Friday Morning Open Thread

obamacare bang for the buck handelsman
(Walt Handelsman via GoComics.com)

From Professor Krugman’s column to the FSM’s noodly appendages…

Leading Republicans appear to be nerving themselves up for another round of attempted fiscal blackmail. With the end of the fiscal year looming, they aren’t offering the kinds of compromises that might produce a deal and avoid a government shutdown; instead, they’re drafting extremist legislation — bills that would, for example, cut clean-water grants by 83 percent — that has no chance of becoming law. Furthermore, they’re threatening, once again, to block any rise in the debt ceiling, a move that would damage the U.S. economy and possibly provoke a world financial crisis.

Yet even as Republican politicians seem ready to go on the offensive, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety, even despair, among conservative pundits and analysts. Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work.

And the good news about Obamacare is, I’d argue, what’s driving the Republican Party’s intensified extremism. Successful health reform wouldn’t just be a victory for a president conservatives loathe, it would be an object demonstration of the falseness of right-wing ideology. So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass…

So will Republicans actually take us to the brink? If they do, it will be crucial to understand why they would do such a thing, when their own leaders have admitted that confrontations over the budget inflict substantial harm on the economy. It won’t be because they fear the budget deficit, which is coming down fast. Nor will it be because they sincerely believe that spending cuts produce prosperity.

No, Republicans may be willing to risk economic and financial crisis solely in order to deny essential health care and financial security to millions of their fellow Americans. Let’s hear it for their noble cause!

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37 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    No, Republicans may be willing to risk economic and financial crisis solely in order to deny essential health care and financial security to millions of their fellow Americans.

    At what point is the GOP declared the Party of Traitors and the mass executions begin?

    I mean, at this point they’ve pretty much done everything except fire a cannon at some Fort’s walls.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    What happened to the rule of law? If Congress can refuse to act on the health care law, can’t they refuse to act on any law?

  3. 3
    raven says:

    @JPL: Power of the purse.

  4. 4
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @JPL:

    Obeying the law is for little people, Dude.

    And states, being the sovereign entities that they are, don’t have to conform to federal laws. What a quaint, old fashioned idea!

    [grumble, grumble, grumble]

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    @raven: Good morning! Isn’t it unusual to use that power to prevent enactment of existing laws? I need more coffee before I do research though.

  6. 6
    Keith G says:

    @JPL: Fwiw the job of Congress is to pass laws not to act upon/implement said laws. One might recall during the 80s there were stories in the news about Congress not being subject to laws it passed.

    This is not a rule of law issue. It is a political issue. To that end, it is up to the administration and the Democratic Party to energetically make the case to the constituents of GOP members of Congress about the harm being caused.

    This is bare knuckle politics. Unfortunately, the GOP and it’s leadership does bare knuckle politics better than us. We need to get off our asses.

    I am already planning to go to town hall meetings (Rep Culbertson – R. Houston). Are you?

  7. 7
    Fred says:

    The GOP has long known that a successful healthcare plan put in place by Democrats will be rememberd as a crowning achivement of the US government. They have faught it for 3/4s of a century and they know it will be the death of any hope of holding future national power. The GOP is fighting for it’s very existance.
    If their efforts fail the next faise will be to swear they were for it all along. It’s biggest supporters don’chaknow. We’ve always been at war with East-Asia too.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    @JPL: HI.

    Following Cooper-Church, and even after the Paris cease-fire agreement, Congress literally dropped the hammer on the Vietnam War with its passage in 1973 of a joint resolution (H.J.Res. 636) prohibiting any further appropriation or expenditure of any funds for any “combat in or over or from the shores of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.”

    I suppose this wasn’t the same but it’s a good place to start.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @Keith G: I should sign up for Price’s emails. He’s fond of the conference calls where he doesn’t allow questions, though.

  10. 10
    c u n d gulag says:

    When are the Republicans going to change their symbol from an elephant, to a vulture?

    Make that, a maggot.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    raven says:

    Morning Joe is even ranting about what a stupid idea a shutdown is!

  13. 13
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: Saw that on Morning Ho. When the kid enlisted in the Air Force I learned that Airman applies to both sexes.

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    @Keith G:

    I am already planning to go to town hall meetings (Rep Culbertson – R. Houston

    Kudos to you. Please report back.

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    Obama is trying hard to get ordinary people to start thinking about their options under Obamacare. I think it’s great that the GOP is doing everything they can to raise the law’s profile.

  16. 16
    Linda says:

    @Fred: The next step–when it succeeds–is to point out its antecedents in Romneycare, and swear that everything difficult or problematic about it was a Dem contribution. Seeing their next propaganda moves is like thinking 3 steps ahead of a 2 year old.

  17. 17
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Linda: You think they care that much about defending Romney anymore? I don’t. They’d probably say that’s why Romney sucked so wicked bad.

  18. 18
    Patrick says:

    @TenguPhule:

    At what point is the GOP declared the Party of Traitors and the mass executions begin?

    Almost half of our country’s voters voted for the GOP.

  19. 19
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So I am curious how many conservatives are going to be willing to get into line to commit economic suicide with The House GOP? After all the autism is a sign of homosexuality in the right these days and greed is the only virtue,

    I suppose the house GOP sees this is as the last year they can be a bunch of dicks and get away with it. Next year is an election year for them so they will have to go into CYA mode and after that the lead up to the 2016 race so no brinksmanship for that.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    it’s going to be interesting watching certain states absolutely get Obamacare right…while other states deliberately sabotaging their citizens.

  21. 21
    Manyakitty says:

    Say what you want about Sully. He’s got it right on this thread: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com.....urs-ctd-3/

  22. 22
    boatboy_srq says:

    @TenguPhule:

    [A]t this point they’ve pretty much done everything except fire a cannon at some Fort’s walls.

    See, that’s what all the 2nd-Amendment shouting is warning us about: “give us what we want or we’ll take our Constitutionally-guaranteed-firearms and do something [cough] patriotic [cough] with them.”

    I still want to see some federal proposal to relocate the Teahadists to someplace easily excised from the US (say, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana), evict that region from the Union and pull all the federal dollars/agencies/bases/employees from the area.

  23. 23
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: They won’t pay any price. Between the 2010 redistricting (gerrymandering), the next year of voter suppression techniques, mid-term slump, voter fatigue and leftist purity trolls sitting it out “to teach them a lesson”, 2014 will be worse than 2010, as R’s take the Senate and increase their control of the House. Then Hillary will have another health issue and decide to go home for good, Biden will be too f’ing old and the Dems will, by default, coalesce around a dipshit like Cuomo, who will be a dipshit and manage to lose to Ted Cruz in November of 2016.

    No, I did not have a good night’s sleep last night, why do you ask?

  24. 24
    Tata says:

    This morning, the blind kitten took a swipe at my face and connected while I was stretching. Blood everywhere, such drama! It was a few hours ago, so I keep forgetting why my face itches. I love her to pieces but CRIMINY.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    kindness says:

    So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass

    While I agree with the premise of this piece’s reasoning I do not believe that this is the last anything from Republicans. That would be like saying we have reached peak wingnut and in all honesty I suspect that day will only come when everything on this planet has gone on to the other side.

    TeaHaddists have electronics where there is only one setting on the volume control, 11.

  27. 27
    GRANDPA john says:

    @Patrick: sounds like a good time to go into the tumbrel business

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tata:

    Yikes! I’m thinking that a blind kitten is a good candidate for Soft Paws, just so she doesn’t accidentally hurt anyone.

  29. 29
    Tata says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ll look into that, thanks! Mama is not a cat toy!

  30. 30
    DavidTC says:

    @boatboy_srq:
    I still want to see some federal proposal to relocate the Teahadists to someplace easily excised from the US (say, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana), evict that region from the Union and pull all the federal dollars/agencies/bases/employees from the area.

    Actually, you wouldn’t need to ‘pull’ anything. Just give states the option of opting out of _everything_, but only at once. All or nothing. In or out.

    Not actual true secession, they’d still be subject to Federal law. But they’d be allowed to pay a lot less Federal taxes, in return for almost no services. No medicare taxes, in return, of course, for no medicare of people who didn’t pay such taxes. No medicaid _and_ no providing funding to hospitals to cover uninsured people. (Which are, of course, still required to cover everyone…it’s funding and taxes the state opted out of, not laws.)

    No matching highway funds. No oil subsidies for gas sold in that state. No Federal grants at all. Anything we can keep from giving them, we don’t give them. Basically, the only Federal outposts in their state would be a few law enforcement agencies.

    And really do reduce their taxes proportionally, but we all know these asshats are actually net users of Federal money…and they’d have to raise state taxes _sky-high_ to keep up…or, more likely, crash and burn immediately when Republicans find themselves unable to do that.

    And the Republican base would stand there yammering like idiots that they should do it. And vote out people who won’t.

    I honestly don’t understand why the entire Democratic strategy isn’t, at this point, ‘Making elected Republicans put their money where their base’s mouth is’.

  31. 31
    eyelessgame says:

    I think that misstates slightly.

    They aren’t doing this simply to deny health care to millions of Americans.

    They’re doing this because if Obamacare is a success they’re fearing that they’ll never get a Republican elected again.

    It’s not about cruelty per se; it’s about power, and fearing its loss.

  32. 32
    Zugzwang says:

    We all know in about 5-10 years, if ACA does work in its entirity in spite of Republican efforts to dismantle it, the GOP will be falling over itself to take credit for the legislation, gloating about how Obama stole the idea from Mitt Romney and how they were all for such legislation before they were against it, and got rid of all of the bad Democrat parts of the bill, to boot.

    In the meantime, I’m going to continue waiting for the day enough elected officials get the political courage to legitimately push for a single payer system.

  33. 33
    boatboy_srq says:

    @DavidTC: I like that idea. And given how “Taxed Enough Already” the Tax Evading Americans Party is convinced they are, they’d likely get behind this completely.

    The one trouble I see is the Teahadists’ apparent willingness to enter into expensive localised contracts: take a look at how many are HOA-managed-gated-community residents, whose HOA fees are higher than their taxes (and sometimes higher than their mortgages). They’ll willingly pay for stuff that’s local, even when they haven’t read the rules and don’t realise they can’t paint their houses red/white/blue – but just let the state house or (gasp) Washington demand a millage increase and suddenly it’s the end of the world.

    And come to think of it, I’d withdraw the law enforcement / DOD presences as well: there are too many communities that survive on the disposable income from those sites, and we don’t need to support those any more than we need to fill the gaps in their state budgets or the potholes in their roads.

  34. 34
    Yatsuno says:

    @Zugzwang:

    In the meantime, I’m going to continue waiting for the day enough elected officials get the political courage to legitimately push for a single payer system.

    When California does finally enact one (and it is a when) that will be the big domino that knocks the rest over. Fortunately it’s already happened in one state. And it just takes one…

  35. 35
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    When the kid enlisted in the Air Force I learned that Airman applies to both sexes.

    The word “man” originally applied to both sexes. According to etymonline.com:

    Sense of “adult male” is late (c.1000); Old English used wer and wif to distinguish the sexes, but wer began to disappear late 13c. and was replaced by man. “Woman” was originally wifman, or in modern terms “woman-man”.

    I love etymology.

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    Tweety’s Let Me Finish from last night:

    Transcript: HARDBALL July 25, 2013 Chris Matthews:

    Let me finish tonight with this.

    I said it before and am now saying it again.

    There are too many people on the American right who hate the very notion of
    Barack Obama in the White House. It grates on them, just as it thrills – even
    now – tens of millions of others.

    They hate not just his politics but him.

    Think about all the days we have known him – from way back when he gave that
    breathtaking speech at the 2004 convention? Was there ever a time in all those
    days and weeks and months and years since that his haters on the right have
    stopped in their tracks and said, “Well, good for him. I liked the way he did
    that.”

    Think hard. Have his haters ever stopped hating him?

    When we got Bin Laden?

    When the stock market doubled, doubling very 401K, making all those haters
    richer – twice as rich – as they were when Bush left us stranded with a
    dropping, scary economy? Did they ever look up and say, even hesitantly, “Well,
    I’ll give him this one?”

    No.

    No.

    No.

    You can discount it all. You can say it’s not about race or whatever. You can
    say it, but …

    Think about this. In all the criticisms you’ve heard the haters say about
    African Americans all the years of your life – and think about this man’s life –
    about how hard he worked at school, how he achieved so highly at school, how he
    married so well and so faithfully, how he’s fathered two great daughters and
    kept them, protected them, been a truly great father to them, be a true partner
    in his marriage, treated his office with such respect and dignity – has never
    once let us down with his personal behavior and yet ….

    They hate him. They really do and I don’t have to be the one to tell you.

    We live in a country where a good chunk of the country hates its elected
    leader and won’t really – I mean really- tell you why.

    It’s the same reason they spend their time thinking of clever gimmicks to
    keep so many people from voting. Anybody disagree?

    http://youtu.be/3qT82CCv240

  37. 37
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @gocart mozart: Please proceed.

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