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Posted at 8:40 AM ET, 02/10/2011

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* GOP fractures as budget wars heat up: The budget wars are now underway in earnest, and as predicted, the House GOP proposal yesterday for cuts is nowhere near enough for House conservatives, who are staging a mini-revolt and demanding that the GOP leadership cut another $42 billion.

It's striking how quickly these divisions have asserted themselves, and it's going to be interesting to see how -- or whether -- the GOP leadership manages to corral conservatives who seem dead serious about making GOP leaders honor all that Tea Party stuff about promising to cut spending to 2008 levels.

* Dems versus Obama over plan for low-income energy cuts: Meanwhile, Obama will propose steep cuts to a program that subsidizes energy costs for low income families, and John Kerry sends him a sharply worded letter insisting the cuts are dangerous "during one of the most brutal winters in history."

Key takeaway: Here's our first glimpse of the real-world consequences of Obama's spending freeze.

* An epic clash over energy: An important dynamic to watch: Coral Davenport on how the GOP proposal to cut the hated Environmental Protection Agency sets the stage for an epic clash between the two parties' views on energy and climate change.

* Mitt Romney rewrites himself: A great, great catch by David Bernstein, who discovers that the new paperback edition of Romney's subtly titled book, "No Apology," rewrites the section on health care to make it much more appealing to the "Obamacare"-despising conservative base.

Key takeaway: Romney is caught in a trap -- no matter how hard he tries to wriggle off the hook he created for himself with Romneycare by pandering to the Tea Party base's hatred of "Obamacare," it only makes him look more ideologically opportunistic and malleable.

* What to watch for at CPAC: The Conservative Political Action Conference kicks off today, and Mark Halperin has a brief and user-friendly guide on what to look for.

Things that will be fun to watch: Lower-profile candidates like Rick Santorum, Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour rolling out the most incendiary and vivid rhetoric they can muster in an effort to break through. And: Mitt reaching for the skies in an effort to bust through that built-in wall of conservative skepticism about him.

* A very delicate balancing act for 2012 GOP hopefuls: Also, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake write that CPAC attendees have to figure out a way of balancing the need to feed red meat to the conservative activists while simultaneously coming off as a serious national contender to the dozens of national political journalists in attendance.

That's a polite way, I think, of saying that they need to figure out how to pander to the throngs of seriously out-there right-wingers without coming across as completely crazy.

* No, Obama is not "moving to the center," part 973: A must-read from E.J. Dionne, who counterprograms all the simplistic garbage we keep hearing from commentators about Obama's alleged "repositioning" with a subtle, nuanced, and accurate portrayal of what he is actually doing:

Obama now has three overlapping objectives. He is trying to recapture the magic of 2008, when he was more a preacher of hope and inspiration than the representative of a particular ideology. He wants to foil Republican efforts to center the national debate on a choice between big and small government. And he is trying to woo back independent voters, but in a way that solidifies rather than alienates his left-of-center base.

Also key: Dionne reports that Obama's advisers are "satisfied that they are making a consistent case for a mixture of government action and fiscal prudence to promote economic growth." I'm gratified to see that this roughly tracks with my take on what Obama is really up to.

* It's all about Virginia: Howard Fineman on the real significance of Jim Webb's retirement: Obama badly needs to win Virginia -- which he won last time and is pivotal to his hopes for reelection -- and suddenly he now needs to find a strong replacement candidate for Webb in order to help hold the state.

* Time for Dems to finally write off the south? Relatedly, Mark Schmitt has an interesting piece on a long-debated question, arguing that Obama's best hope for reelection in 2012 is for Dems to realize that the divorce from the south is final.

* Know-Nothingism in 21st Century America: Justin Elliott has the dispiriting tale of a Texas school that nixed Arabic classes because parents were angry that their children were being taught about Islam. Better to know nothing about it, apparently!

* And the HuffPo-AOL deal is good for the left: Jane Hamsher argues that it's "nothing but a boon for true progressives that Arianna will now oversee the content read by 117 million unique visitors a month."

Agreed. What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 10, 2011; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, Morning Plum, Political media, budget  
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Next: Poll: No constituency for Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt

Comments

Greg- How about this little skirmish over the Constitutionality of PPACA?
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2011/02/house-democrats-say-justice-th.html

A bunch of House democrats have written a letter to Justice Thomas requesting he recuse himself given his contributions to groups actively trying to take down the bill.

What's the argument that he shouldn't recuse himself?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 10, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Finemann is wrong in that O could lose va,in,wi and a few others he won.

Hamster is wrong in that Huffpost is horrible for progressives because it turns it's readers off of national democratic leaders and fractures the party.

Schmidt is wrong also. Obama is polling strong in NC and could very well win in what is trending into a Democratic state.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"No, Obama is not "moving to the center," part 973"

Yes he is, Part 974:

"Obama will propose steep cuts to a program that subsidizes energy costs for low income families, and John Kerry sends him a sharply worded letter insisting the cuts are dangerous "during one of the most brutal winters in history." Key takeaway: Here's our first glimpse of the real-world consequences of Obama's spending freeze."

Wait for the WH Budget. Then see what Obama actually signs. The rest is spin, noise and solipsism.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

@cao - Above, I saw you quote QB (I don't read him and had to trace back to see who'd said it) that the "Obamacare" legislation is an example of totalitarianism. That someone could make a statement this dumb is just depressing. And it's another bit of evidence at how successful Norquist (and others, but he's a key figure) have been.

==

Where it really hit me: 2094 IINM, the dotcom crash. Thousands of programmers out of work. Room full of us waiting to interview for a few really lousy low-paying QA positions (gag noise) at Microsoft with some hyper-condescending Indian jerks.

All bright people, not a job for average joes at all. And the discussion among the interviewers ..

"supply an' demand"

"gotta compete inna global marketplace."

"market forces"

If people bright enough to write apps are buying this junk, imagine how deep the conservatrolls have taken this hook.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

2004, I meant

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

From Schmidt's article:

"Yet, while the Democratic Party can happily ignore the South in its political strategy, to write off the region altogether would be a moral betrayal of the people whose well-being Democrats claim to care about. It would mean ignoring the states with the highest rates of child poverty, incarceration, infant mortality, and the lowest rates of health-insurance coverage, student achievement, and union representation. Look at just about any map of a social problem (for example, the KidsCount.org website showing the condition of children), and you'll see a dark swath from Virginia to Texas.

And conditions are likely to get worse. As the Prospect's Monica Potts reported in December, the new Republican legislatures in the South are already looking for ways to dramatically reduce spending on social programs and welfare. A majority of the region's attorneys general have joined Florida's lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and it's unlikely that any of them will implement its provisions, such as the requirement to create state-level insurance exchanges, with enthusiasm, potentially leaving many families worse off than before."

Here is what the Democratic Party should do: Resolutely declare its core principle that government is how civilized people come together to solve common problems. Then wait for the Southern states to fall apart, as they will very soon. Don't sell out. Don't run Republicrats and Blue Dogs. Stick with your core principles and then wait, even if you have to suffer for a cycle or two.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Re: Virginia and Obama's chances. I don't think Webb was all that popular. But I don't think a weaker Dem senate candidate will hurt Obama's chances either. The name of the game is Northern VA. He Obama runs up huge margins there, he wins. if not, loses the state.

Obama won VA by about 230,000 votes. Here's the 2008 results by county. check out the blues, particularly in Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington -- in those three jurisdictions, Obama built a lead of about 188,000 votes.

http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/states/president/virginia.html

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 10, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

What else?

The Plutocracy is hard at work to destroy Wikileaks. Here is an excerpt from Bank of America's consultant:

"• Feed the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization. Submit fake documents and then call out the error.

• Create concern over the security of the infrastructure. Create exposure stories. If the process is believed to not be secure they are done.

• Cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters. This would kill the project. Since the servers are now in Sweden and France putting a team together to get access is more straightforward.

• Media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of Wikileaks activities. Sustained pressure. Does nothing for the fanatics, but creates concern and doubt amongst moderates.

• Search for leaks. Use social media to profile and identify risk behavior of employees"

http://wikileaks.ch/IMG/pdf/WikiLeaks_Response_v6.pdf

This is how The Plutocrats manipulate our world. Now just imagine what has been done by way of disinformation and propaganda concerning something like Global Warming.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

That's a polite way, I think, of saying that they need to figure out how to pander to the throngs of seriously out-there right-wingers without coming across as completely crazy.

==

Can't be done, of course. The base won't settle for dog whistle this time, they don't want to hear "quotas" and "porous borders'" they want promises of honest citizens starving in the streets and wilderness plowed over with asphalt, they want the Soylent Corporation trucks ready to roll.

But Cillizza lurves him some Repu-u-ublicans so ra ra ra.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Why is it when a democrat gets himself in trouble, the media hardly ever says which party is he from ?????


When a Republican gets in trouble, every story says the word "Republican" at least 10 times, closely followed variations of the word "hypocrisy" at 5 times.


Any democrat who holds himself out for public office and then gets in trouble, is also a hypocrite, obviously a small point to the media. However, at the same time, the slant and tone of the media is nothing less than hypocritical.

Case closed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Obama's problem in Egypt is policy, not "conflicting signals"

Obama simply does not know what he is doing.

Obama started last week with one policy - BEFORE he listened to the experts. Then the experts started sinking through his THICK EGO, and other considerations began to finally cause Obama to think about the actual CONSEQUENCES.


So, now the policy is in limbo.


Clearly, Obama simply did not understand American National Security INTERESTS in the MIDDLE EAST until this week. The statements coming from the Obama people even up to mid-last week reflected a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the region.


It was ONLY when Obama realized that if he messed up there would be domestic political implications did he change his tune.


The liberals have imposed on this nation an UNQUALIFIED AND INEXPERIENCED THICK-EGO of a person who is a DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN.


Obama may have averted a major disaster this time. However, the country keeps getting closer and closer to Obama making a major mistake.

This time, by encouraging the protestors who were aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama almost caused ANOTHER WAR in the Middle East.


If Obama continued down that road, the Muslim Brotherhood would have taken over the Egyptian goverenment, and who knows how many other countries in the Middle East. This surely would have caused another war - either during Obama's term or soon after.

Obama should resign immediately. If this nation had a Board of Directors, Obama would have been FIRED last year.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Times of London:

Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up President Mubarak if the White House tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt. In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, King Abdullah told President Obama not to humiliate Mr Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $1.5 billion annually. America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. “Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated,” a senior source in the Saudi capital told The Times. Two sources confirmed details of the King’s call

_________________________


Yikes Really going some when the Saudis have to step in and protect American Interests in the Middle East.

The Saudis basicly told Obama, if you don't do it, we will.

The Saudis are going to be around after Obama's term (singular) and they understand what they are doing.


.

________________________________


Jobs are the most important issue


Obama is a complete failure.


There is no other way to see it.

__________________________


Obama's health bill has CAUSED the GREAT OBAMA STAGNATION - an Economic time when business uncertainly is so great that not only is investment halted, but hiring is down.

Obviously, this will go down in history as one of the dumbest economic policies in the history of the nation - in the category of Hoovervilles and the Smoot-Harley Tariff.


Obama has been complete ineffective - and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE is probably much more accurate.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Scott, I continued our conversation at 9:06AM on the previous thread.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Here is what the Democratic Party should do: Resolutely declare its core principle that government is how civilized people come together to solve common problems. Then wait for the Southern states to fall apart, as they will very soon

==

I've been waiting for this a long time and one reason I left is because I believe it won't happen.

But the southern states are already disintegrating. Texas is the very crucible of Republican economics, the most niggardly safety nets in the nation, and facing a $27 billion deficit. That's billion with a B. There is nothing to cut. Dropout rate, teen pregnancy, everything, in the toilet. And they'd rather castrate themselves than raise taxes.

America took a turn away from greatness in 1980. Now that destination isn't even a memory.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

re budget wars and potential consequences...

Aside from maneuvers re votes on specific bills that come up, the key here will be whether the Dems and allies can effectively communicate to the nation what the real consequences will be to their lives and livelihoods from what Ryan et al wish to achieve.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

If we are going to have a health care bill, the Republicans should come up with their alternative - and Obama should just take that bill.


This idea that Obama is going to write a 2,000 page bill which no one knows what is in it - and somehow Obama thinks that will stands - well that is the stuff of what gets people locked up in mental hospitals.


The funding of Obama's bill - STILL NOT DONE. This bill is STILL a deficit-bomb. It is a ticking time deficit-bomb. So, that part of it is STILL not resolved.


And that is BEFORE the revenue from the individual mandate gets taken out of the equation.


The Federal government should strictly regulate the insurance companies - the ABUSES OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES - and the States should take the rest of the health care powers.


.


______________________________

Clearly the issue is the individual mandate - however that issue has revealed another FLAW in the Obama health care - the States should have primary responsibility for health care within their States THAT IS HOW IT'S BEEN FOR 200 YEARS.

There is NO reason to change that.


The Federal government can't handle the powers it has NOW, why ADD health care to the list.


UNBELIEVABLE.


Case closed.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"* Time for Dems to finally write off the south?"

Writing off *the most populous region* in the country would be a suicidal Rx for either party. For the Ds, the suicide looks like the two GWB victories, and permits the Rs to claim a safe base while hunting for the few remaining electoral votes needed for a majority.

It took Dean and Schumer to break that habit of writing off a region, but they were replaced by midget operatives who cannot count, obviously.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Ring any bells? You know who you are:

It’s probably the single most frustrating thing about blogging: Even long-settled facts are still subject to “debate,” and it’s now easier than ever to link to “authoritative” accounts “proving” things that are wildly wrong.

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/why-stupidity-wins/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OTB+%28Outside+The+Beltway+|+OTB%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 10, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Rove suddenly finds reconciliation to be just jimdandy after all...

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/rove-backs-reconciliation-for-health-care-repeal.php?ref=fpb

Of course he does. What could be more predictable?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Open challenge to the conservatives at 8:39 in the previous thread.

"Ich warte."
-- Klara Zachanassian, "Der Besuch Der Alten Dame," Friedrich Durrenmatt

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

re CPAC, an aspect here worthy of note is Rubio's non-attendance. Scheduling difficulties, wouldn't you know.

But more likely is that the professional PR/strategy boys he's taken on are coordinating a strategy to differentiate him from the visibly loony crowd that makes up CPAC's shindigs. His recent moves to distance himself from the Tea Party fit the pattern. He's being groomed and he'll have the best PR people and the big money and the right wing media system to pave the way.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

@Cao

Left what will probably be a very unsatisfying answer to your question of why I still respect our Conservative Bobbsey Twins on the last thread. More interested in your thoughts about what constitutes "intelligence" and how do we react to those who are not as intelligent....in a general sense...I was not out to single out any specific posters.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Another point re: Democrats and the South. The way things are presently the South is so far Right that it is useless chasing those states. Let them frolic in the land of Doughnut Freedom until things fall apart, which they inevitably will because the antigovernment, free market ideologues are living in a fantasy world.

Dems must declare their principles, then present their arguments over and over, and wait for the South to drown in its own idiotic antigovernment dogma, which won't be long. That's a strategy, not a tactic, and it is far more valuable both to the party and, more importantly, to the nation. That is how you win. And that is how you lead.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

And there is yet another reason that Democrats should write off the South for now. By chasing those votes and installing Republicrats and Blue Dogs the Democratic Party undermines its national message, settles for ineffective half-measures and makes itself less attractive in states it could actually win. See Health Care. See 2010 Mid-Terms.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"It took Dean and Schumer to break that habit of writing off a region, but they were replaced by midget operatives who cannot count, obviously."

Yes!

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Back on Topic,

Wbgonne..re your Schmidt article describing what is going on in the South.

How about a specific example for you from our beautiful sunshine state and Dictator Rick Scott. This guy is out for revenge.
He was completely humiliated by the Feds when he was tossed by his former board of directors and his company paid close to a two BILLION $ fine for Medicare FRAUD!

A rigid right wing ideologue out to get revenge..and scr3w the people he hurts along the way...

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/article1150650.ece

"Gov. Rick Scott opposes president's plan to put off states' jobless debt payments.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's plan to give states more time to pay back billions borrowed for jobless benefits ran into a key obstacle Wednesday: Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The newly elected Republican, and frequent Obama critic, is pursuing his own ideas to deal with the crushing debt caused by persistently bad unemployment, a spokesman said.

He wants to use state money to cover some of the interest owed to the federal government and reduce the benefits a person can get — a proposal advocates for the unemployed plan to protest today in Tallahassee."

Does everybody understand what is happening here. This total scumbag is making a point about HIS disagreement over Federal policy on the backs of the less fortunate in our state. This man makes Ebeneezer Scrooge look like Mother Theresa,
Capra couldn't have used Scott as a model for the evil banker in "It's A Good Life" because nobody would have believed anybody could be so uncaring, and act in such a selfish fashion.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""I still respect our Conservative Bobbsey Twins...""

Talk about a self-refuting statement.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I can't figure out why Fred Thompson and Barak Obama sound alike, same accent, same tone, inflection, the clipped word endings, weird.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

mark:

""Scott, I continued our conversation at 9:06AM on the previous thread.""

I saw it. When I have time I will respond in depth, either at the end of last night's thread so it is easy to find, or on tonight's HH.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne "No, Obama is not "moving to the center," part 973"

Yes he is, Part 974:

"Obama will propose steep cuts to a program that subsidizes energy costs for low income families, and John Kerry sends him a sharply worded letter insisting the cuts are dangerous "during one of the most brutal winters in history." Key takeaway: Here's our first glimpse of the real-world consequences of Obama's spending freeze."

The other way to put this is even if Obama isn't "moving to the center" in his own (& Greg's) mind, caving to Republican positions makes this a distinction without a difference. Best quote from the E.J. Dionne column:

"Judging by reactions to Obama's chamber speech on Monday, there is a Rorschach quality to his rhetoric these days. People are hearing either what they want to hear or what they were inclined to hear before he even opened his mouth."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/09/AR2011020904440.html

You could argue that the Rorschach effect goes back to his speeches during the campaign. The difference is that this time there is actually a record to compare the speeches against.

"Wait for the WH Budget. Then see what Obama actually signs. The rest is spin, noise and solipsism."

Completely agree.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 10, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

That sort of thick-witted snideness is all you bring to the table, Scoir, whch is why I disagree with ruk.

And as for your twinness, since when do any of you guys disagree about anything? You're as distinct as ants.

RUK, I defer to Neal Stephenson for that definition: the ability to handle subtlety. Those Boobsey Twins, and the rest of the filthy bunch, can only deal in extremes absolutes.

And not a one of them can put together a simple argument, not even I side their own beliefs. All they can do is recite and repeat.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne "Stick with your core principles and then wait, even if you have to suffer for a cycle or two."

This sounds more like the Republicans rather than the Democrats.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 10, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@Mark in Austin

Terrific post early this morning on the last thread. While you are a self defined "moderate" you have just written one of the best "progressive" treatises I have read on this blog. In fairness Jenn has also made this same basic point on numerous occasions, but you said it so well Mark I hope you don't mind me cutting and pasting that last paragragh. A very concise and cogent explanation of how I suspect the majority of so called "progressives" on this blog feel..at least I know it speaks for me.

"Please understand that I am not arguing "class warfare": I like a constitution that is worried about roads and rivers and sea lanes and no internal tariff barriers. From my perspective it is skewed to think the poor should have to bear a significant tax load to make our common market work, but fair to think that the wealthy and commercial interests should. I might even argue that we explicitly use our naval power to keep trading lanes open and have aggressively done so since TR. The business of America is in large part business and the taxation should follow the model.

Posted by: mark_in_austin"

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@Scott

""I still respect our Conservative Bobbsey Twins...""

Talk about a self-refuting statement."

So that means you think any snarky descriptor means a lack of respect...ergo I can take it you do not respect me since you ask questions like "what color is your dress".

I'm not really sure what you're after Scott. Would it make your more comfortable if I just say...OK Scott you are a clueless, ignorant, POS? Somebody whose heartless posts clearly exhibit a total lack of empathy and are the epitome of IGMGFY! OK hope that eases things a bit between us.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Does everybody understand what is happening here. This total scumbag is making a point about HIS disagreement over Federal policy on the backs of the less fortunate in our state. This man makes Ebeneezer Scrooge look like Mother Theresa,
Capra couldn't have used Scott as a model for the evil banker in "It's A Good Life" because nobody would have believed anybody could be so uncaring, and act in such a selfish fashion."

ruk:

Yes, and Democrats in FL should be building their base while Scott wrecks the state, same as TX, LA, etc. You build your base by having clear principles and repeating them over and over again. Then wait for the calamities to befall FL, TX and LA and have an alternative ready to offer the people.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

People with the long view are watching The South learn the hard way (again), but we'll still be here for them when they are done with their dalliance with the likes of Perry and Scott. Meanwhile, Doctor Kitzhaber has put forward a balanced budget for Oregon which has broad bipartisan support, cuts and all. I'm glad I don't live in the South, but I like visiting.

Oh and I wonder if Amtrak will bring the tunnel together on time and on budget. I hope they don't make Cristie look brilliant for dumping the project.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

'@wbgonne "Stick with your core principles and then wait, even if you have to suffer for a cycle or two."

This sounds more like the Republicans rather than the Democrats.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 10, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Yup. And that's why the GOP is winning and the Dems are losing, even though the Con philosophy is ludicrous. Pretty simple: No one follows someone who refuses to lead.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

WBG, wonder if Schmidt considered the possibility that the reason many states are cutting all kinds of spending (in Georgia it's not just social/welfare) is because revenues are down, it is illegal for them to run a deficit and that raising revenue through increased taxation is a job killer that will ultimately not solve the problem?

Posted by: actuator | February 10, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Somebody whose heartless posts clearly exhibit a total lack of empathy and are the epitome of IGMGFY"

I saw you used this term yesterday and somebody was kind enough to define it for me. It's interesting. I'm sure many of the policies that I would support would appear to be like that. But I don't think that term would apply to me. I guess I make a pretty big distinction between "NoVA the taxpayer" and "NoVA the neighbor"

O/T -- CMS is testifying about PPACA. see the "live feed" at http://waysandmeans.house.gov/

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 10, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"Oh and I wonder if Amtrak will bring the tunnel together on time and on budget. I hope they don't make Cristie look brilliant for dumping the project."

More political malpractice from the WH and the Est Dems. Just like they have let Scott Brown portray himself as a moderate in MA. These guys simply don't know how to inflict political punishment. And I think it is directly related to the Dems' doomed pursuit of Conservatives and the Dems' corresponding failure to articulate a coherent message of governance.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Can I trot out the cliches to describe what has happened to the R's this week in the House...
"The more things change the more they stay the same"...or perhaps better still Yogi's old saying.."It's deja vu all over again".

Am I the only one here who is laughing at the R's being forced to deal with the Tea Party types?

Wasn't it just a year ago the Dems were forced to deal with the Blue Dogs?

Yeah R's governing and actually being the party responsible for producing legislation is a LOT more difficult than being the party of no! Talk about karma..and then Boner has the gall to say..well if the Dems had gone along...uhhh I believe there have been far more bi-partisan votes in the first four weeks of R control than in the entire 2 years of Dem control...hyperbole? Perhaps but not by much..I'll leave it to someone else to compare crossover votes on important issues between these two Congresses.

And talk about irony. Obama was left for dead after the mid terms...I do not suggest he planned it this way..but it's worked out as the perfect "rope a dope" strategy. While Obama was getting pummeled during the mid terms on the ropes..the R success was actually planting the seeds of their own destruction.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"raising revenue through increased taxation is a job killer that will ultimately not solve the problem"

That is rhetoric, nothing more. Like saying cutting taxes doesn't add to the deficit. That isn't analysis, it is dogma.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"I guess I make a pretty big distinction between "NoVA the taxpayer" and "NoVA the neighbor"

From what I've read you seem a very decent person. But there are some things -- increasingly many as we become more crowded and depleted -- that simply must be addressed on a national, not a personal level. That is what the national government is for. Global warming, for instance.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"That is rhetoric, nothing more. Like saying cutting taxes doesn't add to the deficit. That isn't analysis, it is dogma."

So??? Is all dogma incorrect or IYO this one? And what about the rest of the statement?

Posted by: actuator | February 10, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Dogma and rhetoric are not designed to solve problems; they have other purposes. States are broke and Con governors refuse to raise taxes for ideological reasons. So their deficits will get worse and their states will become more impaired. Simple as that.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "Oh and I wonder if Amtrak will bring the tunnel together on time and on budget. I hope they don't make Cristie look brilliant for dumping the project."

My money is on Christie.

"Governor Christie said Monday the latest proposal for a Hudson River rail tunnel — one costing $13.5 billion and built by Amtrak, not NJ Transit — proves his October decision to cancel the ARC tunnel project was correct.

“Listen, I said all along I think we need a tunnel, a second tunnel under the Hudson River,” he said. “I said at the time, we should look to partner with Amtrak to do it.”

“Now today, the taxpayers of New Jersey are protected and you have real talk about… a project that should have been a federal project all along,” he said. “If there are going to be contributions from the states, they’ll be contributions from all the states that benefit, not just the state of New Jersey and its taxpayers, which was the ARC tunnel.”"

"Christie said the new project addresses many of the concerns he had with ARC when he canceled it – from the cost overruns to the station location. Christie had said last year that the trains should go to Penn Station, not “Macy’s basement” at 34th Street.

“I said I thought it was a stupid idea to have a tunnel go to the basement of Macy’s, and lo and behold the Amtrak tunnel is going to go to an expanded Penn Station (NY),” he said referring to Gateway. “Today they tout this plan as one that would have better control over cost overruns, now the thing I find interesting about that is these are the same people who were saying months ago that I was fabricating the cost overruns, that they didn’t really exist.”"

"Jeff Tittel, spokesman for the New Jersey Sierra Club chapter, said he supports the Gateway Project because “it’s the right tunnel to the right place.” The Sierra Club opposed ARC because it went below 34th Street, instead of directly into Penn Station, and because it had a deep cavern design that Tittel said could force commuters to walk too far to get to the street level."

http://www.northjersey.com/news/politics/020711_Sens_Lautenberg_Menendez_to_announce_new_rail_tunnel_with_Amtrak.html?c=y&page=1

Getting the Sierra Club to agree with him makes this a "bipartisan" victory.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 10, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"States are broke and Con governors refuse to raise taxes..."

Raising taxes requires legislative action and in most of those states the legislatures are conservative as well. If the voters don't like where they're taking things they will throw them out, but in Georgia they keep getting stronger. Although small business has suffered a great deal in GA, it is interesting to see companies moving their operations into this state from those with high taxes. IMO, in the long run, we'll be better off down here, but at a significant cost to higher tax states. Think Illinois.

Posted by: actuator | February 10, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Obama was left for dead after the mid terms...I do not suggest he planned it this way..but it's worked out as the perfect "rope a dope" strategy. While Obama was getting pummeled during the mid terms on the ropes..the R success was actually planting the seeds of their own destruction.
----------------------------------------

Reminds me of that line in "Gladiator" where Commidus talks about a sea snake that pretends to be wounded and lets animals actually take bites out of it as a means to attract its prey.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 10, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

jnc4, yes, that was my convoluted way of saying so. And I took some heat here from Ds back when I said I supported his decision to step away from the ARC. The original project stunk, simple as that. I suppose I brought it up in the context of Scott and Perry to say, not all Republican Governors are charlatans.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

OK Mubarak is stepping down. Now that the Saudis are involved, I have a great deal more confidence in the situation.


I have ZERO confidence in Obama.


GEESHHH Did it really take a stern, firm telephone call from the King of Saudi Arabia to get Obama to listen to people ???


Meaning, it sures appears as though Obama was ignoring all the Middle East experts.


JUST like Obama was ignoring all the Generals on the Afghan War as outlined in Woodward's book. Did it really take a telephone call from the King of Saudi Arabia to straighten out Obama??? Unbelievable.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree with wbgonne re: the South. If there are two Southern states that have their lege's controlled by Dems, you have to figure that having a "D" behind you name isn't the worst thing.

For decades now, Northerners have been moving to the Sunbelt-why hasn't that translated to more Democratic wins there (other than NC)?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 10, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@actuator

"through increased taxation is a job killer that will ultimately not solve the problem?"

And you know this how? Can you prove it?
Would history be any help here?

In Florida we consistently score well as one of the most tax friendly, regulatory free states in the Union both personal and BUSINESS.

http://www.money-zine.com/Financial-Planning/Tax-Shelter/Tax-Friendly-States/

As you can see we are 4th friendliest in the personal tax metric and 5th friendliest in BUSINESS TAXES.

On the other hand New York and California are 1-2 in LEAST FRIENDLY in terms of business taxes. And yet Actuator those two states blow Florida off the map when it comes to high quality good paying jobs.
WHY?

Another question for you Actuator. Dictator Scott keeps chirping about the ONLY way to create jobs in our state is to cut taxes and regulations. If we already have the 4-5th best tax and regulatory environment..where are the freaking jobs?
Logically wouldn't they be here already?
Again compare the worst N.Y. and Ca. to one of the best Fl and we get sorry crappy jobs for our tax cutting, regulatory free environment while the worst states get all the good jobs. Sorry actuator REALITY simply does not back up your theory.

Care to get a bit of a broader understanding of life than just cut taxes and regs and it's all hunky dory...kinda like "Field of Dreams" build it and they will come...fine in fantasy..absurd in reality. If you broaden the number of metrics in your search for the most "business friendly" states to include things like an educated workforce, good infrastructure, technology and innovation you'll get a better understanding of why we in Florida get our butts kicked when it comes to providing jobs with decent wages and benefits. I'd much rather be looking for work in N.Y. or Ca. than Florida!!!
The only thing that has saved Florida is our climate and our great ponzi scheme. Our state is built on growth...as long as we keep a steady stream of Northern retirees and vacationers OK we survive...but we have very little real "permanent" jobs.
When the flow stopped to a trickle we were toast.

I recall working in Broadcasting and discussing with a friend what it would be like to get a job in Florida. He had worked there (I can now say here) previously. He said..well it's OK but if you go to Florida be prepared to take half of your wages in sunshine. How very true!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

OK Mubarak is stepping down. Now that the Saudis are involved, I have a great deal more confidence in the situation.


I have ZERO confidence in Obama.


GEESHHH Did it really take a stern, firm telephone call from the King of Saudi Arabia to get Obama to listen to people ???


Meaning, it sures appears as though Obama was ignoring all the Middle East experts.


JUST like Obama was ignoring all the Generals on the Afghan War as outlined in Woodward's book. Did it really take a telephone call from the King of Saudi Arabia to straighten out Obama??? Unbelievable.


.

__________________________


Sure seems like Obama had NOTHING to do with Mubarak stepping down.

It is a plan worked out by other people.


Obama is practically a non-entity in terms of influence in the Middle East. Our allies in the region are waiting for Obama's term to be over so they can deal with the next American President.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""So that means you think any snarky descriptor means a lack of respect..."

No, but if you really want to know, I think you are conflicted and insecure, and it manifests itself in whacky things such as above. I suspect you probably do respect us on an intellectual level, but it is apparent to me that your primary defense against ideas you don't like is to denigrate the people expressing them. There is tension between these two things.

""...ergo I can take it you do not respect me.""

Again, if you really want to know, your obsequiousness with certain others is certainly testing my limits on this front. Not that you do or should care what I think, but if you are asking, I'm going to be honest.

""I'm not really sure what you're after Scott.""

I'm not after anything, ruk. Sincerely. You can say you respect me, or you can say I'm a cold-hearted, selfish jerk. Or both as seems to be your odd wont. I'm secure enough about myself not to be impressed or bothered either way.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"Egyptian Army Officers Are Meeting to Discuss Taking Over Government"

Well now people will know, Mubarak gone and...nothing changes.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

New Adam Serwer post on the Muslim Brotherhood

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 10, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

RUK, are you saying that ALL of the good paying jobs are in the North. So if a company moves its operations to the South (as many have moved to the Atlanta area) to include HQs, executives and higher level employees, that they did not bring good paying jobs with them?

Could it also be that in the North higher wages are required to survive higher costs associated with, OMG, the higher wages everyone gets? Chicken or egg? You mention CA. I have a relative living in LA whose income has declined. They were thinking about selling their high priced home and moving into an apartment. When she looked at affordably priced places she was appalled at the high price and the reduced security and quality of life.

I have friends who've moved to GA from NY, IL, PA, OH and other places up North. NONE of them want to go back. It can't be all that bad down here.

Posted by: actuator | February 10, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@shrink

"I brought it up in the context of Scott and Perry to say, not all Republican Governors are charlatans."

To pick a nit :-). As one of his disloyal subjects I do not consider Dictator Scott to be a charlatan. He is doing exactly what he promised! He is simply an old fashioned robber barron who entered politics to get even with a Federal Gov't that had the audacity to bust his arse for years of egregious Medicare FRAUD! Since Tea Party types are not the brightest bulbs let me simplify..for stealing from the taxpayers!

BTW Shrink had to go to bed last night right as you brought up Scandanavians. As fate would have it I'm married to a pure bred Finn...perhaps a bad way to describe my wife...she wasn't actually bred. :-)
I trust you get my meaning. Her Grandparents on both sides are all four of them immigrants from Finland.

I'll share a "Scandinavian" story with you. The Finns..at least the ones I've known..have a tremendous antipathy...perhaps only a rivalry ..for the Swedes. Perhaps it goes way back to early domination by the Swedes..whatever Finns live for a Sweden-Finland competition in hockey or any other winter sport. They hold no love for their Swedish neighbors.

Once on a golf course I was joined by three Swedish vacationers. I asked them about their rivalry with Finland. They appeared genuinely bemused. They queried Finland? No we consider Norway our rivals. Don't know if all the North Sea oil has informed that rivalry or if it was always thus. I did think, no wonder the Finns are agitated about the Swedes..the Swedes didn't even respect the Finns enough to consider them rivals. lol

BTW Shrink are you of Scandinavian descent?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I, like shrink, thought Christie's logic on the original tunnel scheme was impeccable, and that his negotiating position had to be what it was to get what he ultimately wanted - a tunnel NJ could afford.

Shrink, some left reaction to Christie was laced with scorn, and the assumption that first government should do big projects and second not worry about how they are going to be funded. You may be a self proclaimed socialist, but I have never read you to assume blithely that all wish lists were within the power or ability of taxpayers to provide. So that makes you a limited government socialist who hates government unions. You are one of a kind, my friend.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

@actuator

"It can't be all that bad down here."

Job wise it is in Florida. Now I concede Hotlanta is an entirely different animal.
But Rome, Valdosta, Dalton, when I visit those places I'm not impressed by the job opportunities.

And certainly the cost of living in a few Ca areas is astronomical...S.F. is just as bad as L.A. but there are plenty of other places in CA. that offer much better employment opportunities.

In Florida...we have one of the highest UE rates in the nation..12+%. Of course Dictator Scott will really be helping with that. He plans on laying off 5% of our state's employees..that should really give our U.E. rate a boost. Half of our homeowners owe more on their homes than they are worth. 1 in 7 are living below poverty levels. Yes jobs for the "working class" suck in Florida...always have..and if Dictator Scott gets his way...still will for the foreseeable future. 10% cuts to our education system...yeah that'll attract some great high paying employers.

As far as being that bad down here...well home is where the heart is...and so I suspect you love GA as much as I love Fl...doesn't mean we can't strive to improve our homes. Cutting taxes is just a right wing shibboleth. Look at trickle down...the largest economic failure in our history...again where are the jobs...where the prosperity that was promised to "trickle down". Nope it actually trickled up to the wealthy how benefitted from those tax cuts while the middle class was shrinking.

I simply refer you to Einsteins famous defintion of insanity....Repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different outcomes. By that definition Republicans are truly insane!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Re Christie -- Isn't it the "conservative" position that the federal government should limit itself to national defense and that the states should be left to make all of their own domestic decisions? Isn't this just more hypocrisy ... all federal government spending is bad unless it is spent in my state/district?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 10, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@NoVa

I would never think of you when using IGMGFY
You have posted with empathy before...I view you as a pragmatic person not a rigid ideologue...kind of like Mark in Austin.
Perhaps you too NoVa are a "moderate".

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

prag posted:

"Re Christie -- Isn't it the "conservative" position..."

No. A conservative position is that Federal spending be limited to the enumerated powers and that a purely state issue should remain the state's responsibility. Another conservative position is that one should not buy what one cannot pay for. Christie cannot be faulted for abandoning conservative positions. The tunnel serves a role in commerce among the states and NJ could not afford it. The failure of Christie's conservatism is at a level removed - the fedgov cannot afford the tunnel either, but that does not seem to stop the fedgov from spending.

And here is a story about how Congress screwed up something small and simple, that is disheartening to the notion that Congress might be able to do something big and complex.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/10/AR2011021001619.html?wpisrc=nl_fed

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse


I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check search online for "Wise Health Insurance" If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: martinmorriss | February 10, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"RUK, are you saying that ALL of the good paying jobs are in the North. So if a company moves its operations to the South (as many have moved to the Atlanta area) to include HQs, executives and higher level employees, that they did not bring good paying jobs with them?"

And when LA or TX offers a better deal -- lower taxes, less regulation -- the companies will move there. And when they get a better deal, they'll go to China or India. It is a race to the bottom that pits state against state and worker against worker, all on behalf of multinational corporations that don't give a d*mn about you, me or the United States. We are American citizens, not wh*res trying to put on enough perfume to attract a few dollars from corporations.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@Scott

“I think you are conflicted and insecure,”

Absolutely conflicted but not insecure because I can easily and effortlessly address those “conflicts” and am not too cowardly to admit them. I find it difficult to believe that any rational person who faces our Universe with all the contradictions does not have some internal conflicts. Perhaps you are that exceptional person without question or conflict internally. Snark snark.

“You can say you respect me, or you can say I'm a cold-hearted, selfish jerk. Or both as seems to be your odd wont. I'm secure enough about myself not to be impressed or bothered either way.”

As it should be…nobody should really get too cranked up about an anonymous opinion posted on a blog, however we “strangers” can choose to engage honestly or disingenuously. I’m afraid however I still do not get your difficulty at somebody holding an opinion that it’s possible to be both intelligent and a cold hearted selfish jerk.
I respect your intelligence, but yes I do feel you are lacking in empathy which leaves you spouting some really selfish opinions…I would not characterize you as a jerk.

As for my being “obsequious”…well I wouldn’t respond to that charge as it is patently absurd but it does imply something I do consider extremely insulting. I detest flattery.
I admire all range of posters here when I genuinely read something that moves me to compliments I offer them…again a wide range of posters not just Cao, or Bernie, or 12Bar or shrink, or Mark in Austin…well the list grows long, but it never contains mere flattery. If that is your actual accusation than I do have to add jerk to cold hearted and selfish.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

rukidding;

IMO, neither Scott not QB are here for real discussion. They are nothing but Trolls like the other Cons who come here to disrupt discussions. They are like the Tea Baggers during HCR. I no longer read their comments except when someone I do read, like you, mentions them.

Your call, Dude.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne

"And when LA or TX offers a better deal -- lower taxes, less regulation -- the companies will move there. And when they get a better deal, they'll go to China or India. It is a race to the bottom that pits state against state and worker against worker, all on behalf of multinational corporations that don't give a d*mn about you, me or the United States. We are American citizens, not wh*res trying to put on enough perfume to attract a few dollars from corporations."

At the risk of sounding "obsequious" :-)

HEAR! HEAR!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

ruk, yes. Half Norwegian, half German.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Your call, Dude."

Yes wbgonne and I confess I am "conflicted" about that call. :-)

I think you and Cao have made some excellent points about why bother...intelligence is one thing...but as you point out wbgonne motivation is another. I'm not really here to get an A+ in debate. If I learn something that's great...perhaps trying to learn from those whose main motivation is scoring blog points is a useless effort.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

shrink....do your Norwegian forbears share that same sense of rivalry with the Swedes as the Finns?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

bernie, brought up from prior thread. You lowered yourself to read and misrepresent what I said, so you ought to have the courage to respond:

"Above, I saw you quote QB (I don't read him and had to trace back to see who'd said it) that the "Obamacare" legislation is an example of totalitarianism. That someone could make a statement this dumb is just depressing. And it's another bit of evidence at how successful Norquist (and others, but he's a key figure) have been."

Which are you being here, sloppy or dishonest, bernie?

Because as Scott pointed out, I said nothing of the kind. I said that the efforts of Obama and party to declare Obamacare inviolate and not subject to rollback are "totalitarian" in precisely the same way you are using that term here. The rhetorical trenches are being dug around it by everyone on the left from Obama on down to commenters here -- we have it in place now, and all we have to do is convince people they can't live without it. Discussion of rollback is out of bounds.

Have you the guts to address the actual argument here? How about if you provide an actual demonstration of whether Norquist is an "explicit" Leninist or an explicit Gramscian, rather than a throw-away line that equates advocacy of consolidating political gains with totalitarianism? Which is he he and why?

And while you're at it, you've quoted him several times, yet I've yet to see him mention one-party rule.

Please do enlighten those of us too dumb to see what you are showing us.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Also brought forward, feel free to knock this apart, bernie. It should be easy, given my stupidity:

ru,

Giant disclaimer noted, although note exactly sure how it relates to the rest, but anyway ...

Bernie is saying one of two things, as far as I can see. One is that anyone who adopts a goal or strategy of "instititionalizing" or making "permanent" their political gains, especially through persuading people of their rightness, has explicitly adopted totalitarianism.

The other is that Norquist is explicitly totalitarian because he used the Brezhnev Doctrine as an analogy . . . for doing the same thing everyone does and that isn't otherwise totalitarian.

Neither one of these is logically defensible. The first conflates ideas having nothing to do with each other. The second is just a silly "gotcha" game.

Now, let's look deeper. Norquist used the BD analogy, which I've certainly seen done more than once before on all sides and in different ways. Bernie slyly transformed that reference into a reference to Brezhnev, Lenin, and Gramsci. Catch that?

I've studied some Gramsci and Lenin. I don't know that anyone "studies" Brezhnev's "thought," but his "Doctrine" was one of use of international force -- when the socialist revolution in a country is threatened by capitalist forces of reaction, other socialist countries use force to "protect" the "revolution." Both Lenin and Brezhnev pursued variants of classic Soviet Marxism that was based on use of force -- get that, totalitarian use of force.

Gramsci was something a little different. He was one of the first to come along and try to adapt the lunatic fantasy that is Marxism to the reality of human society. Of course, he was a miserable failure at this, like all the rest, but his main "contribution" was the "observation" that socialist revolution was being forestalled by the fact that people live under the belief that capitalism -- freedom -- is a good thing. He said, you have to have a revolution in culture and civil society to achieve a communist revolution.

So, what exactly is Bernie trying to say by mixing up all these ideas? By invoking the Brezhnev analogy, is he saying that Norquist is advocating use of totalitarian force to make permanent the gains of conservatism? Why, then, does he mention Gramsci and focus on the (sinister) goal of winning the battle of ideas? What is the difference between what Norquist is saying about making it permanent in people's minds?

You've hitched your wagon to a crude propagandist who is tossing around names and references to make you think he's got it all diagnosed and worked out. It's a lot of pseudo-intellectual rubbish.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@cao: ""Open challenge to the conservatives at 8:39 in the previous thread.

"Ich warte." ""

Itchy warts?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Sure, Norwegians despise the Swedes, though not nearly so much as they detest Germans. Finns, what is that, like something on a fish? I think most scandis think of the Finns as somehow half Russian, as if they were Latvians or something.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"IMO, neither Scott not QB are here for real discussion."

It stands to reason you would think so, since you define "real discussion" as excluding any ideas to the right of the left.

Which is why your commentary serves little purpose.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: ""IMO, neither Scott not QB are here for real discussion. They are nothing but Trolls like the other Cons who come here to disrupt discussions.""

I realize that's your opinion, but (IMO) you couldn't be more wrong. They clearly want to discuss things, they just don't agree with the liberals here, 95% of the time. And they like to focus on points of contention, which is the essence of debate, not trolling. There's a clear difference between what QB and Scott have to say and what, um, some other folks have to say that--as much as you may disagree with them--characterizing them as trolls is an inaccurate as it would be to characterize you as a troll. Which, to be clear, you aren't. Even when I really, really, really completely disagree with you in every possible way, like I do in regards to your opinion about QB, Scott and "other" conservative commentators, as, despite his name, I also don't consider Troll McWingnut remotely a troll.

On the other hand, I agree with you (again) that Obama is moving to the right on many issues, and is not the subtle liberal warrior that Greg wants him to be (or the anti-colonial Kenyan marxists some of my fellow right-wingers want him to be).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

qb, your 12:12 post makes good sense wrt the political analysis, but can you tell me why people here spend so much time attacking each other on a personal level? It is bipartisan, it is ubiquitous and though it is personal it is all so impersonal. Sometimes I get accused of all kinds of severe mental and personal defects when I criticize the Obama administration, as if I were suddenly RFR or even worse, conservative. That just isn't me, so it doesn't 'hurt' so why bother? Why do people bother excoriating complete strangers?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"I realize that's your opinion, but (IMO) you couldn't be more wrong. They clearly want to discuss things, they just don't agree with the liberals here, 95% of the time. And they like to focus on points of contention, which is the essence of debate, not trolling. There's a clear difference between what QB and Scott have to say and what, um, some other folks have to say that--as much as you may disagree with them--characterizing them as trolls is an inaccurate as it would be to characterize you as a troll. Which, to be clear, you aren't. Even when I really, really, really completely disagree with you in every possible way, like I do in regards to your opinion about QB, Scott and "other" conservative commentators, as, despite his name, I also don't consider Troll McWingnut remotely a troll."

I find that these Conservative commenters just repeat the same things over and over again and I find it boring and a waste of my time. That's all. YMMV.

P.S., I wasn't referring to the pseudonymous commenter Troll McW when I mentioned trolls. That moniker is unfortunate in some ways.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"...some of my fellow right-wingers..."

I know right wingers.
Right wingers are friends of mine.
You Sir, are not a right winger.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"What's the argument that he shouldn't recuse himself?"

That there isn't even remotely a conflict of interest here.

This is nothing but thug politics by Weiner and crew, trying to politicize the judicial process.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

shrink,

You are asking me why people do what they do? I don't know how I could give a better answer than you would have. But, as far as I can tell, I'd list these possibilities, not necessarily in order:

1. Testosterone
2. Competitiveness (same?)
3. Passion about issues
4. Laziness
5. Ignorance
6. Poor reasoning
7. Miscommunication (happens a lot, but I don't subscribe to the notion that remedying it would remedy all disagreements)

I didn't always think so, but I actually think there is a fairly interesting collection of commenters here from both sides and from various professional and other perspectives right now. I can remember when on the right there were me, Scott, and tao and few others. On the left, there's you and at least a few other interesting and nonbelligerent folks.

The impersonal nature of the forum might contribute, but I don't know otherwise. People fight and spit just because they do. Not a good answer, but all I've got.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne, et al - You guys may want to check out Ezra Klein's interview with the governor of Vermont on the state's new single payer plan.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/02/gov_peter_shumlin_the_man_whod.html#more

Apparently, they are planning on contracting the actual insurance function to an existing private health insurance company (based on a competitive bidding process) and from what I can tell establishing a monopoly for that company in the state similar to a public utility (i.e. the power company).

I'd be interested to hear if this fits your definition of "single payer".

As Ezra points out, they have apparently guaranteed that provider incomes will be preserved and this may well inhibit their ability to achieve cost control.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 10, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

quarterback1, these are the same people who don't want Kagan to recuse herself even given her direct conflict of interest under 28 USC 455.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 10, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p:

According to the VT Gov:

"health care is a right and not a privilege. It follows the individual and not the employer. And it’s publicly financed."

Sounds perfect. How it is best administered, especially at the state level, is beyond my ken but I doubt that, long-term, it will be more economical to use private companies as the middleman.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

clawrence,

There's clearly a diffuse but comprehensive movement on the left to politicize the ACA case(s), publicly bully and/or flatter individual justices, and set the stage to declare an adverse ruling partisan, corrupt, and illegitimate.

I'm not making any bold predictions on the outcome and am not as sanguine as some. The four liberals will undoubtedly vote for Obamacare. All they need is one more. But clamor from Tribe, Cole, Weiner, and the rest of the apparatus is more than a bit rotten. Tribe's column was a masterpiece of cynicism and transparent manipulation. Its sheer vanity was humorous to me.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"I'd be interested to hear if this fits your definition of "single payer"."

No way to know. See the last sentence of this...

"Where health care has failed is in designing a cost containment mechanism that works. That’s the really hard part of our job. So I’m asking us to spend the next 12 months designing the tools for cost containment. Once we do, we'll figure out how to structure the way we pay for it."

No business model = nothing but words. This is insurance we are talking about so the business model, how people pay in and how much and for what, when and how...how people get paid, for what, when and and how, that is all that matters.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

quarterback1, I would laugh too if it were not so tragic.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 10, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"Sounds perfect. How it is best administered, especially at the state level, is beyond my ken but I doubt that, long-term, it will be more economical to use private companies as the middleman."

The trick is who is going to be the one that says no. That's how you control costs. And nobody wants to hear it, regardless of whether it comes from an insurance company or the government.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 10, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Justice Scalia has pointed out the distinction between Supreme Court and lower judges, as to resolving any doubts in favor of recusal: "That might be sound advice if I were sitting on a Court of Apoeals ... There, my place would be taken by another judge, and the case would proceed normally. On the Supreme Court, however, the consequence is different: The Court proceeds with eight Justices, raising the possibility that, by reason of a tie vote, it will find itself unable to resolve the significant legal issue presented by the case."

As to Thomas's wife, that is clearly covered by the Supreme Court's 1993 Statement of Recusal Policy: "We do not think it would serve the public interest to go beyond the requirements of the statute, and to recuse ourselves, out of an excess of caution, whenever a relative is a partner in the firm before us or acted as a lawyer at an earlier stage. Even one unnecessary recusal impairs the functioning of the Court." If Justice Thomas would not have to recuse himself even if his wife was a partner in one of the firms arguing this case, how much less so that she was simply a lobbyist against ObamaCare?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 10, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

clawrence,

Indeed, the "argument" for Thomas to recuse is patently absurd and political.

It would make more sense for Ginsburg to have recused herself in all sex discrimination cases, because she litigated such cases for plaintiffs and the ACLU.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

More importantly, the CBO Director estimates that ObamaCare would cost 800,000 jobs.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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