This Is What Failed Leadership Looks Like



Empty U.S. House chambers.

Politico:

With the country teetering on this fiscal cliff of deep spending cuts and sharp tax hikes, the philosophical differences, the shortened timetable and the political dynamics appear to be insurmountable hurdles for a bipartisan deal by New Year’s Day.

Hopes of a grand-bargain – to shave trillions of dollars off the deficit by cutting entitlement programs and raising revenue – are shattered. House Republicans already failed to pass their “Plan B” proposal. And now aides and senators say the White House’s smaller, fall-back plan floated last week is a non-starter among Republicans in Senate – much less the House.

On top of that, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday that the nation would hit the debt limit on Dec. 31, and would then have to take “extraordinary measures” to avoid exhausting the government’s borrowing limit in the New Year.

Adds the Washington Post:

If anything, hope for success appeared to have dimmed over the Christmas holiday. The Republican-controlled House last week abdicated responsibility for resolving the crisis, leaving all eyes on the Senate. But senior aides in both parties said Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have not met or even spoken since leaving town for the weekend…

With no sign of urgency, aides in both parties predicted that failure was not just a possibility – it was rapidly becoming the most likely outcome. No significant movement was expected Thursday: Obama was scheduled to be in the air traveling back from his Hawaiian holiday for a good portion of the day, and the Senate wasn’t set to convene for votes until the evening.

Even if some miraculous breakthrough in the Senate could be achieved, another round of winter weather in the Washington, D.C. area this weekend could well disrupt air travel, making it difficult for House members to reconvene in time for a vote before the new year–and that assumes the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is a body capable of passing anything the President would be able to sign. After the failure before Christmas by Speaker John Boehner to pass his “Plan B” alternative measure, a red-on-red disaster abetted by at least two Colorado Republican members of Congress, dysfunction seems to be the rule.

The public is becoming increasingly, undeniably aware of who is to blame for the impasse, as a poll released yesterday shows once again–Huffington Post reports:

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats got a moderate boost in approval ratings for their handling of the crisis. Obama’s rating on the negotiations rose to a majority 54 percent, while approval for Democratic leaders in Congress jumped to 45 percent. Republicans did not see similar gains, with their number holding nearly steady at 26 percent. [Pols emphasis]

Any shift in approval didn’t appear to affect the desire for bipartisan deal-making. Just 22 percent of people said either side should stick to its principles, while 68 percent called for a compromise.

And this is the key: President Barack Obama has already compromised. A casual look at the offers the President has made, both increasing the threshold of income at which higher tax rates would apply, as well as offering entitlement rate-of-growth cuts that have genuinely upset liberal Democrats, and there’s no question which side has offered more to get a deal. We don’t really think the administration can offer much more without putting itself in a situation similar to that faced by Boehner–a fact made even clearer by the intense public opposition to cutting institutions like Social Security and Medicare. One small upshot is that as the scale of what can be achieved with an intransigent GOP-controlled House diminishes, so do the cuts.

Politically, it’s critical to understand that this is not 2009. There is no upwelling of conservative opposition brewing as was the case with the then-incipient “Tea Party.” The country has been through years of exactly this kind of obstruction and brinkmanship since Republicans retook control of the House in 2010. The voters want solutions. They are tired of rhetoric. What the polls show is a growing fatigue with Republican intransigence, and a growing understanding that it is Republican intransigence at the heart of much of their frustration with government.

It is not “bias” to acknowledge when one side is plainly losing.

60 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Democrats will be hard-pressed in 2014 to come up with a Democratic House majority due to gerrymandering, even if Republicans completely send things into the shitter for 2013.

    Democrats won a plurality of votes cast in House elections (49-48) – but lost the overall House representation 201-234 (46.2-53.8) due to the lopsided balance of Republican gerrymandering.

  2. dwyer says:

    So, the public blames the Republicans.  So what?

    The Republican strength lies in the individual House Districts and the Republicans’ control of 30 state governments.

    2016 is a long way off.

  3. dwyer says:

    The House has passed a bill that would extend the tax Bush cuts to everybody, included the rich.  Boehner has said that the Senate/President has two choices:

    1) The Senate can pass the House bill extending the tax cuts to everyone.  This will in effect put the PResident in the position of either vetoing the bill and causing the fiscal cliff or signing the bill and thus capitulating to Boehner on the first contest of his second term, and breaking the promise on which he got elected.  Advantage:  Boehner

    2) Or, the Senate can refuse to pass that bill and will be responsible for the country going over the “fiscal cliff.”

    Boehner is refusing to reconvene the House.  This is why Boehner is in control of what happens legislatively.  The spin has already started saying that the President wants to go over the Cliff and the consequences of that will be the Democrats fault.  It will be interesting to see what the polls say in a week or ten days.

    The Democrats have no strategy.  The Democrats have a popular vote strategy which is how the party won in the general election.  But the Republicans can and will control the legislative process….Boehner in the House and the fillabuster in the Senate.

    I am describing the situation; not applauding it.  I don’t know what the Democrats can do.  But, it is time to stop talking about the popular vote and national polls because they don’t mean a gd thing.

  4. sxp151 says:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.c

    Two sources on Capitol Hill say President Barack Obama told Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell he would send to Congress on Thursday a scaled back fiscal cliff measure.

    The bill would include elements of Obama’s tax plan which would prevent for some the tax hike scheduled to take place in the new year.

    McConnell has said he can not say whether he would require a simple majority or 60 votes for passage in the Senate until he sees Obama’s proposal.

    It is expected that the measure would extend the Bush-era tax breaks for income under $250,000, extend the current estate tax rate, and extend unemployment insurance. The estate tax extension is on Republicans’ wish list for a deal.

    More recent reports from anonymous White House staffers say there is no offer after all. This is exactly what anonymous White House staffers say during every Obama capitulation. I guess the idea is to keep lefties from bothering to call and complain while anything could still change.

    I didn’t support Obama’s reelection campaign, but even I didn’t imagine he wouldn’t even wait until Inauguration Day to turn right back into the coward he spent three years being.  

  5. dwyer says:

    I said last week that Boehner is in control of what will happen next, legislatively.  He is.  That is all I said.  I thought last week, that there was a chance that he would not reconvene the House before the 31st.  That appears to be what may be happening.

    Now, here is a question for you, Aristotle



    If the Democrats do not want to go over the “fiscal cliff” (and I don’t think that they do), what can they do to stop the country from going over the “fiscal cliff?”  You tell me, Aristotle.  I don’t  know what it would be
    .

    Now then, you attack me for things I never said.  That makes me very uneasy.  I once had to deal with a kid who had mental problems…and that was the way he would argue…projecting things that were never said.  So I am hypersensitive to seeing my words distorted.

    You accused me of saying:

    “that the Senate (the same Senate that just added three or four new Democrats to its ranks) will pass tax cuts for everyone.”

    That is the bill that the House sent to the Senate.  The Senate has the option of passing it. That is one of the options I listed.  I did not ever say that the Senate would pass it.   I said that the problem is if the Senate were to amend that bill to eliminate the tax cuts for the top 1 or 2 %, then, the amended bill would have to go back to the House and the House is not in session.  That is one scenario I was describing.

    Now, I also never said this:

    “So, where are you getting this notion that the Senate will take the blame?”

    I said that is the current spin. And then I said:

    “That is why I will be interested in seeing what the polls say next week.”….because I don’t know if the spin will be successful.

    I challenge you, again:

    If the Democrats do NOT want to go over the cliff, what can they do?

    And just a point of personal pride, I have not spent decades listening to talk radio..I have spent almost six decades living in the real world, with real people, many of whom were sick and/or poor.  That meant that they could not afford illusions, they had to be very concrete or “literal” in order to survive.  

  6. Gray in Mountains says:

    is the Farm Bill. Waiting for adoption. If not adopted consumers face immediate inflation of food products

  7. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    McConnell and Reid…all the talking heads..

    The Republicans are SOOOOOOO fucked.

    Heh.

  8. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    From the Republican side, they face primaries they will likely lose if they vote for any compromise. Their base needs to directly feel the pain first (when they’ll then demand compromise).

    From the Democratic side, going over the cliff is not a bad deal. The Republicans take the hit for the pain. Tax revenues go up a it to a level which worked fine under Clinton. Yes it will have a small negative impact on the economy, but the reduction in the deficit will have a (smaller) positive impact. The forced defense cuts are a good thing, possibly more so than the forced social cuts are a bad thing.

    A good deal is better than the cliff. But a bad deal is worse than the cliff for Democrats.

    The cliff is bad for the Republican brand, but good for most Republicans in Congress.

    End result – no deal. But lots of positioning trying to put the lame on the other.

  9. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    The reason we’re in this pickle is because the neo-cons (emphasis on the “con”) are, as usual, going just that much too far. They think that they can twist the opposition into extending the Bush tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy-themselves included- by threatening entitlements and the paychecks of Federal employees. But when Federal employees are laid off and there’s no money for unemployment claims,food stamps or any other social assistance, it will cause another DEEP recession, maybe even the “d word” that dares not speak its name. Republicans have convinced themselves that the public will blame the Democrats for the fallout.                                          Sorry red guys. That’s not how this works. People aren’t actually quite that  stupid.They know where to place the blame. You’re going to lose and look bad doing it.

  10. parsingreality says:

    “Fiscal Cliff” is a term coined by the right wing media to scare the American public.  It has worked very well.  Just look at yourself, and millions of niggardly Christmas shoppers.

    Why did they do this PR job?  To scare Americans into pressuring Obama and the Dems before the Dems gain more seats in Congress.  That’s all.  I can’t swear to it, but I don’t think any of those long diatribes above addressed this fact.  Any tax changes can be undone later, making new rates retroactive.  Congress has done it often, and IIRC, that’s how the Boosh Tax Cuts were implemented.  

    At worst, doing nothing, there’s a several percent grade downhill.  On the tax side, we go back to those terrible Clinton years.  Oh, my, disaster.  

    I can’t speak to the mandatory cuts very well.  I doubt if Medicare will suddenly become more expensive, every Medicare plan has been cast in iron for many months now.  All those contracts, all those Advantage programs.  

    dwyer, like during the election run up, you’ve bought into the right wing program, regardless of where your good heart lies.

    Remember what we lefties used to say during the Iraq War runup and War on Tareism? “Be afraid, very afraid.”

    Hint:  Don’t be.

  11. Glaciers form and melt faster than some changes in politics. Republicans are losing – I agree with the Guvs on that one. They’re losing their long-term goal of being the permanent majority, and at this rate they might be losing at being a major party.

    In the meantime, sure, they’ll be winning at least in their minds. Whether that’s in obstructing the President or damaging the reputation of government as a functional entity or holding up their ethical principles and not voting for a tax hike (which they’re doing by not voting for a tax cut…) – sure, those might be “wins” in their book. But they’re losing with their “wins”.

  12. gertie97 says:

    It can extend the cuts for everybody except the rich and send it back to the House. Then it’s on them.

    If the Senate GOP filibusters, it’s still on the Republicans.

  13. BlueCat says:

    this situation to dwyer.  Although I can’t imagine who here could get through.  We’ve all tried.

    Got a chuckle out of the idea that Boehner has much of a strategy besides hoping  to avoid more humiliation at this point since the strategy he so desperately wanted to work was his failed plan B. He must be at a total loss as to what to do now that he clearly has no power to control the wackos.

    There has been a hope expressed by many that if we go over the cliff and everyone’s taxes go up, then some more Rs might be willing to vote tax cuts for those under, say, 500K because at that point they would only be voting for cuts and not breaking their vow to the almighty Norquist by voting to allow anyone’s taxes to go up. The raise will have already happened automatically at that point.

    Even then it would probably have to pass with a minority of Rs joined by enough Ds and even bringing something to the floor without the support of a clear majority of the Republican majority is a huge no-no for the Republican Speaker.  Having to pass it that way would be another humiliation for Boehner. Trying and failing that way would be even worse.

    Not to mention that the public wouldn’t see it in such a hair splitting sort of way, especially if the process caused even temporary dire consequences.  The question would be… if those Rs can compromise now why couldn’t they before paychecks got shorted, people stopped receiving needed benefits and aid and markets went nuts?

    And it’s not just the public but also the corporate overlords who do want a deal and will be very pissed off if the party leaders they own can’t deliver anything but chaos because they’ve lost control of the Tea Party faction they were supposed to be using for the overlords’ advantage. Not a fun time to be Boehner.

  14. AristotleAristotle says:

    … through the lens of your regrettable choice to listen to so much right wing talk radio.

    Out here, where things aren’t spun and distorted by people interested in making the GOP look good, Pols is closer to the mark.

  15. Republican 36 says:

    It is Speaker Boehner who is unable to deliver 218 votes for any bill that raises taxes. Even if a bill is introduce that allows taxes to rise on those who earn $100 million each year or more, the Republican majority will vote it down. I actually feel sorry for the Speaker. I think he wants to solve this problem and he is willing to compromise but, as usual, absolute ideology governs the Republican Party. Compromise to them is a complete sell out even if they were able to get 99% of what they propose. For Republicans it is everything or nothing everytime. That kind of attitude and corresponding intrangisience works well when the form of government is a dictatorship where one person or a handful of individuals can make every decision by decree; but in a government like ours where there are two houses with one controlled by one party and one by the other political party such attitudes are not only inappropriate but, in the end, suicidial from a political point of view.

    Compromise is not the dirty word Republicans seem to think it is.  In our system it means office holders must govern and that requires what for some and in some ways may be painful decisions or votes but nevertheless must be made. Contrary to the present Republican ideology, government is not evil or the problem. Over the past two centuries, we have built a society based on the principles laid down by the Founders. Over those two centuries, our view of what constitutes a just and fair society has evolved first, by ending slavery; second by providing safe and reasonable working conditions for the people who work; third by insuring the civil rights of all Americans; and finally by providing programs that insure people can earn an education and live a better life while providing a way for every American to obtain basic healthcare and a reasonable retirement. We aren’t going back to the days when the federal government was less than 10% of the GDP.  To do so, would mean giving up all the gains society has made over the past two centuries.

    The Republican Party is not a conservative party by any stretch of the imagination. It is in fact a group of radical extremists who intend to destroy our public institutions because of a misguided view that government is always wrong. Edmund Burke, perhaps the greatest conservative statesman of all time and the author of the classic Reflections on the French Revolution made one of the most important political discoveries ever made. In reflecting on the French Revolution, he said a society cannot tear down its existing institutions and leave a vacuum. If a society does that, the social contract between the citizens and the government is destroyed and the result is in many cases anarchy and dysfunctional society. The Republicans may not know it but that is the general direciton of their ideology. They don’t believe in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federal student loans and many others, but they have nothing to offer in their place even though these programs are cornerstones of our public insitutions and how we provide basic healthcare, retirement and education for our young citizens. And for the most part, these programs have been a great success. Yes, they aren’t perfect and we need to adjust some from a funding perspective or programatically but they have worked and worked well.  All of these programs are based on fundamental American moral values of hard work and charity for those less fortunate than ourselves. I thank God that we have had leaders over the past two centuries who have sought to insure a better life for all of us.

    Its time the Republican Party truly becomes a conservative party once again and lends a hand to strengthen those institutions that have given past, present and future generations a chance at the American dream.  

  16. If Republicans are in control (and they are), then they are the only ones that can get something doable done – and they’re not doing it. (Boehner’s pretty much announced that the House is going to sit around twiddling its thumbs when they come back.) Right now the only options on the table are pretty much: the House can take the Senate bill back up again, or the Senate can take up the House bill. Neither is going to happen – the House bill is financially unsound, and the Senate bill can’t pass the House.

    As far as I’m concerned, we’re going over the cliff, it won’t be a horrible thing for a few weeks, and the country will come to their senses when the world hasn’t ended on Jan. 1, just like they did when it didn’t end on Dec. 21, or whenever it was the last time that guy predicted the Apocalypse was supposed to happen. And best of all, Republicans can then vote their conscience and create a tax cut that affects all Americans but only lowers the tax bracket on those making over $100k or $200k or whatever Democrats are willing to sign on to once all the rates have already risen due to Republican intransigence (and the bill that they wrote automatically ending the tax cuts on Jan. 1, 2013).

    (And I’d suggest President Obama start with a well-defined package that includes all of the things that need to happen ASAP – doc fix, unemployment insurance, tax rate renewal for people making <$100k, and long-term debt ceiling fix. Let Republicans whittle away at it; don’t be the one offering concessions anymore.)

  17. dwyer says:

    They can then send it back to the House.  BUT, the House is not in session.  

  18. BlueCat says:

    that the split party is going to agree on and who would want it?  

  19. dwyer says:

    I am just looking at who is in control of what is happening right now.  Right now, the Republicans seem to me to in charge of what is happening legislatively.

    I will be interested, as I said, what the polls are saying in one week to ten days.

  20. dwyer says:

    Last week, I said that Boehner was in control of what was going to happen legislatively.  I think that is still true.

    I will be interested in seeing what the polls say in ten days or so.

    “Going over the cliff” is going to be immediately bad for those of us on medicare.  I am not listening, god damm it, to talk radio to form my opinion.  I am giving you all a time line about what is happening.  I am listening to the spin to get an idea if this is a Republican strategy or not.  I don’t know.  That is why I will be interested in seeing what the polls say next week.

  21. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    you’re posting on other sites as well, where more righties can read you. This especially:

    Its time the Republican Party truly becomes a conservative party once again and lends a hand to strengthen those institutions that have given past, present and future generations a chance at the American dream.

    Thanks for your (conservative) perspective.

  22. AristotleAristotle says:

    Because (as everyone acknowledges) only the Speaker can convene Congress.

    But he has no control over how the politics of this play out. He has no leverage.

    I disagree with you about whether talk radio isn’t shaping your opinions. No, not on the politics or the implications of what the fiscal cliff means for you and other Americans; but if there’s one thing consistent with your posts, it’s a tendency to think that the GOP has a grand strategy when they don’t, or that the Dems are simply dancing to the GOP’s tune when that’s simply not the case. I think that tendency is informed by the decades of GOP success, Democratic failures, and apparent dominance of political discourse by the talking heads on cable TV and radio.

    If you don’t believe me, let’s look at your comment. You say – as if this is at all realistic – that the Senate (the same Senate that just added three or four new Democrats to its ranks) will pass tax cuts for everyone. They will not. They have no reason to do so. Obama (and by extension, every Democrat who won their 2012 congressional and senate race) campaigned on higher taxes for the wealthy. They won on that campaign. It’s not only what people want, it makes sense. The GOP are on the ropes over this issue. But you go ahead and suggest that… contrary to their major victory… that they’re going to now just pass tax cuts for the wealthy. (And everyone else.)

    That suggestion is not informed by a realistic appraisal of the situation. I’m sorry, but if you aren’t thinking that under the influence of talk radio, then I have no idea where you’re pulling it from.

    Your second suggestion (that the Senate do nothing) is more realistic in the sense that that’s the option the Senate will take. But nobody but professional spinners for the GOP believe the Senate, or the president, or the Democrats are going to take the blame for this. Everyone knows what the GOP’s arguments and positions have been. Everyone knows that they are the ones refusing to compromise, or deal with the new political realities.

    So, where are you getting this notion that the Senate will take the blame? I say it’s all that talk radio, because aside from coming here, talk radio is the ONLY other place you’ve ever said you go to get political commentary and news. Maybe there’s some other sources you’ve chosen not to discuss, or mentioned so fleetingly that they made no impression. If so, I apologize. But without knowing more, I have to make judgments based on what I know.

  23. BlueCat says:

    Dwyer is insisting, after making a remark that everyone instantly rejected as the opposite of the truth, on narrow, absolute literalism in the remark’s defense. At this point one must assume a willful, stubborn rejection of the simple realities we have tried to explain repeatedly and with which nobody in the world of legitimate political commentary disagrees.

    One more futile time: If you can’t call for a vote on something you very much want to pass because you know you can’t get the votes for it then you are not in control except in the most petty technical sense, a sense which does you no good and can’t advance your aims.  

    Yes Boehner can call for anything he pleases whether it’s to call the House into session or call for a vote. But if none of his available choices involve getting what he wants, a face saving deal, then his choice doesn’t involve real control or real power which is the ability to impose your will and maneuver your way into getting at least a little of what the f**k you want. He can choose between a rock and a hard place but he doesn’t have the power to choose even a small part of what he wants.

    He tried and failed with Plan B. It was a humiliating defeat demonstrating his abject weakness.

    I can’t believe dwyer is really too dense to get that.  I think it’s just a stubborn inability to let it go at this point.  

  24. BlueCat says:

    then one would have to conclude that the only person in DC right now weaker than Boehner is Obama. And it would be a chosen weakness,  whereas Boehner’s weakness has been forced on him by the monster the GOP created and thought they could control.

    I hope the “White House staffers” that deny are the ones telling the truth. If not at least let’s hope it’s a leaked trial balloon and the WH gets the message….no way.

  25. BlueCat says:

    Hasn’t this guy been caught making false claims before? Could this be the source?

    Scott Brown Falsely Announces New Fiscal Cliff Proposal From Obama

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) caused a stir on Thursday by saying that President Barack Obama had sent over a new fiscal cliff proposal to Senate Republican leaders — a key development that nobody else had heard about.

    “Heading back to dc. Just learned that the Pres. reached out to Senate GOP leadership with a proposal. It is the first such proposal to be put forth. Eager to see why it is. How it is serious,” Brown wrote on his Facebook page.

    He tweeted shortly after, “Getting on place to DC to review plan from Pres. We will see. Better late than never.”

    But it turned out that Brown’s scoop wasn’t breaking news. It wasn’t even true.

    White House officials and aides to Senate Republican and Democratic leaders all said Brown’s claim was inaccurate, noting there is no new proposal on the table and nothing has changed in the standoff over a fiscal deal. Those same officials also shot down a CNN report that mirrored Brown’s comments.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

  26. AristotleAristotle says:

    I did misread your initial comment as stating that you believe that you were proposing that the Senate would seriously consider passing those bills. I apologize for that.

    That said, you DID clearly write this phrase:

    2) Or, the Senate can refuse to pass that bill and will be responsible for the country going over the “fiscal cliff.”

    That’s fair to say that you did, in fact, say that you have a notion that the Senate will take the blame.

    As far as what the Dems will do, well… I’m not an elected Democratic congressman, so I’m not privy to their strategic meetings. If they asked me, I’d say do nothing, because ultimately the pressure will fall upon Boehner and the Republicans in Congress to do something. In that, we agree on the point that it’s up to Boehner.

    Now, if sxp151 is correct, Obama is coming down from his strong position, which is a mistake. He may be concerned about the people who will be impacted by the fiscal cliff measures, as he’s right to be, but giving the extremists ANY ground will not at all be repaid by them. THEY don’t care about how people are affected by spending cuts, and they aren’t going to give the president anything without extracting five times as many concessions in return. Why do that, when the people are going to bring their pressure (if not their wrath) down on these extremists? Once they’re made to feel this pressure, they’ll either have to compromise or risk further recriminations at the ballot box.

    Now, I’m not saying that this is desirable. But one has to play with the hand one is dealt. The only way to extract a good deal for America from the extremists is to let them take the blame for going over the cliff.

  27. BlueCat says:

    Yet you insist he is in control. And this makes perfect sense to you.

  28. dwyer says:

    I appreciate the corrections.  Except, you did not get my whole statement on the Senate taking  ”blame.

    This is what I wrote:

    Boehner has said that the Senate/President has two choices:

    1) The Senate can pass the House bill extending the tax cuts to everyone. This will in effect put the President in the position of either vetoing the bill and causing the fiscal cliff or signing the bill and thus capitulating to Boehner on the first contest of his second term, and breaking the promise on which he got elected.  Advantage:  Boehner

    2) Or, the Senate can refuse to pass that bill and will be responsible for the country going over the “fiscal cliff.”

    I was paraphrasing what Boehner said. I put those statements of his in bold.

    Now, I don’t expect you to be privy to “strategy” sessions, but to say then that you can’t answer the question I posed is an absolute cop-out.   You are, I presume, familiar with the legal structure of the three branches of our federal government and you have a handle on our political system.  So, I ask again, if the

    Democrats don’t want to go over the fiscal cliff, what can they do?  

    If you can’t answer that question, then stop criticizing me.  I don’t think that the Democrats have an option.

    I think that they have been outmaneuvered by the Republicans.  I COULD BE WRONG. That is why I asked you or anyone, what options do the dems have?

  29. AristotleAristotle says:

    Also not quite fair; I DID say what I think they should do, which IS to go over the cliff. Do nothing.

    (If they don’t want to, again, I said that was the hand they were dealt. Asking “what if they don’t want to” is like saying “what if I don’t want life-saving open heart surgery” if that’s what one is facing. I suppose one could refuse the surgery and die, but that’s unrealistic.)

    If it wasn’t clear, what I envision is that the GOP will be roundly criticized for failing to work with the Democrats and the president, and the pressure will force them back into negotiations.

    Keep in mind that my grasp of government tells me that no action is necessary. The “fiscal cliff” refers to laws passed in previous sessions that are now seen as undesirable*, but they don’t require government action. That is where the Democrats’ strength lays. That is where their options lie – to either go over the cliff and watch the GOP suffer for it, or to make an unnecessary compromise if they can’t stomach it. (The ONLY thing going for the GOP is that sometimes the Dems fold when they don’t have to. The ONLY reason to even entertain the idea that there IS a GOP strategy, given what Boehner’s Plan B failure revealed of the GOP, is that Dem caving has precedent.)

    * Actually, they were likely just issues Congress preferred not to deal with, and so punted down to today.

  30. AristotleAristotle says:

    Also not quite fair; I DID say what I think they should do, which IS to go over the cliff. Do nothing.

    (If they don’t want to, again, I said that was the hand they were dealt. Asking “what if they don’t want to” is like saying “what if I don’t want life-saving open heart surgery” if that’s what one is facing. I suppose one could refuse the surgery and die, but that’s unrealistic.)

    If it wasn’t clear, what I envision is that the GOP will be roundly criticized for failing to work with the Democrats and the president, and the pressure will force them back into negotiations.

    Keep in mind that my grasp of government tells me that no action is necessary. The “fiscal cliff” refers to laws passed in previous sessions that are now seen as undesirable*, but they don’t require government action. That is where the Democrats’ strength lays. That is where their options lie – to either go over the cliff and watch the GOP suffer for it, or to make an unnecessary compromise if they can’t stomach it. (The ONLY thing going for the GOP is that sometimes the Dems fold when they don’t have to. The ONLY reason to even entertain the idea that there IS a GOP strategy, given what Boehner’s Plan B failure revealed of the GOP, is that Dem caving has precedent.)

    * Actually, they were likely just issues Congress preferred not to deal with, and so punted down to today.

  31. dwyer says:

    Boehner has just called the House into session.  The members are due back 6:30 PM Sunday, the 30th and will be in session until Friday the 4th.

    He is saying that they are in  He is saying that they will take no action until the Senate acts….but this means that if the Senate amends the tax bill they send over, then there is a possibility that the House could vote on it….

    Now, I am glad that they are coming back….but my contention still stands.  It is Boehner who controls what happens legislatively.

    I want to see what happens.

  32. dwyer says:

    But I do want to answer you.  The question was, not what “should” the Democrats do, but what options do they Democrats have if they don’t want to go over the cliff.  

    THE HOUSE HAS BEEN CALLED TO RECONVENE ON SUNDAY.

    You changed the question and then answered what the Democrats should do. I didn’t ask you that.  I have only been stating and restating the facts and the facts are that Boehner is in charge of what will happen legislatively next.

    Reminds me of the old story of King Canute who said he could “rule” the oceans…when he was challenged, he went down to the seashore and said “Roll On, Oh Mighty Ocean, Roll On.”

  33. AristotleAristotle says:

    “The question was, not what “should” the Democrats do, but what options do they Democrats have if they don’t want to go over the cliff.”

    Those are synonymous terms. Asking for options IS asking what they should do. Options are meaningless without intent to go one way or the other. If that isn’t what you intended, you need to ask your questions with greater care.

    Similarly, facts are meaningless without intent. We all know the functions of government here. On their own, statements about the constitutional division of duties, and who has the power to convene Congress, have no meaning. They only derive meaning from discussing what actions are going to be taken.

    If you only intended to give a civics lesson, you have wasted hours of your time here. That’s too bad for you. We know government. What we want to discuss is POLITICS.

  34. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    the Farm Bill is a BFD.

  35. Diogenesdemar says:

    nonsense about the polls and the popular vote not mattering.

    The only reason Boehner is calling the House back into session, the reason that he blinked, is because he knows what a drubbing the Republicans are taking, and will take, if they continue to sit idly by on their hands . . .

    The real cliff they’re facing is the one they’re very close to being tossed over by the American public . . .  

  36. Gray in Mountains says:

    Gave them more than 72. Boehner does not want to solve the problem. He wants to come back when there is no time to do anything but run out the clock and keep the gavel

  37. dwyer says:

    This is called bull shit.

  38. BlueCat says:

    I never touch the stuff, and don’t have young kids at home but for young families with growing kids that’s going to make a dent. Of course I suppose other food items will be skyrocketing, too.

  39. AristotleAristotle says:

    Sorry, but the judgment of someone who takes right wing talk radio as seriously as you do is pretty suspect on that topic.

  40. BlueCat says:

    The more you try to reason with dwyer the more dwyer digs in and keeps trying to pull rabbits out of hats to defend the indefensible and very silly.  

  41. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    He will continue to insist that the Senate pass, and Obama sign the GOP’s failed agenda from before the crushing November rejection of same by the American voters.

  42. The tax rates combined with the spending cuts will hurt the lower tax brackets in this economy; according to the CBO, the cliff will bump unemployment up to 9.1% in 2013 and probably throw us (and likely the rest of the world) back in to recession.

    That’s not an immediate effect, though. We have time to fix it before everything goes pear-shaped in the economy again. But not much time… extended unemployment compensation – the best bang-for-your-buck stimulus – expires with the cliff, and Farm Bill price controls on milk and other basic food items expires on Saturday (before the House re-convenes).

  43. BlueCat says:

    it won’t be for long. The howls of immediately screwed constituents should tip the scales of self interest for most pols. And once everyone’s rates are raised they can say, as some Rs have been saying all day, that once that happens the choice of not raising taxes will have been taken out of their hands and their only options will be cutting taxes for as many as possible.

    A short trip over with prompt rescue is better than a give away the store deal from Dems to avoid it.  

  44. sxp151 says:

    Happy to be wrong here.

  45. Gray in Mountains says:

    and flesh futures are up. Could be grim BBQ and smoking season

  46. sxp151 says:

    Sounds more like all those strong denials yesterday were all about whether there was a proposal yesterday. “We are absolutely positively not surrendering anything else to Republicans…on Thursday.”

    http://livewire.talkingpointsm

  47. AristotleAristotle says:

    This is a non-specific rumor. But if true, such offers by the White House have done a terrific political job in demonstrating the GOP’s inflexibility to the public.

    There are certain hard left elements who assert that Obama is ready to cave on everything from Social Security to the fiscal cliff. I won’t believe any of it until it happens. And even then, I doubt that Senate Dems will go along with anything of the sort.

  48. sxp151 says:

    He proposed cutting benefits without even being asked by any Republican, which means Republicans will campaign in 2014 against Obama’s proposal to cut Social Security. (This is exactly what happened in 2010.)

    Reports are also saying he will cave on the tax rates. Despite all the denials we got all day yesterday, the suggested proposals in the surrender package were WAY too specific to just be made up from some dude’s Facebook page.

    The guy will do anything to get a deal. I hope nobody takes a cell phone camera into that room, because the photos could be compromising.  

  49. Republican 36 says:

    and Republican elected officials should ponder it:

    A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.

  50. AristotleAristotle says:

    And then I won’t believe it until it’s voted on in the Senate.

  51. sxp151 says:

    until Democrats promise me this will never ever happen again.

    And then I won’t believe it until it happens again.

  52. AristotleAristotle says:

    I don’t recall seeing that anywhere.

  53. dwyer says:

    I am trying to focus on what is actually happening, not all the speculation and blustering.

    Now then, I don’t know if you are on medicare, yet, or if you still have family members on medicare/medicaid. But, the so-called plan after the so-called fiscal cliff includes a 30% reduction in medicare payments to doctors.  That is significant and doctors may not continue to accept medicare patients.  I hope that is not a problem for you and yours.  It could be for some.

    Remember, in February 2009, I predicted the Republican 2010 sweep.  Using the same sources, I thought that the Republicans would win in 2012.  I was wrong.  Now, I am trying to learn what is happening and what are possible outcomes in this, the very first legislative crisis of the President’s second term.

    I recommend this approach.  Only the very rich and secure can afford to be pollyanas with other people’s lives.

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