This is Scary

July 28th, 2011 at 2:04 pm | 79 Comments |

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Early this morning, I had breakfast with a member of Congress—a person I like, respect, have donated to in the past, will donate to in the future, and know isn’t crazy. This man shares at least 90 percent of my views. He’s not a Tea Party Caucus member but is a stalwart in the conservative Republican Study Committee.  He has a safe seat and, like me, sees some serious problems with the Boehner plan. That said, he made it clear that he’s not going to vote for the plan or anything much like it. I didn’t argue with him—he’s a man of conviction and believes in what he’s doing—but he’s exactly the sort of level-headed conservative who is going to be needed to get the plan (or anything realistic that raises the debt ceiling) across the finish line. Without his vote, we’re heading for default.

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79 Comments so far ↓

  • Kingofthenet

    ‘Tea Party’ Republicants are ‘Enemy’s of the State’ and should be treated as such. The President took an oath to protect the United States from ALL Enemy’s Foreign and DOMESTIC, they are trying to bring down the US Govt, they should be shot for treason!

    • sparse

      awesome. apparently it is not just right wing idiots who threaten to shoot people they disagree with and use apostrophe-s to indicate the plural.

      crawl back under your rock.

      • arvan

        The country is headed towards civil war. The Republican have shown that terrorism is an effective way to seize control of the government. There are only three possible outcomes:

        1) The Republicans, armed with the knowledge that they can get whatever they want by threatening to hurt people, voluntarily give up this tactic for the good of the country. Fat chance.

        2) The Democrats realize that they must use the same tactic. The United States becomes ungovernable, and descends into anarchy.

        3) The Democrats stay civil and are forced to cave at every turn. The US becomes a de facto fascist state under the sole rule of the Republicans.

        Possibility #1 one won’t happen. I hoped it would for a long time, but it is clear now that it will not. Both #2 and #3 can only be righted by civil war. Unfortunately, civil war isn’t as clean cut today as it was back in the 19th century. The US will become a third world nation, torn asunder by daily terrorist attacks, for a generation.

        So get used to hearing calls for murder. They’re only going to get louder. And if you failed to vote a straight Dem ticket in 2010, or ever fail to do so in the future, know that it is your fault that we’ve come to this.

        • sparse

          It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.
          ~Albert Camus

          your acceptance that there are but three possible outcomes, and only one party that anyone should ever vote for ever again are evidence that you have not thought about this enough.

          will a lack of imagination drive you to war? how sad.

        • arvan

          Well then, Mr. Imaginative, what realistic alternatives do you propose? Tut-tutting on the sidelines sure as hell won’t get anything done.

          And for the record, I am not on the side of the executioners. But I realize that there are precious few thinking people left in this nation. We have been demonized by the anti-science Republicans for decades. We have no influence left. We can fight back, flee, or die. Hoping and praying that they stop hurting us is folly. They won’t.

        • sparse

          arvan-
          like solo4114 (below) i think the electoral process will take care of this thing. i can see that you have a deep despair about the prospects for this. look to history. the tea party is toast. they are a small minority who have already over-reached. that never works. i am content to tut-tut from the sidelines, as you put it, because that is the best strategy here.

          arvan:
          “So get used to hearing calls for murder. They’re only going to get louder. And if you failed to vote a straight Dem ticket in 2010, or ever fail to do so in the future, know that it is your fault that we’ve come to this.”

          “We can fight back, flee, or die. Hoping and praying that they stop hurting us is folly. They won’t.”

          “And for the record, I am not on the side of the executioners.”

          sparse:
          “yes, you are. you just proved it.”

        • Solo4114

          I’m not particularly pleased with the GOP either, but I rather doubt that either civil war or acceptance of fascist dictatorships are actually necessary or likely.

          More likely is that we’ll see a realignment of the electorate come 2012, and the Tea Party will go the way of the Know Nothings — voted out of office, and re-absorbed into the GOP as a discontented but otherwise muzzled and neutered branch of shock troops, money-raisers, and get-out-the-vote agitators.

          There’s far less need for overt violence when a political process can get the job done. Remember: these clowns have to defend their seats every two years. If you think folks are tired of ‘em now, wait until it’s 2012 or 2014 or beyond.

          Now, the real question is what kind of damage will have been done to the Union between now and then, but I think we’re quite a distance from, say, Cavaliers and Roundheads or Blue and Grey.

        • arvan

          I certainly hope they get voted out, but it doesn’t seem likely. The American people have famously short attention spans. The Tea Party has succeeded in sabotaging the economy now, in 2011. By 2012, people will have forgotten all about that. They’ll look around, see a bad economy with a Democrat in the White House, and decide that surely the Republicans can do better.

          But even if the teabaggers do get voted out, the damage they’ve done will remain. Their terrorist tactics worked. And if tactics work, you can be damned sure that they’ll get used again and again.

        • Rossg

          I was among the first cohort of 18 year olds to get the vote back in 1971. I will admit I have voted mostly republican, but did vote democrat in 2008 and 2010. I don’t see how I can ever vote republican again. Certainly, if the republican’s come up with a crop similar to those currently in the running, it is not possible.

    • Nanotek

      “The President took an oath to protect the United States from ALL Enemy’s Foreign and DOMESTIC, they are trying to bring down the US Govt, they should be shot for treason!”

      Everyone has a right to voice and argue their positions hard, especially when it regards the form of government that controls us all — with no threats of violence designed to silence contrary positions.

      For myself, I’ve been wrong far too often in my life to make critical decisions without considering every contrary argument I can find … . that’s why, as a liberal, I read FF and the commentaries…

      we need to forever put the absurdity of the “ultima ratio regum” behind us

    • medinnus

      The Tea Baggers may be a canker and a cancer, BUT just like Obama, they were elected by the people in their districts. Wait for 2012 before you lock and load.

  • Reflection Ephemeral

    edited from original for the sake of comity & tone…

    I had breakfast with a member of Congress—a person I like, respect, have donated to in the past, will donate to in the future … he made it clear that he’s not going to vote for the plan or anything much like it. I didn’t argue with him—he’s a man of conviction and believes in what he’s doing—but he’s exactly the sort of level-headed conservative who is going to be needed to get the plan (or anything realistic that raises the debt ceiling) across the finish line. Without his vote, we’re heading for default.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Mr. Insider, but– assuming that you want to see Congress & the President enact a law to honor our existing financial obligations– you’re part of the problem here.

    As I understand your anecdote, this guy is going to vote to put America into default– after causing our debt problem over the past decade. (See here for the charts & data that prove it: http://www.poisonyourmind.com/2011/07/republicans-dont-care-about-the-deficit/ ).

    And you’re calling him a praiseworthy, level-headed deep thinker? And you’re not even going to try to reason with him? And you’re going to contribute to him in the future?

    No rational person would be party to staking the discussion of our long-term debt problem to this one vote on honoring the obligations we have already incurred.

    You are playing with fire, Mr. Insider. You are enabling the possibility of a colossal hike in interest rates (and, therefore, the cost of the debt your lunch buddy pretends to care about so much now, after ignoring the issue for the previous decade).

    You, Mr. Insider, are to blame for placing America’s economy and position in the world in peril.

  • cporet

    It doesn’t matter if he votes aye or nay. The bill is dead in the Senate. And so it goes.

  • balconesfault

    Did you ask him if he thinks default will be bad for America?

    If his answer is no … or “not as bad as continuing to increase the debt ceiling without a huge cut in entitlements” … then he’s not really any more sane than the Republicans running around preaching intelligent design or denying we should act on climate change data.

    This is all about closing ranks and creating ones own reality. Which rarely ends well …

  • sparse

    i think the boehner plan is a bad one. it is bad for america, bad for republicans, bad for democrats. it should be voted against.

    just because there is a deadline looming does not mean that bad legislation should be passed.

    maybe this will cut so close to the deadline that there will only be enough time left for a clean raise of the debt limit, or better yet, to abolish it altogether.

    enough people have gone on the record saying they support and want a sustainable fiscal future that it can be achieved without this artificial doomsday device.

  • Solo4114

    Not a ton of info to go on here. Nothing beyond that this unnamed representative “sees some serious problems with the Boehner plan.”

    What problems? And if he wouldn’t vote for the Boehner plan, what would he vote for? Something like the Reid plan? Something like the Grand Bargain? Or does he have his own plan?

    We’re rapidly approaching the point where we can no longer afford to hope for a “perfect” plan. So either vote for this one (pointlessly, since it may not even make it through the Senate), vote for Harry Reid’s plan, or vote for your own damn plan, but SOMETHING has to passed.

  • rbottoms

    Hmmm.

    F***k him and the rest of the lunatics that make up your party.

    After Obama saves the world from the massive, suicidal stupidity of the GOP, I sincerely hope he helps us crush you at the polls next year.

    You don’t deserve to be a representative under our flag nor represent anything that brave men and women have died for over 250+ years that got us to this point.

  • Solo4114

    “arvan // Jul 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I certainly hope they get voted out, but it doesn’t seem likely. The American people have famously short attention spans. The Tea Party has succeeded in sabotaging the economy now, in 2011. By 2012, people will have forgotten all about that. They’ll look around, see a bad economy with a Democrat in the White House, and decide that surely the Republicans can do better.

    But even if the teabaggers do get voted out, the damage they’ve done will remain. Their terrorist tactics worked. And if tactics work, you can be damned sure that they’ll get used again and again.”

    Well, two things.

    1.) It remains to be seen if their tactics “worked.” Did it get them what they want? Maybe. It’s not entirely clear yet, actually. The Boehner deal is stillborn in the Senate. Although, Harry Reid may modify it to a degree. But at least at a policy level, the Tea Party will NOT get everything it wants. This ridiculous insistence on a BBA, for example, is going exactly nowhere. In addition, it depends on how badly things go over the next few days, but regardless, I think the money backers for Tea Party candidates will NOT be happy with how things have gone. That alone will hurt their chances at reelection.

    2.) The American public may have a short attention span…but this fight is the kind of fight they remember. The optics are pretty straightforward and clear: the GOP took the economy hostage and has, at least, cut a few fingers and/or ears off to make a point by now. The stock markets have been hurt, two ratings agencies have threatened to downgrade our debt, foreign governments are calling these guys wackadoos, etc. The more the public learns about this, the less, I suspect, they’ll support the Tea Party. Moreover, this is now the second time the GOP has taken the economy hostage. I think people are getting a bit sick of this crap. Also, bear in mind that many of the Tea Party candidates came in from swing districts. The GOP guys in the safe districts may be able to shrug this sort of thing off, but the swing districts? I doubt it.

    Like I said, I think the Tea Party has so overplayed its hand at this point that the public knows that they’re not to be trusted. Their days are numbered, in my opinion. You will not, for example, see a complete Tea Party takeover, and I expect that the GOP will moderate itself in subsequent years, and the Tea Party will recede.

    More concerning to me is what kind of damage we as a nation will suffer BEFORE these guys get tossed out of office.

    • nwahs

      I dunno, I’m done with them. I can’t see voting for a Republican in the near future. This is a manufactured crisis at the expense of people who can afford it least. I can’t help what anyone else does, but I’m done with them. The nuts are running the party.

      • Elvis Elvisberg

        nwahs, I might have hurled the charge of “partisan” at you in the past. Regardless of what I’ve said or haven’t, you deserve credit for taking an honest look at things, stepping outside of any bias you might have, and coming to that conclusion.

      • drdredel

        I second Elvis’ sentiment. I believe this is the first time on this forum someone who I generally felt was too far gone to see reason, came back with such a definitive about-face. bravo!

        • nwahs

          Well I don’t see an about face. I’ve never sanctioned idiocy and that is why I was kicked off of NewsBusters – a right wing site. This is a manufactured crisis. That is clear. The GOP manufactured this “crisis” and they will pay dearly for it.

          The debt limit has been raised many times in recent history, uneventfully. All of a sudden we have 1776 costume wearing idiots who can’t state off hand the GDP and have all types of personal dead beat dad baggage running the circus. It time to kick the 1776′ers to the curb. Their antics are old and childish.

        • Elvis Elvisberg

          The GOP manufactured this “crisis”

          Unequivocally true, for the reasons you give.

          and they will pay dearly for it.

          I wish I had your confidence.

          Nobody anywhere suffered any negative consequences for the misleadingly sold (chiefly by the Bushies, but the centrist MSM & many many Democrats were taken/participating in the selling), disastrously prosecuted invasion & occupation of Iraq. Will this be different? I hope you’re right. Accountability is good. But I am not optimistic.

  • Oldskool

    If “he isn’t crazy”, why is he still a Republican? All seriousness aside, all those adjectives that describe that guy are contradictory. Example, if “he’s in a safe seat” he has no incentive to act like an elder statesman. And I’m pretty sure the term “level-headed conservative” is an oxymoron, similar to “level-headed jihadist”.

  • rbottoms

    The GOP has become the party of economic hostage taking and terrorism.

  • rbottoms

    There will be no better outcome then that they are crushed politically and driven out of polite discourse.

  • Kingofthenet

    You don’t see MASSIVE protests in Europe, over ‘Capital Gain Rates’ being too High, or Taxes in General. You see protests, when Government’s cut services. They seem to be OK with the High taxes, as long as they get the Social Programs. I don’t think we spend too much on Social Programs at least(Dept.of Defense is another story) but we tax too little. I like a Basic Govt. Safety Net, makes me feel I will always have someone who cares.

  • bdtex

    It’s very likely that the final bill will need Dem votes in the House to pass.

  • Oldskool

    I meant to echo an earlier comment. Since it’s doa in the Senate, this thread was mostly pointless. What does it matter if it gets any votes at all?

  • PracticalGirl

    Let’s see…Somebody “level headed” says he’s not going to vote for a plan proposed by his own caucus leader, even though the CLEAR indications are disaster for the US economy. Somebody with a safe seat. Somebody whose “no” vote (and influence of others, I assume) sends us into default.

    Sounds like a true partisan hack executing a plan to force President Obama (once again) to be the only grown-up protecting American interests. It also proves the point: This is NOT a crisis that can be attributed to Tea Party mania only. The Party Of No is pulling each and every string here, and they’re counting on YOU, moderate Republicans, to put all the blame on the Tea Partiers without ever withholding your vote from GOPer establishment. Guess what? They all suck, and their governance is borderline criminal.

    The more this thing drags on the more I’m convinced that the GOP strategy is to tank the country to gain political control. If they succeed, though, they’ll be charged with putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. And since they can’t forward think, all good Republicans should call their representatives to remind them of this fact. Something tells me they want to own the tactic but not the fall out or solution….

  • rbottoms

    The Party Of No is pulling each and every string here, and they’re counting on YOU, moderate Republicans, to put all the blame on the Tea Partiers without ever withholding your vote from GOPer establishment.

    There is no such thing as a moderate Republican.

    There are the lunatics and the ones willing to benefit from the votes of the lunatics.

    That’s it.

    If you vote for a Republican, pro-choice, pro-gay and actually knows a black person, you are putting the gun nut, anti-abortion, anti-science, racist teabagger asshole in office too.

    They can’t exist without each other.

    So you kid yourself so you can live with voting Republican.

    The GOP is the party of economic terror and hostage taking, Hezbollah in golf shoes.

    • PracticalGirl

      “Hezbollah in golf shoes.”

      The imagery is delicious.

      • anniemargret

        +1 to you both.

        Spot on. I always vote straight Democrat. The worst possible Democrat is still saner and more intelligent than a Republican any day. And I agree, rbottoms, that there are NO ‘moderate’ Republicans. The party doesn’t like the word. Too squishy for them. It would mean ‘conciliatory’ and they don’t do ‘conciliatory.’

        In short, Republicans are a bunch of whiny adolescents pretending to be adults. This country is in dire straits because of them. Because there isn’t a one who has been able to stem the radicals in their midst. They liked the radicals, wanted the radicals, used the radicals….and they’re stuck with them now.

        And I wish you were wrong, PracticalGirl, but suspect you are correct. This party has become so debased that they want this country to implode from within. They’ve courted corruption for so long, they they are completely corrupted inside and out.

  • Houndentenor

    You really think the Teapartiers aren’t about to wake up when their Social Security Checks don’t arrive on 8/3 and their doctor drops them because medicare hasn’t paid him?

    • PracticalGirl

      If it happens, the Tea Party lemmings will blame Obama, just like their leaders will tell them to.

      • drdredel

        unfortunately this is exactly right. If they’re too dumb not to see what’s going on NOW, they’re not going to brighten up any when their checks don’t arrive. They’ll just ask Rush what to think next, and he’ll let them know whose fault it is (and I promise that he won’t be pointing fingers at the GOP).

      • Xunzi Washington

        Practical Girl is entirely correct.

        I live deep in Tea Party land, I hear them talk. For 99% of them, all of the “facts” that people above seem to think will “seep in” at some point are nothing but fictions written by George Soros. Nothing penetrates at all.

        These people are not driven by “facts”. They have nut job conclusions they embrace, and if some “facts” don’t fit it – or reality – they will disregard those “facts” and that reality and turn on Rush, or Levin, or Beck, or someone who will reassure them that they are on the righteous path.

        You will not turn these people by arguments. No graphs, no reason, no reality will work here. There is only one option: you have to outnumber them at the polls and banish them to the extreme minority.

        • anniemargret

          What is utterly amazing as well, is that the majority of these TPs are ‘christian.’ (I deliberately put that in quotes as very few of them exhibit the loving kindness forgiveness peaceful nature that is true Christianity).

          And they don’t know the difference anymore between Lie and Truth. They pretend to follow the Prince the Peace, the Light, the bearer of Truth, but they really don’t. They give lip service to the quasi-political-religio-fascist movement that is today’s ‘christian’ conservative, and instead worship at the altar of Beck, Hannity, and El Rushbo.

          That means they have lost all moral bearings to reality. They are unmoored in uncharted waters. They could be shown the Truth in all its glory but will continue to deny it.

          You are correct…the only way to rid ourselves of this idiotic element in our society is to beat them at the polls.

    • Chris Balsz

      Social Security can’t pay for itself already? It requires borrowing to make good on its payments?

  • karsten.erzinger

    Wow, what a bunch of vile comments. Yes, it is ALL the Republicans fault. The nerve of them to want to reign in spending and not increase taxes, just awful. Get real guys. Can anyone tell me what Obama has proposed? Being specific? Nope, didnt think so. Was it the Republicans who spent a trillion bucks on stimulus that did nothing? Nope.

    That being said, the fault ultimately lies with both parties, not just Republicans. The reason there is a massive deficit is because government spends more than it takes in. How do you fix that? Oh I dont know, cut spending? No wait, raise taxes on all those damn rich people, even though the top 1% of earners pay almost 40% of all taxes and the top 10% pay 70% of all taxes. Yes, lets jack taxes up on those folks cause they obviously arent paying enough.

    But hey, dont let me keep you from demonizing the one party that at least has a proposition on the table (unlike the other party), cause like some of you keep saying, they are treasonous bastards who simply want to stay on the golf course.

    One other fun fact; President Obama added more to the deficit in 1 year than Bush did in 8. However, notice how I’m not demonizing him or calling him a terrorist? As I said, both parties are at fault and its ultimately useless and counter-productive to sit there blaming every Republican who’s walked the face of the earth for this problem. Its people like some of you commenting who exasperate the problem by simply throwing vile accusations and ad-hominem across the aisle instead of looking for common ground. Ultimately, its people who run around screaming insults at opponents who are the real traitors, as they ultimately impede progress with baseless over-the-top rhetoric. In other words, grow up and stop insulting anyone that dares to have a viewpoint not in perfect alignment with your own.

    • Oldskool

      Not exactly in a nutshell, but those talking points that you and others like you keep repeating are why our credit rating will go down fairly soon. Too many members of Congress feel as if they have to appease people like you and your discredited theories of fiscal policy. So, backatcha.

    • Kingofthenet

      Well it isn’t the President’s ‘Job’ to write Legislation, but his opinions are well known, and he has indicated he support the Senates Plan.

    • Solo4114

      The fact that the GOP can’t even seem to come together enough to pass a lousy plan that barely achieves its OWN goals, and is now, itself, being held hostage by lunatic fringe members belies your statements.

      It’s the GOP’s fault. It’s the GOP’s fault for refusing to budge on any compromises. It’s the GOP’s fault for allying with the Tea Party. And now it’s the GOP’s fault for refusing to break ranks and get a goddamn deal passed when we are basically out of time.

      Even if one accepts your premise that most of the spending is the fault of Obama and the Dems — which rather ignores the cumulative effect of the Bush tax cuts, the failure on Bush’s watch to effectively regulate Wall St., the costs imposed by Medicare Part D, and not one but TWO wars of foreign adventure — even if one plugs their ears and shuts their eyes to these factors and ONLY pays attention to any spending that happened on Obama’s watch….it’s still the GOP’s fault.

      Why? Simple. They refuse to accept political reality and are acting contrary to it.

      Political reality is this: we have divided government. The Dems control the Presidency and the Senate. The GOP controls the House. And, at least as of about 7pm Eastern time, I’d say we have to use “control” VERY loosely.

      They gambled. They tried to force certain things through with the budget moving forward, and they took the otherwise separate issue of the debt ceiling vote hostage in order to do so.

      And you know what? For the most part, they won! Imagine that! They got the Dems to agree — at least to some extent — to cut a whole mess of spending. But — and here’s where political reality comes along — they refused to compromise AT ALL on the issue of revenues. Even if tax increases on the wealthy weren’t allowed, they even refused to allow the closing of loopholes — tax GIVEAWAYS for the wealthy. Oh, and they wanted a Balanced Budget Amendment too. In doing so, they basically closed their eyes to political reality and the fact that they alone cannot dictate policy in divided government. Nobody can. There has to be give and take, a.k.a. “compromise.”

      Well, the GOP of today doesn’t DO “compromise.” Apparently they don’t even do it among themselves! And this is why we are where we are right now, with four days left to get a bill through the House and the Senate and signed into law by the President, and — as of right this second, we have no bill. The proposal we DO have is one that the Dems have said they won’t agree to. And yet, the GOP is still doing show-votes on it. Like I said, reality deniers, and like I said, it’s their fault.

      • Chris Balsz

        Either the CCB bill is so bad, that not raising the debt limit is preferrable;

        or

        Not raising the debt limit is so bad, that passing the CCB bill is preferrable.

        The CCB bill raises the debt limit.

      • karsten.erzinger

        If I left you with the impression that I was laying blame with Obama, I apologize. Not my intent; my intent was to callout some (in my opinion) irresponsible over-spending on his part, in order to support my point that both parties have contributed to the current financial situation.

        You can continue (and I feel most of you will) to demonize Republicans and call them all sorts of awful names, and you know what, they can do the same to you. However, where does that get us? Nowhere. Lose the mindset that Republicans are out to destroy the country, that they are out to screw everyone over, and see them for what they are; people who merely have a different opinion than your own.

        • karsten.erzinger

          Given the amount of money Obama has spent through in his time in office so far, I dont blame Republicans for wanting to attach some strings to a debt limit increase. That is why we have this crisis, might I add; because the Republicans dont want to just increase the debt limit and move along; they want to reign in, what they think is irresponsible spending. Perfectly rational in my humble opinion.

        • Elvis Elvisberg

          Respectfully, karsten.erzinger, people have been lying to you about the causes of the deficit.

          See this chart (Bush spending causing our current deficit: $7 trillion. Obama spending: $1.4 trillion): http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/jamesfallows/assets_c/2011/07/debt_chart_wh_0-58731.php

          See also this chart, explaining where spending has gone of late: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_VgJQTp0Bsf0/TbXiFKpobBI/AAAAAAAAAfo/0eVTJ_mKHM4/safetynet_spend.jpg (vast bulk of spending increase since 2007 has been automatic stabilizers, not new programs).

          See also this chart, showing the long-term contributors to the debt (much more Bush-era initiatives than Obama-era): http://www.cbpp.org/images/cms//5-10-11bud-f1.jpg

        • Bagok

          I know! $282 billion in new tax cuts was totally irresponsible, right? Doesn’t seem like we got much bang for the buck there. And the auto bailout, oh wait, that’s been largely paid back. Hmm, ACA? No, that hasn’t cost much so far.

          I wonder how the Bush tax cuts, and their extension by Obama, contribute to our deficit. And the two wars in the Middle East? I wonder how much of Obama’s deficits are for things he had to pay for up front, before he started tacking on his own agenda?

          It’s not as simple as “blame it on the new guy”. It took us decades to get where we are. The last thing we should do is screw the economy up trying to fix the budget mess. But we can and will fix it.

          Thanks for posting! Lots of smart people here who love a good argument.

    • sparse

      karsten.erzinger-

      “Can anyone tell me what Obama has proposed? Being specific? Nope, didnt think so.”
      well, john boehner could tell you. because the two of them were deep into negotiating the specifics of a compromise when boehner walked out, twice. thing is, until there is an agreement, there is no point in “writing it down.” ask boehner when his proposal fails if it was worth everyone’s time to write it down. had boehner stuck with the negotiation, there would be a written agreement with obama for all to see.

      “Yes, it is ALL the Republicans fault. The nerve of them to want to reign in spending and not increase taxes, just awful.” when one party controls (barely) one third of the law-writing process, and creates a crisis by demanding something unprecedented and frankly out of step with what most people want (see the polls) it does become their fault if, in failing, they threaten the livelihoods of tens of millions.

      “Was it the Republicans who spent a trillion bucks on stimulus that did nothing? Nope.”

      but they happily spent a trillion on wars that did nothing. and the stimulus did do something, but because the republicans forced it to be smaller, it did less than we needed and we have an anemic recovery. had it been full-sized, we would be in a far better position now with our deficits.

      “That being said, the fault ultimately lies with both parties, not just Republicans. The reason there is a massive deficit is because government spends more than it takes in.”

      the last sentence is a tautology. corrected, it could have read: the reason there is a massive deficit is because of the massive recession. gdp has cratered, and tax revenues have also cratered. had the republicans not squandered a budget surplus, we might have had enough in savings to do the stimulus the country needed without having to cut spending or raise taxes. but that did not happen. so now both of the other things need to happen.

      “How do you fix that? Oh I dont know, cut spending? No wait, raise taxes on all those damn rich people, even though the top 1% of earners pay almost 40% of all taxes and the top 10% pay 70% of all taxes. Yes, lets jack taxes up on those folks cause they obviously arent paying enough.”

      tax rates on the wealthier among us are well below historic averages.

      “One other fun fact; President Obama added more to the deficit in 1 year than Bush did in 8.”

      yeah, you should look at this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24sun4.html?_r=1

      “However, notice how I’m not demonizing him or calling him a terrorist?”

      congratulations, and thanks.

      “…Ultimately, its people who run around screaming insults at opponents who are the real traitors, as they ultimately impede progress with baseless over-the-top rhetoric.”

      oops, i may have congratulated you too soon.

      but seriously, there has been a long-running conversation on this site that the tea-party faction in the house was holding the american economy hostage with the debt-limit deal. from that flowed extended metaphors of shooting the hostage, of cutting off fingers and ears. none of it was meant to imply that all republicans are terrorists, but it was, and is a useful metaphor that perhaps you walked into late and mistook for a literal.

      the comments of arvan and kingofthenet (who appears to be a loon) are vile and i share your view that they are not part of responsible political discourse, and i hope you noticed that they received no support here.

      • karsten.erzinger

        A thoughtful reply, thank you.

        I’ll take you up on a few points. First, wars that did nothing. This is a big issue in itself, one that I do not want to delve into at this moment, but let me say this: those wars were in response to a direct attack and had the full support of the people at the time (Most Democrats and Republicans supported both). They werent managed nor run as well as they should have been, and perhaps could have been planned a little better (though war plans are in itself useless, as they go out the window the second boots are on the ground). However, they were in response to perceived threats and very justified. If Bush sat on his thumbs during that time, he would be reviled far more so than he might be today.

        You argue that the stimulus would have worked better if more had been spent? Come on, thats just lunacy. The idea that you can spend your way out of a recession is just bunk, hence the financial woes of many countries who tried to do just that after the financial crash. I can link dozens upon dozens of articles highlighting wasteful useless things that stimulus dollars paid for. It added a lot to the deficit in a very short period of time with dubious results. The latest unemployment figures prove that.

        I take issue with this as well:
        “the reason there is a massive deficit is because of the massive recession. gdp has cratered, and tax revenues have also cratered. had the republicans not squandered a budget surplus, we might have had enough in savings to do the stimulus the country needed without having to cut spending or raise taxes.”

        Heres the thing, government has steadily increased over the years. As revenues go up, spending goes up, so on and so forth, so this kind of situation is inevitable in a sense because its only a matter of time before growth gets stunted or hiccups. Thats why, if you keep government spending static, or limit its growth in relation to tax revenue, you have less to worry about come recession time. The government takes in a lot of money, a lot. Its insane to think that it needs to receive more when there is so much waste that could be cut.

        Those rates for “rich” people might be at historic lows, but thats beside the point. When the top 10% provide 75% of all tax revenue, that is extremely unfair (regardless how much one may loathe those that are well off).

        I understand metaphors, I just found many comments to be way over the top and just unneccesary. I dont feel too encouraged to post when people are consistently calling people like myself “idiots” and other nasty names for merely holding contradictory views. Who wants to engage in discourse with people like that? Anyhow, my view is that there can be a lot of spending cuts before we need to look at raising taxes, though I’m not against closing some loopholes. I just see articles consistently that scare the crap out of me in regards to the deficit and debt, then I look at Obama who jacks up spending for his first 2 years in office and think to myself “this cant be good”. My mindset is if you’re in a recession, you should probably cut spending, not increase it. However, thats just me, and apparently I’m a minority on this site :P

        • sparse

          awesome, i’d like to return the compliment on the quality of your post.

          if you are still on this thread, i would like to continue the debate.

          the wars…i recall nobody objected to the invasion of afghanistan. only the most hardcore peaceniks even raised a feeble argument. so when i say the wars did nothing, i really mean that the iraq war did nothing, except distract us from doing what it took a long time to do in afghanistan.

          “You argue that the stimulus would have worked better if more had been spent? Come on, thats just lunacy. The idea that you can spend your way out of a recession is just bunk”

          no, it’s not bunk. it is actually the dominant opinion of the majority of economists, and has been at the very least a major strain of thought since the great depression (flavors come and go, but keynes has been a mainstay). no doubt you can point to wasteful government spending in the stimulus. but the idea is that even the most egregiously wasteful stuff stimulates the economy and gives it the energy to keep up. like endurance athletes, when they begin to feel a little tired, eat concentrated carb packets to keep their energy levels up. if you eat them when you are not exercising, you just get fat. if you eat them when exercising, you are able to exercise longer, and burn off more calories than the carb packet had. that’s stimulus. yes, it adds to deficits, but an accelerating economy quickly overtakes it.

          yes, the countries that tried stimulus after the crash have had woes. but remember, it was the worst crash since the great depression. and sweden, with its stimulus is doing far better than we are, and we are doing far better than britain, ireland, greece, spain etc. where the response was austerity.

          the latest unemployment figures don’t prove anything. that’s the sad part. even what i just said doesn’t prove anything, because there are too many variables. but if your news sources don’t teach you to at least respect the idea of keynesian thinking, then you are at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding the complex field of data before us.

          “Heres the thing, government has steadily increased over the years.”

          as has the size of our population, the size of our economy and the complexity and interconnectedness of our world. thirty years ago, a collapse in the real estate market of las vegas would have had zero bearing on my life. today, it has had very real consequences.

          “As revenues go up, spending goes up, so on and so forth, so this kind of situation is inevitable in a sense because its only a matter of time before growth gets stunted or hiccups. Thats why, if you keep government spending static, or limit its growth in relation to tax revenue, you have less to worry about come recession time.”

          i think you make my point for me. during the bush years, spending went up while revenue went down. that’s the problem. if you hear liberals being mad these days, it is often because republicans call for austerity until they get elected, then they spend like crazy. and they cut taxes to unsustainable levels. they take all the shock absorbers out of the system, and when democrats finally retake the white house, there is so much to clean up, it takes forever just to get back to normal. and republicans blame them for taking the responsible path.

          “Those rates for “rich” people might be at historic lows, but thats beside the point. When the top 10% provide 75% of all tax revenue, that is extremely unfair (regardless how much one may loathe those that are well off).”

          a)your figures are for income tax figures and do not include payroll taxes, which would be a more fair approach. i do not have those figures either, but just making allowances for that might help you see the fuller picture.

          b)this was the first figure from a not obviously partisan source i could find for what percentage of the wealth the top ten percent of americans control. the answer? 83% as of 2007. it’s worse now. http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

          all that aside, i’d like to see the system changed so that everyone felt like they contributed to the country.

          ” then I look at Obama who jacks up spending for his first 2 years in office and think to myself “this cant be good”. My mindset is if you’re in a recession, you should probably cut spending, not increase it. However, thats just me, and apparently I’m a minority on this site :P

          yes, you are a minority. it is interesting how many liberals are attracted to the site, my guess is that they are so relieved to find a conservative (frum) who mostly makes sense and is really honest instead of ideological. too bad tempers are running hot these days, i think people are generally less indiscriminately name-calling than this past bit. also, i think conservatives tend to be challenged by some of the things frum says and feel more comfortable elsewhere.

          as far as your instinct to cut spending in a recession, i would encourage you to look more closely into keynesian economic theory. it instructs exactly the other response, and may be right and may be wrong, but it most certainly is not bunk.

  • Chris Balsz

    Or, nothing gets done, the President starts making funding cuts, Social Security and the military are paid, payments on the national debt are honored, the market dives and recovers in a month, anything bad is blamed on Republicans and a Senate Majority Leader who isn’t up for re-election til 2016, and everything good is credited to Obama standing firm. The budget comes up and Boehner has no tactical leverage, with half his caucus hating him for a wimp, and the other half eager to punt to 2013.

    Only I won’t live to see it, because arvan is going to get me.

  • armstp

    As I said a couple of weeks ago, there is going to be no agreement.

    There are not enough votes for anything.

    There are enough GOP members that want us to go over a cliff or believe that we will not go over a cliff.

    I just hope my stock portfolio does not take three years to recover again.

  • Oldskool

    Mike Pence sounds like the “level-headed conservative” in question.

    Asked about evolution several years ago he said, “”Um… I, do I believe in evolution? Ah, I, I, ah… I embrace the, uh — the, uh — the view, ah, that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that’s in them…”

    Someone’s level is out of plumb.

  • Kingofthenet

    Hold STRONG, Tea Party Patriots! Victory is near, I can smell it, Do NOT RAISE the Debt. Ceiling! It is so Courageous of you to Steadfastly accepting the Scorn of the American public for flushing it’s Financial system down the toilet. KEEP THE FAITH!….A Democrat

  • talkradiosucks.com

    Henceforth, the “Tea Party Patriots” should be renamed the “Tea Party Terrorists”. Because that’s exactly what they are. There’s nothing patriotic about destroying the country out of pique.

  • armstp

    David Frum,

    I have got the strategy that you need to take back the GOP. I think it is the only strategy that will work to get rid of the Tea Party.

    You and like minded conservatives need to get together with all the conservative corporate money, which I get a sense is not really happy about the Tea Party (beyond Koch and other extremists) and form your own group (Rove and all his money would likely join). You then need to whip Tea Party members in line or get rid of them entirely by threatening to primary them or work for their defeat in the general. You need to fight fire with fire.

  • zephae

    @sparse and solo:

    First, a link: http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/24/why-political-polarization-has-gone-wild/

    While I remain hopeful that the 2012 elections will sort this thing out against the TEA party, I have serious doubts about it actually happening. The main reason I doubt it is because of the success these loons had on the state level and the redistricting that ensued (as it always does for political parties). Perhaps there will be some rallying towards more centrist Republicans, but TEA party supporters are all-in and they have given themselves the ability to effectively rig elections in their favor by gerrymandering. Plus, it seems like so many on the right have really bought in to their powerful echo chamber, that they can’t distance themselves from TEA partiers enough to regain the ability to define their party and maintain enough support to win primaries. I hope I am wrong on every account here, and I am an eternal optimist, but for me, the outlook doesn’t look too good.

    • Chris Balsz

      You may be poised to pick up all 19 GOP seats in CA. As I understand the new “open primary” initiative that passed last year, the general election will be between the two candidates who received the most votes in the primary. So in a district with where two republicans challenge the republican incumbent, and two democrats run in the primary election, if no republican gets more votes than one of the democrats, no republican will be on the November ballot.

  • Rossg

    There are 2 problems here. The first is to address obligations already in the pipeline. This needs to be taken care of NOW!

    The second is to look at revenues and outlays, and figure out how to get them closer together. No sense in discussing a balanced budget, yet, or running a surplus.

    Congress needs to settle #1, then go to work on #2. We can’t tie them together and hope for a good outcome. These matters just can’t march down the aisle together.

  • Bagok

    I wonder how the Republicans are going to play it when the Senate kills this bill an hour after Boehner finally gets it past. All that effort, all that ass kissing and whipping. Gone just like that. They’ll probably have a couple of hours to call Dems obstructionists, right up until the Senate kicks a compromise back to the House.

  • PatrickQuint

    sparse: “none of it was meant to imply that all republicans are terrorists, but it was, and is a useful metaphor that perhaps you walked into late and mistook for a literal.”

    Yes, some of it is meant to imply that all Republicans are terrorists. For example, the following comment.

    rbottoms: “There is no such thing as a moderate Republican.

    The GOP is the party of economic terror and hostage taking, Hezbollah in golf shoes.”

    armstp: “David Frum,
    You and like minded conservatives need to get together with all the conservative corporate money, which I get a sense is not really happy about the Tea Party (beyond Koch and other extremists) and form your own group (Rove and all his money would likely join). You then need to whip Tea Party members in line or get rid of them entirely by threatening to primary them or work for their defeat in the general. You need to fight fire with fire.”

    Agreed. Incidentally, Romney is getting money with which to fight Bachmann.

    However, it looks to be too little too late to prevent another recession because the people who claim to be trying to avoid a default (which is the whole point of fiscal discipline) are driving the country toward default at the earliest opportunity. And this is quite honestly the earliest opportunity.

    As a side note, Obama seems a little too willing to cave in to Republican demands. That, and work to continue every Republican (re: Bush) policy he can find. Then there’s his signature, the ACA… which was of course a Republican idea. These tendencies lead me to believe that Obama is a Republican in a poor disguise. This simultaneously gives me hope for what the Republican party could be (was) and leaves me bemused at how well-loved he is by so many leftists.

    • Solo4114

      In fairness, I think there are two sides to the comments here. First, they are factually accurate at the moment. There does not, as of the present, seem to be any moderate Republicans left in elected positions, with the possible exceptions of the two Senators from Maine. For the most part, everyone else is simply a lock-step-partisan and the unfortunate fact is that to maintain party unity, they now have to march with the Tea Party or risk breaking ranks.

      It’s also accurate that the Tea Party guys are basically like terrorists. They make demands, and they make threats, but they don’t make compromises. You do it their way, or they execute the hostage, and they always make sure to take so high-value a target that you kind of HAVE to deal with them.

      This, however, does not mean that anyone who self-identifies as a Republican is automatically a Tea Party terrorist or a self-serving partisan. Quite the contrary. There ARE moderate Republicans out there, they’re just either not currently voting Republican or they aren’t running for office. Until the GOP moderates get up off their asses and decide to start running “challenges from the center,” and I mean vigorous challenges, the GOP as an elected party will likely remain made up of either self-serving partisans or extremist lunatics. But that doesn’t mean that ALL Republicans for now and all time are and/or will be terrorist loonies.

      • karsten.erzinger

        Terrorists, right, because they’ve gone around blowing things up and killing people…..uh huh, must have missed that on the news.

    • rbottoms

      I also call them big gaping assholes.

      Now there’s an image to make you want to wash your eyes with bleach.

    • wileedog

      “These tendencies lead me to believe that Obama is a Republican in a poor disguise.”

      As Sullivan said, Obama is probably the best Republican president since Clinton.

      • Solo4114

        After the 2008 election, I remember much commentary in conservative circles intended to mollify their sense of utter defeat, and the phrase that kept popping up was “Well, we’re still definitely a ‘center-right’ country.” I remember rolling my eyes at that. In retrospect, that was a bit shortsighted of me…

      • karsten.erzinger

        John McCain is acting fairly out of step with the party, would he meet your criteria of a moderate on this?

  • anniemargret

    There are no moderates in the GOP. Here’s why. Whenever a squeeky mini-voice from the party speaks against the more extremist elements, they have to do an immediate mea culpa, and then call El Rushbo, kneel at his feet and then kiss his ring…then do contrition by going on Fox and saying the exact opposite of what they had previously said.

    No. Moderates. The few of them (what, 4 or 5?) have No. Voice. None. Zip.

    So of what use are the few remaining weak ‘moderates?’

    The GOP decided to go completely to the Dark Side after Obama appeared to look like he was going to be President. Their rabid hate for this man, their suspicion that he might represent ‘minorities’ made their heads blow up. I am convinced there is a deep strain of virulent hatred for minorities within the GOP. The cooler saner heads cannot contain that hatred.

    So there are those of us out here witnessing this degradation of the GOP with a sense of immense frustration and anger. It is not becoming that they have, virtually become a party of domestic ‘terrorists,’ not caring a whit for the general welfare of this country, or the minimal regard for our nation’s future.

    • Chris Balsz

      “I am convinced there is a deep strain of virulent hatred for minorities within the GOP. The cooler saner heads cannot contain that hatred.”

      And how cleverly and evilly we mask it by showing respect for Clarence Thomas, and Thomas Sowell, and Condoleeza Rice and Allen West and Marc Rubio and Charles Payne.

      We didn’t like Bill Clinton either, and for the same reasons.

    • Solo4114

      No (or at least VERY few) moderates TODAY, yes. That, however, need not be an absolute for-all-eternity statement. The GOP will shift and change over time as all political parties do. Part of that will come as the inevitable result of a shifting and changing electorate. Alternatively, the “GOP” will dissolve and a new party will arise, although I think in the modern age of “branding” the name will stay the same but the nature of the party itself will change. “Same old can, great new taste!” The GOP will likely remain the haven for “conservatives” but the meaning of “conservatives” and what “conservatives” in America believe will change in time.

    • karsten.erzinger

    • karsten.erzinger

      What complete and utter garbage. Hey, question – which party opposed de-segregation again? Was it the Democrats? NOPE. Nice try though, dont let the facts keep you from flinging BS.

  • karsten.erzinger

    http://www.cafetax.com/2010/09/20/bush-vs-obama-spending-the-truth/

    Interesting numbers here. Until the financial crash, Bush was reigning in the deficit. Interesting stuff to look at however.