Will The Tea Party Save The Obama Administration From Itself?

Matt Yglesias:

[Y]ou have conservative politicians refusing to make a serious effort to reach an agreement out of some blend of taxophobia and fear of giving the President a win. The result, again, whether the right realizes it or not, is a gift to the wing of the Democratic Party that disagrees with Obama about the desirability of enacting spending cuts.

I doubt this very much. But here's hoping! The problem is tax policy. Will Obama let the Bush tax cuts expire? I hope so.

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    I'm tired of the politics-as-sport (5.00 / 11) (#4)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:17:30 AM EST
    analysis from people like Yglesias and Klein, who are just not living in the real world, and whose professional lives depend on gaming which politician is up or down, and seem to ignore the policy and governance at the root of all of it - you know, the stuff that affects us non-Villagers who don't get to rub elbows and hob-nob with the powerful.

    Obama's not going to let the tax cuts expire; he's in economic anorexia mode, along with most of the rest of them, and by the time they realize the "patient" is actually starving to death, it will be too late and they're ALL going to get the blame.

    And it's especially abhorrent ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:19:37 PM EST
    when Obama and Dems are throwing starving babies under the bus.  They're giving Swift's A Modest Proposal a run for its money.

    Soylent Green... (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by chrisvee on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:22:03 PM EST
    ...is people!

    Right.. and it does NOT MATTER (none / 0) (#133)
    by observed on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:11:09 AM EST
    if they are nice or smart in person. The writing is all that matters, and theirs bites.

    Or... (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:22:58 AM EST
    ...Obama will just be a little more accommodating, give a little more away, then pontificate about how difficult bi-partisanship can be, but how neccessary it is, which is why you should vote for him again.  Because with Obama, things don't get all gummed up with senseless bickering and break down, stuff gets done  What kind of stuff?  Not important.  It gets done.  The right will laugh, then gird themselves for the next round of concessions on whatever the hell it is they are trying to tear down.  

    Obama will one day be in the Republican Party's Hall of Fame, as the Washington Generals are in the Globetrotters.

    Then again, he reads the polls, if it's safe for him to rattle a little saber, he'll make a nice show of it.  But, it's ALL show, since he's given away far too much already.  Now it's a standoff, essentially, over what crumbs granny is going to get: those from the biscuits or the crackers.

    And BTD is right (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:30:22 AM EST
    He gave away, GAVE AWAY, position on tax policy, and that has been the one domino theory that has held; the Norquist dominoes, that is.

    Are you certain Pres. Obama and his (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:27:28 AM EST
    string-pullers in the WH aren't actually courting the Tea Party vote?

    For military spendiing cuts (none / 0) (#10)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:38:53 AM EST
    Tea party support will be needed.

    They think (none / 0) (#115)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:58:44 AM EST
    compromising, for the sake of compromising, will get the independent vote and actual Democrats will have nowhere else to go.

    It's ALL about re-election and nothing else.

    I think the tea partiers help that objective because they are so insane that actual Democrats might rally to him out of a combination of fear and disgust.


    More likely, Obama can save (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by observed on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:48:43 PM EST
    the Tea Party.

    What ever happened to the kind of (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:56:33 PM EST
    leadership that resulted in those on the other side feeling you had met them halfway when in fact you had pretty much gotten what you wanted all along?

    The sad thing is that I'd say that Democrats don't seem to know how to do that kind of leadership anymore, but first I'd have to believe that they actually do want the same kinds of things I want, things like raising the wage cap on earnings to end the "problem" with Social Security - but I don't think they do.  It's right there, but no one's really talking about it as a solution: it's all about raising the retirement age (benefit cut), means-testing (hey, if you make more than $40K, guess what?  you're rich!) and income-indexing - all of which will take benefits away from people and make it harder to survive.

    If the people who are supposed to represent you don't want what you want, or aren't willing to work to get what you want, I'm hard=pressed to understand why we want them in the position of making the decisions about what's going to get done.

    I"m just speculating, but (none / 0) (#36)
    by observed on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:30:39 PM EST
    I wonder how much of this has to do with how staff filter information, and how rich, smooth fat cats are able to convince a Durbin, for example, that his past idea about SS are just wrong.

    You know what? (none / 0) (#42)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:54:10 PM EST
    The President can use that excuse to a certain extent.  His/her movements are restricted by the Secret Service and by the nature of the office.

    But a legislator -- ANY legislator -- is supposed to have some sort of the connection to the area and people s/he "represents".  If Durbin (or anyone else) is listening to fat cats over his constituents it's because he has chosen to.  "Staff" can't run interference for long if the legislator doesn't want them to.

    I think Durbin -- and everyone else -- knows perfectly well that his constituents don't really want SS and Medicare touched.  But personal greed and ambition, coupled with a growing callous indifference to othere has taken over.  After all, he and his cohort are doing just fine.  And so by nodding wisely and spreading hands helplessly they are consciously normalizing the idea that "something must be done".

    It's even taken hold here.  I've seen more than one commenter that thought it was perfectly fine to raise the retirement age.


    What we ought to do is have a (none / 0) (#45)
    by observed on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:01:57 PM EST
    different retirement age for manual laborers.

    Mental Stress (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:17:28 PM EST
    Can be as physically draining as manual labor. Look at the ptoblems we're having with the air traffic controllers.

    That's true. In fact, the worst kind of job (none / 0) (#51)
    by observed on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:19:27 PM EST
    stress comes from having a dead-end job requiring no skills, going nowhere.

    Not for nothing... (none / 0) (#55)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:29:28 PM EST
    If people are gonna routinely live till 80, 13-15 years of retirement might be out of our budget.

    I don't think it unreasonable to discuss...when SS was created they did not figure on this many people collecting for ten years or more.  That being said, it's great if we can swing it...ya know I'm down to disband the DEA to help fund longer retirements.  

    I thought that was a point of having a government and laws and society at all actually...improve our quality of life and make it less of a struggle to get along.  We are collectively totally missing the f*cking point of civilization...to evolve past dog eat dog.


    Only problem with the "live longer" (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:47:06 PM EST
    meme is that more often it applies to rich people.

    WASHINGTON -- New government research has found "large and growing" disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans, paralleling the growth of income inequality in the last two decades.

    Life expectancy for the nation as a whole has increased, the researchers said, but affluent people have experienced greater gains, and this, in turn, has caused a widening gap.
    After 20 years, the lowest socioeconomic group lagged further behind the most affluent, Dr. Singh said, noting that "life expectancy was higher for the most affluent in 1980 than for the most deprived group in 2000."

    "If you look at the extremes in 2000," Dr. Singh said, "men in the most deprived counties had 10 years' shorter life expectancy than women in the most affluent counties (71.5 years versus 81.3 years)." The difference between poor black men and affluent white women was more than 14 years (66.9 years vs. 81.1 years). link

    Kdog, it's not a question of how long (5.00 / 8) (#61)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:08:41 PM EST
    you live, it's a question of how long you can work.  You try doing hard labor from your late teens until your 60s and see if your body is still able to do it, never mind up to 70.  It's idiotic.

    I'm absolutely stunned at the number of "progressives" or "liberals" or whatever we're calling ourselves these days who apparently don't know a single solitary person who does physical labor for a living well enough to have a glimmer of understanding about how badly bodies wear out.


    Home Run Gyrfalcon (none / 0) (#118)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:33:08 AM EST
    I'm absolutely stunned at the number of "progressives" or "liberals" or whatever we're calling ourselves these days who apparently don't know a single solitary person who does physical labor for a living well enough to have a glimmer of understanding about how badly bodies wear out.

    I believe this is one of the major problems in our stage of history.

    Many Libprogs (or proglibs) have, over the past generation become isolated.  Isolation doesn't stop there; isolation permeates our society however it's sliced and diced and it's been growing, IMO, with increasing speed over the past 20 plus years.


    I know lots of laborers.... (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:31:08 AM EST
    in the trades, in sweltering machine shops like my old man...yeah, you can't do it as long as cubicle jockeying or other less physically demanding work...totally agree.  And these workers deserve to retire with some security and dignity too, and enjoy a few years of rest.  But we can't afford it unless we drastically reprioritize...which I am more than down to do...thats all I'm saying.  

    I'm not sure how different ages for different types of work is gonna jive with equality under the law...it sounds complicated and rife with potential favoritism of certain labor over another.  

    Manual laborers need to unionize more than anybody to make sure they can save enough or get a pension to retire younger than the cube jockey.  The state will never value their contribution and work enough, they're not grifting, the non-grifters gotta get theirs by fighting tooth and nail.


    The deck is stacked against (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:40:55 AM EST
    union organizing.  Fines for violating labor law are a joke and the never ending anti-union propaganda from the right has pitted worker against worker and worker against his/her own union.

    Add to that the condescending attitude towards labor amongst far too many Libs/Progs and labor is left without a champion.

    I've lived my entire life in a community that rests on three pillars; heavy industry, a major public university and state government.

    I've seen the condescension up close.  It's sickening.


    The powers that be... (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:47:05 AM EST
    are stacked against...to be sure.

    It's never been easy and never will be easy...it takes serious guts to strike and hold the line and worry how you're gonna feed your kids while you fight...but our forebearers did it and we've enjoyed the fruit.  We better get on it cuz our grandkids will remember us as the generation that gave it all back and only left them the pits of said fruit.


    Yup (5.00 / 0) (#142)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:46:56 PM EST
    Right now I have worries about how my grandkids will make a living at all let alone a living that will give them some control over their lives, security and dignity.

    Today people have less control over their lives than at any time since the early years of the Great Depression and the situation is getting worse.


    Early retirement may be hazardous (none / 0) (#57)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:55:21 PM EST
    to one's health:  LAT

    Seems that she is referring to older (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:07:42 PM EST
    people remaining active and doing activities that they enjoy.

    I can still see the joy on the face of one of them, an attractive 76-year-old widow, when she announced that she'd recently been hired as a receptionist. I have a 92-year-old patient who still takes immense pride in knitting sweaters for disadvantaged babies, and I have a 72-year-old patient who is always eager to share the scholastic accomplishments of the inner-city fourth-graders she volunteers with daily.

    Two of the three people she referenced appear to be retired and doing things that they enjoy rather than going to 8-10 hr. manual labor jobs in order to survive financially. Big difference doing what your enjoy for limited periods of time than working manual labor jobs that have become beyond your physical capabilities and/or you may hate.


    Not if you're a farm laborer (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:09:41 PM EST
    or a bricklayer or a hotel maid it isn't.

    Or a construction worker (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Zorba on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:37:19 PM EST
    Or a miner or a hospital orderly or a janitor or a telephone repair lineman or a garbage man or an ironworker or a longshoreman or a bricklayer or a freight handler or a logger or a firefighter or an oil rig worker or.........

    Ooops (none / 0) (#94)
    by Zorba on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:37:51 PM EST
    You did say bricklayer.  ;-)

    Not for people (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:40:02 AM EST
    who've labored in a factory for over 40 years.

    On top of that (none / 0) (#116)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:04:32 AM EST
    means testing, etc. will erode support for Social Security among fairly comfortable people.  Over time that decrease in support could kill the whole thing.

    Right, this is a VERY old debate. (none / 0) (#132)
    by observed on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:10:13 AM EST
    Raising the cap on SS to make it a more "progressive" tax is dangerous for the same reason---it makes SS more like welfare.

    I have to disagee (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:04:48 PM EST
    Social Security is not welfare and increasing the cap will NOT make it welfare.  Raising the cap is NOT progressive taxation, the rate would remain the same.

    Cutting benefits based on need ( ie 'you make xx dollars so we're going to cut your scheduled benefit') would erode support by people making a comfortable income and that could be a death blow.

    Increasing the cap means that people paying beyond the current cap would receive a higher benefit, albeit not proportionally.  Still the benefit would be higher and remain a good payback.


    Corporate Tax codes (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:03:13 PM EST
    If G.E. and BP are examples of our corporate tax structure, we could probably find a few billion laying around:

    "BP just scored a nearly $10 billion dollar tax credit, by writing off its "losses" incurred from the tragedy.

    The $10 billion savings comes after BP wrote-off the $32.2 billion it set aside to cover clean-up costs, fines, and a $20 billion victim compensation fund."

    And yet the House Republicans still insisted on giving them their tax breaks.

    For big corporations (none / 0) (#117)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:08:30 AM EST
    criminal negligence, abandoning communities and erecting giant scams yields a bonus.

    BP should have the living crap beat out of them.  


    It's Hitler's Birthday ... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:03:16 PM EST
    which allows me to tell my favorite Hitler joke:

    Q:  Why didn't Hitler drink?

    A:  Because when he drank he got mean.

    Donald, quick OT, MLB taking the Dodgers (none / 0) (#74)
    by caseyOR on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:02:06 PM EST
    away from the McCourts. I have a comment in the last open thread (from yesterday.)

    Why now though? Must read. (none / 0) (#82)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:32:34 PM EST
    too soon? (none / 0) (#134)
    by ruffian on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:22:29 AM EST
    Ryan gets booed in his own district (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:13:56 PM EST
    His own constituents want to save Medicare and tax the rich.

    I think the Tea Party has run its course.

    Well (none / 0) (#64)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:18:11 PM EST
    I would think that they weren't too happy but there wasn't much booing.

    For that area, that is major jeering (none / 0) (#67)
    by Towanda on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:33:26 PM EST
    Remember, this is the Midwest, and Janesville -- I have longtime friends there, have been there many times for events -- is as Midwestern as can be, and that includes being one of the hardest-hit towns around (since closing of the GM plant).

    I hope that someone in that group got Ryan on replying to a question about, essentially, big business and big incomes with an answer about the role of small business.  He is so full of bee-ess.


    Now, if only the good citizens of Illinois (5.00 / 4) (#68)
    by caseyOR on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:45:56 PM EST
    would rise up a little and put the screws to Dick Durbin. He is just as bad as Ryan on Social Security and Medicare and a myriad other issues relating to the current popular hysteria about the deficit.

    Actually, I consider Durbin to be a greater danger to the American people as he is considered a liberal (if he's a liberal, then what am I, Emma Goldman?). By endorsing the recommendations of the Catfood Commission, and by leading the Gang of Six, Durbin will be able to exact far more harm on the middle and working classes. And what is happening to the poor is just beyond horrible.

    So, Illinoisans, rise up! And take Durbin down.


    I keep thinking that Durbin is doing (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:17:12 PM EST
    what O wants. Wonder what he gets in return . . . . ?

    Maybe he wants to be VP on the (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:23:17 PM EST
    2012 ticket...

    Am pretty sure, though, that after Durbin gets finished being Obama's b!tch, Obama will reward him with...probably nothing.


    I so agree from the great state (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Towanda on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:38:51 PM EST
    of Illinois.  But darn it, I wanna be Emma Goldman!

    I'll settle (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Zorba on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:54:33 PM EST
    for being Mary Harris "Mother" Jones.   ;-)

    then i hope you get your wish (none / 0) (#101)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:41:51 PM EST
    seriously, though, the inmate described in the story you linked to is a woman & should be transferred to the women's prison, surgery or no

    i agree with you (none / 0) (#113)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:11:47 PM EST
    i do happen to think that gender-reassignment surgery should be routinely covered under ordinary health care plans - it's not elective surgery in the sense that a face-lift is elective surgery, and denial of coverage for gender-reassignment surgery leaves people in great psychological and spiritual distress, often for their whole lives

    but right now it is not routinely covered, and even if the inmate sought & was denied the surgery before her incarceration, there is no law that makes California taxpayers responsible for remedying that injustice

    i participated in efforts to get Microsoft's health plan to pay for an executive's gender-reassignment surgery some dozen or so years ago - in that case, it was a question of equity, and the plan did end up paying (but, if i recall, MSFT has since created an exclusion for that surgery)


    That's a stretch, casey (none / 0) (#95)
    by christinep on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:43:44 PM EST
    Careful of what you wish for (none / 0) (#108)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:15:24 PM EST
    Being from Illinois, the problem I have in taking Durbin down is that we'd end up with a Republican taking his seat. Mark Kirk has Obama's. As useless as Obama was as our Senator (He was in election mode as soon as he was sworn in) Kirk is harmful. Given the option, I'd rather have useless than harmful!

    I don't see a state Democrat that could carry southern Illinois or the western Chicago suburbs.


    Not far from where I grew up in (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:49:33 PM EST
    Rockford. Yeah, not exactly the boo'ing type, and the bedrock of what I would call the practical base. Tea Party will probably keep the nutter base, but they were counting on some of the practical conservatives also. I think they are losing them with this extreme budget.

    Thanks for (none / 0) (#69)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:47:50 PM EST
    adding that info.

    And now I'm reading comments (none / 0) (#84)
    by Towanda on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:37:42 PM EST
    on Facebook, where one of my Janesville friends posted that video.  The comments from others in that district are searing.  So I hope that Ryan runs into a lot more trouble there, next time around at re-election.  

    But then, how he ever got re-elected after his role in roadbuilding scandals there and in my state of Illinois, I don't know.  If you didn't know it, btw, roadbuilders' lobby has been running Wisconsin, at least, for a long time, I'm told.  A major lobby and funding source behind every Republican governor for decades -- and some Dems, so they say -- as well as a lot of state legislators, and Congressmen like Ryan.  

    The massively multilane but empty highways in some parts of Wisconsin are a local joke, when the overwhelmed highways in other, Democratic areas are the pits with potholes, sinkholes, and such terrors for drivers.  And the roadbuilders' lobby is the reason that Walker foolishly refused more than $800 million from the feds for alternative transportation in Wisconsin -- from the Dem area of Milwaukee to the Dem area of Madison to the Dem area of Minneapolis, of course.


    Link doesn't link to Yglesias (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:10:18 AM EST

    Thanks (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:15:12 AM EST

    Let them expired. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:15:56 AM EST
    I voiced that opinion earlier to my congress persons. I would have preferred the cuts expire even for myself, than have them continued for the wealthy. I still stand by that. I'm willing to throw a little more in the pot. I prefer that to stripping away every vestige of safety net for the less fortunate, the ill, the old.

    The deficit problem cannot be solved entirely by cuts. Especially with military actions ongoing in at least two countries.

    Push back (none / 0) (#6)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:24:11 AM EST
    Obama wasn't able to deal with the Republicans prior to the 2010 elections. Whatever he accomplished, it was done without any Republican support.

    Now with the party being run by the tea baggers, there isn't a prayer that any rational compromise can be reached.

    It isn't in the best interest of the Republicans for Obama or the Democrats to succeed. They'll continue to do everything they can to make sure that he fails.

    Our only hope is that they overplay their hand and they sufffer a voter backlask in 2012.

    I think (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:39:28 AM EST
    that Obama is relying big on the fact that they'll overplay their hand but what he doesn't realize is that the GOP can put a smiley face on the worst radical and people will buy it. And the fact that he believes the base has "no where to go".

    Maybe (none / 0) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:37:39 AM EST
    If the Democratic Party had any sort of message control, but they don't.  There is nothing the crazy side of republicans can do that will effect the republican party without someone getting the message out in a way ordinary folks can relate to.

    The party that spent months telling America we were going after SS and they should be scared is currently going after SS and our party is quieter than crickets.  

    Maybe it's crickets because (none / 0) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:58:33 PM EST
    there's no indication anybody actually is, you know, "going after Social Security."

    "No indication?" (5.00 / 4) (#59)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:07:03 PM EST
    How do you figure that?  Because you still think, in spite of all the proposals and possibilitities being floated, that this is all just kabuki and "no one" would risk it?

    Why even discuss it if no one's serious about it?


    The Gang of Six is going after it- (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:00:52 PM EST
    half of which are Dems Durbin, Warner and Conrad.

    Agree, gyrfalcon (none / 0) (#98)
    by christinep on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:50:20 PM EST
    There is a lot of speculation. Speculation fans a lot.  One thing I saw reported today, tho: Obama is calling for raising the cap on those over the current $106K Social Security cap...in a speech on the deficit issue and response.

    That is demonstrably false (none / 0) (#107)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:12:29 PM EST
    By having 2% come out of the general fund, a vulnerability has been created that didn't exist before.  Additionally, because it puts a few more dollars in the pocket of wage earners that vulnerability is likely to stay.

    Outside of the Gang of Six (none / 0) (#130)
    by lilburro on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:20:21 AM EST
    which is gunning for SS in order to appear serious, you have Obama's budget director (the day after the budget speech):

    And yet, the president's budget director, Jacob Lew, was quoted this morning saying that Obama doesn't rule out raising the retirement age to 70 and that the administration believes "it's important that we deal with Social Security and we deal with it now."


    This could be so much BS but that is taking a rosy view.


    I don't know...... (none / 0) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:41:27 AM EST
    None of us know what Obama's thinking is. I'm not at all sure that Obama knows what to think. He does things that are so nonsensical, sometimes he acts like an adolescent flailing at a pinata. Do polls matter to him? Beats me. He does things that are so obviously self destructive regardless of whether you observe him from a "Right" perspective, or a "Left."

    It's like he's swatting at mosquitoes, whatever will get him past the next 5 minutes, the hell with the long term.

    I mean, two and a half years in, and we're still asking, "what does he stand for, what are his core principles," etc.

    Like a mariner lost in the fog, he responds to whoever clangs the loudest, or who shines the brightest light.

    So far, that would definitely be the crazy Right. It sure would be nice to see what his reaction would be if the noise on the left gave the Right some competition. What would Obama do? My guess is that we would see the first ever Presidential self-immolation.

    we do know what Obama stands for (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:41:28 PM EST
    "bipartisanship" & "changing the tone in Washington"

    no snark - i think he truly does believe in these things as core values

    his background & effectiveness as a community organizer are questioned by some commenters here, but i believe that the president's actions in office are deeply & sincerely informed by his experiences in & with public service organizations

    in these service-oriented settings, generous negotiation & bipartisanship & civility are what get things done, & even the avowed Republicans are bipartisan, civil, generous negotiators

    the trouble is, of course, that while bipartisanship, generous negotiation & civility also get things done in Washington, in our current situation they are the wrong things for a Democratic president to be getting done

    i wonder if Obama's values are in large part generational

    i am reading a book (in manuscript) that mentions Obama, circa 1992, at a Wingspan Conference of established & fledgling leaders from community service organizations - the older people were shocked that the younger ones had never heard of VISTA, founded by President Johnson but then gutted by the Reagan & Bush I administrations

    that kind of historical blind spot, & its distortion or erasure of liberal Democratic values, would be consistent with having come of age during two reactionary administrations followed by a sustained rightwing/media assault on a Democratic administration - indeed, we see the same blind spot among some of the most fervent Obama supporters, the group of self-defined "progressives" roughly between the ages of 40 & 50

    so maybe the trouble with Obama as president is partly that he has had too little experience but mostly that he has had too much of the wrong kind of experience for the presidency


    Maybe it's all because (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Zorba on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:55:06 PM EST
    he's the Manchurian candidate.  He sure acts like it sometimes.

    I do know (none / 0) (#16)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:10:02 PM EST
    That the reagan democrats who clinton brought back are the grumpiest now. A lot of them in the 1990s stupidly believed that they could retire early by hitting the stock market jackpot.What morons!

    Those (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:14:25 PM EST
    people came back into the party because they were happy with the economy and Clinton could communicate with the working class. Obama sees the working class as some sort of academic exercise that needs studying.

    They need some studying (2.00 / 5) (#19)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:23:30 PM EST
    Because a lot of them have very self destructive traits..

    That's (5.00 / 9) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:38:09 PM EST
    exactly the condescending attitude that has turned them away from Obama and other Dems.

    The fact that Obama can't explain his policy stances is really the problem. What difference do your policy stances make if you can't explain them to people?


    Condescension (none / 0) (#100)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:37:10 PM EST
    my foot! Elections have consequences! They have had a lot of consequences since 1980.

    Did you stamp your foot (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:48:59 PM EST
    as you posted that?

    and yes, your comment was condescending. Also sounded pretty darn republican . . .


    Your reaction make me think (1.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Politalkix on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 12:06:10 AM EST
    that I stamped your foot or kicked your pet. If you have never been able to detect the condescension of people you routinely agree with on this blog towards folks who do not share their derisive attitude towards the President, you have no standing to decide what is condescension and what is not.
    The attitude of some of your friends towards people who had supported BHO's candidacy makes no sense to me. Many of the people they despise and routinely mock (yes, those "craven" "latte-sipping" progressives and AAs) also supported Bill Clinton during the impeachment proceedings.

    BS (none / 0) (#149)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:00:10 PM EST
    The attitude of some of your friends towards people who had supported BHO's candidacy makes no sense to me. Many of the people they despise and routinely mock (yes, those "craven" "latte-sipping" progressives and AAs) also supported Bill Clinton during the impeachment proceedings.

    I'm sure there's some kind of point you're trying to make, but no one here "despises and routinely mocks" AAs.

    Nice try at playing the race card, but it just doesn't fly anymore ...


    LOL (none / 0) (#138)
    by sj on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:25:02 AM EST
    I totally saw the stamped foot when I was reading that.   Too funny.

    You saw my stamped foot (none / 0) (#146)
    by Politalkix on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 12:08:43 AM EST
    while tasting your own foot in your mouth? Very funny! No strike that. Very imaginative!

    you really are (none / 0) (#147)
    by sj on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 01:45:57 AM EST
    a hoot!

    Oh, no! Of COURSE not! (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:18:22 AM EST
    That the reagan democrats who clinton brought back are the grumpiest now. A lot of them in the 1990s stupidly believed that they could retire early by hitting the stock market jackpot.What morons!

    That wasn't condescending .. you meant "morons" in the most positive sense ...


    Yes (none / 0) (#103)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:44:27 PM EST
    they do but once again if you can't explain what your policy stances are how are people going to have a reason to vote FOR you.

    Dems have a tendency to nominate these Adlai Stevenson candidates who think that people are going to just get it by osmosis.

    People who are plain speaking are underrated by the party.


    Adlai Stevenson (none / 0) (#105)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:03:39 PM EST
    did not win. BHO won by a landslide. The nomination in 2008 was the best that could have happened given the candidates that contested.

    A wet (none / 0) (#106)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:06:11 PM EST
    blanket would have won in 2008. So??? Does that mean he's made good policy choices?

    That was not what you were saying (1.00 / 2) (#110)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:32:51 PM EST
    before the elections in 2008. You were convinced that BHO would lose and were gleefully vomiting Sarah Palin gibberish before the GE. After the GE, you retired from TL for a while (out of depression?), then came back to repeat the stupid line about a "wet blanket".
    Shame on you!

    ROTFLMAO (none / 0) (#122)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:14:28 AM EST
    You're crazy if you think I'm a Sarah Palin fan but I am against sexism. I guess you think she should have had a public exam to see if she was the mother of Trig? Some things that came from Obama supporters back then is/was just as bad as what the fundamentalists are now doing to women.

    I guess you think it's okay that women are constantly being used by Obama as bargaining chips by Obama.


    Strawman defense (none / 0) (#123)
    by Politalkix on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:22:06 AM EST
    Nobody brought up Sarah Palin or Trig in TL. I do not think you are a Sarah Palin fan; however, I do know that you will use any idiotic line that she or the Republicans say if it allows you an opportunity to criticize BHO. This is what you did before the GE, this is what you have been doing since the entire time I have been at TL.

    LOL (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:25:43 AM EST
    Whatever. If Obama would put forth good policy I would be more than happy to praise him.

    Actually you and ABG are the best advocates for the GOP around here.


    More stale stuff (none / 0) (#126)
    by Politalkix on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:41:32 AM EST
    that I do not believe when it comes from you.

    NYT magazine excerpt about a new book (none / 0) (#144)
    by christinep on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 12:02:42 AM EST
    depicting President Obama's mother as a tremendously strong, independent woman in many ways.  Strong grandmother. Strong mother.  Etc. I have found that people raised with a positive image of women tend to grow with that throughout life. Just a thought.

    I read the article (none / 0) (#148)
    by Politalkix on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 06:34:52 AM EST
    BHO also introduced her to us in "Dreams from my father". I think she was a remarkable woman.
    Mothers have a tremendous influence over their children. If you look at the life of another remarkable first mom, Lilian Carter, it will not be difficult to understand Pres. Carter dedication and passion for humanitarian work.

    Democrats (none / 0) (#120)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:48:09 AM EST
    haven't been properly communicating with workers for some time.

    Well actually the New Democratic (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:41:10 AM EST
    Party did communicate with workers in 2008. Both Brazile and Axelrod in 2008 said that the New Democratic Party did not need the white working class.

    cal1942 (none / 0) (#125)
    by Politalkix on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:31:57 AM EST
    I will not disagree with what you have said. There are many things about policy and communications that can be done to improve things.  

    For the same reason (none / 0) (#127)
    by Rojas on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:10:55 AM EST
    that Willie Sutton didn't ply his trade on the blown out farmsteads of Oklahoma.

    Wow. I believe that is the stupidest (5.00 / 5) (#27)
    by observed on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:18:18 PM EST
    comment I have ever read here.

    Let me guess: they need to be (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by observed on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:02:45 PM EST
    re-educated about Clinton, first and foremost.

    Heh ...If only they were as ... (none / 0) (#129)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:20:28 AM EST
    ... the rest of us.  Maybe pick up a few 11th dimensional chess boards for 'em.

    I hear they're on the discount shelf ... not selling so well these days.


    From the article MY quotes (none / 0) (#13)
    by lilburro on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:49:50 AM EST
    at HuffPo, "WH Deficit Talks Coming Apart at the Seams":

    Kyl has played a role in past negotiations with the White House: He was the top negotiator for Senate Republicans in the tax-cut talks with the White House in December. But Kyl threw up several roadblocks to passing the START treaty as part of the tax deal--a top priority to Obama--and the final deal was finally hatched privately between Biden and McConnell.

    Reid and McConnell both passed over members of the Senate's "Gang of Six" for the deficit meeting. That group has been working for months on its own deficit-reduction plan and has grumbled about the White House moving forward with its fiscal plan without factoring in the work the group has done.

    The first meeting is set to take place at the Blair House, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers met with Obama for a largely unproductive health care reform summit in 2010.

    Ok, first of all, the GOP only sent two out of a request eight!  However, the Dems only sent four.

    Kind of funny.  I don't really see how anything is going to get through the House.

    From the link (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:00:32 PM EST
    Pelosi's picks for the talks make the meeting "look silly" because Van Hollen and Clyburn "are just going to do what Pelosi wants, and she's not interested in compromise," said a senior Democratic aide. "The picks for this task force all reflect a lack of seriousness."

    In other words, whoever is speaking (that would be the designated "leaker") is clearly saying that not enough yes-men were sent to the party.



    Of course "serious people" (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:43:42 PM EST
    are in favor of compromise, unlike Pelosi, who I suppose this anonymous senior aide considers a very unserious person.



    Clyburn is on record as thinking it (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:34:54 PM EST
    is no big deal if people work until they are 70. After all he and his colleagues work until they are 70 or older.

    I have always viewed Clyburn as more willing to do what Obama wants.

    The "leaker" sounds like he/she would be happier if all the Dems were members of the Gang of 6.


    No Brainer (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:49:21 PM EST
    If you could get me a job as easy as they have, with their salary and benefit package, I'd be more than willing to work till I'm 70!

    I want their travel benefits too. I can see the world at a luxery hotel at the tax payers expense.

    I'd even be willing to try for 80.


    My suggestion is that prior to them (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:09:40 PM EST
    raising the retirement age, all members of Congress and all members of the Cat Food Commission be required to work a 10 hour, hard labor, manual job for about a year. Those who cannot perform the job for the required time frame must vote "NO" on raising the retirement age.  

    At minumum wage (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:22:51 PM EST
    Let them show us how it can be done!

    I think congress should take a pay cut (none / 0) (#66)
    by loveed on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:25:35 PM EST
      If a member income is greater than 250 thousand, there pay should be cut 20%. this is  less than what I have loss in wages. My health insurance has increased 30%.this include obama.  

    Yeah, I know (none / 0) (#39)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:42:06 PM EST
    I gave in to a moment of optimism there.  Likely it won't happen again for a while...

    Frankly (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:15:24 PM EST
    I'm surprised someone would say that about Clyburn. Maybe Van Hollen too but I'm not sure about that one.

    No Van Hollen, too (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:33:14 PM EST
    You're right, remember this?  For a moment, when I read that I was feeling a little bit optimist about Pelosi.

    Upon further reflection it seems instead that the designated leaker is trying to leave the impression that there will be actual "debate" about "hard choices".

    So my cynical side is now saying that the "unraveling" is spin so that it can appear that O did negotiating to make the odious happen rather than have the conclusion be pre-ordained.

    "Here I come to save the day!"


    I had (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:40:44 PM EST
    forgotten about that. It's kind of hard to keep up when the stances change daily or trial balloons are constantly sent out.

    yep (none / 0) (#23)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:42:54 PM EST
    If all the Bush tax cuts are allowed (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:06:42 PM EST
    to expire, the Treasury, over the coming ten years, will be ahead by $4 trillion. We will be back to the tax rates of the Clinton years, and the estate tax bonanza will still be there for the rich. Problem, essentially, solved.

    The symmetry of the Catfood Commission is interesting in that its preferences would yield about the same, $4 trillion, over the same period by increasing taxes on almost everyone albeit to a somewhat lesser extent (except, supposedly the poorest) and severe cuts to programs that will, in effect, be more costly to the nation.

    Now, a good bipartisan economic and humanitarian effort would be to prioritize our military adventures.  After all, sons, daughters and loved ones who are killed and maimed come from the families of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  

    ".prioritize our military adventures." (none / 0) (#25)
    by NYShooter on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:57:09 PM EST

    what do you mean? don't understand

    But, as to ".who are killed and maimed. "

    They may come from all political persuasions, but the common denominator  connecting them: "Poor" Democrats, "Poor" Republicans, "Poor"......


    Hmm (none / 0) (#24)
    by lilburro on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:54:52 PM EST
    I'm beginning to think that nothing will happen, period.  There will be no deal.  That seems to be the optimistic take on things.  I personally find Booman convincing on this one.  If we do nothing, we automatically win after all.

    Well, of course (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:17:04 PM EST
    nothing should happen if "something" = greater austerity measures, or if "something" = putting SS "on the table"

    I doubt that things will end that well.  Would be happy to be wrong.  Would be thrilled to be wrong.  But, of course, I don't really think I'm wrong.  After all this chest thumping about how "something must be done now!", I believe that, unfortunately, something will be done.  And of course Booman will find a way to describe it as another example of O's brilliance


    Let them all expire, please. (none / 0) (#28)
    by Buckeye on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:35:04 PM EST
    Taxing the rich, while popular, will not ease the deficit problem and long term debt problems with this country.  If we let the rates sunset for only the top 2%, that is only $70B per year ($700B out of $3.7T in 10 years).  The other $3T not raised will eventually come out of spending.  Obama can do wonders for the progressive programs he claims to care about by sitting on his hands and doing nothing (letting the rates expire).  Of course, this assumes he will win reelection.  His support among independents is down to 35% and I see nothing economically that will change that trajectory so I am not so sure anymore.

    I would question your numbers (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by NYShooter on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:40:36 PM EST
    letting the Bush tax cuts expire for all taxpayers would bring in revenues of about 4 trillion dollars over 10 years, the same as the phony "savings" the Catfood Commission claims can be extracted from crushing the poor and middle classes.

    I haven't studied the polls, but I don't think there would be a huge backlash from the general population if the resulting fiscal benefits were explained properly to them.

    (I know you were talking about the top 2%. But Americans, I believe, would be willing to sacrifice a little if the program was fair across the board. And letting all the cuts expire would do that, especially when contrasted against the Draconian pain & suffering the Catfooders and/or Ryan's lunacy would bring.)


    The American voters have been VERY (none / 0) (#43)
    by Buckeye on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:55:33 PM EST
    clear in opinion polls, let the Bush tax cuts expire for the top 2%.  Of course, raise taxes, just on someone else.  The top 2% increase only generates $70B per year.

    We estimate, using Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Tax projections, that maintaining the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans will directly reduce revenues by about $690 billion over the next 10 years.* But the true cost of those tax cuts is actually a bit bigger than that.

    The "a bit bigger than that" statement relates to the incremental interest expenses that the $70B per year would generate.  Fine.  But the interest expenses on the $3T we would spend on the other tax cuts we would make permanent would be a heck of a lot higher than that.  That also needs to be considered for an apples to apples comparison.

    We need revenue badly, or it will come out of spending eventually.  I would like to see Medicare, SS, Medicaid, etc. not be destroyed.  I am sure you agree.  Let them all expire.


    What to type? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:51:54 PM EST
    I got nuthin.  A broken watch is right twice a day and I guess being forced into being able to do nothing can bring a President to perform the correct action maybe twice in a Presidency?

    MT at a loss for words? (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:59:56 PM EST
    It happens (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:06:06 PM EST
    Let's be oil spillionaires oculus, next story on CNN.

    I really thought the photo of Obama (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:17:02 PM EST
    as a child dressed up as a pirate (NYT) would have legs  But, no!

    That is a (none / 0) (#52)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:19:37 PM EST
    really cute picture. I wonder how old he was in that picture?

    caption said 6 (none / 0) (#135)
    by ruffian on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:24:47 AM EST
    His mother looked so young. Really an adorable picture of them.

    I know. (none / 0) (#136)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:44:42 AM EST
    She looks like an older sister in that picture not his mother.

    I thought the article was great (none / 0) (#137)
    by CST on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:55:00 AM EST
    What an interesting woman. I would buy that book for sure.  (full disclosure - I have read Dreams of My Father but not Audacity of Hope)

    Pictures were cute too.  Kids are cute.


    digy on Matt Yglesias (none / 0) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:01:36 PM EST
    quote above.

    In my fantasies, not only would the Republicans block all these awful spending cuts, Obama would fix the medium term deficit entirely with one swipe of the pen in December of 2012 by vetoing the inevitable extension of all the Bush tax cuts and letting them expire. He would have already won his final election and could afford to take the heat.

    Like I said, it's a fantasy: liberal governance. Sore of like unicorns. link

    Or ponies. (5.00 / 0) (#78)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:20:17 PM EST
    The kind with sparkly manes and tails.

    I'm sure if we keep digging through the accumulating poop we'll find them eventually, right?


    Yeah that the McCourts are out, (none / 0) (#80)
    by caseyOR on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:25:35 PM EST
    but we can only hope that Selig makes a smart decision about what to do now. Selig is quite capable of totally screwing this up.

    As a Cubs fan, I am always happy to see the Dodgers lose a game, but not their very existence.

    Beat L.A. (none / 0) (#83)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:34:43 PM EST
    We'll see! (none / 0) (#114)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:40:32 PM EST
    i agree. The only problem I have (none / 0) (#86)
    by caseyOR on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:53:38 PM EST
    with Selig's decision to take over the team is that he did not come to it sooner.

    The issue now is, what will Selig do with the team? Will he set the Dodgers on the road to recovery, or will he botch it up with a quick sale to another disaster-wreaking owner?

    That the McCourts were allowed to buy the team in the first place makes me wonder about MLB's due diligence practices. Hopefully, baseball gets it right this time.


    Facebook is on it (none / 0) (#88)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:58:04 PM EST
    Lawd help us (none / 0) (#89)
    by shoephone on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:11:19 PM EST
    Is anyone in DC listening to the people? (none / 0) (#102)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:42:24 PM EST
    I hope someone in Washington is paying attention:

    "A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds Americans heavily opposed to cuts in Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, or Medicaid, the program for the poor. Voters oppose cuts to those programs by 80% to 18%. Even among conservatives, just 29% supported cuts, and 68% opposed them".

    I can't believe Obama will be on the wrong end of this. He may be a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them. He is first and foremost a politician. Cutting Medicare and Medicaid is political poison.

    Obama (none / 0) (#104)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:47:15 PM EST
    is to married to the beltway High Broderism of "bipartisanship" to care it seems.

    If anyone one in Washington was listening, then we would be out of Iraq and Afghanistan never gone into Libya and have put military spending cuts up for the first thing to be cut.


    War is big business (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:26:48 PM EST
    Way too much money is being made on the wars for them to end. I'm sure they're very big donors. As long as the media ignores them and the American people continue to forget we are at war, they'll continue.

    I would have thought that the wars would have been the first cut made when the economy tanked but then I under estimated the power of the industrial military complex.


    And our own (none / 0) (#121)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:59:26 AM EST
    collective lunacy.