Open Thread: Tailgunner Ted and the Chamber of Echoes

cruz control danziger
(Jeff Danziger’s website)

Alex Pareene, at Salon, explains “How Ted Cruz is coordinating the (incoherent) conservative shutdown strategy“:

We sort of knew that while Ted Cruz was acting in defiance of Senate Republican leadership, he had a merry band of followers, consisting of a couple of other senators and a larger bloc of hard-liners in the House. Cruz is leading this unofficial new caucus along with his stalwart ally, Sen. Mike Lee, who is just as right-wing as Cruz but less telegenic. Cruz and Lee have been driving the entire GOP message on the shutdown even though they represent, and have been meeting with, only a fraction of congressional Republicans. The “let’s just fund veterans and parks” thing? That was them…

Allow me to make a point I’ve made before: The reason conservatives blew up about “Journolist,” the notorious liberal media email listserv, is because they assumed liberals coordinate their messaging the same way that conservatives traditionally have. So the fact that conservative media people are working directly with a Republican senator and activist conservative groups to develop and refine their shutdown related memery and arguments is also unsurprising. Spending yesterday fixating solely on veterans trying to visit a war memorial is not an idea that simply occurred spontaneously to everyone in the right-wing press.

What’s funny about all of this, though, is how much it just reinforces the insane bubble that all of these people — conservative members of Congress, conservative media people and professional conservative activists — live their entire lives in. They are all talking to each other, and only to each other. The fact that the conservative position is deeply unpopular, the fact that conservative strategy is incoherent and self-defeating, none of that is reaching them. John Boehner and Ross Douthat know what’s going on. Rep. Tim Huelskamp only knows what he reads at RedState and what he hears from people who only read RedState….

Republicans have no agreed-upon leader, their supposed policy agenda completely changes month to month, and they’re just making up their strategy on the fly. The one thing they’re good at is talking to each other, and that’s just making everything worse….

More details at the link.

ETA: Why people hate debate-team champions…

(H/t NYMag)

188 replies
  1. 1
    Yatsuno says:

    Still: Never underestimate the ability of Democrats to lose a standoff with a bunch of deluded nuts. Democrats don’t have a Cruz, they have an Obama, who is always more than willing to attempt to give the deluded nuts at least some of what they claim to demand.

    Jeebus Alex. Just call him a blah cheese-eating surrender monkey so you can maintain your Kool Kidz cred.

  2. 2
    Baud says:


    Thanks. I was about to click the link.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    “Both sides do it.”

    Pareene, stop being a dick. NOW.

  4. 4
    Yatsuno says:

    @Baud: It was a decent article until balance must be maintained!!! Then he pulls that shit as his last paragraph. Protip: the President doesn’t get to vote in Congress Alex. Oi.

  5. 5
    fuckwit says:

    I have to go back to the Fight Club well on this:

    “You guys are running around in ski masks, blowing shit up, what the fuck did you think was gonna happen?!”

  6. 6
    Baud says:


    It’s why I so rarely get out of the boat.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Also, why would the Democrats want a Cruz? He’s the type of whiny-voiced asswipe not even a mother could love.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    As soon as I saw it was Salon I made a rude noise with my mouth and closed the tab.

    Should have read the intro more closely.

    One thing that seems to be the consensus: President Obama will move to get us out of this, and then the House will try to impeach him over whatever it is.

    There’s no hint of the Goopers realizing this, though…

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    @Yatsuno: Yeah. He was doing so well until that paragraph. Especially considering the impressive degree of unity the Democrats have showed so far.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    But Danziger’s cartoon is pretty good.

  11. 11
    The Other Chuck says:

    Epistemic closure, guys. I really have tried to make a good-faith effort to find conservative sites that are readable, but I still search in vain. There’s still some mildly conservative strains on LGF, but that’s really it.

    Of course I also quit dkos when I couldn’t stand the din of the echo chamber. Even if I agree with 99% of their positions, I just couldn’t take the constant circle-jerking.

  12. 12
    Wag says:

    I listened to ATC in NPR tonight. It was so entertaining listening to David Brooks spinning the moderate GOP/WSJ line about the out of control Tea Party. After spending years waxing eloquent about the Indepentent TP and how they represent the Holy Center, he now has a come to Jesus moment and realizes that the TP is batshit crazy.

    He knows who his paymaster is, and it sure as hell isn’t Ted Cruz.

  13. 13
    Yatsuno says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The cartoon rulz. Fortunately Danzinger has no connection to Alex there.

    @dmsilev: I don’t even get the point of the last paragraph. What was Pareene trying to say, that Obummer is just gonna surrender anyway so might as well fold to the Republicans now? Especially since Obama has shown zero sign of giving in on anything here.

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    Epistemic closure, guys.

    To hell with it. If people don’t want to say things that are convincing, I’m not going to spend my precious time trying to be convinced by them.

  15. 15
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I’ve decided that the right wing radicals, Cruz & Co., are operating on a Helter Skelter plan, like the Manson Helter Skelter plan way back when.

    Manson wanted to induce chaos and blame it on black folks and then spark a race war. From that conflagration, he was going to emerge with power. Somehow.

    The TeaParty fanatics are also trying to induce chaos and blame it on anyone but themselves and hope that in the ensuing anarchy, they will emerge with power. Somehow.

    I think there’s a name for that kind of political philosophy but I can’t remember what it is.

    It’s crazy of course. But dangerous as hell.

  16. 16
    fuckwit says:

    @The Other Chuck: really? I quit dkos because of the constant bickering and infighting, mostly of the firebagger vs obot variety.

    AFAICT there is nothing like the conservative echo chamber on th left though maybe the Weathermen in the 60s came closest.

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @dmsilev: Meh, it was still good article for those of us who don’t fall to pieces when someone fails to properly worship the President.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Pogonip says:

    Defense One reports that Lockheed will have to lay off 3,000 people, for starters, if the shutdown continues. The Defense Contract Management Agency is closed, so there is no one to do the acceptance necessary for DOD to pay a contractor for his goods or services. Contracts also cannot be modified because there’s nobody to write the administrative mods. I look for the shutdown to end early next week, at least for DOD. This is starting to cost the 1% money, and it’s a safe bet that they are not amused.

  20. 20

    For some reason, my latest kitteh photo is triggering WP’s moderation filter, if you want a seasonal kitteh full of cute, click my bloo name.

  21. 21
    Mike E says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Who is depicted as the figurine the GOPiphant is reaching for?

  22. 22
    fuckwit says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: just once, I would love to read a peice in the MSM by someone other than say Krugman, which places the blame squarely and completely upon the Rethugs and does not even attempt to put a “both sides” fig leaf on it.

  23. 23
    Kay says:

    Here’s the National Review’s Robert Costa explaining exactly why all of this is happening:
    The outside groups don’t always move votes directly but they create an atmosphere of fear among the members. And so many of these members now live in the conservative world of talk radio and tea party conventions and Fox News invitations. And so the conservative strategy of the moment, no matter how unrealistic it might be, catches fire. The members begin to believe they can achieve things in divided government that most objective observers would believe is impossible. Leaders are dealing with these expectations that wouldn’t exist in a normal environment.

    It doesn’t really matter, but it isn’t true that setting false expectations around repealing the PPACA is new. They have repealed it in the House more than 40 times. They’ve been keeping the Tea Party riled up over repeal of Obamacare for years. No one outside their base paid any attention, but they were taking those votes in the House for a reason. That’s just at the federal level! Conservatives at the state level simply moved the fight to statehouses and created a new cause for the Tea Party to rally ’round, denying people Medicaid.
    I know they all want to pretend that Cruz just came out of nowhere with this zany plan, but that isn’t true. It’s the one and only “plan”. Been going on for years. They had no plan on how to end their years long opposition to Obamacare. They still don’t. I don’t know how they end it, honestly.

  24. 24
    beltane says:

    @Wag: David Brooks’ reaction to all this was very telling and deserves its own post. It reminded me of that one unguarded moment when he referred to Sarah Palin as a “fatal cancer” on the Republican party. Well, the cancer has spread to all vital organs and the only question is whether it will kill the United States or just the Republican party.

  25. 25

    “Coordinating” seems like the wrong word. Can you say “dysordinating”? “infraordinating”?

  26. 26
    dmsilev says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: If Parenne had even attempted to back up that “Obama is going to cave” statement with some evidence, I might agree with you. But he just threw it out there apparently just for the Hell of it. Sure, it’s possible that Obama will “cave” if we get close to the debt-ceiling date and the GOP is still intransigent, but just about everything we’ve seen coming out of the White House and the Democrats in Congress suggests the opposite so if you’re going to claim “cave” you need to provide some evidence.

  27. 27
    Ash Can says:

    @fuckwit: Actually, there have been an unusual number of columns in the Corporate Media lately that do put the blame squarely on the GOP. It’s been a wonder to behold.

  28. 28
    Baud says:

    @Ash Can:

    I tend to agree, although it’s important to remember how bad the baseline is.

  29. 29
    Hill Dweller says:

    I recently read a story about Austan Goolsbee beating Tailgunner Ted in a debate back in the day, and taunting him afterward during a pickup basketball game. Ted reportedly didn’t handle it very.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Ted reportedly didn’t handle it very.

    Been watching Heathers again?

  31. 31
    The Other Chuck says:


    I quit dkos because of the constant bickering and infighting, mostly of the firebagger vs obot variety.

    Infighting is sorta of the other side of the same coin: it’s not new theological ideas that drive the sanctimonious to all be holier than the pope after all.

  32. 32
    Ash Can says:

    @Baud: No doubt about that. But I think that makes the recent spate of backlash against the GOP all the more remarkable.

  33. 33
    The Other Chuck says:


    I don’t know how they end it, honestly

    There’s a reason they call them dead-enders.

  34. 34

    @schrodinger’s cat: OK I figured it out, WP thinks it is Pron.

  35. 35
    Felonius Monk says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Nice. Always like traveling thru that part of Mass.

  36. 36
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @dmsilev: No you don’t. Parrene doesn’t have to cater to the fluffer brigade. Obama is notorious for both negotiating with himself and giving in. Every fucking time He does, you fluffers lose your mind and start making excuses for why He had to do what He did.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Hill Dweller says:

    I found the article. Money quote:

    Cruz competed against and lost to former White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee in the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s 1991 Team of the Year* contest. (Cruz went on to win in 1992.) Goolsbee’s debate partner, David Gray, recalled that after beating Cruz and his partner, David Panton, one team challenged the other to a pickup basketball game. As Gray remembers it, Goolsbee was matched up to guard Cruz, and proceeded to trash-talk Cruz up and down the court.

    “Austan can be very, very funny. He kept challenging Ted to shoot the ball from outlandishly long places—’I bet you $20 you can’t make a shot from right here,’ ” Gray said. “Austan would bait Ted to shoot, shoot, shoot, and it was not a good result for him. … Ted couldn’t help himself from taking the shots.” Princeton lost the game.

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    @Hill Dweller: Ted always handles losses well… Didn’t you hear him today say they had compromised by only wanting to defund Obamacare.

  40. 40
    MikeJ says:


    I quit dkos because of the constant bickering and infighting,

    So’s yer mother!

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Why, oh why, am I not the least bit surprised at that.

    Cruz has all the maturity of someone stuck forever in the terrible threes.

  42. 42
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Yatsuno: I read Pareene’s closing as meaning “Let’s not get our hopes too high, just yet.”

    Always a good idea, especially for Democrats, no matter who’s in the White House.

  43. 43
    Baud says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    That story makes be glad I never did debate.

  44. 44
    LesGS says:

    @The Other Chuck: I find Daniel Larison at The American Conservative readable and helpful in my attempts to puzzle out what’s going on over there to my right.

  45. 45
    Baud says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    That’s a very generous reading. Or Pareene is an awful writer.

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    @Kay: The Chamber of Commerce supported these yokels and are now trying to jump ship. Sure those who want to destroy our democracy will support them, but the economy will tank.

  47. 47
    beltane says:

    @Hill Dweller: Cruz presents himself as a rather fussy, fastidious diva. Getting under his skin must be the easiest thing in the world.

  48. 48
    Citizen_X says:

    @fuckwit: Maybe that’s the problem: Cruz is going around the country stirring up shit, thinking he’s Tyler Durden. Pro tip, Rafael: you ain’t.

  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    Wait, on what planet is Rafael Cruz considered telegenic?

  50. 50
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Fortunately Danzinger has no connection to Alex there.

    I was a bit ambiguous. Didn’t mean to imply a connection, although on rereading I can see how one might have thought I did.

    On an utterly unrelated topic: I have responded a couple of times with a modest $$ donation to Michelle Nunn, who is running for Senate in Georgia and, I think, has a halfway-decent chance of winning — depending, of course, on whT kind of wingnut idjit the GOP ends up selecting.

    Anyhow, tomorrow is “Hands On Atlanta” day, and last weekend I got an email from MN’s campaign asking me to sign up and volunteer to be on her team and do some kind of literacy-education coaching. I immediately said yes. I immediately got a bounce back message. With great effort and cleverness, I finally managed to connect to someone on her staff and said, there are problems with your email system but I wNt to volunteer. She wrote back and said, thank you for letting us know, we are having issues but we’re working on them, glad you want to volunteer, we’ll be in touch.

    So now, it is the night before — literally, as Joe Biden would say, less than 12 hours before Hands On Atlanta is supposed to get underway — and nobody has contacted me to say where to meet, what time to meet, what to wear, what to bring, how long it is supposed to last, NOTHING.

    I am really disappointed. I won’t write off Michelle Nunn completely because of staff and/or tech screwups, but a quick email just acknowledging either the problem or my willingness to volunteer would have been appreciated. As it is, I had held the day, but now I am going to go to the Met Live in HD and watch Anna Netrebko in Tchaikoveky’s “Eugen Onegin.” I may be retired, but my time still has a bit of value.


  51. 51
    Ted & Hellen says:

    What’s funny about all of this, though, is how much it just reinforces the insane bubble that all of these people — conservative members of Congress, conservative media people and professional conservative activists — live their entire lives in. They are all talking to each other, and only to each other.

    Why should it matter to them? They get their way an insanely inordinate amount of the time anyway, so who gives a fuck how small their echo chamber is?

    Echo chamber issues never keep the BJ Bots from repeating each others’ words back and forth across this tiny void…

  52. 52
    Kay says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    There’s a moderate Republican in the Ohio statehouse. I think her name is “Sears”. She joined with Kasich and backed Medicaid expansion (which failed). I wrote about it here. She backed it probably partly because she is recognized as a Republican who knows something about health care.
    They’re getting rid of her. They have billboards up and national conservative org financial backing.
    It’s their single issue in Ohio. They back other things- the ordinary lunatic wish list- abortion restrictions, punishing poor people, but opposition to Obamacare is what gets them out.

  53. 53
    LeftCoastTom says:

    From above:

    Cruz is leading this unofficial new caucus along with his stalwart ally, Sen. Mike Lee, who is just as right-wing as Cruz but less telegenic.

    “Ted” Cruz is “telegenic”? Since when…

    Edit: @Mike in NC:…looks like our posts crossed in the ether.

  54. 54
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I love that Autumn Kitteh. Saved the picture to my photo album for the cutez.

  55. 55
    Gravenstone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Every fucking time He does, you fluffers lose your mind and start making excuses for why He had to do what He did.

    That’s a bit of a tell there, Fucky, giving references to Obama the royal (or divine) He. Projecting a bit, old boy?

  56. 56
    Chaoticgnome says:

    I wonder if Cruz did highschool debate. He certainly knows how to compile a squirrel case, and can see him as one of those people that make 15 contentions with little to no support and just hope you can’t mention all of them and claim you concede the points left out.

  57. 57
    beltane says:

    @Mike in NC: Cruz makes Rick Santorum look like Brad Pitt in comparison. He may be more telegenic than Ronald Reagan’s corpse but that’s about it.

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chaoticgnome: I remember those fuckers from HS debate. That is exactly the aura he gives off.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    @Chaoticgnome: @Omnes Omnibus:

    So debate judges don’t deduct points for making shit up?

  60. 60
    LeftCoastTom says:

    @Baud: Worked for “Mitt” Romney in the first Presidential debate.

  61. 61
    NotMax says:

    @Mike in NC

    Wait, on what planet is Rafael Cruz considered telegenic?


  62. 62
    JPL says:

    @Baud: Sometimes they grow up to be Fox News reporters.

  63. 63
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Baud: For more than a hundred years — going back at least as far as Finley Peter Dunne in the original Gilded Age — the Democrats have been the party of “We’re going to work towards improving things, because it’s important, but it won’t be easy and we won’t always win.” We’re the Borderline Depressive Party.

    The GOP, going back to the same period, has always been the Bipolar/Borderline Personality Disorder Party: “We’re gonna WIN this one! And it’ll be SPARKLE PONIES FOR EVERYONE! And when we don’t win, it means OUR ENEMIES are CONSPIRING AGAINST US!… ”

    I’d rather be an honest cynic than delusional… or a criminal using the delusional as catspaws. I think Cruz is a catspaw, but he thinks he’s manipulating his lower-IQ fellow Teahadists.

  64. 64

    @Mike in NC: Not on this one, he looks like somebody beat him with an ugly stick.

  65. 65

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thanks, she is pretty cute.

  66. 66
    Emma says:

    @Gravenstone: Like a 60 theater multiplex. The Obama haters immediately start pulling the “you think he’s the chosen one” bs when you catch them without a decent argument.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: Actually, if you have a little note card with a source, you are good. You just need the right sources. Also, the idea is that you put it out there and cited a source, if the other side doesn’t contradict you, you get up on rebuttal and point out that your claim is unrefuted and thus you should win. It’s a cheap and tacky way to debate.

    The judges can’t be expected to know every thing about the debate topic and don’t have time to verify sources. As a result, one could claim that a “fact” pulled from a McMegan piece was from an article in The Atlantic.

  68. 68
    Kay says:

    Harry Reid:

    “I say to my friend John Boehner–and I do like him, I’ve said that lots of times–John, if you want to really have history books account who you really are, do this,” he said, urging Boehner to take up the clean bill.


  69. 69
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Jesus, that would have driven me insane.


    Reid has been awesome. It’s like 10x better than when he was needling Romney about his taxes.

    @Anne Laurie:

    I’m not so sure about the “borderline” these days.

  70. 70
    Felonius Monk says:

    Remember kids, Tail Gunner Ted eats Whinnies the Breakfast of Chumpians.

  71. 71
    JPL says:

    Mike Luckovich has been outstanding this week. He might be trying for another Pulitzer with his latest.. link

  72. 72
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    We just get tired of the Obots turning everything into an Obama loyalty test. That gets tiring to mature people who can overlook a little ambiguity in the pursuit of a higher truth.

  73. 73
    dmsilev says:

    @Kay: “For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men.”

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kay: Boehner is really between a rock and hard place. Reid is giving him no piece; these are the situations where one can see the ex-boxer in Reid. He knows Boehner is reeling and he is not giving him a minute to recover.

    I remember all sorts of talk in the past about keeping powder dry and saving ammo for a big fight with respect to the Senate. Maybe this is the big fight.

  75. 75
    Hill Dweller says:

    I just saw a “Defund Obamacare” commercial during Maddow’s show. It accused Democrats of forcing the government shutdown, and falsely claimed congress was exempt from Obamacare.

  76. 76

    Why is Cruz the tail gunner?

  77. 77
    Kay says:


    I think one has to enjoy it to pull it off. Have to be authentically mean.

    What? He likes him. He’s said that lots of times.

  78. 78
    dmsilev says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: An allusion to Joe McCarthy, who was known as “Tailgunner Joe”.

  79. 79
    hitchhiker says:

    According to a focus group report I just read, about half the Rs are 100% convinced that Obamacare is just a D plot to ensure they win elections forever by handing out goodies to people who haven’t earned them and don’t deserve them.

    They see themselves as having no choice but to stop it, whatever the cost. In their addled brains, the future of the nation depends on keeping the Ds from putting that final nail in the coffin.

    They’ll never, ever change their minds about this.

  80. 80
    Suffern ACE says:

    @dmsilev: The moniker he earned by his “You’re a muslim sympathsizer” line of questioning of Hagel during the DoD hearings.

  81. 81
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    “Tailgunner Ted” is even better. Apt alliteration’s artful aid, and all.

  82. 82
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL: He has been just terrific lately. What a treasure for Atlanta.

  83. 83
    dmsilev says:

    The New York Times delivers today’s dose of conventional wisdom and schadenfreude in one convenient package:

    The overarching problem for the man at the center of the budget fight, say allies and opponents, is that he and his leadership team have no real idea how to resolve the fiscal showdown.

    They are only trying to survive another day, Republican strategists say, hoping to maintain unity as long as possible so that when the Republican position collapses, they can capitulate on two issues at once — financing the government and raising the debt ceiling — and head off any internal party backlash. Republican lawmakers say Mr. Boehner has assured them privately that he will not permit a default.

    Backers of the speaker say he does not have to fear a coup. His obvious successor, the majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, is so caught up in the current legislative battle that he would probably be washed away with Mr. Boehner in a Tea Party putsch, and with no other obvious candidates in waiting, no such uprising is likely.

    Of course, if they wanted to collapse today on both issues, I’m sure both the Senate and President Obama would be happy to oblige.

  84. 84
  85. 85
    JPL says:

    @Suffern ACE: That actually drove McCain over the edge. He was insinuating that Hagel was giving paid speeches to No.Korea. How do we know he didn’t? The guy is dangerous and if he is squished like an ant, I’d be happy.

  86. 86
    Eric U. says:

    I am pretty sure I have never seen the term “obot” used in a serious way when it wasn’t simply part of a strawman argument.

  87. 87
    Suffern ACE says:

    @hitchhiker: I know. I know. It’s a shame when politicians do something that might be popular that doesn’t involve executions or invasions. Especially when it involves our health insurance, which is paid for by our for the most part by our employers as a gift because they love us.

  88. 88
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s why my NFL experience was limited to news. I understand competitive debate has nothing to do with the Truth, but it resembles a quest for It too closely to not piss me off.

  89. 89
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike E: Not really sure. If it had longer hair I would guess either Palin or Bachman. As it is, maybe Ayn Rand, although the bikini bra top makes me think, Eww, no.

    In all hones, I hadn’t even noticed the “I don’t care if it rains or freezes” plastic dashboard ornament until you mentioned it. Props for sharp eyes.

  90. 90
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Goddammit FYWP. In all HONESTY, not HONES.

  91. 91
    Suffern ACE says:


    Republican lawmakers say Mr. Boehner has assured them privately that he will not permit a default.

    (pssst. Boehner loyalists. If Boehner is lying to the T-Party members, how do you know he ain’t lying to you, too. When you buy a car and the salesman you have come to hate goes to get his manager, do you really think you’re getting the better deal from that manager?)

  92. 92
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I assumed it was something like this.

  93. 93
    Keith P. says:

    You can tell there’s an echo chamber when the GOP is trying to drum up outrage over national parks closing. All non-essential federal services close, and they’re pitching an absolute fit over senior citizens not getting to see monuments (and Newt Gingrich not able to see Panda-cam…that one is just unbelievable)

  94. 94
    Kay says:


    According to a focus group report I just read, about half the Rs are 100% convinced that Obamacare is just a D plot to ensure they win elections forever by handing out goodies to people who haven’t earned them and don’t deserve them.

    Someone should tell them poor people don’t vote. I wish they did, but they don’t, or not nearly reliably enough.
    Schumer said it during the health care debate. No one else ever dared repeat it, but it’s true. Part of the reason they had so much trouble getting Democrats to defend the law is most voters have health insurance. Most voters were worried about losing something they have, which is employer-provided health insurance or Medicare.

  95. 95
    Chyron HR says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Ah, the good old “Failing to hold Obummer to our exacting standards of progressive purity just proves that YOU are the REAL purity trolls!” Right up there with “Why must you Obotomized Obots who mindlessly worship Dear Leader be so dismissive of other points of view?”

  96. 96
    LeftCoastTom says:

    @Keith P.: Well, some of us westerners live in areas where big national parks are weekend getaways. Of course, a lot of us are Democrats…

    Aren’t these the same morons who threw a hissy fit over Obama cancelling White House tours in response to the sequester?

  97. 97
    JGabriel says:

    Alex Pareene:

    Cruz is leading this unofficial new caucus along with his stalwart ally, Sen. Mike Lee, who is just as right-wing as Cruz but less telegenic.

    Jeepers, that’s like a perfect definition of fugly: less telegenic than Ted Cruz.

  98. 98
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: How in the world is that “both sides do it”?

    Villagers repeating the “both sides do it” charge are saying that both Democrats and Republicans refuse to compromise, that extremism on both sides is the cause the “gridlock” as they often call it.

    Pareene is saying that Barack Obama in the past has compromised all too often, and hopes that he won’t this time. Maybe he won’t, but it’s a fair claim about what’s happened in the past.

    This is the part I can’t stand about this place, the need to bristle and defend against anyone daring to criticize Obama in any way, to the point of engaging in your own version of false equivalence.

  99. 99
    dmsilev says:

    @Suffern ACE: Or, for that matter, Boehner may have told the truth (as he believed it at that particular instant in time) to one faction, and then turned around and told a different truth to a different faction. He’s so weak as a leader that he gets jerked back and forth by all the different factions and his beliefs seem to depend largely on who was the last group to pull on the puppet strings.

  100. 100
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Keith P.: Again, it might work as an appeal to the middle class white male Id, which the Republican Party is supposed to protect. “My vacation! Disrepecting the troops! My vacation! Does no one care about my vacation?”

  101. 101
    Anne Laurie says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Sen Joe McCarthy, lead Savonarola of America’s 1950s “Red Scare”, gave himself the nickname Tailgunner Joe. If you look at the Wiki entry, Sen. Cruz not only shares many character traits with McCarthy, he even looks a bit like him!

    Given the back-seat driver cartoon, it seemed especially appropriate, but the nickname has been used by other writers (including Charles Pierce).

  102. 102
    LeftCoastTom says:

    @dmsilev: So Boehner’s the Quantum House Speaker? And here I thought he was just drunk.

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: The both sides do it aspect is that, even in a piece piece excoriating Cruz and the GOP, Pareene felt it necessary to insert a criticism (warranted or not) of the president. Why not just write the piece on the topic? If you want a piece on how things are going to play out, Obama’s willingness to compromise comes into play.

  104. 104
    scav says:

    @Keith P.: Rewatched the first night TDS bit and there the Televillagers were, chortling away, so a few museums and parks close, “so what?” giggle giggle hairtoss.

  105. 105
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    As it is an open thread, I need to rant in an old lady get-off-my-lawn way.

    So what is it with young women wearing boots and very short shorts? If it’s warm enough for shorts, it’s much too hot for boots. If it’s cold enough to wear leather knee-high boots, it’s far too chilly to be wearing shorts.

    I suppose they thnk it looks sexy. No. It looks stupid, and meteorologically perplexed. Really.

  106. 106
    Chaoticgnome says:

    Ah there is the rub, a lot of the debate judges in the higher level competitions were that guy in HS themselves and rather like it.

  107. 107
    Suffern ACE says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Is this the mini-skirt-rubber boots look? I think I wrote about that a few months ago. I have no idea what it means, but apparently its been going on now for a few years.

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I grant that this is a miniskirt and boots combo, but Twiggy…. Get off your own lawn.

  109. 109

    @SiubhanDuinne: How do you like the asymmetric hemlines? I think they look sloppy.

  110. 110
    Geoduck says:

    The dashboard ornament in the toon might just be a generic hula girl.

  111. 111
    beltane says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: It reminds me of that brief moment in the late ’70s when women worse shirts with one short sleeve and the other arm sleeveless. Asymmetry is very jarring to the eyes

  112. 112
    drkrick says:

    Re: “Tailgunner Ted,” it’s worth pointing out that Cruz and McCarthy also flew the same number of WWII combat missions as a tailgunner.

    Re: Cruz as telegenic, it’s like the guys being chased by a bear. He doesn’t have to actually be telegenic, he just has to be more telegenic than Lee.

  113. 113

    For unintentional fashion blogger hilarity, this forum is priceless.

  114. 114
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No. This isn’t that kind of boots. It’s these.

    Or These

    When there isn’t a cloud in the sky. Or even a chance that the weather might change.

  115. 115
    trollhattan says:


    Oh, schnapp!

  116. 116
    MikeJ says:

    @Suffern ACE: I see girls in skirts and wellies all the time here in Seattle, but there’s rarely not a chance it will rain.

  117. 117
    NotMax says:

    @Suffern ACE

    Nancy, Sinatra, 1966.

  118. 118
    beltane says:

    @Suffern ACE: It’s the cool weather version of flip-flops and sloppy looking. Although I live in Vermont, I avoid wearing mud boots when at all possible as they are neither comfortable nor attractive.

  119. 119
    Eric U. says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: living in a college town with a lot of students that come from reasonably wealthy families, I see a lot of fashions come and go. I always laugh when I see a fashion that I hated in the ’80s come back. But what I have observed is that most of these retro-fashion phases only last a couple of weeks. I’m impressed that people have that much money, because that probably means that the clothes get worn once or twice.

  120. 120
    scav says:

    All to the good, the glamour of tuttings and eyebrow raising has not been lost to youth fashion and the world. Certain traditions are best experienced from both sides. Doc Martins and safety pins were no doubt vain attempts to signal availability and desire for and to nearby 50ers.

  121. 121
  122. 122
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Saw a show on Broadway which may well hold the record for least percentage of body fat onstage.

    The main stars were Twiggy and Tommy Tune.

  123. 123
    beltane says:

    Yes, Uggs have the ugliness of practical footwear without the actual practicality.

  124. 124

    @beltane: And they are not cheap.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE: This then? There is a bit of an explanation; Kate Moss and her ilk wear them at festivals.

  126. 126
    Tommy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: LOL. I am not a hipster. I am too old for that. But I do things that might seem hipster like, and I do those things cause they seem to make sense to me.Those shoes make no sense to me.

  127. 127
    nineone says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: There is a big difference in capitulation and compromise. Just as there is a difference in criticism and bitching. And as for that false equivilence thing, careful it’s pretty sneaky.

  128. 128
    hitchhiker says:


    The argument in their heads is outside rationality. Ds only win elections because they give stuff to poor people; that’s Gospel truth in the minds of both the TP and the Evangelicals, who combine to make up about half the R party. It makes no sense, is supported by no evidence, and will always nevertheless be fact for them.

    They’re also certain that Obama is lying most of the time, for reasons that baffle me. The word they use most often to describe him is “liar.” WTF.

  129. 129
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mike E:

    I’m not an expert in cartoon body language, but I don’t think the elephant is reaching for the dashboard figurine; his hands are just extended in a gesture of paralyzed shock. The artist had to put them somewhere if not on the wheel.

  130. 130
    Suffern ACE says:

    @scav: Yeah. But these aren’t the equivalent of punk rock girls or urban hipsters. Around here, it appears to be the “preppy” types who go for the rubber boots that don’t fit and mini-skirts look.

  131. 131
    Gravenstone says:


    The word they use most often to describe him is “liar.” WTF.

    Because he says things that don’t fit their preconceptions about him, or Democrats in general. Therefore, he simply must be lying. Reality has no part in their little fantasy lives.

  132. 132
    Tommy says:

    @Suffern ACE: If I was ever on a date and some lady said to me punk rock girls, I would maybe want to hug her.

  133. 133
    Kay says:


    It’s like “felons vote for Democrats.” They had some dumb study in 2006 they were all brandishing. Is there any politician, anywhere, who caters to the “felon vote”? They have an enormous amount of political clout, felons. We’re all concerned about it.

  134. 134
  135. 135
    catclub says:

    @Eric U.: My daughter says she has found the thrift store the rich college girls use to dispose of their extra clothes.

  136. 136
    trollhattan says:


    Uggs are so two years ago.

    Having a kid in the oh-so-briefly lofty perch of 6th grade, I’m far too familiar with kidz fashunz. At present it’s Toms, skinny jeans or shorts (temp-dependent) and either Abercrombie or neon-colored tops. I could fish trout with any of her friends as bait.

    I’m not allowed on my own damn lawn.

  137. 137
    scav says:

    @Suffern ACE: So they’ve come up with their own groupings, or are mixing and matching, whatever. Preppy’s gone silly boot instead of pointless alligator.

  138. 138
    catclub says:

    @hitchhiker: “Ds only win elections because they give stuff to poor people;”

    Except for 2006. GOP admitted they had lost their way and were not conservative enough. Actually they had been the ones giving out gifts, but also a lot of war heartburn.

  139. 139

    I think my link above is borked. Take 2 on nat’l weather svc humor.

  140. 140

    Logically, I know I did not get the flu from today’s flu shot, but it really makes you realize how much of “feeling sick” is your immune system’s reaction to the invader and not the actual virus.

  141. 141
    nineone says:


    The word they use most often to describe him is “liar.”

    Actually, there is another word they use. It just doesn’t find it’s way into print and gets edited out of the audio.

  142. 142
    nineone says:

    @efgoldman: Ah, I see we were on the same wavelength. Rock on.

  143. 143
    Kay says:

    So the federal health care site is a mess and I hope they get it fixed, BUT, this guy took a huge risk pushing it thru in Kentucky (by executive order) so I’m glad it’s working out for him:

    The governor’s office said nearly 11,000 applications had been completed by early Friday, and 4,739 individuals or families had picked health plans and signed up for coverage.
    More than 137,000 people had browsed the website and 93 percent of them went through pre-screenings to determine if they qualify for subsidized coverage or Medicaid. Also, 166 small businesses had started applications for health insurance for employees. “That tells me that there is not only a pent-up demand, but there is an eagerness to get affordable health insurance,” Beshear said.

    Plus, there’s this:

    Kentucky’s Republican U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, said in an op-ed this week that the health care law that critics labeled Obamacare will result in “lost health plans, layoffs and smaller paychecks.”
    “As so often happens when our friends on the left set out to fix a problem, their ideas, however well-intentioned, end up hurting the very people they sought to help,” the senators wrote. “That’s just what we’re seeing with Obamacare.”
    Beshear predicted that by this time next year, Kentuckians will wonder what all the fuss was from the law’s critics.
    “I think the critics are going to end up with a little egg on their face,” he said.

  144. 144
    mainmati says:

    Bucs smack some birds today getting almost symmetrical revenge. Now the Pirates repair to PNC to continue the punishment.

  145. 145
    beltane says:

    @trollhattan: I have boys which makes life somewhat simpler though the Under Armour stuff gets expensive after a while.

  146. 146
    trollhattan says:


    They generally make up for it in wound-management expenses.

  147. 147
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Kay: And healthcare costs were resulting in what exactly before? How did we get to have all of these uninsured people?

  148. 148
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    Oh for the love of fucking god! To make a long story short, I have been going round the bend with some teabagging fb asswipes. One of them is my sister’s bil.
    Him -you know what I love about the Tea Partier’s…They are just like Jessie Helms….They have their principals and no one can buy them out or sway them with foolish gestures. RIP Jessie.
    me – Jesse Helms was a bigot of epic proportions.
    him – I know you would call him a bigot. That’s what liberals do is call names. Sorry to call it that way. He was no more perfect then Biden and Pelosi that has given many million of dollars to Planned Parenthood to kill babies.
    me – White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.”
    This sounds bigoted to me.


  149. 149
    Comrade Mary says:

    Here, let me amuse you with some different dysfunctional politics

    Special Toronto police squad formed to investigate Rob Ford and his associates, source says

    Rob Ford shrugs off questions about friend’s arrest as news of air surveillance of mayor by police emerges

    Lisi said he tried to find alleged Rob Ford video: Pal

    (The last link is to the Toronto Sun, a right wing tabloid with some serious Rob Ford defenders, but fewer and fewer as the drip drip drip continues.)

  150. 150
  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: People see a comparison to Jesse Fucking Helms as a compliment? Gah!

  152. 152
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: I’m not saying my opponet swings both ways, but someone printed a rumor that I falsely started, so who knows?

  153. 153
    nineone says:


    the federal health care site

    They’ll be fine.

    Kentucky’s Republican U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul,

    They, on the other hand, are fucked.

  154. 154
    beltane says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann:

    Him -you know what I love about the Tea Partier’s…They are just like Jessie Helms….They have their principals and no one can buy them out or sway them with foolish gestures

    You know who else could not be bought out or swayed by foolish gestures?

  155. 155
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @beltane: Strom Thurman?

    ETA: Or possibly Lester Maddox.

  156. 156
    amk says:

    @Kay: How did this Beshear guy get elected in such a rabidly red state that also produced a twofer of mcturtle and paul spawn?

  157. 157
    scav says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: Foolish gestures like wearing teabags on their head, sending bags of rock salt across the country and shutting down the govt because they didn’t manage to get the votes and they want some, . . . well, they’re not sure yet? They can’t be swayed by silly gestures because they’re too busy making them, and all the buying up is done in-movement. (It’s really a closed system, a little cosy terrarium.)

  158. 158
    Kay says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    I genuinely believe that will be the tactic. They’ll harken back to the days before Obamacare, when health insurance was universal and free.

    Media did a version of that for two years. They’d compare “the insured” to what it will cost for “the uninsured” to buy on an exchange. ‘Zero” compared with “341 dollars” or whatever. Apparently “the insured” were all getting free health insurance.

    I think it’s all of a piece with their insane belief that “benefits” are offered out of the goodness of employers’ hearts and public employees don’t earn pensions, instead taxpayers “give” them pensions.

    It just changed over the last six months. NOW they compare what insurance costs on an exchange to what “the insured” pay. They finally realized there is no “insured, free” category. They had made that group up. It doesn’t exist.

  159. 159
    Kay says:


    They’ll be fine.

    They’re lucky on the media coverage, the Obama Administration. It’s mostly about the demand, which is what they want it to be about. It COULD be about how the site doesn’t work right.
    I think generally people want big, ambitious efforts to succeed, people who are not assholes, but they won’t get a pass on it forever.

  160. 160
    burnspbesq says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    That gets tiring to mature people who can overlook a little ambiguity in the pursuit of a higher truth.

    Perhaps. But there is not a shred of evidence that you are one of those people.

  161. 161
    nineone says:


    You know who else could not be bought out or swayed by foolish gestures?

    Miley Cyrus? No, no Molly Hatchet. No, wait, I got it, Sweet Polly Purebred. Yes, final answer.

  162. 162
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Kay: O.K. I rarely discuss what I do for a living. But this idea that healthcare costs aren’t one of the major reasons the majority of my staff are in a time zone 1/2 way around the world is silly and it has been that way for me for the past 8 years. To the point where I don’t even bother much fighting to get more onshore staff. They are 10 times harder for me to gain approval for.

    I’m just laughing at this idea of “dropped coverage”, “lost jobs”, “lost wages” as if that isn’t what we have been experiencing for ten years. If you were lucky, your raise wasn’t immediately eaten up by a health insurance premium increase.

  163. 163
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Suffern ACE: Also, you know who loses wages? Folks who have bill collectors coming after them for ten years because they developed a medical condition and didn’t have sufficient insurance to cover the expenses.

  164. 164
    jl says:


    ” about half the Rs are 100% convinced that Obamacare is just a D plot to ensure they win elections forever by handing out goodies to people who haven’t earned them and don’t deserve them. ”

    So that would be about 28 percent / 2 = 14 percent of the country.

    Makes sense thought, it is a conservative heritage foundation plan, a trail version of which as adopted by a Republican governor.

  165. 165
    Kay says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    It’s hard to read because it’s clueless even when they make an effort.

    They usually ignore people who make 25k a year. When they decided to stop ignoring them, they didn’t know that people who make 25K a year and have employer-provided health insurance pay for it. I’m not even talking about the employer contribution, which is of course is also “their pay” (because what else could it be-a gift?) but they also pay out of their paycheck.

    Some of them pay a lot! Still, we got these ridiculous comparisons, ” 27 year old non-smoker, exchange, 341 dollars a month versus employer-provided…um, ZERO?”

    Kaiser did an actual comparison, with numbers, and the reporting changed. But it took two years.

  166. 166
    burnspbesq says:

    The first Santa Anas of the fall are blowing across SoCal. El Viento Loco.

  167. 167
    kindness says:

    See and I don’t think all the media coherence of a teahaddist/dominionist message will sell to the majority of Americans. And that is all they got.

    On the other hand I think the suggestion that they will push Obama to mint the platinum coin or what ever after they purposefully ignore the debt limit is the end game and they will try to impeach Obama for it. That is also all they got. They don’t want to wait till 2016. They don’t want to wait until the 2014 midterms. They are true believers. True believers are the most dangerous people around because they believe god is on their side and to them that means they can do no wrong.

    I didn’t get the tanking of the Credit Rating was reasonable. It makes no sense. They don’t get anything out of it unless it is the vehicle they use to run to impeachment. Kinda conspiracy theory I know but that makes some sense on some level.

  168. 168
    nineone says:


    I think generally people want big, ambitious efforts to succeed, people who are not assholes, but they won’t get a pass on it forever.

    The really big stuff rarely works as planned initially, and invariably has a few bumps along the way. That said, can you imagine what Faux Snooze would have to say about D-Day or the Apollo Program tragedy? Inpeach!

  169. 169
    MikeJ says:


    The first Santa Anas of the fall are blowing across SoCal.

    Steely Dan feels your pain.

  170. 170
    Yatsuno says:

    @Comrade Mary: Not to rub it in, but at the end of the day Harper still has his majority. Is it too much to ask for just a few more ridings to flip? I’m not picky here.

  171. 171
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Yatsuno: Honey, I’d LOVE to see a few more ridings flip. Let’s see if Trudeau the Younger can lead the Liberals to a few more gains in Ontario and Quebec. (I hate to see the Orange guys lose any seats, but if the Grits and Dippers can’t merge or even make a coalition, I’ll root for the natural governing party.)

  172. 172
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    So I spent part of the evening doing part of the application for insurance on the Covered California website, and holy shit, is it asking for some bizarre information. It wants to know my mother’s Certificate of Naturalization number, and fucking tax info for both her and my brother. What The Fuck? They’re not even applying for anything.

  173. 173
    Kay says:


    I feel like whoever the federal health care law people are, they’re “embattled” (and have been for years) and I think Sebelius is a trooper, I would have quit her job LONG ago so I want them to succeed. I won’t pile on!

    Sebelius’ father died probably right when she was involved in that insane “time’s up!” launch process, too, which is sad.

  174. 174
    👾 Martin says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    It wants to know my mother’s Certificate of Naturalization number, and fucking tax info for both her and my brother. What The Fuck? They’re not even applying for anything.

    Not sure why the information for your brother is there, but the GOP shoved a shitton of regulation in there to make sure that non-citizens couldn’t participate.

  175. 175
    MikeJ says:

    @👾 Martin:

    GOP shoved a shitton of regulation in there to make sure that non-citizens couldn’t participate.

    God forbid you expand the size of the risk pool.

    If they ask you where the groove is, I think we all know the answer.

    Feelin’ kinda high like a Hendrix haze

  176. 176
    👾 Martin says:

    In today’s edition of ‘California is showing you all how to do this’:

    SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that will allow children in California to have more than two legal parents, a measure opposed by some conservative groups as an attack on the traditional family.

    Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said he authored the measure to address the changes in family structure in California, including situations in which same-sex couples have a child with an opposite-sex biological parent.

    The law will allow the courts to recognize three or more legal parents so that custody and financial responsibility can be shared by all those involved in raising a child, Leno said.

  177. 177
    Yatsuno says:

    @Comrade Mary: I just realised I have no idea who the head of the NP is. (I just Googled, never heard of the mook) Are they really running on abolishing the Senate? Not exactly the boldest of ideas eh?

  178. 178
    Suffern ACE says:

    Cripes. If Ken Cunnicelli isn’t a tea bagger any longer, then who is?

  179. 179
    👾 Martin says:

    @Suffern ACE: Self-serving. Ken is behind in the polls. He needs to run left somehow. It’s meaningless.

  180. 180
    nineone says:


    would have quit her job LONG ago

    You are being far too modest. From what I’ve seen you can kick much ass when necessary.

  181. 181
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Crazinelli realizes, a few weeks out from the election, who is getting blamed for this mess.

    It ain’t the near guy.

  182. 182
    MikeJ says:

    @Suffern ACE: Cooch has a shitload of government employees in NoVA sitting at home not getting paid who are going to have nothing better to do on election day than to give everybody they know a ride to the polls to vote against him.

  183. 183
    Suffern ACE says:

    @efgoldman: He was the first T-Bagger to win an office where he could take national stage! And when push comes to shove, he becomes Romney?

    ETA: “Reach Across the Aisle Cunnicelli?” Would anyone buy that?

  184. 184
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @👾 Martin:

    The wingnut freakout about that is going to be fucking great.

  185. 185
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m worried about the new shed I just put up, hope the winds aren’t too bad here. I haven’t put the floor in yet.

  186. 186
    TS says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Boehner is really between a rock and hard place. Reid is giving him no piece; these are the situations where one can see the ex-boxer in Reid. He knows Boehner is reeling and he is not giving him a minute to recover.

    I sure hope you are right. Boehner seems to survive by drinking and smoking and ignoring what he is doing to the US economy and the US people. Wonder if the President could call a meeting to conclude when the government was funded. From my memories of nicotine addictions after about 5 hours I would agree to anything if a cigarette was on offer.

  187. 187
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @MikeJ: Wow, I had never seen the video. They were such a bunch of (talented) nerds! Always loved that sound.

  188. 188
    Another Holocene Human says:


    Anyway, Cooch is fine with government spending, as long as its on roads (VA is starting to look like TX or CA with freeways)

    Ha ha, starting to? It was like that when I left, and that was over a decade ago (but before they finally approved that transportation tax district, so I guess the best was yet to come?).

    At least VA never went the route of NH, which holds it’s illegal to use gas tax on rail transit.

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