who’s got the bunji cords? I’m ready.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Sillies, I have it on good authority that Dear Leader has already sold you out. /firebagger

  10. 10
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Gail Collins is turning her columns into a surrealist comic performance or something with the persistent references to Seamus. I like that.

    Yeah, whether the White House folds to the GOP over the Fiscal Cliff will be the first test of how strong the Dems feel their mandate* is. Based on recent performance I’m not too hopeful.

    *There, I said it.

  11. 11
    Rick L. says:

    If Democrats who won/maintained their seats in the House would do a better job of enlightening their constituencies about ‘publican obstruction (using specific instances rather than non-specific accusations). The Democrats can begin (and should already have begun) to prepare the ground for a big win in 2016. While I am not a fan of perpetual election cycles, it seems an unavoidable reality.

  12. 12
    Jewish Steel says:

    Paging Dr DougJ!

    Noonan in the WSJ:

    We are a center-right country…

    Ding!

  13. 13
    Schlemizel says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    Yes please, lets start this battle by pissing all over each other!

    We are very unlikely to get everything we need simply because the goopers are good at sticking together & have demonstrated this country’s well being is a lot less important to them their their damn party.

    How do we get the best deal possible? How can we position Dems for a good deal? Waht do we need to do to spin this in Americas favor & win the media war that will happen.

    Or we could just sit around & call each other names, thats good too

  14. 14
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I can’t hear you…. I’m in under this bus.

  15. 15
    maya says:

    @the Conster:

    I’d like to know what business and community leaders were invited

    Shirley, one of them has to be this guy.

  16. 16
    Michael says:

    The Fiscal Erosion?

  17. 17
    Unsympathetic says:

    There is no reason to “cut a deal,” which is code for reduce social security and medicare.

    What we need to do is eliminate the fraud and leverage in wall street – and the economy can return to growing. This entire charade is cover for Wall Street to continue stealing while we pay for the lack of regulation that has continued since 2000.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    whether the White House folds to the GOP over the Fiscal Cliff

    Arghh. Whenever someone talks like that, they never explain what they mean by “folds.”

  19. 19
    snoey says:

    Going over the speed bump leaves us in position to tell the low information voters that it is the Republicans standing in the way of their tax cut.

    Briar patch anyone?

  20. 20
    Michael says:

    @Schlemizel: Though I agree with your sentiment here, its worth noting that at least 1 regular on this blog is already pissed at Obama for his predicted slashing of medicare and social security in exchange for high earner tax cuts.

    I mean, what?

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    All this assumes that Boner will be Speaker come January.

    The Rethugs are a contentious lot. Denny the Hutt only had his position because The Hammer was the power behind the throne. It’s known that the preening asshat Cantor wants the top spot, and commands more loyalty amongst the teatards than Boner does.

    The Rethugs are stupid enough to change horses. Just sayin’.

  22. 22
    aimai says:

    Please Proceed, Congressman Boehner.

    Is what I think you all mean.

  23. 23
    maya says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    “We are a center-right country”… [Peg-o-my-heart Nooners]

    You know, she’s right. I notice this every time I sit down on the toilet. I’m left handed. Makes it easier to wipe.

  24. 24
    Jewish Steel says:

    From that same piece I mentioned above:

    In a day-after piece, Washington Post reporters Scott Wilson and Philip Rucker wrote: “As part of his role, [Paul] Ryan had wanted to talk about poverty, traveling to inner cities and giving speeches that laid out the Republican vision for individual empowerment. But Romney advisers refused his request to do so…

    Damn! I would have loved to see more of ZEGS in the hood, layin it down for the people. Real talk.

  25. 25
    Petorado says:

    This is not a crisis, as the media keeps portraying it to indulge in more horse race coverage, it is an agreed-upon situation that the two parties created to force them to negotiate in good faith. But good faith is not a virtue Republicans possess anymore.

    Krugman’s right. Let the Bush cuts expire, and once that’s off the table the real talks can begin. With Dems in firm control of the Senate, new legislation to return the tax cuts has no chance of passage. Dems are in a position of strength and shouldn’t cede that ground.

  26. 26
    Julia Grey says:

    Didn’t Obama already promise no messing around with Social Security?

    Or was that Reid?

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    @Julia Grey:

    I saw a clip of Schumer saying that SS was not part of the discussion.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Petorado:

    This is not a crisis, as the media keeps portraying it to indulge in more horse race coverage,

    This. The media is not in the news business. They’re in the infotainment business. They NEED dray-mah in order to attract eyeballs, in order to sell ad space, in order to keep their phony-baloney sinecures.

  29. 29
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Yes please, lets start this battle by pissing all over each other!

    This is a fuggin’ low-traffic Balloon Juice thread populated by regulars who have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning. It has nothing to do with “the battle.” A little perspective, please.

    If we can’t piss all over each other on this buggy blog, where can we do it?

  30. 30
    Schlemizel says:

    @Michael:

    I’m lucky I guess, I missed that. I’d have similar response to that nut job too.

    I am sick to the teeth with this damage that liberals seem to happily inflict on each other instead of the actual enemies of America.

    And, of course one way to make sure we keep punching each other is to constantly make opening attacks when there has been no reason to.

  31. 31
    jwb says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I’m skeptical that Cantor really wants to be Speaker. Which is not to say that he wants Boehner to be Speaker. But I think Cantor may prefer the Tom Delay position and is just looking for his own Dennis Hastert to hold the ceremonial gavel.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    On MHP guest Randi Weingarten just asked President Obama to use the bully pulpit to push forward the issue of education. I feel bad that the president of the American Federation of Teachers is so delusional. No wonder our childrens isn’t learning.

  33. 33
    Felonius Monk says:

    I thought Big O was pretty specific yesterday: If we are going over the fiscal cliff, then Mr. Boner, you and your gang of asshats will be tightly lashed to the top of the car.

  34. 34
    Julia Grey says:

    Yes please, lets start this battle by pissing all over each other!

    Chuh-ill!

    Talkin’ smack, that’s all, playin’ the dozens, a little elbow bumpin’ among friends.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @Michael:

    its worth noting that at least 1 regular on this blog is already pissed at Obama for his predicted slashing of medicare and social security in exchange for high earner tax cuts.

    I’m always curious about this. How many vocal “regulars” do you think are here? And what’s a reasonable threshold for risk assessment of the damage they do if some number hold a different opinion than the majority?

  36. 36
    scav says:

    I’m personally going with the classic “Jump! You Fuckers!”

    It’s Saturday, I’m fairly relaxed.

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    DROOOOOOOONNNNNEEEEEZZZZZZZ!

    Too soon?

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    IMO, Obamacare allows a little leeway in changing the age of those that qualify for medicare. Let the attacks begin.

  39. 39
    Baud says:

    @JPL:

    I agree. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, depending on what else was part of a deal.

  40. 40
    robertdsc-iPhone 4 says:

    @Cassidy:
    As long as they’re used against the domestic terrorists that are the GOP, I’m fine with that.

  41. 41
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I think some the locals better gird their loins for some acrimony if they don’t stop trying to derail, or parse the debate into the narrow confines of their stilted pov.

  42. 42
    Alex S. says:

    Blah blah blah, the fiscal cliff is exactly what needs to happen. The only downside is that the economic shock could lead to a recession. On the other hand, military spending will be reduced to an adequate level and taxes on rich people will rise. There is nothing to fear in the long run, the deficit will shrink significantly. The impact of the possible tax hikes is exaggerated, in my opinion. I would like the economy to be stronger right now, but I think it is already strong enough to avoid a collapse in 2013. Basically, I think that the recession that might happen will be worth it.

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m loving it. On MSNBC MHP just wrapped a fascinating panel on education and civic engagement.
    She then turns to Alex Witt for a lead-in on what’s coming up next on her show. Of course, it was the David Petraeus affair and, “what don’t we know about this affair blah blah blah”.
    Just perfect juxtaposition.

  44. 44
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Did you see Tavis Smiley and Cornel West pouting on Democracy Now? Now Michael Eric Dyson and Melissa Harris Perry have been added to their list of folks who have sold out their people to gain access to the President.

    Per Dr. West Obama has abandoned “the black prophetic tradition” and they haven’t held him accountable. Also the President hasn’t ended poverty and DROOOONEZZ. But Dr. West is willing to take Michael and Melissa back into the fold if they admit the error of their ways. I’m dead serious.

  45. 45
    PsiFighter37 says:

    If I may ask — why the hell don’t we simply remove the cap on the amount of income that pays for Social Security taxes? This seems like a relatively simple solution for ensuring solvency for Social Security in the future.

    Could something similar be done to fix Medicare as well? Or, because it’s already 1.45% of all income tax, it would be denigrated as a tax raise on everyone? Or what if we apply a portion of the capital gains tax to Medicare?

    I’m not a budget expert, but there seem to be a reasonable number of ways to make sure our New Deal programs are fully funded without impacting the middle class. Not that it matters to the Village, who don’t have to consider these problems for themselves personally because they’re overpaid to do an incredibly shitty job.

  46. 46
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Corner Stone: Sex rules the Villager’s world. If I had to guess, the ‘Gang of 500’ secretly desire to be reporters for TMZ, hence why they get fixated whenever they get to talk about penises and vaginas that shouldn’t be consummating together.

  47. 47
    Baud says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    If I may ask—why the hell don’t we simply remove the cap on the amount of income that pays for Social Security taxes?

    Votes. Even a number of blue dogs and conservadems wouldn’t go for this as the sole solution.

    Could something similar be done to fix Medicare as well?

    I don’t think so, not in the long term. You really have to find a way to reduce costs/increase efficiency.

  48. 48
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Did you see Tavis Smiley and Cornel West pouting on Democracy Now?

    Gee, it sounds like Mr. West has already gone back on his word. He said a month or so back that he would definitely vote for Obama in November and start criticizing him in February. I guess he couldn’t wait!

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: I’m confused by this response but I will just say that, no, I did not see those two gentlemen on DN. Nor have I seen them on any forum or media recently. Which they certainly may have repeatedly been appearing/writing in.
    Mainly because I understand their position(s), think they have some aspects correct and I disagree with many. And the ones I disagree with don’t damage anyone by their existence, IMO. I just choose not to care what they have to say at this point in time. That may change in the future, or it may not.

  50. 50
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    I’m not a budget expert, but there seem to be a reasonable number of ways to make sure our New Deal programs are fully funded without impacting the middle class.

    Reasonable you you, me and anyone else who’s moderately sane. But to Grover Norquist one additional penny of revenue is Armageddon squared. And remember he still has a lot of the GOP lawmakers’ ‘nads under lock and key.

  51. 51
    PeakVT says:

    @PsiFighter37: Medicare already doesn’t have a ceiling, IIRC.

    And we would simply remove the cap if we could simply get a working majority in both chambers of Congress. Until then (since the anti-tax jihadists won’t accept any increase in taxes on the rich) the cap will remain.

  52. 52
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @PsiFighter37: Personally, as a bona fide member of the middle class, you can raise my taxes, too. I know it sucks, but returning to the Clinton tax rates for the middle class, while politically costly, is not the end of the world either.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    I do believe we will see Second Term Obama to be more of a hard-ass.

  54. 54
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: Egad. When were prophets, black or otherwise, ever in office? In the bible, they were there to criticize the kings, not actually be king.

  55. 55
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    I guess he couldn’t wait!

    Why wait? The race for 2016 has already begun, so why should anyone wait until February to frame the debate, before it gets framed for us.

  56. 56
    Michael says:

    @Corner Stone: ah I don’t really think a regular or even a number of regulars deviating from the party line represent a risk …not even sure what they would be threatening. I even agreed with the go-along get-along stuff! And I don’t think I ever pulled the “now is not the time to talk about X” line either.

    I was just inartfully noting that neither side ever seems to truly ever just give it a rest.

    On another note, I saw someone else posting under the name Michael and now I don’t know if I should become one of those people with the parenthesis and multiple names. I don’t know if I care enough about preserving some sort of online identity here

  57. 57
    Cacti says:

    @jwb:

    I’m skeptical that Cantor really wants to be Speaker. Which is not to say that he wants Boehner to be Speaker. But I think Cantor may prefer the Tom Delay position and is just looking for his own Dennis Hastert to hold the ceremonial gavel.

    I’ve never thought Cantor was after the Speakership. As Speaker, you’re expected to get things done. A majority leader is supposed to be a partisan hack.

  58. 58
    Schlemizel says:

    @Julia Grey:

    I busted my ass in ’68 for Humphrey and put up with a lot of this ‘sharp elbow’ stuff mainly from McCarthyiets. In ’72 I worked full time for McGovern & heard it again from the right side. 1980, put up with the same shit yet again while working for Carter. 2000, 2004 again and again and again and I am goddamned sick and tired of it. Not just because its tedious and repetitive but because it helps those other bastards win election.

    Saying both side do it does not help. Saying I was only joshin doesn’t help. Look, is some jackhole wants to come here and firebag it up or a different one wants to obot it up then fine, smack them down but please lets not preemptively start fights with the only people we have to work with. It make the corpse of St. Reagan and all the evil trolls he loosed upon us smile when we do this.

  59. 59
    Schlemizel says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    Much too easy and practical. Better to make the people who paid into SS & Medicare suffer – its good for their soul.

  60. 60
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace: I’m not in the top tax bracket yet (although I think once I get married, we will be), but I have zero problem with my taxes going up. Unfortunately, Idiot America doesn’t understand what their tax dollars do. I assume they think it gets funneled to Chicago thugs, Solyndra, and George Soros.

  61. 61
    Cacti says:

    Per Dr. West Obama has abandoned “the black prophetic tradition” and they haven’t held him accountable

    Because nothing says “afflict the comfortable, comfort the afflicted” like eating hot h’ordeuvres at “minority issues” roundtables, sponsored by Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo.

  62. 62
    Triassic Sands says:

    Professor Krugman, another certified winner…

    Yes, Anne, but Professor Krugman is mean and shrill and thus, in the view of the MSM and Conventional Wisdumb…wrong.

    Being agreeable is more important than being right, so Dick Morris, who may have set a one election record for being not only wrong, but ridiculously, laughably, absurdly, insanely wrong, will continue to be a go-to-guy for political insight, while Krugman will be dismissed by many because of his attitude problem (i.e., he’s weighed the evidence and found the GOP economically insane).

  63. 63
    trollhattan says:

    @hildebrand:
    I call it Money Bluff.

    And I now want to marry Gail Collins, also, too.

  64. 64
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Gail Collins:

    If all else fails, strap John Boehner to the roof of a car.

    Not just any car, though. It must be a car that is hanging over cliff.

    We should rock it up and down.

    And if it should fall, then we’ll say, “Oops.”

    .

  65. 65
    Suffern ACE says:

    If necessary, I would favor increasing the income subject to SS to 150k, without an employer match after 105,000. After that level currently, you should be able to save for your own retirement even though SS income will still play an important role in your post retirement income. I do not favor messing with the retirement age. Or introducing any kind of private savings account. I already have a private savings account. I don’t need a government sponsored equity account. I already have my own, thanks.

  66. 66
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Schlemizel: hey, do you think I just pulled that bit out of my ass? There were several commenters here ON WEDNESDAY spouting that shit. I’ll mock them while the sun is shining.

  67. 67
    Michael says:

    @Schlemizel: Saying both side do it does not help.

    This is true and I guess I’m guilty of it.

    That being said, I don’t think the in-fight on this blog is that big a deal, personally. To me, its a sign that this blog draws readers from various corners of the left/Dem coalition — a good thing!

    However, it is good to remember that, generally speaking, the vast majority of the readers and commenters here share the same broad goals, i.e. social justice, reduction of economic inequality, etc.

  68. 68
    James K Polk, Esq says:

    This “Fiscal Cliff” bullshit has Frank Luntz’ message tested fingerprints all over it.

    It reads far too much like “entitlement reform” to be a coincidence.

  69. 69
    catclub says:

    @JPL: “We’re sending Romney back to Bain!”

    ‘We’re Sending Mitt Romney to Bain’
    scans better.

  70. 70
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Obama has officially won Florida: (the official announcement won’t be until November 20th. (Thankfully, nobody has to officially care)

    It’s official. All the votes have been counted and Pres. Barack Obama won Florida by 73,694 votes. #Obama2012— utaustinliberal (@utaustinliberal) November 10, 2012

  71. 71
    Lurking Canadian says:

    Shorter President Obama: Why yes, I do have Boehner over a barrel. Why do you ask?

  72. 72
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    Unfortunately, Idiot America doesn’t understand what their tax dollars do. I assume they think it gets funneled to Chicago thugs, Solyndra, and George Soros.

    DING!DING!DING! We have a winner. This is a big area where the Dems have failed. The GOP has won with their view of government as a hostile occupying force. The Democrats’ counter view that government is how we collectively get a lot of highly worthwhile shit done has been almost totally absent. One big difference between America and Western European democracies: lots of them believe in much of what their governments do. We’ve been brainwashed that taxes are just a leak in the economic bucket that goes down the drain.

  73. 73
    Fair Economist says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    If I may ask—why the hell don’t we simply remove the cap on the amount of income that pays for Social Security taxes? This seems like a relatively simple solution for ensuring solvency for Social Security in the future.
    Could something similar be done to fix Medicare as well? Or, because it’s already 1.45% of all income tax, it would be denigrated as a tax raise on everyone? Or what if we apply a portion of the capital gains tax to Medicare?

    Social Security was made solvent indefinitely in the ’80s (by raising taxes, of course – the only way) with the recommendations of the Greenspan Commission. The reason its now expected to have a moderate shortfall in the fairly distant future is that the astronomical growth in inequality has moved a substantial fraction of income above the Social Security caps. Raising the caps puts us effectively back to the Greenspan Commission forecast so everything is A-OK.

    Medicare has never been put on a basically sound footing, so cap tweaking can’t fix the problem. Obamacare actually took some big steps in the right direction and fixed a large portion of the long-term shortfall. But, it didn’t cover everything. At some point there will have to be a Greenspan-like tax increase to cover the shortfall, but, in the way of these things, it will probably have to wait until Medicare can’t cover its bills with its current revenues.

    But really, there’s no urgency. When the bills come due, the grannies will not put up with being put out on the street, and since privatization raises costs, the Republicans won’t be able to privatize. Their only hope is to do so earlier, when Medicare still has some surplus to pay for the waste of privatization. So when we need the taxes, we’ll get them.

  74. 74
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Is it just me, or is the sense of relief I feel almost tangible? Yes, I’m happy Obama won, but I’m also relieved-as if things will stay normal for at least four years.

    Also, is it just me, or is it that America has finally moved on from all of the 60’s and 80’s backlash somehow?

    And what’s come out about Mitt in the last four days has only given me added relief and a feeling we dodged a very nasty bullet-a mean, selfish, callous bullet. And I’m just talking about Ann Romney.

  75. 75
    Baud says:

    @CarolDuhart2:

    Not just you.

  76. 76
    Haydnseek says:

    @Schlemizel: I think this is the part that pisses me off the most about wingnuts. They actually seem to take pleasure in promoting policies that cause visible pain to the people they hate. Fuck Medicaid! Let ’em die! Fuck Medicare! Let ’em go bankrupt, then they can die! Fuck those moochers on food stamps! (Really? Even the thousands of food stamp recipients in the military?) The list goes on. They really seem to enjoy fucking people over. I might be overreacting here, but it really seems to be true.

  77. 77
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @CarolDuhart2: What I find gratifying is that even if it had come down to Florida, thanks to the stalwarts who stood in line, the margin was too big to steal (73k votes). That there will be no repeat of 2000 and its ugliness.

  78. 78
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Ben Franklin: Sorry, Ben — Maybe I’m not understanding your point. How is Cornel West’s criticizing Obama for abandoning the “black prophetic tradition” framing the debate for 2016.

  79. 79
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    that he would definitely vote for Obama in November and start criticizing him in February. I guess he couldn’t wait!

    “The Black Prophetic Tradition’ can’t be separated from the issue of West’s overall view of Obama. That’s what I was referring to. If discussing the 2016 campaign is not inviolate, why should he wait until February to critique? Is there some magical date for that? I suggest it is necessary to be ahead of the Republican Curve and to move the needle back to true Center, we need to make clear the President’s back is covered, not enable him to exercise more passive restraint. It’s time for him to kick some ass, but if folks like us don’t send a clear message of support for firmness in light of his opposition, political expedience will win and we lose ground.

  80. 80
    Alison says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: West has been an asshole to MHP for a long time now – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....63522.html He can keep all of his bullshit opinions to himself, IMO.

  81. 81
    JPL says:

    @Fair Economist: You are right. Thanks.

  82. 82
    quannlace says:

    Is it just me, or is the sense of relief I feel almost tangible? Yes, I’m happy Obama won, but I’m also relieved-as if things will stay normal for at least four years.

    You ain’t the only one.
    And plus, for us in the Northeast, there’s no crazy-ass weather predicted for next week. No hurricanes, no nor’easters, no godzilla attacks…

  83. 83
    JPL says:

    @quannlace: no godzilla attacks…
    Yet!

  84. 84
    Corner Stone says:

    @quannlace:

    no godzilla attacks…

    {chortles softly while rubbing hands together}

  85. 85
    JPL says:

    For those who still want to read about Petraeus, Pat Lang has a post up. SicSemperTyrannis

  86. 86
    scav says:

    @quannlace: will a little earthquake in ky count for anything? anything within a stanard deviaion of average I’d be happy with and I’d bump a deviation or so for certain classes of events.

  87. 87
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Ben Franklin: Thanks — I got it now. Guess I haven’t had enough coffee yet today to start thinking real clearly. However, I have no doubts that for Mr. Obama it is ass-kickin’ time.

  88. 88
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Alison:

    Dr. West in the article you linked talking about MHP:

    She’s become the momentary darling of liberals, but I pray for her because she’s in over her head,” West said. “She’s a fake and a fraud. I was so surprised how treacherous the sister was.”

    And Dr. West is supposed to be a guardian of the black prophetic tradition? I’m sure Dr. King would be proud.

  89. 89
    Alison says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: It was so grossly paternalistic. You could practically see him patting her on the head. Perfect example of situational privilege.

  90. 90
    Schlemizel says:

    that odious ass that runs Papa Johns Catchup on Cardboard says he is going to cut employee hours as punishment for Obama winning re-election.

    Not sure how many people here eat that crappy “pizza” they sell but it would be nice if they all found a different supplier. (well aware that the other big chains are owned my wingnuts but lets take this one at a time OK).

    Also it would be good to discourage kids from taking jobs with them or to find some other fast food employer.

  91. 91
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Alison: Is West perhaps the reason that MHP left Princeton?

  92. 92
    jwb says:

    @Alison: CW and MHP are both academics, no. A lot of the animosity can be explained, I think, by academic turf war and the fact that MHP is very good on TV (much better than CW). Being good on TV, however, in the academy cuts both ways…

  93. 93
    Yutsano says:

    @Schlemizel: He’s welcome to cut off his nose to spite his own face. Sure they could hire a bunch of part-timers, but then they actually have to have more people on staff to cover their busy hours not to mention pay money to hire and train staff. And that will add more costs due to relatively high turnover rates in the restaurant industry. All to avoid a 14 cent increase on the price of horrible pizza. John, your pizza just sucks. And I bet you’ll bitch more when you realise this costs you about the same if not more.

  94. 94
    Alison says:

    @Felonius Monk: I have no idea, though I’d imagine he couldn’t be the only reason. She’s too level-headed to do that if she didn’t want to or have other reasons to do so.

    @jwb: If MHP being “good on TV” is part of his issue, then he is even more asinine than I thought. Jeez, that’s just petulant.

  95. 95
    Davis X. Machina says:

    They actually seem to take pleasure in promoting policies that cause visible pain to the people they hate…

    ‘They’ being some really big slice of ‘us’ — who just need to be organized. Any political movement predicated on appealing to the worst in people begins each cycle half a lap ahead.

    Take the Bishop of Hippo and the points. Augustine reliably covers the spread.

  96. 96
    jwb says:

    @Alison: The being good on TV means that she’s a threat to CW’s place in the pecking order. At this point, she’s surpassed it in many quarters. But many will think that the fact that she’s used TV to do it tarnishes the accomplishment—at least many academics will think so.

  97. 97
    Yutsano says:

    @jwb: I’ve never understood that attitude. It’s not like her going on TV diminishes the quality of her academic research. And really, AFAIK she hasn’t given up her day job at Tulane. If the university is satisfied enough with her work to retain her and her getting on TV gets more people interested in her academic work, who fucking cares whether she’s on TV or not? I think Cornel is feeling himself slink off into obscurity, and he’s too much of an attention hoor to do that quietly.

  98. 98
    eemom says:

    Is Orange John even still alive after what he said yesterday?
    I woulda thunk the zombie hordes woulda devoured his orange flesh by now.

  99. 99
    jwb says:

    @Yutsano: But academics both envy popular success such as MHP and read it as a sign that such people must have sold out. Kind of like indy bands. I’m certain you’d find similar views in economics about someone like Krugman.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    So Krugman is back to preaching what Obama should do. And that Obama “surrendered” back when he first extended the Bush tax cuts, but that was bad then and not ‘fiscal cliff’, but now it is, except, shut up that’s why.

    Obama did not surrender in 2010, what he did was kept a promise he made to 98 percent of the country to not raise their taxes in hard econ times. If he hadn’t extended the middle class tax cuts, I seriously doubt he would have been reelected. And for that deal he got extended ue bennies, some payroll tax cuts extended, and something about DADT. Krugman needs to stick to economics theory and leave politics alone due to being clueless about them.

  101. 101
    blingee says:

    Schadenfreude phase II.

    This site is going after the future rocket scientists who post racist rants against the president using accounts that have their real name.

    So what these guys are doing is contacting their schools. Loving it.
    http://jezebel.com/5958993/rac.....-president

  102. 102
    AA+ Bonds says:

    What plan will the Republicans follow, hmm, let’s see…

    Bush 2005, Bush 2005, Bush 2005.

    They have a pattern to follow – keep hammering the President on perceived weaknesses in foreign policy and other issues until fickle Americans turn against him in time for 2014.

    It might not work but there’s no reason for them not to try. It’s clear they won’t be punished for getting in his way.

  103. 103

    The thing about SS/FICA being un-capped is that at the full rate it is a no deduction tax increase on wage/salary above $140K of 15.7% (roughly). If the the thing was totally uncapped you could lower the rates which applies across the board. Such a thing would work economically but it completely changes the concept of it being a paid insurance program. I’m fine with that, but it is a big change.

    The idea that only wage/salary are SS/FICA income does leave me scratching my head and strikes me as fundamentally bullshit. Good luck with the politics of changing that…

  104. 104
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @blingee:

    Schadenfreude

    …really? Those are kids, making dumb mistakes. It’s good they’re being led away from them before they ruin their lives, but “loving it” is … gross.

  105. 105
    jc says:

    So when do we hear Obama say: “It’s time for the Republicans to work with me.” When do we hear Boehner say: “I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas.”

  106. 106
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @jc:

    When do we hear Boehner say: “I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas.”

    When he doesn’t plan on running for reelection and has a retirement plan that doesn’t involve speaking engagements with Republican groups or appearances on right-wing media.

    So probably never.

  107. 107
    General Stuck says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    More and more. Those fickle Americans don’t look like your average wingnut. And a majority of the fickle is going to get harder and harder to find. I have no doubt the republicans are going to do more of the same bullshit we’ve been seeing for the near term. They don’t know how to do it any other way, and the laws of inertia are in play. But down the road a ways, they will change or get run over by democrats, as a matter of course.

  108. 108
    Keith G says:

    Obama followed it up with a short White House speech in the afternoon reiterating his position that the wealthy need to pay more in taxes.

    And then what?

    Can/will enough regular citizens (of the Democratic persuasion) assert themselves and give Obama guidance/support?

  109. 109
    gelfling545 says:

    @Yutsano:

    I bet you’ll bitch more when you realise this costs you about the same if not more.

    I don’t think this factors into republican thinking. Just think of those billionaires who threw away billions trying to save a few mil on a hypothetical tax increase.

  110. 110
    Corner Stone says:

    @gelfling545:

    Just think of those billionaires who threw away billions trying to save a few mil on a hypothetical tax increase.

    That wasn’t exactly what that was about. A few tens of millions here or there to almost certainly guarantee hundreds of millions, or more, in returns from deregulation and virtual legislative oversight absence.

  111. 111
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    And then what?

    This.

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama would veto legislation that extends all of the Bush administration’s tax cuts, including those for the middle class, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

    Then

    But top Republican aides said they don’t buy it.

    Then again

    Until now, the White House hasn’t definitively said whether Obama is prepared to veto an across-the-board tax cut extension, even if it includes the tax cuts sought by him and Democrats.

    “He would not support it. He would not sign that bill,” Carney said, when asked if Obama could support a bill that extended all of the Bush tax cuts. Pressed further on whether the president would simply not sign such a bill or if he would actually veto it, Carney finally said, “He would veto.”

    It’s the only way to be sure.

  112. 112
    Yutsano says:

    @eemom: He chose a great day to say it: on the same day Petraeus resigned after admitting he cheated on his wife. Sex sells more papers than health care. It’s all about the ad dollar.

    @General Stuck: You realise, of course, that this really means Obam is worse than Bush and will sell Granny out, amirite? JUST WORDS!!

  113. 113
    General Stuck says:

    @Yutsano:

    LOL

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: Obama said that before President Stuck. And you faithfully reported it back then too. And then we extended them.
    I guess we’ll see what happens now.

  115. 115
    Xenos says:

    @Chuck Butcher: SS is a wage insurance program. Somebody who lives on non-wage income for their entire life will not pay the FICA tax, and will not be entitled to any benefits.

    On the end of the spectrum, someone who earns $200,000 in wages and pays FICA on all of that should be getting more benefits, too. I don’t know if it necessarily should wipe out all the increased premiums payed, but that is the basic logic of social insurance.

    If we want to pay unreduced premiums when things go into deficit, then by all means raise or redirect other tax income to supplement the ‘trust fund’. Or don’t. But please don’t undermine the whole system and logic by which it is a social insurance program, not a welfare program or vaguely justified system of wealth distribution. Because then it really will be open season on SS.

  116. 116
    Corner Stone says:

    @Yutsano: I agree. LOL.

  117. 117
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    Unfortunately, Idiot America doesn’t understand what their tax dollars do. I assume they think it gets funneled to Chicago thugs, Solyndra, and George Soros.

    No, they think the money goes to lazy blacks and Hispanics to get paid to sit around all day pumpin’ out more dark-skinned babies to perpetuate the cycle.

    And, since the lazy moochers don’t know what a work ethic is, the join gangs, steal from white people, and rape their daughters drag the rest of the country down.

  118. 118
    shortstop says:

    @Jewish Steel:Cracking me up.

    @Alison: Speaking of gross paternalism, Tammy Baldwin did a nice job of smacking down Ron Johnson’s. His condescension was all the more galling because that man is certifiably estupido.

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: Yes, perfectly put.

  119. 119
    shortstop says:

    @Schlemizel: The “kids” who are able to choose among fast-food employers are not the ones we’re worried about. The ones who are really going to get screwed if this jerk actually follows through are the adults who really need these jobs.

    A generation ago, a large proportion of people working in similar places were high-schoolers. As manufacturing jobs have decreased, a goodly number of adults who used to hold them have migrated to food service.

  120. 120
    shortstop says:

    What word in the following would have put me into moderation? The combo of the boldfaced ones?

    @Jewish Steel:Cra.cking me up.

    @Alison: Speaking of gross paternalism, Tammy Baldwin did a nice job of smack.ing down Ron Johnson’s. His condescension was all the more galling because that man is certifiably estupido.

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: Yes, perfectly put.

  121. 121
    Chris says:

    @Jay in Oregon:

    No, they think the money goes to lazy blacks and Hispanics to get paid to sit around all day pumpin’ out more dark-skinned babies to perpetuate the cycle.

    Oddly, no one can tell me exactly which program it is that takes all this money away, and when you ask them to cut federal programs like Social Security and Medicare, they scream bloody murder.

    Presumably, they think there’s a Department Of Income Redistribution To Undeserving Minorities tucked away somewhere in the Washington bureaucracy that we could fix all our fiscal problems by abolishing.

  122. 122
    ksmiami says:

    @General Stuck: Hmm – as a Native Californian now midwest transplant, I was thinking that CA is a good example of the US in microcosm and since the Republicans refused to change, refused to participate in good, serious government etc… the voters agreed and now the party is prettmy much rendered irrelevant in the state. There is a lesson in that for the GOP, but I’m pretty sure they won’t learn it.

  123. 123
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chris: they think is social security. They don’t believe anyone other than themselves ever worked, so the idea of a Mexican retiree unnerves them.

  124. 124
    shortstop says:

    @Chris: If you gently push them, you will discover that many believe welfare benefits represent about 72 percent of the federal budget. They also suspect that having a child while on public assistance promptly results in many extra thousands of tax dollars being thrown one’s way monthly, and that food stamps are so generous that one can dine on copious amounts of lobster and champagne without compromising the family’s ability to buy food for the rest of the month.

    ETA: Also, what Suffern ACE said.

  125. 125
    Corner Stone says:

    @shortstop:

    If you gently push them, you will discover that many believe welfare benefits represent about 72 percent of the federal budget.

    And money committed to foreign aid each budget is the other 50%.

  126. 126
    Anne Laurie says:

    @shortstop:

    What word in the following would have put me into moderation?

    Not your words, this time. FYWP doesn’t permit more than two “replies” in one comment, in this iteration.

  127. 127
    LanceThruster says:

    Considering the track record of the Gopper mindset, I’m wondering if they’ll pre-schedule a fireworks show to celebrate their inevitable glorious congressional battle victory that has not yet arrived at its timeline coordinates. They might as well preposition some chickens to fuck while they’re at it. Nothing like having all your bases covered to save time and effort (though I still think it’s bad form to declare “checkmate” when one hasn’t even established one’s position sufficiently to call “check”).

  128. 128
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Haydnseek: Never forget this insight you’ve just stumbled across – it is 100% true.

    Modern conservatives are made happy by the suffering of other people.

  129. 129
    shortstop says:

    @Anne Laurie: Huh, I did not know that. Thanks. So I can continue being the Candywoman of Uptown?

  130. 130
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone: \

    Yes, and I was wrong back then. And stated as such from a bet I made with Joe from Lowell. Obama did not make a formal veto threat back then, unless you can produce one. Do you understand what a formal veto threat is? And back then he hadn’t just won reelection with no need to face the voters.

  131. 131
    General Stuck says:

    @ksmiami:

    Yes, it does looks like the California GOP lost any and all power this election. Good catch for the microcosm. I agree.

  132. 132
    LanceThruster says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:

    Bernie the Attorney described the mindset as, “It’s not enough that I win, but that you lose.” From their way of thinking, another’s suffering as a result of their actions is not a bug but a feature.

    Doubleplusgood.

  133. 133
    LurkyLoo2 says:

    I heard someone call it the “Fiscal Curb” instead of the “Fiscal Cliff.”

    I say from now on we call it the “Fiscal Curb.”

  134. 134
    Mnemosyne says:

    @General Stuck:

    Also, the Democrats had just lost the House in a huge midterm wave election, and shit had to get done in the lame duck session before the new batch of Republicans came in and ground everything to a halt. That is not the case this time.

  135. 135
    General Stuck says:

    And for anyone thinking that Obama has not completely gotten Mitch McConnells goat, should read this WSJ article.
    It made me chuckle.

    What is also evident from our conversation is that Mr. McConnell and his colleagues don’t trust the president and his underlings even in closed-door meetings. “He was never serious in 2011 about solving the debt problem. What happened was the president set the crossbar so high on taxes that he knew we couldn’t get a deal.” Did Mr. Obama intentionally sabotage the deal? “Sure, it was clear to me in retrospect that the whole strategy for re-election was to energize his liberal base.”

    Mitch is still playing checkers in a chess game, and doesn’t know whether to shit or go blind, on the reality that he and his GOP just got their asses handed to them by the voters. McConnell is the mouse that roared in a cat house.

  136. 136
    Waynski says:

    @WereBear:

    I do believe we will see Second Term Obama to be more of a hard-ass

    This. Obama’s a poker player. He knows he’s holding a winning hand he knows how to play it. Everyone’s focused on the tax cut stuff. He’s got them by the balls on the defense cuts. And guess what Dick Cheney made sure of when they were doing their military reforms under C+ Augustus?

    They made sure that mostly all military manufacturing was in Repub states and districts with a few exceptions like Groton CT, and we know how that happened Senator Lieberman don’t we – you had to suck Republican Dick? Obama is never running for reelection and Republican gerrymandering made sure that their majority was safe but in doing so also made sure the Dems districts were too. They’re running a desperate communications strategy right now and it won’t work. Their defense people will howl and howl and howl the longer we’re over the cliff.

    They will cave this time. They took the country hostage last time because they could take the whole country hostage. Now they’re like Sheriff Bart holding a gun to their own head, but Obama’s not as stupid as the citizens of Rockridge.

  137. 137
    Neldob says:

    Time for postcards and letters and t-shirts that say ‘End the Bush tax cuts for the rich’ or ‘After 30 years of bungholery the right wing needs to step aside’ or ‘We won. Boehner bug off!’. Or something along those lines. Let’s bury Boehner in mail.
    And congrats to all of us and civilization!

  138. 138
    joel hanes says:

    @aimai:

    Please proceed

    Reference to masterful moment from second debate brings back echo of grin.

    I’m going to enjoy watching President Obama play this hand, I think. He is a master at not interrupting his opponents while they’re making mistakes.

  139. 139
    joel hanes says:

    @LurkyLoo2:

    Fiscal Curb

    Fiscal Gentle Incline

  140. 140
    joel hanes says:

    @ksmiami:

    [California Republican Party] is pretty much rendered irrelevant

    Minnesota too!

    The DFL now holds all three branches of MN government. This new growth from grassroots that had withered makes me happy.

    Let us hope that the working-class voters in Wisconsin soon wake up too ..

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