Welcome To The Desert of The Real

David Dayen points to Jared Bernstein's response to Paul Krugman's take on political realism. Bernstein wrote:

Itís also congenitally hard for politicians to get behind ďa serious program of mortgage modification.Ē Those who advocate for this (the NYT editorial page, e.g.) are right, but theyíre also downplaying a very binding constraint. The politics of this idea are deeply wound up in moral hazard. People forget, but it was precisely this actionógiving mortgage relief to someone at risk of default and not to someone who was struggling to keep up their paymentsóthat birthed the Tea Party.

I ran into this "the Tea Party made them do it" argument before - see this. It struck me as specious at the time and still does. But it does point to an important issue- how activists can change political realities. Consider the Tea Party. What was it really? Nothing more than the usual suspect Right Wing Republicans ranting about the same things they always rant about. But not only did the Media pretend it was something new- apparently so to did the Obama Administration. The strange thing about it is would the rantings have been any different no matter what course the Obama Administration chose? I mean if the worries were the Tea Party, how then can the health bill effort be explained? There is a lesson in all of this and I will explore it on the flip.

Consider Krugman's confession:

In pointing out that we could be doing much more about unemployment, I recognize, of course, the political obstacles to actually pursuing any of the policies that might work. In the United States, in particular, any effort to tackle unemployment will run into a stone wall of Republican opposition. Yet thatís not a reason to stop talking about the issue. In fact, looking back at my own writings over the past year or so, itís clear that I too have sinned: political realism is all very well, but I have said far too little about what we really should be doing to deal with our most important problem.

As I see it, policy makers are sinking into a condition of learned helplessness on the jobs issue: the more they fail to do anything about the problem, the more they convince themselves that thereís nothing they could do. And those of us who know better should be doing all we can to break that vicious circle.

A stonewall of Republican opposition was not new, nor should it have been surprising. Alas, what Krugman describes as "learned helplessness" is also neither new nor surprising coming from Democrats and progressives.

And this stonewall of GOP opposition and Dem helplessness has played out over and over again. Some believe it is feigned. Perhaps so. But for the activist and citizen, it is irrelevant whether it is or not. Yes, pols are pols and do what they do.

The Tea Party provides lessons in activism. Dem blogs are crowing over the damage the Tea Party is doing to the Republican Party. Perhaps so. But should the Tea Party's primary concern be the political health of the GOP, or advancement of their policy goals? And are they advancing their policy goals?

Consider the lack of concern over unemployment, the homeowner crisis and the plight of the less well off. Consider the prime concern for the health of the TBTF banks and the low tax rates for the rich? Consider this:

[The GOP] Medicare plan should be a sinking ship for Republicans, and will be provided Dems stay away from any Medicare benefits cuts in their debt ceiling and budget negotiations. There's some indication that they might just be willing to trade it way. That's what Greg Sargent is hearing.

[I]tís now clear that Dems think itís politically impossible not to accede to the GOP demand for deep cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

And so, with the Biden-led deficit negotiations set to resume this week, Mitch McConnell has now begun insisting that big Medicare cuts will be necessary in exchange for GOP support for the debt ceiling hike. Thanks to their willingness to draw a hard line at the outset, Republicans now appear poised to win big concessions in exchange for supporting something that they and everyone else have already said is inevitable.

As I reported on Friday, some Dems are insisting that there will be no Democratic support for any reductions in Medicare benefits in the Biden-negotiated compromise. But it may be too late for Dems to draw any hard lines. Itís unclear whether Dems will hold fast behind this vow and how it can be squared with the GOPís insistence on deep cuts in exchange for the debt ceiling hike and with the obvious Dem eagerness to reach a deal. This is the dynamic to watch this week.

It may be that at the end of all of this, the Dems will win a political battle in 2012 - hold the Presidency, take back the House, etc. But who will have won the policy war?

Can it honestly be said that the Tea Party lost? That progressives won?

The phrase the "desert of the real," popularized in the movie "The Matrix," comes from the work Simulacra and Simulation, by Jean Baudrillard. The Wikipedia article on Simulacra and Simulation states that:

Baudrillard claims that our current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is of a simulation of reality. Moreover, these simulacra are not merely mediations of reality, nor even deceptive mediations of reality; they are not based in a reality nor do they hide a reality, they simply hide that anything like reality is irrelevant to our current understanding of our lives. The simulacra that Baudrillard refers to are the significations and symbolism of culture and media that construct perceived reality, the acquired understanding by which our lives and shared existence is rendered legible; Baudrillard believed that society has become so saturated with these simulacra and our lives so saturated with the constructs of society that all meaning was being rendered meaningless by being infinitely mutable. Baudrillard called this phenomenon the "precession of simulacra".

Political reality is infinitely mutable. High unemployment, record foreclosures, weak economic growth and record breaking income inequality is the new political reality. Is this result a Tea Party failure? I think not.

Welcome to the Desert of the Real.

Speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    Great piece (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by david mizner on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:13:38 PM EST
    That's all I have say, for now.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:18:58 PM EST
    Will look to read your thoughts.

    Follow the Steven Colbert Model (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Dadler on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:16:27 PM EST
    We are an entertainment culture waiting desperately for the "marketers" of politics to catch up, phucking hacks that they are.

    The guy stood right next to Dubya and mocked him ceaselessly, during wartime, in front of a hostile (to Colbert) crowd, on national television (was it CSpan? Does that count?)...and Colbert's obvious message was progressive and skeptical and righteous and he sold it to the max. And it worked.

    And we sit around wondering what strategy should be employed against Republicans?  How ELSE to you respond to the absurd but with what is ALWAYS political theatre in a manner anyway.

    Bah, I have a headach and have to pick up jr. from school.  Have good one tent, nice post.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:21:18 PM EST
    Colbert is certainly one he recognizes that there is no "real" there.

    Stuff (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by lentinel on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:27:33 PM EST
    like this just makes me feel that it doesn't matter who is elected.
    Somebody else is pulling the strings.

    That's (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:42:16 PM EST
    the way I feel. Do you want to go downhill at 35 mph or 60?

    There's something to be said (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by PatHat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:31:33 PM EST
    about hitting rock bottom faster...so you can either end it all, or start working out of it. This country doesn't do much until a crisis situation.

    Crisis (none / 0) (#72)
    by lentinel on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:37:05 PM EST
    Our government has programmed us into believing that we are not in a crisis situation, but I think we are.

    The wars. Pointless and unending.
    The empty bromides from Washington.
    The sad state of the economy - the unemployment.
    The crushing of the American spirit.
    The loss of our civil liberties.

    And we don't feel anything.


    Policy makers have, I believe, lost any (5.00 / 5) (#39)
    by Anne on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:28:06 PM EST
    sense of "crisis" in the lack of jobs; it's working out quite well for the corporate sector, which has been able to pay less when they do hire because people are so grateful to have a job: high unemployment has depressed wages, and there is no incentive for the private sector to change that.

    I don't see the Dems as helpless; I see them as using helplessness as an excuse to do nothing, or to give in to the demands of the GOP.  I could live a long, long time without ever again hearing, "we did the best we could," or, "we had no choice if we wanted to get anything done," when it is clear they had choices, they could have done more, could have gotten the people on their side - and even when the people had their backs, that's all we got: their backs, as they gave all their time and attention to the corporate elite.

    Who are the Dems trying to please?  What do they want?  Where do they want to see the country go?  Are they interested in the average person just trying to keep putting one foot in front of another while hoping they can somehow do right by their families - from Grandma on down to the grandchildren?  Not that I can tell.  That's who they used to care about, but the party elite don't really have the time of day for us, unless there's something they think they can say right before an election that will get our votes.

    I think, by the time the election gets here, there are going to be huge numbers of disaffected voters, people who have realized that it just doesn't matter what they want, and there isn't a promise made that won't be broken.  Maybe that's what the elite want, for all of us to go away and leave them to do whatever is going to work out best for them.

    It's reaching meltdown point for me, and I can't be the only one who feels this way.

    What goes around, comes around. (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:57:43 PM EST
    First let me be clear that I don't like "pols" even those I might vote for because they are the best of a poor lot.  If they are successful "pols" then they are obviously suspect as to their character and their methods.  To paraphrase Twain, "he is a liar and a legislator, but then I repeat myself."

    I detest at least 1/4 (25%) of those on the left, as well as at least 1/4 (25%) of those on the right and a few more in between.  The few good men and good women hide themselves well behind the sellouts that they must make in order to be elected.

    The great tragedy of the American Political system is that politicians are bought and sold every day, and essentially the same people are buying and selling Democrats and Republicans.  This is why our system is so crazy.  It really doesn't matter that the Democrats raise 1.5 Billion for the Republicans will up the ante.

    If you really want to improve our system to any extent, then simply do not allow any TV advertising for politics except let the Government pay for any number of "debates."
    In other words, only the Government should pay for TV advertising.  I guarantee, the return to the country will be at least 100 fold.

    And now back to the post by BTD and his responders' comments.

    BTD spoke of the Tea Party aims, and how these might derail the GOP in 2012.  Then he cautioned that the Tea Party might still be winning the larger battle.  I assume that he speaks about a larger time frame than 2 or even 6 years.  He is right.

    I was reminded of a quote I first saw long ago while in of all places "War College."  It seemed to reflect the case of the liberals laughing at the conservatives.

    "We sit by and watch the barbarian. We
    tolerate him in the long stretches of
    peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled
    by his irreverence; his comic inversion of
    our old certitudes and our fixed creed
    refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh
    we are watched by large and awful faces
    from beyond, and on these faces there are
    no smiles."   ...   Hilaire Belloc

    This seemed to summarize the situation now of liberals laughing at the Tea Party/GOP/Conservatives.

    Yet where did I find this quote using google and key words I remembered.  On a Tea Party site.


    Words are like weapons.  Once manufactured, they can be used by any side.

    Is the argument (none / 0) (#59)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:59:15 PM EST
    That we need left tea party that will distort the truth and lie to combat them.

    That's an answer but not one I am comfortable with. This issue is simple. If you have one side that will lie and that side had the support of a significant base of the population, that side will win.


    When (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by lentinel on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:58:55 PM EST
    both sides lie.

    Q/A (1.00 / 1) (#12)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:26:40 PM EST
    "Can it honestly be said that the Tea Party lost? That progressives won?"

    Answer: Yes.

    The Tea Party wants to do things that are terrible and destructive and ridiculous and although dems will have conceded certain points, keeping the whitehouse, making strides in congress, nominating a few more justices and maintaining healthcare and SS in largely the form we have now is an unquestionable win.

    Repeat: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

    I have some sense that there will be disagreement on this point, but that shows the divide within the party that has been evident for years now.  There are two sharply defined and opposing points of view.

    Fortunately, the view I support is the one in power. But I understand the frustration of the other side.

    If this is winning (5.00 / 7) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:27:39 PM EST
    God help us if we lose.

    that is the problem isn't it? (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:35:23 PM EST
    We would have all the same problems, a few more,  plus some embarrassing cretin representing our country around the world.

    We already have (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by itscookin on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:28:29 PM EST
    an embarrassment representing us around the world. The difference is that the media covers for the current embarassment for the most part. It's getter harder every day to see the differences. We're headed down the same path no matter which party is in power - it's just our velocity that is different. But as long as Obama is re-elected, some people really don't care what policies are enacted.

    I don't know what you are talking about (1.00 / 1) (#36)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:12:40 PM EST
    The only people I know that don't care about policy are those democrats who think supporting Palin as a way of teaching the DNC was a good idea.

    And they would be different than you how? (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by nycstray on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:04:46 PM EST
    All you care about is Obama winning . . .

    They aren't unreasonable (none / 0) (#93)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:33:01 AM EST
    For expressing their opinions.

    They are unreasonable for assuming that any democrat taking a more moderate position is either ignorant or a closet conservative.

    And unfortunately, there were a number of democrats who voted for palin. The New Agenda types.


    Seems to me it is you who is (none / 0) (#107)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:46:45 AM EST
    doing the assuming, and for the usual reason: to set up the argument you want to have, so that you can "win."  

    I guess you have forgotten the big push during the Bush years to elect Democrats from what had been traditionally Republican states.  Now, how does a Democrat in a red state get elected?  By being a liberal?  By being "progressive?"  Uh, no...a Democrat generally gets elected in a red state by being a conservative of the moderate variety.  Put that same person in a blue state, and he or she would have to run as a Republican.

    So, what does that mean?  It means that some Democrats are conservative.  They carry a (D) behind their names, but they are, on many issues, conservatives - and not even of the "closet" variety.  Does the term "Blue Dog" mean anything to you, ring any bells, make you want to slap your head in recognition?  It is the conservative Blue Dogs who have stymied the progressive agenda, and it is the Blue Dogs Obama has, time and again, sought to please.

    Now, there may have been some people who believed Obama was a liberal; I was not one of them.  I was not closing my eyes and crossing my fingers and hoping there was some 11-dimensional master plan that would reveal Obama to be a liberal.  Spending 18 months getting a warmed-over GOP health plan enacted, instead of using the power of government to put people back to work, is not a particularly "Democratic" thing to do.  Running on transparency, while voting to pass a new FISA law, and then taking office and further entrenching the Bush/Cheney state secrets, spy-on-everyone, flip the bird to anyone who dares question policies, is not how a Democratic president acts.

    What people do defines them.  Compromise that takes place before the confrontation is capitulation - a signal that if the other side holds firm, you will give in some more.  

    You are all about the process in service to political fortune; I am all about content in service of the greater good.  I understand "incremental," I get "give and take," but the focus has to be on content, not on being able to check another box on the "to-do" list.

    As for voting, in this country, people are allowed to vote as they wish, without having to justify their vote to anyone.  How they vote and why the vote - or why they don't - and who they vote for, do not have to meet with your approval.  You don't get to hector them or shame them or condescend to them because they did something that might interfere with your preferred candidate's chances.  You don't get to belittle the reasons why people vote as they do, or assume they don't know the consequences of their actions; that isn't your right.

    I am an informed voter who lives in a blue state; that gave me the luxury of deciding that, since I didn't think either Obama or McCain deserved to be president, I could choose not to vote for either of them, or anyone else, for president.  

    You may not respect people's choices, or understand them, but we don't answer to you.


    Don't you mean "stupid women"? (none / 0) (#114)
    by Nemi on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:58:46 AM EST
    The New Agenda types

    But seriously, what, in your opinion, is wrong with being AngryBlondeGals?


    Yes, from the frying pan into the fire (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:20:06 PM EST
    Anyone who says otherwise is basically trying to rehabilitate Naderism.

    Well, that's true. (none / 0) (#42)
    by dk on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:42:25 PM EST
    Though, I'd argue your leaving out the fact that by continuing to support the rightward movement of the Democratic party we also suffer certain other problems.

    That's not to say I'm advocating wanting Republicans in power, but I think there are certain unique problems to either (a) propping up the rightward moving Ds or (b) bringing in the even-to-the-right of them Rs.


    I actually agree on that point (none / 0) (#35)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:07:39 PM EST
    Losing now would be catastrophic. The other side is certifiable.

    We need to lose and lose big (none / 0) (#46)
    by Romberry on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:00:26 PM EST
    I think that's the only way we will collectively understand that we are not winning but are just losing more slowly...and being encouraged to keep losing slowly by our "leaders." May as well get it over with all at once rather than become acclimated to the new status quo. By losing, maybe we'll know what winning looks like again, 'cause this ain't it.

    It's hard to lose though (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:06:49 PM EST
    when you are running against utter pathetic crap. You only have to be slightly better than utter pathetic crap to win if it is just you and utter pathetic crap running against each other.  If Conservatives woke up tomorrow and decided to be mindful Conservatives instead of lunatics for lobbyists, Obama might actually have to be Democrat on that playing field and do a few liberal things that would make even the Independents cry just a little bit sometimes.

    But since all it's come down to, (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by Anne on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:36:47 PM EST
    for both sides, is just getting the "win," it's become one sad race to the bottom.

    Here are my questions, though: why do Dems have to wait for Republicans to wake up and be sane about what they stand for before they - Dems - can assert the agenda they believe in?  And have Dems gotten so obsessed with process, as opposed to content, that they don't really know what their policy agenda is?  That it's just whatever will get them that one more vote to push them over the top?

    As the Election 2012 jockeying has begun, I am just overcome with how truly bad the choices are; if I were a Republican, I would be wanting to stick needles in my eyes at the prospect of Palin or Bachmann, and the men are as bad in their own way.  Yeesh.

    I am sad for my country, that this is where we are - on so many levels.  And as we descend to the next level of mediocre, we've forgotten - if we ever knew - how good it could be.  We're like someone who, in each relationship we've had, has been abused, each time getting a little worse, and we've come to think that we can't do better - this is all we deserve.

    There's such a dearth of leadership - there's just campaign mode 24/7, and keeping the corporate dollars flowing; if I have to read ABG tell us one more time about how something that sucks is really good just because it's better positioning against the other guys, I may have to consider needles for my eyes, too.


    Ah my & oh well, Romberry (none / 0) (#79)
    by christinep on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:54:32 PM EST
    Frustration is one thing...but, the ole' "let's burn down the barn to kill the rat" or let's-kill-it-so-we-can-save-it stuff reminds me of being in one's 20s in a big, big long-night talk with new-found friends who speak of the dialectic & talk as philosopher kings of the new order. Yep, sarcasm; but, I'm impelled by my own frustration at a comment that would actually hurt even more those on the lowest end of the economy...we would be saying "Hey, we know whats best...you just have to suffer all the more first."

    In some part, I really am sorry that my response is so dismissive. But, I would ask you to think through the ramifications for those in society that we would profess to care about. So far as I know, the panacea of which you speak has never worked in modern-day nation states. And, I don't think that you are speaking as a cultist that preaches destroying something to save it. (Check your historical references, my friend, because so many aspects of life have progressed and are much better comparatively than other generations--by almost any measure.) Maybe what we are really talking about is a growing impatience.


    What POV? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by lilburro on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:07:56 PM EST
    It's unclear to me that your POV adds up to anything more than "what Obama has done was entirely justified and could not have been done in any other way."   "Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes."  The political strategy the Obama team has taken is not the only possible strategy; they've made choices along the way.  Bernstein's piece also points to the fact that the Obama admin never put a direct jobs program on the table - it was their choice not to do so, not the GOP's.  It just seems to me that we are in some cycle where people get tired of batsh*t insane Republicans, vote Democrat, and then almost immediately forget that the GOP is insane, and vote GOP again.  This is the country that gave GW Bush a second term.

    What strides do you forsee us making in the next 2 years?  Does it worry you that we appear incapable of playing a good defense?


    lilburro (2.00 / 1) (#37)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:20:19 PM EST
    I believe that a government jobs program would have expended what little political capital Obama had left after healthcare.  If you were viewing the world through the lens of a President and party that were deemed socialist for passing the mild version of healthcare reform we got, were the reasonable to believe that a massive New Deal type jobs program would go up in flames even more destructively.

    Could they have pushed for a program like that?


    Would it have failed to pass?


    Would it have wasted valuable time/capital?


    I think that was the calculus.  I think that calculus is still playing out to some degree. In the next year or so, there are some big things scheduled to happen:

    Massive troop draw downs (which is going to put a lot of people out of work . . . we liberals often miss that unfortunate side effect).

    Battle over social security.

    Battle over medicare.

    Battle over education.

    I mean we've got some wars coming up and Obama has (for better or worse) positioned the dems as the party of moderacy and fair compromise.  If you believe their strategy, that will pay off when the rubber hits the road on some of the stuff coming up.

    I actually think it is helping as we speak.  The only reason people are still listening to Obama on the economy at all is his moderacy and perceived pragmatism. If you are like me and believe that neither the free market or the government has a solution to a recession of this particular nature, then you prefer that moderate tone to at least keep the crazy people at bay.

    If you believe that a New Deal style economic policy could have vastly improved our situation (regardless of the fact that the global economy is bringing us down too) then you disagree.  


    If he was (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:41:17 PM EST
    going to expend political capital on something then it should have been jobs and not the unpopular healthcare bill. Who cares what the GOP is going to call you? Did not they call Bill Clinton a communist? In the end it doesn't matter what they call you as long as it works. I tell the Republicans here well, you said Bill Clinton was a communist in the 90's so are you now saying that communism works because we had low unemployment? It completely makes them start drooling and jabbering when I say that.

    These people don't know anything other than calling people names. It's no different than Bush calling Iraq War critics "traitors". In Obama's case he is tacitly rewarding the name calling by caving into him. Didn't anybody tell you that as long as a bully is getting what he wants he is going to keep coming back for more?


    Obama was as bull headed about his (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:56:41 PM EST
    healthcare legislation come hell or high water as George Bush was about staying the course in Iraq.  Neither bull headed act of leadership helped us at all in a time of extreme dire need, but they would have things their way and that was that damn it.  And we can all just go to hell in a handbasket.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:28:32 PM EST
    I don't agree that Obama wanted healthcare "his way" because Obama really had no desires when it came to healthcare other than to pass "something". He was definitely desperate to "pass something" but as far as whether it was good policy he didn't really care that much.

    No public option (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:52:02 AM EST
    He didn't want it and we didn't get it.  We got most of what he wanted us to have.  Go reread the diaries from that time and the things he said.

    and I always thought (none / 0) (#64)
    by NYShooter on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:24:57 PM EST
    you were afraid of when the time comes for your 21'st birthday and you're tossed off your parent's policy.

    I stand corrected.

    When I'm wrong, I admit it.

    And especially, I luv to see survivors....of any age.

    dasvidanya, Cap'n


    He was bull headed though (none / 0) (#97)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:50:30 AM EST
    about doing it all at a later date.  Everyone around him attempted to talk him out of doing it immediately but he would not listen.  Even Rahm Emanuel attempted to talk him out of doing it when he wanted to do it, save for later after they had tended to other business.  Obama would have none of it though, and used his political capital for that fight and now we have to fight tooth and nail to keep the legislation functional but our country's worst problems were ignored during all of that and we still have them and they grow worse. He lost the window and the capital to really tackle it too, it was not as important to him as his preplanned agenda was.  He is on the record saying that what was going on with the banks would not derail his agenda, he wasn't going to allow it.  And he didn't, and now look at where we are.  What is happening to our economy is a threat to our well being, not much different than the threat of Al Qaeda.  But Obama blew us all off just like Bush did and instead of being a leader he became a decider.  He led too, just because it was all leading via backroom deals he was still leading.  He never wanted a public option and that is why we didn't get one.

    In the ABC After School Specials (none / 0) (#54)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:51:27 PM EST
    They didn't show the 7 out of 10 times that the bully beats the crap out of the wimpy kid and goes on to continue bullying with no repercussions.

    We are handicapped by the fact that liberals don't lie like conservatives.  We are also hampered by the fact that the country cannot stand a situation where there is not at least one adult in the room.

    People want us desperately to mimic the tactics of the GOP but we can't. We are in control and we have a greater responsibility.


    You're (5.00 / 4) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:26:52 PM EST
    right that Liberals and Conservatives don't like each other that's why Obama's post partisan namby pamby crap was bound to fail. You don't try to work with conservatives, you try to defeat them at the ballot box and unless you also defeat them in the arena of ideas then you really aren't winning much if you win an election.

    Obama isn't the adult in the room. He's a mediator trying to negotiate with a bunch of economic terrorists.

    We do not have greater responsibility than the GOP. And Obama could learn a few things from their negotiating tactics. If I had to hire a lawyer, I would hire one who negotiated like the GOP not one that negotiated like Obama.


    He doesn't negotiate (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:24:14 AM EST
    he "mediates."

    I think we are handicapped (none / 0) (#82)
    by lilburro on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:55:59 PM EST
    by the fact that the GOP is really good at appealing to basic instincts and creating a narrative.  It's not like Democrats are honest all the time either.  The GOP taps into populism in a way that we don't.  We have to make slightly more sophisticated arguments, perhaps, but it's not like Dems have never been able to connect with people on that level.

    He's got capital now (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:58:27 PM EST
    He's got the Bin Laden bounce.  What's he going to spend it on?  Choice is his

    He is going to spend his bin Laden (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by MO Blue on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:54:36 PM EST
    bounce on cutting domestic programs and those pesky entitlement programs.

    IMO (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by lilburro on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:52:24 PM EST
    it's just not guaranteed that a federal jobs program wouldn't have passed.  And I'm not aware of what information you possess that makes you think it could not have passed.  At the very least, the discussion could've led to a stimulus that was larger and less oriented around tax cuts.  You can have more than one bill going through Congress at a time.  My issue with the Obama Administration is that there has been documented evidence that they take ambitious, possibly smarter policy solutions off the table instead of arguing for them on the merits.  Or not even arguing them, airing them.  If you're going to let the GOP run the show in terms of how policy is presented, which is the current approach (the average American will wake up to the insanity, etc.) you WILL end up with worse policy, and here we are today.  When Pres. Obama came into office we were arguing about nationalizing the banks.  It was a time of crisis.  And the response was "oh, 700 billion, 1 trillion, we'll find a number."  You could've gotten Specter, Snowe, and Collins to vote for 900 billion, or even a trillion.  That was apparently the one vote they (Collins/Snowe anyway) were willing to throw away, partisanship be damned.  

    It's just frustrating to me because there are enough pieces of evidence IMO to suggest that the Obama Administration played it too safe.  What we know about the stimulus discussion, what we know about the industry deal with the health care bill, HAMP, etc.  I enjoy reading your comments but I just don't understand why you think the way things happened was inevitable.  I'm not expecting the WPA pt. 2 but I think something a bit better is within reason.  In part I find the "this is the best you can get" argument frustrating because people similarly confident in Obama, such as Booman, were telling Democrats and lefties to chill out, because Obama had a plan [about, in this case, the public option].  And that "plan," as told by Booman, never materialized.  In part because said plan was based on a trust in Obama's progressive instincts....which he does not, in fact, always serve, and cannot be expected, nor trusted to serve.  Sometimes he actually undercuts these instincts.

    I think Obama will win in 2012 because bits and pieces of larger legislation have had impact.  My brother has health insurance because you can stay on your parents' plan through the age of 26.  That's good.  That still doesn't explain how the exchanges are actually going to work.

    If in 2013, the Bush tax cuts for the rich are repealed, a public option has been reintroduced, or something to make me believe the exchanges will work actually happens, unemployment is steadily decreasing, and neither Medicare or SS has been randomly slashed to appease the Beltway CW, I will eat my words.  But I don't see all those things as inevitable.  If the Obama Admin and Dems in Congress appeared to be fighting toward these ends a little more, I would be more confident.


    Heh, heh .. always first in your list ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Yman on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:51:22 PM EST
    ... of priorities ...

    although dems will have conceded certain points, keeping the whitehouse, making strides in congress, nominating a few more justices and maintaining healthcare and SS in largely the form we have now is an unquestionable win.

    Although, to be fair, you usually at least try to less obvious ...


    Well let's make it completely obvious (none / 0) (#55)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:54:38 PM EST
    Losing the white house to a tea party fueled GOP is probably the worst thing that could happen to this country.  If you disagree your memory is short and your lack of perspective about the benefits of a moderate left president is large.

    we must keep the veto pen, almost at all costs. Without it, you have all three branches of government under GOP control and if you think Obama is pushing bad policy, you haven't seen anything yet.

    Avoiding President Romney is the central policy issue of the next 2 years.


    It's not about losing the White House (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Yman on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:28:17 PM EST
    It's about Obama - winning reelection, and declaring his presidency a success ...

    ... all evidence to the contrary.

    BTW - The Dems have already lost control of the Senate?


    You see (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:33:28 PM EST
    it's all a conundrum. Obama must be president even though we have 9% unemployment and it's likely to get a little worse next year. Obama won't do anything to solve high unemployment but we should still vote for him because the GOP is so awful. Really, this is so tiresome. Sometimes there is a benefit of living in a red state.

    Veto Pen? (none / 0) (#65)
    by PatHat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:26:46 PM EST
    What veto pen?

    The veto pen (none / 0) (#94)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:36:45 AM EST
    That is not necessary with a dem senate.  That one.

    Ohhhh ... the IMAGINARY pen (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:48:18 AM EST
    Is that like the imaginary FISA filibuster that magically turns in to a "Yes" vote?

    The reason why they can't write us all (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:13:51 PM EST
    down BTD is because they sold all of our mortgages into those mortgage backed securities. If they write our loans down the investors lose.

    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by ruffian on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:20:15 PM EST
    and they still do not want to admit the role that those practices had in inflating the price bubble to begin with.

    This from Dayen sums it us well:

    Yet who is that "right" type of person when the banks have engaged in systematic fraud? They didn't just defraud those deserving of aid, whatever "deserving" means; they defrauded everyone, with their fake documents and breaking of the chain of title and fee pyramiding and the like.

    Yet the Tea Party and the pols wants to insist that people have not been defrauded.


    We saved the banks (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:22:17 PM EST
    because, it was argued, the greater good was served by this.

    I happen to agree with that.

    But whither "moral hazard" then?


    Completely agree (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:29:27 PM EST
    Moral hazard only exists for the serfs now, the banks are magical monarchs. And if we don't want every good thing in our lives to combust immediately they must be treated as monarchs.....even though our parents lived better lives than we do and had more real wealth in their control and in their names back when the banks had to play by the same rules that the rest of us do for the most part.

    and whither the oasis in the reality desert? (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:32:03 PM EST
    If TARP had been accompanied by even a drop of truth I may have been more supportive of it.

    The truth that most were insolvent? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:39:54 PM EST
    The truth of why they were insolvent (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ruffian on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:42:16 PM EST
    the 'man in the street' still thinks it was because low income folks took out mortgages they couldn't afford, fooling the poor banks.

    That's why the moral hazard argument is still so persuasive to the masses.


    Hmmm (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:48:57 PM EST

    I think there is still the myth of the Masters of the Universe still bandied about.


    Maybe in some places (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:01:21 PM EST
    the Masters of the Universe myth applies, but around here I hear and read more of the 'blame the mortgagee' attitude.

    A local Sentinel columnist took our new AG Bondi to task for saying she is not going to support any settlement with the banks that includes mortgage modifications. The letters to her online were nearly  all of the 'how dare you reward deadbeats?' variety.

    I don't think it is that hard to tell the story in a way that allocates blame appropriately. I wish some hugely popular pol with a brain and good presentation skills would even try.


    Myth? n/t (none / 0) (#50)
    by NYShooter on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:37:37 PM EST
    Yes, and then we allowed this "creative" (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:03:52 PM EST
    bookkeeping so they could all pass the stress tests.  But what have we accomplished?  Under the new accounting rules they are considered solvent even though as far as real bookkeeping is concerned most of them are still insolvent and carrying risk that can easily wipe them out and require us to save them again.  But no, they are solvent and can even show profits therefore the bonuses will continue at staggering sums.

    Actually, if I recall correctly (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:16:45 PM EST
    the banks would legally have to make up the shortfall in most of the MBS.  I think there are methods out there to replace defaults/foreclosures with new mortgages though.

    I supported TARP (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:20:11 PM EST
    but I opposed HAMP.

    And I certainly think that Tim Geithner is one of the infamous figures of our era.


    What happened with TARP though? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:35:06 PM EST
    If the HBO documentary is correct, Hank Paulson couldn't get some of the banks to willingly take the TARP bailouts and he had to give them to everyone.  If he only gave it to select banks, then everyone would know that was a bank in trouble and because all of our markets are now only built on confidence the markets would have destroyed those banks that needed the funds and were in trouble.  So they made everyone take the funds but they did not regulate or specify how those funds had to be used until later because they were having a hard enough time getting everyone to agree to take the money, later down the road they tried to put some stipulations on what the banks should be doing....and when they did that everyone paid back those funds as quickly as possible however they had to beg, borrow, or steal to do it because they refuse to have any rules imposed upon them.

    I have to point out that (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:08:50 AM EST
    this was all fairly extensively reported and discussed at the time, and largely jeered at on this blog as simply an idiotic and unbelievable excuse for Paulson, Geithner et al to shovel money at their favorite firms, even though they had no need of it.

    Or it was jeered at as a coverup for the fact that all these banks were close to failing anyway.

    Actually, I forget all the reasons it was jeered at.

    The point is, nobody believed it for a second.  But now somehow an HBO movie makes it credible?

    The huge problem was (and remains) that these CDOs were all traded in private transactions with no requirement for disclosure.  So when they started to fall apart, the financial system literally froze up because nobody had, nobody could have, any idea which firms had how much exposure, therefore none could be trusted not to collapse tomorrow morning before breakfast.

    Ah, yes, "confidence," another concept jeered at heartily by commenters here.

    But unless everybody took TARP money, those who did would have immediately been assumed to have done so because they were holding gigantic quantities of these busted CDOs.


    Most of them were insolvent though (none / 0) (#104)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:22:06 AM EST
    And because the investment banks love to gamble and have giant gambling habits now, as long as they had those credit default swaps they refused to think that they were in danger.  But the credit default swaps couldn't be fully paid either though, everyone was going to go bankrupt but these guys gamble in their sleep. I think they all thought they had their risk under control because of the CDO's and the CDS's, but there is so much of it out there it can never all be paid up if something catastophic happens.  They all refuse to entertain the thought though.  Many of them are still insolvent under old accounting standards.

    I just saw this diary (none / 0) (#106)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:36:33 AM EST
    Have you read this yet?  I just saw it up.  It appears that in December after the crash, some of them came to know how insolvent they were and Timmy Geithner made them huge secret 28 day loans.

    Tracy, its even worse than that (none / 0) (#112)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:22:06 AM EST
    I've written here before that I had an "insider's view" of the impending storm months before it imploded. My brother, technical adviser to an exclusive hedge fund, and a guy with 4 advanced degrees from Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, told me, "Shooter, we've reached the abyss; there is no know algorithm that can calculate the exposure of all these derivatives conjured up on Wall St. The "best guess" from his buddies at Stamford was 650 Trillion.

    And, BTW, Paulsen's "making" certain banks take TARP Money had nothing to do about whether they were solvent, or not. NONE of them were, or are, solvent. It was more like what I said above; "the world is coming to an end, might as well empty the Treasury and take while the takings good."

    It was simply a parting gift to his cronies.

    No one knows what crap they're holding today, and no one in our Government is going to make them tell us. What do you think QE 1, 2,....3,4,5,............is all about?

    Just keep shoveling our tax dollars to the drecks that caused this. We know granny's got more hidden somewhere.


    This much I know (none / 0) (#113)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:37:47 AM EST
    Until the defaults are taken, our economy has a huge vampire on its jugular.  And that is why 10% unemployment is now considered "systemic", because the systemic vampire must be fed 24/7 or we are told our whole world will blow up.  It isn't true, the vampires infrastructure will be destroyed but then we are free to build something that feeds all of us instead of only the super rich and scraps for the rest of us.

    In hindsight (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:42:03 PM EST
    TARP failed because the real issue of private debt has been papered over.

    In hindsight, I think TARP was a mistake.


    TARP failed because nobody was flogged, (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:06:40 PM EST
    had a real accounting colonoscopy, and then everyone regulated :)

    If serving the banks (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:19:27 PM EST
    was the goal, then Bravo!

    I've mostly (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by david mizner on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:33:36 PM EST
    maintained that Obama's policies can be explained by its ideological proclivities rather than political cowardice -- it wasn't fighting for better policies because it didn't want better policies, but this snippet by Bernstein suggests otherwise, that it was afraid of the tea party (which, by the way, wasn't "birthed" by Santelli's rant but was already going. If you want to point to policy causes, the biggies are TARP and the stimulus, but as you say, it didn't need a spark because it already existed in the form of the conservative-wing of the GOP.)

    At any rate, yes, the tea party has been successful by any standard. I wish progressives were such failures. EJ Dionne was on this a little while back:

    Take five steps back and consider the nature of the political conversation in our nation's capital. You would never know that it's taking place at a moment when unemployment is still at 9 percent, when wages for so many people are stagnating at best, and when the United States faces unprecedented challenges to its economic dominance.

    No, we are acting here as if the only real problem the United States confronts is the budget deficit; the only test of leadership is whether a president is willing to make big cuts in programs that protect the elderly; and the largest threat to our prosperity comes from public employees.

    Take another five steps back and you realize how successful the tea party has been. No matter how much liberals may poke fun at them, tea party partisans can claim victory in fundamentally altering the country's dialogue.



    I only have one objection (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by NYShooter on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:14:43 PM EST
    to your remarks......9% unemployment.

    We know that the functional.... actual rate is around 20% Besides the fact that the Gov't. has been doing algorithmic massaging of the base number, supposedly 9% today, you simply can't state that number without adding the corollary that another 9-12% are desperately underemployed, or part time, making barely minimum wage.

    And that doesn't even count "the uncounted," those that have fallen off the conveyer belt onto the heap known as "never to be employed....ever again."

    And, what makes this so, so dreadful is that most feel that nobody, in oligarch Washington cares. They simply avert there eyes, and tsk, tsk at the once vibrant middle class and think of them as we used to think of the homeless derelicts in the gutters of NYC

    This isn't a tragedy, its a monumental human disaster.


    I'm guessing that all this is their only (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:25:23 PM EST
    cure...the banks get anything they want, they are holding a gun to our heads as far as Geithner, Goldman Sachs, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, and any of that Wall Street rules the world crew are concerned.  This is how we must play now since they refused to have FDIC move in on every insolvent bank, clear the books of the horror and debris, deal with the fraud, and then release them to regulated responsible boring presidents and boards.

    There was a time (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:28:17 PM EST
    Remeber Obama between them and the pitchforks?

    Sure, but I suspect that was when he was (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:36:17 PM EST
    trying to get ALL OF THEM to take the TARP money

    And use it how it was meant to be used (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:37:04 PM EST
    To be loaned to people like me and you.

    You think we need more loans? (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Romberry on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:57:12 PM EST
    If that's what your complaint is, I think you need to re-examine the situation. Households were covered in debt and they remain covered in debt. The only way to increase loans is to ignore underwriting and make those loans to people who likely can't pay them back.

    The issue was never a lack of credit for anyone who is creditworthy. The issue was and is that in the last three decades, we have substituted access to EZ credit for increases in wages for the working and middle class. That EZ credit was a way to continue the illusion, and to see to it that the benefits of the illusion accrued in the hands of the wealthy.

    TARP was a terrible mistake from the beginning. A terrible mistake. In fact, the way the whole crisis was handled by The Money Party (both its Democratic and Republican wings) was a mistake for everyone but the wealthy few. And it was designed that way. This was not an opportunity missed. This was an opportunity which was actively shunned.


    Job creation (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:37:08 PM EST
    When aggregate demand is broken you must give the people more money to spend.  I'm not swimming in debt.  And I come from a family that really does have a bunch of small business owners in it and not some huge corporation broken up into small pieces on paper, so if they were making attractive loans for business start up I can see where they may have caught my interest.

    If my allergies weren't so bad here we would have started a business here long ago, but we won't commit now because this area is not good for my health as I age.  But if things had been attractive enough, let's face it....you can always hire managers and I could have talked my spouse into finally retiring and he can travel here for maintenance visits.  There are so many government paychecks pumped into this area and so many niches and needs still not met around Fort Rucker.  Half of everything that comes into this house comes in via Amazon because of how poorly the population is served here locally when it comes to goods and services.


    No, it was well after that (none / 0) (#85)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:10:33 AM EST
    True. I believe it was in connection with trying (none / 0) (#89)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 05:54:50 AM EST
    to prevent them from giving themselves that first round of huge post-TARP bonuses.

    We don't know everything that was discussed (none / 0) (#126)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:07:49 AM EST
    at that meeting, we really know very little about what was discussed at that meeting. All we really know is that Obama said that to them and their salaries were one of things that were talked about.  Some of the banks were trying to pay their TARP money back though so that they could do what they wanted and not have to listen to this administration anymore though and they were told NO.  It was too soon to pay it back and would only expose which banks were in trouble....but did Obama know about the secret 28 day loans that Timmy made many of the banks who were trying to give back their TARP money and tell this administration to shove off?  It is all very strange now, now that we know about the secret loans while the same banks were trying to get on the record as having given back their TARP funds.  I suppose they hoped to prove their "faux solvency" to the markets by publicly giving the money back, and gain more market confidence than their competitors had.  It's all smoke and mirrors anyhow at this point.

    That time is now. (none / 0) (#57)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:56:42 PM EST
    Chinese water torture (none / 0) (#31)
    by diogenes on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:15:14 PM EST
    If the government had made the banks properly write off the loans as bad performers and foreclose on all of them, then we would have quickly have bottomed out the housing market instead of this agony.  People who saved money and were good credit risks would be able to afford the now-cheap housing.
    Instead you still have highish prices and people not wanting to buy due to impending further foreclosures and the risk of further price drops.

    Somebody had to decide (none / 0) (#87)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:41:13 AM EST
    whether it would be worse to do it that way, or to do what they decided on, cut the dog's tail off a few inches at a time and have a longer but less massively catastrophic drop pretty much all at once.

    They clearly decided that a slower, more prolonged decline would be the least worst way to go.  I don't know if that's right or not, it's way above my pay grade and I'm profoundly grateful it wasn't my decision to make.

    The consequence is that the housing decline is going to continue for some years to come, writhing and wriggling its way down bit by bit until it finally actually finds a bottom, and both the economy as a whole and individual lives will stay mostly on hold until it does.

    Is that better than having a gigantic, sickening crash to the bottom all at once?  I honestly haven't got a clue.  There was never a "good" way out of this mess, so it's a choice between one kind of pain and another.

    What I'm really just heartily sick of is having to consult chicken entrails to try to figure out what the thinking is behind so many of this administration's actions.  We get pablum and bromides and patronizingly oversimplified talking points instead of clear and forceful articulation of the choices being made, whether it's the financial mess or the war or health care of anything else.  Bah!


    I think that what you are (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:31:18 AM EST
    lamenting - what I think we all are lamenting - is the lack of leadership on issue after issue; "clear and forceful articulation" doesn't count if what is being articulated from day to day, or for any time period, keeps changing.

    I share your question about whether crashing all at once, right to the bottom, is better - or worse - than a slow, steady decline, but I've decided, I think, that slow and steady allows an alarming condition to become the new normal, and the urgency to solve the problems fades away: "the world hasn't ended, so how bad could it be?"  I think that's where we are on the housing market, and I think that's where we are on jobs - we've normalized high unemployment, and a crappy housing market.

    In the end, though, we have a WH that has more or less turned up its nose at partisan politics - the kind that defines who we are and what we believe, and works to convince the doubters that we have the right plan for the country; instead we have constant validation of ideas and policies that just plain suck - that have always sucked.  That's what passes for leadership these days, and it's just not good enough.  Would the GOP be worse?  Sure - and at this stage, I don't even know if there would be the kind of pushback we used to have in that situation.  

    The future does not look bright.


    This is what makes me crazy too (none / 0) (#109)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:06:55 AM EST
    What I'm really just heartily sick of is having to consult chicken entrails to try to figure out what the thinking is behind so many of this administration's actions.  We get pablum and bromides and patronizingly oversimplified talking points instead of clear and forceful articulation of the choices being made, whether it's the financial mess or the war or health care of anything else.

    I just want them to tell the truth about it. but they never will.


    Why aren't progressives as good at politics as R's (none / 0) (#34)
    by jawbone on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:52:54 PM EST
    This post by Robert Cruickshank at DKos (via Susie at Surburban Guerrilla) posits that the Dems are now a party made up of two disparate views of how this nation should be run, and they're in one party because the current Republicans won't have anything to do with either of them.

    Within the Democratic Party...members of the coalition are constantly told it would be politically reckless to advance their goals, or that they have to give up ground previously won. The implicit message to that member of the coalition is that they don't matter as much, that their goals or values are less important. That's a recipe for a weak and ineffectual coalition.

    There are lots of examples to illustrate the point. If someone is primarily motivated to become politically active because they oppose war, then telling them to support bombing of Libya in order to be part of the coalition is never, ever going to work. If someone was outraged by torture policies under President Bush, you'll never get them to believe that torture is OK when President Obama orders it. If someone is motivated by taking action on climate change, then Democrats should probably pass a climate bill instead of abandoning it and instead promoting coal and oil drilling. If someone supports universal health care and wants insurance companies out of the picture, you need to at least give them something (like a public option) if you're going to otherwise mandate Americans buy private insurance.

    It seems to me the overlap is becoming smaller and each side is now seeing the other as increasingly deleterious  to the other's approach to government, how society should be organized, and what are the most important principles.

    The bigger problem is that it is very difficult to successfully maintain a coalition in today's Democratic Party. Michael Gerson has identified something I have been arguing for some time - that the Democratic Party is actually two parties artificially melded together. I wrote about this in the California context last fall - today's Democratic Party has two wings to it. One wing is progressive, anti-corporate, and distrusts the free market. The other wing is neoliberal, pro-corporate, and trusts the free market.

    These two wings have antithetical views on many, many things. Neoliberals believe that privatization of public schools is a good idea. Progressives vow to fight that with every bone in their body. Neoliberals believe that less regulation means a healthier economy. Progressives believe that we are in a severe recession right now precisely because of less regulation. Neoliberals believe that corporate power is just fine, progressives see it as a threat to democracy.

    Cruickshank writes that it is important to build coalitions, but that coalitions don't stay together fi one side is continually telling the other that their values suck.  

    Paul Wellstone spoke of being a member of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, a description I really like.  Lately, it seems to me that the Obama side of the party is getting so corporatist and conservative, they would like to only clip our wing, but maybe break it.

    The values that Wellstone stood for are values that resonate with the American public when presented as apolitical goals.  So, what do we do to make the ascendant part of the Dem Party?

    I'm having a hard time seeing the 'liberal' (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by ruffian on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:40:02 PM EST
    in neo-liberal. I think the artificial melding is giving way to an artificial separation between 'neo-liberals' and Republicans.

    eugene & drum mi$$ the $ocial Cla$$ angle cuz (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by seabos84 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:06:23 PM EST
    ... they live in the good leafy neighborhoods too?

    cuz part of being REAL analyst of America is making sure you don't really address the fact that the union leaderships lost touch with grunt working stiffs, just like the liberal org leaderships lost touch with the lives of working stiffs - because money talks and $hit walks.

    From the Statistical Abstract of The United States, 2011, table 701, "Money Income of People ... 2008" .

    There were appx. 240,000,000 men and women over 15 with Money Income.
    There were appx. 24,000,000 with Money Income over $75,000.
    There were appx. 216,00,000 with Money Income UNDER $75,000.
    There were appx. 180,000,000 with Money Income UNDER $50,000.

    Too much of the Democratic Party's base is the over 75k a year professional managerial cla$$, and too many of the professional / managerial "backbone" of the Democratic party for the last 30 and 40 years have been voting for the Clint-0-bummer $ell out cla$$ because they live down the street from the $ell out cla$$, in the same leafy neighborhood$.

    The Clint-0-bummer DLC-ish crowd has been in charge for the last 30 years of raygun-ism.

    The professional / managerial class isn't just part of the 24 million floating at the top of the heap - they're part of the top of the top divorced from the heap.

    The professional / managerial class think because they tip their barista, and because they think the junk-mart & lowe's employees should be treated better - the professional / managerial think they have a clue what the nickeled and dimed existence of the baristas and junk-mart employees is about.

    The professional managerial cla$$ does NOT know what the junk-mart employee realitie$ are about, and the professional managerial cla$$ keeps supporting the Clint-0-bummer $ell out cla$$.

    It ain't that tricky.



    As probably the only person who comments (none / 0) (#48)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:22:32 PM EST
    here and who attends Tea Party meetings let me assure one and all that the rank and file members are not joined at the hip to the Repub leadership no matter how many times the MSM tells you this.

    It just aint so.

    Who are you guys joined with? (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:39:12 PM EST
    Is there any Democrat that you guys find attractive?  How do you plan to push your agenda forward?  Is Sarah Palin really someone you guys like a lot?

    Word (none / 0) (#60)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:00:44 PM EST
    When I see tea party groups rallying against rush and palin and limbaugh I will believe that they aren't the secular Christian coalition. I remember when that was "non partisan" as well.

    I'm looking for real answers (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:04:20 PM EST
    Jim has been there.  I have not.  I truly want to know more about what empowers the movement, what they want, and who do they feel represents their agenda?  I also understand that not all 'Tea Partiers' party at the same tea party.  So I want to know what Jim's Tea Party meetings focus on and what their solutions to our problems are.  I'm asking seriously.  

    Me too. (none / 0) (#73)
    by lentinel on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:46:33 PM EST
    I would like to know the truth.

    The media likes to portray one group as "extremists" - so that the people in power look relatively benign - which they are not.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:57:47 PM EST
    if you go by what the tea party here in GA does, you'll get about 50 different answers. It seems every one of them has a different agenda or at least the ones I have spoken to here. The single thread that holds them together is Obama.

    Yes....nothing much but Obama hatred (none / 0) (#100)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:55:44 AM EST
    No real solutions, just anything that makes Obama's life hell if they can is all that I'm seeing.  And they never can get that, Obama will always do just fine now for the rest of his life.  But they will destroy their own country, burn it to the ground just to show us all that they hate him.

    I see a group that is (none / 0) (#83)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:56:04 PM EST
    bell shaped on age. Most are middle aged and most have not been politically active in the past.

    There is a fair amount of Libertarian in the group that think that our drug laws and tax laws are totally screwed up.

    There are quite a few "hard liberals" that voted Repub  for President  and Demo for Congress for years. They have shifted away from the Demos. See the 11/10 results.

    Most are very conservative on money matters. Obama's spending is almost universally condemned and that gets worse as the economy continues to tank.

    Obama's health care bill is seen as destroying Medicare and unconstitutional. Ryan's plan is seen as unworkable and not acceptable as a solution.

    Socially quite a few are conservative but not to the extent that the MSM likes to paint them.

    Obama gets modest approval on his handling of the war but high disapproval of his reaching out to the Muslim world. Simply put the "Muslim world" is not trusted. His recent statements re the '67 borders managed to relight support for Israel that had been fading.

    Universally they are anti-immigration and that is the third rail for any politician who wants their support.  

    No announced Repub Prez candidate gets high marks. Christie and Palin are liked. Bachmann may be in some locations but not here. Rudy, who I admit to liking, goes no place.

    By and large they distrust anyone who wants to be a "leader" and the last election made them distrustful of the "Washington Repub/Conservaties"
    who didn't support the NV MD nominee.

    Hope these snap shots help. If they sometimes appear to contradict, I agree. They do. But remember these are people who are not policy wonks or political groupies.


    This is (none / 0) (#90)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:22:57 AM EST
    the question that I ask tea partiers here and no one can answer: if spending is your issue, where were you when George W. Bush and the GOP was going through money like there was no tomorrow? Why is it only now that they are saying anything? They have no answer to that. Spending just seems to me to be something that they can latch onto but if you look at their previous behavior it doesn't back up what they are saying now.

    I understand your question and I would (none / 0) (#91)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:46:01 AM EST
    remind you that the majority of Tea Party people were not politically active in the past. So it's like asking someone why they didn't like an author or movie before they read/saw it.

    Also, the facts are that the debt has went up around three times faster under Obama and his merry band of what some of the Tea Party see as socialists/Marxists than under Bush.

    So when they see a necessary tightening of the belt they want the belt tightened on agencies that they see as useless or actually part of the problem ... the EPA, foreign aid, DOE, HUD.


    Why has the debt gone up Jim? (none / 0) (#102)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:02:25 AM EST
    It has everything to do with Bush's gutting of our economy and those tax cuts.  This country has bills, it will always have bills, and the rich want to use everything and pay for nothing and via Bush they got that and they are still getting it via the Republicans.  Painting Obama and his merry band as a bunch of crazed spenders on a spending spree is intellectually dishonest.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:14:46 AM EST
    Why has the debt gone up Jim?  It has everything to do with Bush's gutting of our economy and those tax cuts.

    So true, but it doesn't fit the teaparty storyline of Obama the free-spending socialist ...


    Oh please (none / 0) (#118)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:32:20 PM EST
    Obama is the President and he has spent the money.

    You should quit blaming Bush and accept the responsibility for the actions of the guy you elected.


    Facts, Jim (none / 0) (#127)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:08:44 AM EST
    "Oh, Please" just doesn't cut it when it comes to those inconvenient facts you try to ignore.

    Double oh please (none / 0) (#130)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:27:51 AM EST
    Look, Obama was elected by Democrats and Independents.

    He has been President over 40 months.

    Accept the fact that the situation was his to fix.

    He has made it worse.

    That's the view of the people I see in the Tea Party meetings.

    It is also mine.


    Of COURSE it is ... (none / 0) (#131)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:01:07 AM EST
    That's the view of the people I see in the Tea Party meetings.

    It is also mine.

    All of which fails to disprove MT's point in the slightest.


    These people? (none / 0) (#133)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:18:44 PM EST

    Which one is you, Jim?


    I couldn't find myself (none / 0) (#136)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:43:30 PM EST
    I will admit (none / 0) (#146)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:23:00 PM EST
    you don't have to be an R to be dumb,

    But that was funny


    Um (none / 0) (#105)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:22:47 AM EST
    the ones I know were politically active and if you read the polls this particular group has a very high approval of George W. Bush. So in reality I just see them as a bunch of people flailing around and latching onto spending today but abortion or something else tomorrow because it's really about the collapse of conservatism.

    If they were serious about spending cuts they would first shoot for the some of the stupidest spending: the trillions of dollars wasted in Iraq.

    BTW, these are the same people that hated Bill Clinton who produced a balanced budget so in reality they are just flailing around still stuck in the 80's worshiping Reagan and sorry that the cold war ended because they really no longer have a purpose.

    DOE? Are they ready to get rid of No Child Left Behind Bush's signature issue?


    I gave you snap shots of what I have observed (none / 0) (#119)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:34:13 PM EST
    of actual people in actual meetings in actual conversations.

    If you choose to not believe, be my guest.


    heh (none / 0) (#123)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:49:55 PM EST
    DOE? Are they ready to get rid of No Child Left Behind Bush's signature issue

    Most of the ones I know will get rid of DOE and throw in energy, foreign aid and EPA to boot.


    Most Tea Party members are older and (none / 0) (#110)
    by observed on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:10:52 AM EST
    wealthier than average Americans. Where do you get the stat that they haven't voted in the past? That doesn't gibe with the demographics.

    I see that you have not read what I wrote: (none / 0) (#120)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:39:13 PM EST
    Most are middle aged and most have not been politically active in the past.

    I trust you will agree that many people vote who are not politically active.

    Two different things.

    The people I know are middle class. Many are struggling to keep kids in school. Many have had their retirement funds depleted by Obama's economy.


    That's a lie, or they are stupid: (none / 0) (#134)
    by observed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:01:46 PM EST
    30 years of Reaganonomics, plus cheating and lying banksters, are what have depleted their funds

    I resent and highly dislike being called (none / 0) (#137)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:57:26 PM EST
    a liar.

    1. I didn't say they had not voted. I said they were not politically active.

    Millions of people vote who are not active in politics.

    2. Obama was elected to correct the problem. He has failed and after 29 months situation is becoming worse, much worse.

    Time for Obama to man up and admit that and for him and you to quit blaming Bush for today's situation.


    Re Response (none / 0) (#149)
    by Raymond Bell on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 09:08:24 AM EST
    I said they were not politically active.

    You only have their say-so on that matter.

    Obama was elected to correct the problem. He has failed and after 29 months situation is becoming worse, much worse.

    The Tea Party movement started almost as soon as Obama became President, not "29 months" afterwards, before the effect of any measures he would undertake could be felt or not felt.

    Time for Obama to man up and admit that and for him and you to quit blaming Bush for today's situation.

    Time for you to wise up and realize that a lot of the deficit was accumulated during the Bush Administration.



    they weren't politically active (none / 0) (#117)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:53:55 PM EST
    in the past..(at least, not under the name "Tea Party".)

    And, they also would prefer not to be associated with that 28% approval rating. Hence the old wine in a new bottle.


    All due respect ... (none / 0) (#99)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:55:05 AM EST
    .. to Jim's anectdotal observations and objectivity (heh), the tea partiers are nothing new.  They're rebranded conservative Republicans who got all fired up by Obama's election.

    What are their solutions though? (none / 0) (#101)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:59:05 AM EST
    They just seem to be a bunch of people via your description that meet to be anti.  It isn't a solution to anything and we need solutions right now.  Being anti plans and not having a superior plan or corrections to the existing plans that would make them work is pretty childish IMO.

    The Tea Party movement (none / 0) (#103)
    by Raymond Bell on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:10:08 AM EST
    isn't grass-roots:

    Last week, CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli rocketed from being a little-known second-string correspondent to a populist hero of the disenfranchised, a 21st-century Samuel Adams, the leader and symbol of the downtrodden American masses suffering under the onslaught of 21st century socialism and big government. Santelli's "rant" last-week calling for a "Chicago Tea Party" to protest President Obama's plans to help distressed American homeowners rapidly spread across the blogosphere and shot right up into White House spokesman Robert Gibbs' craw, whose smackdown during a press conference was later characterized by Santelli as "a threat" from the White House. A nationwide "tea party" grassroots Internet protest movement has sprung up seemingly spontaneously, all inspired by Santelli, with rallies planned today in cities from coast to coast to protest against Obama's economic policies.

    Exposing the RightWing PR Machine


    That's two year old pure nonsense (none / 0) (#122)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:46:33 PM EST
    Tell you what.

    Attend some meetings. Meet real people.

    The ice tea and coffee you will be served will be better than media kool aid.


    I should hope something backed (none / 0) (#150)
    by Raymond Bell on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 09:13:02 AM EST
    by the wealth Koch brothers could afford more than kool-aid:

    At the lectern in Austin, however, Venable--a longtime political operative who draws a salary from Americans for Prosperity, and who has worked for Koch-funded political groups since 1994--spoke less warily. "We love what the Tea Parties are doing, because that's how we're going to take back America!" she declared, as the crowd cheered. In a subsequent interview, she described herself as an early member of the movement, joking, "I was part of the Tea Party before it was cool!" She explained that the role of Americans for Prosperity was to help "educate" Tea Party activists on policy details, and to give them "next-step training" after their rallies, so that their political energy could be channelled "more effectively." And she noted that Americans for Prosperity had provided Tea Party activists with lists of elected officials to target. She said of the Kochs, "They're certainly our people. David's the chairman of our board. I've certainly met with them, and I'm very appreciative of what they do."

    The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama


    I didn't say they have (none / 0) (#121)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:43:50 PM EST
    solutions that fit what you want to do.

    Most would radically downsize government as a solution too much regulation and too much spending on truly stupid programs.

    And these childish people as you call them, have done a good job of protecting and building the country while watching various small groups whine about such things as a lizard becoming extinct.


    Then (none / 0) (#124)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 06:32:32 AM EST
    these people are nothing new. They're just Oliver North clones. This is the same thing the GOP has been saying forever.

    The governors that have been following their formula have been a disaster.

    And once again, they can't let go of Bush's signature issue Iraq it seems. Something that is costing us how much per week? and a huge waste of money.


    Texas District Attorneys might tend to (none / 0) (#125)
    by Rojas on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:01:17 AM EST
    The new math

    This session's infusion of Tea Party sentiment in the legislative process has affected the standard law and order calculus that we use to gauge the potential fate of various bills. That "Tea Party sentiment" can be boiled down to this: "The government is the enemy. You work for the government. Do the math." Think we're kidding? Earlier this session, unsuspecting prosecutors who came to testify on a bill that would impair your budgets had to fend off a chairman who equated prosecutors with the Mafia, prompting one DA to profess surprise that he had apparently traded his white hat for a black one when he entered the Capitol. But that was just one early incident; let us share with you a more recent example.

    Earlier this week, SB 1717 by Duncan/Lewis, an omnibus judicial reform bill, became what we call a "Christmas tree," so named because of all the amendments that other members tried to "hang" on it. Many of those amendments were formerly dead bills, including HB 1507 by Christian, a prosecutor-supported bill that would authorize non-lawyer JPs to issue evidentiary search warrants in smaller counties. Once offered, the amendment immediately started taking fire from several House members--urban and rural, Democrat and Republican--who expressed concerns about expansive searches, especially relating to blood draws in DWI cases. Now, there has always been some generalized resistance at the capitol to the existence of non-lawyer magistrates, but this time, the anti-government Tea Party effect crystallized that opposition into a solid voting bloc that defeated the amendment by a stunning vote of 17-121. As a result, the author of the amendment joined the ignominious "100 Club" for putting forth a matter that drew over 100 "nay" votes. We bring this to your attention because it is only one of several indications that things are changing at the state capitol. Just be glad that we passed some blood draw legislation last session, because if we hadn't, that bill would be D.O.A. this session. And that, friends, is the new legislative math for the foreseeable future.

    Hmmmm (none / 0) (#129)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:23:38 AM EST
    Yes, things are changing.

    That both the Left and the Right are frightened, puzzled and concerned tells me that we have a good thing going on.

    Hope and change. Now where did I hear that before?


    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#138)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:13:57 PM EST
    how that fear and (eternal) puzzlement on the Right expresses itself is by forming a turn-back-the-clock crypto-lynch mob like the Tea Party.

    jondee, I have been ignoring you (none / 0) (#140)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:31:05 PM EST
    but that malicious comment deserves to be responded to.

    We all have our crazies.


    the differnce being.. (none / 0) (#142)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:44:28 PM EST
    we can easily get by without ours; the great white brotherhood of the sacred teabag can't get by without their's..

    Okay. (none / 0) (#143)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:37:15 PM EST
    You first.



    Of course they are new (none / 0) (#128)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:18:32 AM EST
    You didn't see them before, did you??

    What they are is a truly grass root movement. That they don't fit into your image of what/who they are is your problem.

    Take off your glasses.


    The (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:19:13 PM EST
    issues you are saying the tea party is about have been around forever. How many GOP presidential candidates have we heard campaign on ending the Department of Education? Plenty. There is nothing new in what they are saying. The only difference now is they are taking to the streets. So what?

    And you don't find this significant? (none / 0) (#144)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:46:56 PM EST
    The only difference now is they are taking to the streets. So what?

    Not (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:19:30 PM EST

    So you don't recognize the increased level (none / 0) (#147)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:12:03 PM EST
    of participation?

    So a (none / 0) (#148)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 05:28:09 AM EST
    bunch of people are doing exactly what? They are gathering for rallies. If that's impressive to you then Obama's rallies back in '08 must have really gotten you going.

    I think it more represents the collapse of the conservative movement more than anything. People are frustrated and unemployed and just looking for something to do.


    Huh??? (none / 0) (#132)
    by Jjc2008 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:28:59 AM EST
    This conservative, ignorant of the facts, tea partiers BUILT the country?  Where?  When?

    The REAL tea party, the ones in history, in Boston, were against the oligarchs of the English monarchy as well as against his government's close alignment of the corporate power of the day, the East India Tea Company.

    The tea party of today is funded and run by wealthy oligarchs like the Koch brothers, like Dick Armey.

    I went to observe a gathering of tea party folk here and their blatant ignorance and bigotry was so evident. One was of course b*tching about those damn public school teachers never paying taxes.  After forty years as a public school teachers and paying taxes since the day I began working, I challenged his facts.   He had none.  Just another "resents public" anything type who thinks minorities, public employees and immigrants are ruining his world (the one where white males got all the rights, all the privileges, and all the power).

    Tea party greed, ignorance and lies is a huge reason why the oligarchs are winning.


    Gosh, I wish (none / 0) (#139)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:17:03 PM EST
    that some of that Koch money would filter down and buy my dinner and pay for my gas going to the meetings.

    And if you want to talk about ignorance I can always link to this from Obama supporters.


    Look. Both sides have their uninformed and their nut cases. We can play this game forever, but to what end??

    In the group I attend people saying what you claim was said would be corrected on the spot and marginalized if they persisted.

    I restate: The Tea Party is a new force. They are not comfortable with the Demos or the establishment Repubs. The Repubs are trying to co-op them but with little success.

    And yes. The middle class built this country.


    too much regulation.. (none / 0) (#141)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:38:43 PM EST
    talk about fanatics sleepwalking through history and redoubling their efforts after losing sight of the goal..

    How did that further-deregulation bumpersticker pan out during the financial crisis?

    Or, was the problem that all them dang Marxists-socialists didn't deregulate the financial sector ENOUGH?


    I think (1.00 / 0) (#95)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:39:29 AM EST
    That you should direct your comment to everyone who questioned the tea party's bipartisanship.

    I know I make a good target and all but ....


    Right, you just get funding and (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by observed on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:53:48 AM EST
    leadership from the Koch's, but you're completely independent.

    Debt Limit (none / 0) (#69)
    by PatHat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:30:08 PM EST
    Instead of dealing with Medicare/Medicaid or any other issue, why don't the Dems put a plain Debt Limit bill to a vote? Why is it in just the Dem's interest to not default on our obligations. If the GOP filibusters or if some Dems help to vote it down...then let vote on it again...until the GOP causes the USA to default.

    Sounds like a winner to me. It avoids negotiating social programs in advance of the REAL fight.

    Stay in touch (none / 0) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:47:20 AM EST
    they just did that.  It failed.

    My understanding (none / 0) (#115)
    by PatHat on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:12:10 PM EST
    is that the GOP had this vote taken to PROVE that cuts will have to be part of the debt ceiling bill. I say the Dems should just keep voting yes for a plain bill and no on anything added.

    I think that is the kind of chicken game the Dems can win.


    The Dems were urged to vote no, not (none / 0) (#116)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:29:03 PM EST

    Hoyer is warning his colleagues not to be "politically gamed" by Republicans and instead to either vote "no" or "present" to deprive the vote of any legitimacy. He told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday that if the bill is "simply a political charade in which the overwhelmingly majority or all Republicans are going to vote no, I'm going to advise my members that they should not subject themselves to the demagoguery that would surely follow."


    The only "yes" votes the bill got were from Democrats; guess Steny's advice was largely ignored.

    I'm guessing this will be the last "clean" bill we'll see; the next ones will have cuts in them.  And there might be a handful of people - most of them on blogs like this - who will make any effort to understand why the strategy was to vote against the very thing they wanted in the first place: a clean bill.

    So, is the next step for the Dems to vote "no" on a bill that will have cuts in it?  And be branded as working to make sure the government "runs out of money" - a ridiculous notion, but I don't have time for that discussion - instead of "proving" they are as serious about the debt as Republicans?

    I know it's hot in DC - I'm just 40 miles up the road and it's like late August here - but isn't there some better way to address this issue than to keep fighting kabuki with kabuki?

    Hey, I wonder if the stock market dropping over 250 point today has anything to do with this?