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Posted at 6:41 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* Some of the missing Wisconsin Dems have been located at an Illinois hotel.

* A new poll finds Americans sympathize more with public employee unions than with the plight of municipal governments.

* David Dayen has more on how this is just the first shot in a much larger national war.

* Sam Stein on how the White House is looking to go around Governor Rick Scott to deliver high speed rail stimulus money to his constitutents.

* House GOPers are on the verge of passing $61 billion in spending cuts, and while it's unclear how much they can really cut, given the Senate and Obama's veto threat, John Boehner echoes another promise by a former GOP president:

"When we say we're going to cut spending, read my lips: We're going to cut spending."

* And Boehner's insistence that Repblicans won't agree to a temporary extension at current spending levels has suddenly inflated the chances of a real live government shutdown.

* Steve Benen offers a friendly reminder to GOP lawmakers:

When the government shuts down, Social Security checks are not mailed, and Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements do not happen.

* Meanwhile, Boehner tries to clean up his "so be it" remark, clarifying: "I don't want anyone to lose their job."

* In his first interview since Jim Webb announced his retirement, lefty hero Tom Perriello confirms he may make a bid for Webb's seat. Race for the ages: Perriello versus George "macaca" Allen!

* The latest GOP tactic in the drive to repeal health reform: Starve the IRS.

* Alaska's governor won't implement the law in the wake of the Florida ruling. More on that tomorrow, I hope.

* The new test of what constitutes seriousness in Washington: Ignoring the fact that the deficit commission failed to pass its proposal.

* Breaking: Republican says flat out that she doesn't question Obama's citizenship. And it was Sarah Palin!

* But Michele Bachmann simply can't bring herself to say that.

* And yet Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly have convinced themselves that the mainstream media and the White House are the ones conspiring to elevate "birtherism" to demonize the GOP.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 6:41 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House GOPers, Labor, Political media, budget  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Missing Wisconsin Dem speaks: We're MIA until GOP drops assault on workers rights
Next: The Morning Plum

Comments

Palin and Rove are doing a dance, I hear the strains of The Blue Danube.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

" Breaking: Republican says flat out that she doesn't question Obama's citizenship. And it was Sarah Palin!"

Well dangnabit. Good for Sarah!

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

shrink....

Nah, it's the Filled Bladder Waltz. They are trying not to wet themselves.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The GOP won't be happy until this country is a fully-fledged plutocracy.

The actions of the last few weeks are evidence of a political party that is wildly out of step with not only the American electorate, but with the very American institutions that have made us a superpower.

They will stop at nothing.

Therefore, we must stop at nothing to reject them in the court of public opinion.

Another wrinkle in all of this... I have done some digging and have decided that the push for state nullification of PPACA is nothing more than a thinly-disguised assault on the federal judiciary and the very idea of independent judicial review at the federal level.

I sincerely hope that someone at Plum Line, either Greg or Adam, takes another good long hard look at the 10th Amendment movement and its true ulterior motive, the subversion of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary.

It is part and parcel to what amounts to a direct attack on America from within. And I don't believe I've seen anything like it in my lifetime. I was going to say since McCarthyism, but maybe others can speak to that.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

@mike - there's a response re Rawls back on yesterday's thread.

This from Kurtz at TPM is pretty funny...

"QUITE AN IMAGE
Our Ryan Reilly headed over to today's meeting of the DC chapter of the Federalist Society, where Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was the featured speaker. This line from Ryan's dispatch caught my eye: "Americans are 'on our knees in front of China for credit,' DeMint told the mostly conservative attendees feasting on fried rice and fortune cookies at Tony Chang's restaurant in the Chinatown section of D.C."

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Another loss for Boehner, great timing.

""WASHINGTON - Sixty House Republicans joined with every Democrat to beat back an anti-union amendment on Thursday that would have defunded the National Labor Relations Board, a New Deal-era independent agency that arbitrates labor disputes. The sixty defections come as the Midwest GOP governors in Wisconsin and Ohio are launching direct assaults on public employee unions.

Nine high-ranking Republican members of the Education and the Workforce Committee broke with their party to support the agency, including the chairman, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.). GOP hostility toward organized labor is not a new phenomenon, but the hostility has intensified since Republicans took control of the House; the party went so far as to rename what had been called the Education and Labor Committee, replacing "labor" with "the workforce."

The amendment had been introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and was beaten back by a 250 to 176 tally.

House Republicans are piling up losses in a chamber where the majority party typically rules with an iron fist.""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 17, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I was trying to invoke the docking scene in 2001 minutes of Space Oddity. Palin needs to get with Rove or she will crash and burn.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin has never questioned Obama's citizenship.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 17, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Before anyone wants to try and challenge Texas for the "Dumbest State Government in the U.S." award, you better get your ducks in a row:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/opinion/17gailcollins.html?_r=2&hp

Its a *national* crisis when one of the three largest states has the bottom-of-the-barrel education results and is fixing to get cut more.

We won the Battle of San Jacinto for *this*?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 17, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

You know, President Obama could have avoided all this birther controversy if he had just arranged to have been born into the Bush family.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

"A new poll finds Americans sympathize more with public employee unions than with the plight of municipal governments."

From that poll:

In the poll, Democrats take the unions' side in labor disputes by a large, 26-point margin (56 to 30 percent), while Republicans side with governments by 15 (50 to 35 percent). Independents are split toward the union side, 43 to 37 percent.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I just wish that someone at Plum Line, either Greg or Adam, takes ONE good long hard look at the 10th Amendment.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 17, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Republicans side with governments?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Ims,

Boehner is not having a good month...or last month either, come to think of it.

It makes me wonder if they are just not counting votes or if they are being lied to by their caucus.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

@Sue--Just want to thank you for your useful posts today. I hope you keep on this.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 17, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"I was trying to invoke the docking scene in 2001 minutes of Space Oddity. Palin needs to get with Rove or she will crash and burn."

Hi all! Hope everyones having a fantastic day!

But I thought she crashed and burned after the Couric interview, er, the Gibson interview, I mean, the VP debate, um, "Palling around with terrorists" comment, er, I mean, her pregnant daughter, nope, it's her resigning the govenorship, er, Giffords shooting.

Awesome comments all day! Keep 'em up!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"Federal authorities charged more than 100 doctors, nurses and physical therapists in nine cities with Medicare fraud Thursday, part of a massive nationwide bust that snared more suspects than any other in history.

...

More than 700 law enforcement agents fanned out to arrest dozens of people accused of illegally billing Medicare more than $225 million. The arrests are the latest in a string of major busts in the past two years"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021703492.html

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

@Ims - In the context of Boehner's relative incompetence, one can understand a good part of the Republican dislike of Ms Pelosi.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I was trying to invoke the docking scene in 2001 minutes of Space Oddity. Palin needs to get with Rove or she will crash and burn.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 6:57 PM

.................

I have a hunch that Faux News has given it's stable of blatherskites their marching orders, to start pissing on the the Birther wildfire.

They have grown afraid that the Republican Party is going to get roasted in a Back-draft.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

ABC, you're welcome. I may go to Madison this weekend to stand with my cousin, the nurse.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) also states categorically that Obama is a citizen and that birthers need to get over it. TPM has the story.

But as testament to the enduring craziness of birthers, the "Birthers Love Sarah Palin" thread from two days ago was still frothing with diehard birthers until this afternoon. Did you know that Barack Obama's granddad was really his father, and his mother was an unknown "beatnik" black woman? Neither did I! But a birther said there was "compelling evidence"!

Posted by: bearclaw1 | February 17, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Manufacturing leads dow rally...

"This report gives an early indication that the pace of manufacturing expansion has continued to pick up into February – a second wave of cyclical strength after some slowdown in mid-2010," Barclays Capital Research analysts said in a client note on the Philadelphia Fed report.

http://business.inquirer.net/money/breakingnews/view/20110218-320898/US-stocks-find-boost-in-manufacturing-data

Yay, we're making things again!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Troll, it was a metaphor. Yes, I know she is done, you know she is done politically, but she did not realize that until perhaps just now. She suddenly decided to try to rise up from her ashes and get with Rove's message (birthers will not carry us to the White House).

Problem is and I am glad you are following this with me, birthers are her base. So she is trying to x-over, it is something to watch, let's stay together on this.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin Senate Rule 89:

Sergeant to bring in absentees. The clerks shall immediately call the roll of the members, and note the absentees, whose names shall be read, and entered upon the journal in such manner as to show who are absent with leave and who are absent without leave. The clerk shall furnish the sergeant-at-arms with a list of those who are absent without leave, and the sergeant-at-arms shall forthwith proceed to find and bring in such absentees.

We went through the same thing in Texas a few years ago.

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald ordered the Wisconsin State Patrol to take Democratic State Senators into custody today.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 17, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I think many of us saw this coming (re: TX census and redistricting):

Hispanic Population Growth Complicates Texas GOP's Redistricting Hopes

"""The state gained four congressional seats in reapportionment, largely due to minority growth: almost 90 percent of the state's growth was from minorities.

The Census findings complicate Republicans' hopes for a partisan gerrymander during this redistricting process. The Democratic lean of Hispanic voters and Voting Rights Act requirements that protect the group's voting strength from being watered down means that despite Republican control of the redistricting process, the GOP will struggle to make the map much more favorable to their party."""

http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2011/02/hispanic-popula.php

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

"Federal authorities charged more than 100 doctors, nurses and physical therapists in nine cities with Medicare fraud Thursday, part of a massive nationwide bust that snared more suspects than any other in history.

...

More than 700 law enforcement agents fanned out to arrest dozens of people accused of illegally billing Medicare more than $225 million. The arrests are the latest in a string of major busts in the past two years"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021703492.html

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 7:04 PM

Those poor people.They were probably just doing it to be able to afford Malpractice Insurance.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Liam, the fun part is that the Republican party is a tire fire and anyone who pees on it is likely to get singed. Throw another tire on, it is fun, even though it stinks to high heaven and is bad for global warming.

If Democrats were as smart as they used to be, they would focus on gas can can deposits, here and there, in and around the Republican agenda.

The potted plant problem is real. So Obama has to carry the whole load. It is his own fault (the DNC is moribund, he did that), but Democrats could figure that out on his behalf and not make him do everything. Wisconsin might be the beginning.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Benen has a good post on Gingrich's money-grubbing enterprises...

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_02/028047.php

And that leads us back to the interview with Gingrich's previous wife Marianne, the second wife, the one who he was having an affair with while his first wife was in the hospital suffering from uterine cancer. Mind you, Gingrich then cheated on her too having an affair with his present wife while still married to Marianne.

"And Marianne Gingrich, his closest advisor during his last fit of empire building, sits on the boardwalk chain-smoking her breakfast.

He thinks of himself as president, you tell her. He wants to run for president.

She gives a jaundiced look. "There's no way," she says. She thinks he made a choice long ago between doing the right thing and getting rich, and when you make those choices, you foreclose other ones. "He could have been president. But when you try and change your history too much, and try and recolor it because you don't like the way it was or you want it to be different to prove something new ... you lose touch with who you really are. You lose your way."

http://www.esquire.com/features/newt-gingrich-0910#ixzz1EGVUyqLd

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

"Those poor people.They were probably just doing it to be able to afford Malpractice Insurance."

A Brooklyn proctologist was charged with billing $6.5 million for hemorrhoid removals, most of which he never performed. Dr. Boris Sachakov claimed he performed 10 hemorrhoid removals on one patient, which authorities said is not possible.

Well, it is possible, it is just a terrible, horrible...ok fine not possible. I am sad the stolen money got stolen, but deep down, I'm glad the 'removals' were never performed, just a gut feeling I have.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone who answered my questions in the last thread.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Shrink,

I have received new information that has convinced me that Tim Kaine is not A Potted Plant, after all.

He is John Cleese's Norwegian Parrot.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "Shrink,

I have received new information that has convinced me that Tim Kaine is not A Potted Plant, after all.

He is John Cleese's Norwegian Parrot."

You guys want to trade for Michael Steele?

Posted by: jnc4p | February 17, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

He's pinin' for the fjords.

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 17, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"And that leads us back to the interview with Gingrich's previous wife Marianne, the second wife, the one who he was having an affair with while his first wife was in the hospital suffering from uterine cancer. Mind you, Gingrich then cheated on her too having an affair with his present wife while still married to Marianne. "

It's funny how this guy is considered a viable Presidential candidate while John Edwards' career was rightfully over once his news came out.

What is that acronym?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

In a heart beat. At least Steele has a pulse.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Brooklyn proctologist was charged with billing $6.5 million for hemorrhoid removals, most of which he never performed. Dr. Boris Sachakov claimed he performed 10 hemorrhoid removals on one patient, which authorities said is not possible.

Well, it is possible, it is just a terrible, horrible...ok fine not possible. I am sad the stolen money got stolen, but deep down, I'm glad the 'removals' were never performed, just a gut feeling I have.

Posted by: shrink2 |

.........................

Piles and Piles of Cash for the taking!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "In a heart beat. At least Steele has a pulse."

I hear he's available. Good luck staying on budget though.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 17, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

This still makes me laugh.

Senator Dementia Strikes Again;

From TPM

"Quite An Image

Our Ryan Reilly headed over to today's meeting of the DC chapter of the Federalist Society, where Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was the featured speaker. This line from Ryan's dispatch caught my eye: "Americans are 'on our knees in front of China for credit,' DeMint told the mostly conservative attendees feasting on fried rice and fortune cookies at Tony Chang's restaurant in the Chinatown section of D.C.""

Good night to all. Last one out, please turn off the lights.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I seriously, in all the not entirely specious seriousness I can proffer, would replace Tim Kaine with Michael Steele. A live body is better than dead body, when it comes to hope and change anyway.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

"Troll, it was a metaphor. Yes, I know she is done, you know she is done politically, but she did not realize that until perhaps just now. She suddenly decided to try to rise up from her ashes and get with Rove's message (birthers will not carry us to the White House).

Problem is and I am glad you are following this with me, birthers are her base. So she is trying to x-over, it is something to watch, let's stay together on this."

I'll be "convinced" her political career is over when she comes out and says it.  Wishcasting ain't "convincin'." ;-)

And while I will admit to the guilty pleasure of getting a chuckle out of "birtherism," I've yet to see a negative consequence for Republicans.  It might happen, it might not (negative consequence) but currently it's an exploitable issue, like Trutherism was for Howard Dean, for example.

http://www.slate.com/id/2092515/

Fun read today everybody!  You should be proud! 

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

ees not dead

ee is

no, ees not

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin and Howard Dean are a lot alike. They united their broken parties in hard times, then tried to blow up but then flashed in the pan. Troll we are on the same darn page.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse

@shrink - at a party a few years back, two young ladies inquired as to my profession. I replied that I was a forensic proctologist. They appeared to believe me.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Solidarity news from Cairo, Wisconsin...

"Some state troopers have already told union leaders that, in a sign of support for striking workers, they are refusing to track down or arrest any state legislators that they encounter. Capitol Police already have refused to kick out of the State Capitol the nearly 5,000 protestors that the Wisconsin Department of Administration has announced are there. Early today, reports from Twitter and sources on the ground said that protesters were literally blocking members of the Wisconsin State Senate GOP from re-entering the chamber in case they tried to take a vote on the bill without a quorum being in place."

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/17/wisconsin-labor-protests/

At FOX, there will be much outrage and stomping of feet, I trust.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 8:07 PM | Report abuse

you sick...

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Michigan's new governor is also making some proposals to help the working class:

Like many states around the country, Michigan is facing a huge budget deficit of $1.4 billion. Mr. Snyder’s budget would make $1.2 billion in cuts to schools, universities, local governments and other areas while asking public employees for $180 million in concessions. Mr. Snyder said that he would set an example by reducing his salary this year to $1.

Mr. Snyder’s plan also calls for big changes to the state’s tax system. He would eliminate the current business tax in favor of a flat 6 percent corporate income tax, resulting in $1.8 billion in tax cuts for businesses. To pay for those changes, he would eliminate many personal income tax credits and require pensions to be taxed.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/shared-sacrifice-in-michigan/

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 17, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

John Boehner is a big orange liar. Details below...

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/17/boehner-shutdown/

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

This seems so simple:

How do we know our difficulties stem primarily from a shortage of revenue? Consider what would happen if we allowed all the tax cuts scheduled to expire in 2012, including the ones enacted under Bush, to go away. That would produce nearly as much deficit reduction over the next decade - roughly $4 trillion - as all the maneuvers of the Bowles-Simpson commission put together. If you want to be serious about closing the deficit, ending the Bush tax cuts is a good place to start.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021606388.html

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 17, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

"If you want to be serious about closing the deficit, ending the Bush tax cuts is a good place to start. "

One hell of a presupposition. No one thinks for a second that Republicans care about deficit reduction. It's ludicrous and is a testament to the intellectual laziness of Americans that this misconception persists.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Whether the republicans want to close the deficit isn't really the point, is it DDAWD? No doubt they are hypocrites and panderers and couldn't care less about the deficit, they only care about low taxes for rich people. But that doesn't change the fact that the current deficit is unsustainable and we on the left, in the interest of the entire country, understand that it must be reduced. Ending all the Bush tax cuts would be a good start.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 17, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

"But that doesn't change the fact that the current deficit is unsustainable and we on the left, in the interest of the entire country, understand that it must be reduced. Ending all the Bush tax cuts would be a good start."

Well, yeah. Clinton balanced the budget. Obama can't be expected to do so with the job situation, but the PPACA is a long term deficit reducer. Dems have a much better record on deficit reduction. It's not even close.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

But the Republicans are closer to God. It's not even close.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 8:52 PM | Report abuse

"... couldn't care less about the deficit, they only care about low taxes for rich people."

Very provocative, Prag! Excellent comment

Just a minor tweak though, you forgot that we're also terrified of brown people.
;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 8:55 PM | Report abuse

"The Reagan Legacy
It seems to me that if you want to talk about the political economy of the national debt you need to look at this chart:

(chart at link below...go look!)

And when you look at this chart, you need to think of Ronald Reagan. It’s not that all deficits are Reagan’s fault, or that all deficits are Republicans’ fault, or even that all deficits are bad. But people generally think that the 1980 election was a big deal in American political history. As best I understand it, conservatives generally think that the 1980 election was a big deal in American political history. And one of the things that made it a big deal is that it inaugurated a structural shift from a politics of small deficits linked to the business cycle and shrinking debt burdens to the deficit politics we know today. Post-Reagan politics sometimes cares about the deficit, but it cares much more about low taxes and somewhat more about lavish military spending."

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/the-reagan-legacy/

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

All zealots are closer to God, Jewish "settlers", Islamists, the American Republicans, we have to be careful .

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"All zealots are closer to God, Jewish "settlers", Islamists, the American Republicans, we have to be careful ."

Now that is interesting, and careful indeed!

What about the zealots working on behalf of Gaia?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Follow along Troll ... perhaps you can politely tell me where you disagree:

Let's look at history. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, he won big tax cuts coupled with big increases in military spending. The tax cuts and a severe recession tanked government revenue.

Unlike today's conservatives, Reagan at least acknowledged mathematical reality and signed some tax increases. But these were insufficient, and it fell first to George H.W. Bush - the last truly fiscally responsible Republican - and then to Bill Clinton to restore budgetary sanity.

But the conservatives who dug the hole did nothing to get us out of it. On the contrary, they denounced the first President Bush for raising taxes, and every Republican voted against Clinton's economic plan. For their bravery in supporting tax increases (and balancing the budget) in 1993, Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994.

By the end of the Clinton years, we had a handsome surplus. In came the second President Bush who, with Republicans in Congress, declared the surplus too big. It was one problem they worked very hard to solve. Two tax cuts and two wars later, we were plunged into deficits - again. And the economic downturn that started on Bush 43's watch made everything worse, cutting revenue and requiring more deficit spending to get the economy moving.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021606388.html

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 17, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

How about this for a GOP ticket - Trump/Palin. They don't understand anything but it doesn't stop them from acting like they do:

"What I would be doing," Trump said, "is, I'd be taking in hundreds of billions of dollars from other countries. As an example, we protect South Korea. Why aren't they paying us? We have thousands of troops in European countries. Thousands. Tens of thousands of troops. If we're protecting countries why aren't they paying for it?"

He continued: "I would tax China because they are manipulating the currency. They are taking all of our jobs. China is an absolute abuser of the United States. They have no respect for our leadership. They are an absolute abuser. I would tax China. We would take in hundreds of billions of dollars."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/donald-trump-if-i-were-elected-president-i-would-tax-other-countries.php?ref=fpc

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 17, 2011 9:09 PM | Report abuse

And our new word for the day...

"Agnotology
An interesting exchange between John Quiggin and Jonathan Chait on right-wing agnotology — that is, culturally-induced ignorance or doubt. The specific issue is birtherism, the claim that Barack Obama was born in Kenya or anyway not in America, which polls indicate is a view held by a majority of Republican primary voters.

Quiggin suggests that right-wingers aren’t really birthers in their hearts; it’s just that affirming birtherism is a sort of badge of belonging, a shibboleth in the original biblical sense. Chait counters that much of the modern right lives in a mental universe in which liberal elites hide the truth, and in which they, through their access to Fox News etc., know things the brainwashed masses don’t.

My view is that Quiggin is right as far as right-wing politicians are concerned: for the most part they know that Obama was born here, that he isn’t a socialist,that there are no death panels, and so on, but feel compelled to pretend to be crazy as a career move. But I think Chait has it right on the broader movement.

I mean, I see it all the time on economic statistics: point out that inflation remains fairly low, that the Fed isn’t really printing money, whatever, and you get accusations that the data are being falsified, that you yourself are cherry-picking by using the same measures you’ve always used, whatever. There really is epistemic closure: if the facts don’t support certain prejudices, that’s because They are hiding the truth, which we true believers know.

And don’t get me started on climate change."

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/agnotology/

And yeah, Krugman gets it right.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 17, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Sue, have a good trip. Madison's a good town.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 17, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

"What about the zealots working on behalf of Gaia?"

No worries there, stoner armpit braiding is complicated.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

pragmaticagain , this is why I don't even bother to try and have actual discussions with the Conservatives on this blog. I am not interested in posting stone cold facts with Conservatives thinking they're up for debate. They are not. It's not debatable that Democrats are better on the deficit than Republicans, but somehow Conservatives will insist the polar opposite. They are far more concerned with saying and believing Conservative Things than with dealing in actual facts.

I mean really, for all that digital ink, do you think you've changed troll's thinking one iota?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

"we're also terrified of brown people"

Now that is interesting, and careful indeed!
Troll, are you sure? Do you speak for all Republicans?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, thanks. I asked more questions, afterward.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 17, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

"Follow along Troll ... perhaps you can politely tell me where you disagree:"

Prag, you put a lot of work into that! Thanks! I just wanted to enhance your understanding of what Republicans "care" about. You wrote that there was only one thing, low taxes. I added that we also care about brown people, in that we're terrified of them (brown people) not just here, but the world over. To me, it's an important part of being a Republican. Low taxes and terror of brown people are what drive us.

I hope I've helped. :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

"Quiggin suggests that right-wingers aren’t really birthers in their hearts; it’s just that affirming birtherism is a sort of badge of belonging, a shibboleth in the original biblical sense."

This is why I'm not a pundit. This is so much more poetic than saying "they say Conservative Things because they think Sarah Palin will blow them if they do it enough."

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 9:23 PM | Report abuse

DD

"do you think you've changed troll's thinking one iota"

Uh oh. Is that the point? I thought this is sharing news and ideas and being funny and interesting.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

"Uh oh. Is that the point? I thought this is sharing news and ideas and being funny and interesting. "

Yup, which is good. But would be even more good if we could have actual debates.

Of course, the reason I can even post here is because we never get past ground floor stuff. If the level of sophistication were to get past "Regin iz awesum," I'd just be an interested bystander instead of an involved a**hole.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

ABC: Yeah, I love Madison! It's been a few years since I've been there, but this seems like a good reason to try to do it, especially since I have Monday off, and teacher friends from Milwaukee will also be around.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, I love Madison!"

Party girl.
Not saying that's a bad thing.
Just sayin'

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

""Quiggin suggests that right-wingers aren’t really birthers in their hearts; it’s just that affirming birtherism is a sort of badge of belonging, a shibboleth in the original biblical sense."

This is why I'm not a pundit. This is so much more poetic than saying "they say Conservative Things because they think Sarah Palin will blow them if they do it enough.""

Hi DDAWD! Earlier today you wrote:

"I think Chris C had a post yesterday which was basically asking why everyone was being so mean to Sarah Palin, haha.

And TMWN is just imitating the standard form of Conservative humor. Remember how big of a hit Darth Cheney was?

Oh, did I say imitating? I meant he Independently Came Up With it. I dare not accuse Conservatives of all imitating each other."

First, I want to sincerely thank you for your work in the healing arts. I've spent a little time around Doctor's and those immersed in medical training, and the personal sacrifice required, is for me, dumbfounding and beyond comprehension. I have nothing but admiration and respect for those that pursue it.

Second, you've made me laugh twice in one day! It's been a tough week and I appreciate any laugh I can get! Many thanks! And keep up the great work, not only here but in your work for your patients as well! :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"Now that is interesting, and careful indeed!
Troll, are you sure? Do you speak for all Republicans?"

Braiding armpit hair! Classic! That's three guffaws today, thanks. As to your questions, the answer is yes and yes. I just wanna help.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

TrollMcWingnut

right now I work in a system with lots of poor people, lots of minorities. People without insurance, people on Medicaid. And today I was involved in a discussion with a cancer patient about possible hospice care. What you people call death panels.

You despise what I do.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 9:45 PM | Report abuse

"right now I work in a system with lots of poor people, lots of minorities. People without insurance, people on Medicaid. And today I was involved in a discussion with a cancer patient about possible hospice care. What you people call death panels.

You despise what I do."

I said, and sincerely believe what I wrote. I'll add, at the risk of offending you if you're an atheist, God bless you and your family for the work you do and the sacrifices you have and continue to make.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

"And the economic downturn that started on Bush 43's watch made everything worse,. . ."

Not that you're stretching things at all. This is why conservatives don't take seriously what the diatribes you folks portray as "hard facts."

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 17, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

;-)

Posted by: Troll McWingNut

==

OK, that's it for me. Welcome to the filter list

Posted by: caothien9 | February 17, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"Follow along Troll ... perhaps you can politely tell me where you disagree..."

Well I disagree with the parenthetical you inserted into the WaPo EJ Dionne link. That's not very sporting, old prags.

It's also dead wrong. Mr. Clinton's surplus occured in his final year and a half, not 1993.

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

You despise what I do.

God bless you and your family for the work you do

The Internet has brought us together.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

God bless you and your family for the work you do

yes

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

";-)

Posted by: Troll McWingNut

==

OK, that's it for me. Welcome to the filter list"

Hi cao! Hope your day is a good one! And, for what it's worth, you've got to do what your heart tells you. I will say I've enjoyed our conversations and hope at some point in the future we will continue them. But please rethink your "rock went down hill in the '70's" position. There really is no question the '70's were the greatest decade for rock music creation.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, I don't see how any Conservative can support what a physician does if discussing end-of-life care is considered to be murderous. I know they live generally sheltered lives where they haven't dealt with ailing loved ones, but to not empathize with those who do have to go through those situations is just pathologically sick.

Although I guess you're the expert on that. Conservatism should really be an Axis II.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Anyways, back to politics.

http://www.slate.com/id/2285532/

Dave Weigel on the Wisconsin legislators and history of legislators running away.

And yeah, Conservatives, this is the guy who said mean things about Matt Drudge, so you can form your opinions without even having to read it!

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

"I know they live generally sheltered lives where they haven't dealt with ailing loved ones, but to not empathize with those who do have to go through those situations is just pathologically sick."

What a malevolent idiot you are. I hope that hatred as deep as yours is rare, but just think of how utterly idiotic your statement is. You ought never to have a medical license or be allowed near patients or families.

Must again stop reading your absurdities.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 17, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

DD, this is not reality. It is a word game.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 10:38 PM | Report abuse

There are a lot of serious personality differences between conservatives and people, er, I mean, other people. Conservatives tend to be more punitive, unsympathetic, harsh and cruel, conforming, sarcastic and derisive.

But the one characteristic that outshines all the others is honesty. Conservatives are liars. Enthusiastic ones, shameless ones, compulsive. Show them wrong with the facts and they're right back with the same lies five minutes later. I don't need to cite examples, we read them every day.

Take Wisconsin. The governor has a budget surplus so he cuts corporate taxes and creates a deficit, then says the deficit needs to be closed by attacking public sector unions. And all the Republicamd act lime they were born yesterday and unions are the big problem.

I don'g see some deplorable political era here, I see the very country drawing to a close. Reality isn't dictated by what people claim to believe. Reality marches on what's true. So America descends into shabbiness and poverty because liars prevent solutions.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 17, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

What a malevolent idiot you are

==

wow look who's talking

Posted by: caothien9 | February 17, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Good background by Weigel.

I'm not sure the legislative boycott is going to work out to soften anything in the bill.

We're looking at this from out of state. The Dem Senators must look pretty pathetic to many, many WI voters already. The longer out the more pathetic.

And the people in WI are on the ground witnessing the, uh, demeanor of the protesters, who aren't exactly modeling Gandhi. That isn't being seen nationally.

{{{WIscUnions=PittsburgSteelers}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"DD, this is not reality. It is a word game. "

Yeah, that's actually one of the more fun games on this blog. Like when Sean Hannity talks about the government spending to GDP ratio. And then all the Conservatives Independently Come Up With the same statistic.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

i don't know shrink, i think it might be reality (w/pixels)

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 10:48 PM | Report abuse

""DD, this is not reality. It is a word game.""

Why? It's clear now that everything McWing says is suspect (oh, forgive me please) but do we all have to follow suit? Playing word games is easy if you're clever enough but discussing issues is hard, especially when you consider the varying political and religious philosophies, pre-conceived notions, prejudices and different ages and wealth backgrounds we all have. This should be a breeding ground for ideas instead. Too bad.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 17, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure someone smarter than Hannity handed him the stat.

It's a cornerstone macro metric. Krugman uses it.

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

"We're looking at this from out of state. The Dem Senators must look pretty pathetic to many, many WI voters already. The longer out the more pathetic."

Well, you're a Conservative, so of course your opinion should be taken with a grain of salt since you think that a Dem Senator could, hypothetically, have fought in Vietnam, get wounded a bunch of times, and still be pathetic...hypothetically.

I think it's much more telling how large these protests are. In the last ten years, has there ever been such a large show of support for unions?

I don't think the Dem's flight in itself will change the outcome, but what they have done is prolong the process, allow public opinion to foment, and put a big spotlight on what the GOP is trying to do. And I do think that can change the outcome. Politicians can change their tunes very quickly when they learn that people are paying attention.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Semiotics my friend. We are exchanging symbols and pretending they matter. Well sometimes it is silly...

What a malevolent idiot you are

wow look who's talking

But still I do it because I learn from the exchange for free. I learn from the smart people, they say smart things, no matter what position they take. Good night.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 10:53 PM | Report abuse

"It's a cornerstone macro metric. Krugman uses it."

Um, Krugman uses/says a lot of stuff which you are more than happy to ignore. I'm guessing you're not about to start advocating for stimulus spending anytime soon or suggest something ridiculous that tax cuts have an effect on the deficit.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"This should be a breeding ground for ideas instead."

That is what word games are. It is true for little kids and it is true for adults. Matching wits. It is harmless fun. If you have to win, then it is not fun.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

See y'all for the morning plum then. Have fun boys.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 17, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Japan ends its annual Antarctic whaling season early, saying "harassment" by activists' ships had made it too dangerous to continue.

That is reality.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I am a conservative, but I never thought that about Kerry.

What do you think working parents with kids in the Madison schools think about having their week turned upside down by AFSCME, SEIU, OFA, DNC, UnivWI students, protesters on "sick day(s)", etc., that are swelling the crowds?

The support for unions is coming from...union members. Fascinating.

And I guess we'll see how this play ends.

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Yup, the crowds aren't a perfect measure, but just the fact that size is so much larger than normal. And part of this is that it's more of an existential battle. This isn't unions striking for better wages or certain benefits. It's about simply being ALLOWED to negotiate benefits. I know Americans don't like unions, but I think the polling I've seen (and no, I'm not going to spend time looking anything up) shows quite a bit of support for the union position. I don't know that it's majority support, but a hell of a lot more than you'd expect for a union issue. I could be wrong about this, but that's what I remember.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

"Um, Krugman uses/says a lot of stuff which you are more than happy to ignore. I'm guessing you're not about to start advocating for stimulus spending anytime soon or suggest something ridiculous that tax cuts have an effect on the deficit."

That, my scientific friend, is a non sequitur, a form of, er, word game.

Krugman used the metric to bash (with justification) W. The metric worked for Clinton because he was a modest spender, with a dot-com boom, and a GOP Congress in his 2nd term.

I wrote that tax cuts affect deficits in a response to you two days ago.

Carry on hatin'

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 11:24 PM | Report abuse

"That, my scientific friend, is a non sequitur, a form of, er, word game."

No it's not. I never said that Hannity invented the metric. I'm just saying that the first time I've seen it used by Conservatives on here was about an hour after the Sean Hannity show a few days ago where he and Dick Morris talked about it. Just because Krugman used it doesn't change any of the other facts about Hannity and this board.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

It may be existential, but that's not really a political construct in a republic, particularly in a state within that republic.

The state of Wisconson elected the Gov and the legislators three months ago to do exactly this.

The polling on union support is national, not specific to WI. The election was.

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Awww c'mon Bernie, let's get you started on climate change again:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/17/regarding-thermodynamics-and-heat-transfer-why-al-gore%e2%80%99s-comments-to-bill-o%e2%80%99reilly-at-fox-news-are-wrong/#more-34175

BTW, Where are your Canadian descendants (if you have any) going to live after the real cool down starts in a couple of thousand years?

Posted by: actuator | February 17, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I ask you again: What are you doing watching Hannity? ;>)

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

"The state of Wisconson elected the Gov and the legislators three months ago to do exactly this.

The polling on union support is national, not specific to WI. The election was."

You don't know EXACTLY why anyone was elected. And I'm not being nit-picky in your use of "exact". Not going to chide someone for saying he's 100% certain when he's only 99%. But I will chide for equating 100% and 60%. We all have, at best, some vague ideas and theories as to why people are elected. And people's desires aren't static. They change.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

"I ask you again: What are you doing watching Hannity? ;>)"

These shows are kind of fun. It's like Jersey Shore for the politically inclined. Just a big intellectual train-wreck.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 11:47 PM | Report abuse

DD,

Greg posted the PEW poll above that shows nationally that people have a favorable view of unions by a small majority.

That may not hold locally, where this is being played out. State workers in WI pay nothing (nothing!) toward a defined-benefit pension, their pay is equal to or better than comparable private sector jobs, they cannot be fired (nor is Walker proposing ANY layoffs), and they pay 6% toward healthcare (6 freakin' %).

What do you think the rest of the working population, in a state in deficit and affected like all states by the recession, thinks of that?

What about fairness?

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

"You don't know EXACTLY why anyone was elected."

Fair enough and true. I'd say though that you have an idea, that you would defend, as to why, say, Mr. Obama was elected.

Gotta go, 6:30am bell, thnx

Posted by: tao9 | February 17, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

tao, this isn't about specific benefits. It's about being stripped of the ability to negotiate. There are plenty of arrangements that may be unfair (although no one forced anyone into anything), but taking away the freedom to negotiate is just extremist. If you read Obama's comments, he supported a pay freeze on public employees, but not the loss of bargaining rights. Even with things like increasing public employee contributions to pensions and so forth, yeah, I have a problem with raiding the coffers of the middle class while protecting the wealthy, but increasing pension contributions is not categorically wrong. Stripping bargaining rights is categorically wrong.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 18, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Where is fairness in paying for tax cuts on corporations by tsing pensions for working people?

Sounds like you're using a word you've seen others use without really knowing what it means.

However to be honest (we liberals care about that) you did concede that the Bush tax cuts reduced revenue.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 18, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

"Fair enough and true. I'd say though that you have an idea, that you would defend, as to why, say, Mr. Obama was elected."

There's probably a myriad of reasons. And of course, the media blitz against health care reform was not there prior to Obama's election. So even if you make the case Obama was elected to reform health care, people's perceptions may have changed. Just like it's possible that these events might have changed the minds of voters who may have voted against the unions.

And Wisconsin isn't the only state to go after public employees. For all the noise Chris Christie is making in NJ, you aren't seeing tens of thousands of people protesting in Trenton. I really do think stripping CB rights is a step too far and is far more of an existential threat than something like a pay freeze or a cut in benefits.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 18, 2011 12:08 AM | Report abuse

tao, Wisconsin did not elect Walker to get rid of collective bargaining. Point one.

Point two--the state was projected to have a surplus until Walker reduced taxes on special interests to manufacture this particular budget "crisis."

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 18, 2011 1:19 AM | Report abuse

The reason Obama was elected? As if it could be reduced to one ...but if it must be, that reason could only be that more people felt he had what it took to lead the country than felt that about John McCain.

All the warnings about Obama's inexperience paled next to the demonstrated fact of McCain's erraticness, impulsiveness, and bad judgment. McCain's campaign suspension, his immature behavior in the debates, the stunningly irresponsible selection of Palin .. Obama could have been a blank slate and still been the preferable choice.

But Obama has certainly failed to live up to expectations. Where we let ourselves see conviction we ended up with capitulation. We so wanted to get past the miserable shabbiness of Bush that we didn't let ourselves see we were practically giving him a third term.

But I don't think any of us foresaw how deranged the right wing would become at seeing a dark face behind the presidential seal.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 18, 2011 3:56 AM | Report abuse

Does Boehner even realize what a disastrous precedent there is for "read my lips"?

Posted by: rhallnj | February 18, 2011 5:51 AM | Report abuse

He probably thinks "how could such a great snotty bit of snark like that backfire TWICE?!?"

Posted by: caothien9 | February 18, 2011 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Point two--the state was projected to have a surplus until Walker reduced taxes on special interests to manufacture this particular budget "crisis."

==

But the one in Texas is the real deal and is happening in the very crucible of right-wing economics. Bottom of the heap on so many metrics, nothing left to cut, and never going to raise taxes.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 18, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Some of these Republicans are acting like Dictators! It is unfortunate that Wisconsin did have a Surplus but Governor gave it away to business cronies. The problem in the U.S., is the unequal distribution of wealth. Rich people and rich corporations pay little to no taxes while the middle class and working poor bear the burdens of taxes in the U.S. In regards to Medicare, instead of letting Medicare negotiate for the lowest drug prices, which would save billions, they are forced to pay top dollar to the drug cartels (super pharmaceuticals). That is because GOP are more concerned with business than Main Street. So I support the people in Wisconsin, not the Unions, but people's rights of having to pay the burden of tax relief while Wall Street, Banks, Corporations, Rich people pay very little and in some cases none, due to tax breaks, tax shelters and tax loopholes. This is wrong. And, if GOP are so Concerned about the deficit, then they would have never approved the Bush Tax Cuts, that benefit the wealthy and take from the rest of us -- They, the GOP, have RAPED this country!

What you won’t see about the new budget:

http://tinyurl.com/4ft2a3p

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 18, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Ezra is kinder than I am...

"Does an 'open House' weaken the tea party?
By Ezra Klein
Jon Bernstein wonders whether Speaker John Boehner's use of "open rules" -- which has allowed more than 400 amendments to the spending bill and led to a number of high-profile defeats for both Boehner and the House's more conservative bloc -- is part of a quiet effort to maneuver around his tea party faction.

[T]his logic would imply that Boehner's real goal in using an open rule could be twofold: to show hard-liners that they don't have the votes for many of their most aggressive spending cuts, and at the same time to show them how easily the GOP can lose control of the chamber if rogue Members insist on their personal preferences instead of sticking with the party. Surely, if Boehner believes that a shutdown would be very damaging to the GOP in general and to his ability to remain Speaker in particular (and indications are that he does believe those things -- as in my view he should!), then finding some way before the final crisis to defuse some of the intensity of budget-cutters who have a lot less leverage than bravado would be a smart move. If, of course, it works.

Is that an accurate explanation of Boehner's intentions? I don't know, and Bernstein doesn't, either. And on some level, it might not matter: The question is whether it has that effect, not whether Boehner wants it to have that effect. And I'd add one piece to this: The open rules are leading to a lot of ad hoc coalitions between congressional Democrats and more mainstream congressional Republicans. If these two groups get used to working with each other on small things, such as funding for police, that might help them work together on big things, such as avoiding a default or shutdown."

Ezra is right to point to effect rather than intent in any case. But does anyone think Boehner is that bright?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 18, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Pretty obviously, the over-reach by Republicans at state and federal level (We're going to take America back to that pristine state that existed long, long before Eisenhower and his commie buddies took over) is producing what I'm not sure the right wanted to see - a populist movement that actually is a populist movement (not a pretense organized by PR firms and corporate strategists).

Posted by: bernielatham | February 18, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

"Curveball doubts were shared with CIA, says ex-German foreign minister

Germany's former foreign minister Joschka Fischer has accused the former head of the CIA George Tenet of making implausible claims about the handling of the Curveball case by the US."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/17/curveball-doubts-cia-german-foreign

If you were paying attention, you already knew this. But nice to have Fischer remind us.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 18, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_morning_plum_190.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 18, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Jon Stewart on Berlusconi...

"The guy's like Charlie Sheen with diplomatic immunity."

Posted by: bernielatham | February 18, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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