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Posted at 6:16 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* With House Dems set to hold a high-stakes vote tomorrow on extending just the middle class tax cuts, it's worth noting that a fair amount of moderate Dems may buck the leadership and vote No.

A partial list of Dems who may vote against extending the middle class tax cuts: Heath Shuler, Jason Altmire, Gary Peters, Glenn Nye, Dan Boren, and Joe Donnelly.

These are Dems who want to see all the tax cuts extended. The question is whether they will oppose a middle class tax cut as a result.

* Also: It doesn't help Dems when you have Reps. like Rush Holt out there arguing that some families over $250,000 "don't consider themselves rich."

* Questionable assertion of the day, from David Broder:

Both sides have been sobered by the midterm elections and have emerged chastened and prepared to talk.

That must be why a sobered and chastened Mitch McConnell released a letter just today vowing to block all Dem initiatives unless Republicans get their way on the tax cuts for the wealthy. Moving right along...

* Speaking of McConnell's threat letter, Jonathan Bernstein has a really interesting suggestion: Dems now have the perfect pretext to respond with the nuclear option, i.e., doing away with the filibuster...

In response to the GOP threat to hold up absolutely everything in the lame duck session apart from tax cuts and appropriations, there's nothing to stop Harry Reid from going to the Senate floor, blasting Republicans for obstructing the business of the nation, and threatening to go nuclear -- to eliminate the filibuster by majority vote -- unless Republicans knock it off.

* Ezra Klein has a nice post endorsing the filibuster reform proposal from Senator Jeff Merkley I wrote about earlier.

* Contra McConnell's threat letter, two more moderate GOP Senators, Dick Lugar and Lisa Murkowski, may be willing to vote to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell even if the Bush tax cut standoff isn't resolved.

* Indeed, as Brian Beutler notes, when Harry Reid forced the issue on Wall Street reform, he broke the GOP filibuster. Time to do the same on DADT?

* And: Joe Lieberman, who's been working DADT hard behind the scenes, reiterates that he's still convinced GOP moderates are there to support repeal in the end.

* Steve Benen has a nice overview of the increasingly interesting battle over ethanol subsidies.

* And a bloc of Senators has now come out in defense of the subsidies. I'm telling, you, this is a story to watch.

* Senator Jon Kyl says New START is on hold unless Reublicans get the tax cuts resolved to their satisfaction by Monday at the latest.

* Which prompts a very good question from Josh Rogin:

"Did the price of New START just go up by $700 billion?"

Apparently so! Clearly, the midterms left Kyl "sobered" and "chastened" too.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 1, 2010; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights, taxes  
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Comments

Greg

All the nonsense you have written over the past month has BLOWN UP in your face.

Clearly, your stated desire for votes on the tax cuts has imploded along with Don't Ask -

McConnell took care of all of that in one letter - faster than Vanna White could turn a letter.


Your talk, and the liberals' talk of forcing difficult votes has now sabotaged the progress of your cherished Don't Ask repeal - does any of your rhetoric make sense now ???


Liberal Rubes - completely out-of-touch with the American People - completely shallow in their thinking - completely ridiculous in their disregard for economics - and completely out-of-touch with the basic principles of politics.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey needy hungry children of America, G-F-U!

We have more important things to spend money on, like nuclear weapons.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/12/republicans_block_child_nutrition_bill.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Stop the spending!

(except for millions upon millions of dollars in federal ethanol subsidies... those we need to extend "for the longest term possible")

Love,

Chuck Grassley
Kit Bond
Sam Brownback
John Thune
Mike Johanns
Mark Kirk

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

What else? Lets see...The Justice Department has cleared Senator John Ensign of criminal allegations. Oh look, Reuters says Goldman Sachs needed to be bailed out [On one occasion in mid-October 2008, the bank borrowed about $24 billion in overnight credit across two of its units. Despite that extensive government support, Goldman Sachs' Chief Executive Lloyd [God's Work!] Blankfein said multiple times they did not need help during the financial crisis.

Hope and Change? I want my money back.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see the Democrats use the nuclear option but they don't have the balls. Reid has no spine.

I want to see them make the GOP filibuster tax cut extensions for 98% just because the rich didn't get their way. I think it will send a clear message is they force them to actually filibuster...

Posted by: soapm | December 1, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

What else?

America's global fight against AIDS
By George W. Bush

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/30/AR2010113005167.html

Posted by: sbj3 | December 1, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

All, gaze upon that David Broder quote.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 1, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

From Ethan's school meal link:
"It's not about making our children healthy and active," said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. "We all want to see our children healthy and active. This is about spending and the role of government and the size of government — a debate about whether we're listening to our constituents or not."

From Ethanol letter:
"...extend the subsidies...for the longest term possible".

TeaParty heads will explode in 3..2..1...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

It makes no sense for Nancy Pelosi to hold a vote while Obama's people are in negotiations on the subject.

Call that bipartisanship ???


Why do the House democrats want to set the tone for the next two years in this way ???

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the House vote on taxes tomorrow be successful, and then passed in the Senate by reconciliation.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 1, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Re Broder - It's not terribly difficult to imagine a weekend cocktail party at the Broder household, the attendees and the conversations, the little triangle sandwiches, the Blackwater staff surrounding the house and the black staff serving, the hat-rack with the powdered wigs in orderly arrangement...

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"TeaParty heads will explode in 3..2..1..."

They won't explode.

They don't understand irony nor hypocrisy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

@Greg, about that Broder quote....are you trying to make us nauseous ...or what?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 1, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Counter-narrative sbj3, it can therefore be safely ignored. Also, que standard lefty Jesse Helms shibboleth and perhaps a "but Bush lied and people died!" excreta and the subject is thankfully back on safe ground.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 1, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

John Kline can do reconciliation too, let them drink ethanol.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Sue,

Pretty sure no reconciliation. Only one per year, Obamacare gobbled up that one, and no new one because there's no new budget.

Bernie, how is Broder's party any different than, say, a Kennedy party?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 1, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Why aren't the democrats really pushing the unemployment extension???

A little confused as to why that isn't a high priority for the liberals.

Clearly, the democrats care more about their social agenda than about the unemployed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey Greg, Don't be harshin on my buddy Rush Holt. He's right -- a family income above $250,000 doesn't get you much in some parts of the country and certainly doesn't make you rich. And you fail to point out that Holt supports the $250,000 cut off; you are deliberately misleading your readers. Personally, I think the cuts should go to anyone below $500,000 as those folks will spent their money. Above that, and the tax cut money goes into investment.

Posted by: mercerreader | December 1, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "gaze upon that David Broder quote."

Truly merciless stupidity. Just merciless.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

All, gaze upon that David Broder quote.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 1, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I had read that piece before you linked it, Greg, and I'll tell you I actually feel pity for Broder. It's as if he decided to write that rebirth-of-bipartisanship article no matter what, daggum it and evidence had nothing to do with it. Very Republican.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Do the liberals understand that their rhetoric on the tax cuts has SUNK Don't Ask, Don't Tell ???


Why in the world would ANY Republican want to cooperate with the democrats on the liberal agenda items when they are acting the way they have been on the tax cuts.


It is astonishing - the democrats promised the country bipartisanship and compromise in 2008, and their behavior has been nothing but blame and a complete lack of cooperation on any subject.

Shameful.

And the deceitful commentary coming from the left, the hateful statements about the "rich," anyone "old," anyone "white" or "male." Old white men are the enemy, right ?


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The Conservatives have a new homeland at the Washington Post

My people have been wandering for such a long time through the hostile lands of Chris Cillizza and Greg Sargent


http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2010/12/is_civility_out_of_date.html


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I now submit my solution to Greg's riddle:

Q: When is a tax cut really a tax hike?

A. When the Democrats do it.

ba-doom!

O&O.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

jesuschristinheaven! There's no much in all the wikileaks diplomatic cables that I might make some sort of knowledgeable comment on. But today, the NYT has a piece on cables from US diplomats stationed in Canada. If these represent the quality of diplomatic analyses elsewhere, you guys are in really serious trouble...

"The embassy also said Mr. Obama’s decision to make Ottawa his first foreign trip as president would “do much to diminish — temporarily, at least — Canada’s habitual inferiority complex vis-à-vis the U.S. and its chronic but accurate complaint that the U.S. pays far less attention to Canada than Canada does to us.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/world/americas/02wikileaks-canada.html?_r=2&hp

What Canadians these incredible twits might be talking to or imagining, I truly have no idea. I suppose it's possible (maybe even likely) that there are people in places of elite power in Canada who think in such a manner (we have twits too) but this is so far from what any Canadian I've ever met might be thinking that one wants to bang their head against a wall.

Canadians do not frigging care about any Robin and Batman valuation of things. That's not our framing of the world, it's America's framing of the world.

What Canadians do care about re the US is, before all else, that it frames the world in such a manner and therefore is often about as bright as your average 7 year old.

Unbelievable.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

suekzoo1 at 6:38 PM


In order for reconciliation to be utilized, the Senate FIRST has to pass a version of the bill.

So, reconciliation is NOT available, even with all the arrogance and lack of compromise from the liberals.


__________________________


Anyone see the Food Health Safety bill - the Senate passed a tax bill before the House - and now the House democrats are shooting it down for violating the Constitutional procedures....

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

U.S. pays far less attention to Canada than Canada does to us.”


___________________________


How many Canadian hockey teams are in the NHL ???


Next thing they will want is us to start up Curling leagues everywhere.


Can we go back to ignoring Canada now ?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Today's Broder quote is just a continuation of the idiocy from a couple of days ago, when the Dean of the Beltway Scribes opined that the Republicans should work with Obama, under the principle "trust but verify." In other words, the Republicans should treat Obama the way Reagan treated the Soviet Union.

What will it take to put Broder out to pasture? Even his vocabulary is a quarter century out of date.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 1, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but Bernie, what do Canadians think about American Exceptionalism?

On that note, I'm going to take you up on that suggestion and go bang my head against a wall.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Bearclaw

The liberal agenda was finally buried today with the McConnell letter.

All the Don't Ask stuff, Amnesty for illegal aliens - what else are the liberals trying to jam through???


________________________


The point that the democrats offer NOTHING to improve the economy during the lame duck is valid - AND SCARY.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Ethan said: "Yeah but Bernie, what do Canadians think about American Exceptionalism?

On that note, I'm going to take you up on that suggestion and go bang my head against a wall."

Well, at least put on some appropriate one-chord music.

We consider "american exceptionalism" the same creature as Imperial Japanese exceptionalism or German exceptionalism or Brit exceptionalism or Soviet exceptionalism or Iranian exceptionalism.

Dangerous.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Greg, with all this talk of sobriety and taking care of ethanol, don't you wish you never detoxed? It isn't worth it. Raise a glass to anesthesia. After all, we're on the road to nowhere, we'll end up in the ditch no matter what...[maniacal laughter]....

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

B,

What's up with the "we" all of a sudden?
Thought you were borderless.

I'd agree: Japan, Germany, and the USSR all definitely found American Exceptionalism very, very dangerous indeed.

God Willing so will the Mullahs (BeesPeaUponThem).

Posted by: tao9 | December 1, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey! If Canada fell in the woods, would anyone hear it?

I'm kidding...really. I Heart the GWN.

Jeopardy Answer: An egomaniac nation with an inferiority complex.

dah day dada...dah day da...dah day dada DAH dadadadada....

Posted by: tao9 | December 1, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

@tao - I slip back and forth across the porous border depending on what's in my pockets and the market for it.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Bernie

Canada is taking a serious hit today


Maybe they should think about doing something else - like hope for global warming that will never happen.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"I slip back and forth across the porous border depending on what's in my pockets and the market for it."

Bernie, if you get rich from "free" trade, will you "create" jobs?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post opened up a new Conservative blog today - by Jennifer Rubin


Don't forget to take a look and comment


http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2010/12/is_civility_out_of_date.html

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I really think it's in everyone's best interest to just let all the Bush tax cuts sunset at this point. The linkage between current and future policy needs to be broken before anything productive can be accomplished.

It isn't as if we can actually afford the middle class cuts either. Regardless of whether you think more deficit spending is justified or not, it's still deficit spending. For better or worse, if we keep running up more and more debt, taxes still have to keep going up just to pay the interest. We're damned either way.

Ideally, after the current bill expires, perhaps Democrats could propose a more modest middle-class tax break that's offset by spending cuts and dare Republicans to vote against it. They need to learn how to play hardball.

Posted by: CalD | December 1, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

@shrink - it's not really a good example of free trade. There are biker clubs on both sides who have institutionalized tariff protocols.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

"...not really a good example of free trade."

Yes, like the bikers, we know there is no free trade. There are only the rules of "free" trade and how the people who make them relate to each other, the process we call politics, or class warfare, or the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and so on.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Any argument with the following?

"Indeed, I don't quite recall any entity producing as much bipartisan contempt across the American political spectrum as WikiLeaks has"

It is interesting, isn't it? But what follows is far more interesting...

"as usual, for authoritarian minds, those who expose secrets are far more hated than those in power who commit heinous acts using secrecy as their principal weapon."

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/11/30/wikileaks/index.html

There really is something completely insane going on here.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

The democrats have to realize what is really dragging down the economy is Obama's health insurance increases.


And there are going to be more increases next year.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

For folks here, if they have the time and the inclination, a debate linked below between two very intelligent and educated men, William Buckley and Noam Chomsky.

Aside from the observations one can make ten seconds in (nothing like this exists presently on TV, to the great detriment of all) there are some illuminating thought experiments one can bring to bear; eg, imagine Mike Pense or Sarah Palin or Dick Armey or Inhofe as a third person here.

As much as I regret some of the consequences of Buckley's reign on the right, there's much to commend as well.

And who, in the modern right, could allow themselves the ideological sacrilege of even inviting Chomsky onto his/her show quite aside from engaging in a serious and respectful dialogue? The point there being extremism and the epistemic closure which always must attend extremism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYlMEVTa-PI

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

After electoral repudiation, Dems have perfect justification to use the nuclear option to prevent "obstruction" of their lame duck shenanigans.

Righ, makes total sense.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 1, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Bernie

Did you catch David Corn's piece re wikileaks and the Spanish threat of prosecution of the Bush six?

http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/12/wikileaks-cable-obama-quashed-torture-investigation

And the Greenwald piece was spot on. I would add that the best case would be both a corporate and military complex where there was no need for a wikileaks.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 1, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"The point there being extremism and the epistemic closure which always must attend extremism."

We understand that, every time we read your comments damning conservatives and spurning the engagement of ideas -- since ideas different from yours are uninteresting and not worthy of attention.

Just think. WFB was a great friend and fan of Rush, and he appointed that proprietor of propaganda Rich Lowry his successor.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 1, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I think now that Republicans are holding the Start treaty hostage to extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone, deficit be damned, the best thing Dems could do is fund the Government and present one bill for the extension of unemployment benefits and then call it quits for the lame duck session. Let the ethanol subsidies expire, let the tax cuts expire, and just admit that we don't have the votes in the Senate to pass anything else. Oh and let the deficit commission report float down the Potomac.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 1, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Could extensive apologetica for the Khmer Rouge and Hezbollah be construed as "epistemic closure" or merely a little frisson for a harmless grey-headed totalitarian?

My favorite Buckley debate video is when he almost clocked Olde Beau Vidal.

Posted by: tao9 | December 1, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

First Krugman, now Kos? Isn't Skipsailing always mentioning the various stages of grief? Looks like were on "anger".

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/12/1/924482/-The-American-people-want-gridlock

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 1, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"Could extensive apologetica for the Khmer Rouge and Hezbollah be construed as "epistemic closure" or merely a little frisson for a harmless grey-headed totalitarian?"

Stop it, that is not fair. You are supposed to be fencing, not making jokes about killing. Because if you want to talk about killing fields, it gets ugly fast.
American exceptionalism has to stay out of this.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

McWing, I've been stuck on bargaining for a long time but I'm going to just breeze through depression (it's not in my nature) and move on to acceptance. :(

Posted by: lmsinca | December 1, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Last line of Buckley v Chomsky video:

"Obviously, if you can't distinguish between the nature of our venture in Guatemala and the nature of the Soviet Union's in Prague, we have a real difficulty." (Then the gimlet wink & the Firing Line bell!)

Ain't it the truth.

Posted by: tao9 | December 1, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Can't imagine you depressed lms, too much energy, good sense, and humor...most of all too busy! ;>)

Posted by: tao9 | December 1, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

tao, I don't know about the rest but busy is good. I've been working diligently on our amazon account and it's paying off this year, lots of sales and we've moved to the top 20 in two different categories with 4 products. Yippee, money. Also started a new food bank at the senior complex where I volunteer and we're adding fresh fruit and veggies from the local farmer's market on Sat. Two birds one stone.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 1, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

This is sort of funny in a perverted way for libs. If we can't laugh at ourselves (or Obama) (or Broder) what good are we?

http://firedoglake.com/2010/12/01/late-night-the-future-is-revealed-holy-toboggans/

Posted by: lmsinca | December 1, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I've decided seniors need to drop dead or get back to work.

Seniors do not contribute, you just want to feather your death bed and yeah, I'll say it, you don't deserve what you stole. The whole debate now is how to prop up your rotting bodies; politics is all about how to get you to vote for yourselves one more time.

This is all about productivity, American Competitiveness is compromised by oldsters driving around in circles. Old Republican voters need to get a job, or get a begging spot at a freeway exit. You deserve it. Votes have consequences.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca at 9:27 writes;


I would add that the best case would be both a corporate and military complex where there was no need for a wikileaks.


_____________________________

Obviously this is an extremely unrealistic approach to foreign policy and military policy.


AND this is the kind of attitude which got us into a tremendous amount of trouble in the Middle East: in the 90s Clinton pulled most of our intelligence resources out of the Middle East.


That led directly to the "intelligence blindness" which led to 9/11.


The democrats never learn. Bush never made a speech directly blaming Clinton for this policy - however it is all true.


Bush probably should have made that speech - and layed it out, so that all the liberals can understand clearly the terrible consequences of their unrealistic ideas.


NOW we have hundreds, and thousands of liberals who have simply no idea what they are talking about on foreign policy - and perhaps Obama does not have a firm understanding of this issue either.


The Presidency is no place for on-the-job training, and yet the liberals have the nation stuck here with Obama.


The liberals have really hurt his country by forcing us to have such an inexperienced and unqualified person making decisions.


Zero Confidence - if you really thought about it and was honest, you would have zero confidence as well -


Apparently getting a liberal to be honest about Obama lately has been difficult

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

The Presidency is no place for on-the-job training

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

---

Agreed. As the results of 2001 - 2009 have shown so vividly.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 2, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Oy. what is *it* about the Right that doesn't get irony? Jeebus.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 2, 2010 4:13 AM | Report abuse

This is classic Right-Winger /fail...

I'm gonna give Quarterback the benefit of the doubt because I'm generous and because its prolly been a year since we first locked horns:

"The Constitution takes precedence over decisions that misconstrued it."

Which part of the ol' Constitution are you talking about? The "3/5ths of a human" part? No. You are too smart for that, right? So, please, for the edification of your constituents, what, exactly, do you mean?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 2, 2010 5:33 AM | Report abuse

@Ims " Did you catch David Corn's piece"

Hadn't caught his piece but found the coverage somewhere else. But we presumed such was going on, yes? Given the continuity of personnel and philosophies within State and the intel communities over time and through administrations, there's an obvious tendency for new tenants in the WH to go into a protective mode in things like this. And the tendency of citizens to allow it, indeed, to prefer it.

Greenwald's point is tough to deny. The rage against information releases like this does make an appearance on right and left. But it's also the case that the it is far more common/predictable on the right and far more vindictive as well. I see Gingrich is really going full-bore on expanding the 'terrorism" framing for Assange - we should consider him an "enemy combatant" because of the danger such releases pose to America. A criterion or framing which can quickly expand further to atheists, gays, etc which brought on 9/11.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Should also add, there's s mind-twisting irony where anyone self-describing as libertarian/tea partier who then goes on to insist on protection for his/her government as it engages in such levels of secrecy re crimes/deceits committed. Government bad if it holds a moral responsibility to help the suffering or if it redistributes wealth (pssst like Reagan did) or if it puts curbs on corporate pollution etc but then doing its proper role in that other stuff. It's a bit like trying to claim that brownshirts were libertarians.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

@tao - "Could extensive apologetica for the Khmer Rouge and Hezbollah"

Sorry, tao. Your knowledge base here is far less than mine, not only on what Chomsky has said/written but on the nature of the long-running campaign of falsehoods tossed out to invalidate him.

Watching that particular debate again (I've seen it quite a few times and perhaps saw the original broadcast as well - my mom and I used to watch his show regularly) brought up the question of "arrogance" and perception or opinion that such a thing is in place. I found Buckley a classic example of East Coast, looking down the nose snobbery (the vocal intonations, the smirks, the phrasings, body postures etc) and almost none of that stuff in Chomsky (far different families, cultures and upbringing, of course). But I'd imagine, Tao, you saw this differently?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

The article yesterday noting that the South has just 6 of the 50 most-educated cities in the country brought to mind "Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole. The novel isn't the slightest bit political but it is the funniest book about New Orleans I've ever read and one of the great comic novels overall.

Sign me on for having the LameDucks waddle out of town without doing any further damage. Here's my suggestion:

1. Let all the tax cuts expire. We need the money for the deficit.

2. Forget about DADT repeal. Obama should just do what Truman did for the blacks and unilaterally declare the policy over. Forget Congress b/c the Dems will never get DADT repealed w/o the GOP extracting some ungodly concessions and Obama can see what it feels like to act like a president.

3. Have the Senate vote on START and dare the GOP to vote it down.

4. Call it a year.

5. As we know that the Dems next year won't do anything the GOP doesn't want. And since the GOP is insane it is better to do nothing and try to hang on until 2012.

Lame Ducks now! Gridlock later!

It ain't Hope and Change but it beats the alternative.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Chuck:

qb said: "The Constitution takes precedence over decisions that misconstrued it."

you replied: "Which part of the ol' Constitution are you talking about? The "3/5ths of a human" part?"

That's a complete non sequitur. There was no Supreme Court decision misconstruing the 3/5ths clause. It was obviated by a constitutional amendment (which, of course, is the proper and constitutional way of going about changing the Constitution, as opposed to getting 5 SC justices to misconstrue the Constitution).

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Bernie says:

"A criterion or framing which can quickly expand further to atheists, gays, etc which brought on 9/11."

Pure absurdity. How anyone can take seriously a guy who spouts inanities like the above is truly beyond me.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

A classic Bernie "refutation":

"Sorry, tao. Your knowledge base here is far less than mine, not only on what Chomsky has said/written but on the nature of the long-running campaign of falsehoods tossed out to invalidate him."

I'm smarter than you and you are wrong...case closed. Hilarious.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "A criterion or framing which can quickly expand further to atheists, gays, etc which brought on 9/11."

It's also a classic propaganda technique--taking the fringe beliefs and outliers of your opposition and trying to insist that it applies to everybody in the category.

@ScottC3: "I'm smarter than you and you are wrong...case closed. Hilarious."

But, in the case of debating Chomsky, it is extraordinarily apropos. As this tended to be Chomsky's trump card (and, it would appear from what I've read, raison d'être) when bringing his revelations down from Mt. Sinai.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 2, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

"I'm smarter than you"

That's not what Bernie said. He said he a greater "knowledge base" meaning that he has studied the issue. The fact that Cons can't tell the difference between arrogance and accomplishment explains many things: the Confederacy of Dunces primary among them.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Chuck,

As to 3/5ths, what Scott said. Please.

Beyond that, I'm going to indulge you somewhat and treat your question with a straight face.

What I meant is exactly what I said. I don't see what needs explaining or why you might conceivably find it strange. There is a school of thought that says even if SCOTUS erred by misconstruing some part of the Constitution, it shouldn't overrule its error, because precedent is somehow more important than the Constitution itself. I dissent.

To see an example, read the opinions in the Casey case I mentioned from 1992. The joint opinion is windy and sanctimonious, but it boils down to: okay, we were probably wrong in Roe, but the public has acted like spoiled children as a result instead of recognizing our paramount authority to "settle" such controversies, so we refuse to correct the error, lest anyone think we gave in to these spoiled children over whom we rule. Roe might be a great Constitutional error, but it is our error (damnit), and so it must stand. The opinion is judicial hubris and imperialism couched as restraint.

I say simply that this view that SCOTUS errors should stand undisturbed because "precedent" is more important that the Constitution itself is deeply wrong and harmful. In Casey, those Justices set themselves above the Constitution and acted lawlessly by holding the Court's error (and their own standing) above the Constitution that supposedly governs them.

You'll find that folks like Bernie who claim to have a problem with "undoing precedent" are entirely selective. They have no problem with undoing of precedent they dislike. You think Bernie would have a problem "undoing" Citizens United?

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and the Cons' inability to distinguish between arrogance and accomplishment explains Sarah Palin, too.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Chuck:

Good luck with the Constitutional debate. Just remember that today's Conservatives give new meaning to "Con Law": they only believe in the parts of the Constitution they like. Caveat emptor.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"I'm smarter than you"

Apparently Scott got deceitful on what I actually said. Figures.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/the_morning_plum_142.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 2, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Whoa! The GOP hasn't even taken over the House yet and they've ALREADY solved the global warming crisis:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/45802.html

Are these guys awesome or what? Who knew that closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears and saying nyahhh nyahhh actually works after you're 4 years old?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne:

"That's not what Bernie said."

But does anyone really doubt that that is what he believes?

"The fact that Cons can't tell the difference between arrogance and accomplishment..."

There is a difference between demonstrating accomplishment and proclaiming accomplishment. Just as there is a difference between making a point and declaring that a point has been made.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Certainly the Supreme Court can and has interpreted the Constitution incorrectly on occasion. Some of those errors are universally accepted as erroneous (Plessy v Ferguson comes to mind) and other times the error is not so accepted (Roe v Wade, Gore v Bush, Citizens United) and is, rather, more partisan or idealogical.

In any event, the decision is precedent and the Supreme Court is unquestionably the forum of last resort on these issues and the concept of stare decisis establishes these decisions as precedent for the entire country. Whether any of us individually or as a group disagrees is largely irrelevant and to murder people (George Tiller, et al) for following the law established by our system is abhorrent and indefensible but that does not mean that in a free country we are wrong to disagree with the decision, only that we are bound to respect it.

I would hope that everyone can agree that we are not free to pick and choose which decisions are worthy of more respect than others. So, a person against choice cannot claim that they have the right to bomb an abortion clinic any more than a campaign finance reform person has the right to bomb the offices of the Chamber of Commerce or Koch Industries.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 2, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

"But does anyone really doubt that that is what he believes?"

Yup.

But as I said, the fact that Cons can't distinguish arrogance from accomplishment is exactly why a pretty ignoramus with unbounded self-esteem is today the poster girl (literally, probably) for today's Cons.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Bernie said:

"Apparently Scott got deceitful on what I actually said."

Ah, the abundance of irony.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

What else:

From Ballon Juice:

"At some point, the Obama administration is going to have to give his supporters some reason to, you know, support him."

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/12/01/the-first-priority-is-millionaires/

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Prag,

To argue that the Court should reverse its errors isn't to argue that murder is okay.

I wouldn't have thought it possible for anyone to make that leap.

Color me surprised yet again at liberals' capacity for erratic and unbalanced thought.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 2, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Color me surprised that the right thinks we should be profiling Muslims but not people that look like Roeder and McVeigh.

Color me surprised that the right went insane when DHS prepared a memo indicating that right-wing extermists could be dangerous and even more surprised that although the report was prepared at the direction of a GOP administration, it was the new Dem President that was blamed for its content.

Color me surprised that the right tells the left that it should shut up about Citizens United or Bush v Gore but in the same breath screeches about "activist judges" and the murder of choice.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 2, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"This is another sign that the left will continue encouraging the perception of Obama as weak and spineless -- something that could prove very damaging politically in the long run..."

So when President Palin and a filibuster-proof Republican Senate majority take over in 2015 and proceed to move us even more quickly towards rule of The Iron Heel, everybody can say, "Thank you SO much, MoveOn and Progressive Change!!"

Posted by: converse | December 2, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

qb-

True, for SCOTUS to reverse Roe it would be saying that "murder is not ok", according to the right-to-lifers, yes?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 2, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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