The Real Takeaway From The Shutdown: A Failure To Negotiate In Good Faith

I think the real takeaway from the shutdown is not going to be something involving domestic politics. Rather the real impact is going to be a negative effect on US foreign policy. What we saw over the course of the past ten days, but especially yesterday, is that it doesn’t matter what agreement one comes to with the President and/or those he’s designated to negotiate on his behalf because as soon as you walk away the negotiated outcome is overtaken by events and/or repudiated. And those events are usually someone else has spoken to the President.

Regardless of the shutdown or how long it lasts, the US’s allies, partners, peer competitors, and enemies have all had a front row seat to how the President, his administration, and his Congressional allies and proxies conduct negotiations. What they’ve learned is what everyone but the most stalwart partisans supporting the President have learned: the agreement you reach is not worth very much as it is very likely to change before it can be finalized.

Right now the US is trying to renegotiate NAFTA. Prime Minister Trudeau, who is very popular at home, and President Nieto, who isn’t, are not stupid. Nor are they blind. They’ve just gotten a very vivid display of why renegotiating NAFTA makes no sense. No matter what the President’s negotiation team agrees to may not matter as the President may well change his mind after speaking to hardline advisors on his staff or in Congress. And if he doesn’t, then those hardliners in Congress, specifically in the Senate where any new treaty will have to be ratified, could and most likely would derail the agreement.

If you’re Kim Jong Un or Ayatulluh Uzma Khameini or Bashar Assad or Xi Jinping just how enthusiastic are you going to be to negotiate a nuclear deescalation agreement (DPRK and Iran), an end to the Syrian Civil War, or to address trade imbalances when you know that the deal most likely won’t be the deal? If you’re the US’s EU trading and NATO defense partners, just how willing are you to renegotiate the EU trade agreement with the US or NATO member spending levels on collective defense when you know that it doesn’t matter what you agree to is likely to be repudiated before you can announce it to your own constituents? The answer is not very.

This budget shutdown isn’t just a continuation of the partisan shenanigans we’ve seen over the past decade. Nor is it the type of short term impasse that popped up with some regularity in the 1970s and 1980s. Short term impasses that didn’t last the weekend or only lasted a business day or two and were negotiable as they really dealt with funding level disputes and disparities. Rather, this budget shutdown is a combination of birds coming home to roost for Senator McConnell. The current shutdown is the logical outcome of a decades worth of Senator McConnell as the leader of the Republican caucus in the Senate. Every rule bent or broken. Every norm violated. Every tradition ignored if not repudiated. And now he can’t handle the fact that he has to live with the nightmare reality he’s created. It is also the result of Speaker Ryan’s fear of the nihilistic extremists in the Freedom Caucus, leading to his unwillingness to bring anything to a vote that doesn’t have their support and therefore doesn’t need any Democratic votes (the Hastert Rule). Finally, it is the result of the President’s mercurial nature, lack of core principles and values, and his susceptibility to pander and agree with whoever speaks to him last.

Domestically there is time for this shutdown to be a blip. If they work out even a short term resolution over the weekend, almost no harm will be done, other than cancellation of some military training scheduled for this weekend and some temporary duty travel that will have to be reworked on the fly come Monday or Tuesday. And maybe authorization of a couple of day’s worth of back pay. My professional assessment is that this is either going to be resolved quickly – over the weekend/at the beginning of the week – or it is going to drag on. If it is the latter this will get ugly. Very, very ugly.

The real damage in regard to foreign policy, however, has already been done regardless of how long this lasts. Our allies and partners, our peer competitors, and our enemies have all now seen how the President of the United States and his administration negotiate. The lessons have been learned. Whether it is Canada and Mexico or the DPRK and the PRC, strategies are being revised. New plans are being made. Contingencies are being put in place. And no matter what may result from talks around the negotiating table, the real losers will be Americans. Consider it the price that has to be paid for putting America First and Making America Great Again. Simply it is the MAGA tariff.

We are through the map and off the looking glass!

128 replies
  1. 1
    m.j. says:

    The shitdown?

    My mind keeps wanting to read it that way.

  2. 2
    scott (the other one) says:

    Frighteningly good point. There are billionaires and megacorps in other countries and, even if they’re not Russian, surely the fact that they are wealthy and powerful make them of interest to the big money in this country. And it’s not in their own best interest to have a loose cannon in charge of the US. Is there any chance they could have a positive impact on the GOP in the short term?

  3. 3
    germy says:

    There’s been some unpleasantness in Jamaica. Their government is clamping down because of recent violence.

    Canada and the U.K. have issued warnings to its citizens about travel there. Nothing from the U.S. yet.

  4. 4

    @m.j.:

    The shitdown?
    My mind keeps wanting to read it that way.

    And rightly so

  5. 5
    lurker dean says:

    excellent points, adam, if only the brain dead maga’ers could understand the pretty simple concept that no one trusts or wants to enter deals with people who constantly lie and go back on their agreements.

  6. 6

    The takeaway for me as an immigrant and a naturalized citizen is how quickly most Rs in power have embraced bigotry and naked xenophobia of their standard bearer.

  7. 7
    charon says:

    My professional assessment is that this is either going to be resolved quickly – over the weekend/at the beginning of the week – or it is going to drag on.

    I don’t see how this can possibly be over soon. The R’s are demanding the shutdown end before they will “negotiate” DACA. Presumably this is not Chuck and Nancy’s first rodeo.

    Plus, it should be clear there are a lot of players who really do want to deport the Dreamers, including the top people in the White House.

  8. 8
    john r says:

    After reading your article, it sort of reinforces my thought regarding Donnie Hitler Trumpf’s plan to reduce the USA’s standing in the world community to the point where no other country will want anything to do with us. This of course will leave a void that his buddy Putin can step in and fill, increasing Russia’s sphere of influence beyond ours.

  9. 9
    hilts says:

    Meet the dumbest fucking Trump supporter in America: Mollie Hemingway

    This may seem like an odd moment for saying so, but a year into the presidency of Donald Trump, I’m elated. Trump was not my first or even second choice for president, but a full two years ago I predicted he would win. I also predicted he’d be a progressive president, which explained why I was not among his supporters and why I am so pleased now.

    It took a while for Capitol Hill to get used to working with Trump, but by the end of the year, lawmakers had passed the largest corporate tax reform in U.S. history and secured tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans.

    By trusting his military leaders to make quick decisions on the battlefield, in contrast to Obama’s desire to placate Iran and micromanage trivial moves such as helicopter deployments, Trump is crushing the Islamic State. Sanctions and other nonmilitary efforts are being used to keep North Korea at bay after the failure of denuclearization as practiced by presidents since Bill Clinton.

    That boorish attitude has come in handy after decades of media bullying of conservatives.

    My expectations were low — so low that he could have met them by simply not being President Hillary Clinton. But a year into this presidency, he’s exceeded those expectations by quite a bit. I’m thrilled.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-wasnt-a-trump-supporter-i-am-now/2018/01/19/58abd43a-fca2-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?utm_term=.2aaf7d830924

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @scott (the other one): I don’t know.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    @hilts: Per Wikipedia, “Mollie Ziegler Hemingway (b. circa 1974)[1] is an American journalist and political commentator. She is currently a senior editor at the online magazine The Federalist, and a contributor for Fox News as of March 2017.”. So, not exactly coming from a position in the ideological center, and the Post really should have put those affiliations in the byline.

  12. 12
    Zelma says:

    I imagine that our allies and antagonists were already pretty certain that any agreement with Trump (and thus the US) wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on. This current debacle simply reinforces their opinion. I found the article below by a conservative anti-Trump foreign policy guy really scary. I imagine that many of you have seen it. If not, take a look. It will keep you up at night.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/trumps-first-year-a-damage-assessment/2018/01/19/0b410f3c-fa66-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.a8006c44bec1

    P.S. I found his description of Obama’s failing confusing to say the least.

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @charon: This way no matter what happens, my record remains intact.//

    I think there’s a chance that they reopen by Monday/reach agreement on Monday, though only for a short period of time. But I think it is equally, if not far more likely, that this drags on.

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    Schumer’s noticed the same thing. On the Senate floor earlier today, he said this: “Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O: It’s next to impossible.”

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Zelma: Tom is a sharp guy, but he has some serious ideological blindspots. Not that the rest of us don’t, but he leaves his on display and he is very touchy when others politely point out that he may be wrong.

  16. 16
    Zelma says:

    @scott (the other one):

    Who’s to say that they are unhappy with having a “loose cannon” in charge of the US? Isn’t it the most likely way to cause the kind of situation that will allow them to create a kleptocracy here? And isn’t that there goal? And aren’t they getting closer to it every day?

  17. 17
    Mary G says:

    Great rant, Adam. It is so sad to see our country offend the rest of the planet every week and then have Trump crow about the “great deals” he’s always just about to make, except he can’t decide what’s going to be in them. The State Department may never recover, nor our standing in the world.

    @schrodingers_cat: It is appalling. I guess I have been in a bubble here in California, which has been majority/minority for years, but I am truly shocked at what has come out of the woodwork in response to Trump.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dmsilev: Yep, he has. And that’s part of the problem as to what I think is likely to lead this to become protracted. Schumer has to formally negotiate with 3 people: the President, McConnell, and Ryan. But in reality the people that really matter are people he can’t really negotiate with: Kelly, Miller, Cotton, Meadows, Jordan. The former two because they’re outside of the actual group of negotiators – the former is the organizational enforcer and the latter a policy advisor in the White House. In the case of Cotton, Meadows, and Jordan – you can’t get to yes because they don’t want to get to yes. And even if they did they don’t actually have the power to get you to yes. All they have is the power to say no.

  19. 19
    JMG says:

    It won’t be Russia that fills the gap. China’s already doing it.

  20. 20
    barb 2 says:

    The orange monster’s management style is called chaos. Basically, he doesn’t know how to effectively manage a business or a government bureaucracy. This was known years ago – it should not be a surprise. When he was in the c.a.s.i.n.o. business he’d have his staff competing rather than working together.

    Everything is about him.

    Adam your analysis is dead on. Even if this shut down is short lived — the harm has been done. Scotland hates lord smallhands — the way he negotiated that golf course is another prime example of his untrustworthiness.

  21. 21

    @Mary G: I am in a bubble too, on the right coast. 99.99% of my personal interactions have been positive in all my time in this country but the Rs and what the MSM lets them get away with is nothing short of scary.

  22. 22
    RepubAnon says:

    Negotiating with Trump is like negotiating with Darth Vader: “”I have altered the deal – pray I don’t alter it any further…”

  23. 23
    Timurid says:

    @hilts:

    I’m trying to understand how elite support for Trump is strengthening even as he spins further out of control (and as his rank and file supporters are starting to waver). I think it comes down to the Sun Tzu quote: “In death ground, fight.” Elites may not like Trump. They may wish that none of this ever happened. But they realize that they are now on death ground. Because things have gone so badly, a catastrophic collapse of the Trump regime, by impeachment or by decisive electoral defeat, will lead to a crushing backlash. Those People are angry,, motivated and in no mood to forgive or forget. The demographic crisis facing Republicans, the 1% and whites of all persuasions will no longer be happening in some indefinite future. It will be right now. Trump has taken White America’s entire bankroll and pushed it to the center of the table. They can’t fold this hand. To mix metaphors… the snake is now eating its tail. Trump’s attempt to establish an authoritarian government has created a pressing need for an authoritarian government.

  24. 24
    Lit3Bolt says:

    WE NEED TO MAKE AMERICA RESPECTABLE AGAIN.

    You’ll have to pay more, for everything, for that.

    IT’S SO WORTH IT.

    …easiest money I ever made…

    WHAT WAS THAT?

    Nothing, White America! You’re so proud and strong! We’re all intimidated of you!

  25. 25
    dmsilev says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And to extend that a bit, the reason that Cotton, Meadows, and Jordan matter is that McConnell and Ryan have both decided that nothing will come to the floor in their respective houses unless it has the support of an overwhelming majority of their caucus (so that it can pass with few if any Democratic votes). If you’ve decided that you need 95% unanimity, 6% is a blocking force. Ryan could put a DACA fix on the floor of the House today and it’d pass with an easy majority, but a large fraction of that majority would be (D) votes and he’s decided that he won’t ever every do that. Ditto McConnell.

    As a side note, this is even more extreme than the original “Hastert Rule”, which was that measures needed a “majority of the majority”, i.e. over 50% of Republicans.

  26. 26
    gene108 says:

    @lurker dean:

    excellent points, adam, if only the brain dead maga’ers could understand the pretty simple concept that no one trusts or wants to enter deals with people who constantly lie and go back on their agreements.

    MAGA’s don’t want to negotiate and make deals. They want to bark orders at other countries, especially non-white countries, and have them obeyed.

    This is the disconnect in the American electorate about what actually works in strengthening America’s standing in the world and what conservatives perceive as the way the world ought to work.

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I am not. Racism was always lurking under the surface of the Republican Party, but they thought it was a losing issue (see George Allen’s “Maccaca” comment in 2006).

    Trump made open displays of racism into a winner.

    Only massive electoral defeats for decades will force a change.

  27. 27
    mike in dc says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I put the upper time limit to a shutdown, any shutdown, at around 6 weeks. Why? That’s 3 paychecks. Even with unemployment compensation, any government employee not in the GS11+ range is going to be in dire straits at that point. Plus various essential functions not being performed will start to hurt quite a bit, and markets (and big donors) will be too uptight to let things go on any longer than that.
    The previous record was 21 days, that’s one payday and a week shy of a second.
    But I do like your framing of this as a matter of bad faith negotiation. I have contemplated writing a book or essay about “The Bad Faith Problem in American Politics”. We have a system that is predicated, in part, on factions and parties working together in good faith to keep the system running. I think one of the two major parties has determined that it can gain more in the short term by gaming the other party’s expectation of good faith by actually pretending to be bargaining in good faith, while exhibiting bad faith every step of the way.
    I think this actually started quite long ago–maybe before FDR!–but has steadily accelerated in cycles–1950s, then 1990s, then early 2000s, then 2009-2010, and now. Mitch McConnell is the epitome of a bad faith actor. That a Republican presidential administration is now engaging in the same conduct may be the culmination of this trend. The only way to “correct” this misbehavior is at the ballot box…and that correction has to persist beyond one or two election cycles. But the other requirement is that the Democratic leadership refuses to be drawn into Lucy-with-the-football scenarios any longer.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dmsilev: Yep.

  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    I was on the fence about the Dems holding out because of DACA. Chris Hayes did a tweet saying that the GOP wants to deport all the Dreamers, but won’t come out and admit it. I realize that he is.absolutely correct. And, those stories that we post, here and there.. doing it to DACA would put it Front and Center for many Americans who don’t read those stories like we do. They want the Dems to do the dirty work for them. To that I SAY HELL NO 😠
    We will not abandon these young people.

    There are certain things that as Democrats we need to stand for. These young people are the present and future of this country.

    I say HELL NO to us going along with Making America WHITE Again. We must make the GOP own this. They want to deport these young people, then force them to say so. Force them to OWN THAT. That is their intention, and it’s worth us fighting against that.

  30. 30
    Doug R says:

    Trudeau may be young, but he’s got a lot of his father’s brain trust to help out. Note the skilled way he handled the trump pump.
    It’s not the first time the USA has stomped all over trade negotiations, note that Canada has been busy signing free trade agreements EVERYWHERE, including TPP.
    Enjoy paying more to build your house!

  31. 31
    moops says:

    One point is that Democrats need to negotiate with a villain like Trump with knowledge of how he always screws over his partners. The usual mistake is a party negotiates many points until you are left with just a few dear points, then Trump reneges on those and dares you to blow the whole deal up.

    The correct counter in this situation is throw more items back into contention. DACA is being reneged on, so toss in the whole previous tax bill as your condition to sign anything. Something the GOP cherishes needs to be in play. Just ruining government is not painful for them. DACA might not be a bad deal for them to sign if their tax cuts were brought back into the media attention.

    the tax breaks in that bill haven’t even been enacted yet.

    If the freedom caucus can insist on deporting thousands of people, the Dems can ask them to burn their precious tax cut.

    Then the dealing goes like this: DACA back in and tax cut rescinded and the Dems will sign. we’d negotiate down to just DACA.

    If Trump or the GOP mess that up again, then it’s DACA, rescind tax cuts, and restoration of national monuments.

    then negotiate down to DACA, and restoration of the ACA mandates.

    Their needs to be consequences to constantly negotiating in bad faith.

  32. 32
    dmsilev says:

    Another one:

    Representative Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her, according to several people familiar with the settlement.

    A married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there.

    But after the woman became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside the office last year, Mr. Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter — and he grew hostile when she did not reciprocate, the people familiar with her time in the office said.

  33. 33
    Zelma says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I thought that his overall analysis was scary as hell. And I share his conclusion that it will be very difficult if not impossible to recover from what Trump and the GOP have done this past year, not just in foreign affairs but domestically as well. I’ve seen folks suggest that Putin is unhappy with his boy because he didn’t get the sanctions lifted. (Although, apparently nobody is bothering to enforce them.) But I doubt he’s anything but delighted: his hated opponent has self-destructed! What more could he ask for!

  34. 34
    danielx says:

    FYWP.

    There is something that people seem to keep missing about Trump, most particularly one Mitch McConnell. Trump’s entire career is a trail of lies, bad faith and broken promises. This is who he is and this is what he does, because it’s worked for him. There have never been any real consequences for him aside from those imposed by bankruptcy judges.* For those have have done business with him, the shutdown clusterfuck and other negotiations that have broken down were and are eminently predictable and can be condensed to a simple phrase:

    You cannot negotiate with a guy who regards a signed contract as a starting point in negotiations.

    This problem is exacerbated by a host of factors, all of which have been detailed in numerous articles and books. Further exacerbation rises from Trump’s increasing derangement; I don’t give a fiddler’s fuck what the doctor says about his mental capacity.

    There are reasons why his bankruptcy lawyers would only meet with him in teams of two or more. There are reasons why Deutsch Bank is the only major commercial bank that will do business with the Trump Organization. I can almost hear Donnie saying fuck the banks, we’ll just get what we need from the Russians and we’ll fuck them too if we need to.*

    Trump has been successful in that he could break promises at will and leave the consequences behind because he would never have to deal twice with someone he screwed. Unfortunately for him, the Congress isn’t going anywhere and neither are federal and state courts and prosecutors, nor yet foreign leaders. He can’t just tell his lawyers to make the problem go away, whatever the problem might be. If you have to deal with the same people over and over, burning them in negotiations (repeatedly) is not an optimum strategy. But it’s what Trump knows, it’s what’s worked for him throughout his career. Again unfortunately for him, and all the rest of us in consequence, it doesn’t work when you have to go on dealing with the same people you’ve burned previously whether through ignorance or intention. With Trump it’s hard to tell the difference.

    *Sidebar: for those who don’t need to be whacked with a clue stick, this is a massive hint as to why Trump hates the judiciary and by extension the Department of Justice and state prosecutors; they’re the only entities who have ever held him responsible for anything.
    **Except that it doesn’t work that way with the Russians. Depending on which Russians you’re dealing with, if you negotiate with them in bad faith you’re likely to have an associate or family member’s bodily appendages delivered to you via FedEx.

  35. 35
    Rommie says:

    It’s not just that a new agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s on – what about existing agreements? Trump didn’t negotiate Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, so if he’s convinced/talked into thinking that it’s a bad deal, he’s gonna go PFFFT and do nothing if it’s invoked. The concern of the nations bordering Russia, already high, just got spiked to Eleven. There’s plenty of other existing agreements that are now truly of dubious value.

  36. 36
    charon says:

    @dmsilev:

    As a side note, this is even more extreme than the original “Hastert Rule”, which was that measures needed a “majority of the majority”, i.e. over 50% of Republicans.

    In practice that is not much different than the original rule, as anything that can get 50+% of R’s will get very few D’s.

  37. 37
    Yarrow says:

    The real damage in regard to foreign policy, however, has already been done regardless of how long this lasts. Our allies and partners, our peer competitors, and our enemies have all now seen how the President of the United States and his administration negotiate. The lessons have been learned.

    What they’ve really learned is that America is dumb enough to elect someone like Trump and then refuse to get him out of office. We are not to be trusted. Unless we show that we take this situation seriously and put laws in place so that it can’t happen again, we are not trustworthy nor a country to be taken seriously.

  38. 38
    germy says:

    @dmsilev:
    According to a spokeswoman for Paul Ryan, the settlement “is new information.”

    Big electoral consequences here for GOP. Now they'll either have an extremely damaged incumbent or an open seat in one of the swingest districts in the country. https://t.co/JtJYEwOATM— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) January 20, 2018

  39. 39
    gene108 says:

    @dmsilev:

    As a side note, this is even more extreme than the original “Hastert Rule”, which was that measures needed a “majority of the majority”, i.e. over 50% of Republicans.

    Yup.

    What Boehner did was a radical departure from how the House was run in recent memory. He wanted no Democratic input on legislation, except on budget matters, where he needed Pelosi’s support to keep the government running.

    We could have had immigration reform, and settled the issue of Dreamers, in 2011, if Boehner brought the Senate bill to the floor for a vote. Most Democrats and some Republicans would have supported it and it would have easily passed.

    But Boehner shoved onto to Goodlatte and for whatever reason the media blames Goodlatte for letting it die in committee, rather than lay the blame on Boehner, as if he was powerless.

  40. 40
    hilts says:

    @dmsilev:

    I’ve been familiar with Mollie Hemingway’s political perspective for some time. Even so, I was gobsmacked by the unprecedented level of jaw dropping dumbassery in this latest column of hers.

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mike in dc: From Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann:
    https://www.vox.com/2016/7/18/12210500/diagnosed-dysfunction-republican-party

    The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier in American politics — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

    As scholars who had worked for more than four decades with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, we faced a ton of scorn from sitting Republican lawmakers and outside observers for making this argument — and denial from most of the mainstream media. For reporters, professional norms and concerns about accusations of partisan bias dictated that the parties be treated equally, whatever the underlying reality. The safe haven of false equivalence led the press to ignore one of the most consequential developments in contemporary American politics: the radicalization of the Republican Party.

    The Outlook piece went viral and became the talk of political Washington even before the Sunday paper was delivered. So we were bemused that the major Sunday talk shows on the three networks and cable news — whose panels focus each week on buzzy topics in politics — all maintained radio silence about the essay. The denial surrounding this issue has barely changed since 2012.

    We came to our blunt conclusions from perches inside the belly of the beast, observing, analyzing, and interacting with the top political figures in Congress and the executive branch since 1969. Other scholars and journalists, including Jonathan Chait, James Fallows, Jacob Hacker, and Paul Pierson had paved the way with observations and analyses similar to ours.

    We did not advance our argument about asymmetric polarization lightly. We had worked closely with members of both parties and are not unaware of the issues and divisions inside the Democratic Party. But we had seen the GOP go from a problem-solving center-right party to a problem-solving very conservative party — and then evolve into an obstructionist party intent on appeasing extreme forces inside and outside Congress.

    This new version of the party eschewed any serious effort to bargain and compromise with the opposition party, an essential activity within the American constitutional system.

    The reasons for the changes in the GOP were many, and the Democrats were affected by some of the same forces. Both parties were reshaped by political developments in the 1960s — the counterculture, the Vietnam War, Barry Goldwater’s candidacy, the Voting Rights Act, and the racial realignment of the South.

    The two parties became more internally homogeneous and distinct from each other. Partisan identities adjusted to reflect these changes. People became more comfortable living and socializing with those sharing similar values and group identities. Parties in government became more unified and strategic in the legislative arena.

    As political scientist Frances Lee has demonstrated, the trend toward polarization was driven not just by sharper policy differences but also by a much more competitive struggle for control of the levers of power. Unlike the situation through most of the past century, both parties now had a reasonable shot in most elections at winning the White House and Congress. There were fewer presidential landslides and fewer extended periods of one-party control of the House or Senate. Pressure built for more party loyalty in Congress; legislating became more than ever driven by the permanent campaign.

    These polarized parties could and did act decisively when one of them controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. But the more frequent periods of divided party government inspired willful obstruction and policy avoidance.

    Newt Gingrich and the politics of destruction
    Why then single out the Republican Party as an insurgent outlier? Newt Gingrich, first among other Republican leaders, took this polarization to a new level. He was key in the transformation of the party into a destructive and delegitimizing force in American politics (which makes his recent bonding with Trump very fitting).

    From the time he came to Congress in 1979, Gingrich deployed a strategy to break the Democrats’ stranglehold on power in the House by moving to polarize the parties, to use the ethics process to taint both the majority and the entire political process, and to get Americans so disgusted with politics and politicians that at the right moment, they would rise up and throw out the incumbent party.

    A decade into his tenure, Gingrich was able to seize on and exploit a wave of populism triggered by a proposed 25 percent pay raise for members of Congress, judges, and top executive officials — a raise, ironically, Gingrich himself supported. The move ignited a broad national anger, empowering such diverse figures as Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, and, later, H. Ross Perot, and solidifying talk radio under Rush Limbaugh as a political phenomenon.

    When populism exploded again with the 2008 financial collapse and TARP bailout, the next generation of Republican leaders — led by Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan, the self-named Young Guns — took the Gingrich playbook and ran with it, exploiting and fueling populist anger at the political establishment and the new black president to take back power.

    The theory was that a deliberate strategy to make all government action in Washington look disastrous, whether by stopping legislation or delegitimizing the process and its products, would work against the party in power: the Democrats. Scandal politics, which vaulted Gingrich to prominence in the first place, could be hyped and exploited; see Benghazi. The “birther” movement was not explicitly embraced by party leaders, but it was encouraged; it was an indirect way to criticize the “African” president while also, incidentally, vaulting Donald Trump to prominence in the political realm.

    Republicans attacked science and egged on conspiracy theories
    These leaders also thought that an attack on climate change and, more broadly, evidence-based policy analysis would fuel suspicion and demonization of not just liberal politicians but the broader liberal establishment. The conspiracy theories and over-the-top attacks on Obama and Democrats repeated regularly on cable TV news shows, talk radio, blogs, and social media were not created or directly condoned by GOP establishment leaders — although they were repeated by rank-and-file lawmakers.

    But when leaders neither criticized nor condemned the assertions, it gave them more legitimacy with voters. We do not believe that party leaders themselves believed Obama was a secret Muslim, that Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin was a terrorist, or that a Black Panther uprising was ever imminent. But those claims were cynically exploited to foster anger among base voters.

    The Young Guns and their allies, including McConnell, also blew up a series of governing norms. While the debt ceiling had been a political football for both parties for decades, leaders were always careful not to push too far, to flirt with default. Republicans in both the House and the Senate, starting in 2010 and continuing through 2014, explicitly held the debt ceiling and US credibility hostage to a series of ideological demands, coming dangerously close to going over the edge.

    Then, faced with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans declined to offer alternatives or technical “corrections” — as an older generation of Republicans would have — and instead voted dozens of times simply to repeal the law. And in the Senate, the threat of filibuster, once reserved for a handful of highly charged large issues, exploded into a regular tool of mass obstruction.

    This “new nullification,” as we call it, has left President Obama’s nominee to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat, Merrick Garland, drifting in limbo.

    Stirring up rage they couldn’t control
    At first, the assault on government worked, at least electorally. Just as the Gingrich strategy brought, in 1994, the first Republican majority in the House in 40 years, the Young Guns and establishment leaders’ strategy resulted in a huge Republican majority in the House in 2010 and then a Republican majority in the Senate, and gains to solidify the House majority in 2014.

    But the risks of the cynical game were becoming apparent. To the populist Tea Party voters whose anger had carried the GOP to those majorities, the promises made to them by these leaders — that Republican majorities in the House and Senate could bring Barack Obama to his knees, repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, and blow up government as we knew it — were starting to appear hollow. Whether through weakness or perfidy, the Republican establishment, by stirring up the base and fomenting rage among its voters, did betray the trust given it by those voters.

    At the same time, having worked to demonize the president as illegitimate and not loyal to America or American values, every subsequent compromise made by GOP leaders to keep the government open or to pass policy was by definition working with the enemy.

    Much more at the link.

    Full disclosure: I know Norm, he’s good people.

  42. 42
    patrick II says:

    Adam:

    Rather, this budget shutdown is a combination of birds coming home to roost for Senator McConnell. The current shutdown is the logical outcome of a decades worth of Senator McConnell as the leader of the Republican caucus in the Senate. Every rule bent or broken. Every norm violated. Every tradition ignored if not repudiated. And now he can’t handle the fact that he has to live with the nightmare reality he’s created. It is also the result of Speaker Ryan’s fear of the nihilistic extremists in the Freedom Caucus, leading to his unwillingness to bring anything to a vote that doesn’t have their support and therefore doesn’t need any Democratic votes (the Hastert Rule). Finally, it is the result of the President’s mercurial nature, lack of core principles and values, and his susceptibility to pander and agree with whoever speaks to him last.

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. So, a follow on question to last night when I said I was disappointed that Schumer did not go after the Senate and House republicans, only Trump. Your reply was that it was smart, because Schumer was going to have to negotiate with them in the future. I get that there are Republicans who can be dealt with, but not calling Ryan or McConnell out, especially after the twitter McConnell ran this morning (White or Black, CHIP or DACA, Democrats must choose) doesn’t seem practical to me. McConnell has no conscience and the only way to get him to deal is that he pays a price for what he has done.
    This is kind of a blunt force comment, and I feel constrained by courteous comment length from going on, but being polite to these guys seems like a losing game.

  43. 43
    charon says:

    @danielx:

    There are reasons why Deutsch Bank is the only major commercial bank that will do business with the Trump Organization.

    The main being that bank is a notorious conduit for dirty money and money laundering. A good chunk of Donnie’s Russian money comes through it.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Zelma: The new sanctions passed last year aren’t being enforced. The ones put in place when Obama was President still are. And the EU has tightened down on their side of the sanctions.

  45. 45

    I honestly thought the rest of the world had figured out already that there is no point in negotiating with Trump, and the Republicans in congress are almost as bad.

    @Mary G:
    I grew up in the South, in Kentucky and South Carolina. None of this surprises me. When we tell you what a vast swarm of racist assholes seethes in this country, at every social and economic level, consider it expert testimony.

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I don’t agree with this. I honestly think Trump is an afterthought, a stooge at best. Schumer has to deal with those sadistic nutcases McConnell and Ryan. If they put it on the floor, it will pass. If it passes, Trump will sign, because he’s the worls’s Biggest coward.

  46. 46
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: Speaker Paul “I don’t know anything about anything that happens here despite being in charge” Ryan. (R-Spineless).

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gene108: He too was scared, for some bizarre reason, of the Freedom Caucus nuts.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @patrick II: Part of it is Senate rules on comity. He didn’t need to suddenly have to deal with Cotton objecting to his language and moving he be censured. Because while he’s got more leeway as one of the two caucus leaders, Cotton would do something that dumb. Schumer wasn’t looking to replay the she persisted crap with Senator Warren from last year.

  49. 49
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And again, as you noted in the initial post, no matter what you negotiate or who you’re negotiating with…you still have to be the last person who spoke to the president*. Because if not, the whole deal’s gonna change.

    That’s what happens when the president* has no principles whatsoever (other than, ‘me Me ME!’), little brains, and the temperament of a 4-year-old.

  50. 50
    gene108 says:

    @charon:

    Let us say there are 240 Republicans in the House. The Hastert Rule required 121 to be in favor of a bill before it could be considered for a vote. If in reality, even if you needed more than 50%+1 to bring something for a vote, it was not as extreme as what is being done now.

    You could get some votes through with 200 Republicans in favor and 30 Democrats.

    And some bills would fail on the floor of the House.

    Now floor votes in the House never fail, because only bills that are guaranteed to pass with only Republican support are ever considered.

  51. 51

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Simplest explanation is that Boehner wasn’t scared. He agreed with McConnell that a black man being elected president was a red line that required fanatical, scorched earth retaliation. All subsequent reporting suggests he personally loathed Obama, and how Obama kept beating him in negotiations.

    Ryan doesn’t even need this explanation. He’s told the world repeatedly what a deranged Randian extremist he is.

  52. 52
    moops says:

    If the NYT is going to let the narrative be Dems holding the budget hostage we might as well actually put some things dear to the GOP in jeopardy. Make the hardball politics open and explicit here.

    If you want a budget, tear up the tax cut.

    lets rehash that tax cut in the media again. It has disappeared from the news cycle and should be brought right back in. With polling, and everything.

    How upset are you about DACA now?

  53. 53
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It really IS even worse than it looks…

    Key grafs:

    The theory was that a deliberate strategy to make all government action in Washington look disastrous, whether by stopping legislation or delegitimizing the process and its products, would work against the party in power: the Democrats. Scandal politics, which vaulted Gingrich to prominence in the first place, could be hyped and exploited; see Benghazi. The “birther” movement was not explicitly embraced by party leaders, but it was encouraged; it was an indirect way to criticize the “African” president while also, incidentally, vaulting Donald Trump to prominence in the political realm.

    But the risks of the cynical game were becoming apparent. To the populist Tea Party voters whose anger had carried the GOP to those majorities, the promises made to them by these leaders — that Republican majorities in the House and Senate could bring Barack Obama to his knees, repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, and blow up government as we knew it — were starting to appear hollow. Whether through weakness or perfidy, the Republican establishment, by stirring up the base and fomenting rage among its voters, did betray the trust given it by those voters.

    At the same time, having worked to demonize the president as illegitimate and not loyal to America or American values, every subsequent compromise made by GOP leaders to keep the government open or to pass policy was by definition working with the enemy.

    Or, shorter: We were good with our Frankenstein voters until they spotted us and started heading our way…

    It’s also why even semi-rational, “moderate” Rs couldn’t bring themselves to publicly try and avert Trumpian disaster – the alternative was Hillary, the Ender of Everything Good. If they did an about-face and told their voters that Trump was actually worse…the question for R voters would have been, ‘Hillary?!? well, what ELSE have ya been lyin’ to me about for the past thirty years?’

  54. 54
    Jeffro says:

    Anyway…did anyone else get an email from Twitter HQ today, noting how they’ve discovered all these Russian bots and now they’re taking steps to prevent manipulation like that in the future?

  55. 55
    JPL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Of course they aren’t. This is an excellent post and I wish that you would go on Maddow’s show is talk about this. We have a president that doesn’t negotiate in good faith.

  56. 56
    hugely says:

    when people ask me why I hate the GOP, beyond the treason* it has enabled, its the bottomless pit of bad faith** that they all operate on. I really dont understand why people in general dont recognize this (present company excepted) and would ever vote for these sociopaths. As stupid as the Dem tag “a Fair Deal for Americans” is, there is a core of truth to it.

    * lets not get into semantics pls, its how I feel as a snowflake thx
    ** this may be an ObamaBros coined term but I have used the term “bad faith” for 25 years to describe the GoP

  57. 57
    mai naem mobile says:

    I read a blurb that the European Central Bank is its starting to use the Yuan as its reserve currency where it used to use the dollar. These dumbass fucks like Mercer and the Kochs who wanted their tax cuts so.bad over everything else are going to have problems selling their products when the dollar isn’t king any more and borrowing costs are more expensive. Same goes for the racist white idiots who voted for this moron when they find out they are going to buy their F250 with 12 percent interest not 0 or low interest.

  58. 58
    Jeffro says:

    @hugely: Their bad faith comes from the fact that they’re not really (ever?) looking out for the country as a whole, or even the majority of its citizens. Hell, they aren’t even looking out for a majority of their own voters.

  59. 59

    @mai naem mobile: Yes, this is the result of all the debt limit shenanigans, which preceded the current president.

  60. 60
    gene108 says:

    @Jeffro:

    If they did an about-face and told their voters that Trump was actually worse…the question for R voters would have been, ‘Hillary?!? well, what ELSE have ya been lyin’ to me about for the past thirty years?’

    I think Republican voters like being lied to. They want to live in a world, where tax cuts make everything better, blacks are lazy and violent and are to blame for all their problems, and that Christianity and white Americans are under attack from hordes of elitists.

  61. 61
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @john r: It won’t be Putin filling that void, even if he wants to.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: No argument here.

  63. 63
    James E. Powell says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Being outraged that a black man was president is how Boehner got to be speaker. Failure to maintain that rage at the bug-eyed & frothy levels is why they got rid of him. Same with Eric Cantor. It is the one fact that never leaves Paul Ryan’s mind.

  64. 64

    @James E. Powell:

    Failure to maintain that rage at the bug-eyed & frothy levels is why they got rid of him.

    Boehner left when he wanted to under his own terms. When he announced his resignation, the first thing that happened was that they didn’t have anyone to replace him and he had to go beg Ryan to do it. Being driven insane by the asshole Freedom Caucus who didn’t appreciate that he was the best friend they ever had is why he got rid of himself.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: It is certainly plausible.

  66. 66
    dimmsdale says:

    I’ve read all the way to the bottom of the thread to see if anyone else posted about this, but I read somewhere not long ago a sentiment to the effect of: why should Republicans WANT to reopen the government? Isn’t this exactly the Norquistian ‘drown it in the bathtub’ scenario come to life?

    I got a cold dread all over when I read that, because of the skillions of moments over the past year of thinking to myself, ‘they’d never do THAT…would they?’ and then they did. And I’m sure there are plenty of process reasons why this kind of shutdown wouldn’t work, or would urgently need to be resolved, or would result in catastrophe on multiple levels–but do the Tom Cottons and Mitch McConnells care? (More to the point, do their ultra-rich paymasters really care? They’ll be fine whatever happens, after all!)

    Am I overdoing it here? talk me down, somebody–????

  67. 67
    Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot says:

    I don’t know. You’d think there would be real and meaningful lessons learned in “the rest of the world” by how our currently fascist and untrustworthy and often bumbling (hey! unnecessary own goal shutdown!) national government operates.

    But the various nations and trading blocs of the world are as disparate as our own citizenry (even more so, I suppose) and like our people I think there will be some who clearly recognize how bad things are getting (and how different it is from the previous longstanding norms) and who will do what they can to minimize damage, but the bulk, I’m afraid (again, much like our own people) will continue to muddle along in an essentially “business as usual” fashion. Particularly — from the standpoint of “the rest of the world” — because America is still the 800 lb gorilla in the world’s living room.

    Like others of my primarily pessimistic outlooks on the short and long term effects of our ascendant fascist overlords, I would love to be wrong about this. Real and important “MAGA tariffs”? I wish a motherfucker (the EU? China?) would, and that it was both abundantly clear and truly painful to enough of our electorate to make effective changes (that would entail throwing the fascist bums out and turning control of our legislative and executive nat’l gov’t to Democrats — though the fascists have the SCOTUS and the federal judiciary for a generation, so we’re were well-screwed there no matter what).

    Not sanguine about that, however. Know why? For this main reason: I’ve seen how Republican CEOs and boards of directors have sent jobs overseas for decades, but the vaunted WWC instead mostly blamed this on libs/Dems, and rewarded the fascists who actually fucked them over by turning into a reliable voting bloc for them, ffs. I don’t expect these people to recognize “MAGA tariffs” as exactly that no matter how hard they’re bit in the ass by them. It’ll still be the libs/Dems fault, because white supremacy is a hell of a drug.

    And, of course, half the goddamn electorate (and distressingly-large portions of the most-vulnerable and disadvantaged) still won’t even bother to fucking vote anyway.

  68. 68
    James E. Powell says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    All subsequent reporting suggests he personally loathed Obama, and how Obama kept beating him in negotiations.

    I’m not going to say you’re wrong, because I don’t know, but if Boehner really hated Obama, why would he do this?

  69. 69
    Jeffro says:

    @dimmsdale: You’re overdoing it a bit. Even the Rand-i-est of the Randians wants the military and ‘basic services’ to continue (at least, until we all have the foresight to subscribe to/pay in advance for the local police and fire services – VOLUNTARILY OF COURSE ALL ELSE IS THEFT! – and pay for our own medical care in cash, or chickens, whichever’s best)

    The problem is, this is a fucking modern democracy and we ought to stick to a set of norms that says, “You know what? We might not agree about immigration rules/reform, but yeah, let’s be sure to keep things functioning smoothly while we work out the details.” Everything’s fucking Armageddon with these assholes and any compromise is, well, Armageddon, and so that makes it hard to have a rational discussion or sensible outcomes.

    The best thing we could do for the Republican Party at this point is do whatever it takes to overturn Citizens United. It makes an already hateful and small-minded party that much easier for an even smaller group of even more hateful and more small-minded (BUT RICH!) people to abuse our country and its people.

  70. 70

    @dimmsdale:
    Congressmen face personal and professional pushback in the event of a government shutdown. Their pay may not be threatened, but they are involved with that government, interacting with it at all times, the people they deal with most are directly affected by a shutdown, and they face angry constituents and polls that make them fear for their reelection when shutdowns happen. Now, this is not to say that the Norquist Effect you’re describing isn’t real. It most likely is a major reason why they’re willing to play chicken like this, period. They have contempt for the government and need regular reminders that there are limits to their dogma. A fair number of them, particularly Freedom Caucus, live so deeply in their own little world that they actively want shutdowns and defaults and cannot be reasoned with. That’s still a minority of Republicans and no Democrats. If McConnell, Boehner, and Ryan weren’t such absolute fucking assholes, we would not be having these debates.

  71. 71

    @James E. Powell:
    Because Boehner, like McConnell, was an old fashioned politician who knew how to smile when the cameras were rolling, literally and metaphorically.

  72. 72
    SgrAstar says:

    @Timurid: who are these elites of whom you speak? Our oligarchs are not all on the same page politically, by any means. Some of em are even investing rather heavily in kicking trumpism to the curb.

  73. 73
    joel hanes says:

    The best thing we could do for the Republican Party at this point is do whatever it takes to overturn Citizens United.

    If the Dems take the House in 2018, it would help a lot to re-instate earmarks.
    With earmarks, it was possible to wedge an opponent off his caucus by offering boodle for his district that would enhance his own re-election chances more than it would hurt his party.

  74. 74
    VOR says:

    Excellent points, Adam. Let me add two existing international agreements, painstakingly negotiated, which were junked by Trump in a fit of pique. First, the multi-lateral Iran nuclear deal. He hasn’t canceled yet but he sure talks about it and refused to certify. Second, the Paris climate accord. IIRC, the US is the only country on the planet who is not part of the agreement. Then there is the talk about NATO, which has to be the best treaty organization for the US – we are the only nation to ever invoke the mutual defense obligation. The bottom line is that it is hard to trust the word of the US anymore.

  75. 75
    moops says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Given that a wave midterm is coming and most reps know it, they might figure that blowing it all up now is not a big deal.

    I don’t know if a protracted shutdown actually moves the polling needle much.

    A lot of pork gets held up with a shutdown. Given that red states are net beneficiaries of the federal government they have some motivation to get the spigot turned back on. But those are not the donor class.

    The donor class wants their tax cut left in place, so that is the logical bargaining chip for the Democrats to put on the table. Only having DACA on the table makes the Democrats the obstructionists.

    What the NYT is going to find out is that the public is perfectly fine with minority obstructionists. The Dems need to raise the stakes. That’s the only way to deal with a party that deals in bad faith but can’t walk away.

  76. 76
    moops says:

    I also find it remarkable that there has been no discussion at all about what is actually in the budget.

  77. 77
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: Yep.

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL:

    More seriously, I’m not the type of person they book on MSNBC.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    randy khan says:

    I think I said this earlier, but the way for Schumer to get a deal is to meet with Trump, get a deal, and ***not leave until the vote is completed and Trump signs the bill.*** His vote won’t be necessary if he gets a deal.

    But I also like the, uh, Russian negotiation tactic idea, too – if you demand we give up x, to get y, we’ll demand you give up z and y, without us giving up x.

  81. 81
    germy says:

    NY Times:

    Batman, Joker involved in plot to poison Gotham's water supply

    Tension between Superman, Luthor endangers Metropolis

    X-Men, Magneto unable to agree on issue of eradicating humans

    Both sides!

    — Oliver Willis (@owillis) January 20, 2018

  82. 82
    charon says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I have been watching MSNBC, pretty much every Democrat I see – Ed Rendell, Adam Schiff etc is working hard to pin the shutdown on Trump. We saw that with Schumer yesterday. It’s easy to speculate on various reasons this appears to be the strategy. If nothing else, if a bit of shutdown unpopularity rubs off on Trump, that could affect GOP turnout in the next elections.

  83. 83
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro:

  84. 84
    Daddio7 says:

    @moops: As always, anyone who doesn’t concede to your demands is negotiating in bad faith. Just as collective bargaining means the union gets all its demands and immigration reform means open borders. A cleanDACA bill insures that in few years there will be DACA 2 and then DACA 3. Pass this bill and and a long with water caches stacks of baby food and diapers will need to be scattered through the dessert.

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @charon:

  86. 86
    moops says:

    @Daddio7: That’s not what negotiating in bad faith means.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @moops: I don’t think that daddio7 is commenting in good faith.

  88. 88
    Jeffro says:

    Just a reminder that ALL of this shutdown bullshit is because Trumpov wanted to end DACA but didn’t want the blowback. Just like with everything else.

    “I want to hate on brown people but I also want everyone to love me”

  89. 89
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m only shocked that Twitter is admitting it. Progress!

  90. 90

    @charon:
    They are definitely trying to pin this on Trump. I think the strategy is ‘Make everyone think Trump when they hear Republican.’ Because even a lot of normally unmotivated people hate Trump with every fiber of their being.

  91. 91
    Boatboy_srq says:

    The single most surprising part of this highly-accurate read on the situation iS that it has taken this long for the global community to observe this particular phenomenon and reformulate their strategies accordingly. The signs have been there since the Largest Inauguration Crowd Ever® if not immediately after No Puppet®.

  92. 92
    Arcnor says:

    Here in Canada, the basic assumption regarding negotiations with the United States hasn’t changed too much with the rise of Trump, and basically boils down to “anything the Americans agree to without first pitching an unholy infantile fit more suited to a sugar-addled ADHD two-year-old being denied candy in a Wal-Mart cannot, by definition, be good for ANYONE else, in any particular, ever.” Trump and his MAGA hordes just sort of crystallize the notion that talking to the US is basically a waste of everyone’s time and should only be done as part of a broader strategy of delay or side negotiations with someone else. Someone who might UPHOLD their end of a particular agreement. Like, say, Iran. Or Doctor Doom.

    I do not envy the administration that follows Trump’s, even putting aside the question of party. That administration is going to have to swallow a LOT of humble pie and do so in such a way that the NYT and Fox don’t immediately start yarping on about their “weakness” in the eyes of the world (as if being the most untrustworthy country on earth is a sign of “strength”).

  93. 93
    p.a. says:

    Atrios is succinct:

    SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2018

    Shutdown
    John Kelly is as big a racist xenophobe as Stephen Miller, if perhaps for different reasons, and you can’t make a deal with bestest boy Donald about immigration (or anything) because they’ll run interference and get him to “reconsider.” The New York Times reporters spent all last night (in their shitty newspaper and on the twitters) blaming Democrats for the shutdown, because it’s always their fault, so cancel your subscriptions. Please. I am so sick of this shitty newspaper destroying our politics. From Whitewater to Iraq to Clinton Cash to Emails to Maggie when will people learn. It is a bad newspaper. Local media is often horrible but at least they cover things that nobody else does so give your guilt money to them instead.
    by Atrios

  94. 94
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @scott (the other one): International 0.01% pressure only works if US 0.01% can be inconvenienced and/or snubbed by them. So few of the key players, though, are negatively impacted by disinvitation to the Cayman’s, or Davos, or Corrina, or Rio, or Sun City: they seem among that coterie Thwt don’t think the rest of the planet wotth experiencin, so international snubs matter only in the overt lack of invitation and not in any more material sense.

  95. 95
    No Drought No More says:

    For a great many years, they all laughed when I sat down at the piano and played The GOP Is The Party Of Rule Or Ruin. I still play it, only nowadays as a medley with Bob Dylan’s Idiot Wind..

  96. 96
    tybee says:

    i defy you to read this thread and listen to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLZOXm3zY1w simultaneously

  97. 97
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m sure that when daddio7 gets his dessert with diapers, then we’ll all know.

    Sounds a little Two-Scoopish to me.

  98. 98
    Vhh says:

    @Zelma: At some point Putin will shiv Trump just to up the damage. Probably by exposing money laundering.

  99. 99
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    None of this will change until McConnell, Ryan, Kelly, and Miller get their heads literally shoved up their own asses. I mean, there has to be real consequences for this shit. Not just losing an election so they can get private sector lobbying jobs. Real consequences that leave them debilitated for the rest of their lives. I wonder if the people whose job it is to protect them hate their guts?

    I know how that sounds. I’m just so angry with their petty selfishness. Trump, the GOP and their voters are ruining everything about this country. I especially hate the voters because this is ultimately their fault. R voters don’t deserve to live here. They are the ones who should be deported, not the Dreamers.

    Reading above how they have worked to undermine our political system for decades made my blood boil. It’s wasn’t exactly anything I hadn’t heard before but all of it being there as spelled out as it was, put everything into full relief. I realized that we’re in for the fight of our lives as country.

    The GOP is my mortal enemy. For as long as I’ve been alive they have done nothing but try to make my life worse than it has to be. They’ll pay for it all. I swear.

  100. 100
    Jeffro says:

    I think at this point it’s pretty clear that Kelly = Trumpov – affection for Russia, and that’s about it. He’s just as much of a hater of non-whites.

    Maybe they hold hands when they watch Fox News together?

  101. 101
    JPL says:

    @p.a.: I did the other day. They offered me $6.00 a month, and I laughed. I told them that Democracy dies in Darkness.

  102. 102
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @JPL:
    What did they say in response?

  103. 103
    charon says:

    @Vhh:

    Unless Mueller beats him to it.

  104. 104
    debbie says:

    Why hasn’t anyone (like Schumer) called bullshit on Paul Ryan? All this crap about CHIP when he vociferously wanted to get rid of it? All of a sudden, it’s so important? Oh, think of the children!

  105. 105

    @Vhh:
    Some of the revelations that kept the Russian Collusion scandal bubbling over the summer came from Russian agents. I think Putin wants this to fester. Delegitimizing American democracy is his #1 goal here, after all.

  106. 106
    efgoldman says:

    @Timurid:

    a catastrophic collapse of the Trump regime, by impeachment or by decisive electoral defeat, will lead to a crushing backlash.

    Fuckem

  107. 107
    moops says:

    Putin won’t dox Trump. That smirking thug will not ever really show his cards. He will let intel leak out if Trump looks like he is going to get off. Enough to make sure the investigation draws blood.

    At this point Russian strategy just works way better with Trump still in the White House.

  108. 108
    frosty says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    I mean, there has to be real consequences for this shit.

    Maybe there will be. Did I read upthread that Sean Spicer can’t get a cushy TV job? Perhaps they’ve fucked their careers and future earning potential for all time. I can’t imagine any company would want to hire Tillerson as CEO after this. Same for the rest of them.

  109. 109
    jl says:

    @Timurid: Not sure what you mean by ‘elites’ You mean Republican elites? Republican elites holding electoral office have two death grounds: GOP primaries and the general elections. GOP office holders simply cannot abandon Trump before they win their primaries: Trump die-hards are the only reliable voters left who turn out for GOP primaries. I don’t see GOP support for Trump, either batshit insane Trumpster die-hards, or fancy footwork by their purported moderates, until after the primaries this spring and summer.

    Edit: and Trump die-hards may be only reliable GOP turnout in generals, given depressed GOP turnout in various special and off year elections so far this cycle. Some reason to hope for tsunami election. Many GOP office holders are on death-grounds that mean political death no matter what they do. Hard to predict what they’ll do, since nothing matters to them anymore. In a public good sense, it never did mean anything for many.

  110. 110
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I know Norm, he’s good people.

    He’s also hardly a liberal firebrand.

  111. 111
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    they face angry constituents and polls that make them fear for their reelection when shutdowns happen.

    Traditional political logic says that should be true, BUT: At least many (most?) of the RWNJs on Capitol Hill think, by their actions and votes, that the traditional laws of politics have been repealed. No passed major legislation has ever been as unpopular as the ACA bullshit and the tax assholery. No “president” has ever been close to as unpopular in his first year.

  112. 112
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: No, he is not.

  113. 113
    charon says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Some of the revelations that kept the Russian Collusion scandal bubbling over the summer came from Russian agents.

    Russian disinformation? I believe there has been little of that affecting the Russiagate coverage.

    Steele, BTW, is supposedly expert at spotting and filtering out disinformation.

    .. https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/3/9/3974a291-ddbe-4525-9ed1-22bab43c05ae/934A3562824CACA7BB4D915E97709D2F.simpson-transcript-redacted.pdf .

    .
    .. http://docs.house.gov/meetings.....-SD002.pdf ..

  114. 114
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I don’t think that daddio7 is commenting in good faith.

    o, but he(?)’s certainly trolling in bad faith

  115. 115
    charon says:

    @charon:

    The notion Russiagate is based on disinformation is popular at Fox News Channel. I wonder why that is?

  116. 116
    Bill Arnold says:

    @danielx:

    …you’re likely to have an associate or family member’s bodily appendages delivered to you via FedEx

    I’m shocked! That would violate FedEx rules.

    8. ITEMS UNACCEPTABLE FOR CARRIAGE

    3) HUMAN CORPSES, ORGANS OR BODY PARTS

    Seriously though, is that a documented practice? I hadn’t heard of it, though am not a connoisseur. (eww)

  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: They will ship firearms though!

  118. 118
    James E. Powell says:

    @charon:

    I won’t see any TV this weekend other than two football games. I’m going to assume that GOP talking points will be repeated across all cable & Sunday shows. Who’s going out there from our side?

  119. 119
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @James E. Powell: We booked you. You start with Chuck Todd, then the car service takes you over to Stephanapolous, followed by a quick stop with Dickerson. You’re welcome.

  120. 120
    Bill Arnold says:

    @charon:

    Russian disinformation? I believe there has been little of that affecting the Russiagate coverage.

    No, more overt than that. e.g. Trump Jr. Hinted at Review of Anti-Russia Law, Moscow Lawyer Says

  121. 121
    J R in WV says:

    @Daddio7:

    Russian Troll, or perhaps just a KKK Grand Wizard…

  122. 122
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Long after he retired from the Navy, Dad saw this scene, went, “Oh been through that.”, didn’t elaborate, and moved on. None of us have ever dared to ask.

  123. 123
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They will ship firearms though!

    And bull/horse semen. In the dry ice and everything.

  124. 124
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: He would’ve had to shoot one of you!

  125. 125
    James E. Powell says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Thanks, but even if we put aside my face for radio, I can’t talk about any of this without screaming.

  126. 126
    JAFD says:

    @Bill Arnold: This is a true story – you can look it up.

    A couple of decades ago, an employee of the Philadelphia coroner’s office had an unauthorized sideline sending bits and pieces of unclaimed bodies to a firm in Utah that prepared them for biology labs, etc. Until one hot summer day, postmen at a USPS package sorting center in Louisville noted a box that smelled awful. And leaked.

    The Postal Inspectors were called in, opened it, found four recently deceased human heads. And the return addressee was arrested, charge with abuse of corpses, defalcation, the whole book thrown at him.

    And as they were leading him off to four years in Graterford, the baliff said “You’d have saved everybody a lot of trouble if you’d just used Federal Express.”

    “Yeah”, the felon said, “but they charge an arm and a leg.”

  127. 127
    LosGatosCA says:

    @moops:

    Exactly correct.

    It looks like Shumer gets the value of James Baker’s approach – There is no deal until the entire deal is done.

    Trump’s strategy is to pocket any concessions, seem to agree, and then demand more concessions near the end of the negotiation. That’s how he ‘wins’ with people who grow weary of the effort to deal with him.

  128. 128
    Princess says:

    @Arcnor: I think that’s a good point. To a degree that liberal democrats may not appreciate, the attitude of the rest of the world is that the United States has always been Trumpian — “Gove me what I want because I am richer and more powerful than you.” Sometimes those things the US has wanted have been good for the rest of the world. Sometimes not (cf. Iraq War). But the basic attitude has not changed.

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