Waiting for the knife in his back

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.


Class fucking warfare

Chris Bowers (via Upper Left):

As you read this, rich and powerful people in Washington, DC are trying to determine not whether they should cut programs designed to help low and middle-income Americans, but by how much they should cut those programs. The rich and powerful people in DC are making these cuts in order to pay for tax breaks they recently gave to rich people and large corporations. Additionally, the cuts are being made at the behest of the lobby organizations and media operations owned by rich people and large corporations.

If that isn’t a class war, I don’t know what is.

That’s the truth.

Elected conservatives outsource all their work to corporations, leaving me wondering what they do all day

Excellent all-in-one-place piece on ALEC in ProPublica:

This week, both the Los Angeles Times and The Nation put the spotlight on a little-known but influential conservative nonprofit that creates “model” state legislation that often make its way into law. The organization has helped craft some of the most controversial—and industry-friendly—legislation of recent years.
The American Legislative Exchange Council,ALEC, crafted a model resolution for states calling the EPA’s attempts to regulate greenhouse gasses a “trainwreck” and asking Congress to slow or stop the regulations, the Times reported. A press release on ALEC’s site says that at least 13 other states have passed resolutions

It calls itself a “policy making program that unites members of the public and private sectors in a dynamic partnership” based on “Jeffersonian principles.” Critics say it has devolved into a pay-for-play operation, where state legislators and their families get to go on industry-funded junkets and major corporations get to ghostwrite model laws and pass them on to receptive politicians.

I know the information on ALEC has been floating around for months on liberal sites, so it’s heartening to see that news outlets (LA Times, NPR) are now picking it up.

Here’s where you can find the ALEC-drafted bill your state legislator is introducing as his or her own work, “word for word”, in the case of the recent Arizona immigration law:

The Center for Media and Democracy has obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by corporations through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. We have analyzed and marked-up those bills and made them available at ALEC Exposed.

Looking at the categories, it’s easy to understand why monied interests are drafting this legislation and introducing it in state legislatures all over the country. The profit incentives are clear when they are privatizing public schools and destroying unions, or limiting the right of individual citizens to hold a wrongdoer responsible for money damages suffered, or gutting environmental regulations, or rewriting a state tax code. Those are obvious. What’s interesting is the voter ID bill. That really sticks out. No profit incentive there, so what’s that all about, I wonder?

Divided we fall, united we stand

I’m kind of pissed by that New Yorker pop music sophisticated exegesis of a sociological phenomenon that Anne Laurie rightly mocked. When will it end? How many ways can you say “white black people drive a car like this beep beep, black guys drive a car like this BEEP BEEP”? And it’s in no way restricted to black/white — Democrats go to Whole Foods, Republicans go to Applebee’s…rinse, repeat.


I was cheered up to see a straight professional athlete — even though I know Michael Irvin isn’t everyone’s favorite — appearing shirtless on the cover of a gay magazine to support marriage equality:

“I don’t see how any African-American with any inkling of history can say that you don’t have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with. When we start talking about equality and everybody being treated equally, I don’t want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn’t deserve equality.”

Love him or hate him, Michael Irvin doesn’t care. He’s on a mission. He hopes opening closet doors for gay people will be a key chapter in his life story. “I have to make sure we do things to bring people together.

Everybody ought to feel this way, any one of us could be basically the same person we are only a different race, or a different sexual orientation, or prone to buying different music at Starbucks.

In my darker moments, I think the Galtians are doing the same shit to us now that the British did to the Hindus and Muslims in India, keeping us divided so that they can exploit us.


We’re a nation of morans led by sociopaths.