David Wu is resigning from Congress over an alleged incident of unwanted sexual contact with the teenage daughter of a friend and donor. His resignation won’t be official until after the debt ceiling crisis is resolved. It sounds like Wu is crazy, not high.
Sorry to do this to you, but Bobo is a masterpiece this morning:
Alas, the dream of a Grand Bargain died Friday evening for three reasons.
First, it was always going to be difficult to round up the necessary Congressional votes. Republicans didn’t want the tax increases. Democrats didn’t want the entitlement cuts.
Second, the White House negotiating process was inadequate. Neither the president nor the House speaker ever wrote down and released their negotiating positions. Everything was mysterious, shifting and slippery. One day the president was agreeing to an $800 billion revenue increase; the next day he was asking for $400 billion more. Spending cuts that seemed to be part of the package suddenly seemed hollow. Negotiating partners disappeared.
It was phenomenally hard to figure out exactly who was offering what. Democrats in Congress were kept in the dark and were understandably suspicious. It was all a recipe for misunderstandings, hurt feelings and collapse.
Third, the president lost his cool. Obama never should have gone in front of the cameras just minutes after the talks faltered Friday evening. His appearance was suffused with that “I’m the only mature person in Washington” condescension that drives everybody else crazy. Obama lectured the leaders of the House and Senate in the sort of patronizing tone that a junior high principal might use with immature delinquents. He talked about unreturned phone calls and being left at the altar, personalizing the issue like a spurned prom date.
The Brooks rundown faults three things:
First, “BOTH SIDES.” Second, OBAMA IS SLIPPERY. Third, OBAMA LOST HIS COOL.
I’m just going to stop this post now before I say what I want to and it becomes representative of the “angry left.”
I almost feel sorry for the Orange Man.
If you listened to his rhetoric since becoming Speaker, it was clear that he wanted to get something done. That he wanted to legislate. It was even clear that he understood compromise had to be part of the solution. At one point in the process, I even think he approached negotiation in good faith, but that is all in the past. Today, John Boehner is a lost and frightened man.
He came to Washington as an old school big bidnizz grifter. Back in the 1990s he was passing out checks from lobbyists on the House Floor. He smokes, drinks and likes to play the game the way it was played back in the day when things were decided in smoked filled rooms. He likes to pretend he’s in charge, but he knows it isn’t true. When the wingnuts swept into Washington he became the Speaker because he was next in line, but from day one he was viewed as a squish (a wingnut term of art coined by Grover Norquist and jack Abramoff back when they ran the College Republicans in the early eighties). He was never trusted by the Teabaggers. They let hold the Speaker’s Gavel, but they kept him on a short leash.
When Boehner moved to make a grand bargain compromise with the Democrats–and especially President Obama–his leash was yanked and yanked hard. Holding that leash in one hand is Eric Cantor and in the other, Eric holds a knife waiting for a clean shot at the Orange Man’s back.
Over the weekend I went to a dinner in Washington. There were quite a few folks there from both Parties. And it was not a big surprise to find out that some of them were involved in negotiations about the debt ceilings and other matters. It was an topic of conversation. When I asked what was happening and what might happen, several folks mentioned that the key to understanding debt fight and John Boehner was to understand that he is fighting with Cantor for his political life.
The Orange Speaker on the teevee tonight sounded like a broken man trying to puff himself up with tough sounding word strings. He sounded like a man desperate to appease the folks who view him as a squish and convince them that he can bring the crazy and the irrational hatred of Obama as well as any nutter. It was a plea to the radicals who have captured his Party to let him keep his job, but it is too late for that.
If a last minute compromise is made and the debt level is raised, they will blame Boehner and stick in the knife. They may even decide to not give Boehnor’s latest effort enough votes to pass just to hasten his exit from the stage. And if their antics lead to a default, downgrade, damage to the economy and more harm to the wingnut brand, they will blame Orange John for that and stick in the knife. And if Obama invokes the 14th Amendment at the eleventh hour or finds another way to free the hostage and save the Nation–that will be another reason to stab Boehner in the back and be done with him.
If Boehner survives this manufactured crisis, a new one will begin the moment it is resolved and fresh knives will be sharpened. Orange John walks with an expiration date and a target stamped on his back. Whatever happens, I expect that Boehner will resign to spend more time with his family in the near future.
And then we will have Speaker Cantor and the fun can really begin.
I almost feel sorry for Boehner, but not really. He has put his ambition and Party ahead of the Nation and when Cantor sticks in the knife with a twist to the right, Orange John will be getting just what he deserves.
Too bad this intra-Party power struggle has to take out the global economy as collateral damage, but so it goes.
And with that, how about an Open Thread.
Scott Shane is one of the best journalists working today. In today’s NYTs he digs into the influence that American wingnut bloggers had on the mass murderer in Norway. It is a story well worth reading.
The quote above is from a former CIA officer who frame the link of violence to wingnut rhetoric quite nicely:
Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism, said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time, he said the counterjihad writers do argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. Well, they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”
That a racist mass murderer has cited the racist bile spewing from their pens as a major influence on his twisted thinking has outraged writers like Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and others, but not that much–what really outrages these assholes is that anybody would dare to mention that their bile has consequences. As always, it is any effort to be held to account for their words and the influence of their propaganda that really inflames these weak-minded, fearful, racist slugs.
One of the folks pointing out this free flowing exchange of Transatlantic racist bile is Charles Johnston over at Little Green Footballs. It is interesting to watch as he documents the links of wingnut hate rhetoric to these murders and his back and forth with dim-bulbs like Geller. It is fair that he pulls this duty as the killer’s manifesto contained a link to an old post of his in a footnote. And even though he decided to get off the wingnut crazy train a couple of years ago, his old posts give him plenty of reasons to take up this fight and the tools to leave a mark when he lands a punch. His rejection of wingnut magical thinking has made him a prime target of the rage of folks like Geller who are super pissed that anybody would notice the call to violence implicit in their body of work. As a deflection Geller pretends that Johnson’s minor link as one footnote among many is far worst than the killer’s specific praise for her work, and Spencer’s and their fellow merchants of hate. It’s not, but logic and honesty have never been wingnut virtues.
Shane’s article goes on to cite the shutdown of efforts to track domestic wingnut terrorists in the US after Conservative outrage of a 2009 draft Homeland Security report on the subject. He quoted a former analyst at Homeland Security as saying:
The killings in Norway “could easily happen here,” he said. The Hutaree, an extremist Christian militia in Michigan accused last year of plotting to kill police officers and planting bombs at their funerals, had an arsenal of weapons larger than all the Muslim plotters charged in the United States since the Sept. 11 attacks combined, he said.
Over at the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence they have been tracking the rise of violent rhetoric and action in Wingnutopia on their Insurrection Timelime. This is a far bigger threat to America than al Qaeda and one would hope that folks here wake up to the danger of these domestic enemies. Shane’s article ends with this kicker from a Homeland Security official:
“What happened in Norway,” Mr. Cohen said, “is a dramatic reminder that in trying to prevent attacks, we cannot focus on a single ideology.”
And we can no longer afford to let wingnut poutrage shield the violent extremists among them from scrutiny. As Breivik in Norway demonstrated, it is only a matter of time before the Right wing kills again. These are dangerous times and we are confronted with crazy people who view most of the world as sub-human–crazy people with guns and a proven willingness to use them.
And with that, how about an open thread.
Tea Party conservatives hope to make a push on the House floor to force President Obama to avoid a national default if Congress fails to raise the debt limit.
Members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus have met with House freshmen to discuss a plan to pressure House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the Full Faith and Credit Act to the floor.
The legislation would direct Obama to prioritize federal payments to the nation’s creditors, Social Security recipients and soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The bill has been revised since it was introduced earlier this year. The previous version simply required the Treasury Department to pay the principal and interest on the debt held by the public over other obligations incurred by the federal government.
The challenge for conservatives is to persuade Boehner to bring it up for a vote in the ten days remaining before the Aug. 2 deadline.
Why not just pass a bill that says “Everything is Obama’s fault,” because that is what they are really doing with this. Really, the balls on these people. The only reason they are doing this is they are terrified of being tarred with the consequences of their behavior. So, what they want to do, after they cause a default and destroy our credit rating and we are unable to pay social security or the military, is stand up and say “Don’t blame me- I told him to pay social security first!”
With what money, you teahadist simpleton?
This is, however, a sign of good news. This is an implicit admission that they know the shit is going to hit the fan when they refuse to lift the debt ceiling. They don’t give fuck all about the economy or our credit rating or any of that, but the threat of millions of blue hairs ranting on national television about having to eat cat food scares the hell out of them. As well it should.