Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 8:37 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* The new order, House GOP style: Lots of good reporting out there this morning on yesterday's changing of the guard and what it means. Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane have a good curtain-raiser explaining that for all the Republicans' pomp and excitement, "few of the items on their agenda are likely to end up in law as conceived."

* Also: House GOPers approved an overhaul of the House rules last night, and Congressional expert Norm Ornstein has an useful and interesting overview

Key nugget: Ornstein explains why one of the most important changes -- the one empowering budget committee chair Paul Ryan to unilaterally create spending and revenue limits -- amounts to "the opposite of accountability." More generally, he predicts a decline of "open debate and deliberation."

* Lori Montgomery explains the ins and outs of the GOP decision to nix "pay as you go" rules.

* And: A good overview of the good and bad in the rules changes from Alex Altman.

* House GOP already backtracking: CNN finds three areas where House Republicans "appear to be backtracking on promises made."

* Pelosi, defiant: As Stephen Stromberg notes, what was really interesting about Nancy Pelosi's handing over of the gavel was how defiant and unapologetic it was about the Dem agenda, signaling again that Pelosi intends to fight the GOP every step of the way, with every tool at her disposal.

* And: Some House Republicans actually appear to be angry about Pelosi's expressions of pride in House Dems' accomplishments.

* Blue Dog's anti-Pelosi dog and pony show drags on and on: Rep. Heath Shuler's nonstop bid for anti-Pelosi media attention is really getting kind of sad. The latest is a press release touting the 11 votes he received against Pelosi for minority leader: "Shuler makes history."

* Dems to join in reading of Constitution today: It looks like Pelosi and other House Dems will participate in today's reading, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m.

Hilarious detail: Tea Party chieftain Steve King wants to editorialize during his reading:

The Tea Party favorite lawmaker added he might insert some asides if he gets to read. "I might do that -- like the Commerce Clause. Democrats: Do not interpret this to think you can do anything you want to do, it's a very limited authority," King joked.

* Conservative bloggers come out for filibuster reform: National Review's Daniel Foster and Hot Air's Allahpundit are both more or less on board, on the grounds that the "talking filibuster" is enough to stop legislation if it's urgent and the amendments provision empowers the minority.

* But some Senate Democrats are queasy about change: Senators Ben Nelson, Mark Udall and Max Baucus appear to be getting cold feet.

Nelson and Baucus, in particular, seem to be worried about changing the rules against the will of the GOP minority, which of course has been equally solicitious of the wishes of Democrats for the past two years.

* Skittish Dems already cracking under GOP pressure: Some Dems facing reelection in two years are already talking about caving and doing away with the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.

* Zombie lies that won't die: As Jonathan Chait notes, it really is amazing that some folks can't seem to grasp even the most basic details of the Dems' filibuster reform proposals.

* Liberal reality check of the day: Ed Kilgore on why liberals should get used to the prospect of getting nothing done for the next six years.

* White House terrified of Sarah Palin and Fox News? Paul Waldman says the White House's reversal on end of life planning was rooted in sheer cowardice.

* And looks like there's trouble in Tea Party paradise: Ruh roh. Senator-elect Rand Paul puts House Republicans on notice: $50 billion in spending cuts is not good enough.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | January 6, 2011; 8:37 AM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Tea Party, filibuster  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: Huck Finning the Constitution

Comments

Greg, I know you never answer difficult questions, but I'd like your reason for not banning caothien. Now, I don' want him banned; he's a wonderful poster child for "liberalism." But you have here a person who litters threads every day with the same vitriolic if rote tripe and, more importantly (1) has routinely advocated totalitarian solutions like mass murder and mass imprisonment, and (2) spouts 911 trutherism like the nonsense above. He also routinely calls conservatives vulgar names like "shjthead."

So what is the explanation, Greg? You banned two conservatives who never did anything like this. Why have you instead welcomed personally welcomed this abusive troll?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 6, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"Paul Waldman says the White House's reversal on end of life planning was rooted in sheer cowardice."

Do you disagree, Greg? Also, why no mention of Obama's COC Speech? After all, both you and I (among many others) offered many words in support of the White House's Mid-term campaign against the Chamber. Don't you feel played? I do.

Imsinca's comment at the end of the prior thread tells much: DADT was the White House's sop to Democratic Opinion Leaders to get them to stay in line for the Great Tax Capitulation (excuse me, "compromise"). I wonder how long the Opinion Leaders are bound by their promise not to criticize Obama. Is that a permanent state of affairs or is there something that the White House might do that will cause the Dem Opinion Leaders to revolt?

It wasn't when the White House decided to kiss Big Business' ass and announced it publicly and repeatedly.

It wasn't isn't resuming drilling in the Gulf of Mexico without the necessary permits and inspections.

It isn't the backroom deal Obama is making with the GOP to cut corporate taxes.

Will it be when Obama attacks Social Security under the guise of "reforming" it? Or will the Dem Opinion Leaders stand mute even then? Or by then will it simply be too late to stop it?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"But you have here a person who litters threads every day with the same vitriolic if rote tripe "

Gee, clowrence, just like you.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"I wonder how long the Opinion Leaders are bound by their promise not to criticize Obama."

You've drifted to some corner of the universe with which I have little familiarity. Find me a single left wing pundit anywhere who has not criticized Obama and his administration.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Thought you'd appreciate this, Greg:

"As Senate Democrats propose reforms to the filibuster rule and other Senate procedures, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) is introducing a proposal that would require Senators to stay on the floor to sustain a filibuster. Lautenberg has named his bill the Mr. Smith Bill, after the classic movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, where the main character collapses on the floor of the Senate, trying to maintain a filibuster."

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

John Mearsheimer on the consequences of Imperial America...

"The results, however, have been disastrous. The United States has been at war for a startling two out of every three years since 1989, and there is no end in sight. As anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of world events knows, countries that continuously fight wars invariably build powerful national-security bureaucracies that undermine civil liberties and make it difficult to hold leaders accountable for their behavior; and they invariably end up adopting ruthless policies normally associated with brutal dictators. The Founding Fathers understood this problem, as is clear from James Madison’s observation that “no nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Washington’s pursuit of policies like assassination, rendition and torture over the past decade, not to mention the weakening of the rule of law at home, shows that their fears were justified."

http://nationalinterest.org/article/imperial-by-design-4576?page=show

(much more at link)

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

This gets to the near-perfect.

Cutting spending through increasing spending on empty symbolisms...

"Report: House GOP's Constitution Reading Could Cost Over $1 Million"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/report-house-gops-constitution-reading-could-cost-over-1-million.php?ref=fpb

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

D'oh!

"A reporter from the Daily Caller recently tried to dig up a New Yorker plagiarism scandal, reports The New York Post.

The reporter, Jonathan Strong, was reportedly trying to prove New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer had lifted the content of her profile of Koch Industries, the $100 billion company that funds conservative think tanks and Tea Party candidates, from other news sources. The Daily Caller is a right-wing news site founded by Tucker Carlson and former Cheney aide Neil Patel.

Unsurprisingly, the writers whose content was allegedly lifted stood by the investigative reporter working for a venerable institution, and not the guy from that blog that sells thongs.

Keith Kelly points out that Carlson had motive to wreck Mayer's credibility on the Koch brothers:

Carlson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, which has strong ties to the Koch brothers although a spokeswoman insisted those ties have diminished lately and that co-founder Charles Koch, who pumped tens of millions into the group over the years, had cut back in 2009 and withdrew funding entirely in 2010. David Koch remains on its board.

Carlson added that Strong had dropped the story."

http://www.observer.com/2011/media/conservative-blogger-tries-discredit-new-yorker-fails?utm_medium=partial-text&utm_campaign=daily-transom&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=DT

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh look, Kochtopus has party for his puppets:

Today, as Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was sworn in as the Speaker of the House for the 112th Congress, a group of Koch Industries lobbyists entered the Capitol along with members of Congress and their families.

Tim Phillips, a former business partner to Jack Abramoff who now leads the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, was with Nancy Pfotenhauer, a former corporate lobbyist for Koch Industries. ThinkProgress learned that David Koch, the polluter billionaire who has bankrolled groups organizing the Tea Parties and much of the modern conservative movement, was also in attendance in the Capitol for Boehner’s swearing-in event.

After the ceremony, David Koch walked up to Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) — a freshman Republican Koch helped to elect using his front group, Americans for Prosperity — and asked him to confirm that he will be attending a party that Koch is hosting for Republicans. Guinta said he would be at the party, which began at 5:00pm today.

Koch has been one of the most active players in Republican politics in the Obama era. His group Americans for Prosperity helped orchestrate much of the Tea Party movement; he funds many of the top conservative think tanks, like Heritage and the American Legislative Exchange Council; and, he also ran tens of millions of dollars in attack ads to elect the new Republican Congress.

As ThinkProgress reported, Koch convened a secret meeting of top business leaders — mostly bankers, industrialists, and oil men — to meet with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Glenn Beck to plan the midterm election in June 2010."

Teabaggers elected these folks -- the irony is that they don't understand they are the new royalists. They are being used by the same kinds of corporate overlords -- like the East India Tea Company -- that the colonists were protesting against at the Boston Tea Party.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Find me a single left wing pundit anywhere who has not criticized Obama and his administration."

Criticized for what? When? Since DADT and the Great Tax Capitulation or before the payoff? Where are the Morning Plum items on:

-- new deepwater drilling in the Gulf sans inspections

-- the White House's complete reversal on the Chamber of Commerce and Big Business

-- the probability that Obama is bringing in Daley as COS and Geithner's protoge at Treasury

-- the deal Obama is making to cut corporate taxes and further add to the debt

Where are the declarations that Dem Opinion Leaders will never stand for Obama attacking Social Security and the New Deal? Nowhere. Which means that when it happens -- soon, like the State of the Union -- there will be gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands but Obama will again placate the Dem Opinion Leaders with some special interest sop, the Opinion Leaders will say it was the best deal Obama could get and Cons will achieve what they never could under a GOP president.

Yes, you are missing quite a lot, Bernie.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Gee, clowrence, just like you."

Just say nyaa, nyaa next time.

That was actually my question/comment from the prior thread (thanks for bringing it forward, clawrence).

I'd ask you to produce examples of either clawrence or me spewing the insane vitriol of the the resident Colonel Kurtz, but we all know there are none.

Btw, thanks also to clawrence and Brigade for filling us in on some of Kurtz's performance at the Fix. Tigers, stripes.

I won't be holding my breath waiting for any answers from Greg.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 6, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

When you buy something (a car, a slave, a Congress) you certainly ought to be able to enjoy your purchase...

"Tea Party Billionaire David Koch Entertains Newly Elected Republicans On The First Day Of The New Congress
Today, as Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was sworn in as the Speaker of the House for the 112th Congress, ThinkProgress witnessed a group of Koch Industries lobbyists entering the Capitol along with members of Congress and their families. Tim Phillips, a former business partner to Jack Abramoff who now leads the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, was with Nancy Pfotenhauer, a former corporate lobbyist for Koch Industries. ThinkProgress learned that David Koch, the polluter billionaire who has bankrolled groups organizing the Tea Parties and much of the modern conservative movement, was also in attendance in the Capitol for Boehner’s swearing-in event..."

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/05/koch-thanks-his-congress/

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

fiona:

I caught some of Rachel Maddow's stand-in last night and the guy -- Chris Hayes? -- made a great point. When Agent Orange cuts Congressional staffers that means that more of Congress' work gets outsourced to industry lobbyists. Darrell Issa is inviting industry to tell him what regulations they don't like. That means that, even more than now, corporations will be WRITING the laws that govern them. The Plutocracy is tightening its grip.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@wb - Your sentences are sloppy and with that is an increasingly sloppiness of thinking. Who, in the name of heaven, are "the Dem Opinion Leaders"? How were you able to spot them?

You wish, obviously, that this administration had done things quite differently than they have. Welcome to the company of most everyone else and to the reality of how and where power actually functions in the modern USA.

The question here is who is actually more naive, Obama or you?

But I want you to lay out (can be real brief) which real world individual might have done something significantly closer to what you wished to see and just how he or she would have gone about it. Without getting assassinated, of course.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame to see those slugs the Kochs with access again. Pfottenhaur tried to get in with McCain and now they've weaseled their way in with the new congress.

I realize conservatives think pollution is OK so long as someone is making a profit but the rest of America isn't OK with these serial polluters destroying our environment.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

You have repeatedly offered the canard that Obama is the most liberal president the United States could have. Really?

70% of the American people wanted a public health plan. That didn't happen.

81% of the American people want to reduce the debt by either raising taxes on the Rich and cutting the military. Obama intends to do neither.

You buy into that America Is A Center Right Nation tripe. It isn't people on the Left like me who are out of step with the American people it is Obama, the DC Dems, and their cadre of Opinion Leaders on political blogs like this one.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"That means that, even more than now, corporations will be WRITING the laws that govern them. The Plutocracy is tightening its grip."

Well, of course, wbgone -- that was always the Republican plan. You criticize the dems constantly, but you will now see how much worse it's going to get now. The Koch Oil brothers now own half of Congress. Was that what you were after -- corporate ownership of our entire government apparatus? And then there is the appointed Budget King:

"Now we come to the rules related to the budget and fiscal policy. I will have to address these fully in another column because there are many new things. But let me start by addressing the provision in the rules to deputize the chairman of the House Budget Committee to unilaterally create spending and revenue limits and caps by committee and enact them simply by publishing them in the Congressional Record.

This is breathtaking: It demolishes the Congressional budget process in one fell swoop, and it takes away the accountability, openness and deliberation that a regular budget process provides. This is the opposite of accountability; Members, by voting in lockstep to enact a package of rules, will implicitly vote for a budget they have never seen. It will be binding in the House.

When individual appropriations come up, any proposal that changes the edicts of Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) by restoring cuts in spending will be ruled out of order. Dramatic and Draconian budget cuts without votes or debate. That is the new open and deliberative House?"

http://www.aei.org/article/102966

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Greg

I keep hearing or reading there may be an announcement as early as today that William Daley will be the new COS. Do you know? It would be a pretty clear sign going forward who will get an audience with the President don't you think?

Posted by: lmsinca | January 6, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"You have repeatedly offered the canard that Obama is the most liberal president the United States could have. Really?"

Name a more liberal nominee that you think could win.

"Obama intends to do neither."

Lies. Both were proposed both by Gates and Obama but unfortunately, there are a bunch of Democratic and Republican House and Senate members that are fighting tooth and nail to keep spending going on projects in their states, as they should be. If they don't fight for jobs in their districts they get voted out for someone that will fight for them.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Some of you might have caught Bill Kristol's short piece at the WS last week claiming that Bachmann was a species of "neoconservative" because she'd been registered as a Dem as a young person that, she says, changed after reading a Gore Vidal novel. Yesterday or the day before, he wrote another but this time less cheery about Bachmann because of her stance on the debt ceiling.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/05/kristol-bachmann-debt/

All of this is typical Kristol. In the first, he's pushing his daddy's rather propagandist cliche ("a conservative is just a....") but much more importantly, he's totally misrepresenting what neoconservatism is not to mention that his dad and crowd were not liberals, many/most of them were Trotskyites. And, of course, he's sucking up to the Tea Party base and trying to suggest a deep brotherhood between neoconservatives and them.

But when Bachmann heads into the area where she might actually effect deep structural aspects of American/world economics and power, then Kristol gets serious.

A way to make sense of this is to understand that Kristol, like his father and mother and Strauss, perceive a world where the optimum social arrangement is built around a small, dominant and powerful (militarily and economically) minority who steer things for the rest of (the lesser) folks. Kristol, like other serious people on the right, understand that there may be significant consequences to the US and world economies and to US's place in the world (re dominance) if Bachmann's stupidness were allowed to go forward or to gain much consensus.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"It would be a pretty clear sign going forward who will get an audience with the President don't you think?"

Apparently Howard Dean would because he's been talking up Daley ever chance he gets which would be a good thing right?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

When "specific and detailed promise" is redefined to mean "off the cuff hypothetical"....

"House GOP Repeatedly Promised $100 Billion In Spending Cuts That It Now Calls ‘Hypothetical’"

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/05/hypothetical-cuts/

No surprises here, of course. These folks just lie with the ease of breathing. But it's worthwhile watching the vid clip at bottom as a reminder of how bag-of-hammers stupid Mike Pense is.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Tomasky on the "promise" noted just above. I suppose this really must be a record of sorts...

"Main promise broken literally on day one

The central plank of the GOP Pledge to America during last year's election was to cut discretionary spending by $100 million now, in this fiscal year. I'm sure some of you noticed that the New York Times reported two days that this rock-solid promise is now a sad little pile of dust:"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2011/jan/06/republicans-usdomesticpolicy-hundred-million-dollar-lie

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Oh isn't this just grand.

"A patient at Tucson’s University Medical Center has died after being refused a liver transplant due to budget cuts—the second person in the state to die while reportedly waiting for one of the transplants that were cut. Arizona stopped paying for certain organ transplants covered by Medicaid on Oct. 1, due to a $4 million coverage shortfall. Between 95 and 100 people have been taken off the waiting list for organ transplants since then. The incoming Arizona Senate minority leader has pre-filed legislation to restore the transplant coverage."

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/article_d20f2974-1926-11e0-8dbd-001cc4c002e0.html

Republicans are heartless killers at times. These are the horror stories Republicans tried to highlight that would happen if we implemented the ACA in America when in fact it was already happening.

Something is wrong with a segment of this country's mentality at times.

It appears the Know-Nothing party of the 20's and 30's is now in control of the Republican party. Maybe they are the group that now calls themselves the tea party.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"A way to make sense of this is to understand that Kristol, like his father and mother and Strauss, perceive a world where the optimum social arrangement is built around a small, dominant and powerful (militarily and economically) minority who steer things for the rest of (the lesser) folks"

Well, naturally, they are Randians. They want to preserve the caste system becoming entrenched in this country, as they make it harder and harder for people to rise above the class they were born in. The funny part is when the lower castes start screaming 'class warfare' when anyone suggests their Galtian overlords should pay their fair share of taxes.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

So much for the "open and deliberative" House, right? The GOP is naked in their hypocrasy. I only hope the public is paying attenion.

Once again: IOKIYR

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 6, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

That old progressive FDR has a few things to say 70 years ago in a less quoted excerpt from his speech on Jan. 6, 1941.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
Jobs for those who can work.
Security for those who need it.
The ending of special privilege for the few.
The preservation of civil liberties for all.
The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.

Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement. As examples: We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance. We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care. We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it."

Posted by: lmsinca | January 6, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

the liberals here are busily at work with their two main tasks: whining and looking for boogie men.

First, the whining. All this blather about Republican "empty gestures" just demonstrates how abbrieviated are the memories of America's left.

I clearly recall that the first thing the Democrat majority in the house did back in 06 was hold a vote on a non binding resolution demonstrating a lack of confidence in the prosecution of the Iraq war.

Remember that boys and girls? I do because my son was fighting in Iraq when the Democrats took their vote. I presented my congress person with a nice copy of the Ramirez cartoon that showed a soldier with a bloody knife in his back. On the knife was written "congress". She hated it. So what? She said "well we haven't refused to fund the war have we?" but I knew they'd try, and they did.

So stop the whining kids it just makes you look, well, ignorant (yet again).

Next is the search for boogie men. Today's victim of liberal ire are the mythical Koch Brothers. Imagine the nerve of wealthy people, actually supporting something other than liberalism. Why for that alone they should be stripped of their ill gotten gains and set adrift on a plank with their ears nailed down.

Just too funny. Hey, how many of you think that this Daley kid with make a good COS? After all he's a rich fat cat from wall street, right? Just like so many others in the Democrat power structure.

Once again the liberals repeat their mantra: do as we say, not as we do!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 6, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Dahlia Lithwick with a nice heads up for you, Greg:

"This newfound attention to the relationship between Congress and the Constitution is thrilling and long overdue. Progressives, as Greg Sargent points out, should not scoff at it. This is an opportunity to engage in a reasoned discussion of what the Constitution does and does not do.

It's an opportunity to point out that no matter how many times you read the document on the House floor, cite it in your bill, or how many copies you can stuff into your breast pocket without looking fat, the Constitution is always going to raise more questions than it answers and confound more readers than it comforts.

And that isn't because any one American is too stupid to understand the Constitution. It's because the Constitution wasn't written to reflect the views of any one American.

The problem with the Tea Party's new Constitution fetish is that it's hopelessly selective. As Robert Parry notes, the folks who will be reading the Constitution aloud this week can't read the parts permitting slavery or prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment using only their inside voices, while shouting their support for the 10th Amendment. They don't get to support Madison and renounce Jefferson, then claim to be restoring the vision of "the Framers."

Either the Founders got it right the first time they calibrated the balance of power between the federal government and the states, or they got it so wrong that we need to pass a "Repeal Amendment" to fix it. And unless Tea Party Republicans are willing to stand proud and announce that they adore and revere the whole Constitution as written, except for the First, 14, 16th, and 17th amendments, which totally blow, they should admit right now that they are in the same conundrum as everyone else: This document no more commands the specific policies they espouse than it commands the specific policies their opponents support."

Although 'reasoned discussion' with baggers is an oxymoron.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"That means that, even more than now, corporations will be WRITING the laws that govern them. The Plutocracy is tightening its grip."

Well, of course, wbgone -- that was always the Republican plan."

Give credit where it is due...

BP operated the Unified Command, it made all of the key decisions in the aftermath of the Macondo disaster, including making sure no one could quantify the oil under water, for example. Salazar saying he had his boot on their neck was disgraceful. The drilling industry is self-regulated to this day. The same thing could happen the same way.

The health care industrial complex, the 1000 friends of Tom Daschle wrote the ACA.


Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Some of you imagine the POTUS as an elected but preconstitutional monarch. He is indeed the ceremonial Head-of-State. He does have broad foreign policy power. He is the Commander-in-Chief of our military.

But he is not a lawmaker.

Every four years both parties campaign as if the next Prez will be Mr. FixIt, the magical cure for what ails. The parties are selling [actually "puffing"], and we have in large measure, bought, thereby causing us inevitable disappointment. Our system of government is far more complex and cumbersome. Most of the governmental decisions that affect your daily life if you are not a federal employee do not even emanate from Washington, DC.

I publish here the US corporate tax rate table.

Over But not over Tax is Of amount over
$0 $50,000 15% $0
50,000 75,000 $7,500 + 25% 50,000
75,000 100,000 13,750 + 34% 75,000
100,000 335,000 22,250 + 39% 100,000
335,000 10,000,000 113,900 + 34% 335,000
10,000,000 15,000,000 3,400,000 + 35% 10,000,000
15,000,000 18,333,333 5,150,000 + 38% 15,000,000
18,333,333 ____ 35%

The highest tax rate, 39%, is inexplicably on small biz corps.

The preferred structure that would still bring in more revenue would eliminate agreed loopholes and run the brackets from 15% to a 28%-30% max, which would have us in line with competing nations. We want to keep, say, Germany, from having an artificial competitive advantage. I don't claim what rate between 28% and 30% is optimal, but whatever, the top rate should be for the biggest earners, not small biz.

So if I were Prez, I would open negotiations on corporate taxes by talking "loophole closure traded for rate reduction". I sure would not be able to dictate the result, and my ultimate threat would be to veto what I did not like, not to get what I did like. My SecTreas and SecCommerce would stay in the negotiations continually. They would tell me if the looming compromise raised more bucks and made us more competitive. I would be attending FP, meanwhile.

Every domestic issue forces a Prez to negotiate through his Cabinet and the West Wing while s/he is acting as Head of State and FP guru.

For constitution lovers of all stripes, I recommend
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/33339?in=00:00&out=46:04
Two law professors who both have some pronounced libertarian sympathies discuss issues like "the litigated Constitution" vs. "the settled Constitution", proposed state override of federal legislation, the relative unfairness of the DE compromise that created the Senate in the first place, and the repeal the 17th movement. One of the profs is widely known for his long held view that the Second Amendment means what it says, but they do not get into that. One of them is a libertarian lib, the other is a TEA fave, but they have a high regard for each other so it is easy to watch and savor.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@qb: "I'd ask you to produce examples of either clawrence or me spewing the insane vitriol of the the resident Colonel Kurtz, but we all know there are none."

But your conservative, and support conservative policy positions that will inevitably end up in genocide/planetary doom, thus, the equally insane vitriol is implied in everything you say.

Indeed, reasonable words spoken in favor of a conservative viewpoints are, in truth, crazier and more vitriolic than the most profane, violence-threatening screed from any lefty, who is doing it for the right reasons, and attempting to do good things and help the less fortunate and whatnot.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 6, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Here we go! Speaker Boehner will read the Preamble, and Minority Leader Pelosi will read Art. 1, Sec. 1.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 6, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

All, nice Adam Serwer post on the "Huck Finining" of the Constitution:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/huck_finning_the_constitution.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 6, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

great post Mark...

Oh and about the Blue Dogs and the individual mandate, I am way out in left field and I want the individual mandate to go away too. I hate the idea of the federal government forcing people to buy health care "products" from parasites. The fastest track to a government operated (single payer), tax funded health care fee silo is ditching the individual mandate.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

On another note: my wife, a CPA with MS in Taxation, and I were discussing SS over breakfast and we agreed that it should remain an insurance and not a welfare model. Within those constraints, I could only see:

A] raising the retirement age;
B] raising the wage base maximum;
and
C] taxing at one's marginal rate 100% of SS OABs received, not 85%, as useful tools for solvency.

All would have limits or drawbacks, but A] seems the least problematic.

B] becomes "welfare" if high end payers later are actuarially doomed to lower adjusted dollar payout than their pay-in.

C] only really helps SS if the captured tax stays in the SS system.


Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 6, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

skippy:
'the liberals here are busily at work with their two main tasks: whining and looking for boogie men."

And then he starts whining and looking for boogie men. This personality disorder that is modern conservatism contains a central element of constant projection, in addition to narcissism.

Just as I pointed out, they always leap to the defense of their corporate masters, kind of a Stockholm syndrome kind of thing. Or maybe it is just a groveling worship of corporate wealth and power, the US version of royalty, the Machiavellian princes.

"the mythical Koch Brothers. Imagine the nerve of wealthy people, actually supporting something other than liberalism"

Yes, folks, the Koch brothers don't exist -- except for the fact they will now be writing virtually every new law in this country. So much for 'democracy' 'freedom' and 'liberty.'
When you voluntarily and slavishly allow tyrants and plutocrats to rule your life, you have lost all those things. You are the new Tories.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Republicans Love Themselves Some Big Government Socialized Medicine

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/dems-press-gop-to-announce-whether-theyll-accept-government-health-care.php

It's official.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The Austin Business Journal on why raising the retirement age is the wrong way to go:

"A few years ago, the sight of a senior citizen greeting shoppers as they entered Wal-Mart was pretty shocking. How could a senior citizen be working at minimum wage years after retirement? But thanks to the recession and a global race to the bottom, it’s becoming common to see our grandparents working. Working people are making do with less, dipping into their savings to pay this month’s rent, pinching pennies off their nest eggs to pay their bills today.

At a time when working people need security more than ever, the last thing we should consider is cutting retirement benefits by raising the retirement age — or as some suggest, even eliminating Social Security."

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/print-edition/2010/11/05/raising-retirement-age-for-social.html


Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Kevin said:

"But your conservative, and support conservative policy positions that will inevitably end up in genocide/planetary doom, thus, the equally insane vitriol is implied in everything you say."

Well, now that you explain it that way, I see the error of my ways. As the Good Book says, man's heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 6, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

fiona, would you oppose either B] or C]? Do you propose an alternative I have not mentioned,? I admit my dearth of imagination. I both collect OABs and work, btw.

Do you think the insurance model is worth saving or would you be prepared to go to a welfare model?

Do you accept that increased longevity has changed the actuarial game? Do you think SS should have been established as a total pension system, rather than a barebones safety net, to keep the elderly from dying in the streets?

There are so many possible assumptions. I am not attributing any to you; I just want to know where you are coming from and what you could offer.

Are you in Austin, too, or did you pick an ABJ article just to catch my attention? :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 6, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"Well, naturally, they are Randians."

You better go for tutoring with bernie, because he is sure they are Platonists of deep and malign conviction.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 6, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Was Jake one of the banned? He used to talk regularly on the Fix about assassinating our president and other elected officials he didn't like, as well as saying that now Obama is president, they should have a watermelon roll on the WH lawn, rather than an Easter Egg roll. He was an open, violent racist.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin writes
"if I were Prez..."

Stump speeches are traditionally more deliberate and somewhat presumptive. Your statement should read "When I am Prez..."

See you in IA soon?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Just to catch your attention -- thought you might appreciate that!

I like B, because it takes from those who can afford it, rather than those who cannot. It also corrects the defect that those who earn less pay a higher percentage of their earnings into the system, which is regressive taxation.

"Do you accept that increased longevity has changed the actuarial game?"

No, because the increased longevity is occurring only on the upper end of the income scale, where people work at jobs that do not put the same kind of physical demands on them that lower income workers endure. Also, naturally, higher income people have health insurance and consequently get good medical care, while lower income people often do not. And the health costs of constant stress and insecurity, of worrying about paying the bills/what's going to happen to your family, is very high.

"B] becomes "welfare" if high end payers later are actuarially doomed to lower adjusted dollar payout than their pay-in."

I would add that many lower income people, because of above named reasons, die far earlier than their wealthier counterparts, and so this is probably more likely to happen to them.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"You criticize the dems constantly, but you will now see how much worse it's going to get now."

fiona: I am quite aware that the GOP is worse than the Democrats. But that is the game that allows the plutocracy to thrive. The GOP gets crazier and crazier, the Dems tell their erstwhile supporters: See you have to vote for us.

But we did that in 2008. And what did we get? A dysfunctional and/or disingenuous Administration that charted a disastrous Republicrat course that swept the crazies right back into power. So how does the White House respond: by moving even further Right.

The DC Dems are utterly out of touch with the American People, never mind the American Left. And supporting Dems no mater what b/c they aren't as bad as the GOP is not fixing the problem. I am not claiming to know the solution but pretending that Obama and the Dems are NOT moving further and further Right -- way beyond what the American people want -- is evidently NOT the answer. So what do you propose instead?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Fiona.

Bsimon - I burnt my bridges with fundamentalists here the other night by claiming my modernist perspective that God must love you as much as me. I would have to start in MN, I think. And finish there, as well. But only in the summer. Can I count on your support?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 6, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mike:

You have a strange definition of lying. Probably because you have so long pretended to be a Democrat that you don't know the meaning of the word any longer.

FACT: The American people want to reduce the deficit by cutting defense and raising taxes on the Rich.

FACT: Obama just cut taxes for the Rich.

FACT: Obama just froze all government workers pay EXCEPT the military.

FACT: Obama is now cutting taxes on corporations.

FACT: Obama is adding trillions to our already monstrous debt.

Now you tell me: where is Obama going to get the money to cut the deficit? It will come out of the New Deal, won't it?

You may be happy about that but that's because you are a Republicrat. And contrary to myth, the American People stand with me, not you, Obama, and the DC Dems on these issues.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca:

Didn't you hear? Obama says that FDR was an opportunist. Obama is aiming to become the Next Reagan by facilitating the decimation of the Middle Class and the destruction of the Poor. Obama has intentionally raised the deficit by cutting taxes on the Rich (and, soon, corporations). Not it will be paid for by the Middle Class and the Poor.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

This is the part of liberalism that is, for me, the most difficult to understand:
=====================
When you voluntarily and slavishly allow tyrants and plutocrats to rule your life, you have lost all those things. You are the new Tories.
=======================

First, when did I "voluntarily" or "slavishly" agree with any of this nonsense? Hmmm? If I live in America and obey the laws. I see life through a dramatically different perspective than the author of the above. How, exactly, does that result in these charges? It is just a function of the dogma driven liberal mind set. One must agree with their perspective or stand accused of all manner of scurilous charges. I guess I should be thankful I wasn't called a racist (I'm sure that will occur shortly though).

Next, The relationship between the Democrat party (the putative champions of liberalism) and the business world grows more intimate everyday. The ebb and flow of people between DC and New York is now made up of Democrats. A few examples: Peter Orzag, and now Mr Dailey. Not to mention the number of former aids to Barney the banking queen who now hold down big time jobs in the business world. If there is an unholy alliance against which the dogmatically pure liberals should rail it would be that and not some trite, tired and untrue bit of the past that lost factual validity a decade ago.

finally, we have a government, at least in part, to protect us from the evil doers that the left claims are everywhere. If the evil doers have grown in power isn't that a signal failure of the very government the left insists that we rely on?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 6, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

rEPUBLICANS are silly people.

Posted by: hoser3 | January 6, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company