Burning Down The House

Teabaggers threaten to burn down the House in order to save it

With the dreaded Aug 2 debt celing deadline approaching fast, Speaker of the House John Bohener rounded up enough Teabaggers to barely pass the Rethugs’ latest debt ransom demand. Even with all the backroom arm twisting, made more difficult by the Teabaggers’ earlier victory in eliminating earmarks that have traditionally been used to change votes in situations such as this, 22 of them still voted no, along with every single Democrat.

To round up the extra votes, The Orange Man had to make the bill even less palatable than the one that died in the Senate earlier in the week. The new bill requires that another vote to raise the debt ceiling be taken 6 months down the road, in the middle of the 2012 presidential election frenzy. If additional draconian cuts to the social safety net are not made at that time, it would automatically trigger a balanced budget amendment, a long time conservative wet dream that could never pass on it own merits through the normal legislative process.

To no one’s surprise, the new bill has already been tabled in the Senate, begging the question as to why so much energy was invested in something that was doomed to failure from the start. Orange Man says its to give the Rethugs “leverage” with the Senate and President Obama. But that’s wishful thinking. Despite the track record of the White House’s Office of Preemptive Capitulation to bend over whenever the Rethugs unzip their fly, balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class and the poor is just a bridge too far for most congressional Democrats, who count the latter as their bedrock constituency.

Also, by wasting an entire week making a bad proposal worse, it improves the odds that the Boner Bill would be the only legislation on the table when the clocks runs out. This latter possibility received a boost this morning from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom Harry Reid likes to call a good friend and amenable to compromise. In an unprecedented demand that a debt limit vote require cloture, McChinless insisted that Reid round up 60 votes to put his already severly compromised compromise into play. McConnell backed his bet with a letter saying all 43 Rethuglican senators were on board for a cloture vote, effectively neutralizing Reid’s otherwise succesful efforts to bring some 6 Rethug senators aboard the compromise train, one short as it is turning out.

Additionally, the House Rethugs created and voted affirmatively on a bogus bill that contained the major provisions expected to be contained in Reid’s bill. The obvious play here being a signal to wavering Rethug senators that compromise was an exercise in futility. Ergo, McConnel’s demand for a 60 vote threshhold while preening Rethug pricks like Rand Paul challenged Reid to bring it on, “it” being the aforementioned unprecedented 60 vote cloture threshold. Earlier in an interview with some cable tv show or the othe, Paul dissed Obama by saying that, paraphrasing here: We need to clear the decks so that Obama can get about his real concern– raising funds for his re-election campaign. As if the failure to raise the debt ceiling on the country and the world as a whole were secondary considerations.

But enough of the tactical machinations. Strategically, what we are really talking about is the 2012 presidential election. Despite The Great Capitulator’s willingness to alienate his own moderate, liberal, and progressive base by doing things he promised he would never do– take increased revenues off the table, put Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid cuts ON the table– the Rethugs won’t take YES for an answer.

How ironic. Our supposedly liberal president, whose soaring rhetoric has never matched his actual corporatist deeds, can’t sell out fast enough to satisfy even the Rethugs. Really, Mr. President and your failing political advisers, how could you not see this coming? Once you were tagged as capitulators willing to make any deal necssary to preserve your centrist political posturing, how can you be surprised when the Rethugs move the Overton Window as far to the right as possible, using the Teabaggers as their stalking horse?

Don’t you remember that early on, McConnell stated that the Rethugs’ top priority was to deny you a second term, regardless of the effects on the larger national and global economy? They have made the obvious political calculation that a failure to raise the debt ceiling, with its consequent deleterious effects on interest rates, jobs, consumer confidence, and the world economy as a whole,  will damage your reelection prospects. Are you really that fucking naive to expect cooperaton from them at this point when they hold a gun to the economy’s head, presidential elections being about the economy, stupid?

While an argument can be made that last years extension of the Bush tax cuts was a necessary trade-off for extending unemloyment insurance for the ’99ers, and for putting a few more dollars into the pockets of working class Americans viz a largely unnoticed payroll tax reduction designed to pump additional cash flow into the economy (captured by our ever opportunistic oil companies when they immediately raised their prices in response), your most recent capitulations vis a vis the debt ceiling betray your true corporatist sentiments. For the details of which see, this e.g. this post at Washington’s Blog that features this instructive vid:

Back off or I’ll shoot  myself!

Barely a month into the new Obama presidency, after he announced his team of economic advisers, many of whom were responsible for the financial collapse of 2008, I wrote this: We are so fucked.

Seeing that come to fruition now. Looks like our prez is going to have to break out another 55 gallon barrel of Vaseline to insure that the Rethugs get everything they demand.


  1. BlueNose

    Propagandee: Do you know ANYONE in politics whose “soaring rhetoric” matched his deeds? Anyone? Bueller? And also detested and contested by a bunch of white obstructionist assholes like the Republicans and Pee Tardiers?

    From RMuse at Politicus:

    The president has never had the overwhelming support of his party and there is plenty of blame to go around, but it is time to call the far-left crybabies to task for their part in where we are now. From the health care debate to present day, there has been a steady chorus of detractors and malcontents who have been instrumental in diluting the president’s power. If the ideologues on the left had given Congressional Democrats unwavering support for President Obama’s agenda from the start, the country may not be in the situation we find ourselves today.

    During the lead up to the 2010 midterm elections, there was an incessant drone of calls to withhold support for all Democratic candidates and there were plenty of faux-left pundits who actually told their followers to stay home and not vote at all. Good idea morons. Every lost Democratic vote made it easier for teabaggers and Republicans to win their elections and since the 112th Congress has been in session, all Americans are paying for whiny liberals who were punishing President Obama for not waving his magic scepter and granting their fantasies. It did not matter if it was anything the president had the Constitutional authority to do or not, he has taken the blame for Congress’s actions at every turn.

    Look, just because President Obama didn’t give all lefties a unicorn and cotton-candy for life doesn’t mean he is caving or selling out. Now, the president is catching hell for not raising the debt ceiling on his own even though he did not have that authority. If a deal were not reached he could invoke the 14th Amendment, but it appears a deal was reached so the necessity for bringing the 14th into play is gone.

    The only silver lining to this less-than-ideal agreement is that across America, Republicans and Independents alike are livid with Republicans and teabaggers. The president had no options and most Americans understand that Republicans were holding America’s economic stability hostage to protect the wealthy.

    In poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly supported raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations and they know the president was bringing those tax increases to the table and Republicans refused to follow the will of the people. Earlier in the year, polling also showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans wanted the Congress and White House to compromise to move the economy forward and the president has been at the forefront of those efforts.

    The American people know exactly who has not compromised and not followed their wishes and they will punish the GOP and teabaggers at the ballot box in 2012. Even staunch conservative pundits have decried the Republican’s lack of compromise. Americans will not forget which party is responsible for the mess, and pragmatic Americans will not forget the far-left’s unwavering support for Republicans and teabaggers.

    1. Propagandee Propagandee


      Nothwithstanding the conjunctive nature of your question, I’ll answer no to the first part (unless you count Martin Luther King); and yes to the second (Bill Clinton and FDR). Being the first black man to be elected to the White House, Obama is of course unique, and so the answer to your two part question has to be an overarching “No.”

      Because Obama had little Washington experience, and virtually none in the business world, he had to rely almost exclusively on his rhetorical skills, backed by his compelling personal story and charming personality to win voters over. (I get the sense that in their personal life, Michelle was the bill payer and negotiater in chief.) Now, in the face of a fierce and determined opposition, his lack of real world experience is showing.

      FDR invited the hatred of his political enemies’ (bankers mostly) because he had come from their world and knew how to stand up to them. The way you deal with bullies is to smack them upside the head.

      Unlike Obama, FDR demanded accountability from Wall Street when they crashed the economy in ’29. He set up the Pecora Commission which in turn gave birth to the SEC, the FDIC, commodities regulation, and Glass-Stegal, which put real controls over what bankers could do with the people’s money. He expanded the regulatory power of the Federal Trade Commission, which provided direct mortgage relief to millions of farmers and homeowners; created the Federal Emergency Relief Administration,which put a quarter million people to work; and expanded the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to provide loans directly to industry and the railroads, cutting out the bankster middlemen, among other things.

      Obama? He invited the Wall Street Vandals into the White House and threw money at them. How did they show their appreciation? Did they pass the cash on to Main Street, re-write their ruinous mortgages to put a floor under real estate prices? Nope, they hoarded it and laughed at Obama all the way to the Fed’s treasury window where they were paid interest on the money we gave them, no strings attached. About the only really positive thing Obama did was bail out the auto industry, so kudos for that.

      Thirty years ago, Obama would have been considered a moderate to conservative Republican. He’s allowed the wingers to move the Overton Window so far to the right that he is now their captive, displaying many of features of Stockhold Syndrome. He’s drawn and erased so many lines in the sand that he doesn’t to know where he is anymore, left to stare at mirages of bi-partianship on an ever receeding horizon.

      The latest Gallup Poll shows him with his lowest approval rating during his 923 days in office– 40%. If the election was held today, he’d probably lose. His only salvation at this point is the woeful quality of his opposition. The only reason I haven’t been harder on him to this point is that, as RMuse notes in his rant against “far-left crybabies”, it tends to give aid and comfort to his enemies.

      If he loses the election, it won’t be because the left abandons him. They’ll still grudgingly vote for him. But who he will lose are all those first time voters and low information “independents” who thought he would or could actually do something to improve the economy and their lives. Arguing in the negative that things would have been a lot worse isn’t enough to capture their imagination or motivate them to show up at the polls. The low 2010 mid-term Democratic turnout that gave the Rethugs control of the House is proof of that.

      As for the rest of RMuse’s political analysis, I find much of it little more than a reguritation of White House talking points. Obama could have demanded the debt be raised as part of last year’s extension of tax cuts for the rich, but he didn’t. Failing that, he could have insisted on a clean, one sentence bill from Congress,and when he didn’t get that, he could have either invoked the 14th amendment or minted platinum coins to cover the shortfall, as the Constitution allows.

      Obama allowed himself to get sucked into the Koch Brother/PeterPeterson inspired austerity frame. He not only saw Bohener’s bet on the amount of cuts, but raised it by putting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the table, a stunning development that is going to lose him more of his base and independents than he already has. Not only that, he diluted the one concrete political advantage that Dems thought they had going into the 2012 election– the Rethugs’ radioactive vote to “reform” Medicare.

      As for the political calculation that this whole sorry episode will hurt the Rethugs more than the Dems, we’ll see. If unemployment is 10% and people don’t see the economy improving, which the bill makes all but inevitable by the continuing the transfer of wealth to the already wealthy and out of the hands of consumers who could actually stimulate demand, all this will be a dim memory. People will vote their wallets as they always do.

      As for RMuse’s final sentence, I have no idea what this means:

      “…pragmatic Americans will not forget the far-left’s unwavering support for Republicans and teabaggers.”


  2. Seeing Eye Chick

    I know. I have been bitching about his bizarre behavior for months. I don’t know who he is listening to or what his motivations are. All I know is that knowing who the gopers and baggers listen to, and what motivates them is for now, very scary.

    So what do you propose ? A different Democratic Nominee could split the ticket and then the turds win. And then what?

    1. Propagandee Propagandee


      Too early to say what I’m going to do. Been choosing the lesser of two evils for much of my life, but if the Dems sign on to this POS deal, it will be hard to tell the difference.

      At this point, the turds are probably going to win whatever we do. James Carvell nailed it when he said it’s the economy stupid. And the Obama Capitulation Plan all but guarantees that as the election grows nigh, the economy will continue to suck. (DOW had been up a hundred this morning on news of the deal but lost that and another 100 when the ISN manufacturing number was released.)

      People vote their wallets and he just gave those to his rich Wall Street buddies. No revenues in the first stage of the deal, and I don’t expect any coming out of the new bi-partisan 12 member “SuperCongress” which at the most might close a couple of tax loopholes. The super rich and the Teabaggers have won and the rest of us can go to hell.

      Obama has continued the corporatist Bush agenda, and has even exceeded the worst of Bush’s implementation of the national security state. His refusal to hold the fuckers who caused the economy to crash accountable— he threw money at them instead stupidly expecting them to let it trickle down to Main Street– has only set the stage for an even worse crash. On domestic matters, he’s moved to the right of Richard Nixon. Supporting him now would feel like selling a piece of my soul.

      As for Congress, my former hero Nancy Pelosi caved last week when she fully embraced the Pete Peterson, Catfood Commission austerity frame: ” ‘IT IS CLEAR WE MUST ENTER AN ERA OF AUSTERITY’ .” This at a time when the economy desperately needs more government stimulus, not less. More jobs, not more cuts in the social safety net. More cash in the hands of the working poor spend every dime they get, guaranteeing that the money will become a force multiplier as it filters through economy. Nothing in the bill about creating jobs or even extending unemployment insurance.

      Then there is the leader of the Progressive Caucus Raul Grijalva, who said yesterday: “…a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country. This deal fails those tests and many more.” Nice words. Yet the previous day when it was time to put his vote where his mouth is, he supported the Reid plan, supported by Obama, which was all cuts and no revenues. No doubt if his vote isn’t needed to pass the final version, he’ll make a big show about voting against it. My hero.

      No doubt a third party will now be launched in earnest, likely to fail in 2012 given the structural nature of our electoral system. Hell, I doubt if I’ll see a viable third party in my lifetime. But the longest journey begins with a single step. And at this stage in my life, my time horizon is growing.

      I’d like to think that Americans are intelligent enough to know when they are being screwed and who is doing the screwing, but it might take some really hard times to finally open their eyes. Well, now they’ve got their opportunity.

      Welcome aboard the New Gilded Age Express! Sorry, no room in First Class or Coach, but there might be some space in Baggage.

  3. Propagandee Propagandee


    Everything Sell-Out Obama is doing these days is geared to his re-election campaign. No big shock there. But it is hard to fathom the political analysis of his advisers for going down this road.

    Front page of the NY Times today:

    Entering a campaign that is shaping up as an epic clash over the parties’ divergent views on the size and role of the federal government, Republicans have changed the terms of the national debate. Mr. Obama, seeking to appeal to the broad swath of independent voters, has adopted the Republicans’ language and in some cases their policies, while signaling a willingness to break with liberals on some issues.

    That has some progressive members of Congress and liberal groups arguing that by not fighting for more stimulus spending, Mr. Obama could be left with an economy still producing so few jobs by Election Day that his re-election could be threatened. Besides turning off independents, Mr. Obama risks alienating Democratic voters already disappointed by his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and his failure to close the Guantánamo Bay prison, end the Bush-era tax cuts and enact a government-run health insurance system.

    “The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future.

    But he said, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party — young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos — are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”

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