Open Thread: The NYTimes Longs for A Simpler Day…

When the Very Serious Media People could pretend that the Tea Party was a ‘grassroots uprising’ of good folks very concerned about ‘fiscal responsibility’. Positive side, such as it is: Pushback was swift, vociferous, and (to a degree) effective:

When Congress approved $320 billion in new spending this month as part of its latest budget deal, most Republicans in the Senate voted yes, prompting a lament from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was first elected in 2010 as a slash-and-burn fiscal conservative.

“The Tea Party is no more,” he said.

But Mr. Paul and others who have signed the Tea Party’s death certificate overlook one way it continues to define the country today. It ignited a revival of the politics of outrage and mistrust in government, breathing new life into the populist passions that continue to threaten the stability of both political parties. Even if the Tea Party’s ideas are dead, its attitude lives on.

“The energy that was with the Tea Party then was not even so much about fiscal discipline, but about holding Washington accountable for the promises it makes,” said Rory Cooper, a former aide to the Republican House leadership. As voters watched one promise after another go unfulfilled, he said, the anger eventually erupted in 2016 with Mr. Trump’s election. Voters said, in essence, “‘We don’t trust any of you, but we will trust this guy who makes every promise under the sun,’” Mr. Cooper said.

“Then what happened,” he added, “was they stopped caring about the promises.” …

IMO, the real reason for Jeremy Peters’ purported nostalgia was to set up a beat-sweetner for Mick ‘Acting Head of Everything’ Mulvaney:

Of the 87 new Republicans elected to the House in 2010 — the most sweeping repudiation of a president and his political party in generations — one who has risen higher than most is Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff.
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Why’s Everything That’s Supposed to Be Bad Make Me Feel So Good

What’s your addiction? Is it money? Is it girls? Is it weed?
I’ve been afflicted by not one, not two, but all three.

Ahh, McSuderman:

No Republican was more vociferously opposed to the build up of public debt than Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP speaker of the House who announced this morning that he would not run for reelection. For years, Ryan has served as the frontman for the GOP’s fiscal crusades, a role that helped elevate him into the upper echelons of party leadership.

Ryan repeatedly lambasted the fiscal policies of President Obama and the Democratic party. He charged that Obama “dodged the tough choices necessary to confront the threat of runaway federal spending,” and criticized the president for ignoring the recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission that he helped create. Under Obama, Ryan said in a 2011 op-ed, “Democrats have simply done away with serious budgeting altogether.” Ryan was serious about the deficit. Obama and the Democrats were not.

Repeat after me. Paul Ryan was never fucking serious about the budget. Let me clarify- he was never serious about deficit and debt. He may have talked all the time about them, but that’s the “confidence” in con artist part (I haven’t seen it in years, but House of Games is my favorite con artist film, from before when Mamet lost his shit. I wonder how it has aged.) They talk and talk and talk, and while they are talking, they are reaching into your back pocket.

Paul Ryan was serious about the budget in one sense- in shifting who benefited. He didn’t care about the overall size, he just wanted to take from the untermensch and give to the noble Randian superclass. That’s why he didn’t so much as flinch pushing the Trump tax giveaway, but had to be pulled over broken glass to reauthorize CHIP (even though it saved money in the long term) because it meant his precious going to the poors.

Democrats, to be sure, have not exactly been icons of limited government. But under Clinton, the deficit turned into a technical surplus. During his first term, discretionary spending actually dropped; it wasn’t until the second term, with Republicans in control of Congress, that it began to increase again.

Stop right fucking there:

Fucking google something, McSuderman.

Deficits ballooned during President Obama’s first term, and from day one of his presidency, Republicans were swift to blame Democrats for a lack of fiscal discipline. But the rapid increase actually started under Bush. Depending on how you run the numbers, it is possible to make the argument that most of the Obama-era deficits were caused by Bush-era policies.

NOT ONLY IS IT POSSIBLE, BUT IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO RUN THE NUMBERS. You might have heard of the crash of 2007 in between attending Arcade Fire fanfests.

Obama’s second term was marked by still large but shrinking deficits that Republicans, since taking over, have grown again.Who ran congress during that period and what signature legislation was passed (and paid for) that helped lead to those shring When Paul Ryan noted that Obama ignored the recommendations of the bipartisan committee on fiscal responsibility, he was right. But what Ryan didn’t say was that Ryan himself was on that committee—and he voted against its recommendations.


I do not mean to suggest that Democrats are actually the party of good budgetary sense.

Fuck off.

In the long term, the largest drivers of the debt are Medicare and Social Security, and Democrats have, for the most part, been resistant to structural reforms.

No. Medicare and Social Security are fine and will be fine if YOU AND REPUBLICANS stop looting America, starting trillion dollar wars of choice, and spending 800 billion a fucking year on a bloated defense budget. And the only reason they want to “fix” both of them is because they want to privatize them, looting both for the benefit of their financial betters, which will no doubt make both of them worse and far more costly. But again, the actual cost is not what matters to Ryan. What matters is who gets the loot in this bust out.

Is there anything more addictive than the narrative that Democrats are bad for the economy and bad on fiscal matters?

Nobody Likes Paul

Paul Ryan’s fan club is limited to a couple hundred DC reporters. Outside the beltway, he’s political poison, so Conor Lamb ran against him, hard. This ad is great:

Kos has a new polling effort. Here’s their tracking poll on Ryan’s popularity, and it’s brutal:

Despite Ryan’s efforts to show a sad face every time Republicans fuck the poor and middle class, people get that he’s a little shit that will steal their Social Security and Medicare. And please don’t tell me that Lamb didn’t run as a Democrat. Social Security and Medicare are the core of being a Democrat.

Well, I’m On My Way I Don’t Know Where I’m Going

Let me say up front that I like Junius Rodriguez. He is the only viable Democrat running against unrepentant ZEGS fellator Darin LaHood, our current rep. And Junius works hard. Since last summer, he’s been going to every rubber-chicken dinner that can draw five cranky county Democrats between here and the Mississippi. He just posted that he’ll be attending fifty events in the next thirty days. He’s run before, knows how to do it, and has a relationship with all the local Dems. Since he’s a history prof at Reagan’s alma mater, Eureka College, it would be sweet if he could oust our local political princeling. (Darin is the son of beloved bipartisanship bemoaner, former representative, and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood).

But when I read stuff like this:

and this…

… my enthusiasm deflates.

IL-18 is very red. It is a weird-looking district that includes about half of my town and some, but not all, of Peoria and Springfield. Republican candidates carried the district by around fifty points in the last three elections. I’m no gerrymanderologist, but it’s always seemed to me that the district was designed to keep it Republican, in spite of the fact that Democrats drew it up in 2010.

I’m not saying that Junius should go all Dennis Kucinich. That would be absurd and, I’m pretty sure, not his style anyway. Still, I feel like he is trying to peel off a few Republican votes with the kind of posturing above. Rather than make Sensible Centrist his brand, I would prefer he run as an out-and-proud Democrat. Tell us why Democrats are great, Junius! Not how you can feel like a conservative, but not vote for the Republican. All that being said, I will give him as much money and time as my resources allow.

In the marketplace of elections, however, there are more inspiring candidates running for local and–should Daniel Biss beat billionaire chickenheart J.B. Pritzker in the upcoming gubernatorial primary–even statewide office. And I think it’s natural for people, even if they are pragmatically inclined, to give just a little bit more to campaigns that dare to articulate something more ambitious.

But hey! At least we’re fielding someone here. We need to field someone everywhere.  So let’s heap more onto the fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Lyin’ Paul Ryan, Continuing to Debase Himself

(Jeff Danziger‘s website)