Pols Are Pols And Do What They Do

Krugman writes:

Thereís actually a simple way to resolve the debt ceiling crisis: non-crazy Republican leaders could support something like the Reid plan ó which is, letís be clear, a huge victory for the right and defeat for progressives ó and pass it with limited GOP support and overwhelming Democratic support. Situation resolved. This would, however, probably be the end of these Republicansí political careers. And the answer is, so? [. . . T]ak[ing] the action Iíve just described means that they are risking Americaís future rather than pay a price in their personal political careers. Thatís cowardice on an epic scale, even if itís the kind of behavior we take for granted nowadays.

This is kind of silly from Krugman. Pols have always acted first and foremost in their own political interests. The key for the electorate is to make them act in ways that are beneficial to the Nation. There are 2 ways out of this mess now - (1) carve a solution that allows pols, politically, to act to raise the debt ceiling; or (2) make not raising the debt ceiling the worst political choice.

I think not even the Tea Partiers really care about raising the debt ceiling, even when the President is a Democrat. This is the biggest political paper tiger of all time. But Boehner thinks he needs one more concession. And he'll get it - they will break up the Reid Plan into 2 votes, so that Boehner can claim a win. This is all very predictable imo.

Speaking for me only

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    Paper tiger. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:31:51 AM EST
    Yes - I heard a guy on NPR this morning explaining that this is a non-issue. The vast majority of industrialized countries neither have nor discuss a debt ceiling. And a debt ceiling has little to do with a balanced budget anyway - one does not necessarily entail the other.

    Seems like the "not a dime's worth (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:43:05 AM EST
    of difference" metric has now moved into the debt ceiling arena.

    David Dayen:

    The fact that the Boehner and Reid plans are so similar, including the Pell grant spending and everything else, means that they were basically negotiated together, as something the White House would accept. Reid threw in a few more bells and whistles, scored the war savings, and increases the debt limit all at once. Boehner uses a second tranche of the debt limit to force through any Catfood Commission II changes.

    The White House is talking about blending all the plans on the table if they fail, "combining elements of the Boehner and Reid proposals and another from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) so each can claim a measure of victory." They're already blended! It's just a matter of when the debt limit is increased, and who can declare victory.

    UPDATE: First Read writes that a short-term extension, by about 10 days or so, is looking more and more likely.

    I sometimes cannot believe this is what passes for governance these days - Obama needs to be coaching 6-under T-ball, where "everybody wins!" and he can happily hand out trophies to all the "winners."

    I thought that was obvious (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:59:55 AM EST
    It is obvious (none / 0) (#33)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:52:25 PM EST
    'changing the tone' and all that, but, another part of maintaining the status quo.

    Pols are Pols and new cancer diaries (none / 0) (#70)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:13:21 PM EST
    only come along on occasion... new one tonight.

    Ezra (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:12:09 AM EST
    finds a quote about the debt ceiling (and why it was not raised in December) that I hadn't read before:

    But there was one thing the deal didn't include, that many observers -- myself included -- said should have been there: an increase in the debt ceiling.

    It seemed to fit. The deal was going to increase the deficit by almost a trillion dollars, so it was going to accelerate our collision with the debt ceiling. It was passed by an outgoing Congress, and it's always easier for retiring legislators to take tough votes than it is for newly elected legislators to take them. And it would have headed off the awful choice that Democrats face this year: deep, sharp cuts that will slow the recovery, or a debt crisis that could plunge us back into recession.

    But Democrats rejected it. One argument was political. As Harry Reid put it, "let the Republicans have some buy-in on the debt. They're going to have a majority in the House. I don't think it should be when we have a heavily Democratic Senate, heavily Democratic House and a Democratic president." That didn't make sense then, and it makes even less sense hearing it now. Republicans aren't going to end up with buy-in on the debt. Their opposition to raising the debt ceiling is pretty clear. What they're going to end up with is massive concessions on spending.

    [emphasis supplied]

    I don't even know what to say about that, really.  But it supports my notion that in part Dems didn't take the original McConnell proposal and run with it because they truly are too chickensh*t to be seen raising the debt ceiling by themselves.  If that's what bipartisanship has come to mean the Tea Party really does have us by the nose.

    I've been saying the same (none / 0) (#41)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 01:45:25 PM EST
    thing, the debt ceiling should have been raised in Dec. 2010.  Everyone knew that lunatics were enroute to Washington.

    What's truly remarkable is Reid's complete lack of understanding the nature of the Republicans about to come into the new House.  Everyone who was paying attention knew that the incoming House would be aggressively irresponsible and Reid seemed to think it would be business as usual.

    These people seem to be captive to the minutiae of the Beltway and don't know what's going on in American political life?


    My question is (none / 0) (#46)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 02:19:42 PM EST
    do they know it now?  Is there a reason why we can't just call out the Tea Party?  Gah.

    It is unfortunately too obscure (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:16:20 AM EST
    What can happen to us if they don't raise the debt ceiling?  And how many Americans genuinely care if the markets crash?  One of the worst things that ever happened was when the markets became decoupled from economic fundamentals.  What does it mean now to an average person if the markets crash, after doing amazing things while their families and their lives crashed and burned?

    Are we missing something about leverage (none / 0) (#62)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:25:07 PM EST
    the admin may have over Congressional Dems, as in control of most of the campaign cash?

    Good point (none / 0) (#66)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:06:34 PM EST
    IIRC Obama consolidated everything under OFA.

    I think Dadler and kdog (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:51:09 AM EST
    BTD and a few others have it right, but ket's put it in street language.

    We have two crews that are fighting about the size of the vig, but not about the vig itself. One crew wants people to pay slightly less and starve slowly, and the other wants people to pay more, and starve quicker. The second crew wants to then bring in a whole lot more people, and do the same thing to the new folks-- high vig and starvation.

    Finding out that on the hill people can use insider information? No wonder so many millionaires hold their virtual-lifetime appointments to the seats of power. Their masters throw them enough bones and scraps for the seat holders and their flappers (Term from Swift and Gulliver's travels) for them to get fat and complacent, and the 'powerful' keep wagging their tails and begging for more.

    I thought insider trading was not allowed anywhere, and 'ethics' were supposed to matter-- blind trusts, and so forth... but if there's a means to grift, someone will find it.

    For example, with all of the penalties on cocaine, how available is it?

    THE TRUTH = Krugman + BTD + Me (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by seabos84 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:50:45 PM EST
    We don't make them pay for screwing us, so they screw us without paying. yawn.

    anyone need a poli sci level explanation from the Kennedy School of Government, College of Upper Middle Cla$$ Excuse Making Lo$er$ to Right Winger$?

    Pols will be pols - the right wingers won't take a 90% win screwing the bottom 98% cuz they'll get crucified by their nut job base. Dems will aid and abet the right wingers because ...


    ... cuz we the peee-ons keep listening to DLC - Third Way - Blue Dog - Neo Lib pearl clutching crap about bipartisan-shite and we keep voting for diaper pooping political pathetics - except when they just sell out us, instead of being pathetics.

    Pols will be Pols - and our worthless ... ha ha ha ha ... "progressives" cave & we keep voting for them!

    Vote "Medicare Forall" 2012 from Postmaster to POTUS!


    That is a first class rant! (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:54:19 PM EST
    Though rare, (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 01:08:00 PM EST
    elected officials have done the right thing and risked their political careers.  The Senators who voted against the conviction of Andrew Johnson comes to mind.

    Krugman's complaint is a real reaction to our current plight.  Soldiers have sacrificed themselves in the field to save their fellows.  Our current crop of politicians aren't exposed to the people who will be hurt the most by default and as always it's the middle and the poor, the group with zero influence, who'll suffer the most.  

    I'm becoming more and more (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 01:12:02 PM EST
    radicalized in my viewpoints based on this plutocracy. I think, I hope, I wish, there would be popular demonstrations.

    OF course, they may be coming. Seniors and disabled folks. Maybe the poor, who have been brutalized by the system, would join.

    A man can dream, right?


    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 01:20:05 PM EST
    I'm afraid it may be just a dream.  The people who should be in the streets are too isolated to come together.  Those who are just hanging on are probably too frightened to act.

    But, like you, I can fantasize.


    Being in the streets (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Madeline on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 03:29:44 PM EST
    would really make Obama angry: A major theme of his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope is impatience with "the smallness of our politics" and its "partisanship and acrimony." He expresses frustration at how "the tumult of the sixties and the subsequent backlash continues to drive our political discourse." http://tiny.cc/fovz7

    The new paradigm is: Big Things/Grand Bargains,conciliation, compromise and appease.

    No streets (in fact, they will be cut from the budget)


    And while soldiers (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:29:32 PM EST
    are risking life and limb at minimum pay, I understand we are still paying astronomical rates to 'private' contractors to handle security and other jobs in Iraq and elsewhere; and aren't Vets' benefits on the proverbial table in the debt ceiling-budget cut talks?

    I can think of another time when pols stuck their necks out for what was right -- I'm thinking about the Frank Churches and George McGoverns et al. during the Vietnam War era.  


    I've commented before that (none / 0) (#42)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 01:58:08 PM EST
    I think Btd's line about pols is a little too cynical and easy for me, though I don't doubt that generally there's some truth to it and by and large pols act primarily out of self-preservation.

    I also wouldn't pull out that probably fictitious but certainly shopworn example from the Andy Johnson impeachment*, and would go with a more recent example, that of narrowly-elected JFK deciding to present that landmark civil rights bill in 1963, something which could have cost him mightily in the South and border states in the upcoming election.  Or his Test Ban Treaty with the Soviets from that year, another controversial item which wasn't popular (not with the JCS, not with Congress, and not with the public) at the beginning.

    Perhaps there's an even more recent example from the Clinton presidency of going against his political best interests that I'm forgetting.

    (*a recent book published about this largely under-researched area, "Impeached", posits the interesting theory, backed mostly by tantalizing circumstantial evidence, that several of the key anti-conviction senators were probably bribed -- including Sen Edmund Ross of KS, the hero in the famous JFK book from the 1950s; in any case, AJ was impeachment worthy, but for various political and personal reasons, in addition to the possible bribery, the impeachment advocates were ultimately too unfocused and divided to reach the necessary 2/3)


    Courage (none / 0) (#69)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:17:50 PM EST
    for JFK but not for LBJ, the man who actually got it passed knowing that the Democratic Party would lose the south for a generation.  Well, two and counting.

    You have zero credibility.


    Yes, cal (none / 0) (#72)
    by brodie on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:04:54 AM EST
    it took more courage for the barely-elected Northern liberal to propose a major CR bill the year before his re-election -- with the prospect of losing some of the states he'd won in 1960 and might need again -- than it did for a Southern conservative president who in the wake of Dallas pledged to get passed the remaining program of the martyred, highly popular president.

    White Southerners affected by the bill under JFK were not pleased by its social sweep, and would have the aggressive and rather unliked president's brother, the AG, enforcing it, thus ensuring that white supremacists would either have to change or would have a battle on their hands.  With the conservative TXan taking over -- and a president who often used the common racist language in private with southern leaders -- they had one of their own to work with and would have felt more assured things could basically remain the same, especially as RFK would now have considerably less or no influence.  

    Even if the bill had been twice as strong, including measures against all remaining discrimination, johnson in 1964, in an election so soon after the assass'n, was going to find it nearly impossible to lose that election against the far-right BG.

    That's the argument.  Try to rebut it with facts and reason if you can -- instead of irresponsibly attacking posters personally when you've got zero on your side.


    Geezuz (none / 0) (#73)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:26:55 PM EST

    Your stuff is strictly your opinion.  Your inability to give due credit and your worship of all things Kennedy supports my assertion; you lack credibility.  Nothing personal.


    Cal, take a few (none / 0) (#75)
    by Zorba on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:45:38 PM EST
    deep breaths and realize that brodie has this "thing" against LBJ, who I will admit had many, many personal and political failings.  But brodie will never, ever give him credit for anything positive he did.  We may as well just accept this, as we accept the fact that ABG will pretty much always make excuses for Obama's failings.  Hey, we all have our quirks, don't we?  Nobody's perfect.  Namaste, peace, and love.

    Agree (none / 0) (#77)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 09:45:00 AM EST
    Query: (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 01:45:03 PM EST
    Can a presidential candidate pay him/herself out of the donations coming in, a salary?

    I might need to open an exploratory committee for the 'real FDR-based' Democratic party nomination, in that case.

    Hey, it's a job...

    You might want to study (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:50:09 PM EST
    the "I'm Not A Witch" candidate's expenditures. IIRC she set a new standard in living off being a candidate.

    You definitely could stick with your 'real FDR-based' Democratic party nomination but use her job creation techniques. ;o0


    Hey, CaseyOR, want to jump on the bandwagon (none / 0) (#61)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:19:23 PM EST
    with me and kdog? We're gonna grift-- i mean 'game' the system!

    Original pirate crew gotta stick together!


    Hey, I'm in. (none / 0) (#63)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:27:29 PM EST
    The way things are these days, it's every pirate crew for itself.

    Very creative (none / 0) (#74)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:28:48 PM EST
    We could manage... (none / 0) (#51)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 03:26:47 PM EST
    probably could not take a salary (legally), but your food, shelter, clothes, entertainment could be expensed to the campaign.

    And if ya need some pocket money, $500 toilet seats ain't just for the pentagon...besides, its about time "good corruption" made a comeback.  Ya know money got "lost" during the New Deal, but the job got done and people's lives were improved...now all we got is "bad corruption", money gets "lost" and nothing gets done.


    I knew there was a reason why you're (none / 0) (#54)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:15:52 PM EST
    chairing my 'exploratory committee!'

    Maybe we can just 'explore' the idea for a loooooong time...


    Hoo-boy...now House Dems are (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 02:27:58 PM EST
    calling for the Fourteenth Amendment Solution...

    House Democrats have been largely silenced in the debt limit debate. They're the minority in a majoritarian body, so that's somewhat natural. But seeing that the numbers are so close for any plan in the House that Democrats could hold the margin of victory, it's a little curious.

    Now, House Democrats are responding to that lockout by basically saying that the President should invoke the 14th Amendment and put this nonsense to rest.

    Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, a member of the Democratic leadership, said he told fellow Democrats that Obama should both veto any House GOP plan for a short-term extension of the debt ceiling and invoke the 14th amendment, which says that the validity of the nation's public debt "shall not be questioned."

    The White House has rejected resorting to this tactic to keep the nation from defaulting, questioning its legality, but Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, who chairs the Democratic caucus, said "we're getting down to decision time" and "we have to have a failsafe mechanism and we believe that failsafe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the president of the United States."

    Larson said Clyburn's proposal on the 14th Amendment was met with applause by other Democrats at their meeting.


    It's the Hokey-Pokey!

    Hmm, so it's now the Hokey-Pokey (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Towanda on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 02:55:35 PM EST
    vs. the Ol' Okay-Dokey.

    We have been hoodwinked and bamboozled, after all, no matter who takes us around the dance floor, folks.


    Ah yes, now we know the Beohner deal (none / 0) (#50)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 03:25:15 PM EST
    must be imminent. The Dems are boldly going on the record with last ditch suggestions they know will be popular with the base, but sure to be ignored.

    Better late than never -- (none / 0) (#56)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:20:54 PM EST
    not that I think there's a snowball's chance that Obama will go the 14th Am route.  Too bold a stroke for him, too confrontational, not nearly sufficiently bipartisan in spirit.

    Partial credit to Clyburn and the others though, even if this one comes kinda late and they should have been talking it up in the caucus and rounding up their constitutional spokesmen and lobbying Obama about it months ago.


    Yes, the statute on debt ceiling (none / 0) (#68)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:13:56 PM EST
     is not like the War Powers Act statute where President Obama  evades it in Libya.  More important to be bold in bombing a country than to be bold to avoid bombing the economy.  

    So, time to get out our (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 03:35:35 PM EST
    old dog-eared copies of Tuchman's The Guns of August?

    I remember the first time I read that book. It shocked my 13 year old sensibilities to no end and is probably what started me down the road of distrust of politicians who send us into war. That we were embroiled in Viet Nam at the time gave me an added push down that road.

    Perhaps we should reread Tuchman,  to remind ourselves of the dangers of politicians who act out of personal pique and believe that government and a nation's people are their personal playthings.

    Donald, Casey, (none / 0) (#55)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:20:01 PM EST
    I think we're closer to 1917 Germany... interminable wars, shortages of what people needed (they needed decent food, we need decent jobs to buy food), but it dragged on from Dec. 31 of that year to Nov. 11.

    I'm not going to make a comparison to Russia, 1917, because that position is untenable at the moment.

    But look at the post Armistice consequenses in Germany from 1918-1922/1923... not good.


    I'll go you all one worse and (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:33:06 PM EST
    suggest cheerfully that we might be closer to the final stages, the last several yrs, of the Weimar Republic as it slipped into further economic failure while its center-left leadership -- in the face of fierce and unhelpful anti-Weimar govt attitudes from the leading opposition party on the Right -- was weak, divided and unwise as they undertook budget cuts in the middle of a depression and generally underestimated and misunderstood the true nature of their major opposition.  We know how that one ended up.  

    Better and much more frightening (none / 0) (#58)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:15:47 PM EST
    example... too much better.

    shivers down my spine in Alabama in July.


    Did not think it was possible to get (none / 0) (#60)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:03:32 PM EST
    even more depressed, but your comments, brodie and Jeff, have pushed me to a new low.

    Things are frighteningly similar to the last throes of the Weimar Republic. I shudder.


    BTD, did you see (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:54:25 AM EST
    the article yesterday claiming that Geithner came up with the idea of going big with debt ceiling negotiations? Americablog had it.

    I wish Obama were a little less clubby... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Addison on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:45:26 PM EST
    ...so that he could fire Geithner. It's clearly deserved and aside from pointing at hypothetical worst-case scenarios about going into a Depression if not for Timmah's guidance, he doesn't have anything to point to vis-a-vis accomplishments.

    Sigh (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:59:15 AM EST

    Here's the link (none / 0) (#11)
    by observed on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:35:59 AM EST
    Think Big, Timmy!

    I'm having trouble grabbing text on that page, but it's worth checking out.


    Pols are pols (none / 0) (#4)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:55:14 AM EST
    Pew Research finds that 68% of the people support a compromise on the debt ceiling even if they don't agree with the deal, while only 23% support standing on principle even if it results in default. My question is this. What percent of that 23% are voters that the president has a chance of winning to his side in November 2012? I believe the answer is pretty close to zero percent. So, the president has won the political battle here, which it was very important for him to do. However, that doesn't get him out of the woods.

    - Booman

    Obviously the desire to score a political victory here is not solely coming from the GOP's side.

    I just don't see the lasting value of this when austerity is going to make Obama's re-election that much harder.

    So what's the significance of the political win, when the policy win on our side is zip?

    No one is voting on the debt ceiling (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:58:49 AM EST
    is the lesson Booman did not learn for that post.

    Does policy matter at all to Booman? (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:15:58 AM EST
    Or is he just that shallow that he's happy to cheer on a politician regardless of how bad the policy is?

    [I guess that was a rhetorical question, wasn't it?]

    I need an Advil with a Zantac chaser.


    A popular President (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:52:22 AM EST
    means things will be more liberal.  I guess that's the idea.

    Even when it's a race to the bottom.

    When do we pull the plane out of its nosedive?  


    Kamikaze (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:01:21 AM EST

    Ask me today, I have no hope for the working man or woman with today's plutocrats in power. But I'm about to go exercise, so I might have endorphines pumping later and be all hopey, changey.

    Or maybe not.

    I think it's sad that Pelosi, far from perfect as she is, even with her recent statements, gets pulled down by this sham negotiation. I have a lot of respect for her, Boxer, Gijalva, and a few others up there. I miss Ted Kennedy's voice, though. I wonder how much of this he could have stopped behind closed door. He was supposed to be the supreme negotiator before the fact...


    I'm so sick of these (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:38:11 PM EST
    polls that frame political questions are either/or black/white choices and thus guarantee the poll results intended.  Such polls are meaningless.  If you ask Americans if they'd rather have debt ceiling compromise a la Boehner/Obama, or chaos, they will go for compromise.  

    Thank you BackFRom Ohio. (none / 0) (#67)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:08:51 PM EST
    Polls are the stupid end of the idea of social research. That's one of the reasons political science puts 'science in its name.

    Pollsters...don't know the proper methodological approaches, nor the legal limitations of their polls.

    If they do, they are outright liars and prevaricators, worth nothing but scorn. Not arrogance speaking here... I could write proper questions with subordinate follow-ups, some open ended some closed ended, that give more than frikkin' election crosstabs.

    I've offered to do so free for one of the big non-post-office shippers.

    MArket research isn't science, and it only, ONLY gives a snapshot of how someone reacts WHEN THE QUESTION IS ASKED. Don't even get me started on "meta questionnaire approaches, where one looks at only results, then crunches new statistics on the results of these already-flawed polls.

    Yep, malarkey. But good and real polls can be done. Look at NORC, The Census, and other studies.


    I think polls can be valid (none / 0) (#76)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:35:11 PM EST
    if properly devised; they usually are not, but that's not the fault of polls per se.  Just upsets me most when clueless media, talking heads, Dem commentators/consultants or whoever parrot poll "results" without thinking or caring, and thus go far to frame the national debate in ways that are truly foreign to what most people really think.

    I believe the argument is... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:05:55 AM EST
    it is somehow worse when peeps with "R" after their name shred the safety net so the fat cats stay fat and getting fatter.

    Maybe because Brand R invokes Jesus while doing the reverse robin hood dance, and we prefer to be robbed in a Brand D secular fashion?  Beats me.


    At least you can keep me interested (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:00:36 AM EST
    to the point of seeing if your analysis and prediction comes about :)  One more concession?  If this has been the metrics of a Boehner strategy no wonder thought filled people sit there and spin their wheels into oblivion dealing with him.  I'm sick of this whole mess though, just sick and pissed and pissed.

    Pols are Pols, etc., is the current version of (none / 0) (#16)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:03:23 AM EST
    government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem?

    No, but it's (none / 0) (#17)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:09:24 AM EST
    recognizing that politicians remain interested in their next election above all else.

    Might go a little farther than that (none / 0) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:30:39 AM EST
    I'm afraid. Pols are interested in their next election but want to make sure that if they lose they will be offered a lucrative consultant, lobbyist job, book deal or speaking tour by the powers that be (i.e. big money folks).  

    How do you get them back on the farm (none / 0) (#20)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:34:04 AM EST
    after they've seen Paree... or is it DeeeCeee?

    I prefer the WWI version. I also think that the senate and house office buildings and the Capitol should have air conditioning and heating removed. Or bill the legislators 100 percent for what they use. Geez, franking privileges are more than enough contact.


    Heck, if we're gonna dream I'd like to institute (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:45:43 AM EST
    a zero-tolerance on gifts from lobbyists. No trips, no donations to favorite charities (wink, wink), not even lunch. If a corporation wants to bribe a congress critter, they'll need to send the CEO and do it on CSPAN, during an open and public session.

    "Mr. Chairman, the Senator from Tennessee requests five minutes to receive a bundle of unmarked bills from BigPharma before we vote on this health care regulation bill."

    "So noted."

    Violators are sentenced to somewhere "nice", like staffing a research facility in Greenland for five years.


    I love it! (none / 0) (#26)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:57:50 AM EST
    "Congressperson X, for the remainder of your term you will be on a junket to check the DEW Line across Northern Canada and Alaska.

    Your staff will check the research facilities at the confluence of the Amazon River.

    Thank you for this important work for the congress."


    No, I think it's more like, (none / 0) (#22)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:38:57 AM EST
    "government is the solution to our problems - and what happens to the 98% of those who have neither money nor power, isn't our concern."  

    The oligarchy is upon us.


    But that's the same thing (none / 0) (#19)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:33:56 AM EST
    "The key for the electorate is to make them act in ways that are beneficial to the Nation."

    i.e., pols are not the solution to our problem; the solution lies with the electorate.

    "Pols have always acted first and foremost in their own political interests."

    Pols are pols and do what they do - they are the problem, and they comprise the government.

    Sorry jeffrey, this was meant to be a reply to (none / 0) (#21)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:35:36 AM EST
    your post #17

    NP, I thought it was... see my (none / 0) (#25)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:47:10 AM EST
    long, sort of non-answer, but sort of answer below.

    the problem remains (none / 0) (#24)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:46:13 AM EST
    that politicians do what they do. Dont blame the electorate, unless you want to blame the actually-qualified folks that don't run for office based on the hyper-Puritan public decision-making process, where ability is ignored, ideas don't get mentioned, but divorce, sexual orientation, these do.

    Also, since money and corporations are now equal to humans in the process, the electorate gets inundated with attack ads and misrepresentations. Since corporations have a lot more money than people, and since rich people have a lot more money than poor people, you wind up with mediocrity at the federal level.

    Since all of those elected want to get re-elected, and since they rarely run against each other (decennial redistricting notwithstanding), these folks have plenty of reasons to do just enough together to keep the great unwashed voting for them. When corporations get the vote (I say when, because the history of the Supreme Court is rife with. well, corruption and/or lunacy), then money will become even more important for running.

    Imagine, farmboy, Obama is raising a BILLION dollars for re-election. At my last teaching job, with all of my years' experience, that would pay for salary, benefits and retirement for more than 13,000 teachers for a year-- considering how few raises teachers get, I'd make a WAG of 11,000 for ten years.

    There's something obscene here. Not the government, as Norquist would say, but how we are given Hobson's Choice for our elected officials.


    Shorter JEffinalabama: (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:22:48 PM EST
    We have a lot of problems, but let's not blame the lowest level... the level that makes the decisions, but the one too easily forgotten by the public 'servants.'

    I'm getting too verbose.


    Your comments are generally longer, but (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:48:59 PM EST
    still comprehensible.  

    I'd better tell you I love you (none / 0) (#32)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:50:47 PM EST
    again, oculus. Excellent link in the other thread, and feeding my ego at the same time.

    Seriously, though, thanks.


    Any time. You are inflating my sense (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:52:46 PM EST
    pf self worth!

    You two are making me weepy! (none / 0) (#44)
    by shoephone on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 02:16:57 PM EST
    And I'm not a sentimental person. Please!

    Nah, I'm not going to let (none / 0) (#45)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 02:17:28 PM EST
    the electorate off the hook, both those who vote and the roughly 50% of the eligible population who regularly don't as well as the many who don't bother to inform themselves on basic issues.

    Generally I think the people get the sort of representation they deserve.  And if they don't like their rep, they can get organized, find a better opponent, and get him out despite factors like money disadvantage or media preference for the incumbent.  Generally that's so.

    Plenty of blame to go around for our current predicament.  And if enough of us liberals are sick of having a Ben Nelson or Mark Warner or Claire McCaskill or pushover Barack Obama repping us, then it's up to us to organize and go about doing the necessary things to make change possible and inevitable.


    Boehner's plan picking up support (none / 0) (#39)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 01:38:37 PM EST
    within the GOP, leading to speculation that it will have enough votes to pass the House.

    With Reid's bill in the Senate being nearly identical, it means the Boenher bill passes the House, it gets to the Senate where it's tinkered with a bit to incorporate some of Harry's bill's provisions, and then - voila! - the Republic is saved!

    Via David Dayen:

    A number of House conservatives are now closing ranks on the bill, giving it a better chance of passing the chamber. Boehner has been whipping his caucus furiously, imploring them to "get your ass in line" and get behind the plan to save him from embarrassment. The bad CBO report has also enabled Boehner to go back and add in more cuts, which could bring him some more votes.


    Keep in mind that the Boehner plan and the Reid plan are almost exactly the same. Reid's plan simply scores things that are going to happen anyway (less war spending, for example), and it provides the full debt limit increase up front. That's all this argument is about.

    To be sure, that's a key argument, because Boehner's plan ties the second increase in the debt limit to the result of his Catfood Commission to cut safety net programs. Reid has no such enforcing mechanism, making it easier to just vote down what comes from that committee. So the two sides are not arguing over nothing. But they're arguing over far less than they want you to think.

    Will spending be cut, a Catfood Commission empowered, and the debt limit increased through the elections, or will spending be cut, a Catfood Commission empowered, and the debt limit increased for only six months? Stay tuned. It's so very exciting!

    What it is is insulting to the intelligence; never have I been able to see more clearly just how little regard these politicians have for the intelligence of the people they purport to represent as I have in the last couple of years - and especially in the last couple months.  From the perspective of someone who still manages to think for herself, it's jaw-droppingly obvious how the ruling class uses the people for their own purposes - and they do that by filling their heads with half-truths and lies, by misdirecting their attention and manipulating their emotions.  

    Some days I feel like that last woman in Stepford who hasn't gotten the "treatment," ya know?

    BTD, (none / 0) (#43)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 02:02:13 PM EST
    the difference between dr. krugman and you is that you (and me) have raised cynicism to the level of an art form, and dr. krugman has not. hence, his (silly to you, and probably me) failure to understand that pols "do what they do", and what they do is, first and foremost, what suits their interests (or what they perceive as suiting their interests. the two are not, by definition, mutually inclusive.), not necessarily what suits the country's interests. should the two happen to coincide, great. if not, oh well.

    this works out well for pols, because they know their constituents are, for the most part, not very bright people, having only the barest whiff of an idea of what's actually going on around them.