To hear the lamentations…

There’s an article in the current edition of “The Atlantic” authored by Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes (he of the baby cannon on Twitter). It’s called “Boycott the Republican Party,” and in it, Rauch and Wittes contend that the only way the GOP can be reformed and American democracy saved is if everyone outside the Trumpist base votes against Republicans:

[T]he most-important tasks in U.S. politics right now are to change the Republicans’ trajectory and to deprive them of power in the meantime. In our two-party system, the surest way to accomplish these things is to support the other party, in every race from president to dogcatcher. The goal is to make the Republican Party answerable at every level, exacting a political price so stinging as to force the party back into the democratic fold…

We understand why Republicans, even moderate ones, are reluctant to cross party lines. Party, today, is identity. But in the through-the-looking-glass era of Donald Trump, the best thing Republicans can do for their party is vote against it.

We understand, too, the many imperfections of the Democratic Party. Its left is extreme, its center is confused, and it has its share of bad apples. But the Democratic Party is not a threat to our democratic order. That is why we are rising above our independent predilections and behaving like dumb-ass partisans. It’s why we hope many smart people will do the same.

Brian Beutler answered that article with a great piece in Crooked Media yesterday: Boycotting Republicans Isn’t Enough. I urge everyone to read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts, which start from the premise that even if they lose two landslide elections in a row (as they did in 2006 and 2008), Republicans won’t take that as a mandate to reform but will instead become even more hypocritical and reactionary:

After years of engaging enthusiastically in corruption and fiscal profligacy, Obama-era Republicans adopted a pose of rectitude and austerity. Anyone who had been paying attention knew these were just poses. Their immediate jettisoning of Dick Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter” ethos and overnight embrace of hawkish budget rhetoric was nakedly insincere, but was nevertheless accepted in good faith by nearly the entire political elite. Just this week, in an otherwise astute assessment of Republican base voters, Axios’ Jonathan Swan asserted that Trump “has moved the party away from decades of orthodoxy on…deficits,” as if such an orthodoxy has existed in the post-Reagan era. As if Republicans’ re-embrace of expansionary fiscal policy after reclaiming power weren’t completely foreordained.

Republicans spent the full eight years of the Obama presidency making arguments they didn’t believe, claiming to be outraged about things that didn’t really outrage them, fabricating controversy out of things they knew to be uncontroversial. They spent four years pretending to believe an attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans was a historic scandal, eclipsed only by the revelation (which they also didn’t really care about) that Obama’s secretary of state used a private email account to do work. When they were rewarded for this plain-as-day bad faith with control of the entire federal government, they immediately forgot about Benghazi, ignored botched operations for which Trump bore responsibility, and continued to use private email and encrypted third-party communication applications with impunity.

Beutler makes the obvious point that the same cycle will repeat unless Democrats play hardball when they again control the government and — crucially — are supported in that effort by other elements of society:

After Trump, Democrats could adopt a more aggressive approach than they have in the past, on the fool-me-twice principle. They could abolish the filibuster, expedite legislation to widen the franchise and reform campaign finance laws, right Mitch McConnell’s theft of a Supreme Court seat, and conduct oversight of the institutions of government Trump corrupted. They could set up a commission to examine, the role of propaganda in American media, and report out how and why, under Trump, the Republican Party entered a de facto partnership with hostile foreign intelligence to influence American politics.

I think they can and should do all of these things and more, so long as they can be done on majoritarian and representative bases.

But to truly marginalize the GOP’s political style would require a level of cooperation from many conservatives that doesn’t exist, and a level of buy-in from generally non-partisan institutions—the media, the bureaucracy, corporate America, and civil society—which have proven ill-equipped to defend themselves from Republican efforts to coopt or discredit them.

Corporate America has giddily joined a banana republic-style public relations campaign to thank dear leader Trump for his corporate tax cuts, and portray them as a boon to workers. Mainstream journalists are so petrified of bad-faith accusations of liberal bias that many of them genuinely can’t grasp how hostile the American right is to the vocation of journalism, or how to report on bad-faith in the public square more generally.

Beutler is correct that the level of cooperation outlined above doesn’t exist. I don’t know how we solve that conundrum, but solve it we must. As horrible and destructive as the current Republican administration is, it is headed by a preening, addled, incompetent clown. After the Trump era, I’m not confident we’d survive a resurgent GOP headed by a more skilled fascist wannabe.

93 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    which start from the premise that even if they lose two landslide elections in a row (as they did in 2006 and 2008), Republicans won’t take that as a mandate to reform but will instead become even more reactionary:

    My premise is that they have to lose three elections in a row, two of which are presidential year elections. I agree a 2006/2008 scenario isn’t enough.

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  2. 2
    Baud says:

    But to truly marginalize the GOP’s political style would require a level of cooperation from many conservatives that doesn’t exist, and a level of buy-in from generally non-partisan institutions—the media, the bureaucracy, corporate America, and civil society—which have proven ill-equipped to defend themselves from Republican efforts to coopt or discredit them.

    After 2016, it is irresponsible to leave the left off that list.

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  3. 3
    germy says:

    I’m confident we wouldn’t survive a resurgent GOP headed by a more skilled fascist wannabe.

    That’s the disturbing part.

    Right now a bunch of ambitious men are watching and waiting. Some of them are idiots, like the nazi who is running for office. Or the other dude, the guy who tweets antisemitic stuff on twitter and thinks he’ll win elected office.

    But somewhere out there some clever devil is pondering a run for office; a devil who knows when to keep his mouth shut. Whoever it is, I hope he doesn’t get far.

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  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    A poster here has had the solution for awhile

    Wipe them out
    All of them😠😠

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  5. 5
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I was a selective voter, mostly for Democrats, but also for Republicans, up until the late 1990s. Then decided that the only way to make a difference was never to vote for Republicans and to recommend that course of action to my friends as appropriate. Glad to hear it from Wittes and Rauch, but they’re late to the party.

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  6. 6
    aimai says:

    Beutler’s point is that as long as the press, high society, and media are complicit and supportive of the Republican end game (destruction of democracy, ruination of POC, end of taxes on the upper class, end of social services) then we can’t really make headway. So: Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson and Koch Brothers dependa est? Confiscatory levels of taxation and the destruction of this class of oligarchs is the only way forward.

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  7. 7
    Baud says:

    That is why we are rising above our independent predilections and behaving like dumb-ass partisans. It’s why we hope many smart people will do the same.

    I asked this last time, but do they reveal how their independence led them to vote in 2016?

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  8. 8
    Markk says:

    @aimai: I like your idea and agree.

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  9. 9
    brainrants says:

    @rikyrah:
    Repeal and replace Republicans, everywhere.

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  10. 10
    danielx says:

    @Baud:

    Also too, to call the media and corporate America non-partisan is a bit of a stretch, considering the media’s long-standing reluctance to call a spade a fucking shovel and corporate America’s pursuit of short term financial butter for its bread, bagels, croissants, etc etc…..

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  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @aimai: Sounds about right to me.

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  12. 12
    JR says:

    executives are people. They have histories and backgrounds. Find them out. Maybe there are a few leverage points.

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  13. 13
    Kay says:

    I feel like I was a generally optimistic person prior to the last year or so, but it sometimes feels futile.

    They all knew the Nunes memo was bullshit, really the definition of bad faith, yet they treated it as if it was serious. They can’t put that off on Trump. They could have called the GOP Congress out. They had the Senator from Wisconsin making shit up and he was rewarded for that!

    I don’t know what to do about it. State races can be a kind of refuge because they’re still somewhat connected to reality.

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  14. 14
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @aimai: This. They’ve been waging a one sided class war for fifty years. It’s time for a counter-offensive

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  15. 15
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: I really, really, REALLY don’t want this thread to turn into yet another High Sparrow bash-a-thon, but that’s one reason I’m almost hoping he makes another run and is squashed resoundingly in the primary — blown out by Super Tuesday. One of his acolytes who bobs to the surface here occasionally (like an unflushable turd) made the argument that “we’re all on the same team now” the other day. I don’t believe it for a minute, but we’ll know soon enough.

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  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    It’s the TREASON that makes this different.
    We know, given the chance, the GOP has no problem with TREASON against this country.
    Wipe them out
    All of them😠

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  17. 17
    JMG says:

    What Beutlet wants requires a societal rejection of late stage financial capitalism, which is just never gonna happen. Truth is, the decisive group of voters in this country’s elections vote on nothing but their own sense of well-being, economic and social. Their concern for things like constitutional democracy are nil. Their ability to see beyond the shortest of terms is also nil (in this, they’re like almost all people).

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  18. 18
    Kay says:

    It is a really good piece, Betty, so thank you.

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  19. 19
    MattF says:

    I wonder if Rauch and Wittes have figured out that Republicans are united only in their lust for power– and their determination to obtain power by whatever means necessary. Democrats don’t have that sort of unity.

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  20. 20
    sibusisodan says:

    @aimai: “Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson and Koch Brothers dependa est”

    They must be forced to wear adult diapers?

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  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t want to derail threads either, but I feel like, despite all the back and forth, we still are not dealing with what happened in 2016. All the while, we are asking everyone else to deal with their issues.

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  22. 22
    gene108 says:

    The only thing I have seen Republicans do with consistency is after every major election loss is become a more radical right-wing party.

    Ford’s loss begat Reagan. Bush, Sr’s loss begat Gingrich, which helped muddy the waters for Bush, Jr to steal the 2000 election. The losses in 2006 and 2008 begat the Tea Party, which led to Trump.

    After Trump, they will become even more reactionary.

    The way to change things is to be as energized as we are now. Or let Republican rule lead to its logical conclusion with economic and social collapse, and hope people get a clue, but this doesn’t usually work out well for everyone involved.

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  23. 23
    Betty Cracker says:

    @JMG: If you’re right, things will just have to get so terrible that people are willing to shed blood to change it. You might be right. I don’t know.

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  24. 24
    Jack the Second says:

    @Baud:
    My premise is that the billionaire donors have to stop donating.

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  25. 25
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    They all knew the Nunes memo was bullshit, really the definition of bad faith, yet they treated it as if it was serious. They can’t put that off on Trump. They could have called the GOP Congress out. They had the Senator from Wisconsin making shit up and he was rewarded for that!

    Guess flood the media with angry phone calls, letters, emails and tweets. Boycott their advertisers.

    Outside of this, the media is rewarded for their crappy reporting, so why should they change?

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  26. 26
    GregB says:

    Humans really do seem to have horrible tendency to collectively decide every generation or so to flush everything down the toilet.

    We are at the end of he generations who saw the horrors or the Depression and WWII.

    Looking out at the world, it seems many are ready for another round of tragedy.

    The fight for humanity must go on, but I fear we are on the cusp.

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  27. 27
    gene108 says:

    @aimai:

    Beutler’s point is that as long as the press, high society, and media are complicit and supportive of the Republican end game (destruction of democracy, ruination of POC, end of taxes on the upper class, end of social services) then we can’t really make headway.

    I think a majority of the MSM is supportive of those goals. They want a herrenvolk democracy, with a clearly defined upper-class (them) and a lower-class. No one can be as willfully ignorant as the elites in this country. They have to agree to the Republican agenda.

    Edit: 65% of white men voted for Trump. White men are the highest level of decision makers in most businesses, including the media. There is a self-selection bias that people, who are the most receptive to Republican propaganda are the ones making the decisions about what we see, hear and read.

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  28. 28

    As a non-native (an epithet I earned on Balloon Juice), I say that we kill the ghost of bipartisanship, forever. Natives here can tell me when did “bipartisanship” turn out well for Ds. Because I can’t remember a single instance.

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  29. 29

    @gene108: Most of them are on board. The ones who are not are doing good work right now. This is not a drill, we are in peril.

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  30. 30
    kindness says:

    The MSM isn’t going to help nor save us. This will end either with votes (my preference) or bullets. Tell me again why our side doesn’t own guns?

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  31. 31
    gene108 says:

    @Baud:

    They have to lose more than three elections in a row. I think at least a decade of losses, before the reactionary billionaires that set the GOP agenda can safely surmise they are getting a bad ROI from their product for the last 10 years.

    The New Deal was transformative, but it also helped the Democrats held the White House for 20 straight years, for it to become the standard for American politics for 50 years.

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  32. 32
    NCSteve says:

    I really thing that this time, we’re going to have to break out the guillotines and tumbrels. That’s all I got.

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  33. 33
    But her emails!!! says:

    @kindness:

    Many on our side do own guns…the majority of us also live in cities, where the cost benefit analysis of owning a gun is highly skewed against doing so.

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  34. 34

    Party, today, is identity.

    Only for white bigots. The rest of us are voting policy. Those policy differences have become so stark there is no reason to even consider electing Republicans to any position.

    We understand, too, the many imperfections of the Democratic Party. Its left is extreme, its center is confused, and it has its share of bad apples.

    Bullshit. ‘The left’ are whiny bitches who won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer, but very few of their positions are extreme. The Democratic center is remarkably consistent and united. Pointing out ‘bad apples’ is disingenuous, since they are a universal condition.

    but was nevertheless accepted in good faith by nearly the entire political elite.

    Only by Republicans. That happens to include everyone unelected you consider ‘political elite’, particularly the national news.

    They could abolish the filibuster

    HELL fucking no. The filibuster is saving our asses, right now.

    expedite legislation to widen the franchise and reform campaign finance laws

    Not without nuking the filibuster, and I’m loathe to give up our protection from outlier events like the 2016 election resulting in a complete rewrite of America’s laws to extreme right positions. We will have to – and will, and are – pursue these things at a state level.

    right Mitch McConnell’s theft of a Supreme Court seat

    Could this be done even if we nuke the filibuster? Surely it’s not as easy as a majority vote.

    conduct oversight of the institutions of government Trump corrupted.

    I’m not sure how much we can do there, but whatever is possible I’m sure we will do.

    They could set up a commission to examine, the role of propaganda in American media, and report out how and why, under Trump, the Republican Party entered a de facto partnership with hostile foreign intelligence to influence American politics.

    I’m sure we will. I question how much effect that will have, especially since the press won’t care.

    I think they can and should do all of these things and more, so long as they can be done on majoritarian and representative bases.

    Then you’re an idiot with an oversimplified view of the system.

    But to truly marginalize the GOP’s political style would require a level of cooperation from many conservatives that doesn’t exist

    Why do people pretend Republican voters are powerless? They are driving this mess. No solution that doesn’t primarily address them will work, and the only one I can see is outvoting them, which is a slow and terrible battle. A battle I think we can win, but still, that’s the actual fight.

    Mainstream journalists are so petrified of bad-faith accusations of liberal bias

    Or maybe they’re just Republicans who view things in a Republican way. That’s a simple explanation that fits all available data. Don’t extend assumptions of good faith where they’re not deserved.

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  35. 35
    Kay says:

    One thing I think we could do is get the Democratic nominee to commit to calling out the deficit bullshit when it starts, and it will start immediately after a Democrat is elected.

    The President could shut it down. Simply refuse to engage on the conveniently timed hand-wringing of pundits.

    I have now watched this twice. Clinton had the deficit hung around his neck and they gave Bush a pass. Obama then had the deficit hung around his neck and they gave Trump a pass.

    It’s blatant bullshit and I’m sick of it. Not again. When pundits trot out the liars from “Fix the Debt” or whatever they should be ignored.

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  36. 36
    Woodrowfan says:

    @germy: Senator Cotton fits that bill I think. He’s a wanna-be autocrat. So is Ted Cruz…

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  37. 37
    bemused says:

    During a drawer decluttering yesterday, I came upon an October 2008 EJ Dionne oped on dueling Republicans, critics of McCain
    and Palin in a deep split between conservative elites and the rank and file. Courting the “Joe Plumbers” isn’t working anymore and “no wonder conservatives are turning on each other so ferociously.” Not anymore. GOP has surrounded their wagons around trump with little hesitation.

    Dionne wrote Palin right impatient with McCain for not being tough enough–“as if he has not run one of the most negative campaigns in recent history.” We could not have imagined or wouldn’t want to believe living in a Trump world.

    Tony Blakely attacked the elite conservatives (David Brook “Palin a fatal cancer to the Republican party”, Peggy Noonan “Palin symptom of a new vulgarization in American politics”) ” fell back on an old left slogan, asking them: Whose side are you on, Comrade?”.

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  38. 38
    gene108 says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    As a non-native (an epithet I earned on Balloon Juice), I say that we kill the ghost of bipartisanship, forever. Natives here can tell me when did “bipartisanship” turn out well for Ds.

    Any form of representative government needs to have the party in power and the party out of power to act in some level of good faith, in order for the country to function. America has not had this for 25 years. The bad faith actions of the Republicans, in order to seize power, has led to a real crisis with this form of government.

    I’d love Democrats to shove their agenda through, but having both sides in a quest to seize ultimate power will not end well for the country.

    At some level, I can understand why Obama kept reaching out to Republicans, because that is how government is supposed to work, with both parties working in good faith.

    If the idea of bipartisanship dies, then we will be moving into one push for one party rule. I think the Republicans are better equipped to get to one party rule both temperamentally and financially. Their voters are okay with democratic norms being kicked to the curb side, as long as they are the ones wielding power.

    I don’t see a Democratic coalition staying together, if our goal is one party rule.

    There really are not any easy answers, in my opinion. And probably no good ones either.

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  39. 39
    Turgidson says:

    @Baud:

    In this current emergency I’ll gladly welcome the aid of people like Wittes and Rauch, and even addle brained temporarily ex-Republicans like Jen Rubin. (Not Bloody Bill WRONG Kristol though. Never that warmongering piece of shit.)

    But it annoys me to no end that people like Wittes and Rauch, even now, hold out their “independent predilections” as evidence of how much smarter they are than everyone else. It should have been obvious to anyone with any decency whatsoever who kept up with politics and current affairs on even a casual basis that the GOP was rapidly becoming more of a threat to our social compact and indeed our democratic system by the day at LEAST 15 years ago.

    These wannabe political hipster dolts who think they’re so much more thoughtful than “dumbass partisans” because they willfully ignored the bloody fucking obvious party-wide corruption, rot, cruelty, and aggressive stupidity of the GOP for so long were part of the problem. And even at this late hour, they’re too high on the smell of their own farts to realize it. This cult of the Independent (and its poisonous subset, the cult of BothSidesButTheDemocrats) is even stupider than the GOP’s brain dead base in its own way.

    Their help is appreciated right now, but I have no expectation that they’ll stay clean. Most of these Johnny-Come-Latelys to the side of minimal decency will flee back to the comfort of their prior cliques at the first glimmer of a hope of a sign that the GOP might be, could be, a little bit less demented. Book it. Especially the previous (and future) GOP water carriers like Rubin. They’ll undoubtedly see the next Democratic president’s commitment to and pursuit of “sockulist”, “appeasement” Democratic Party priorities as a far bigger threat to the republic than the GOP’s behavior. And people like Rauch and Wittes will go back to their high minded “independence”.

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  40. 40

    @gene108: Its a lofty principle in theory but the current definition of bipartisanship means Ds agreeing to whatever the Rs want. There is no give and take. I have noticed this since at least the time Bill Clinton was impeached. I was not paying too much attention to politics before then.

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  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Baud: Andy Slavitt has formed some kind of group to protect/advance health care. Jon Favreau is part of it. Katie Halper and a bunch of other rose-tweeters have decided this is a giant neoliberal con game because they don’t pay sufficient homage to Single Payer. A certain blog host of our acquaintance apparently felt the old pull of romantic righteousness. Even now, we can’t get ‘our side’ to focus on the real enemy.

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  42. 42
    germy says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    Senator Cotton fits that bill I think. He’s a wanna-be autocrat. So is Ted Cruz…

    Yes, definitely Cotton. And he’s young, I can see him slithering into the White House in a few decades or so. And I can only imagine what he’s capable of. He’s certainly a vicious liar.

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  43. 43
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @bemused: The difference is that in October 2008 they knew they were losing. Winning vs. losing makes a huge difference.

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  44. 44
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @gene108: An all-powerful Democratic ruling coalition on the level of the New Deal era would immediately split in two today. It wouldn’t take a few decades, like it did then.

    One side would probably end up allying with the remnant right, and it wouldn’t necessarily be the side that conventionally gets labeled “moderate”.

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  45. 45
    Honus says:

    @Kay: I had to listen to CNN or MSNBC interview Dave Brat who was shrieking about the democrats adding trillioions in debt in answer to whether he supported a military parade. They didn’t mention the fact that Clinton eliminated the deficit and obama reduced it, while Bush and Trump ballooned it.

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  46. 46
    Yutsano says:

    @germy: @Woodrowfan: But definitely not Rafael. He’s nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is to pull that off.

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  47. 47
    Turgidson says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Indeed. And the GOP is never, ever held to that standard. Even during the first round of debt ceiling hostage taking, when Obama made them an offer that would have almost certainly resulted in someone like Bernie primarying him in 2012, much of the mainstream media reported Boehner’s refusal as proof that Obama was insufficiently committed to finding compromise. It was stupefying. The media ignored or papered over the fact that the GOP was holding a gun to the head of the world economy (at a time the economy was still struggling to recover from crises that arose in large part on account of the GOP’s awful policies) so that the GOP could blackmail Obama into signing off on their “starve the poor” policy wishlist. Because BothSides4ever.

    God, I still get angry just thinking about that fucking bullshit.

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  48. 48

    @Betty Cracker: What insulates a large number of the citizenry from the stupid actions in the voting booth is the eminent position the United States has enjoyed on the world stage. Take that away and the reckoning with reality is unavoidable (as happened during the Great Depression). T and company are frittering away those advantages. These attacks on immigrants, pulling out of treaties, rejection of scientific evidence is not going unnoticed by the rest of the world.

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  49. 49

    @Turgidson: Ds just need to tune out MSM, they are Rs. Polite Rs who know their grammar but still Rs.

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  50. 50
    Kay says:

    @Honus:

    I cannot stand it again. Stop referring to people as “deficit hawks”! It’s bullshit. They bust the budget every time they are in power.

    Conservatives don’t EARN any of these descriptions. DEMOCRATS are good financial stewards. This is backward and it has been backward FOR YEARS.

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  51. 51
    Applejinx says:

    @aimai: I would forgive an awful lot of bullshit and not care whose name was on the tin IF this was what Democrats intended.

    Most of the problem is that it’s too impossible to believe that. If Democrats are dedicated only to helping the oligarchs get arch-ier, as they appear to be in order to get funded by them (funding of Dems remains a big problem) then it’ll be hard to believe such an intention if they claim it.

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  52. 52
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Even now, we can’t get ‘our side’ to focus on the real enemy.

    as if on cue….

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  53. 53
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud:I would love to know, too. But In their defense, it’s likely, certain really, that if they included that information half the readers wold turn against them for one reason and the other half would turn against them for a different reason.

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  54. 54
    Kay says:

    If I were a Democrat in Congress and I heard any of these bullshit deficit hawks bleating about cutting Social Security or Medicare to cover their tax cuts I would respond as if they are crazy –

    “What?! Are you INSANE? Americans have NO savings. WHAT will they live on?”

    It should be treated as a crazy thing to say because it IS a crazy thing to say. Americans HAVE no savings. Why would anyone cut their one reliable safety net?

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  55. 55

    @schrodingers_cat: I couldn’t agree more.

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  56. 56

    Personally, I don’t think we’re going to survive Trump. I honestly don’t.

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  57. 57
    Turgidson says:

    @Honus:

    Brat is the guy who upset Eric “Please Punch Me In The Face” Cantor in a primary. He’s certainly a loon, but I’m willing to believe that his dipshittery about the deficit coming to kill us all might be sincere.

    But that doesn’t give the media a pass for failing to push back on the “zomg Democrats” bullshit, which Brat might also sincerely, but very wrongly, believe.

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  58. 58
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Posted this the other day but it seems cromulent here wrt Deficit Hawk Poseurs

    @ chrislhayes
    Every single last thing GOP said about deficits/debt and austerity under Obama was obviously bad faith AT THE TIME. But for those who pretended not to see that, well….

    Michael Grunwald‏Verified account @ MikeGrunwald
    This was a big theme of The New New Deal and I’m remembering an influential former colleague who thought it made me unfit to cover politics.

    Grunwald was at Time when he published that book*, and i’d bet a couple of months mortgage payments that said colleague was one-time Uber-VSP Joe Klein

    * which should have been required reading for Dems and pundits looking to discuss the Stimulus but got almost zero coverage from the left-blogosphere or the Martin Bashir/Ed Shultz era MSNBC

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  59. 59
    Kay says:

    Also, some joker put me on the Kucinich email list. I’m not backing a Fox News personality for governor.

    I already have one. Kasich worked for Fox News too. Enough of that.

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  60. 60
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kay: I got an email from Kucinich yesterday, too. Pretty sure it’s a first, and I have damn sure never sent him any money.

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  61. 61
    geg6 says:

    @kindness:

    That’s a myth. Many of us own plenty of guns. We don’t, however, build temples to them and worship them more than anything else in the universe.

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  62. 62
    Ruckus says:

    @aimai:
    Yes.
    Property should never have higher standing than people.
    We need to reform the house so that we actually have representation of people, that we have equal representation, ie the house needs to be much bigger. That alone will change a lot of the issues.
    I’m going to bang my drum once again for national term limits. Reasonable term limits, long enough for someone to serve a reasonable time, not long enough to control the institutions like a fiefdom. How many people vote for Mitch M? I never have, I’d bet no one here has and yet he is controlling our lives.
    I have to go to work, more later.

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  63. 63
    geg6 says:

    @Ruckus:

    Totally against term limits. Totally. Non-starter for me. A totally non-serious “solution” to exactly what problem? Mitch McConnell? And you think whatever random GOPer Kentuckians would send in his place would be better? Stupid idea.

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  64. 64
    Neldob says:

    My impression is that they have to lose 5 elections in a row and big majority of the state houses, as well as being called,out loudly and continually on their IOKIAR and lies and fake outrage. Also reinstate the fairness doctrine, etc. They shouldn’t be referred to as conservatives because they’re not.

    I will fight them every day… or at least once a week.

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  65. 65
    kindness says:

    The right wing has always had more and better loonies than our side. During the 2016 election I found it a little funny that those who fetishize weapons though announcing their use of said tools would get them power. It was cute up until after the election when far too many of them publicly said they were disappointed Hillary lost only because they didn’t get to use their guns on dirty liberals. That shocked me. I hadn’t believed them at their word but when they said that, I believed them. No, they aren’t the majority of Republicans. But they are the majority of those who hoard large stashes of guns. And no one from their side told them they were out of line saying such things. So I take them at their word now. That is what too many of the loonies on their side actually want. We should plan for the best cases but also prepare for the worst is all I’m saying.

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  66. 66
    El Caganer says:

    @Ruckus: Yes, indeed. The Bundestag has over 700 members, and Germany has what, 1/3, 1/4th as many people as the US?

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  67. 67

    @Neldob:

    I will fight them every day… or at least once a week.

    :)

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  68. 68
    Humdog says:

    @gene108: I do not know if we can count on Rs ever returning to good faith governance. They see it “working” to give their minority position power and a tweaked majority in government.
    My husband has a theory we can never agree with the confederate mindset so let’s separate but not quite divorce. Each voter chooses their party and they get a colored ID card. Blue cards get you blue state level benefits and taxes wherever you live in the US. Red cards do the same for red voters. Blue card holders pay higher taxes, but that covers their healthcare etc. Red card holders can withhold cakes from whomever they want, have low taxes, but heaven help them if they get injured on the job or cannot work until the day they die. Coexist but chose your US experience.

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  69. 69
    Humdog says:

    @Kay: I come back to this often. So, we cannot afford Medicare? What problem is Medicare trying to fix? Does cutting Medicare help solve that problem? no! Then what does cutting Medicare solve? It solves nothing but taking the govt off the hook for paying medical services. If they don’t pay, the need will not stop. Their “solutions” solve nothing, just push the insurmountable problem to the individual level where no one can solve it. Fuckers.
    What are we supposed to do about the millions facing old age with insufficient funds to cover their daily expenses, much less medical care? Just round them up and turn them into tough, gristly, opiate infused food?

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  70. 70
    J R in WV says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Natives here can tell me when did “bipartisanship” turn out well for Ds. Because I can’t remember a single instance.

    I can remember a couple of instances of bipartisanship in my life without researching. Nixon’s impeachment story, ending with his resignation in disgrace for one. Nixon’s signature of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, although they both passed with a veto-proof majority, establishing the EPA. I imagine that the Civil Rights act and Voting Rights Act passed with votes from both parties, as the Rs weren’t nazis at the time.

    My dad was a registered Republican all his life AND a member of the NAACP, or at least a major supporter of them if not a “card carrying” member. That was a long time ago, the late ’50s and early ’60s. But lots of Rs were anti-segregation – although many wanted Rev King to slow walk a llittle more than Rev King was willing to go.

    It will be a long time, if ever, before we see rational thought on the part of the Republicans. I’m old enough to have only 15 or 20 good years left IF I’m very lucky, and I don’t think I’ll ever see an R worth voting for or working in support of. Not ever in my lifetime.

    Humdog, the first time a Red ID voter dies on the street, penniless and sick, tho young and good looking, there would be blood running in the gutters. Otherwise a good idea, let Rs do what they want TO THEMSELVES and keep their pernicious influence out of good people’s orbit.Sounds good, but not really workable.

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  71. 71
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @geg6:

    No to term limits also.

    What if we put the selection of the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority leader up to a popular (nationwide) vote? After the membership is set, give everyone a list of members who want to job and let everyone vote. Also, too, increase the membership in congress so that every district in the United States has roughly the same number of people.

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  72. 72

    @Humdog: That’s an interesting idea. Ultimately unworkable for a million reasons, but an interesting concept just the same.

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  73. 73

    @J R in WV: So no instance of bipartisanship in the Ds favor since the Ford administration? Or where Rs put country over party.

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  74. 74
    MomSense says:

    @Kay:

    “What?! Are you INSANE? Americans have NO savings. WHAT will they live on?”

    They don’t care if we live. These people are either so inculcated in Ayn Randian bullshit and prosperity gospel justifications they think they are acting morally or they are so corrupted by the sweet, sweet oligarch cash they destroy us with enthusiasm. Some of them, like Fuck You Paul Ryan, are infected with both.

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  75. 75
    gvg says:

    No to term limits.
    Anti gerrymandering laws immediately on gaining power, voter rights, automatic voting restoration after sentence served. taxes on rich need to go up especially corperate. bring back earmarks and compromise. donations must be disclosed laws with penalties for delays of disclosure and refusal that include jail. path to citizenship for dreamers and quite a few others.
    Get out of some of the undeclared wars. Military needs rest. Harden cyber security for both government and private companies. penalties for security breaches and higher penalties for covering up.
    More IRS agents.

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  76. 76
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The 1960s. Also, a little in the 1970s. But starting with Reagan it’s been a snare and a delusion.

    It’s worth noting that at that point Democrats had strong, reliable majorities, the New Deal/Civil Rights coalition was intact, and the Southern Strategy was not yet in full effect. Also, the GOP had not yet been completely parasitized by the reactionary right. Also, the media was really willing to examine and publicize both sides in a way we aren’t seeing, no matter how much FTFNYT imagines they’re doing things right.

    So it was a really different time, and expecting things that were reasonable then to be required of Democrats now is a sort of toxic nostalgia everyone should be wary of.

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  77. 77
    Another Scott says:

    So Ryan says he has the votes to pass the Senate budget bill. A certain Mo Brooks from Alabama is in the stories saying, “I’m not only a ‘no,’ I’m a ‘hell no.’” so he’ll vote against it. Deficits, you see. Horrible, horrible deficits.

    Mo Brooks returning to Washington for tax bill vote 4 days after cancer surgery – he voted Yes, of course.

    Priorities!!1

    (sigh)

    We have to fight them every single day.

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (“Who expects it to pass the House (Ryan does know how to count even with magic asterisks), but it’ll be interesting to see how long he has to hold the vote open.”)

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  78. 78
    But her emails!!! says:

    @Ruckus:

    You do realize that this whole “term limits” movement is actually driven and funded by people like our current Secretary of Education, right? It was Devos’ money that riled up the people and got term limits passed in Michigan for the state legislature. Why exactly do you think that rich rightwingers like Devos want term limits? Are they really populists who want to empower the little guy and get corrupt, bought politicians out of power? Term limits for the legislature (as opposed to executive branch where authority is invested in a single person) are foolish and counterproductive because they reduce the power of the 1. Individual voter and 2. the individual politician relative to political parties and special interest groups (read big donors with deep pockets). How do you ask.

    1. The only power a voter has is their vote. Limit voting and you limit that power. Term limits impact who the voter can vote for and they make the final term where the voter has no check over the politician a larger portion of the politicians career.
    2. Term limits elevate the power of those who employee politicians after their terms are done because the best way to assure job security is to suck up to rich donors who can provide a cushy job while voters can’t even keep you in office.
    3. Term limits increase the dependence of politicians on the political parties and outside groups that have a permanent presence. If the number of terms is limited, the ability and cost effectiveness of building up your own team and staff is reduced. No reason to build an independent fund raising, campaigning and information shop if you’re only going to be on the job a couple of terms. Far easier just to plug into what is already there, even presuming you would have the time to put together your own team.
    4. Which of course leads to further partisanship. Politicians become completely dependent on team Democrat and team Republican to even run a campaign. Given the limited time in office, they can’t really develop a base of support independent of the two parties (and even if they could, what’s the point really, they’re going to be out of office in a couple terms anyway)

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  79. 79

    @Kay: Have you heard about the latest Ivanka-Rubio scheme to get Republicans to pass some form of paid family leave so they can pretend to give a shit about families and, I suppose, give Ivanka-Rubio some kind of “win”? They want to pay for it using Social Security to make it “revenue neutral” and then delay the retirement of folks who take leave. Like you said, insane.

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  80. 80
    The Moar You Know says:

    Most of these Johnny-Come-Latelys to the side of minimal decency will flee back to the comfort of their prior cliques at the first glimmer of a hope of a sign that the GOP might be, could be, a little bit less demented. Book it. Especially the previous (and future) GOP water carriers like Rubin. They’ll undoubtedly see the next Democratic president’s commitment to and pursuit of “sockulist”, “appeasement” Democratic Party priorities as a far bigger threat to the republic than the GOP’s behavior. And people like Rauch and Wittes will go back to their high minded “independence”.

    @Turgidson: All Jen Rubin wants is a Nazi who doesn’t fart at the dinner table, and is not so gauche as to insist on gold-plating everything in the White House. Once those conditions are met, she will happily go back to her comfort zone of bashing the shit out of Dems. Which is fine. Her Israeli fetish is something I don’t want in American politics.

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  81. 81
    J R in WV says:

    @geg6:

    Yes, and many of us have carry permits, just because it makes it totally legal to move your weapons from home to a shooting range. Of course, in my case that’s about 100 yards out to the shop, where I shoot indoors out the garage door with pistols. Very comfortable, even in the rain, because you’re inside the shop and the targets are across the drive against the hillside.

    But I target shoot with many liberal friends, some who are more left than I, many of whom have way more firepower than I do. Then the CCW permit is quite useful, when visiting others to target shoot.

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  82. 82
    Another Scott says:

    @Baud: I think it will take losing the House, the Senate, several governors, several state legislatures, for several cycles, for the GOP to really change. There are too many centers of power in the US that they control for them to really do any soul-searching. IOW, a really big, really sustained, blowout. Otherwise, the various circles of power will continue to argue that “the problem is Washington” or “the problem was the last governor” or whatever.

    Rich donors are like everyone else – they like backing winners, or at least people who have a chance of winning. Sustained GOP losses will change the behavior of their rich donors.

    I think we’re on the leading edge, but we have to keep fighting.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

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  83. 83
    kindness says:

    California instituted term limits on it’s Assembly and Senate in the 90’s. What happened is that both houses lost the institutional memory they had had to keep the ship of state even keeled and the only group around which still had any institutional memory was the lobbyists. Lobbyists twist their memory to serve their contracts of engagement. Term limits hurt us and we are still paying the price here. Lobbyists win when we have term limits. Guess who funds the most lobbyists?

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  84. 84
    Yutsano says:

    @Another Scott: That was for the tax cut from Hades. Nothing about the current House vote in there.

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  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    @But her emails!!!:
    I’ve talked about this before, they want short term limits. I’m talking far longer times. But not unlimited careers. Yes the vote is critical. Yes we are not a country that normally votes in reasonable numbers. All of these, among other things need attention.
    I’m suggesting a possible fix for the obstructionists that not only screw everyone but that we have no way to deal with.
    I’ve never had anyone suggest any cure other than voting. I can’t vote against Ryan or Mitch.

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  86. 86
    Ruckus says:

    @geg6:
    Got anything better?
    Any ideas, anything?
    I’m suggesting something that if done properly, which has never been done, will control power that is abused currently.

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  87. 87
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    They want to pay for it using Social Security to make it “revenue neutral” and then delay the retirement of folks who take leave. Like you said, insane.

    It’s a horrible idea. Once they open it up as a funding stream it will be open season. I see so many people who go thru their own retirement savings or load it up with debt. You can’t let them have it. They’ll spend it.

    Just forget it’s there, Ivanka. It’s not your fucking piggy bank. Everyone made fun of Al Gore’s lock box but he was exactly right. They cannot WAIT to get their greedy paws on Social Security and start putting it down at the roulette table.

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  88. 88
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    How is this “paid family leave” anyway? They’re paying for it. Ivanka will allow them to pay for their own family leave?

    It’s so Trump Family. Borrow money they don’t even have yet.

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  89. 89
    joel hanes says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    when did “bipartisanship” turn out well for Ds

    Worked pretty well during the Nixon Administration, when Dems held the Congress.
    We got the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, and the EPA, all with actual bipartisan support.
    Gingrich killed it dead.

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  90. 90
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Baud:

    My premise is that they have to lose three elections in a row, two of which are presidential year elections.

    Yes, because by then 75% of their electorate will either be dead or sitting in an Alzheimer’s unit in a diaper so they won’t be voting.

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  91. 91

    @joel hanes: What about Reagan and Bush I, any example of bipartisanship by Rs which helped the country and not just the party?

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  93. 93
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    What about Reagan and Bush I, any example of bipartisanship by Rs which helped the country and not just the party?

    Well, technically Congress raising taxes to fix Reagan’s devastating tax cuts counts. Of course, it was a matter of again fixing something Republicans had broken.

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