Another Edition of What He Said

Sullivan:

Charlie Cook and others are predicting a sea-change in public mood, with support for the GOP rising because of deficits. This strikes me as an amazing thing. It makes Charlie Brown, the football and Lucy look like the model of intelligent interaction. If you believe in fiscal conservatism, the last place on earth you should look for salvation is the GOP. They have single-handedly destroyed America’s finances since the 1980s, with the sole exception of George H W Bush, who was rejected by his own party precisely because of his fiscal sobriety. The current debt is overwhelmingly inherited by Obama, and it would have been nuts to enter office in the downdraft of the sharp recession and set about cutting spending. Bush had eight years to restrain it and he didn’t. He let it rip. Think of the GOP’s phony concerns about the cost of the current healthcare bill and compare it with the GOP’s prescription drug entitlement that Rove rammed through the Congress when the GOP held total power. The costs then were about eight times as great as the proposed costs now. But that was a Republican measure and so it doesn’t somehow count as evidence of fiscal irresponsibility. But Nancy Pelosi only has to raise an eye-brow and the alarms go off.

I find it amazing when I read the right-wing blogs and they talk about fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility. It is just too damned funny. But what is kind of creepy is that they sincerely believe their own bullshit- it is like the last several decades never happened. In their minds, the Republicans really are responsible stewards of the nation’s finances. It is mind-boggling.






102 replies
  1. 1
    r€nato says:

    Yeah but Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 so they own all of this, amirite?

    In fact, so long as a single Democrat is in power anywhere in DC, they can conveniently be blamed for everything.

  2. 2
    Jim says:

    David Gregory’s first response to the stimulus was ZOMG!!!!!!!!!! THE DEFICIT!!!!!!!!!! WON”T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I doubt he was the first. He doesn’t strike me as one to have a thought that hasn’t previously been expressed and approved by at least four people with a higher DailyBroder user number, he was just the first one I saw. I never heard anyone without a (D) after their name–and far damn too few of those– ever express concern about the deficit through the Bush tax cuts, the Bush wars or the Bush Bailouts of ’08.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Comrade Jake says:

    The Democrats look at the 15% of the population who believe the Earth revolves around the sun and wonder what can be done to improve our educational system. The GOP looks at this same group of people and sees opportunity.

    They’re banking on the stupid. Why? Because it’s actually worked reasonably well for them in the past, and they’re not genuinely interested in fixing any of the country’s problems.

    Cook’s argument is clearly intellectually dishonest, but the majority of the country isn’t intellectual. We may see such a sea change. I wouldn’t rule it out.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    Boehner and company got on this band wagon in the face of the ’06 Dem election and they’ve been hammering away at it ever since.

    It’s the one place where they find actual traction on policy. Sure, the fiscal policy is flat out wrong. Sure, “fiscal conservatism” only applies to domestic programs – highways, Medicare, education – and never, ever, ever touches military spending. But when you’ve got the MSM wrapped around your finger, it’s so easy to get up Sunday demanding more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and go to sleep Monday after demanding Obama balance the budget by privatizing Social Security. The moderate and conservative base of the public just seem ready to embrace the insanity too easily.

  6. 6
    Matt says:

    I had a conversation with my formerly rational but now Glenn Beck-listening sister over the weekend. Here’s how the Glenn Beck crowd views Bush vis-a-vis fiscal responsibility… Medicare Part D, the Farm Bill, the Highway Bill, the Energy Bill, and all of the other huge giveaways occurred post-2006, when the Democrats controlled Congress. So its the Democrat’s fault.

    She was shocked to find out that they all happened when the GOP controlled everything.

  7. 7
    Comrade Jake says:

    Sun and Earth transposed. Damnit. Can I have the edit feature back?

  8. 8
    PeakVT says:

    The problem is not that the conservatards believe their own BS; it is that the media believes the BS. Every time I hear “fiscally conservative moderates” for some lame-brained reporter I want to scream. All those so-called moderates did or would have voted for Bush’s budget busters. But the media keeps finding these supposedly fiscally conservative liars and putting them on TV like their opinions should matter.

  9. 9
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    Agreed. It’s depressing that there are a lot of voters who somehow will forget how poorly the Republicans performed, or who will believe that they’ve somehow reformed their ways and “returned to their conservative roots.”

    I’ve seriously been questioning whether democracy really can work, long-term.

  10. 10
    freelancer says:

    @Jim:

    Isn’t Gregory the douchebag who did the rap with MC “deficits don’t matter” ROVE at the Correspondents’ Dinner and both of them ended up sounding like Scooby Doo discovers white hip-hop?

  11. 11
    r€nato says:

    I never heard anyone without a (D) after their name—and far damn too few of those—ever express concern about the deficit through the Bush tax cuts, the Bush wars or the Bush Bailouts of ‘08.

    It’s a fact that no politician ever lost an election by promising to cut taxes without cutting government spending on defense, social security, medicare, law enforcement, prisons, police and fire, education… as if government can fund itself just by plucking 100 dollar bills from the grove of free money trees.

    It’s also a fact that few politicians ever win elections by telling voters that the responsible thing to do is raise taxes in order to cover the spending the voters demand. (see Mondale, Walter)

  12. 12
    Demo Woman says:

    Rep. Tom Price has a plan for health care reform that calls for 700-800 billion in tax cuts. Of course he’s going to pay for it.

  13. 13
    JK says:

    Charlie Cook has rock star stature among the villagers. It’s amazing to see how people like Chris Matthews, Charlie Rose, David Gregory, et. al. drool all over this guy like he’s God. Anything Cook says is treated as if it were carved into granite.

  14. 14
    Comrade Jake says:

    Sully also had a post up a few days ago where he suggested Obama should challenge the GOP to come up with proposals for entitlement reform, Medicare, etc. I’m kind of surprised that Sully didn’t anticipate the obvious response: “more tax cuts!” Is there any doubt that would be their response?

  15. 15

    The Democrats look at the 15% of the population who believe the Earth revolves around the sun and wonder what can be done to improve our educational system.

    Methinks you have made a tiny mistake?

  16. 16
    ppcli says:

    “But what is kind of creepy is that they sincerely believe their own bullshit- it is like the last several decades never happened. In their minds, the Republicans really are responsible stewards of the nation’s finances. It is mind-boggling.”

    Yes, it is scary. I used to think that Orwell’s picture of picture of an entire population switching belief in an instant without a moment of self-reflection was exaggerated for artistic license. (We have always been at war with Eurasia *beep* We have always been at war with Eastasia) But after watching the 25%-ers switch *en bloc* from “Reagan showed that deficits don’t matter” to “We are the only people who realize that reducing deficits is the most important thing there is” in a heartbeat, I no longer think that.

  17. 17
    Chi-city says:

    But Republicans are known for fiscal responsibility. Didn’t you know that? The irony is that if we do nothing health care is going to spiral out of control. And therefore we really should address tort reform.

  18. 18

    @JK: I’ve watched Cook for years and I don’t remember him ever being this far out in the ozone. He is generally pretty good so I don’t know what data he’s looking at to make these sort of claims. I’m actually quite surprised.

  19. 19
    BFR says:

    We may see such a sea change. I wouldn’t rule it out.

    Yeah, there are tons of people upset about the deficits – that’s a given. Would they flock to the GOP? That’s an entirely different question. There’s a huge slew of voters who don’t remember anything other than the Reagan to GWB “deficits don’t matter” years.

    It might work for the GOP but only because it increases the number of cynics and depresses turnout.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    People don’t care about deficits. It is too wonky. Who the heck cared about Dub’s deficits? The US is a very low tax nation (for civilized advanced industrial countries) and no one one is going to get bent out of shape if you cut off the upper 1%’s free ride.

    That issue is only a problem for the Democrats if they just sits there like stupid moronic jackasses, refusing to lead, cutting corrupt corporate insider deals when they promised the opposite, and letting the other side play offense all day long with with no detectable pushback.

    So…. uh-oh.

  21. 21
    ppcli says:

    @Demo Woman:

    I don’t think cutting taxes by 800 billion will raise nearly enough revenue. We need to cut taxes by at least 1600 billion to raise revenue that much…wait (punches buttons on calculator)… I’ve got it! If we cut taxes to zero, it will raise an infinite amount of revenue!
    /wingnut

  22. 22
    Tsulagi says:

    I find it amazing when I read the right-wing blogs and they talk about fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility.

    Don’t forget all the R-pols.

    Yeah, they’ve honed their situational Alzheimers to a fine art. On fiscal conservatism along with personal responsibility and accountability. Drool cup bliss.

  23. 23
    Joe Beese says:

    Two wrongs still don’t make a right – last time I checked. If fiscal prudence is worthwhile, there’s no reason why the Democrats can’t do it if the Republicans won’t. If it’s no worthwhile… well, fuck it. Put those F-22s back in the budget and create some jobs.

  24. 24
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    Holy crap. This is effing genius, (via Sully).

  25. 25
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Honestly, John, I am not so sure many Republicans believe their own bullshit anymore. Like Cheney, I think many at this point are nihilists. They believe in power and they only give lip service to ideas in order to gain that power. They’re smart. They know their ideas are incoherent. But they don’t care, because incoherence doesn’t keep them from being elected.

    I really don’t think I am being hyperbolic here. I think many Republicans (and frankly, a good dose of Democrats) see ideas as the game that must be played to maintain their grip on power. That is why a politician will say X on radio station Y to group of people Z while saying the exact opposite A on television station B to group of people C. They don’t give a shit. Whatever gets them the most votes.

  26. 26
    Jim says:

    @JK:

    arlie Cook has rock star stature among the villagers. It’s amazing to see how people like Chris Matthews, Charlie Rose, David Gregory, et. al. drool all over this guy like he’s God. Anything Cook says is treated as if it were carved into granite.

    Funny that. I think he was one of the few who called the ’94 takeover. And as we know, it’s always the mid-nineties in Teh Village.

    I wonder how Cook stacks up against Nate Silver.

  27. 27
    Ambergris says:

    Today’s fiscal conservatives don’t want a balanced budget. They want to wreck the budget to justify more social cuts. More social cuts = less money circulating in the public economy.
    Whenever they support more spending it’s only when it gives more money to a) the finance industry b) the military-industrial sector and c) fossil fuel companies.

  28. 28
    eyelessgame says:

    They’re precisely not looking for responsible stewards — responsible is the opposite of what they are looking for.

    The thing is, a “Republican deficit” and a “Democratic deficit” are completely different things. Democratic deficits lead to higher taxes; Republican deficits don’t — because Democrats, unlike Republicans, are responsible stewards of the economy.

    The implicit case they’re making is that “deficit” is a synonym for “tax increase” — but only when a Democrat is president.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    Methinks you have made a tiny mistake?

    Maybe he just assumes 85% of us are idiots?

  30. 30
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    @BombIranForChrist: I think you’re right for the most part, but there’s a cohort of Republican politicians that came up since the ’94 “revolution” who really, truly, believe the shit they say: Schmidt, Bachmann, Cantor, Pence — to name a few.

    The GOP began the cultivation of these pod-people back in the 80s and they pupated during the Clinton years.

  31. 31
    ellaesther says:

    The day after the 2004 elections, my friend was speaking to someone about the election results — about which my friend and I were devastated. The other woman said that she had voted for Bush because “I’m a social liberal, but I’m a fiscal conservative.”

    My friend replied: “Then you should have cast a write-in vote for Bill Clinton.”

  32. 32
    Dave says:

    Was there a first edition of what Andrew Sullivan said?

  33. 33
    Zifnab says:

    @BombIranForChrist:

    They’re smart. They know their ideas are incoherent. But they don’t care, because incoherence doesn’t keep them from being elected.

    Yeah, but how does that explain Republican voters. I’ve got some reasonably smart and savvy people in my office who can’t wrap their heads around the idea that private insurance companies simply exist to ream you for profit.

  34. 34
    tc125231 says:

    @Ambergris: Well…sure. The finance industry, the military-industrial sector, and the fossil fuel companies are paying customers of political conservatices.

    Right? Nothing for free in their world.

  35. 35
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    This would explain the 698 members of the Rochester 9-12 group. Three new ones today, so far.

    The best answer is a small government, established in accordance with the Values and Principles of the United States Constitution.

  36. 36
    mutt says:

    well, THREE Carter terms, the GHWB, with HIS tax increases, 3 Clinton terms, and now into our second disasterous Obama administration: what do you expect?

  37. 37
    Comrade Jake says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    Methinks you have made a tiny mistake?

    Indeed. Please see post #7, there, dickface.

  38. 38
    Trinity says:

    @Zifnab: I think many Republican voters (and I know more then I’d like to) really just hate DFHs and they are convinced that DFHs is all the Democrats are. The depth of their hate is illogical even as it flies in the face of policy they would otherwise support if it wasn’t presented by a Dem. It is disturbingly fascinating.

    I think the election of a black Dem president just pushed them over the edge. It’s their DFH nightmare come true even though Obama is not a liberal.

  39. 39
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Polish the Guillotines:

    Love it. Thanks for the link. The voice was perfect.

  40. 40
    bob h says:

    What is also wrong here is that anyone other than Pete Petersen gives a shit about deficits. The average Joe just doesn’t- all he cares about is having a job.

  41. 41
    Morbo says:

    When Republican history books are written; the pages between September 12, 2001 and August 29, 2008 will be intentionally left blank. (To all my past English teachers, sorry about the brutal use of the past tense.)

  42. 42
    tc125231 says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: The best answer to what question? National defense? I sort of doubt small government will work out for you there.

    The trouble with you “best answer” guys is you are never very clear about what question you are answering.

  43. 43
    Morbo says:

    @Morbo: (And the improper semicolon.)

  44. 44
    jl says:

    Below is a rant on macroeconomics, and the monster threat of monster government deficits and debt. You are warned.

    I think to some extent, the GOP does believe its own BS. They believe that the unregulated free market is best, no matter what it produces. If all the poor people end up living in boxes out in vacant lots and dying at 50, they can easily hire a hack economist to prove that market solution is optimal, if you assume enough arbitrary stuff.

    People who have good records of predicting recent economic events, like Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Robert Shiller, Nouriel Roubini, James Galbraith, tend to be Keynesians, and also believe (correctly, in my view) that we can’t make theoretically based claims much at all about what the totally unregulated market does. They use relatively commonsense reasoning, and data driven analyses of macroeconomics that does not attempt to wrap up everything into a very neat but unverifiable mathematical package, to conclude that fiscal policy works, and that the 30 year ultra free market experiment has failed.

    Their recipe is that there has been underinvestment in public goods like healthcare, education, infrastructure, energy conservation etc. Deficit spending now will restore these public goods to more reasonable levels. The deficit spending will support the economy through the recession now, and will be an investment to reduce the external US debt in the future (and the external debt is what really matters for most of the debt nightmare scenarios). So it is a win-win. A crash energy conservation program is one intuitive example of how this would work. So for them, the argument that all near term deficit spending is a wasteful burden on future generations is simply false.

    The free marketers have a neat theory that says only the market can do anything good, and all government expenditure is waste. They have a cool theory, and a heavily theory based set of statistical results that can explain what has already happened, though it cannot predict anything. These peoples’ theoretical framework does not allow for much formal prediction of business cycles and unemployment that most normal people think are kind of important to predict. They have results that are consistent with history, if you accept all of their assumptions. The future should be a trend line based on the past, and business cycles are inherently unpredictable. They say all economics can be used for is for designing policies that will bring the country out of a recession as quickly as possible once one occurs. In their view, business cycles are inherently unpredictable, and their statistical methods enforce this assumption. Government spending can only slow down recovery and all of it is a burden on future generations.

    So, how should a normal person decide?

    As for me, I am foolish enough to believe that if economics wants to claim that it can make empircial claims, it has to pull up its socks and predict things just like other sciences do. As the famous saying goes ‘prediction is hard, especially about the future’. Just rationalizing what happened in the past, by plugging in as many post hoc assumptions as needed does not cut it in my view.

    In my opinion, the free marketers’ record of predicting observable macroeconomic phenomena sucks big time. Their latest wrong prediction was that commercial real estate would sail through the recession in fine form. They also predicted the US would already be entering a bond market crisis due to excessive deficits and we would be seeing steeply rising long term interest rates that would screw up governemnt bond sales starting right now.

    If you want to just rationalize whatever happens after the fact in accordance with an elegant theory, go with the free marketers.

    I think if you want some guidance on what observable macroeconomic variables will look like in the near to medium term, I think it best to go with the Stiglitz crowd.

  45. 45
    freelancer says:

    also from Sully:

    Flat-tax waterboarding enthusiast all around douchebag Neil Boortz lays into the GOP:

    TeamObama must have loved this one. Talk about a hanging curveball. Once the manic inanity started all they had to do is sit back, prepare an innocuous speech for The One, and let the people scratch their heads wondering what in the hell the Republicans were so upset about! Now the next time the right comes up with an objection to some Obama concept, people who last week might have been on board will stand back and look at the Republicans with a jaundiced eye.
    This one was so easy for the left I can’t even think of another 300 words to fill out this column. So just move on to the next one. Two steps forward and three steps back. Unless PrezBO really messes up his address to Congress tonight watch for his popularity ratings to rise. Thanks, Republicans! See if there’s some drug available for that rectal-cranial inversion you’re suffering from.

    minor nit-pick, the correct technical medical term would be rectal-cranial occlusion

  46. 46
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    But what is kind of creepy is that they sincerely believe their own bullshit

    The best is when the bullshit they sincerely believe is when they say, “I disagreed with Bush about spending,” yet there is not a single instance of them criticizing Bush about spending.

  47. 47
    BombIranForChrist says:

    @Zifnab:

    I think many otherwise smart people follow incoherent ideas because of basic tribalism, honestly.

    I grew up in the deep South, where there are a lot of very smart people, but all these very smart people have their various hunting clubs, civic groups, etc. that they join, and if you want to be part of these groups, you have to toe the line.

    I think this happens with hippies such as myself as well. I am pretty far to the left, but I honestly don’t support most gun control legislation. Even so, I am extremely reluctant to bring this up with my hippie friends, because I just don’t want the grief.

    After a while, I think this kind of social pressure calcifies into a kind of rigid state of cognitive dissonance where even smart people succumb to the power of the tribe.

    That’s my guess, anyway.

  48. 48
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Gee, who ever would have predicted that the GOP would see the fiscal restraint light after being booted way the hell out of power? Most unexpected event in the history of the universe!

    On a slightly more serious note, I think Cook is typically good, but yeah, here he’s buying too much in to the CW BS. What he’s forgetting is that even if the party in power is unpopular, the opposing party still needs something to run on (see: Kerry ’04). The only exception to this that I can think of is ’06, and that was because the Republicans extreme unpopularity trumped any incompetent campaign the Democrats ran. And the Democrats today are nowhere near that point.

    I mean sure, it’s plausible that it could reach that point, but at the moment, it’s so incredibly unlikely that if you honestly believe the Democrats are losing the House in ’10, you need your head checked.

  49. 49
    Warren Terra says:

    @ Comrade Jake, #4

    The Democrats look at the 15% 85% of the population who believe the Earth revolves around the sun and wonder what can be done to improve our educational system see opportunity. The GOP looks at this same group of people and sees opportunity wonders what can be done to improve our educational system.

    There, I fixed the transposition error you complained, a few comments later, about being unable to edit away. I had to change the “15%” to “85%” as well; I hope you don’t mind.

    @ Polish The Guillotines, #24
    That Youtube was pretty good. The whole “Literal Video” thing seems pretty darn funny; from your linked video I followed one of the top “related” links to a hilarious rescripting (and re-singing!) of Meatloaf’s famous “I would do anything for love”. An easily parodied video, but that was one of the best I’ve seen.

  50. 50
    jrg says:

    Democrats don’t promise free ponies for everyone because they don’t believe that free ponies exist. You know who else did not believe in free ponies?

    Adolph Fuckin’ Hitler, that’s who.

  51. 51
    ricky says:

    @freelancer:

    “Isn’t Gregory the douchebag who did the rap with MC “deficits don’t matter” ROVE at the Correspondents’ Dinner and both of them ended up sounding like Scooby Doo discovers white hip-hop?”

    Scooby Doo did not discover white hip-hop. He owns it, b&^ch.

  52. 52
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Read these earlier-John-but glad to see them here. I think most of the Repubs know they are full of crap. They’ve paid no electoral price for it as yet, since they are still in office and being given face-time by the Village. Part of the problem with their voters is something mentioned up thread. To them, all Dems are DFHs, and as such, cannot be right about anything. EVAH! Those of us who began the fight in the 60s are not changing much, certainly not enough to find anything resembling common ground. People in my generation vote, as do, or did, our parents. The great changes that are needed must be fueled by successors. That is why this series of reforms on Health Care, Energy and Education are so important. The Right will fight, as reactionaries always have, against the change that smarter, better informed successors demand. They must lose the fight, so that the generations that were energized by Obama’s campaign and election do not give up on the future they deserve.

  53. 53
    Davis X. Machina says:

    ….they talk about fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility

    Fiscal conservatism means ‘money for conservatives’ and fiscal responsibility means ‘no money for dark irresponsible people’.

  54. 54
    Chief says:

    There IS a sea change going on, but it’s not the kind Republicans want. They can yell and scream right now because it’s the only weapon they’ve got in the arsenal. All they’ve done is drive down popularity for Democrats — their own (embarrassingly low) popularity isn’t getting any better. People may be getting scared of the Democratic plan(s), but so far there’s no evidence whatsoever that this is making them like the Republicans more (and as Sullivan explains, why would they?).

    The Republicans have lost — lost — the younger generation that is just now becoming politically active, possibly forever (political opinions formed when you are 18-25 years old are very hard to shake). They are doing very poorly in every growing minority group. The only group they really dominate is old white people, and they are playing them like a drum on this health-care issue . . . but this is not a long-term strategy, for obvious reasons.

    Obama is being patient because he knows that the Dems have the upper hand in the long term. Yes, it’s possible that something could happen to suddenly drive people back to the R’s, but that’s not usually how political sea changes happen; they happen gradually, and all of the gradual motion is in favor of the D’s.

  55. 55

    […] John Cole comments: I find it amazing when I read the right-wing blogs and they talk about fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility. It is just too damned funny. But what is kind of creepy is that they sincerely believe their own bullshit- it is like the last several decades never happened. In their minds, the Republicans really are responsible stewards of the nation’s finances. It is mind-boggling. […]

  56. 56
    Johnny Pez says:

    Whenever I hear the words “fiscal conservatism” I reach for my shovel.

  57. 57
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    OT: In other news, one thousand and one people will be blowing bubbles at Notre Dame Cathedral an hour from now. I’m not exactly sure why. It’s all explained here. Such as it is.

    http://www.lameute-mafiacultur.....sociation/

    I shall attend and report back afterwards, conditional on a certain level of sobriety.

  58. 58
    Lola says:

    Well, hard-core liberals are also pushing the Charlie Cook prediction because it feeds their, “OMG Obama sux” storyline. I have seen people arguing that it will be good if Obama is a one-term president on some liberal blogs. Because losing elections to crazy Republicans is always good for liberal causes.

  59. 59
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Lola: Yeah, same people voted for Nader where it made a difference, like Florida. Purity first! Assholes!

  60. 60
    Warren Terra says:

    Off Topic, but relevant to the general theme of Republican critics being morons who are unwilling to actually engage in an honest or serious national dialogue, such that any actual points they might hav get lost, John Scalzi has a righteous rant up about people who call Obama a Socia!ist. The concluding, and most important, paragraphs are:

    This is not to say that one is no longer allowed to criticize Obama or his policies here — really, please do. Nor is it to say one can’t speak of (or criticize) socialism here. But playing the “Obama = socialist” card is your sign to me that in fact, you’re not serious, nor are you interested in the exchange of ideas — what you’re interested in doing is crapping out an idiotic talking point that has no basis in reality, because someone who is either ignorant or deceiving told you so, and you feel you must further spread the ignorance. And you know what? I don’t have time for that right now.
    So, Obama opponents, either find a better and more accurate way here to voice your opposition to the president and his policies than diving for the “socialist” button, or run the risk of being expunged for being a moron, and having me laugh at you while I do it. I’m tired of it, here and everywhere else, but especially here. Please, Obama opponents, be smarter. The nation, its president, its people and its discourse, deserve better.

  61. 61
    Cain says:

    @Matt:

    She was shocked to find out that they all happened when the GOP controlled everything.

    Did you grin really wide when she found out? It’s the kind of shit eating grin I like to use when people find out what is really going on.

    I was on a plane from Philly to Minneapolis yesterday and I saw some fool reading a Glenn Beck book and I kept wondering why his face didn’t just melt like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. In the mean while the person sitting next to me a missionary was making a real contribution to the world by helping Africans in the Congo. Something the Glenn Fucking Beck would never be caught dead doing. Asshole.

    cain

  62. 62

    @Comrade Jake: Relax CJ. I didn’t see your update. But dickface is kinda of a amateurish school yard taunt don’t you think? If you want to rip then at least do me the honor of a proper reaming.

  63. 63
    kth says:

    Politicians have lost and will lose elections if there is sufficient inflation or unemployment. But no politician ever lost an election due to deficits, and none ever will.

  64. 64
    linda says:

    @ricky:

    yep, it was dancin’ dave doing his fancy footwork for the turdblossom.

    and, actually, it was dick cheney who so astutely noted ‘deficits don’t matter’; he also, remarked ‘we won the election; this is our due’:

    “O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.”

    whadda guy.

  65. 65
    Warren Terra says:

    Off Topic, but relevant to the general theme of Republican critics being morons who are unwilling to actually engage in an honest or serious national dialogue, such that any actual points they might have get lost, John Scalzi has a righteous rant up about people who call Obama a Socia!ist. The concluding, and most important, paragraphs are:

    This is not to say that one is no longer allowed to criticize Obama or his policies here — really, please do. Nor is it to say one can’t speak of (or criticize) socia!ism here. But playing the “Obama = socia!ist” card is your sign to me that in fact, you’re not serious, nor are you interested in the exchange of ideas — what you’re interested in doing is crapping out an idiotic talking point that has no basis in reality, because someone who is either ignorant or deceiving told you so, and you feel you must further spread the ignorance. And you know what? I don’t have time for that right now.
    So, Obama opponents, either find a better and more accurate way here to voice your opposition to the president and his policies than diving for the “socia!ist” button, or run the risk of being expunged for being a moron, and having me laugh at you while I do it. I’m tired of it, here and everywhere else, but especially here. Please, Obama opponents, be smarter. The nation, its president, its people and its discourse, deserve better.

    P.S. If this winds up as a double-post, I apologize; the first time I tried it I forgot to elide the moderation-bait within the blockquote>

  66. 66
    Alien-Radio says:

    @jl:

    Worse, that highly simplified theoretical framework, full of posthoc fudge factors, is also knowingly leaving out known cognitive biases (like the zero risk bias).

    If we sent shit into space with that kind of reasoning, neil armstrong et al, would be a fine vapour in our upper atmosphere

  67. 67
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Matt: Isn’t it just amazing? They pay zero attention while Reagan and Bush 2 run up deficits that boggle the imagination. Let a Dem try to fix that “little” problem, and suddenly, they’re like scalded cats.

  68. 68
    Eric says:

    This doesn’t matter at all because Republicans can go on television and say, “We are fiscally responsible, this is Obama’s deficit,” and nobody will call them out on it. (And anyone who does is part of the liberal media.)

  69. 69
    jl says:

    Ok, other commenters have convinced me. Forget my rant above, which is just for the kind of reality-based dupes who read biased fact-based blogs like this one.

    Better to just point out that the GOP braintrust changes its position on deficits and debt based purely on political convenience, and that the are pathological liars. And that Fluffyhead and other fraudulent celebrity news hacks who are on the TV all the time change their positions in tme with the GOP. And that these supposed incisive informed celebrities are so stupid (I saw Matthews on Colbert to back this up) that they probably need to have their ‘people’ help them put their socks on in the morning and lead them to work and back.

    But, still, I think some GOPers actually believe the BS, but they are liars too, so it all comes out the same in the end.

  70. 70
    Elie says:

    Many people are not stupid, just very preoccupied and encultured to be consumers, not prepared for participatory citizenship.

    The Republicans seized successfully on marketing and appealing to the easy “sale’ when the disparaties in our society could be easily disguised through acquisition of “things” with easy credit. That train has left the station and now we are seeing an emerging new and ugly reality: Class differences.

    For a time, it will work for the Repubs to exploit this using race and other code language. It won’t work foever though cause they can’t deliver. No more easy credit, no more easy home buying and ma and pa have to pay a lot for healthcare and jobs are drying up.

    The left progressives have a wonderful and positive opportunity now and health care is our hook. Along with a thoughtful approach to community awareness raising and organizing, we can reshape our national community to become citizens rather than passive, reactionary and fearful consumers.

    Can we do it in one easy step just from the ballot box? No. We have to engage and develop our leaders at the grass roots and, very importantly, we have to RESPECT our people — all our people. If we have contempt for them (which they secretly believe) it will show and be exploited by the Republicans.

    Enough of resenting the past successes of the GOP. That is gone and will be even less in the future if we fight our own defeatism and have the courage of thinking about this with creativity and optimism.

  71. 71
    jl says:

    @Alien-Radio: Which brings to mind, I saw a video clip of Aldrin punching out a moon voyage conspiracy theorist.

    Is Adrin a Democrat? If so, can we run him for something. He will want to space colonies, but we can put that on a slow timetable.

  72. 72
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Sun and Earth transposed. Damnit. Can I have the edit feature back?

    If John had an edit feature that could transpose the Sun and the Earth he should definitely get a Nobel Prize. Or at least a Webby.

  73. 73
    Brian J says:

    This is more of a guess than anything else, but if things get better in a few years, and Obama tries to be as responsible as he’s being now, with some success, people won’t care. Why? When the economy starts growing again, the deficit picture could look a lot different. Not that the budget will find itself magically balance, but with moderate spending restraints and enhanced revenues because of tax increases and a bigger base because of a better economy, the numbers will naturally be smaller. Plus, assuming employment growth returns to something resembling a strong recovery before 2012–and I’m setting the bar pretty low here, at about 150,00 jobs a month–people will probably feel more secure and not focus on the deficit as much.

    The idea that the Republicans can ride concerns about the deficits back into power also hinges on the notion that the Democrats will take it lying down. They wouldn’t, even if they didn’t have Obama’s skilled political operatives. That last bit makes it even less likely, I think.

    But yes, the hypocrisy is amazing, particularly when you consider that the budget only looks as bad as it does because there’s no body of gimmicks behind it, which was decidedly not the case for the last eight years. The administration decides to present a picture of reality, and it gets ripped a new asshole for the past administration’s mistakes. Ain’t life grand?

  74. 74
    Brachiator says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    The best answer is a small government, established in accordance with the Values and Principles of the United States Constitution.

    Exactly where is “small government” specified in the Constitution?

  75. 75
    Alien-Radio says:

    I want space colonies. I was promised space colonies by saturday morning tv, I am an angry politically dissaffected young man precisely because I do not have space colonies. And I know who to blame, and how and why they did it.

    I reckon there are millions like me. I think much like french peasants, the geeks are on the verge of revolting.

  76. 76
    stickler says:

    Brachiator:

    Exactly where is “small government” specified in the Constitution?

    That’s easy: the part where slaves get to count as 3/5 of a citizen, thus granting the slave states outsized representation and ensuring that the Federal government would never be powerful enough to end slavery.

    You might also note that this section was edited somewhat during the middle of the 1800s, and no longer applies.

  77. 77
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @stickler: just a question-how did making the slaves smaller guarantee the government would be? Seems it put more slave-holding assholes in the government, no?

    second part-14th Amendment, right? I love history quizzes.

  78. 78
    Comrade Jake says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    I used “dickface” affectionately.

  79. 79
    Calouste says:

    @freelancer:

    Notice that the douchebag still suggests that Obama gave a different speech than was originally planned.

    But on the other hand it is clear that Obama could play the right-wing noise machine like a two dollar banjo. No reasons to care about the people who are convinced by the RWNM, but it sure puts off the independents.

  80. 80
    The Moar You Know says:

    I reckon there are millions like me. I think much like french peasants, the geeks are on the verge of revolting.

    @Alien-Radio: “Verge” my ass. Most of y’all ought to try bathing more.

    That being said, I too am crushed by the lack of space colonies and daily moon flights. The future of my youth has arrived, and boy oh boy does it suck.

  81. 81
    ericblair says:

    Exactly where is “small government” specified in the Constitution?

    It’s right under the “long-form birth certificate” part and ahead of the “Laffer curve”, and next to the “60, er 70, wait 80 votes to pafs anything”.

  82. 82
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Johnny Pez:

    Whenever I hear the words “fiscal conservatism” I reach for my shovel.

    FTW

  83. 83
    Alien-Radio says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The demographic of the average comic book store customer has changed drastically over the last ten years, more women, less overweight sweaty neckbeards. there’s still a way to go before the market recovers and is no longer as dratically distorted as it was.

    If you want to see how capitalism fucks shit up look at the comic industry in anglophone countries.

  84. 84
    stickler says:

    Leelee:

    @stickler: just a question-how did making the slaves smaller guarantee the government would be? Seems it put more slave-holding assholes in the government, no?

    Counting a slave as 3/5 of a person, even though he was property, was a compromise between counting them as full persons or not counting them at all. It meant, effectively, that the slave states would indeed be able to send more slave-holding assholes to Washington than they would have if only citizens were counted in the census. And the last thing those people wanted was a strong Federal government (see all the legislation bottled up during the 1850s: railroad funding, land-grant colleges, higher tariffs for manufactured goods, etc).

    And yes, it was the XIV Amendment that did the editing.

  85. 85
    liberal says:

    @Joe Beese:

    If fiscal prudence is worthwhile, there’s no reason why the Democrats can’t do it if the Republicans won’t.

    I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but it’s poison in the voting booth.

  86. 86
    PanAmerican says:

    I like Cook, but politics is like warfare. It goes sideways for those re-fighting the last war. But it’s not just him. Pretty much everyone’s likely voter models have gone off the rails. SUSA is assuming a 14 point turnout swing in it’s VA gov polling — that’s Dewey defeats Truman nuts.

  87. 87
    liberal says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    …and fiscal responsibility means ‘no money for dark irresponsible people’.

    Yep; ultimately it’s about not giving hard-earned tax dollars to dark folks, not as much about dissing DFHs.

  88. 88
    liberal says:

    @jl:

    Better to just point out that the GOP … are pathological liars.

    So? On a human level, it was apparent in the 2000 election that Bush was a lying sack of **** (and on a policy level, in terms of his budget proposals, Krugman outlined in great detail that he was a lying sack of ****). And yet people apparently didn’t get it.

  89. 89
    gratefulcub says:

    Notice that the douchebag still suggests that Obama gave a different speech than was originally planned

    Something that has been on my mind all week: What, exactly, would an indoctrinating brainwashing speech be? Seriously, someone help me out. I tried to turn the tables, and thought, “What if GWB was giving a speech to the children, and he was going to indoctrinate them into conservative soldiers…… What would he say?” I got nuthin’. Nuthin’ Oh Sweet Nuthin’

    (just a ramble to say that Oh Sweet Nuthin’ is the greatest of all Velvet Underground tunes.)

  90. 90
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @stickler: OK, I see your point is correct. I was thinking more in terms of expansion of numbers than process.

  91. 91
    kay says:

    What’s inexcusable is that they knew.
    If they voted for Bush in 2004 they KNEW he wasn’t a fiscal conservative. Or should have known.
    They had to have known.
    All it took was a cursory glance at the 2002 Farm Bill and you knew the GOP Congress wasn’t fiscally conservative, and either was Bush.
    I actually have more patience with the Iraq War supporters than the conservatives who claim Bush somehow bamboozled them on spending.
    He didn’t trick anyone. He spent like crazy from virtually the moment he took office. They re-elected him anyway.

  92. 92
    binzinerator says:

    @jl:

    Nice, though I wish there were some linky-poos in there to strengthen what I know what is pretty much the analysis and conclusions of the past 30 years of gooper economics.

    As for me, I am foolish enough to believe that if economics wants to claim that it can make empircial claims, it has to pull up its socks and predict things just like other sciences do.

    I’m a fool too. If it can’t make predictions it ain’t science. If the predictions it has made have been wrong, wrong wrong, it’s junk science.

  93. 93

    @Comrade Jake

    The Democrats look at the 15% of the population who believe the Earth revolves around the sun and wonder what can be done to improve our educational system. The GOP looks at this same group of people and sees opportunity.

    “There are those who look at the 15% of the population who believe the Sun revolves around the Earth and ask why our educational system has failed…I dream of the 15% of the population that believe the Sun revolves around the Earth and ask ‘why aren’t there more of those people because they’d be reliable GOP voters'”

    Karl Rove by way of RFK*

    *Original RFK quote: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

  94. 94
    binzinerator says:

    @Polish the Guillotines:

    there’s a cohort of Republican politicians that came up since the ‘94 “revolution” who really, truly, believe the shit they say: Schmidt, Bachmann, Cantor, Pence—to name a few.

    I’m not so sure. I think it’s more they believe that what they say gets them and keeps them in power, not that there is any truth to what they say. Spouting hateful bullshit is easy for them since they don’t have a conscience. Whatever works to manipulate people. There is no ‘belief’ involved.

    IWO, Schmidt, Bachmann et al are sociopaths not suckers.

  95. 95
    kay says:

    @Brian J:

    The economy is getting better. I know it’s anecdotal, and you may jeer if you like, but my county is the canary in the coal mine, um, in a good way, in this case.
    We manufacture here. Those that stayed working are putting in tons of overtime, like, 20, 25 hours.
    At some point they have to re-hire, and that point is “soon”. Everyone who is working here knows it.
    I don’t know from consumer spending, and I don’t know from finance, but manufacturing is picking up. They’re too spooked to call back those they laid off right now, and so they’re doing overtime, but they can’t do that much longer.

  96. 96
    binzinerator says:

    @Trinity:

    I think many Republican voters (and I know more then I’d like to) really just hate DFHs and they are convinced that DFHs is all the Democrats are.

    Many Republican voters are really just bigots.

    And there you have a very logical explanation why they just hate DFHs and are convinced all dems are.

    And you have a very logical explanation of why something as ludicrous as supply-side economics was made rightwing dogma.

    And why we have so many millions people without any health insurance or preventative care. And why they don’t want them to.

    And it’s why they are convinced the President really isn’t a US citizen. And why they pulled their kids out of school when the President spoke.

  97. 97
    JMG says:

    Americans know they need change, but deep inside, they hate and fear change. So they voted for Obama, but now that he’s presenting changes to become real, they are rejecting him (and they will reject the Democrats completely in 2010).
    You can’t think about this logically. The voters are traumatized by the obvious death throes of American exceptionalism and our fall from the perch of Number One.
    The Republicans will beat Obama with some blowhard who promises to make us number one by invading some weak country or other.

  98. 98
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @JMG: Thanks so much for ruining my afternoon. Morning sucked big time and now you. Blarrgh!

  99. 99
    HyperIon says:

    @Morbo: @Morbo: (And the improper semicolon.)

    Thanks for noticing. Because I did.

    God, we need the edit function.
    How long does it take to fix a blog?

  100. 100
    eyelessgame says:

    Notice that the douchebag still suggests that Obama gave a different speech than was originally planned

    I figured this was their plan all along – the whole thing was a bitchslap (sorry for the term; I’d love to have a substitute term that’s as evocative and accurate). They knew very well he was going to give an inoffensive, apolitical speech. But by raising holy hellshit about it for a week beforehand, they can go out and claim he rewrote it to be apolitical because of their footstamping tantrum.

    In other words, they get to scream and yell and then claim screaming and yelling were important, because otherwise the president would have gotten uppity.

  101. 101

    […] from a fiscal conservative himself (Sullivan). John Cole voted for Bush twice before abandoning what is now the Crazy Party. “We’re […]

  102. 102
    justme says:

    But Nancy Pelosi only has to raise an eye-brow and the alarms go off.

    Really? I didn’t think her eyebrows were capable of motion.

    Who knew?

    Hey, I vote for her. I can make fun of her.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] from a fiscal conservative himself (Sullivan). John Cole voted for Bush twice before abandoning what is now the Crazy Party. “We’re […]

  2. […] John Cole comments: I find it amazing when I read the right-wing blogs and they talk about fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility. It is just too damned funny. But what is kind of creepy is that they sincerely believe their own bullshit- it is like the last several decades never happened. In their minds, the Republicans really are responsible stewards of the nation’s finances. It is mind-boggling. […]

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