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AdLib On July - 14 - 2011

Thanks to KQuark’s suggestion, this is an ongoing thread covering the latest updates and opinions from our members on the GOP manufactured crisis of raising (or not raising) the debt ceiling and the deficit cutting negotiations related to it.

To kick off the thread, here is a newly expanded piece based on a POV I posted yesterday on this situation:

Wall Street and The Kochs have again created a Frankenstein in the Tea Party. They can’t control them and have no direct influence over them…since they financed their elections through astroturf groups that are masquerading as populist.

Coming out and saying, “Okay, it was all a fraud, The Tea Party was all a fraud, it was our money and planning behind it. Now that you know that, you owe us for buying your election so stop believing in all the teabagger bullshit we’ve hammered into you for years and vote to raise the goddam debt ceiling!”

Instead, the rubes have taken over the circus and Wall Street is struggling and panicking at not being able to get them to follow their demands like good little Republicans always do.

This was a predicted eventuality by some folks here back in 2010, that giving the Tea Party extremists power in a GOP controlled house would be the very thing that ends up taking all of their power away. As a concept, sure people may at the very least relate to the “Stop the spending madness!” message of the Tea Party, even if they didn’t buy into the racist attacks on Obama and the dishonest blaming of it solely on the Dems currently in office.

However, once the general rants of “We want our country back!” are replaced with having actual power and having to make specific decisions, the true nature of these people is exposed and their single-mindedness and ignorance to facts and realities are no longer affirming but threatening.

Imagine sitting next to someone on a plane ranting about how badly the airline is operating and how badly the plane is being flown. Even though he blames it on the fact that the pilot is black, one may otherwise agree with his dissatisfaction with this flight on this airline. Now, imagine that enough people in the plane agree and vote for him to right these wrongs by having him piloting the plane instead. Even though he has no understanding of how things works, even though he doesn’t know or want to know the facts about how planes fly, on his popularity alone for railing against the current pilot, he is put into the pilot’s seat.

And the first thing he does is steer right towards the face of a mountain and threaten that if all of the changes he wants on the plane aren’t done exactly as he wants, he will crash the plane into the mountain and take out everyone on it.

And some of the changes he wants includes removing the Left wing and selling off the landing gear to another corporation, all while assuring the other passengers they have nothing to worry about because these changes will keep them safe, make the flight better and anyway, the theory of gravity is just a theory which he doesn’t believe in anyway (he believes in Supply Side Aerodynamics, meaning, the more altitude you lose, the higher you’ll end up flying because the altitude you gave up eventually trickles back down to your plane).

As long as he was just another passenger, howling complaints that even some reasonable people could identify with, he was not vulnerable to being exposed as a nut. Once he got his hands on the plane’s controls though, the lunacy and threat many overlooked before becomes strikingly clear and he and his like can then be disposed of by popular opinion.

This same scenario happened before with the Moral Majority, the previous incarnation of the Tea Party. They too were the ones who were supposed to be the pandered-to activist puppets to help Wall Street and the GOP but they too took over the show…and eventually led the GOP to disarray and defeat.

Add to this what seems to be a political miscalculation by the Tea Party and Repub leadership that Obama would cave on the debt ceiling to whatever they stood immovable on. They played this as the overconfident fools that they are. Simply because Obama compromised in the past, they ignorantly concluded he always will. For example, when Obama saved all those unemployed families from being cut off without money for presents, rent or food at Xmas, as a trade off for agreeing to the Bush Tax Cut extension. Many Purists conveniently forget the blackmail aspect of this though, the GOP put a gun to the head of over 3 million families and to protect them in that instance, Obama paid the ransom.

That didn’t make him weak, it made him principled and that’s what the Republicans just didn’t understand. They were threatening to harm millions of people, he couldn’t just stand by just to play politics and let them be harmed and was willing to take some punches himself to protect them. That was strength, not weakness but the reptile mind of the Republicans can’t recognize such things. To them, strong is hostile and uncompromising, weak is everything else.

What they failed to recognize is that their extortion couldn’t possibly work, not this time when it would destroy the nation’s future and go against all that Obama believes in. The simple fact that Republicans didn’t understand was that in the previous cases, there was a meaningful gain for Obama so he was willing to make a hard compromise.

This time, in a display of sheer ignorance and chutzpah, their refusal to give Obama ANYTHING, declaring that the only thing he wanted, revenues, were off the table,  meant that there was nothing for him to get in any agreement. While they chuckled confidently among themselves that Obama would fold again, they had no understanding as to why Obama or anyone compromises…to get something they want.

It is a pretty simple proposition. And if your genius idea is that you’ll get someone who’s compromised before, to compromise again simply because they have before…without there being any gain for them in doing so…you are truly dumb as a bag of hammers or a member of the GOP Congress…or both.

Apparently, they seemed to think that as President, he’d have to worry about the people and the American economy that would be harmed by not raising the debt ceiling, he had a duty to protect them and they didn’t… so that would be his gain.  Protecting America from Republicans destroying it. Really? Using the mindset of a melodrama villain is what passes for GOP strategy nowadays?


“Hand over the deed to the ranch or the train will run over the people of America who I’ve tied to the tracks! Ya-hah-hah! If you want to save their lives, sign the deed over to me now! [twirls mustache and hangs tea bags from his stovepipe hat].

And as for this brilliant 1960’s cartoon strategy of the GOP, it included holding Wall Street hostage along with all Americans…which doesn’t seem the most clever idea for a party beholden to Wall Street for the financing of their party and campaigns. If they were good strategists, they would’ve understood from the outset that Obama has no gain or motivation to give them all they want and get nothing he wants in return while this manufactured stand off will necessarily force them to eventually bow to their corporate masters’ wishes or severely damage their party. But no, they put all their chips down on the number 1, betting it all that their relentless propaganda that Obama was weak and always folds to their demands was true. Believing your own bullshit is always a big mistake.

Meanwhile, if forced to use the 14th Amendment, after putting so much on the table and showing how willing he was to make a deal, Obama will look like the adult and the responsible one working for all Americans while the Republicans look like spoiled brats who would cause the whole world crash and burn if they didn’t get everything they wanted (to serve less than half a percent of the population, the billionaires).

This game has been played by the Repubs with a brute force, single strategy of attrition. Meanwhile, Obama has been playing a well thought out strategic approach with numerous options and with a couple of secret weapons in his back pocket including the 14th Amendment and Wall Street’s eventual ordering Repubs to raise the ceiling.

Whatever happens, independent voters out there will not have legit grounds to say Obama did not try to compromise with Republicans or do what’s best for the country and the view of the Repubs is rivaling Rupert Murdoch’s with each passing day.

The Purists attack Obama again and again even though he keeps winning strategic victories over the GOP, here is a clear victory for him which is damaging the GOP and pushing it into a civil war (probably signalling the end of Boehner as leader). All of the tactics Obama used to enhance his strength and image and chop away at the Repubs were missed by the Purists who have such narrow vision and knee-jerk reactions to anything Obama does. By SAYING he was open to putting Medicare and SS cuts on the table, he gained an advantage in public opinion and over the Republicans without agreeing to any cuts. By SAYING he wanted a $4 trillion package including cuts and revenue, he gained again without agreeing to anything.

Each time Obama negotiates smartly to mess with the Republicans, the Purists go for the bait right alongside them. Not very bright folks at all, IMO. To be in a position of strength right now on this huge and dangerous issue is a victory already for Obama which makes the bash-Obama folks out there look just as bad as the GOP right now.

At this point, I have no idea how the Republicans get out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into. They hate government, want to starve it yet they want it to keep feeding themselves and their corporate bosses. The Republican Powers That Be whipped up the Tea Party to be a wild-eyed army of nihilists attacking the Democrats and Obama and they got what they wanted from them in 2010, control of the House and many state governments…but many of these crazed nihilists now control the voting of the GOP. Can they be bent to the will of Wall Street and the status quo Republicans, enough to pass something that raises the debt ceiling? I just don’t know and neither do the GOP leadership and Wall Street.

Will Obama step in under the 14th Amendment if no agreement is reached? I think so.

And in the aftermath, the Republicans looks like a party that is not fit or able to govern and has damaged their prospects for continuing to do so in 2012. They will have turned down a $4 trillion deficit reduction package Obama offered them, failed to get ANY deficit reduction passed, failed to raise the debt ceiling, failed to serve 80% of Americans who wanted a mix of revenues and cuts but succeeded in bringing America to the brink of economic destruction and energizing a civil war within their own party while antagonizing the Wall Street powers that put them in power in the first place.

And, despite all they campaigned on in 2010…they haven’t passed a single jobs-related bill, just political bills that haven’t and weren’t intended to create a single job or build up the economy.

That’s quite a package deal. And who the hell says Obama doesn’t know how to negotiate?

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

1,447 Responses so far.

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  1. texliberal says:

    Goodnight all. Headed to bed PROUDLY wearing my PAIN IN THE ASS tee shirt. Another round starts tomorrow.

  2. texliberal says:

    Smartest man I EVER knew was my first Field Training Officer, he told me, “Son, remember all human beings are human, nothing more and certainly nothing LESS.” He was god damned RIGHT. RIP Big John, RIP.

  3. texliberal says:

    One of my favorite scenes from The American President

    • whatsthatsound says:

      I think the problem is that people have found too MANY leaders. The internet, cable television, etc., have torn down the monolith of information that used to come from the three networks. That was the heyday of the modern president: when they could control the message through the outlets, first radio and then ABC, NBC and CBS. Sure, there were other voices to listen to, but they didn’t have a “bully pulpit”. Nowadays, they do. Rush has as many people who would follow him over a cliff as Obama does. Can you imagine how Ayn Rand would have fared if she were around NOW. Back then she was “only a novelist” and still people flocked around her. She’d be Oprah, Rush, Beck and Stewart combined if she were around today, in terms of influence.

      I’m gonna give myself nightmares if I think about that anymore!

      • texliberal says:

        WTS, you’re probably right. If I didn’t have three sons and five grandchildren I’d go for blowing the whole thing up and starting all over again. It’s gone that far.

        • choicelady says:

          but tex -- we are not in power, so blowing it up just gives an opening to those who ARE, the Baggers and their sycophants. Beware of your wishes.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Owch, tex! That’s pretty extreme. Things are crazy now, but I think we just need to adjust to some new realities. There is hope for humankind, but it isn’t in the places we’ve looked for it most recently.

          It isn’t in American “exceptionalism”. Twenty years from now, when China and India are the world’s two biggest economies, who is gonna believe THAT?

          It isn’t a technological panacea. Really, how can so many people still imagine that? Technology is probably our biggest problem now, or certainly up there. It won’t save us.

          It isn’t religion. That’s plain enough.

          It’s probably not aliens coming to rescue us. I mean, when can always HOPE, but….

          Frankly, I don’t know what it is. I just know I believe in it. If I didn’t, I’d be right there alongside a son-less, granchildren-less you. :)

    • Chernynkaya says:

      tex, that’s pretty grim. There is a big part of me that believes that. Who wouldn’t after Bush’s re-election and 2010? The only reason I don’t allow myself to lose all hope is the polling I’ve seen recently: it really seems to show that most of the public is regaining some sense. I have to believe that because I don’t want to live in a country that wants 2010 again. Or 2004. There really is another America and it came out in 2008, so I have to believe it will reappear in 2012.

      • texliberal says:

        Cher, keep the faith my friend. I do sometimes but the world in which I worked for thirty years has crippled me some.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          tex, I have often thought about how cops cope. Remember that novel years and years ago--I think it was the The Policeman’s Chorus or something? It was written by an ex-cop and showed the kind of horror they confront and that they see the worst of humanity on a daily basis. I remember thinking that cops are the people who run in the direction that the rest of us run away from. I give you an enormous amount of credit, not the least because as far as I can tell, you are probably LESS cynical than the average person about politics. And a really nice guy too! Listen, I once worked for a doctor when I was in my 20’s and he ran a personal injury practice--a scam basically. I learned that I was not cut out to deal with the public and my view of people plummeted just from that experience!

          • texliberal says:

            Cher, thanks. Best books on police work were written by Joseph Wambaugh, they include, The Onion Field, Blue Knight, Choir Boys and my favorite that was made into a movie, The New Centurions which explains my old world better than anything you’ll read or see.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Choir Boys! That’s the one. I’ve read all of those except the New Centurions--I’ll get that from the library now.

  4. texliberal says:

    AL, once again love ya but ya kinda remind me of a rookie I once trained. He was from Ames Iowa with an MA in Public Administration from Iowa State University . Our first call out of the box one night was a domestic. Still remember him asking this hooker if she was cohabitating with the perpetrator. I can’t clean her answer up enough to post it here. TRUE story. But the bottom line is communicate to people in jargon they can understand.

    • AdLib says:

      With all respect, that was a bit condescending, Tex.

      It is understandable that some folks are frustrated and disappointed in Obama and some of what’s transpired but IMO, coming to conclusions based on emotions is typically less reliable than facts or reason.

      So taking a position that those who don’t use negative feelings to come to conclusions are more naive than those who do is not very grounded.

      People can use their emotions to convince themselves of any conclusion that suits them but if one is seeking the truth of a situation and trying to extrapolate what will be, emotion is typically an unreliable guide.

      I would instead suggest that a more dispassionate approach is required and the use of a more objective basis, such as facts and history, is usually far more reliable and accurate.

  5. texliberal says:

    Cher, I agree with you if the economy gets worse, and it’s looking that way. Romney could win in 2012.

    • choicelady says:

      tex -- I’d fear a Romney or Huntsman but know that the power of the Dominionist Right Baggers will not let such people ascend to the top. This is their “McGovern” moment -- they DO control the outcome temporarily and will never allow a Mormon to thwart their desires to have the US become a Christian anti-government nation.

      If these were ordinary times with a regular GOP I’d worry, but it’s not. Even if primaries gave the edge to Romney, he’d be forced to take on Bachmann or Palin or some other extremist to pull the fundamentalist vote without which they’d calculate they could not win. And if they don’t have that, Obama is good even if disgruntled lefties don’t vote. It would be McCain all over again for the GOP and a narrower but significant vote for Obama. Obama’s win might INCREASE with Bachmann in second chair or, God forbid, first. But there is no way in hell I can see the GOP dissing it’s extreme right flank and being sensible. They cannot see that such a person on the ticket will be the cause of their defeat, even for Romney.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      No doubt, tex. And all Romney has to do is…nothing.

    • Khirad says:

      I’m praying just for some moderate improvement. It will really all hinge on that. Just a little better, and none of these candidates would have much of a chance -- it’s such a sorry bunch. If they win, it will only because they were “other”.

      In 2008 I could have never guessed Obama’s biggest problem would be economic, not foreign policy.

    • AdLib says:

      It’s possible but what are Romney’s solutions? The same as the Baggers whose views a majority opposes, the majority supports Obama’s policies.

      Yes, they could do as they did in 2010 and just vote against Obama to show how mad they are but I think the Bagger’s terrorism has taught them the error of their ways.

      • texliberal says:

        AL, love ya. especially your glass half full approach to Obama. But I agree with Cher, Romney doesn’t need solutions.

        • AdLib says:

          That’s just not historically supported.

          It’s true that Presidents with bad economies have lost elections but some have won as well, including FDR.

          And the opponents who have won haven’t done so by doing nothing nor by supporting policies the public opposes.

          I do think it will be close and a battle in 2012. Of course there is disappointment in many Dems right now and that can lead to a kind of defeatism about 2012 but precedent is a better predictor of how things will unfold in 2012.

  6. Chernynkaya says:

    A small peeve that struck me as I listened to President Obama’s statement today following the Senate vote on the debt deal. He repeatedly kept talking about “Washington made things worse” “That was in our hands” and “we in Washington” and he was condemning its self-inflicted crisis re: the debt ceiling and the FAA. “Both Parties share power in Washington and both Parties need to share responsibility.” Honestly, I had to watch it on YouTube before I was able to actually hear the more important points he was making because I was so shocked at those “we” statements. What is he doing? Is he trying to give voice to the popular but WRONG idea of a pox on both your houses? Does he actually believe that the Dems were equally to blame for this fiasco?! Because that’s sure what it sounded like to me. It’s one thing to rise above the fray and another to encourage false equivalence and to betray one’s Party.

    I don’t know why this -as I said- SMALL detail annoyed me so.

    • AdLib says:

      It seems clear to me to be a PR effort, for Obama to position himself as sympathetic to and aware of the public’s upset over all of this and move on from it.

      It is the truth that most Americans are unhappy with him over this (though they are more upset at Boehner and the Repubs). The CNN poll released today said:

      77% think elected officials behaved mostly like spoiled children in the Debt Ceiling deal.

      What is the best way for him to deal with that? I’m not 100% sure what the best way would be but I don’t know that Obama would look less like “a spoiled child” to the public by pointing his finger at The Repubs and accusing them of being the bad ones…even though it was true.

      I think Obama can probably be more effective in image repair by closing the book on this ugly incident that displeases everyone and influencing perceptions by his subsequent actions.

      My thought is that starting a conflict, a “he said, Baggers said” even though he’s been unfairly blamed, would only exacerbate negative feelings in the public towards him and the Baggers.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        From a PR standpoint you may be completely right. I for sure am not the typical voter nor an Indie. And I never understand what the majority of voters think or feel, so I know I can’t use myself as a touchstone on public opinion. The fact that 77% think that both sides behaved like spoiled children proves that I am totally out of touch with the majority of voters.

        That said,and acknowledging that I am probably wrong, I think even mildly stating the facts of the situation is a good policy. Just because most people think that both Parties are the same and that both behaved badly doesn’t mean that should be reinforced. Both Parties are NOT the same and it is demotivating to allow that idea to take hold.

        • AdLib says:

          Sometimes subtext is more effective and powerful than context.

          Obama’s stepping up and saying “we” portrays him as a far different person than McConnell saying, “I’m proud of what we did and we’ll do it again!”

          I think that the impression that’s left with the public is of Obama as reasonable and responsible and the Repubs as unapologetic and childish…which accomplishes the goal without perpetuating the conflict over the debt ceiling.

          • texliberal says:

            AL, you’ve got a much brighter view of the public than I do. Could be our backgrounds but if 323,000 more lose their jobs because of this legislation, and some pretty smart folks seem to think so, the public’s impression of Obama will take a huge nose dive. Subtext or no.

            • AdLib says:

              Tex, if 323k people lose their jobs due to a policy of budget cutting, they will choose to elect Romney who promises to slash budgets far more and not raise more revenue?

              These are not Obama’s policies, they are Repubs and Romney’s. Despite everything else, the public knows that.

              Do you really think, after their great disgust at having Repubs and Baggers hold the nation hostage, they’re anxious for a greater amount of that?

              The baggers have poisoned the GOP for indie voters, they now KNOW Repubs and Baggers are extremists and would slash far more if they could.

              That is not what the public wants. Even if it is as the better of two evils, Obama is in a strong position to be re-elected.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            AdLib, it all depends on the mood of the country and what voters value most. Polls do show that they want compromise, and Obama has fared better than anyone else in all this, although his numbers went down. I don’t know if voters even vote in accordance to what they say they like. There is another POV that voters like strong and wrong over weak and right when times are scary. It voters really do want compromise as they say, then this will play out well. But then again, they also say they like divided government. I can’t figure it out. All I know is how it plays with me, obviously.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              AdLib that gives me a lot of hope--that the Baggers will continue to set the agenda for whomever the Repubs nominate, and that the candidate will by necessity be forced to appeal to that small faction. Of course, candidates always talk purist before the primaries and then try to cover that up and appear moderate during the general. Let’s hope the TP holds the nominee’s feet to the fire and keep whomever it is on the crazy train. That’s our best bet. If Romney were smart, he’d divorce himself from them, but fortunately he’s really not.

            • AdLib says:

              Agreed, it does come down to whether voters are more motivated by their desire for a reasonable man of compromise in the WH or a “Decider” who supports what they oppose but is confident.

              I think the lesson of Bush and the 2010 election of Baggers into power will not be lost on the electorate.

              Especially considering that the Bagger House will continue to exhibit their terrorism and extremism up to the 2012 elections.

              Whatever the state of the economy, the Repubs aren’t in 2010, they now share responsibility for it after this deal and the budget deals.

              Romney is not an outsider or in the clear. He or whoever is the GOP nominee will be running intentionally with the Baggers around their necks and that is a key fact that can’t be taken for granted.

              Last I saw, the Baggers have a 30% approval rating, Boehner has around the same. The GOP takes most of the blame from the public on this debacle.

              It isn’t going to be pleasant running as a Republican in 2012 when it comes to indie voters. Obama has a clear advantage.

      • texliberal says:

        AL, politics as usual??????? I don’t think so. It’s what got us where we are now.

        • AdLib says:

          Nope, not politics, strategy. Not saying that Obama is following Sun Tzu type strategy but when you are not on favorable ground, you don’t dig in your heels.

          America is left with a huge distaste for this debt ceiling conflict. Even though it would be correcting misperceptions, Obama continuing to muck around in it by getting in a back and forth blame game with Repubs would be, IMO, a huge mistake.

          People’s feelings about Obama today do not matter. Their feelings about him tomorrow do. There is no way he can please a majority about his role in this no matter what he says so acknowledge the disgust, take a share of responsibility (he has made mistakes along the way) and move on to something that can make the public feel better about him.

          Like a jobs bill.

          • texliberal says:

            A jobs bill? Stimulus 2? If he’s gonna try it he’d better handle it better than HCR and the debt ceiling.

            • AdLib says:

              We’ve already discussed HCR, we disagree on that but as far as a new jobs bill is concerned, yes, he should coordinate closely with the Senate and get the bill up for a vote.

              The Baggers will never pass any bill to help America or jobs because they want Obama to fail but it would be good to lay out what he wants to accomplish if re-elected and with a Dem Congress.

    • jkkFL says:

      Cher, is it possible it was a mea culpa speech; in which he was stating he was aware how pissed the people are at everyone in DC, including himself?

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Jkk, that doesn’t sound right to me. Is that how you heard it? If so that is an interesting take on it. He did nothing to create this “Self-inflicted” crisis so why take the blame?

        • jkkFL says:

          Cher, step back and look at the whole picture.
          As many people blame Obama as those who blame the GOP. Perhaps more. Many people are unaware the debt ceiling has been raised 70 some odd times since the 70’s, because it was never an issue, it was just done..
          The GOP making a life or death issue out of it, made it seem it was Obama’s fault.
          Actually- it was very good politics. It scared the shit out of people, and not one person, (that I heard,) ever mentioned that Reagan raised it 17 times, dubya 9. It’s a simple case of win by omission.
          Obama is aware of the backlash, so he is now doing damage control because neither party chose to tell the whole story.

    • Khirad says:

      She said something to the effect that every time she hears the President on television talking about how “broken” Washington is, all she can think about is how “broken” he is because he is after all Washington.


      The problem with the optics of him saying that is that he is trying to cast himself as an outsider — when he’s President and is Washington.

      • jkkFL says:

        OR perhaps he was saying ‘I do not control the Congress, the Senate or the SCOTUS, therefore I am a part of Washington- but I am not Washington..??’

        • Chernynkaya says:

          He should have said that. But it still puts some blame on the Dems, unfairly.

          • jkkFL says:

            Again, it’s a case of the Dems falling for the hoax; and jumping in to fight a battle, not the war.
            My sister’s favorite sayings are: ‘Pick your battles’ and ‘Be careful what you pray for..’
            The Dems forgot both.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        I don’t think he’s broken but that quote is exactly what bothered me; that people will not buy that he is above it all. It just seemed wrong on a few levels.

        • Khirad says:

          Yeah, it was harsh. I don’t buy that he’s lost his base, and Andrew Sullivan followed up with others taking umbrage to this view as universal, but I thought however bleak, that nailed it as to how it looks to those for whom politics is background noise and who view all these battles from ‘afar’.

          Also, while not getting alarmist, we shouldn’t dismiss all these views as coming from inveterate Firebaggers, but figure out how to reach them, if possible.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      I agree. I think he needs to be hammering the Mice That Roared more. Their unreasonability has to be seen as THE issue here, because it was that, and only that. A manufactured crisis that prevented real work from getting done.

      In a way, it makes sense. Don’t go dissing the folks you have to go back to work with and make deals with. Except these guys aren’t going to budge anyway, so why not call them out?

      The Tea Party folks don’t belong on the Hill, and they need to be rightly pilloried as troublemakers and phonies.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Agree, whts. He just seemed to give away another great campaign issue--people really really hate the Baggers and he’s not capitalizing on that. Plus, even though I see the necessity of improving Medicare and cutting costs, to emphasize that totally loses our advantage over that issue when its been proven that reforming Medicare is a huge loser position. Honestly, the guy baffles me sometimes. And to be frank, frustrates me time and time again. Apparently, his plan goes way over my head.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Cher, I don’t think it’s that. Let’s just drop all the “he’s a master planner and strategist” stuff. I don’t think very much goes over YOUR head, mon ami. He has problems as a communicator, clearly, as I wrote to Khirad on another thread. When even someone as staunchly devoted to him and supportive of him as you have shown yourself to be numerous times, and admirably, confesses something like this, well,

          there’s a problem.

          As I said in my “splunge” piece, the only possible VERY good thing that I can see coming out of this deal, at least in the immediate future, is that it makes the Mice That Roared radioactive, to establishment Republicans, independents, EVERYbody but their most steadfast and willfully ignorant supporters. This was a good chance for the president to work on that message, and he blew it.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            whts--first, dammit, I touched something on my laptop and my reply went zip.

            Thanks for your kind words! But I have on occasion reacted to Obama only to realize later that he was right. But you bring up such a smart point: If someone like me has to struggle to see the wisdom, that means that to the inattentive the message is too muddled. Conversely, maybe the inattentive won’t analyze and either like Obama or not. Who the fuck knows anymore.

            I still have no real grasp of the debt deal--it’s so convoluted and gimmicky and therefore open to interpretation from each side.

            But that aside, I agree that the main thing is he should have used this opportunity to marginalize the TP. Not only because it would be good politically, but because it’s the freaking RIGHT THING TO DO.

            And I have to admit that as time goes by--especially after this last few months--I am basically a supporter by default. I was crushed by the way Obama handled this in dealing with the Repubs. I’m nit even sure I am so upset about the actual deal as I am with the process and the way Obama handled it. He kept drawing lines in the sand and once he convinced me of his rightness (for example the insistence on balance and fairness) he then retreated. Better if he’d said nothing maybe than to get me riled up in the righteousness of his position, only to have to lose it.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Exactly, Cher! Like I wrote in response to what Khirad posted, don’t SAY you’re going to make billionaires and oil companies pony up (he’s STILL saying that) unless you are going to, you know, DO that.
              As I’ve written before, Japan has a WAY bigger debt problem than the U.S. Their debt is actually larger than ours, while their economy is about a third of ours. Let that rattle around in your head for a bit. This was NO crisis; this was something the Tea Party WANTED. So, make them put up or shut up. Don’t give speeches saying that’s what you’re going to do. DO that.

        • texliberal says:

          Cher, or over HIS head.

    • texliberal says:

      Maybe he should run as an Independent in 2012. Think he was the nominee of a political party in 2008 and at times he seems to have forgotten that fact.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Wow, tex. That is such an outside the box idea! He’d win in an historic landslide if he did! I’m actually chuckling a bit because it’s such an outrageous idea that turns that whole “let’s primary Obama” nonsense on its ear. Well, he said he wanted to change Washington and I can’t think of a more shocking thing he could do. Talk about a game changer. He’s campaigning to the Independents anyway--why not? -LOL!

  7. agrippa says:

    Choicelady, I did not ‘drop out’. I stopped being involved in the ‘movement’ or the ‘left’ because of the arguments and feuds that, historically, have been common with the left. So many times, people lost sight of the the true opponent. I got tired of the infighting.
    I have been involved in volunteer charitable work. Of course, I had a career as well.

    Inertia does fit in with Conservatism; as well as deference and obedience and hierarchy. It is a pretty passive and pessimistic philosophy.

    • choicelady says:

      See? I knew you’d taken an enlightened path. I did the same. Most of the groups of privileged white guys was not worth much, and the clear and rational path was going a different way in pursuit of the same values.

      Good for you!

  8. ADONAI says:

    I know there are larger issues in the world but here are three things that piss me off more than anything:

    1.)Animal abuse. You are beneath contempt.

    2.)People who get offended by comedians. Get over yourself.

    3.)Beer commercials. No one drinks for the taste. So just shut up and give me my drug.


    My bad. Thought I was on Off Topic.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Fair enough. But, if this is the case, what the article states, would it be so hard for Obama to tone DOWN the rhetoric, so that it matches his actions? Less than three weeks ago he was insisting that any fair deal needed to include “people like me, who have done well”. Well, people like him are STILL doing well, and hardly losing any sleep over this deal.

      If you’re not going to end the Bush tax cuts, close Gitmo, insist on tax cuts as part of a deal, etc., don’t TELL people that you are going to do that! Seriously, a LOT of Obama’s problems with the “purists” are largely self created. If you can’t accept that, then somehow that means that he is somehow different from the vast sea of humanity, because EVERYBODY’s problems, or at least their people issues, are largely self created. Tangoing takes two.

      • Khirad says:

        I don’t necessarily endorse fully everything I post. I thought it was an interesting point, and you are correct too.

        I hope, similarly, that the Tea Party will fall victim to their own self-created unreal expectations, wherein getting 98% of what you wanted is still “betraying” your principles.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Forgive, Khirad, when I wrote “you”, I didn’t mean YOU you. I was speaking in a more general sense of those who write articles like this, and think that way.

          The Tea Party will fall, crumble, disintegrate. It’s inevitable. They are just PLAYING being Congresspersons. You could call this “beginner’s luck” in a sense. Drunk with the idea that such a small, inexperienced group could cause so much trouble. Anger is not a policy.

  9. choicelady says:

    An offside concern, AdLib -- your 9:54 CNN poll post keeps coming up with a warning pasted over it: Big red circle with an X and “THIS CONTENT CANNOT BE DISPLAYED IN A FRAME” AND “Open this contnet in a new window”.

    Yeah, right. Until you say it’s OK, I’m not openin’ nuttin!

    • AdLib says:

      Hey CL -- That looks like an issue on your browser, it works fine on my browser.

      What browser do you use and have you updated to the most recent version?

      • choicelady says:

        Most recent version? Who would know?

        I will just ignore it until it either goes away or I do! Glad it’s probably NOT a virus. Can’t trust anything these days…

        Thanks, AdLib!

  10. texliberal says:

    The apathy of the liberal/progressives was caused by:

    A) The Internet
    B) Cable Television
    C) Cheap Credit
    D) X-Box
    E) Happy Hour

    In NO particular order

  11. funksands says:

    Yes I know this whole disaster is the ultimately the Republican­’s fault.

    Yes I know that the administra­tion is to blame for not being prepared for the continued intransige­nce of GOP.

    Yes I know that Obama is to blame for buying into the whole “deficit and debt as priority” Bullshit, taking money out of the economy when times are weak.

    Yes I know that through ninja jedi tricks ultimately some analysts think that that Obama will end up getting a LOT of revenue out of this deal, giving the tea party next to nothing.

    None of this matters as much as one big issue and a continuing win for the GOP:

    Convincing the American public that government can do nothing, is helpless, incompeten­t, and broken. Every day the GOP sets out to break the government down piece by piece until eventually the perception of government incompeten­ce becomes reality.

    Even if ultimately we avoid a downgrade. Even if we improve job numbers. Even if it turns out that the President ate the GOP’s lunch in this bill, even if the economy starts roaring, they still won because now even LESS people than before have confidence in their government­’s ability to solve problems.

    Changing and altering this perception (and reality), I believe is the task that falls to liberals to tackle. Because we are the only ones that still believe that government is not simply for punishment, but can help all of us realize our full potential.

    • ADONAI says:

      I totally understand why some Democrats voted no on this bill. It was unnecessary and a farce. The debt limit should have been the main focus. Not attaching a thousand things to it.

      The President, I think, got a better than expected deal. Repubs wanted major cuts in SS and a plethora of bullshit social laws. Obama checked most of that out of the bill. And for that I applaud him.

      But there will be losers. As there always is. And I’m afraid, once again, it will be the poor and the lower middle class. So much time was spent balancing the cuts that the rich got away pretty much scott-free. But this is life in Washingotn.

      And I think that will disillusion a lot of people. But, following your train of thought, Dems need to keep at it. Show people that this is not the end of it. The main goal, to raise the debt ceiling, was accomplished.

      But this can’t happen again. Next raise is 2013, right? What if many of the Dems are right and the Repubs do this again? If Dems don’t wipe the floor with them in 2012 they very well could.

      Call their bluff. Boehner and Cantor were ready to end this a month ago. They talk tough but you could see it on their faces. If not for the goddamn Tea Party, who knows how this would have turned out. Take their ace in the hole away from them. They wanna do this again? Let them twist in the wind. Bullies will bully as long as you let them. One solid punch to the face ends it all.

    • choicelady says:

      With too many of the Left engaged in outrage rather than work, I wonder if we actually have the coherence to change the message? The polls indicate people like Obama and think he’s done his best relative to the House, but I don’t see the pundits helping out here, and the passive yet angry Left just whines rather than works. If writing letters to the editor is too much work, then you can just give it up -- and I have had people SAY it’s too much work. We need discipline and commitment, and I see too little of either.

      • funksands says:

        CL, why is it too much work? Are people inherently lazy? Or is there a deeper issue I’m not seeing clearly within the left and left-ish?

        • choicelady says:

          I find liberals and progressives to be no less self centered than baggers but with far less discipline. I could bore you with a long diatribe about privilege and narcissism, but suffice it to say we’ve been “out” so long we don’t know how to accept a win much less work for someting that is not a total victory or, worse, not OUR idea. We’d rather curse than light a single candle. For decades there has been a sharp divide between those for whom a “great conversation” is the highest form of activism, preferably based on the NY Times. There is a huge divide between those who see ideology as the issue and those who have a mission.

          That is why the first real upswelling of action has come, as usual, from labor in the streets. It always comes first from people who have skin in the game. Most of us don’t.

          Post-Vietnam, we are too much children of privilge, real or imagined or coveted. I don’t fully understand the angry passivity, but it is entirely clear that the Right has the fire in the belly and discipline we do not have as a body, the capacity (until now) to stay focused and coherent which we never do. Organizing progressives is like wrangling cats. We are remarkably capable of Lilliputian arguments over whether to open the egg at the big or little end and to go to war over our differences.

          Finding not only the Planet but several other blogs that focus on adult ideas and adult responses may be the only positive outcome of this mess. It gives me hope. I surely do know a large number of committed people, but I also see way too many who are not. The former need to grow, and the latter need to shut up and vote well.

          So off my soap box and back to work.

        • agrippa says:

          funksands, I do not have an answer to that. Leftist/leftish activism fell away not long after 1972. Civil Rights could be called a success, legally anyway. Nixon ended the Vietnam war and ended the draft. Labor and the activists kind of fell out. I think that all the air was let out of the balloon. The younger people had no burning issues to rally around.

          And conservatism is, at bottom, a very passive do little doctrine. In a way, it is very easy tobe a conservative.

          To be a liberal/leftist you have to believe in something called “progress”. And, work toward that. That is something that has been real hard to believe in.

          • funksands says:

            Agrippa, thanks for your reply. I’ve often thought that conservatism is culture of inertia. It is easier to be the immovable object rather than the irresistable force. It takes a tremendous amount of motivation and energy to create real change in a society.

            I think that motivation is lacking. I don’t think that battling agains the chipping away of the social safety nets provide enough impetus to prod the left-ish.

            The politically active are so because they each have a deep well of motivation they can draw on to sustain them through good times and bad, through the next fight and beyond.

            That is atypical.

          • choicelady says:

            agrippa -- I think that is true. Conservatives do have passionate goals, but the very nature of the belief is hierarchical and passive. Leaders lead and followers follow. That is the key to their success. They learn, partly due to religious ideology, to be sheep in service to the shepherd.

            Look how easily Hitler inspired a wide range of people. They were on the fringers or afraid of being so, and while he NEVER had a majority, those who followed were given easy tasks -- “be obedient, follow orders, and I will set you free.” Conservative movements always do this well.

            Yes -- being progressive means having new visions. But I’m already watching people snipe at each other over those because one person’s imaginative idea is another person’s idea of hell. WE tend NOT to cut one another slack because we believe OUR ideas are best and maybe the ONLY route to reform. We do not work and play well with others. We do not tolerate other people’s differences well -- even as WE are supposed to be the ones who embrace diversity!!!

            We need to grow up and embrace the wide range of ideas and possibilities, and we need to learn how government REALLY works instead of throwing temper tantrums over how it “ought” to work. Rage is not policy. It’s just an emotion. And that never gets us anywhere.

            • choicelady says:

              agrippa = since 1968???? But you are HERE on the Planet. I bet you’ve been doing what I’ve been doing -- going it pretty much alone? You’d not be here if you’d “tuned in, dropped out” for over FORTY years!

              I discovered that other than working on the streets for women’s access to reproductive care, there are not a lot of groups with which I feel comfy. But that does not mean I’ve not been busy! Bet you have been busy, too. Some of us were not cut out to take crap off stupid faux leaders. Some of us were meant to just keep on keepin’ on.

              Don’t know your history, agrippa, but I bet you’re a “keepin’ on” person?

            • funksands says:

              “We need to grow up and embrace the wide range of ideas and possibilities, and we need to learn how government REALLY works instead of throwing temper tantrums over how it “ought” to work.”

              And?….Easier said than done. Is this as simple as re-igniting civics lessons for our school-kids?

            • agrippa says:

              The left has had a practice of this sort of infighting from the start of “leftism”; this has been true all over the world, not just in the USA. The Bolsheviks under Lenin were about the only leftist organization that practiced iron discipline like the nazis.
              That inability to tolerate diversity to fight over unimportant matters is common on the left.
              It is going on right now in the USA.

              It is the main reason that I stopped being active in 1968.

  12. AdLib says:

    CNN has done an overnight poll (PDF below) which included the following results:

    65% approve of $1 trillion in cuts in government spending over the next 10 years (30 percent opposed)

    60% disapprove of the fact that the agreement does not include any tax increases for businesses or higher-income Americans

    77% think elected officials behaved mostly like spoiled children in the Debt Ceiling deal.

    17% think elected officials behaved mostly like responsible adults.

    BTW, with this kind of public support, Obama will have huge leverage when it comes to letting the Bush Tax cuts expire or revising the tax code to produce just as much or more in revenues.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      What I can’t quite get my head around is that Obama and the Dems have had the same level of support about raising taxes for months according to every poll done. So it really isn’t a question of providing leverage. When a faction of Congress with power way disproportionate to their numbers--Tea Baggers are now estimated to comprise around 10%-- can hold 90% of us hostage despite our desires, there is no leverage. This idea of polls and the desires of the people only works every two years when people vote. In between those years, we have no power. We just saw that. Unless people decide to exercise their power at the polls and in the streets or at least (as they did) via calling their reps, the corporations and the most extreme ideologues and Dominionists will legislate. Right now, according to this poll Congress has the lowest rating in 40 years: 14%. Well, those who didn’t vote and those who voted for these toxic reps are now complaining. Good! Now get off your butts and participate. As we have said here before, 2012 will be the election of the century.

      • choicelady says:

        Cher -- the goal of the Dominionist Right is to give all power to minorities. The drift toward supermajorities is evidence of that. Masked as “accountability” it is a supposed “check” on the power of the majority. Why? That IS democracy -- majority rule. But we’ve been thwarted in this by the drumbeat of “the majority does not represent us”. HUH????? And we BOUGHT that?

        Because the Baggers and even GOP are overall in decline or in minority status, we see the “children’s birthday party” scenario kick in on politics. When kids win a game at a party, we give everyone a prize for playing. Don’t know if that’s good or bad, but when it morphs into adulthood it’s just stupid. I prefer cooperation to competition, but in politics there ARE winners and there ARE losers. Only the cranky GOP think they have the right to equal shares when they lose and they are the minority. And they are the spoiled brats of the birthday party who DEMAND a prize just for existing. And bully everyone until they get it.

        And we, soft-hearted liberals, tend to give in. I DO understand the desire to kick some butt, but it’s not our nature to be as mean and selfish as the GOP. Not saying we should change. But we should AT LEAST begin practicing tough love! After all, it’s for the GOP’s own good!!!

      • SallyT says:

        Cher, I agree! The people need to keep the pressure up on these guys in Washington. And get out and vote but don’t let those that got your vote forget to do their job you put them in once they get there. Even if you made a mistake in someone you voted for, let them know they have lost your vote in the future if they don’t check their ignorance at the chamber door. Every vote from us counts! That has been proven. We have shown that we have power in our purchases. We don’t have money, so, we can’t buy. Take more away and we will buy less and less. Not by choice necessarily but because our money is limited because we don’t have jobs, extra money, benefits cut, and health issues. Keep them focused.

        Okay, back to painting. I have missed being here. That damn picket fence went on forever. It looks so great that now we have to do some painting on the front of the house, like around the front door and the door! Oh well, I will be back someday. Keep up the work, guys!

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