And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"Obama is still trying to win over the Serious People, by showing that he’s willing to do what they consider Serious — which just about always means sticking it to the poor and the middle class. The idea is that they will finally drop the false equivalence, and admit that he’s reasonable while the GOP is mean-spirited and crazy.
But it won’t happen. Watch the Washington Post editorial page over the next few days. I hereby predict that it will damn Obama with faint praise, saying that while it’s a small step in the right direction, of course it’s inadequate — and anyway, Obama is to blame for Republican intransigence, because he could make them accept a Grand Bargain that includes major revenue increases if only he would show Leadership (TM)."
— Paul Krugman gets it right on the rumored Obama budget. This is the classic misstep; sure, it’s purely symbolic, but it moves the discussion to the right, damages what should be a through-line about the worth (and therefore the inviolability of) Social Security, and sets the stage for a Grand Bargain that is even further to the right than this “symbolic” proposal. After all, this is now Obama’s starting position. Any “compromise” will by necessity “hurt” Obama a little more in exchange for exactly zero GOP concessions and, additionally and without regard to any possible outcome, hands the GOP a readymade 2014 advertising campaign about Democrat cuts to your Social Security. It’s just the way Washington works now. And Obama’s people still haven’t figured it out and, apparently, never will.
"Republicans have very decidedly not agreed to any kind of tax reform that raises federal revenues. This is the whole crux of the debate. They have never agreed to anything other than revenue-neutral tax reform."
— Kevin Drum, saying what should be printed in the maximum size possible, laminated in armor-strength plastic, and posted on the wall of every news agency large and small. Every single news outlet gets this simple, straightforward fact utterly and completely wrong every single time they venture here. Wishing hard and clapping louder will not make the GOP sensible. Neither will acting as though they want a “sensible” deal when they have made no such overtures, large or small.
Reporting this as though both parties are equally at fault is doing The Republic no favors.
"If you stabilize the debt in some reasonable way, we’re going to have growth. The unemployment rate should come down."
— Bob Woodward, very serious person, opines on the economic situation during a Meet the Press appearance.
While I certainly don’t anticipate David Gregory will ever produce a substantive followup, one could at least assume anyone in the employ of a major media conglomerate could muster the five whys. You wouldn’t even have to break out all five to demonstrate that Woodward is comically wrong and furthermore has not one fucking idea about what he’s saying.
"[David] Brooks begins [his column today] by noting that the Grand Bargain on the deficit, which he has spent the last two years relentlessly touting, is not actually possible. Why is it impossible? Because, he writes, “A political class that botched the fiscal cliff so badly are not going to be capable of a gigantic deal on complex issues.”
Oh, the political class? That’s funny. In 2011, Obama offered an astonishingly generous budget deal to House Republicans, and Brooks argued at the time that if the GOP turned the deal down, it would prove their “fanaticism.” Naturally, they turned it down. Obama continues to offer a bargain including higher revenue through tax reform in return for lower spending on retirement programs, but Republicans refuse to consider higher taxes. So, in summary, this proves “the political class” is to blame."
— Jonathan Chait thoroughly destroys David Brooks. You should really treat yourself to the whole thing.
"[The Hastert] rule is completely dead. The Democrats now effectively control the floor because nothing ‘big’ will come to the floor without knowing in advance that lots of Democrats support it. That gives the Democrats tremendous power in a body where the minority is not designed to have much power."
Unnamed Republican Aide, likening the appropriate and intended function of the House to “tremendous power.” How we can have an MSM that drones on and on about “reaching across the aisle” in the face of a reality that includes a de facto rule stating that nothing moves unless it will pass with only majority votes is and long has been beyond me.
Even still, former Speaker Hastert’s own reaction to the weakening and even ending of his “rule” is all the more telling:
Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when you start making deals when you have to get Democrats to pass the legislation, you are not in power anymore.
So, then, making a deal at all is tantamount to surrendering all power. Breathtaking.
Can we please at least agree that vaguely worded letters sent to the President do not constitute a legislative proposal? Or did the CBO start scoring letters that are 90% vacuous talking points; add to that the fact that these very empty talking points were soundly crushed by plebiscite just weeks ago?
Likewise, slightly less vague details provided on background do not a serious proposal make. These details are provided on background precisely so they may be disavowed at any moment. This is not “Boehner’s Proposal.” It is bullshit. But, even then, the GOP proposes extracting from the backs of the poor, elderly, and infirm a dollar value less than half of what Obama attains by slightly inconveniencing the very rich. Apparently this fact was not worth noting, background or otherwise.
Our media entertainment complex finds none of this worth noting. Math is hard and so very boring, but can’t we at least admit the vacuity and shady sourcing of this “plan” when reporting it? Apparently not.
"Obama ignored vast swaths of his agenda [while campaigning], barely mentioning climate change or education reform, but by God did he hammer home the fact that his winning would bring higher taxes on the rich. He raised it so relentlessly that at times it seemed out of proportion even to me, and I wrote a book on the topic. But polls consistently showed the public was on his side."
— Jonathan Chait, who may as well be yelling at the clouds because, even though he’s right, it seems the forces of the status quo (MSM and GOP alike) can and will move heaven and earth if need be to preserve the current Bush-Obama tax cut rate for the very richest ~2% of Americans rather than simply revert to current law and let those rates on income above $250k move up by (gasp) ~2.5% to the Clinton era rates. Far better to memory hole all that Romney/Obama debating, claim the election was shockingly “idea free,” that nearly 4M extra popular voters and 332 electoral votes isn’t a mandate, and demand the ever-popular grand bargain, which, if course, is only grand or a bargain for the wealthiest 2% of Americans, many or most of whom likely did not vote for Obama. The rest of you: go die in the streets.
John Chait looks at “moderate” Republican apologists and doesn’t like what he sees:
[Michael Gerson] wants a specific assurance that Ryan doesn’t plan to roll back government at the expense of the poor and vulnerable? We already have a specific, written assurance that it will come at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. That assurance is called “the Ryan plan.” It details absolutely enormous cuts to programs for the poor. And it’s not like Ryan was backing away from those cuts in his speech. The Ryan poverty speech was about how throwing poor people off their government-funded nutritional assistance and health care would force them off their lazy butts and make them go get a job, plus private charity something something.
It is remarkable how Republicans have managed to hold together a coalition of not only voters but leading public intellectuals who simply refuse to face up to what their party actually stands for.
Not only do the Serious People refuse to face up to their own blind spots; that would be bad enough but ultimately tolerable…just don’t bother reading them. Far worse, though, these self-appointed Serious Ones are group that provides the political oxygen for the increasingly right wing nutjobs that are standing for office around the country by painting them with an air of reasonability and acceptability.
If (to name but one example cited above) they would face the harsh, detailed in black and white reality of the Ryan Plan, and then call these folks out early and often on this kind of nonsense, it would end. You wouldn’t be able to talk about it in Serious company, because you’d know you would be called out nationally, explicitly, point-by-point, and painstakingly made to defend it all. Or, perhaps, the nation would collectively decide “yes, that’s what we want.” But this crap of pretending none of it exists, that there is no factual proof that this is the plan, or intimating that it isn’t what they’d really do when given the chance is the worst of all possible worlds. And, most infuriatingly of all, these fuckers self-aggrandizingly think of themselves as the Serious People in the room. They are nothing of the sort. They are, perhaps, the least serious people in all of American thought.
Intellectual honesty. Empirical reality. Rigor. None of these things are hallmarks of David Brooks, Michael Gerson, or any of these so called moderates. When are we or they planning to do something about that? Looking at you, New York Times.
Mitt Romney: our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917.
Barack Obama: I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works.You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
Sean Hannity: Marines still use bayonets, so maybe somebody should educate the president about how the military works.
This urge among conservatives to refight the 2008 election is as futile as it is bizarre, premised as it is on the existence of a secret video or document from Obama’s “hidden” past that will expose the moderate Democrat as the hardcore left-wing radical they already believe him to be. But as [FOXnews contributor Brian] Kilmeade pointed out, Obama’s actual policy record — the only thing that actually matters — provides no proof of that alleged radicalism. Thus conservatives are put in the paradoxical situation of relying more and more heavily on “secret” videos and documents from Obama’s past that become less relevant with each passing day of the Obama presidency.
But, but, but: Obama was never vetted. That’s the most important thing.
It’s as though the GOP collectively ignored just how fierce that Democratic primary in the run-up to the 2008 elections was. And, frankly, one of the wages of their epic epistemic closure is just that: inattention to just what it is The Democrat gets up to day to day.
So let’s recap: Anything and everything worth using against candidate Obama was used against candidate Obama back in 2008. Now, they’re always certain they’ve got the super-secret powder-keg that McCain either didn’t know about or wouldn’t use; mostly these arrive in the form of hyping years-old video that, in this case as in almost every case, is and was easily available on YouTube. Predictably, the dread Librul Media is somehow convinced to hyperventilate about each of these and “report” on the countdown to the latest nothing-burger’s release. Drudge is, after all, still the Village’s assignment editor.
But, as Media Matters sagely points out: Even if GOP operatives had found the super-duper evidence that in some past speech Obama admitted that he hates the whites, wants to take their guns, and plans to turn ‘Merica into a socialist dreamworld that would make Castro blush, how could that possibly be more important and/or relevant than four years of governing that shows trends towards absolutely none of these things. Quite the opposite, actually. Even in the most fevered of swamps, that’s one hell of a Bill Ayers plan; get Obama elected, govern center-right for four years (to better court the full fury of his original and most passionate base, apparently). Then, upon achieving some narrowly figured reelection, blow the doors off and reveal the super-secret socialist masterpiece of a plan that will pass a still uniformly intransigent Congress, uh, some way or other. Genius!
Sharia law, here we come. It’s what Reverend Wright has been preaching all along, I tells ya.