Might We Not Want a GOP Congress Come November?

This post from Digby makes me wonder: is the only thing stopping Obama from getting his desired Grand Compromise of cutting social programs in order to reduce the deficit the GOP’s refusal to raise taxes?  If so, might we not want the GOP to hold onto Congress this November?

Things you think about at midnight.


  1. PhilPerspective September 7, 2012 at 12:40 am | #

    Problem is we’ll still get a shitty deal with Orange Julius in control of The Gavel.

  2. jonc September 7, 2012 at 9:12 am | #

    If you’re having such thoughts at midnight, go have a glass of wine or two.

  3. Josh K-sky September 7, 2012 at 10:24 am | #

    Relax! Fortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it.

  4. brahmsky September 7, 2012 at 10:33 am | #

    You were great on UP W/CH the other day, btw! I like this post better than yesterday’s. Though of course I’m not about to vote R for anything, it’s an amusing/scary thought-provoking notion you circulate here.

  5. rstolz September 7, 2012 at 11:08 am | #

    I remember thinking ‘Jesus, what a terrible thing to lay on someone with a head full of acid.’ –Raoul Duke

  6. zenner41 September 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm | #

    What I think about at midnight, and the rest of the day for that matter, is that the economic and political system is outside anyone’s control at this point — yes, even the Koch Brothers, and certainly out of the control of the ordinary folks, the proletariat, like us. If taxes are raised, the money will be spent on the wrong things, and if taxes are lowered, the money will be taken out of the wrong things. We’re headed for a real train wreck, and about all we can do is watch it approaching.

    People are complaining that neither Obama nor Romney are giving many “specifics about what they would do.” That’s because neither camp has the slightest bloomin’ idea what they’re going to do, in my considered opinion. What came out of the 1928 crash was not foreseeable at all before it happened, and the same is true now.

  7. jonnybutter2@gmail.com September 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm | #

    The traditional American MO is the ‘Be God’s Own Drunk’ strategy (in fact, that is a decent way to rephrase the whole conservative approach to the problem of government). There are so many moving parts to our ‘system’ (read ‘rube goldberg’) that it’s not simple to know what to hope for alarmingly often. Maybe we’ll luck out this time and the fever will pass.

  8. Mitchell Freedman September 8, 2012 at 12:29 am | #

    As we saw in 2005, there is a better chance to protect Social Security and Medicare with a Democratic Party led Congress and a Republican President. The hard question, though, for this election year 2012, at least for thoughtful Americans, is this: we know that on macroeconomics and civil liberties, there is a dime’s worth, but not more, of difference between Romney and Obama. Where they are substantively different is with respect to Supreme Court nominees and women’s health and reproductive issues. Both sets of issues are important. However, the decline of the middle class affects lots of women, children and men. And it is sad to see our nation in decline over the decades since Ronald Wilson Reagan (Mr. 666) became president.

    One gets tired of voting for increasingly evil “lesser evils.” I won’t blame people who vote for Obama for Supreme Court and women’s issues. Let’s not blame those who vote for Jill Stein because they had enough of the Property Party, though I would advise those in swing states to vote Obama because of those other issues, and hope a Democratic Party congress can be pushed by constituents to push back against an Obama Grand Bargain.

  9. Jeremy September 8, 2012 at 12:44 am | #

    Maybe I’m just a perpetual optimist, but I think that while Obama’s talked the centrist pundit line on entitlement reform, he hasn’t really accomplished anything on that front. Actions speak louder than words. What he has done is gotten Obamacare passed, which, for all its many weaknesses, did extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by (I think) 12 years, and reduced the projected 75 year shortfall by two thirds. That may knock some of the wind out of the sails of the entitlement reform crowd when it comes time for some tough negotiating.

    I was just watching Ed Rendell on the Colbert Report, and the first example from his book about how we’re a nation of wusses was that the Democrats need to stand up to their base and face the fact that life expectancy has increased by sixteen years during the life of Medicare. I haven’t heard Obama sounding quite like that. So I’m hopeful that he’s not actually prepared to make the Republicans an offer they’ll accept. And that if he doesn’t need the Republicans, he may find other priorities more pressing. And if he does make it eight years without Medicare benefit cuts, and more time left in the Trust Fund than when he got into office, that’s probably as much as we can hope for from anyone.

    • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm | #

      Tend to agree on President Obama and entitlement reform. Maybe the same way Harry Reid is officially “pro-life”, but… funny, for all his legislative skill he never made anything happen on that. Uphill on HCR and bank regs, he’ll shank you in the coatroom for a vote. Never cast a _meaningful_ vote against women or their autonomy, though. Last 4 years I see a (D) party that fought some big fights and won them, while getting rolled on Senate procedure and small and/or universal shit (ie, national security state, a big one. THAT at least is still bipartisan. Voters don’t care much in partisan terms, so we plod ahead.) Much to loathe, but I like my Democratic Party better than ever. And yes, education reform is a disaster. At least we are alive and swinging, for once.

  10. David Littleboy September 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm | #

    I continue to think you are dead wrong on this.

    First, civil liberties: equal pay for equal work, DREAM act, and gay marriage aren’t civil liberties? Sorry, but to say that the difference between Dems and Repugs on civil liberties is small is insane. And I didn’t even mention vaginal probes.

    Second, macroeconomics. Obama inherited a situation where the financial system really was in freefall collapse. It got fixed, we didn’t all die. Sure, the bankers (and waterboarders) didn’t get prosecuted, but there were other things that needed to be done (and Joe Libermann (whose wife is in the pocket of the insurance industry) needed to break a philibuster). Sure, when interest rates are low, you borrow like crazy and fix/build up your public works and public education system. The idea that Obama doesn’t understand that is, I think, silly. As I’ve said, the CEA blokes get this. The lip service to not leaving the next generation in debt is simply necessary politically now, and with the Repugs blocking everything anyway, there’s no way to get such policies through congress, anyway. This election is going to get decided by a tiny fraction of the electorate, of whom we aren’t a part. Unless, of course, we’re to stupid to get out and vote for Obama.

    Look at Obamacare. Lots of lefties dismiss it out of hand because it isn’t perfect. But it fixes the worst of the problems (“preexisting condition” is a phrase that occurs in no other country on the planet, and doesn’t in the US anymore, either) and makes some superb starts at reality-based approaches to getting medical costs (and quality*) under control in this country.

    *: Medical malpractice kills more people than automobiles and workplace accidents combined,

    So I think that the idea that “Dems want to cut social programs” is simply wrong.

    Sorry about the rudeness above. I hope you’ll let it through, because I think in needs to be said.

    • jonc September 9, 2012 at 8:05 am | #

      >>”…he idea that ‘Dems want to cut social programs’ is simply wrong.”

      Yep. If we’re gonna keep them, we need to think about how we are going to pay for them. Thinking those thoughts doesn’t mean cutting anything, it’s just being responsible.

      As for the election, consider what would have happened for the last two years if this had been Bush’s third term. Or, what a court packed with Scalia clones would do.

      Republicans are the bad guys here.

      • jonnybutter September 9, 2012 at 8:52 am | #

        but to say that the difference between Dems and Repugs on civil liberties is small is insane.

        Neither CR’s nor Digby’s post is about civil liberties.

        But if you want to talk about that, I would put it this way: the difference between the two parties in this respect is a difference in degree rather than in kind. That doesn’t mean there is no difference. But again, civil liberties are not mentioned here.

        This post is about something very specific, namely that gridlock might save us from Clinton-esque neoliberal cuts in social programs.

    • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm | #

      Amen. Justice would have been to prosecute at least a few dozen criminals, but financial system was in freefall. Fed. Chair Krugman would have been (A) never confirmed, and (B) even if confirmed, markets would have panicked worse. Devil’s bargain, but if you care about the hostage at all there aren’t many options. Ideological sociopaths definitely have an edge here.

  11. David Littleboy September 9, 2012 at 9:18 am | #

    “Neither CR’s nor Digby’s post is about civil liberties.”

    FWIW, I was responding to

    “we know that on macroeconomics and civil liberties, there is a dime’s worth, but not more, of difference between Romney and Obama.”

    Which very much was about civil liberties.

    But if you insist on talking about “saving us from Clinton-esque neoliberal cuts in social programs”, then I will still call you dead wrong. To the best I can tell, Clinton and Obama were/are working to build the safety net to be as good as possible within the constraints of current political reality. I don’t get the whole Clinton/Obama are bad guys thing. As before rude: I can’t see that as anything other than stupid. The Repugs are the bad guys here, and Clinton and Obama have done worlds of reality-based good. FEMA was revered everywhere as _the_ right way to do emergency response under Clinton. Rather a different story under Bush. Obamacare will save tens of thousands of lives (some of the stuff in PPACA probably would have prevented two of the best hospitals in Boston from working together to provide horrifically incompetent care that killed my father; the PP bit is really really important). We’re the reality-based good guys here, who really do care about the country/citizenry.

    • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm | #

      Clinton’s rightward tack post ’94 pissed me off then, more now to see what it wrought. Wall Street dereg, more children in poverty (disclosure: friends with Stan Greenberg’s kids, but really Dick Morris? That’s not personal, that was just offensive. Mr. Morris has spent almost 20 years proving me right.) Sort of threw the Party under the bus to save himself, built up huge political capital but never spent it. That said, “Secretary of ‘Splainin’ things.”

      Caring about the country, the nation, about people who aren’t you and might not even be much like you isn’t something to be ashamed of, dammit.

  12. David Littleboy September 9, 2012 at 9:47 am | #

    “the Democrats need to stand up to their base and face the fact that life expectancy has increased by sixteen years during the life of Medicare.”

    FWIW, the US has the lowest ratio of retirees to working folks of the industrialized countries, and will continue to foreever. We’ll still be better off in that respect 50 years from now than Japan is today. (Italy and Germany (!!!) are the other two disasters in this area. France has been quite successful at getting their birth rate up.)

    Also, while life expectancy has gone up more like 12 than 16 years since Medicare was created (we’ve been getting roughly 1/4 year increased life expectancy per year for the last 100 years), life expectancy at 65 has only been going up at about 1/2 half that rate. (Although life expectancy at 65 is much older than life expectancy at birth.)

    So the we could easily provide affordable health care to our elderly if we wanted to. (I’m a US citizen residing in Japan, FWIW.)

    IMHO, Medicare’s main problem is the insane cost of health care in the US: we pay 3 times Japan’s per capita costs for health care, for worse results. (But it’s not that simple, of course.)

    • Donna Gratehouse (@DonnaDiva) September 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | #

      With 7 billion people already straining the planet’s resources the notion that birthrates anywhere need to be increased is simply appalling. Assuming continued technological and productivity advances, fewer and fewer workers will be needed to produce everything humans need, including old age health care. A low birthrate is a good thing – fewer people competing for resources and higher wages. There’s no need to panic about not enough workers to wipe butts in nursing homes. You’ll just have to face the horrifying prospect of paying them a good enough salary to be willing to work in them.

      • David Littleboy September 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm | #

        There isn’t anything appaling about making life better for women. Ever, anywhere.

        My impression and understanding is that most women, everywhere, want children, want to control when and how many kids they have, and pretty much always want a number of children that wouldn’t be a problem from a population standpoint. Societies in which large numbers of kids are the norm aren’t what the women in those societies would want if the economies weren’t basketcases.

        Japan, Italy, and Germany have birth rates that are well below the replacement rate. France was going to be in that situation, but they instituted aggressive policies to support women who want to have kids: day care that works, financial assistance, real efforts at making workplaces supportive of women and the like. But these countries getting their birthrates up to roughly replacement levels will have no impact whatsoever on world population.

        Not only is there nothing wrong with industrialized countries trying to make life better for their women, increasing birth rates closer to replacement won’t have any effect on world population. Melinda Gates, on the other hand, is working on actually doing something about the population problem.

  13. jonnybutter September 9, 2012 at 11:14 am | #

    I think we’re talking about different things. I believe the contention here is that the dems and the repubs are not nearly different enough in terms of constitutional rights. Do I prefer the dems to the GOP in this regard? Of course. Does that invalidate the previous contention? No.

    To the best I can tell, Clinton and Obama were/are working to build the safety net to be as good as possible within the constraints of current political reality.

    And the counterpoint is this is that Clinton and Obama and the Democratic Party in general share responsibility for the current ‘political constraints’ being what they are. There are only two major parties in the US, and the Dems are one of them!

    • David Littleboy September 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm | #

      “I believe the contention here is that the dems and the repubs are not nearly different enough in terms of constitutional rights.”

      Uh, are you from some alternate universe or something? Forget Roe v. Wade, the Repugs are all gung ho about a constitutional ammendment declaring a fertilized egg a human. That’s heavy duty insane. Repugs have been attacking constitutional rights since I was a child, and that was before the 60s. The Repug view of what the US is is the complete antithesis of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The problem isn’t constitutional rights, it’s that the Repugs want a new constitution that has none of that in it. (And failing that, they’ll let Scalia and friends rule that the constitution means exactly what they want it to mean, no more, no less.)

      “Clinton and Obama and the Democratic Party in general share responsibility for the current ‘political constraints’ being what they are.”

      As you should have guessed by now, I strongly disagree with that, as well. The bully pulpit is horrifically weak. (There’ve been some serious poli sci types pointing this out recently.)
      _You_ (well, we) are the one(s) responsible for the current ‘political constraints’. If you aren’t out there working to persuade people of how important these things are (and I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page on the issues), then Obama can’t do squat. Blaming Obama is cheap crap. Dunno where you’ve been, but why weren’t we coming up with more energy than the idiot Tea Party? Letting Scott Brown get Kennedy’s seat was horrific. Even the frigging unions supported Brown (although they’ve figured out that they blew it). Even if it’s only calling out defeatist crap on political blogs, do something productive, for crying out loud. If you want Bushies prosecuted for war crimes, you have to get out there and move the conversation.

      The hilarious thing in all this is that the Repugs are so much smarter than holier-than-thou liberals: they know that Obama would be perfectly happy being a full-tilt socialist; that he’d prefer government-run single-payer to trying to regulate the insurance industry. But holier-than-thou liberals think Obama likes the stupid mandate better than single payer. But holier-than-thou liberals would rather let tens of millions go without insurance, let tens of thousands die, just to be holy and untainted by an approach that lets the insurance companies keep playing?

      I suppose this holier-than-thou liberal bit an obnoxious straw man, but I strongly object to any claim that says there’s a similarity (or lack of distance) between the Repugs and the Democrats. One of the first elections I could vote in was Tsongas vs. Brooke. I thought it important to have at least one African American in the Senate, and was loathe to vote against Brooke. Despite Brooke’s being about as good a guy as a Repug can be, on every issue, Tsongas was worlds better. Now there are some obnoxious Democrats. But they’re few and far between.

      Prof. Robin: Yell if this is too off the wall, too rude, too trollish.

      • Donna Gratehouse (@DonnaDiva) September 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm | #

        “Dunno where you’ve been, but why weren’t we coming up with more energy than the idiot Tea Party?”

        That “energy” is simply an explosion of white entitlement and hostility toward a black President, which was either orchestrated from the beginning by or completely co-opted by billionaires (Americans for Prosperity et al) and turned into a sophisticated propaganda and recruitment operation. You want something from the left that parallels that? Find some rich liberals to fund rallies with chartered buses to bring folks in. Also, they need to own a bunch of radio stations and have extensive contacts in the MSM so that every time 100 of our teabagger equivalents show up somewhere every TV station is covering it.

        I mean, if it’s not fair to claim that President Obama and Democrats in Congress could have done things that weren’t really possible it’s equally unfair to claim that liberals are simply too lazy to create their own movement that rivals the Tea Party.

      • BillCinSD September 11, 2012 at 12:19 am | #

        Sensible centrists such as yourself never see how they contribute to the problems, they just add to the hippie punching. For instance, one of the political constraints currently of import is the cratering of the economy in 2008. This was in part caused by the policies devised by passed during the Clinton administration. Of course President Obama was not a national politician during this time, but did hire nearly all his economic team from those in the Clinton administration or their proteges. This is one reason why the stimulus could not do more than stop the bleeding, it was too small and had far too much tax cutting.

        I am out there trying to convince people and change my local Democratic party, but can’t get any traction because if they followed my ideas they would get significant cuts in their funding from the national party. So please don’t lecture me about that crap, because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        How you get President Obama would be happy being a full tilt socialist is beyond me. But Republican-lite centrists do tend to agree with Republicans that anything to their left is socialism — well they agree with republicans on many issues.

        Having dealt with far too many people like you, I realize you will misunderstand these comments, but I’m still out there trying to convince people — I usually have much better luck with Republicans than centrist Dems because the Republicans where I liove aren’t yet dominated by Tea Partiers

        • David Littleboy September 11, 2012 at 12:47 am | #

          “This was in part caused by the policies devised by passed during the Clinton administration.”

          No, it wasn’t. This is a right-wing talking point lie. Regulations were dismantled under Bush, and rapacious morgage lenders plus unregulated financial games crashed the economy. Nothing to do with Clinton’s attempt to make home ownership more possible for more people. (Fannie and Freddie jumped into the subprime game very late, long after most of the damage had been done, and always had a much lower ratio of bad loans than the banks.)

          And punching hippies is a good thing when the hippies are being silly.

    • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm | #

      Someone has to agree with you. I happen to.

  14. jonnybutter September 9, 2012 at 11:51 am | #

    Also, I don’t think CR’s question is necessarily rhetorical. It’s something you think about at midnight!

  15. jonnybutter September 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm | #


    If they said there was no difference between the two possible outcomes for president in Nov., I would be objecting right along with you. But they didn’t.

  16. jonnybutter September 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm | #

    I can’t speak for CR, but I am not offended at all. Not too rude. I just want a better argument. I don’t have time at the moment to wade into your long comment above, but I will say that the idea that the Democratic party shares no responsibility for the last 30+ years of politics is laughable. If the dems are so powerless, why are they even a party? Your comment about the bully pulpit proves my point, not yours; it’s not a misuse of said pulpit that’s the problem here.

    • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm | #

      Rush Limbaugh has the bully pulpit now, this isn’t 1934. We don’t have Murroughs and Cronkites anymore, the incentive structure privileges lying both-sides-are-equal hacks instead. As for my lame ass (D) Party, curious where you get better progressive public policy from. (Sad reality, but it is reality.) Medicare and Medicaid, brought to you by that horrible fascist fraud, LBJ. Show me a better way and sell me on it. I know this is very disappointing and slow and compromised, but sell me on a better plan. I am open to that, just never saw one that actually accomplished anything. Show me that, and I’m in. ‘Til then, I’m a Democrat.

  17. Mitchell Freedman September 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm | #

    It seems David Littleboy has no concern about the NAFTA, the WTO, the endless trade deals including the one Obama pushed (with Republicans) with Columbia, which leads the world in killing labor leaders for the past two decades. Obama did nothing for labor union development, which is the key cornerstone for vitalizing the middle class.

    David Littleboy is a classic cultural liberal who can’t understand why we who are New Deal Democrats feel consistently betrayed by the Clintons and Obamas. Yes, women’s issues are a civil liberty. But the renditions, the treatment of Bradley Manning, the drone attacks around the world, the maintenance of the Bush-Cheney militarism in so many ways, that should be considered highly significant when one speaks of civil liberties.

    Business loves the DREAM Act as they love to exploit illegal immigrants, the better to hold down native workers’ wages. Business likes gay marriage as they get to sell to more married couples. Business likes women’s rights since the male leaders want their mistresses to have access to abortions.

    Obama still keeps Giethner around and relies upon the bankster to advise him on every economic issue. He pushed to keep Bernanke–Bernanke!–at the Fed.

    What Corey was wondering is how the irony of politics theory works, where perhaps the Democratic Congress stands up to Romney’s attempt to privatize Social Security and nothing changes, compared to Obama’s Grand Bargain to cut Social Security benefits and Medicare, and especially Medicaid, gives enough Dems cover to side with Republicans to have that occur.

    And if you don’t think the Bully Pulpit works, why did it work for FDR when unions were on their backs before the NLRB of 1935? Why did Obama get his bounce after a few speeches where lots of people were watching sports and Honey Boo Boo, too? It works, and it works pretty damned well.

    I am not saying vote for a third party in any swing state, and definitely not saying vote for Romney under any circumstances. I’m just saying, if we’re in CA or Oklahoma, maybe it’s a good idea to say, forget the Property Party and its two wings, Democratic and Republican, and vote for a third party. It might be interesting to vote one’s conscience. It’s not holier than thou, just something we ought to try to do every once in awhile. It might also kick start a movement that needs moving forward. Passively accepting worse and worse lesser evils really isn’t working out that well..

    • sandeep September 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm | #

      Well said. Liberalism has been on the defensive ever since it abandoned economic populism. In addition to the intellectual folly of prizing culture over economics, I’m skeptical whether social liberalism + economic neoliberalism will ever be the basis for a sustainable majority coalition. New Deal policies thrived for as long as they did because they materially benefited non-elites, whether they were white farmers or black industrial workers. The recent deregulatory/free trade frenzy has not produced such widely shared benefits.

      And I do not mean to suggest that progressives should ignore cultural issues or adopt more conservative positions on them. Rather, it’s a question of emphasis: economics and class must occupy center stage in a revived progressive movement.

      • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm | #

        Bully Pulpit? Really? I’d refer you to Scott Lemiuex, he of the “Green Lantern Theory” of presidential politics.

        Also, I take it as a given that Mitt Romney would be better on civil liberties? We are assuming that, aren’t we? Perhaps Dr. Ron Paul would speak to your interests better.

        Oh, it is a bad reality for civil liberties. No joke. But to imagine that this as Obama Administration thing is just childish. We are looking at 70 years of it. You’d be shocked to hear the things FDR did.

      • BillCinSD September 11, 2012 at 12:27 am | #

        this is to Ben Hosen

        Scott Lemieux is pretty much a dumbass in this and quite a few other areas. His conception of what presidential speechmaking is about is so narrow that it would never show any results in the short term, and then can’t pick up the longer term changes and other effects. But it is easier to reify this narrow view than the larger views, so Scott tends to stick to others’ research that examines the narrow view. he also tends to misinterpret views that disagree with him and substitutes his own straw for these other views, but that is true of many people.

  18. Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm | #

    No. We don’t. They get to vote on treaties and judges, not just on a stillborn deal on entitlements that might have been a bluff anyway. Declining influence of labor in the (D) party is alarming, but the ferocity of _anti_labor energy on the Right more so.

    Wish it weren’t so, but the center of gravity in the US has shifted waaaaay Right over the last 45 years. Don’t want to see polling on whether torture is “ever” justified, whether Gitmo should be closed (Bernie Sanders said no, btw),

    A lot of it is the takeover in large part of the Judiciary and the media, but in large part? It isn’t Obama or Pelosi or Reid selling us out, it is half the damn country. More, if the RW media Wurlitzer kicks in. Jesus, when W. accidentally did something decent by proposing immigration reform a junkie sex tourist blew up the train.

    At present we are in crisis- I honestly think a Romney Presidency with pliant Congress will be just about the end of this experiment, truly- and we need to fight a big and important _inside_ game now. (White House, 2 USSC seats. Senate. House. Statehouses too, easy to buy.) But we also need an outside game; we need a more engaged and aware nation in the long term. Let us work towards that without handing people like Paul Ryan power, ever.

    “Betty Himmler Eyes” scares me.

    President Obama pisses me off 25% of the time, but I’ll take 75% when I can get it. I don’t miss Dick, Ford, Carter, Bonzo, etc. terribly right now.

    • jonnybutter September 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm | #

      They get to vote on treaties and judges, not just on a stillborn deal on entitlements that might have been a bluff anyway. Declining influence of labor in the (D) party is alarming, but the ferocity of _anti_labor energy on the Right more so.

      Unless the dems (assuming they retain control of the Senate) change the Senate rules, or win over 60 seats, most everything’s going to be obstructed anyway.

      I am just as appalled as you are and won’t be voting for any Republicans. But CR has a point.

      • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm | #

        Half-point. Even Reid, that Senate-lovin’ [REDACTED FOR HORRIBLE OBSCENITY] Mormon dude is up for filibuster reform.

        We all know that if (R)s take the Senate 51-49, the Filibuster is done.

  19. David Littleboy September 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm | #

    Hey, Ben, stop doing my homework, you’re making me feel guilty.

    Well, I was going to say something really rude about “Business likes women’s rights since the male leaders want their mistresses to have access to abortions.” But then Cory really would have to ban me.

    FWIW, here’s Tom Hayden (yes, that TH) on this:

    • jonnybutter September 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm | #

      DL: re Tom Hayden; is anyone saying that a Romney presidency would be better than an Obama one? It makes no sense to disagree with CR over something he didn’t say.

      BH: I’ll believe it (the dems changing the Senate rules) when I see it. Anything’s possible!

      • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | #

        No one here, and I didn’t mean to make any of you straw men. But yes, I do hear that from the fringe. Many Occupy people seem to be invested in that idea. Hopefully my small sample is way off, ’cause it isn’t helping anything.

      • David Littleboy September 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm | #

        Yes, I’ve been careless in whom I’ve been responding to, and in responding with generalities that drift the topic. Oops. But the idea that there’s anything wrong with Obama policies in general, and anything wrong in particular that a Repugnant Senate would ameliorate is, IMHO, untenable. We’re right, they’re wrong. On.Every.Single.Issue.

    • Ben Hosen September 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm | #

      Robert Parry keeps saying the same thing. I should note that I- liberal Democrat from New Haven, CT- have been amazed over the last decade how hard Harry Reid has fought for shit that matters to me. Strange bedfellows (?Pro life Mormon from Nevada?), but in the school of hard knocks and reality and policy he’s been worth 1,000 Kuciniches at least. Draw your own conclusions about our political reality; at this point I am just glad to have at least one knife fighter watching my back 75% of the time. I miss Speaker Pelosi, too. Unlikely allies, but they’re good. I want them back, and I doubt that (D) majorities would do the things that CR fears. He’s right to fear those things, though.

      • David Littleboy September 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm | #

        “liberal Democrat from New Haven, CT”

        ROFL. That officially describes me, too: my voting address is still 21 Edgewood Ave. If you saw a couple of weirdos juggling around Yale and NH from 1982 to 1986, one of them was me. (The 30 years before that, I lived in Boston, and the 25 after, Tokyo.)

        “He’s right to fear those things, though.”

        Hmm. I disagree. I think Digby is over-analyzing. They rhetoric that Digby is reacting to is, I think, intended to emphasize that the Repugs are giving the rich a break at the expense of the middle class, to say “The Repugs will cut benefits to give the rich a break; we won’t do that.” I don’t think it was intended to be a weasil about benefits. In real life, the PPACA effectively increases Medicaid and Medicare benefits, and Obama fought for that. Medicaid and Medicare (but not Social Security) are in danger of financial problems somewhat down the road, and Obama does want to deal with that. But I think that sensible, reality-based (science-based) policies can get our medical costs down closer to the industrialized country average than we’re at now.

  20. Mitchell Freedman September 11, 2012 at 1:38 am | #

    It seems that neither David nor Ben understand the irony theory of politics, i.e. Nixon goes to China, Clinton pushes NAFTA and welfare reform, and Obama embraces Romneycare–while Romney rejects his own plan. The dynamic if Romney tried to undermine Social Security and Medicare is that the Dems, as they did with Bush II in 2005, will be more united and will have no cover from a Democratic Party president, unlike when Obama does his Grand Bargain. That’s how more Dems vote for trade deals under Democratic Party presidents than under Republican ones.

    I also don’t get why they think Digby is overreacting to what Biden and Clinton actually said, and what Obama is saying when he says he’ll do the same deal with the Republicans he tried to do before–the ones the Tea Party folks upended in their madness, even though it went further to undermine the entitlement programs than any Democratic Party president should have ever dared to do.

    Notwithstanding the above, I would still counsel people in swing states to support Obama and pray that we can stop his Grand Bargain. Romney is worse on women’s issues and Supreme Court nominations. In CA and places like Oklahoma, where the election is essentially decided for Obama or Romney, why not step out–after checking polls in the last few weeks before the election–and vote for a third party, just to see if there are enough people willing to step outside the Property Party’s two wings, known as Democratic and Republican Parties.

    • David Littleboy September 11, 2012 at 1:57 am | #

      “Nixon goes to China”

      Nixon going to China wasn’t ironic at all, it was very much birds of a feather thing: both were oppressive totalitarian democracy-hating schmucks. Sort of like the Lieberman/Cheney “debate”; it was the chummiest conversation any two human males have ever had in human history. It was at that instant that I realized that Al Gore wasn’t very smart.

      But I digress. Again.

      • Mitchell Freedman September 11, 2012 at 2:17 am | #

        David, your argument is ahistorical. Nixon was the guy who was one of the leaders in the Republican Party who said we should not talk to Red China and those that did, well he’d say “some say” they are Reds too, but not Nixon…The usual Nixon insinuation of saying something while denying you are saying what you are saying…

        When Nixon went to China, it was certainly a shock to his supporters, as well as conservative leaders such as Bill Buckley and Barry Goldwater.

        Also, to answer an earlier point either you or Ben made, let’s remember that if Gore took office as president–meaning the US Supremes did not overrule the Florida Supremes and the recount started to count overvotes–Gore would probably have saved us from 9/11, but we’d have gone into Iraq just the same. It was not only Lieberman who was Gore’s VP. It was his advisers including Marty Peretz and Jim Woolsey and other neo-cons. Gore was not a liberal on foreign policy until after he grew the beard and gained some weight…:-)

        • David Littleboy September 11, 2012 at 3:25 am | #

          My explanation of Nixon’s going to China is certainly consistent with his love of repressive, anti-democratic regimes, e.g. Pinochet. It’s quite historically reasonable in that sense (the US was on the wrong (anti-democratic) side of everything that was going on in those days) and makes more sense than anything I’ve seen anyone else saying. It does have the problem that Repugs don’t understand how anti-democratic they are, though.

          Agreed on the Gore probably preventing 9/11 bit. Without 9/11 and a president determined to avenge Hussein’s insults against his father (there’s lots of Freudian fodder in there), though, I’d think the neocons would have had a harder time. Still, M. Albreit was almost as crazy as GWB over Hussein: she was here in Tokyo toward the end of the Clinton admin, and when someone asked here about Hussein, she went off on a childish rant (“He’s a liar and a cheat”, not world-class diplomat level language I thought) that was devoid of reason, thought, or logic.

          Speaking of Al Gore, he gets my vote as the most tragic figure in modern American politics. Not for the SCOTUS denying him the election, but because he really did create the internet (with the legislation that moved it from an academic toy to a public resource) and got slaughtered for saying that simple truth.

      • Ben Hosen September 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm | #

        The “Nixon to China” thing gets overstated. Begin and Sharon did the decent but hard thing exactly once themselves, but were both crooked authoritarian bastards much like RMN every other moment of their lives.

        Jesus, I know a lot of Lefties are pissed at the President, but I just don’t catch that vibe from him. I didn’t expect him to _be_ Jesus either, but some people apparently did— not the people (“you people”) I am conversing with, but they are out there.

        I know libertarian types furious because Obama “didn’t even talk about healthcare” in 2008 and it was a “sneaky socialist surprise”*, and I know many more people angry because he promised to end the war in Afghanistan and didn’t.

        How am I supposed to convince THEM to act in any remotely positive way? Not a rhetorical question. A very serious and urgent one.

        *Huh, that one Yale educated. Shocked I am.

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