Triangulation As Electoral Strategy


The activist base and elite liberals are the tip of the spear. Being honest about what we see still has a purpose: to keep liberalism alive, motivate the base for other elections, build the progressive movement. And the activist base and liberal elites will have a hand in determining the president's legacy. Once he's done catering to these alleged Independents who want nothing more than to slash government to the bone, he's going to start thinking about that.

I'm thinking the more important lesson from the Clinton Era remains 'it's the economy, stupid':

Obama’s approval rating on handling the economy has slipped below 40 percent for the first time, to 39 percent. Fifty-seven percent disapprove, and strong disapprovers outnumber strong approvers by more than 2 to 1. Just 41 percent approve specifically of how he’s handling job creation.

To the degree Clinton ran a triangulation campaign in 1996, it was with the backdrop of a good economy. Clinton could ask the "are you better off now" question. In addition, Clinton had painted the GOP as extreme in the government shutdown battles (especially on Medicare.) Can't see Obama being able to make the same arguments as cogently.

I saw a suggestion that Obama may run Truman's 1948 campaign, blaming the "Do Nothing Republican Congress." I'm skeptical of this approach for two reasons: (1) Mitt Romney is not in the GOP Congress; and (2) Dems control the Senate.


Speaking for me only

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    Do Nothing Congress (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Captain Renault on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:25:40 AM EST
    This Congress actually has done even less than the Do Nothing Congress.

    Do nothing congress: (none / 0) (#52)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:22:58 PM EST
    On Friday, Congress failed to approve the extension of a bill to keep the FAA running(cf. Joe Sharkey NYT Business).   Among other things, such as air safety issues, that meant the agency no longer had the authority to impose the various federal taxes that airlines add to the price of tickets.  So as of Saturday, the federal government began losing  about $25 million a day. But, the airlines, in large measure,  did not pass this savings on to the public. Rather, most airlines began raising fares by about the same amount as the federal taxes.  Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines are among the few not to do so.   Sometimes doing nothing is doing something for someone.

    Check the amendments that were (none / 0) (#55)
    by BTAL on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:35:01 PM EST
    attempted to put into the FAA authorization bill.  The FAA authorizing bill has been routinely passed for several years without a problem.

    My brother was just furloughed (none / 0) (#105)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:47:39 PM EST
    by the FAA last weekend.  No pay.

    He works on and maintains the instrument landing systems at several airports.

    I guess that is not an important thing to have done.


    Wow (none / 0) (#106)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:59:45 PM EST
    Why are't the Austerians screaming bloody murder (none / 0) (#56)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:37:57 PM EST
    about this loss of revenue?

    Oh, yeah, right.  Because Grover Norquist doesn't want any revenues coming is -- all the better to drown the government in a bathtub.


    But, what about Obama? Why no mention of the instransigence which led to this loss of $23 to, I heard elsewhere, $30 Million a day?


    Because he thinks it's (none / 0) (#108)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:16:46 AM EST
    tooooo complicated for us moron voters to understand.  All we understand is tax breaks for corporate jets, doncha know.

    Who are they? (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:37:11 AM EST
    Just 41 percent approve specifically of how he's handling job creation.

    lol!~ I was going to ask what exactly (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by nycstray on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:42:27 AM EST
    they approved of on the job creation front. I had no clue there was any push to create jobs these days . . .

    Those are (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:49:12 AM EST
    the ABG's of the world.  I expect that soon they will be the 29%'ers.

    If you add the percentage of revenue (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:30:43 AM EST
    in the above comment that makes up Social Security, Defense Spending, and interest on the debt (bankers).....you come close to 41%.  So its the military, people too old to work now, and bankers who are okay with Obama's job creation efforts :)

    But, as we both know all too well, even (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:36:57 AM EST
    retirees, military, and probably even bankers, have unemployed relatives about whom they are concerned.  

    And retirees need jobs as well, given the losses (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:40:15 PM EST
    during the Big $h*t Pile meltdown.

    Not to mention the promised (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:24:40 AM EST
    Medicare and SS cuts.  Don't forget, too, that a large percentage of the elderly never had enough money to put into the Big $h*tpile to melt down to begin with.

    Of course we do (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:40:57 AM EST
    And if they were better people they wouldn't be in this mess :)  Bankers are smart (myth), we the military are laying down lives when we fall off this pedestal, and the old people already were smart and sacrificing......they were the greatest generation :)

    Re: (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:45:16 AM EST
    Once he's done catering to these alleged Independents

    in 2013/2014.

    I'd guess Obama is going to run on some Grand Bargain Vision for America stuff in 2012.  Not sure how he will handle the issue of safety net changes during an election year though.

    Can hardly wait to find out (none / 0) (#112)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:25:22 AM EST
    Eat Peas -err - Cat Food, (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:29:51 AM EST
    cuz I did this for you and to save these vital programs for future generations. I cut SS now so that they won't have to be cut it in the future. Oh, wait the chained cpi is like the Energizer Bunny it keeps cutting and cutting and cutting.... Well scratch that. Just believe I saved these programs from the Republicans.

    BTW, did I mention the great tax breaks we just passed for corporations and the uber-rich. You will be so happy to hear that their taxes have never been lower. Not even under Bush II. Now that they are so so much lower, we will be able to generate more revenue.  


    A President who says this (5.00 / 8) (#7)
    by Warren Terrer on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:55:51 AM EST
    Businesses will be less likely to open up shop and hire workers in a country that can't balance its books.

    is a president who won't be creating any jobs any time soon.

    It's been clear for ... (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:26:00 AM EST
    a long, long time that he has zero interest in creating jobs.

    business is spooked alright (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by CST on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:43:11 AM EST
    about the debt crisis.  But not because the government can't balance it's books.

    They're spooked because they're worried that the government is going to stop paying them.


    "Still cautious from the last recession, many business owners worry that government leaders will be unable to reach an agreement, while others are concerned about exactly the opposite: that any agreement will invariably include spending cuts and weaken an already lackluster recovery."


    And maybe that's becoming more (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:08:57 PM EST
    obvious than he would like:

    The poll showed support for Obama's economic agenda has begun to slip in the past nine months. The percentage of people who said Obama has made the economy worse jumped six points since October to 37 percent. That creates a bigger opening for Republican attacks as the presidential campaign begins to heat up.


    The Post-ABC poll found that the number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama's record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent. The number of African Americans who believe the president's actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77 percent in October to just over half of those surveyed.


    I'm sure the coampaign is counting on the disaffected liberals and AA's to come home to Obama in the end, but if the economy continues to stagnate, and unemployment remains high, I don't think that's going to be the fail-safe they have to count on it to be.


    Well, this particular (5.00 / 4) (#91)
    by Zorba on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:57:08 PM EST
    "disaffected liberal" ain't gonna "come home" to Obama in the end.  Either third party or no vote for president in 2012, most likely the former.

    Obama seems to be on the Cheap Labor wagon, so (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:44:39 PM EST
    he wants that vast army of the unemployed to keep wages low and going lower.

    Michael Hudson says Obama believes US wages should be 30% lower (not compensation packages, oh heavens no! -- just income for the little people) in order for the US to be more competitive.

    The un- and DISemployed are part of the "shared sacrifice."  

    He will talk jobs to try to bamboozle voters; he's probably going to begin doing that later this year, maybe next year.  Don't want to roll out the faux products too early....

    Pres. Flim Flam Man.


    That's an insult (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:28:52 PM EST
    to flim-flam men and confidence men everywhere.

    That's certainly what I've been (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:27:15 AM EST
    thinking.  There's no way this isn't all pretty deliberate.

    Corrente link "not found" (none / 0) (#121)
    by DFLer on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 11:04:00 PM EST
    Any other citation showing President Obama actually saying that wages should be 30 % lower?

    There are some thing that you and I (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:27:54 AM EST
    agree on, and this is one of them.

    Dems do not control the Senate (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:56:13 AM EST
    as long as the byzantine Senate rules allow for GOP obstructionism.

    So (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:42:35 PM EST
    Why haven't they gotten rid of the "byzantine Senate rules allow for GOP obstructionism" since they've been in power (and when they had 60 votes)?

    because 2005 (none / 0) (#40)
    by CST on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:48:13 PM EST
    wasn't that long ago.  Just a thought.

    The argument that (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:56:33 PM EST
    "But, but...if he only had the Senate, things would be better!  It's not his fault!"

    Is just so tired and so lame.


    And we remember that Bush (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by shoephone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:09:46 PM EST
    got a bunch of stuff done, without anywhere near 60 in the Senate. Gosh, I seem to remember something about tax cuts for the rich being passed with... 51 votes? And then there was the Patriot Act, which passed with the collusion of many so-called Democrats (including my state's senator from Real Networks). And the IWR, also passed with the help of the same quivering, non-questioning crowd.

    The filibuster-proof-senate meme is a recent concoction by spineless Dems, used as an excuse for not doing their jobs. It's not only tiresome and lame -- it's a lie.


    Bush got his (none / 0) (#114)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:36:51 AM EST
    senate victories from those same quivering Dems.  THey could have stopped him using the same tactics the GOP uses now, but they were hiding under their desks.

    That's not what I meant (none / 0) (#43)
    by CST on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:03:02 PM EST
    Frankly, as broken as the senate is, I'll take the 2008 - 2010 senate over this one.  But more importantly, I'd take the 2008 - 2010 house over this one in a heartbeat.

    Remember the good old days when we were arguing over how much big the Stimulus should be?  Rather than how big the cuts should be?

    The economy hasn't recovered.  The only thing that's changed is who is in office.  Elections do matter.


    Yes they do (5.00 / 6) (#44)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:06:53 PM EST
    But Farmboy complaining about the fact that the Dems have a slim majority in the Senate, ergo they are paralyzed to do anything is a silly argument to make at this point.  If it was so bad, and they had foresight (which, anyone with half a brain cell could tell they would lose seats in 2010), they could have changed those rules.  But they didn't, because they know they will again be in the minority someday.

    So, you choose not to change the rules, then don't whine when those rules don't work in your favor.  I'm over Congress and the POTUS making excuses.  Do your d@mn job and help people - or get out of the way.


    Pretty Sure It Takes a 2/3rds Vote (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:28:53 PM EST
    Doesn't matter, what would they have done differently  ?

    Let Bush Tax Rates expire ?  Stop Oil Company subsidies ? Hold Wall Street accountable ?  Hold Bush era criminals accountable ?  Protected SS, Medicare ?

    They could have done all of that, and they didn't, they spent almost the entire session debating Health Care and end-up losing IMO.


    Nope - see below (none / 0) (#61)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:45:35 PM EST
    Harry Reid had a chance in 2008 and again in 2010 to change the rules.

    He chose not to.


    The only whining - and yelling and cursing - is (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:44:07 PM EST
    coming from you, my good, dear, friend. However, your loss of temper won't change anything: the GOP has broken the Senate.

    Yes, the Senate could change the rules, if the Dems could put together a super majority - which wasn't going to happen last year, or any time soon. Or they could invoke the GOP's nuclear option and end all filibusters. That isn't going to happen either, as it opens its own can of worms.

    It's normal for the minority party in the Senate to use the occasional filibuster and hold. That's how it works and has worked for decades. What's not normal is for the minority to filibuster everything - over 200 times since Jan. 2009. As silly as you feel this is, it's reality - and I don't see the GOP changing their tactics any time soon. They want to blow it all up.


    WRONG (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:46:13 PM EST
    Yes, the Senate could change the rules, if the Dems could put together a super majority - which wasn't going to happen last year, or any time soon.

    Because you need 67 votes to change Senate (none / 0) (#47)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:12:59 PM EST
    Nope - not always. (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:17:27 PM EST
    On the first legislative day of a new Senate session, you only need 51 votes to change the rules.

    The bill -- co-sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York -- also would require that the Senate move for an immediate vote once debate ends and those conducting the filibuster give up the floor.

    "Right now, senators are allowed to filibuster and force the Senate to use up a week or more on a single nomination or bill, even if there is no debate occurring on the floor," Lautenberg's office said. "Under the Lautenberg proposal, that time could be reduced significantly."

    Typically, a Senate rule change requires a super majority of 67 yes votes, something that will be difficult for Democrats, with their narrow 53-seat majority, to achieve. However, on the first legislative day of a new Congress, a simple majority of senators, just 51 votes, can approve new rules.

    Right, I remember that. (none / 0) (#67)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:56:06 PM EST
    I also remember that it takes unanimous consent to place a "first day" item on the docket, which wasn't received. What a surprise, that they couldn't get 100 votes (sarcasm alert).

    So you're right. Under Senate rules, it only required 100 "aye" votes to get a majority vote item on the floor. I stand by my position - these rules aren't going to change anytime soon.


    Except (none / 0) (#70)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:07:47 PM EST
    The first day of this session began on Jan. 5 (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:34:36 PM EST
    and ended on Jan. 27. During that time they failed to get unanimous consent to vote on any of the filibuster rule changes. They voted on them the next day, and one of the reforms did receive a simple majority of aye votes - but not 67 aye votes.

    The senate system is designed to resist capricious change, and it's designed to resist the body taking sudden action. This modern GOP is subverting the system with one goal: to stop the government from functioning. And what motivates this goal? To sell the big lie that the GOP had anything to do with the economy or the debt, and convince people that the Dems, and Obama in particular, are responsible for all the nation's ills.


    There is nothing (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:08:34 PM EST
    that says it requires unanimous consent to bring a bill to the floor on the "first day".  Lautenberg introduced a filibuster bill on the first day of this session.  No "unanimous vote" taken.

    Here's a good explanation of how the process (none / 0) (#90)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:56:37 PM EST
    this January was planned.

    Filibuster Reform

    And yes, all three reform bills were introduced. None were allowed past that point because they couldn't get unanimous consent for them to come to the floor. From Slate: "On the afternoon of Jan. 25, even as Udall, Merkley, and Harkin were pleading their case on the Senate floor (and seeking, unsuccessfully, unanimous consent to bring their rule changes to the floor; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tenn., blocked them)."

    None of this changes my response to BTD: Obama may decide to run against Congress as the Dems don't control the Senate. Why they don't control the Senate is beside the point.


    I take it that you missed... (none / 0) (#87)
    by Romberry on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:44:37 PM EST
    ...all the talk of a Republican "nuclear option" on the filibuster when they held the majority? No, unanimous consent is not required. All that is required is for 50+1 votes to change the rule, even if that vote requires the Senate President Pro Tem to rule that Senate rule 22 (citing the USSC* in Newton v. Commissioners, 100 U.S. 548, 559) is unconstitutional.

    It's a bold step, but it's available. The whole two thirds/unanimous consent arguments are merely excuses, not reasons.

    *[e]very succeeding Legislature possesses the same jurisdiction and power ... as its predecessors. The latter must have the same power of repeal and modification which the former had of enactment, neither more nor less. All occupy, in this respect, a footing of perfect equality. ... A different result is fraught with evil."


    And there's another variation (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by Romberry on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:50:56 PM EST
    From Salon.com concerning the debate over the nuclear option when Republicans held the Senate:

    In the second variation -- and this part is required reading only for the Robert's Rules of Order fetishists among us -- a (senator), fresh off the loss on the initial cloture motion, could raise a point of order arguing that the requirement of a three-fifths vote to cut off debate...is unconstitutional. The presiding officer could submit that question to the full Senate for a vote. Under the Standing Rules, that vote would be subject to a filibuster, too. But the presiding officer could simply declare that it wasn't. That would lead, as in the first variation, to another appeal, another tabling motion, and then another simple majority vote on the question whether Rule XXII is unconstitutional.

    In either variation, the end result is that (the Senate majority leader) -- with (50 votes and a tiebreaker from Vice President if needed)  -- could get the Senate to declare that the usual cloture rule is unconstitutional...

    No, I didn't miss it, but there's a reason (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:05:26 PM EST
    they blinked back in '05. You take that step and it's Katie bar the door.

    That being said, I wish the Dems would invoke it and start confirming appointees. It's not like the Senate is a functioning body as things stand, nor will it be until the GOP allows the congress to begin operation again.


    You do realize... (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Romberry on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 06:11:51 PM EST
    ...that you've just admitted that your argument about unanimous consent and/or 67 votes required to change the rule does not hold water, right? (Arguing over "Katie, bar the door" type reasons is a different argument entirely.)

    I have my own suspicions about why Dems in the senate did not change the rule in January of 2009. Those suspicions basically boil down to that fact that requiring simply a majority would effectively pull back the curtain and reveal that not a few Democrats profess belief in and promise to support/vote for things in which they do not really believe and will only vote for when there is no chance of passage, i.e. the votes are cosmetic and provide political cover.


    Not at all. There's a huge difference between (none / 0) (#119)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:57:56 AM EST
    changing the rules and throwing all the rules out the window.

    There are specific and difficult procedures involved in changing the Senate rules. That argument holds water because it is backed up by facts and citations.

    Completely suspending the Senate rules is a last ditch, pull the plug, let's end the Senate forever as we know it, type of move. Coming back from that may be impossible which is why nobody in the Senate wants to do it, regardless of party. Me, I'd take a zombie Senate that is at least ambulatory over the comatose thing we have now.


    Um...no. (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Romberry on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:26:28 PM EST
    You earlier asserted that unanimous consent and/or 67 votes were required to change the rules. Then you admitted that they were not required at all.




    All else is spin.


    Obama's not thinking BIG ENOUGH (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by Dan the Man on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:58:26 AM EST
    He should run for both the Democratic and Republican nominations and see if he can win both nominations.  Then if he does, we would have the ultimate post-partisan bi-partisan election campaign ever in 2012.

    Why go through the motions? (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:14:07 AM EST
    For all intents and purposes, he's already achieved that.

    Actually (none / 0) (#11)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:12:25 AM EST
    in some way meshes with his overriding theme.  During the primaries he seemed to be saying that he would usher in a new "Era of Good Feeling."

    The conditions in the nation aren't right for an "Era of Good Feeling" and that should be obvious to anyone paying any attention.  That and many other matters informed many of us that he was a weak reed.


    I'd been hoping for a looong time he would change (none / 0) (#63)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:47:00 PM EST
    parties and run as an R in 2012.

    Is there still enough time for him to do that?

    Heh. Just thinking about all the heads exploding and Dems in a tizzy....


    he would never (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:02:19 PM EST
    make it through the Republican primaries

    which may be why he ran as a Democrat in the first place - too impatient to wait 4-8 years while serving in some token post in a Republican cabinet


    That will be a very very very tough sell (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Buckeye on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:11:33 AM EST
    Two problems:

    1. Half of Obama's term was with a filibuster proof senate and a big majority in the house.  The other half was as you said with a dem senate.

    2. The GOP will not characterize themselves as "do nothing."  They passed the repeal of Obamacare (popular), a budget, continuing resolution, The Deal (which was the lame duck 111th but the new congress was influential), Cut Cap & Balance (which is very popular among the American people), and eventually a deal will get done on the debt ceiling that they will pass (either Boehner's or Reid's).  Horrible policy much of which had no chance of passing the senate, but the GOP would counter with saying the do nothings are the senate dems.

    Out of curiosity, when did Obama have a (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:52:40 AM EST
    filibuster proof Senate? All the research I can find says that at most the Dems have held 58 seats during his term, and that for only eight weeks.

    Bernie Sanders (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by CST on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:57:33 AM EST
    and Joe Lieberman made 60.  But you could certainly make a case that Joe was not inclined to be that #60, other than as a thorn.

    Republicans (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:03:01 PM EST
    would have made that scenario work.  It didn't work because Dems didn't want it to work.

    The Maine (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:21:27 PM EST
    Senators made up the balance needed on certain issues.  Whining about 58 Senators being too low is inexcusable.  How did Repubs under Bush manage to get so much out of Congress they wanted with a lower numbers.  I think this discussion is not only old, but reflects the weakness of Dems as a political party or Admin as leaders more than it reflects any institutional impass.  There are times when Congressional composition or rules do promote deadlock, but pre-2010 this claim is a poor excuse for not having promoted and closed traditional Dem legislation. Talk about controlling the parameters of the discussion - this one takes the cake for moving the goals posts from meaningful to sorry.

    And I think reality backs that case up (none / 0) (#28)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:15:53 PM EST
    As Kevin Drum points out, had there been 60 Dems in the Senate bills would have been passed, and Obama would have signed them. Instead, we had GOP holds and filibusters without the 60 votes needed to override.

    Healthcare (none / 0) (#30)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:28:54 PM EST
    passed on a reconciliation basis anyway.  Progressives during the debate (including and especially pro-ACA ones) were all excited about a bunch of Congressional tricks (PO through reconciliation, changes on conference) that were ultimately underutilized.  

    Contrast that our political conversation is where it is right now because Bush rammed through his tax cuts via reconciliation.  Twice.

    I do find it funny that Kevin Drum supports these arguments when he wrote a very interesting piece after the election on Obama's role.

    Maybe he can overcome conservative opposition to a progressive energy plan if he's willing to take some risks selling it to the public. But if he doesn't, all the congressional majorities in the world won't help him in the long run. I sure hope he understands this.

    I don't think the President is the great Satan but I do find his approach to be somewhat odd/bewildering and his own preferences to be to the right of mine economically.


    60 caucus with Dems (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:58:37 AM EST
    One Major Difference (none / 0) (#45)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:09:07 PM EST
    Of the 58 Democratic Senators, how many were real Democrats? Throughout the HCR debate and the stimulus bill, Democrats were their own worst enemy.

    Republicans, like Snowe may play the role of the independant, but when the vote is on the line, they march to the leaders drum.


    Why were they their own worst enemy? (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:14:46 PM EST
    Because it really wasn't the time to address HCR given the economic crisis.  Obama was told this by pols much more experienced than he was but he didn't give a $hit. And #2...Obama never really sold the issues and the solutions.  He just wanted some legislation with his name on it titled Healthcare Reform.  He was happy to allow everyone to fight it all out and burn down loads and loads of political capital and voter good will getting to that legislation with that title too.  He ignored an economic crisis and now the economy cannot afford to even pay for his healthcare reform that he burnt down Democrat majorities for.

    Question (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:24:32 PM EST
    Which segment of the party had their arms twisted to vote against what they considered bad policy?

    I followed the health insurance legislation closely. I can remember Obama pushing progressives to back what I consider bad policy but for the life of me I can't remember a time that Obama twisted the conservative Dems arms to make the bill better. I also remember that Lieberman came out publicly and said that the President never called him to request he change his policy on expanding Medicare.


    Whoops boy did I screw that up (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:38:23 PM EST
    It should read

    Which segment of the party had their arms twisted to vote for what they considered bad policy?


    Do you have a link for Cut Cap&Balance being (none / 0) (#64)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:48:31 PM EST

    I hear Boehner say it's popular, but I haven't seen any polling on it.

    Thanks for a link.


    here it is (none / 0) (#81)
    by Buckeye on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:41:11 PM EST
    Thanks -- balanced budget amendment is one of the (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 08:53:44 PM EST
    worst things that could happen to our economy.

    Obama could be educating people, but he doesn't.



    Balanced budget amendment (none / 0) (#115)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:43:55 AM EST
    is one of those things that appeals to people as one of those "kitchen table" analogies.  It's a horrible, appalling idea, but there's no question it would get the number of states needed to become an amendment if the process were allowed to get that far.

    The really bad news is that this is what the GOPers appear to be falling back on to force the debt limit issue.  Do the Dems and Obama have the stones to resist?  I very much doubt it, but we'll see.


    Well ... (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:23:52 AM EST
    I saw a suggestion that Obama may run Truman's 1948 campaign, blaming the "Do Nothing Republican Congress." I'm skeptical of this approach for two reasons: (1) Mitt Romney is not in the GOP Congress; and (2) Dems control the Senate.

    Also, Obama doesn't have an ounce of "Give 'Em Hell, Harry" anywhere in his being.  And you need that spirit for such a strategy.

    Exactly right (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:26:45 AM EST
    He has not one single ounce.

    Well, according to the cited David Brooks (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:15:23 PM EST
    take, "the president lost his cool.  Obama never should have gone in front of the cameras just minutes after the talks faltered Friday evening.  His appearance was suffused with that 'I'm the only mature person in Washington' condescension that drives everybody crazy. Obama lectured the leaders..in the sort of patronizing tone a jr. high principal might use with immature delinquents.  He talked about unreturned phone calls and being left at the altar, personalizing the issue like a spurned prom date."

    So, it looks like Obama gave them "heck", but those 'moderate' Republicans he strives to associate himself with just gave him purgatory, hell and Dante thrown it for good measure.  Even worse, Brooks concludes with: "The Old Guard wins.  If the president is really going to change Washington, he's going to have to be more effective next time."    Now that is a flame that must really burn.


    As if I can trust David Brooks (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:22:41 PM EST
    definition of a Democrat President losing his cool :)  There is certainly two different standards of what constitutes a Dem President losing his/her cool and a Republican one :)

    Bobo was trying to subtly bring up the Angry Black (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:50:32 PM EST
    Man image, to delicately stick it to Obama for being half black.

    Even when Bobo praises Obama there's a shiv somewhere in his voice, words, and demeanor.


    I'm so disgusted with the whole (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:26:15 AM EST
    deal and the situation that we are in that I just can't think about it much.  There is no longer a pay off for thinking about it much.  None of the leaders care about what I want anyhow.  I did that exercise you suggested, I came up with five things I thank Obama for.  After last night's poor showing though, bringing a cold weenie to a gun fight, I just can't seem to give two $hit$.  I'm going to make waffles.  It is something that I actually have some say so over and my family thanks me for my efforts and consideration.

    What did you come up with, things you thank Obama (none / 0) (#66)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 02:51:43 PM EST

    Four pertained to the (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:38:22 PM EST
    military reality that we live.  He's been a great CIC, but this will not please his base nor will it save my country from what is attacking it right now.

    I was of course pleased that he employed working strategies in Afghanistan and via that we did get Bin Laden.  Bin Laden was becoming mythical, and that was a new danger.  He dealt with it.  He retrieved Shinseki from the I'm the Decider flames of hell too.  That was a horrible festering sore upon the arse of our shared military history, because Shinseki was correct about Iraq and fired for it.  And Shinseki was always a good leader who produced real results, considering how difficult managing the VA often is I have been very pleased having him running that and where he has taken it too and what he has tackled while we have soldiers coming home forever wounded.  Obama got rid of no-bid defense contracts...one of the heinous shameful things I ever witnessed go down was what the Republicans did with that and what tax payers ended up paying and simply getting ripped the hell off.  I could write a book about what I alone saw go down.  Repealing DADT and hiring Elizabeth Warren were my final two.


    Hey, BTD the lastest polls (5.00 / 5) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:16:36 PM EST
    Headline at the Big Orange

    Washington Post poll: Everything Americans favor is off the table in debt talks

    Looking at these numbers, Greg Sargent writes:

    The poll finds that the number who say Obama made the economy worse is up to 37 percent since October, a period during which the Beltway conversation has focused almost entirely on debt and "grand bargains" and voters have not heard lawmakers talking enough about jobs. Only 29 percent say Obama has made the economy better. Economic pessimism is soaring, with 90 percent saying the economy is not doing well, and a near record number say jobs are hard to find in their area.

    It might not be just about jobs when you drill deeper into the poll internals. Here's one question in particular: "In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose [ITEM]? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?"
    With one exception, means testing Medicare, everything the public supports is off the table in in the debt ceiling talks, and everything they oppose has been on the chopping block. They want higher taxes on the wealthy, on hedge fund managers, and on oil and gas companies. They do not want cuts to Medicaid, Social Security COLA changes, or raising the Medicare eligibility age. At all.

    Dewey wasn't in Congress either (5.00 / 10) (#31)
    by HenryFTP on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:34:24 PM EST
    in 1948. But I think the idea that Obama would, or even could, run a Truman-style campaign is utterly improbable -- that would require him to say things like,

    It reflects a reversion to the old idea that the tree can be fertilized at the top instead of at the bottom -- the old trickle-down theory.

    All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with -- and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism.

    I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the Fair Deal, and says he really doesn't believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

    And, of course, about the Republicans generally,

    I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.

    The candidate in 2008 who said things like this on the stump confounded the punditocracy and the neoliberal Party leadership and won the Democratic primaries in all the major states except for Obama's home state of Illinois, even after she had been written off by the pundits and told to quit by the leadership. These are messages that still resonate with the big tent version of the Party but are apparently hopelessly retrograde and "polarizing". For laughs, check out Dewey's 1948 Republican platform -- Dewey was hopelessly to the left of where the Republicans were even then, which Truman brilliantly exploited in his "turnip day" special session after the 1948 Republican Convention, but Obama is pretty hopelessly to the right of that platform.

    Wish I could rate... (5.00 / 8) (#32)
    by Romberry on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:50:16 PM EST
    ...that post a 10. A five will have to do.

    I believe in the Democratic Party of FDR and Truman and Kennedy and LBJ. The DLC/Third Way/Obama "kinder and gentler Republicans" Democratic Party is not for me, and I am not for them.

    If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat...

    Exactly right. And I personally feel that the elite of the Democratic Party is full of phony Democrats. If I wanted a Republican, I'd vote for a Republican.


    you know what else? (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:38:52 PM EST
    if "that" candidate had been elected, there would have been so many outraged fauxgressives screaming for progressive policies that we would not now be in the terrible shape we're in

    The problem is much more serious than a (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by esmense on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:17:41 PM EST
    "do nothing" Congress and a triangulating President. The problem is that the Republican party, and this Congress, contains a substantial (and growing) number of people who actually want to destroy the economy, in order to destroy the liberal institutions that the US economy has relied on since the Great Depression and WWII.

    This is a genuine crisis that will gravely affect the quality of life of every Americam (with the exception of those, perhaps, who enjoy substantial wealth or whose livelihoods rely to a large extent on some source other than the domestic economy).

    I don't know if Obama truly understands how revolutionary the opposition has become. Or if he, or anyone for that matter, really has a clue as to how to counter this increasingly nihilist force.


    Nihilism and the politics of "other" (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:28:33 PM EST
    A must read article.

    Determining the President's legacy (5.00 / 8) (#37)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:24:38 PM EST
    This to me is such a revealing statement, as I think the Admin should be thinking far less about legacy and far more about solving the problems faced by average Americans and by all Americans in ways that truly reflect shared benefits and sacrifice.  What condescending arrogance to be arrogating to "liberals" a role in creating Presidential legacy.  Sounds like "Let 'em eat cake" to me -- and stale cake at that.

    It's so frustrating. (5.00 / 4) (#71)
    by huzzlewhat on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:13:49 PM EST
    If our leaders tackled the actual problems and solve them -- or even made headway in solving them -- the legacy would take care of itself. As someone around here likes to say, good policy is good politics.

    Obama (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:54:27 PM EST
    can't really make any argument for his reelection other than the supreme court and that appeal is limited. He has put himself in a bad position but he'll probably suffer the consequences of his bad decisions at the polls in '12. Time to move past Obama and start finding good candidates to run for the house and senate.

    Nancy Pelosi gets on the Austerity bandwagon: (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:05:35 PM EST
    It is clear we must enter an era of austerity; to reduce the deficit through shared sacrifice.

    Nancy Pelosi, expressing support for the Reid/Obama debt ceiling deal, complete with Super Congress with 12 Caesars to determine additional ways to "save" (meaning "cut").

    From yesterday's Guardian.

    Did Plouffe put a horse head in her bed? Did she just reveal her own Inner Republican?

    JOBS, Nancy? What about freakin' JOBS???

    I think we have already been sold down the river by the DC Dems.... The vote will be anticlimatic.

    Dem Party, welcome to dung heap of history.

    Ok, so the Party is over... (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by masslib on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:18:11 PM EST
    When you have Nancy Pelosi saying things like, "It is clear we must enter an era of austerity; to reduce the deficit through shared sacrifice," it's time to support the Democrats going the way of the Whigs.  Nice knowing you Nance.

    Democratic Party, (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Zorba on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:05:36 PM EST
    "We hardly knew you."  This is not my Democratic Party.

    "We must enter..." (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 06:06:30 PM EST
    I'm having trouble with Pelosi's construction there.

    It's more like, "Now that President Obama has opened the door, we will be pushing you through it whether you want to go or not.  It's not that we couldn't think of other ways to handle this, but that we're on notice that our corporate owners, the banks and Wall Street, would punish us for even considering those other strategies.  Most of us are quite wealthy, you know, and if we don't play along with Big Money's demands, there's a good chance that wealth will be at great risk, and that's just not an option.  What about jobs?  Oh, I hear Steve is doing quite well - I'll be sure to let him know you asked."

    What a waste of time she is.


    to be fair (none / 0) (#74)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:20:41 PM EST
    Nancy's is a corner

    the guys already shut her out of their Big Important Talks because she's a pain

    so now she can't afford to look like a whiny b!tch (an excuse that i think should be valid if we are expected to swallow the notion that President Obama cannot grow a spine because he cannot afford to look like an Angry Black Man)

    then again it's hard to walk it back when you're on record as having called Obama a "gift from God"


    I think she has come (none / 0) (#116)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:49:47 AM EST
    to regret that particular statement very deeply.

    Been thinking that this is all less about (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:16:39 PM EST
    triangulation than about strangulation and suffocation: one side is itching to wrap its hands around the government's throat and the other wants badly to jam a pillow over its face .  Wonder what they will argue about when it -and the economy - are on life support?  

    Jesus, I am tired of this.

    Anne, the other side HAS a position. (5.00 / 0) (#76)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:30:55 PM EST
    Our side keeps running around yelling, "Ooooh! Ahhh! Pull it out of you a$$ again this time!"

    I think it's come down to (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:40:54 PM EST
    us v. them - or else our side is the other "other side," or Obama's the other same side as those people who are usually the other different side, or something.  Maybe Obama's going to end up with a fence post up his hind end if he keeps trying to be on both sides of the fence at the same time.  Then we can just tuck some straw in around his shirt collar and sleeves and he can be a scarecrow - at least they're useful...and harmless.

    Where are Abbott and Costello when we need them?

    I think I need a Bloody Mary with lots of lemon and worcestershire - and the vodka will help, too.


    A Post Turtle (none / 0) (#82)
    by BTAL on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:45:21 PM EST
    on this (none / 0) (#85)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:01:47 PM EST
    i might have to agree with you

    Obama is our post turtle

    but, for all his other faults, at least our post turtle was actually elected to the presidency - our post turtle didn't steal two presidential elections


    The (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 08:19:44 PM EST
    only difference I feel is that in the original joke, the person wants to "help the poor dumb thing down".

    At this point, I would like to throw something at it and knock the damn thing off.


    i have to say (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:31:08 PM EST
    when i saw this

    Although [Capitol Hill Democrats] see [Obama] as a talented public communicator, his short time as a senator and painfully slow learning curve as president leads congressional Democrats to think it best to take over and provide cover for him once the deal is done.

    the first thing i thought of was "post turtle" & "helping the poor dumb thing down"

    btw, i do not agree with the "talented public communicator" assessment unless what's meant is some of the 2008 rock-star rallies - otherwise, meh


    Two general elections vs. one primary election (none / 0) (#118)
    by honora on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:50:14 AM EST
    Some of us used to think stealing elections was  only in the Republican playbook, live and learn.

    Pour me one, too, Anne (none / 0) (#94)
    by Zorba on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:07:57 PM EST
    It has to be better than beating my head against the wall (or the keyboard, whichever).

    Me too. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 08:15:45 PM EST

    Creating Jobs as a Strategy (none / 0) (#2)
    by ding7777 on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:31:34 AM EST
    That would be a win-win - less unemployment/welfare outlays and more revenues:

    2010 Budget Pie Chart

    19.63%  - Social Security

    18.74% -  Department of Defense

    16.13% -  Unemployment/Welfare/Other Mandatory Spending

    12.79% -  Medicare

    8.19%  -  Medicaid and State Children's HIP

    4.63%  -  Interest on National Debt

    Wiki Pie Chart

    Okay (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:08:33 PM EST
    But what's the point?? I think Social Security in 2011 is 100% self funded. Medicare has a 3.9% payroll tax plus premiums.

    Is the question, how much more from the budget do these two programs pay out than they take in?


    Answered your own question (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:21:39 AM EST
    or part of it.  SS takes nothing out of the budget.  It's self-financing-- by law.

    Don't know the answer to the Medicare question, but my understanding, perhaps wrong, is that it's not much past self-funding now, if at all, it's just projected to go higher rapidly as we Baby Boomers age.

    BTW, I just read a very interesting study that showed Medicare Part D has made a noticeable impact, somethign like 10 percent, on Medicare Part A and B expenditures.  Seems that when seniors can afford their prescriptions, they end up in the hospital and ER less frequently.  Surprise, surprise.


    Outlays & Revenue Pie Charts... (none / 0) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 12:57:21 PM EST
    ... can be found each and every year in your 1040 instruction book.

    It doesn't answer the question you addressed, but it is interesting to see how little personal income taxes actually generate, 26% of the total revenues in 2009, whereas 40% was borrowed.

    I like looking at the charts, because these are actual numbers, not the hopes and dreams they feed us when discussing the budget.

    Side Note:
    This is what blows my mind, personal income taxes generate 26% of the revenues, and National Defense accounts for 22% of the outlays.  If we eliminated it, our tax rates would be less than a sixth of the current amounts; everything else equal.

    Worse yet, if we eliminated National Defense, there would still be 18% we would need to borrow; everything else equal.

    2009 Pie Charts


    Ygllesias agrees! (none / 0) (#16)
    by Faust on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 11:26:30 AM EST
    Or rather: he agrees that whatever happens: it's all about the congress. Why don't people leave Obama alooooooone!

    Quote I just read which I think is right (none / 0) (#78)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:37:35 PM EST
    "The president will almost certainly sign any bill that can pass both houses of Congress, and we're down to three scenarios for how that happens."

    Does he really have any other choice?

    When you paint yourself (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by itscookin on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:53:47 PM EST
    into a corner, the only way you get out without causing damage is to sit and wait for the paint to dry.

    Of course he doesn't (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Yman on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 07:33:16 PM EST
    He never does ...

    You have missed the "SAP" (none / 0) (#83)
    by BTAL on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 03:47:18 PM EST
    Yep, that's the label - SAP.

    WH.gov link


    Every once in a while I agree (none / 0) (#88)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:45:14 PM EST
    with Ezra Klein (it's rare but it does happen).

    White House issues an almost-veto threat against Boehner's proposal

    The White House Office of Management and Budget released a statement (pdf) today that a lot of outlets are reporting as a veto threat against Boehner's proposal, but which I'd classify as an almost-veto threat against Boehner's proposal. Here it is:

    The Administration strongly opposes House passage of the amendment in the nature of a substitute to S. 627. If S. 627 is presented to the President, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.

    Compare that to the statement (also pdf) they released last week on Cut, Cap and Balance, which spent four paragraphs detailing the problems with the plan and concluded:

    If the President were presented this bill for signature, he would veto it.

    "The President's seniors advisers would recommend that he veto" and "he would veto" are two very different statements. There's wiggle room in this statement, though whether the administration actually intends to use it is unclear. link

    Careful parsing of Obama's statements is always necessary. They should be package with a warning



    Completely agree on the parsing (none / 0) (#97)
    by BTAL on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 06:35:36 PM EST
    Was just tossing ABG a bone.

    The "senior advisors would recommend" is the huge red flag/get out of jail free card in that "SAP".

    SAP make me chuckle.


    Here is a chuckle from (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 07:10:36 PM EST
    your side of the aisle. Republican Lamar Smith of Texas immigration (more accurate anti-immigration) bill.

    "Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act,"

    We are now going to legislate "temptations?"


    During the run-up (none / 0) (#103)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 09:44:07 PM EST
     to the Iraq War, those Generals who questioned its wisdom, and were proven correct in their analysis, were fired, or demoted.
    And now, with the economic crisis, virtually every respected economist tells us that what Congress and the President are promoting is dead wrong, and arguing for the exact opposite strategies of what they should be doing. So, do we take a lesson from our massive fail of GWB's follies and listen to the experts for once? Of course not. We take what was once the Greatest country on earth and turn it over to a pack of unwashed, uneducated, nose-picking dunces, while the President and the Minority Leader of the House run after them to "lead from behind."

    I don't know what they teach at Harvard these days but my sense is that the American people have grounds for a lawsuit.

    Austerity: the lesson of 1937-38 (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:19:26 AM EST
    "If the US government had a dollar for every time someone proclaimed to learn the lessons of the Great Depression, we probably wouldn't have a budget deficit."