Bring Your Umbrellas, the Austerity Bombers Are Loose

Gotta love Mr. Charles P. Pierce:

It was truly a remarkable spectacle to watch so many congresscritters from both sides of the aisle congratulate themselves for coming to the end of the drama without impaling the entire economy on a spike and leaving it for the daws to peck at. The gorge didn’t exactly reach high tide until David Dreier, a Republican from California who is leaving Congress to get rich, got up and said how it was Congress’s job “to restore hope and optimism to the American people.” Yes, this is the same David Dreier who helped waste a year of the country’s time chasing Bill Clinton’s penis around the Beltway. “We must always be prepared to compromise in the service of our principles,” he said, saying absolutely nothing. He later pointed out that he “was taking the Madisonian directive” and returning to California, where I am sure he will become a gentleman farmer and absolutely have nothing to do with lobbying his former colleagues, and I am also the Tsar of all the Russias. In the name of god, go!

Steny Hoyer, on the other hand, regretted that “this is not a big, bold, balanced plan.” I don’t. I don’t trust either side to develop a big, bold, balanced plan that doesn’t pretty much hose most of the country because, in too many cases, their constituencies are no longer most of the people in the country. (How many times have you heard the current deal praised because The Markets were happy and how many times have you heard it praised because it extended unemployment benefits for a niggling 12 months? Thought so.) After a while, I found myself grateful for the Republicans who were holding out against their leadership, because at least their honest contempt for the obligations of governing the nation, and their honest hatred of the Democrats, and their honest loathing for the concept of a political commonwealth, and their resolute insistence on ignoring the election of last November had a simple clarity to it. (I heard Ed Royce talk about how they’d kept off all of us the onerous chains of The Death Tax. The Death Tax! It was like hearing “Free Bird” on your classic rock station.) Sander Levin called bullshit on all of that, and that was good to hear, too, because otherwise, it was like hearing a bunch of guys playing “Kumbaya” on their switchblades…

… Last night, at literally the 11th hour of the first day of 2013, the House Of Representatives condescended to do a little part of its job. To borrow a phrase from Chris Rock, what do they want? A cookie?

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137 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    Last night, at literally the 11th hour of the first day of 2013, the House Of Representatives condescended to do a little part of its job. To borrow a phrase from Chris Rock, what do they want? A cookie?

    I find it telling he doesn’t credit who actually did the work to get this passed. If NancySMASH!! hadn’t corralled her caucus, there would have been no bill passage and we’d be having a very different conversation right now.

  2. 2
    Calouste says:

    @Yutsano: Count how many other women are mentioned in that quote. It even finishes off with “it was like hearing a bunch of guys“.

  3. 3
    Redshift says:

    @Yutsano: Yeah, and while I enjoy Charlie Pierce a lot of the time, one of the things I do find tiresome is that he can go through an entire post being cynical about anyone actually meaning what they say, and wind it up with criticism for Obama based on assuming that he must absolutely literally believe what he is saying (“He seems to believe more than anyone else that some sort of precedent was set last night”), and isn’t just saying it for political effect.

    Sigh.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    @Calouste: I did. I sighed. But I’ve also noticed it’s a trend with Pierce. And BTW I don’t like reading him. Still trying to analyse that one.

    (I typed that as a period like four times now. I’m getting the hint. Night all.)

  5. 5
    dollared says:

    @Yutsano: I love Pierce. Maybe our anger comes from the same place. We used to to be a pretty *honest* country. Now we’re just so fucking corrupt and nobody cares.

  6. 6
    Lancelot Link says:

    An “honest” country?
    When was that?

  7. 7
    rda909 says:

    @Yutsano: No doubt he’s a good wordsmith, but I’ve had a lot of problems with him over the years. I don’t read him often, but I’ve seen many “they all suck” kind of articles, which of course lumps President Obama and Nancy Pelosi all together with the crooks of the Republican party. False equivalency city.

    He even wrote something leading up to the last election where he was suggesting he’s was about to pull his support of President Obama, because of course…what else…Bradley Manning!

    I also remember a fawning article where he basically wrote a multi-page tongue-bath of John Edwards in Esquire during the 2008 campaign. Yea, when Pierce is off, he’s REALLY off.

  8. 8
    rda909 says:

    @dollared: You might want to study more history. A strong case could be made that American government is now the least corrupted it’s ever been right now, especially since President Obama took over. Yes, still tons of problems, but I feel we’re making steady improvement.

  9. 9
    Darkrose says:

    I like Charlie, but his dismissal of people not losing their unemployment benefits for “a niggling 12 months” makes me want to scream. So does his sudden inability to understand the difference between a negotiation and an ultimatum in his rush to hop on the “Obama sold us out!” bandwagon.

  10. 10
    Jewish Steel says:

    Pierce has never met a circumlocution he didn’t like.

  11. 11
    Uriel says:

    Sorry, but as someone who was untill recienty dependent on unemployment for something as wildly frivolous as simple existance, calling a full years benefit extention ‘niggling’ is just plain, fucking stupid.

    And since I give Pierce credit for being politically savvy, i’m assuming it’s intentional, deliberate and self-referential stupidity, as well

    Course, that would go along way towards explaining why Anne is so approving, I suppose.

  12. 12
    Ruckus says:

    What do they want, a cookie?

    Well they probably do want a cookie, as long as it wrapped in a promissory note for their future employment. If the cookie is presented on a platter covered by a tri corner hat that would be even better.

  13. 13
    burnspbesq says:

    I don’t know who’s the bigger fool: Pierce for writing his mindless twaddle, or AL for not seeing it for what it is.

  14. 14
    PeakVT says:

    @rda909: The executive branch may be less criminally corrupt than ever (and that’s a good thing), but both it and our legislature are corrupted by the revolving door, which is still whirling away merrily for both. The system of legalized bribery we call campaign finance continues to exist as well.

  15. 15
    Ruckus says:

    If you read Pierce with an eye towards the premise of the piece rather than parsing each word, he is damn good. On the other hand if you can only consume his writing after parsing each word, all punctuation, construction and slang usage, you may be missing the point.

  16. 16
    Fred says:

    And along with that cookie did they happen to vote to keep milk from going to $6 a gallon? If so they can have a cookie. Just one for now.

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:

    Pierce should be sent to a re-education camp, forced to read Camus and Keynes until he learns how to write a simple declarative sentence, and beaten daily with the collected works of Molly Ivins.

  18. 18
    NotMax says:

    So all the foofaraw boils down to the House voting to repeal something which the same Congress had previously passed.

    Today’s vote: 257 yeas (172 D, 85 R)

    Vote to create the so-called super committee (and so-called fiscal cliff): 269 yeas (95 D, 174 R)

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    @Fred:

    Oh, please. All agricultural subsidies are evil. If you don’t get that, you have no right to regard yourself as a sentient being.

  20. 20
    James E Powell says:

    @Darkrose:

    Pierce’s remark about extending unemployment benefits for a niggling 12 months means nearly the opposite of what you seem to think it means.

  21. 21

    House GOP gives the finger to victims of Hurricane Sandy:

    “House Republicans abruptly pulled the plug Tuesday night on their promise to take up this week an emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy …”

    Can’t to hear what Governor Christie has to say about his fellow Republicans.

  22. 22
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Good morning, World.

    Drama in the House last night. They did pass the damn bill, ugly though it was. And yes, they addressed the milk thing for what? 9 months?

    The vote itself was interesting. The Democrats performed quite well, thank you. The 80-some-odd Republicans that voted for the bill surprised me. Did they honestly agree with the contents of the legislation? Did they feel some obligation to adhere to the agreement worked out in the Senate [which the House hasn’t done recently]? Are they tired of the TeaParty? Was it a conflict between Boehner and Cantor and they chose sides?

    I must put popcorn on my grocery list.

  23. 23
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Looking at this vote from a wider perspective, I must say that it looks to me like Austerity-for-the-Poor-and-the-Struggling may have lost a battle. The war is still on, of course.

  24. 24
    hoodie says:

    Pierce is getting pretty tiresome. This bill is just like all of the tactical victories Obama’s achieved, one more machine gun nest taken out in the long slog up from the beachhead. He got pretty clean tax increases on the wealthy and more progressivity in the tax code without having to agree to any cuts, with the losses being less revenue than desired. The lesser revenue isn’t a big deal unless you are naive enough to not understand that Obama isn’t really a deficit hawk, he just plays one on TV. Always go back and read Atrios if you think the deficit really matters. Moreover, putting the threshold at 400K is more resistant to Repub efforts to bring up future “tax cut” bills, as such bills will be more clearly designed to help rich folks. So Obama took ground that will be hard for the Republicans to take back.

    This bleating about the sequester and debt ceiling fights is just hand wringing, because the Republicans have yet to exhibit an ability to actually use their magical “leverage.” Now the ground on which they’ll be attempting to use that leverage is Medicare vs. DoD. We’ll see how that goes, but I like Obama’s position better than Boehner’s. Obama has already telegraphed that they’ll have to give up more revenue (carried interest loophole?) in the next round before they’ll get any cuts.

  25. 25
    Raven says:

    Mr. Scarborough is freaking out!!!!!!! yes!

  26. 26
    Schlemizel says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Background – I am not a farmer & nobody from my fathers generation forward has made a living in farming or farm related activities.

    The farm program gave us highly stable prices and farmers a relatively stable business. This led to the best fed nation on earth. If you want to see what the world looked like without the farm program read a little about pre-FDR farm & food prices.

    That it took corporations 50 years to figure out how to exploit the program is not the fault of the program itself. That they now own the congressbeasts and can manipulate the program to their ends is not a fault of the program.

    There are many things wrong with the farm program today. Those can all be fixed if voters cared enough to pay attention. $6 milk is only the tip of the iceberg if the baby is thrown out with the bath water. $8 milk will be next followed by $1 milk followed by no milk followed by $12 milk

  27. 27
    hep kitty says:

    According to “multiple sources,” Boehner pointed his finger at Reid and without any other fanfare said, “Go fuck yourself.” When Reid asked him what he was talking about, Boehner simply repeated his curse and moved on.

  28. 28
    Raven says:

    Scarborough hammering Ryan for adding to the deficit and Senor is whining about “context”!

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    My guess is the goopers knew they were in a bind, failure would be blamed on them. They did a quick survey of who would be willing to vote for it, convinced some number that they would be protected for voting for it (perhaps some pork was tossed in to sweeten the deal) and discovered a number large enough to get the deal done.

    Expect much more of the same gooper intransigents, obstruction and general ugliness going forward. Nothing has really changed there.

  30. 30
    Linda Featheringill says:

    When the Prez said, “I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills for laws they have already racked up,” what did he mean? He’s going constitutional on us? What?

  31. 31
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    2 days into the new year and my coffee machine has a blowout! WTF 2013!?

  32. 32
    Baud says:

    @Raven:

    Nice. I don’t watch that drek, so I’ll enjoy the schadenfreude vicariously through you.

  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Aren’t you a parent? You should know that when dealing with little children the threat is always scarier if the punishment is not clearly stated.

    In dealing with the spoiled brats in Congress the same thing holds true. “You guys throw another tantrum and I’ll make you sorry” seems like the best response for now.

  34. 34
    mai naem says:

    @Darkrose: The way I read the niggling is that the Reps were more concerned about the Markets being happy than extending UE benefits for only 12 months(as compared to unlimited.)
    @Raven: Why does Senor have a job?

  35. 35
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Aaaah. How appropriate. :-)

  36. 36
    magurakurin says:

    Fuck me. I read through that thread below and took a peak over at KOS. No wonder the US is so fucked up politically. The madness which has infected the right, infects the left just as badly. All about winning, and projecting strength not weakness, posturing. And the absolute focus on the numbers 250k and 400k, but no seeming awareness of the actual revenue numbers 700 billion over 10 years versus 600 billion, is very disheartening. The Democrats got 85% of the revenue they wanted. No cuts. Extend UI. But apparently nothing short of total, scorched earth victory is acceptable. The perception of politics as purely a zero-sum game is the major problem in the US. And while it is confined to a much, much smaller segment of the left, it is still tiresome.

    Obama is still moving the ball downfield. Woody Hayes won a lot of football games with “three yards and a cloud of dust.”

    But over at KOS they are just foaming at the mouth. It’s weird. I can’t get my mind around it.

  37. 37
    HRA says:

    Yes, I began to watch the “drama” last night and wondered where did all the Reps who could speak with wisdom go. I exclude Nancy Pelosi and definitely Sander Levin from that criticism. It was a pleasure to listen to them.

  38. 38
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I can’t stand that whiny, privileged Scarborough or “Morning Ho”, but I enjoy hearing about his butthurt. Tell us more, senor Raven.

  39. 39
    kay says:

    I wanted a deal because the economy is getting better and people are hiring and we just need some predictability and stability. IMO, we just need them to NOT screw things up.
    You cliff-jumpers can go off w/ out me :)

  40. 40
    Raven says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: had to start back on the dawn patrol with the pups!

  41. 41
    balconesfault says:

    it was like hearing a bunch of guys playing “Kumbaya” on their switchblades…

    Damn, I wish I’d written that line!

  42. 42
    jayboat says:

    @balconesfault:
    I already stole it. 8-]]]

  43. 43
    WereBear says:

    @magurakurin: It is why I can’t go over to the Great Orange Satan except once in a great while. The readership seems to lack proportion and not trolls.

    When dealing with axe-wielding maniacs, it is a triumph to get the puppy and kitten and baby away from them and take our losses on the doorframe, which can be fixed. GOS will never be happy until there are no more axes.

  44. 44
    bemused says:

    I turned on Morning Joe just 15 minutes ago, saw Joe, Dan Senor, Mark Halperin, heard the words SS/Medicare, crippling debt and I just knew I was going to want to throw stuff at the tv. Upcoming guests are Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd and David Walker. I don’t know if Chris Van Hollen can get a sensible word in later. Richard Haas just said we simply can’t go on with this level of Medicare costs. Joe is so concerned about “saving” SS/Medicare for future generations. They really loaded up the show with crapola this morning.

  45. 45
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @magurakurin:

    KOS was okay for about a year after it started up. A lock step mentality bloomed and took over in an amazingly short span of time so I just stopped going there.

    Current reports of the state of the place are unsurprising to me. When I left, anyone who counseled less hysteria was savaged in the comments. I guess that in the intervening time they managed to drive away anyone who didn’t want to go along with the crazy.

  46. 46
    TRNC says:

    How do we get people to stop saying “extension of Bush tax cuts” and start saying “Obama tax cuts?” This is a big chance for Dems to be labelled as the tax cutters, yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen even congressional dem refer to anything but bush tax cuts.

  47. 47
    Punchy says:

    I would like to curse the makers of “Dinosaur Train”, whose opening jingle is so damn infectious that even 24 hours after the spawn and I watched it, its still a damn earworm. Thanks, Hensons.

  48. 48
    rikyrah says:

    IMO, here’s how the Debt Ceiling is gonna go.

    President : I want a clean debt ceiling bill.

    The GOP:NO, we want cuts to entitlements.

    President : I want a clean debt ceiling bill.

    Other Democrats: Please put forth a detailed list of said entitlement cuts.

    The GOP: No, we want the cuts, and you to put them forward.

    President: Here’s the deal. You want entitlement cuts? RUN ON THEM IN 2014. IF you win on a platform of entitlement cuts, then we’ll talk in 2014. but, for now, give me my clean debt ceilling bill.

  49. 49
    Elizabelle says:

    Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, who voted against the fiscal deal up now on C-Span.

    Saw him taking his seat, bowtie and coffee mug in place.

  50. 50
    Elizabelle says:

    Blumenauer quotes: Represented a lost opportunity; policies not sustainable. Have to raise more revenue and change how we do business.

    Kicked down the road; didn’t address the debt ceiling; taken situation where Am public focused and Pres had leverage and settled for half a loaf; third of a loaf

    hostage taking to ensue. 3 cliffs facing us:

    govt operations up in March

    debt ceiling

    sequestration

  51. 51
    Elizabelle says:

    Blumenauer: 20% of GOP who voted for deal last night are leaving Congress.

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    First question was on gerrymandering.

    Getting rid of that is one of the best ways to ensure a more representative Congress.

    You can’t have these Teatards in such safe districts, and Democrats losing with a million more votes overall.

  53. 53
    Cermet says:

    President Obama and all of Amerika won; details and fine print be damn – people need those UI benefits and taxes were raised along with increases on capital gain tax. Last I checked, congress needed thugs to vote yeah and the president got most of what he asked for, all of what he had to have and won in every sense of the word. The stupid asswipes who want to cry like babies for a ideal world can go find it because the rest of us are happy withVICTORY!

  54. 54
    Chyron HR says:

    @magurakurin:

    700 billion over 10 years versus 600 billion

    Third of a loaf! Third of a loaf! President-in-Exile Blumenauer said so!

  55. 55
    Emma says:

    @magurakurin: After last night’s foofaraw in the thread below, I have decided not to talk to them. At all. Bypass their comments. Ignore them. I have no patience any more with the silliness of “grinding them into the dust and making them feel sorry” thing.

  56. 56
    Schlemizel says:

    @magurakurin:

    So . . . both sides do it?

  57. 57

    Dreier represents the conservative Pasadena district, IIRC. I seem to remember that his district was redrawn to be less favorable to him; he chose to resign rather than run for re-election.

  58. 58
    bemused says:

    @Emma:

    When a thread has a massive infestation, I take it as a clear sign of good news for our side.

  59. 59
    Cassidy says:

    Have we been thrown under the bus or sold out, yet?

  60. 60
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Cassidy: The bus sold us out! Worse than Buchanan!

  61. 61
    BlueDWarrior says:

    Not that it has to be said but I am really goddamn sick of the general Beltway constantly pretending that saying something is the equivalent of saying something smart.

    But in some cases I wonder if the Beltway just want the Democratic president to always tut-tut at the ‘rabble’ that is the Democratic Base; because you know being the ‘smart above it all, know it all’ is the thing to be in those circles.

    (I mean god forbid Republican Leadership go to their base and say “We can’t get away with axeing Medicare and Social Security”)

  62. 62
    Bruce S says:

    @magurakurin:

    I read the same KOS piece, just because you raised the issue – I don’t normally give a shit about KOS – and I have to say that your characterization is total bullshit. You are playing the Beltway “both sides” game – so if you came over here from a job at Politico, please excuse me for interfering with your professional scam. Assuming that’s not the case, I can’t wrap my mind around the kind of defamation inherent in taking an article that raises questions about the next round over the debt ceiling and sequestration, based on quoting Tom Coburn’s assessment that having taken tax cuts out of the game it gives the GOP more leverage next time. This is as close to prima facia common sense as it gets. Maybe Obama can get through the next round with tough talk against crazies – which is pretty much the state of play. I wish him the best. But to compare that KOS post to the insanity that infects the Right is pretty much to declare that liberals should all march in lockstep to some notion that President Obama accomplishes the best of all possible worlds at any given moment. Sorry, but the President SHOULD NOT be the locus of one’s politics, unless you’re some Beltway moron who gets paid for that shit. There was absolutely nothing wingnutty or extreme about McCarter’s post. And the last KOS frontpage I looked at had a variety of commentary linked from some totally sensible “pundits” like Chait, Cohn, etc. Nothing at all nutty. Of course, I’m sure you can find some nutty commentary there – as you can here – but it’s not the KOS headline. Nothing “extreme” there. I don’t get this fixation with shooting at people who take more critical stances that infects certain Balloon Juice threads. The President is an adult. He also benefits form critiques to his left. He is also fallible – not to mention “trapped” in the White House and an office that is inherently disposed toward compromise. Obama himself warned his supporters not to take him as their standard bearer for what needs to be done or what could possibly be done once he was elected. A lot of liberals need to grow the fuck up.

  63. 63
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Bruce S: tl;dr – learn to paragraph.

  64. 64
    Bruce S says:

    @Cermet:

    Sorry, but averting a crisis – especially given that it’s only for two months in terms of major pieces of this shitstorm – isn’t “victory.” That’s a pathetic exclamation.

  65. 65
    Feudalism Now! says:

    The whole problem with rubbing the GOP collective nose in it and make them sorry is they never will be sorry. The GOP wants a dysfunctional government. This is the goal. There is no deal they will take. There is no price they won’t pay. They are holding the House and country hostage and they want suicide by voter, but they want to take the concept of a viable federal government with them. Government doesn’t need to small to drown in a bathtub, it just needs to be too weak to resist.

  66. 66
    Emma says:

    @bemused: Yeah, but I suffer from the disease of wanting to understand. Problem is, when I ask for specifics, there’s no there there.

    What “leverage”? What “cards”? They all seem convinced that if the President stood firm and let people lose whatever little economic advantages they have, they’ll turn around and blame the Republicans. Where have they been for the last four years? With a firm 27% dedicated to hating him with a passion, and another sizable swatch of “independents” afflicted by the “all sides do it” bug, AND a press committed to representing him as the problem, it’s a great deal more likely that they will blame HIM.

  67. 67
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Bruce S:

    Sorry, but averting a crisis – especially given that it’s only for two months in terms of major pieces of this shitstorm – isn’t “victory.”

    Sure it is. A short-term victory is still a victory. And the vast majority of victories in a war are of the short-term variety. Every day can’t be D-Day.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @magurakurin: it actually isn’t just as rife on the left as on the right. The amount of people who think Obama is too little of a liberal is actually extremely small. It’s just that when they get together, they egg each other on. There are people who are very proud of how disappointed or contemptuous they can be about things because they think it proves their integrity. It’s the same habit by which hipsters hate sellouts. You can prove how hip you are by how low you set the sellout bar. That’s why the tone of a lot of anti-Obama criticism is, “I can’t believe I ever thought he was cool.”

  69. 69
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Emma: I was saying that all yesterday. I don’t understand this theory of leverage. It always seems to come back to the idea that people who vote for Republicans will decide that this time, for real, they’ve had enough. That’s a nice thought.

  70. 70
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    There are people who are very proud of how disappointed or contemptuous they can be about things because they think it proves their integrity. It’s the same habit by which hipsters hate sellouts. You can prove how hip you are by how low you set the sellout bar

    It’s like the people who never forgave Dylan in the 60s for going electric. It’s not the mode of playing that matters, it’s the purpose that matters.

  71. 71
    bemused says:

    @Emma:

    I’ve given up trying to understand chronic hysterics.

  72. 72
    Bruce S says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Whatever makes you feel good. But most of the crowing over this is bullshit, given that the sequestration was kicked down the road. And we’ve now got over 98% of the “Bush tax cuts” embedded as “Obama tax cuts.” This is so short-term, it’s pathetic to crow over it.

    Frankly, the “both sides” that are declaring “victory” or “loss” are the total wingnuts and the folks whose only political interest seems to be focused on defending the person of President Obama from any liberal critiques. Pretty weak sauce.

  73. 73
    Raven says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: Ha, my old man wouldn’t go to the”D-Day” museum in New Orleans because “I had 26 D-days in the Pacific”. When they finally added a Pacific wing and renamed it the WWII Museum he went!

  74. 74
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Southern Beale: Pretty Boy Dave’s district was the San Gabriel’s(rural) south to the foothills. Just south of the foothills were other districts. I used to live right next to his district. You’re right, redistricting made his seat less secure, so he retired.

  75. 75
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I don’t believe that I’m sufficiently well informed to comment on the merits, or lack of them, of the fiscal cliff deal.

    I do feel that hammering out any kind of a deal that did not include the destruction of our remaining social safety net with a Congress that has so many ideologues, nihilists, and just plain loonies, is an accomplishment in itself.

  76. 76
    Bruce S says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Exactly how many people can you name who “never forgave Dylan for going electric.” Even his biggest critics at the time caved within a year or so on that issue. And most of that critique had a “left” political subtext, that also subsided very quickly. I’m guessing that your appraisal of the current brouhaha, such as it is, is grounded in about the same level of accuracy.

  77. 77
    Bruce S says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You’re absolutely on point in that there is a “both sides are doing it” false equivalency being peddled here. It seems almost as embedded in a certain faction here as it is among Village Morons.

  78. 78
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Bruce S:

    Exactly how many people can you name who “never forgave Dylan for going electric.”

    Even if that number could be ascertained (it can’t) what would it prove? Might as well ask how many hipsters it takes to screw in a light bulb.

  79. 79
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    I live in Dreier’s district. It was carefully Gerrymandered to not reflect the increasing diversity of this part of the San Gabriel Valley. The result has been that the execrable little shit has been able to coast to victory here since 2003. The non-partisan redistricting left Dreier facing a run against at least one fairly accomplished female Democrat so he resigned after serving in the house since 1981 (He formerly represented a nearby district).

  80. 80
    xian says:

    @Darkrose: I think his point was that it should be longer, but I think people are also forgetting that these are UI *extensions*, to deal with this unprecedented Great Recession. It’s more important to get employment back than to extend UI to infinity.

  81. 81
    xian says:

    @Linda Featheringill: He means he will insists on a clean bill and then stand by and let the GOP shut down government and reap the whirlwind if they so insist.

  82. 82
    chopper says:

    @magurakurin:

    obama’s up against a team renowned for its defense. so he’s moving the ball a few yards at a time. the nuts at the GOS demand instead that every play be a hail mary.

  83. 83
    xian says:

    @bemused: they are playing both sides. the cliff was good for the deficit, ergo fixing the cliff is bad for the deficit.

  84. 84
    Ash Can says:

    @chopper: With excessive end-zone celebrating at that.

  85. 85
    Anya says:

    @magurakurin: The GOS crowd just wanted our own Cheney in the white house. They want a belligerent, my way or the highway type of a leader, who would take every opportunity to humiliate the opposition without any regard to how it effects the country as a whole. If I wanted my own George Bush or Dick Cheney I would have voted republican.

  86. 86
    xian says:

    @Bruce S: oh, come now: “Tom Coburn’s assessment that having taken tax cuts out of the game it gives the GOP more leverage next time”

    You are going to take Tom Cole’s statement of surrender to the inevitability of tax increases, when he implored his caucus to stop fighting that issue and “take it off the table” as a loss for the Dems?

  87. 87
    xian says:

    @Bruce S: my guess is that when someone gives you half a loaf, you try to eat the air where the other half should have been.

  88. 88
    chopper says:

    @Ash Can:

    and a sniper in the box seats.

  89. 89
    Citizen_X says:

    @hep kitty:

    According to “multiple sources,” Boehner pointed his finger at Reid and without any other fanfare said, “Go fuck yourself.” When Reid asked him what he was talking about, Boehner simply repeated his curse and moved on.

    Well, that’s just the traditional Republican greeting for Democratic Senators, isn’t it?

  90. 90
    dww44 says:

    @Schlemizel: Watching the recent Ken Burns series on “The Dust Bowl” was truly another lesson in how if we don’t learn from history we must relive it. FDR’s New Deal put the federal government into agriculture (where it has never left) for the primary purpose of trying to help the Southern Plains farmers, even though some of them called them “make work” porgrams.

    On the other han, I’ve lots of cousins who either farm or make their living off of farms. They were all very very concerned in 2009 about the danger to the farm program created by the ascendancy of Obama and the Dems. I must say I had to chuckle to myself at their total lack of awareness of the very origins of the programs which enabled them to stay on their farms or be employed in related industries. Most of the older ones just “hate” FDR.

  91. 91
    Marc says:

    Sorry Bruce. The hysterical Obama sold me out
    crowd has antagonized their potential allies.
    The habit of treating disagreement as treason may have something to do with that. Of course, crying wolf repeatedly,never admitting it, and being consistently wrong may also matter.

  92. 92
    xian says:

    @Marc: I think firebaggers have nihilism-envy

  93. 93
    liberal says:

    @magurakurin:

    No wonder the US is so fucked up politically. The madness which has infected the right, infects the left just as badly. All about winning, and projecting strength not weakness, posturing.

    I have no idea what they’re saying at KOS—even though I criticize Obama and hence am a Firebagger, I never read KOS or FDL unless there’s a link from somewhere else to an article that sounds really compelling, which frankly is pretty rare.

    The point about posturing, and about the quality of the deal, is very simple:

    Alone, the deal isn’t bad.

    The question is, rather, about the future upcoming fights over the debt limit and the budget, and how Obama and the Congressional Dems should negotiate over time.

    So while this particular deal might be fine, the questions are: should we have waited longer to increase leverage to get more out of the deal, so we have less to lose in the next fights?

  94. 94
    rda909 says:

    @xian: Our paragraph-challenged friend up above felt the need to scold us Obots and defend the honor of his holiness, Kos. In doing so, he calls people like Jonathan Chait “totally sensible.”

    A couple days ago, there was yet another “Obama is the worst negotiator EVAH!!” frontpaged article from Chait, which like every single thread there then gets dominated by commenters saying that same thing, and Chait gave us this pearl of wisdom:

    “In 2011, in the wake of the debt ceiling debacle, Ross Douthat persuasively explained why Republicans felt no need to strike a grand bargain with Democrats — the ones he spoke with believed they would never have to face higher taxes.”

    Ross Douthat. Yes, Douthat. That’s “totally sensible” of course, and the rest of Chait’s article is equally “sensible.” Funny how they always claim “we” need to hold Obama’s feet to the fire and keep pulling him left so we must criticize 24/7, but at the same time if someone dares criticize the Keyboard Kommandos of the Online Progressive Party, the butthurt begins immediately. They’re becoming increasingly irrelevant so I don’t really care that much, but it’s interesting to watch the downward spiral play out right before our eyes.

  95. 95
    rda909 says:

    @liberal: “So while this particular deal might be fine, the questions are: should we have waited longer to increase leverage to get more out of the deal, so we have less to lose in the next fights?”

    No. The only question that matters right now is, what are you going to do right now to make sure Democrats win back the House in 2014? Constant bickering over the exact same issues year after year is a waste of time and energy in that goal of winning back the House. In fact, dividing and conquering Democrats is exactly what Republicans try to do with the various wedge issues, and why they pay people to pose as “liberals” in online forums to start arguments, which is a proven fact. How you choose to spend your time each day is up to you, of course.

  96. 96
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I for one don’t get all the love that Pierce gets. I even find his Moral Hazard columns making fun of David Brooks unfunny. I think DougJ eviscerates Brooks much better. Am I missing something?

    BTW I have a question for all the history buffs, why is the Republican Party the Grand Old Party when it was only formed just before the Civil War, while the Democratic Party is much older?

  97. 97
    General Stuck says:

    Squeal, my little firebaggers

    Squeal like your daddy loves you

  98. 98
    Bruce S says:

    @xian:

    We’ve been through this and you’ve got nothing to show, frankly. I wouldn’t crow. That’s the point.

    We’ll see what happens, but to act like what Coburn says is a joke is folly. Signals your weakness on this one. And it’s certainly ass-holery to try to shout down this point with nothing but claims that “the left is as crazy as the right” which is the comment – don’t remember whose – that I took issue with after reading what KOS actually was posting. Coburn is, by GOP standards, not one of the totally crazy ones. (If you don’t believe me, ask Obama who worked with him on some issues.)

  99. 99
    McJulie says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    anyone who counseled less hysteria was savaged in the comments

    I was a major KOS junkie from the end of the 2004 election to the beginning of the 2008 primary season.

    There was a lot of unity when the big issues were our dislike of Bush II and Republicans in general. The primary started out well — we recognized that we had two incredibly strong candidates battling it out and that it was very likely our nominee would win. But by the end of the process it seemed to be nothing but screaming PUMAs.

    After that, seeing Obama splashed with the same level of vitriol that Bush II had been — I couldn’t believe it. I felt like the community wasn’t Democrats and liberals who wanted to get stuff done. They were drama queens.

    But even during Bush II, the unpopularity of the “less hysteria” position was obvious.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    @Marc:

    The hysterical Obama sold me out
    crowd has antagonized their potential allies.
    The habit of treating disagreement as treason may have something to do with that. Of course, crying wolf repeatedly,never admitting it, and being consistently wrong may also matter.

    This is it. Very well stated.

    and being consistently wrong may also matter.

    Just a weee bit

  101. 101
    Bruce S says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    So your “comparison” was pointless. I knew that…

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Might as well ask how many hipsters it takes to screw in a light bulb.

    All of them. Plus one

  103. 103
    Bruce S says:

    @liberal:

    Don’t bother. They don’t want to hear this. All you’ll get is either “Wall Street will take care of it” or “A (one or two day) government shutdown – with the Bush tax cuts mostly having been ratified over the long term by the Dems – will be plenty nuff ammunition.” I hope so. But it doesn’t strike me as genius.

    The real issue here for some becomes whether or not you have any criticisms of the White House. I happen to think that’s a pathetic measure of political discourse, as default position.

  104. 104
    Kay says:

    @Bruce S:

    For me, Bruce, I just feel as if we’re becoming a cartoon of what conservatives say we are. We’re becoming “the people who protect food stamps and unemployment insurance”. That’s not all we are.

    The GOAL here is for the economy to recover. A lot of these problems will be solved if people are working and paying and spending. A robust safety net is crucial, but it’s only half the argument. For example, the EITC all by itself is great stimulis. Working people depend on it, and they SPEND it. I wanted the EITC to go out in a timely manner. So sue me :)

    I want a competent, orderly government that sets tax issues sometime PRIOR to when we have to file. I saw enough economic drama and suffering the last three years to last me a lifetime. I’m not looking for any more. My political bet would be that I’m not alone, either. I think people want to get on with it. Pundits want high drama, and GOP politicians want high drama, but I think people are sick of this shit.

  105. 105
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    FWIW, in my city so-called hipsters have been starting numerous small businesses that have revitalized neighborhoods that folks had long given up on. So go fuck yourself. Again….

    You’re good at name-calling, but not much else. Douchebag.

  106. 106
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    You’re good at name-calling, but not much else. Douchebag.

    This sentence is all you, bwuce. And Your impotent fapping this morn is rather entertaining. Please carry on.

  107. 107

    Damn. Column due at the presses by 4am. Congress just voted, I should write something. I know… Congress sucks! Our government is dysfunctional! Obama failed us! Whew. Glad that’s over with. Time for bed.

    If Pierce ever decides to write down any positive suggestions, I’m all ears.

    But he never does seem to have ’em, does he?

  108. 108
    Bruce S says:

    @Kay:

    You’re talking to a social democrat who FWIW NEVER endorsed the welfare system as it was set up – mostly by Nixon, believe it or not – as a check separated from work, training or education. I don’t like band-aid liberalism.

    I’m totally an “economic growth” lefty, not a “safety net” liberal – although the safety net is essential. Not sure what I’ve said that you’re taking issue with. But just “getting on with it” in the terms of the DC establishment of the present powers-that-be isn’t going to yield the kind of economic security that you seek. That’s one thing you can count on. It’s going to take noisy efforts some of those folks who might make you feel uncomfortable to help us get past a status-quo that has a right-wing paradigm under which wage stagnation and inequality will increase, along with structural underemployment.

    But I totally agree that liberalism shouldn’t just be about helping “losers” – which is much of the perception, even among people who are living on government benefits.

  109. 109
    Bruce S says:

    @xian:

    Is that your best guess. Really? Doesn’t reflect well…maybe you should take a break from reading my mind. It makes you sound lie an asshole.

  110. 110
    xian says:

    @Bruce S: i didn’t say what *Cole* (not Coburn) said was a joke. I said that it was a realistic political assessment of the situation. “Living to fight another day, on better ground” is not “winning.”

  111. 111
    xian says:

    @Bruce S: you’re not good with metaphors, I see

  112. 112
    Kay says:

    @Bruce S:

    But just “getting on with it” in the terms of the DC establishment of the present powers-that-be isn’t going to yield the kind of economic security that you seek.

    But the economy is getting better Bruce, and I’m not talking about “markets” or “confidence” or any of that. I’m talking about people, working. Do regular people who just came thru the worst economic situation of their lifetimes really need another high-wire act? Ultimatums? Dire predictions? You MAY or MAY not see that income tax refund, depending on the situation between Boehner and Cantor and Obama and who has “leverage” or “better optics”? Really? That’s our political bet? Isn’t that a little insular and, well, precious?

    Conservatives seek to tank the economy to discredit the Democratic President. That’s their short-term goal.

  113. 113
    Bruce S says:

    @xian:

    This has pretty much been relegated to, as you said many comments ago, “We’ll See” territory. I’m hoping for “the best” in an ugly situation. Not at all certain.

  114. 114
    General Stuck says:

    Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Wednesday called for Republicans to be ready to shut down the government to gain spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt-limit.

    “We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

    This stated from a sitting US Senator, that apparently doesn’t know that defaulting on our debt is not simply ‘to shut down the government’. It is flirting with cataclysmic world disaster.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-.....t-shutdown
    If you aren’t afraid, you aren’t breathing.

  115. 115
    Bruce S says:

    @Kay:

    Regular people are going to get another high-wire act whether they like it or not. And frankly, “regular people” need to become something other than passive observers of politics or they will end up getting screwed.

    Your optimism about the economy is welcome, but I don’t believe that the underlying problems that got us into this mess have been addressed significantly. The financial sector is more concentrated, powerful and profitable than ever. Housing is still a major mess – with huge inventories being held back and foreclosures slow-walked to protect balance sheets. The major economic news of the decade is income inequality and wage stagnation – actually the news of the last several decades – and it’s going to need a bigger fix than anything we’re seeing out of DC at this stage of the game.

    “If you don’t do politics, politics will do you.” And politics can get very messy. Nothing worth gaining was ever conceded without some pain. We need to up our game – and IMHO electing a very smart and very decent guy President is barely a tenth of the key to solving the problems the country faces.

  116. 116
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    I’m afraid. But I thought I was supposed to be drinking Sweet Tea laced with the blood of Firebaggers and proclaiming Victory from the rooftops.

    You ARE General Stuck?

  117. 117
    Elie says:

    @dollared:

    We were never that country in your imagination. If you read history — even recent history, you know what looked like “honest” was just that there wasn’t much opposition — the power and who had it was unquestionned.

    We are fighting for a lot of stuff right now — including trying to change — even at the margins — the prerogatives and entitlements of the ruling class. We are actually trying to make our system more democratic and representative of all the people — not just the white and rich. As one might expect, there is some resistance to this. I see it as a sign that our efforts are working…

  118. 118
    kc says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    He meant he’ll have that debate with them in a few weeks.

  119. 119
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    But I thought I was supposed to be drinking Sweet Tea laced with the blood of Firebaggers

    Having trouble with reading comp again, grasshopper. But nice you claim your own contribution with the TEARS of the disappointed. That’s a start for the habitually wrong. And you are far too important and serious to savor victory with the rubes. Yours is a higher calling on Mount Petard.

  120. 120
    Kay says:

    @Bruce S:

    And frankly, “regular people” need to become something other than passive observers of politics or they will end up getting screwed.

    I agree with that, but it gets ridiculous. I think this is where we get into the difference between professional political observers and the public at large.

    They shouldn’t have to follow every twist and turn of Congress. It shouldn’t be this huge deal if Boehner and Cantor work out their epic leadership battle. I mean, Jesus Christ. Set the tax rates. Let me know if I can claim the dependent deduction. I don’t think I’m asking a whole lot.

    Government is supposed to WORK. The rest of us have to get on with our lives. We can’t be micromanaging Congress. When government doesn’t work, conservatives win.

  121. 121
    Kay says:

    @Bruce S:

    You didn’t ask, but I also think this singular focus on SS and Medicare (“will he cut? what might happen”?) is a mistake. If I have one huge complaint about Obama (and it’s big for me) it’s education. I think he and Duncan are a goddamned disaster on the privatization of public schools. That’s HAPPENING. Yet there’s so little attention paid, because professional pundits have decreed that we are all going to talk about “entitlements”, constantly.

  122. 122
    General Stuck says:

    @Kay:

    I think he and Duncan are a goddamned disaster on the privatization of public schools. That’s HAPPENING. Yet there’s so little attention paid, because professional pundits have decreed that we are all going to talk about “entitlements”, constantly.

    i did not know this, and agree. Public education is vital to maintaining an integrated (in many ways) and healthy society. We start to wall ourselves off from each other when we create an ed system that starts kids off that way. Which is precisely what republicans want.

  123. 123
    feebog says:

    @ General Struck:

    “We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

    Which is exactly why Obama should simply not negotiate on the debt ceiling. The money has already been authorized and Obama has the Bully Pulpit to point that out. The sequestration, which they already voted for kicks in the beginning of March, there’s your fucking spending cuts. And yes, it will set off a international monetary crisis. That is what it is going to take to wake this country up, so buckle up and get ready for the ride.

  124. 124
    Kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    I can’t even listen to Duncan anymore. I just think he’s this slick, lobbyist-captured bullshitter, but he’s got Obama’s full support.

    MY PLAN, Stuck, (such as it is!) is to petition Sherrod Brown, because he seems to have some understanding of the situation in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, which is full-on privatization of public schools.

    They could put the brakes on at the federal funding level, but (unfortunately) half the Democrats in Congress are either captured or they actually believe privatization is the way to go. I think it’s going to come back and bite Obama in the ass, and in ten years we’ll be talking about Obama and education the way we talk about Bill Clinton and trade. Not in an admiring manner, in other words. We’ll say we “lost” public education under Obama. It’s THAT bad, but it’s going to take a while to rise to the surface of public notice.

  125. 125
    handsmile says:

    @General Stuck:

    Afraid? Absolutely. It would seem that sentiment is what underlines the concerns of Krugman, DeLong, J. Bernstein, J. Cohn, Scheiber, Pierce et al on what awaits us in two months (the deadline of the current “extraordinary measures” debt ceiling and the now-postponed sequestration cuts).

    Do you believe that negotiations during the past week between the White House and Senate Republicans over the content of the “fiscal cliff” agreement makes it more or less likely that Toomey and his fellow nihilists will deploy the measure of a “temporary, partial government shutdown”?

    ETA: Sincere question, btw.

  126. 126
    dww44 says:

    @Kay: @Kay: @Kay: @Kay:

    It was worth reading thru this whole somewhat contentious thread just to get your nuggets of common sense and wisdom. Thanks.

  127. 127
    magurakurin says:

    @Bruce S:

    Seriously, you need a fucking life. They are absolutely foaming at the mouth hysterical over at Kos right now. It’s fucking embarrassing.

    And thankfully yes the numbers of these wackadoodles is several magnitudes less than on the right. In fact, they are small enough in number to have become utterly impotent and meaningless in a larger sense. Unlike on the right where they are actually sitting members of Congress and candidates for the POTUS. But the whiff of left wing authoritarianism is again rising strong from the Kos Fever Swamp.

  128. 128
    Elie says:

    @feebog:

    You realize of course, that the Congress has to pass this – not Obama. Think of the dynamics and the process and how this is going to play out. While its all well and good to say that he won’t negotiate – do we all actually know and are we clear about the cost of this? Are you absolutely sure that we should reconcile ourselves to whatever suffering is necessary? I’m all good with suffering if I have a good picture of what the suffering is going to be – not just some theoretical construct like “breaking a few eggs to make an omelette”.

  129. 129
    General Stuck says:

    @handsmile:

    Do you believe that negotiations during the past week between the White House and Senate Republicans over the content of the “fiscal cliff” agreement makes it more or less likely that Toomey and his fellow nihilists will deploy the measure of a “temporary, partial government shutdown”?

    Toomey is a clown. The Senate has their own special brand of wingnut, but they are much more in sync with the plutocrats, and like this event with the fiscal cliff, are not eager to go beyond bluffing with nihilistic methods of politicking. And I think Boehner is the same way, and will be again somewhat sane with anything to do with actually defaulting on our debt and killing the profit goose for the corps. If he remains as speaker after tomorrow.

    And I don’t think I have ever seen Obama so resolved as he now is with not negotiating over the debt ceiling being raised. So no, I think the bubble has burst for those things being used. But there are plenty more ways for the House to monkey wrench the Obama agenda. So we shall see. This was a crushing political event, in every way for the republicans, so there whinging shit like Toomey is mostly impotent fapping at the moon. The dems still have the advantage on leverage with the sequester, and if the nutters want to shut down the government, then they can put those extra nails in their coffins with voters. I think we are seeing a rare political shift right now, and though it is dicey making calls this way or that. Everything is different after yesterday, and we shall see how it plays out. Our side is sitting fairly well, compared with the fractured goopers, though they are still dangerous from running a chamber of congress.

  130. 130
    Elie says:

    @Bruce S:

    not to mention “trapped” in the White House and an office that is inherently disposed toward compromise

    Perhaps its inherently disposed towards “compromise” because it is the symbol of a leader who uses democratic means to govern vs. a monarch who can just command his subordinates to do his bidding? Just a thought.

  131. 131
    handsmile says:

    @General Stuck:

    Appreciate your reply.

    Fully agree that “I don’t think I have ever seen Obama so resolved as he now is with not negotiating over the debt ceiling being raised.” Where our agreement may falter though is how much do we believe what we see, or whether that belief will be sustained. Neither “Obot” or “emoprog” as those invectives are usually flung about here, I do want to believe.

    Any “rare political shift” must be accompanied by a shift in the coverage of national political issues by the corporate media. Turning on the tv this morning to be assaulted by the likes of Dan Senor, David Walker, Brokaw, Halperin (MSNBC) and Marcia Blackburn and Jason Chaffetz (CNN) makes me despair that “everything is different after yesterday.” To be sure, “our side is sitting fairly well.” Most viewers would never know that by what side is consistently given the media microphone.

  132. 132
    Bruce s says:

    @magurakurin:

    Unless you’ve got a link to something other than the last two front pages I saw at KOS, you’re some kind of nut or Beltway hack .

  133. 133
    Bruce s says:

    @Elie:

    Uh, yeah. Not our Savior either. Adults know this stuff. The Presidency is limited…and the office is limiting. Look elsewhere for the leadership we need to make needed change. Obama, of course, knows this. And he’s the best Prez in my (long) lifetime.

  134. 134
    Bruce s says:

    @Kay:

    Yeah. Big problem – although I’m not as anti-Duncan as you, the charter mania – which I used to support out of desperation about local schools has become aTrojan Horse. A charter myth has been created by elites. We need reform to focus on existing public schools – not creating a shadow system that robs districts of public resources. And yes this is a big deal – although I don’t think it is off the radar. The problem is that a lot of “liberal Dems” are too close to the corporate elites. This is reflected in a lot of issues, notably financial reform. Lots of Dems are either bought off or cowed by power.

  135. 135
    Groucho48 says:

    @General Stuck:

    Hipsters prefer candles.

  136. 136
    Darkrose says:

    I read Charlie’s comment as “We only got 12 months of unemployment insurance extension, so we might as well not have gotten anything.” The perfect is the enemy of the good. Was that not what he meant?

  137. 137
    opie_jeanne says:

    David Dreier was my dad’s Rep, and Dad died in mid-September. He was a life-long Republican, Dad was, but he said he wasn’t voting for that guy again. He died before the election, so that was true.
    My sister who votes Republican because some guy always tells her to (a boss, our dad, a husband, etc.) said she wasn’t voting for him. Called him a moron.

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