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.
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.
"If you try to imagine the Republican consensus after a potential losing election, it will look like this. It will recognize that its harsh partisan rhetoric turned off voters, and will urgently want to woo Latinos, while holding on to as much as possible of the party’s domestic policy agenda. And oh, by the way, the party will be casting about for somebody to lead it."
— Jonathan Chait, getting almost everything completely wrong. In the wake of a 2012 Presidential defeat, the GOP will immediately declare that the loss was really due to voter fraud, white voter intimidation, “massive” negative spending by The Democrat and Unions, and a generalized malaise caused by Romney not having been “conservative enough.” The only answer: go more conservative. This is quite consistently how they react to all electoral setbacks; a pattern they’ve been following for these past two decades or more. Narrow electoral victories for the GOP are massive mandates; losses are the result stolen elections or otherwise non-binding outcomes that were exacerbated by a lack of true-believer conservatives in whatever positions were at stake. Why suddenly stop now? What has changed? What possible political or strategic upside do they see in “playing along”? Why would they even know how to legislate from compromise and whatever passes for centrism? Seriously, I’m asking; they who hold these offices and will (largely) hold them post-2012 have likely never worked in this way in their careers. But somewhere around lunchtime on January 20, 2013 they are suddenly getting their opposing number on the horn to talk real business? Seriously, we are meant to believe this, Jonathan (and, for that matter, Obama)?
A loss at the top of the ticket in 2012 will not be a moment for reflection, or a “centrist move” that’s been likened to the fever breaking. It will, instead, be an occasion to take it even further right. Impeachments will become a daily affair. Nothing will move. Default will be used as the default hostage for everything. And etc… Basically just like it is now, but about 100x worse. Based on recent and not-so-recent history, nothing could possibly be more clear to everyone outside the DC commentariat: if Obama wins, we will be counting our lucky stars that gridlock happens to result in long-term positive policy outcomes over the next 9 months or so. Because nothing else will be happening other than weekly or even daily Constitutional Crises.
But, as I said, Chait does get one thing right: they’ll be looking for a leader. And but also it won’t be Jeb Bush. Think more along the lines of Bachmann but even more crazy. That’s who will emerge. Basically whatever lunatic gets the most play out of the most popular impeachment movement. Maybe that’s Santorum, but I suspect he will seem rather retrograde and far too Liberal to play in 2016. We may look back at him wistfully by then as the far-right GOP candidate who was pretty palatable by comparison. Because one of them is going to win sooner or later.
"We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. We should welcome it. It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction."
— John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, tipping his hand. I’d say this is the first time you can see real fear of the status quo. More broadly, that doing nothing will fix most of the deficit over the near term by eliminating the Bush tax cuts and a few other money-sapping provisions. Were it deemed reasonably likely that Obama will win reelection in the fall, they’d quickly calculate that the only chance the GOP has for full extension of the Bush tax cuts is to force the issue before that happens. You do that by holding the full faith and credit of these United States hostage. Again. And the only way they get there is by reneging on their previous agreements and hope nobody remembers that they’re doing so. Nothing that has transpired in the past 20 years leads me to believe they are wrong on this count.
Sadly for them: they think this cunning scheme to yet again needlessly and recklessly and by choice yet again delivering the nation to the economic precipice has the benefit of being a big political winner for them. Sadly for the rest of us: you can only put this particular gun to the hostage’s head so many times before it gets fired. Maybe this time, maybe next. But soon.
"I’ve talked to enough members over the last 24 hours who believe that, ‘Hey, we don’t like this two month extension [but] if you can get this fixed, why not do the right thing for the American people, even though it’s not exactly what we want."
— John Boehner, completely misunderstanding the position of his caucus. Either it’s exactly what we want or we blow up the country. Right, John? Right?
I’m not sure how many times the Republicans have to say the same stuff, plainly and in modern English, before it begins to sink in to the minds of those in the media that they, the Republicans in Congress, want Obama to fail in his bid for reelection and to achieve that goal, they need the American economy to fail.
You, as a GOP House mover-and-shaker (aka Tea Klan fanatic), are faced with the newly rising popularity of Obama (e.g. he’s in the 50s for the first time in a while), the first positive news on housing starts in a long, long time (driven more or less entirely by huge demand for apartments, since vanishingly few folks can qualify to buy houses anymore, at least not considered relative to the bubble excess and the fact that home foreclosures are still relatively high), a suddenly more optimistic public attitude re: the economy, and none of your own GOP candidates for the nomination are exactly setting the woods on fire, and may well be instead burning down the house relative to your broader chances both up- and down-ticket come 2012.
All that considered, do you, the rank and file Tea Klan fanatic, feel comfortable handing that same Obama you want to fail a sure-fired way to boost the economy even more as 2012 rolls along? Or do you want to apply the emergency brakes? With this most recent nonsense, I think no sensate being could still deny that we have our answer.
Now, of course, there is some subtlety to their position. They don’t want the extension of this particular tax break because it a) doesn’t help their prime audience in any way (aka the 1%), because those folks either don’t draw traditional paychecks and/or said pay is a relatively tiny fraction of their entire portfolio, so they could care less and won’t notice either way b) it legitimately does help the broader economy and quickly since we’re in an aggregate demand slump and this is cash in the pockets of the 99% who actually create that aggregate demand in, uh, aggregate, and c) is a quick and relatively easy way to sand the gears of the economy, and they think they can sell it to their crazed idiocratic supporters through ever-willing conduits like FOXnews and the Wall Street Journal (The latter of which is already overboard) using such time-honored tools as goalpost moving and poison-pill additions. No one will ever know, and if they do, we can convince them to blame “Democrat leaders in the Senate.” Who, for once, have grown a pair and are doing their part to (rightly) hang this on the GOP. They even have a “Tea Klan tax hike” style meme going. It’s like they’ve finally gotten hip to the way the other side messaged in, oh, 1992.
But frankly this is a pretty simple calculation for the GOP. Braveheart and all the rest are just window dressing that, as usual, the MSM is lapping up. The real story, the one far too shrill to actually report: Anyone or anything getting in the way slowing the economy can kindly go die in the streets. Tax proposals benefiting the 1%: always welcome. Wedge issues that reliably bring this or that fractional percent of old white voters to the polls in November: always welcome. Anything that might actually help the economy and, by extension, Obama: forget about it. And they have.
"A country that has been now since 1963 relentlessly in the courts driving God out of public life shouldn’t be surprised at all the problems we have. Because we’ve in fact attempted to create a secular country, which I think is frankly a nightmare."
— Newt Gingrich, disgraced former Speaker of the House and occasional front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination of 2012, sharing his thoughts on what the real problems facing the country are.
Last I checked, the founders were the ones that attempted to create a secular country. What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is not entirely clear to these people? You get to have all the religion you want, Newt, and be sure to include infinite free divorces for all God-fearing Men in your personal catechism. But, guess what? You don’t get to establish Your Personal God at the head of our government, no matter how well meaning you may or may not be. There is simply no other way to interpret the Constitution on this. Which hasn’t stopped them from trying.
Compare and contrast Jonathan Chait’s approach to Paul Ryan’s fantasyworld with dread Liberal Mouthpiece NPR’s view from nowhere approach in which Ryan is simply allowed to say whatever he wants, without challenge or even follow up of any kind.
Day by day, hour by hour, brick by brick NPR is building its own tomb. Once they’ve chased off all thinking individuals from their “coverage,” a defunding move by the GOP will be a non-event. NPR has vastly higher listenership than FOXnews and still, occasionally, reports facts. Therefore NPR must cease to exist. This is who they are. This is what they do. They want to destroy you, NPR, and you are going out of your way to help.
"…this is the way the right goes after everyone who stands in their way: accuse them of everything, no matter how implausible or contradictory the accusations are. Progressives are atheistic socialists who want to impose Sharia law. Class warfare is evil; also, John Kerry is too rich. And so on."
— Paul Krugman, sole member of the mainstream media who seems to understand this simple concept.
"Does that mean that you would raise taxes on the 47 percent of Americans who currently don’t pay taxes?"
— Anderson Cooper, buying into the entirely wrong, entirely Tea Klan promulgated notion that about half of Americans pay no taxes.
Anderson, and everyone else, everyone, every single adult citizen pays federal taxes in this country or they are breaking the law. Even this 47% to which you refer still pays payroll taxes related to Social Security, Medicare, and etc… if they are employed. However, they may well earn too little money to exceed the standard individual/married filing jointly deduction. Thus, they effectively pay no federal income tax. They do, however, still pay all the rest of it. Period. They do, however, still pay state and local taxes. Period. In any meaningful case: This adds up to a lot more than one dollar (which was Bachmann’s suggested “solution” to the “issue”). But that’s all too boring or too partisan to mention, apparently.
In a functioning society, the media individual selected to mediate this event might just see fit to mention this. Worth noting that, in our society, that sort of thing never, ever happens, and this tax thing is but one of literally hundreds of such opportunities for meaningful intervention in last night’s debate. The level of foreign aid, the current funding totals for defense (with regard to the suggested cut), the real impact of immigration on the economy of this country, foreclosures, and on and on and on.
And so the Republic crumbles.