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Jack in a box

By Tom Toles

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***
We're gonna turn this place AROUND!

Well, the newly elected congresspeople have come to town, and I have to say that I detect an actual bit of sincerity from them, which stands out around here like the innocent eyes of a lamb before he realizes he is at the slaughterhouse. I tend to regard the current incarnation of the political right as nothing but cynicism, primarily because when you listen to their descriptions and prescriptions, it doesn't add up to coherence, so what ARE you supposed to make of that?

But the fresh-faced will sadly need to become disillusioned -- by the wicked ways inside the castle, or by the realization that they really didn't understand AT ALL the non-Obamacare health-cost aspect of the deficit they obsess so much about, or the reaction of their constituents when they do the head-fake toward their Medicare benefits, or when they realize that they have been cleverly manipulated into serving the interests of the very richest Americans who don't actually even LIVE IN THEIR DISTRICT!

Anyway, a bit of sincerity is regarded around here with some affection, the affection reserved for easy marks. Disillusionment will come soon enough. Actually, probably not soon enough. They may manage to wreck health-care reform, derail the recovery and deliver what's left of democracy to the wealthy first. --Tom Toles
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By Tom Toles  | November 17, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Scandals  
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Comments

They may manage to wreck health-care reform, derail the recovery and deliver what's left of democracy to the wealthy first. --Tom Toles

My Reply...
While Obama has managed to NOT turn the "Ship of State"; he has managed to put it in reverse. His beloved Republicans have already ship wrecked the health care reform and managed to keep their Bush/ Cheney agenda intact. Obama's romance with the Republican Party has not only been unrequited; it has shown his compassion for change to be political posturing with no substance.
He is passing the hot potato back to the Republicans now that he has had his "moment in the sun".
The rich get richer and the working people get shafted as usual.
Without sufficient income people's lives are hell on earth while the greedy rich and corrupt politicians dance to the bank in glee formation.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | November 18, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Oh... and that "reduce tax rates in order to attract industry" concept has worked out really great for Ireland. Right?
Industry has migrated to Ireland in droves, providing much-needed jobs and, in spite of the low corporate tax rates, so much business is being generated that collections are up and the Irish economy is in better shape than it has ever been.


Oh. Right. Oops.

Posted by: jonroesler | November 17, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

jhnnywalkr, good comment.

Had we actually had a far left liberal/progressive government in the last two years, here's what would have happened;

1) The health care bill would have had, at the very least, a public option...meaning a "Medicare" like program for people under 65. At the very best, it would have completely done away with private insurance companies and slapped heavy regulations on the health care field to remove as much profit from that business as possible while still maintaining quality care.

2) Guantanamo Bay would have been closed and boarded up.

3) There would not be a single soldier left in Iraq or Afghanistan by now, and organizations like "Blackwater" would no longer be getting government contracts allowing them to kill innocent civilians with no consequences.

4) A carbon tax would be in place, with the money from this tax being funneled right back to R&D and infrastructure for a sustainable energy economy.

5) Don't Ask Don't Tell would be a bad memory.

6) No Child Left Behind would be modified into something OTHER than a "teach to the test" mandate for teachers.

7) Warrentless wiretapping would be illegal in every sense of the word.

8) REAL investigations of the Bush/Cheney regime taking us into unwarrented/illegal wars would be well underway.

9) The Patriot Act would have been completely repealed.

How many of these things have been even remotely considered? A few. Voted on? None. So please folks, spare us the lectures about our "leftist" government the last two years. Those of us that are "lefties" know what it means, and this outgoing congress wasn't it. The idea that it was, is a Fox News illusion designed to frighten people. And of course, it worked. Fear is an easy thing to exploit.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | November 17, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Its well documented that the current huge national debt was caused by fiscally irresponsible actions of the last 3 Republican administrations in making huge military spending increases while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy and friends.
www.flcv.com/NatDebtS.html & Reagan OMB Chief: False belief in “Trickle Down Economics” caused economic crisis www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/opinion/01stockman.html
Since 60% of the current discretionary budget is military/defense and the other largest expense is interest on national debt caused by military spending & tax cuts, it should be clear that only finding a way to huge cuts in military spending can make a significant difference in the national debt and the dollar crisis.

Posted by: berniew11 | November 17, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey there, TT -- First, allow me to compliment yesterday's rendering of the unbelievable occurring at sixty-something of America's airport. When we were kids and addicted to early TV's Superman, and silently covetting his x-ray vision for obvious and purulent reasons -- often outloud with "pervie" friends and siblings -- in our wildest dreams we never envisioned a time when there would actually be paid jobs to satiate our voyueristic fantasies. In my grandmother's time it was the invention of cars and radios and airplanes; in ours, it's strip-tech machinery. What a wonderful world we live in. And secondly, I heard somewhere that the people "manning" these machines are actually paying the federal agency for the privilege of working for the TSA. Imagine what we're saving, and for that, we can be thankful; after all, 'tis the season.

Posted by: dudeupnorth | November 17, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

And I love how you talk about right wing nuts and ideologues the same week Charlie Rangel is found lacking with Maxine Waters next to face the music. We've elected navel gazers on both sides of the aisle -

Posted by: pararanger22 | November 17, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

What Rangel did wasn't, to me, a liberal vs conservative thing, it was a moral failure. These are not equivalent. And, yes, I have my own political views and many people you consider nuts or left-wing ideologues I would probably disagree. From my perspective though, there are very few actual liberals and very many hard conservatives in Congress today. Honestly the Democratic party hasn't been "liberal" in decades. That's how I view things. You are entitled to disagree.

That said, you mentioned that they will have to work to get their initiatives through the Senate and WH. That is one of the few reasons I hold out a slim hope the rhetoric will calm a bit and they actually try to work together. No one is in a position to get everything they want, that means we get compromise or we get gridlock. We can't afford gridlock, in my opinion.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | November 17, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"Disillusionment will come soon enough"

Speaking from personal experience with your messiah Tommy ol' boy ... old pal of mine?

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | November 17, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60 @ November 17, 2010 10:38 AM seems to have it about right. The far right Republicans, i.e. those that have been in Congress for at least the past two years, aren't capable of compromise, and have no interest on governing or our country's future. The ultra-right, off the map, "thar be dragons" Tea Partiers, those recently elected as well as those who voted for them, are simply clueless. They all engage in hate-based politics. And it works...at least to get or stay elected in the current political atmosphere.

Do the Republicans want to govern? No, they simply want to obstruct. They couldn't stop the health care reforms, so they apparently plan on withholding funds for enforcement, thereby enabling companies to avoid compliance with the new laws. To me, that's enabling corporate crime. When have the Republicans done differently? Currently, the Senate Republicans are obstructing a new arms treaty with Russia. This is a treaty that most old-guard defense-minded Republicans actually support. The point--to make sure Obama gets as little accomplished as possible. Action on global warming? The Republicans will allow nothing, even as other countries take the lead and develop new technologies to deal with AGW. I can guarantee that the Republicans will do every thing possible to prevent the withdrawal of the U.S. military from Iraq and Afghanistan and other military bases around the world, that they are primed for step increase in military spending. I suppose that the root of the problem is the American people. Conservative and moderate Americans are simply too poorly informed to make sound decisions. They proved that in the last election. We're doomed.

Posted by: ptgrunner | November 17, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"We're gonna turn this place AROUND!"

You betcha!

Posted by: duke5 | November 17, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Usually a pretty good caricaturist, Toles missed the Johnson twisted-mouth on this one.

Jack's Marion Barry-like slurry-speaking demeanor is what first tipped us off that Johnson, like Marion, was not to be trusted.

Of course all those "peculiar" voters in Prince George's County will gladly put Jack back in public office if he escapes a lengthy prison sentence.

Like they say, "Pray for him, he done good for us."

Posted by: kinkysr | November 17, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to think Republicans getting some power back might be a good thing. But...facts are troublesome things.

In the last year, we've added jobs every month to the dismal economic mess left by the previous administration. Not a lot, but increasing none the less. Perhaps not fast enough for our throw-away society, but the economy is improving. Meanwhile, according to the Republican leadership in congress, their number one goal over the next two years is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. No acknowledgement of a slowly growing and recovering economy, just more partisan rhetoric.

Every independent study of the new health care bill says it will help DECREASE the deficit over the long term (not to mention those facts about how now, you can keep your kids on your insurance until they're 27, how insurance companies can't deny coverage to kids like they used to, how they can't cap your benefits annually...such an evil bill).

The president who increased the deficit the most in his tenure in the last 35 years? Reagan. Second place? Bush II. The president who increased it the least? Clinton. Second place? Carter. Pesky facts.

What proposal currently being deliberated in the lame duck congress will add the most to the deficit more than any other? Extending the Bush tax cuts...to the tune of $700 billion. Who's pushing to do this? Republicans...old and new.

The largest part of ALL discretionary federal spending? Defense. Not Medicare, not Social Security. This is the one area where a few of the newbies have said they'd be willing to consider some spending cuts. I hope they follow through.

Partisanship, a media that preys on people's fears and insecurities, and a society with no eye toward the long term, anonymous corporate-funded campaigns, are not recipes for change. We've had some moderate change in the last two years, and look how it's been painted by the fear mongers. Facts fly in the face of the narrative. Yet, people buy the narrative. Meanwhile, those funding the narrative laugh and rake in the bucks, while we middle class folks get the shaft once again.

Okay TT, there's MY rant. Thanks for reading.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | November 17, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Greed takes on many dimensions! Candidly, I am shocked that Jack Johnson left his wife out to dry!

Shameful commentary!

Posted by: wheeljc | November 17, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Tom the next two years could be very bad for the middle class - what's left of it. The rich will be smiling all the way to the bank, the stock market, the bond market, the money market, etc. The middle class will be headed to the flea markets .....

Posted by: PlumHunter | November 17, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: GaryEMasters

["We live and learn and move on in life and never come to the conclusion that what really messes us up is not what we know but what we know that just ain't so. So they come to Congress determined to cut all spending. Just like they did in 1930.
The idea that we have both good and bad spending is lost on the pure of heart. Just cut it all. Even spending that cuts health care cost in the long term and spending that creates jobs. The one lesson that we can believe is that if we do put people back to work, the deficit will go away immediately. Just like it did ten yeas ago. Think about that. It is a fact."]

Posted by: GaryEMasters

-----------------------------

Vastly different circumstances these days, particularly in scale. And the jobs and economic outlook 10 years ago was much better - due in large part to a mostly Conservative, GOP led Congress.

Your line on 'good and bad spending' gets a little fuzzy when the USG is spending in the trillions. Everyone has a good idea - we simply can't pay for it all and shouldn't have to. How much of your pay check, proportionately, are you willing to sacrifice?

Spending creates jobs? Stimulus = $813 Billion in spending and tax cuts = less than 3 million jobs for one year. That didn't work. Either you believe Krugman (spend more and more) or you do something else. Printing more USG money to hire more people makes little sense.

The Conservatives (minus most of the RINOs) are back to clean up the mess the Liberals made the last two years but this time, with a string attached: do what you promised or pick up your severance pay in 2012.

Posted by: pararanger22 | November 17, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Mr.Toles- Sometime your cartoons go a little over our heads out here in the back-waters of America (We'll still looking for headless bodies out in the Arizona that our beloved re-elected Governor has warned us about- Haven't found a single one yet)....But - Jack Johnson?- All that came into my head was ..something in the distant past about a Great Black Hope who won the Heavyweight Boxing Title from the enraged White establishment (and was finally defeated by a Great White Hope) I had to google that name to understand what you were referring to (Your sketch would have been more in keeping w/today's rant)-Who Knows? maybe one of those new Congressional Virgins will do a Jimmy Stewart?Mr. Deeds on us and actually use a Filibuster to - instead of bringing our barely-functioning Government to a stand-still- will actually use that option to end ear-marks, outside influence,election reforms,an end to self-appointed Congressional pay raises, an actual pay-as-we go system- All that and and more..We can all at least hope, can't we? (Did I just hear someone say ..."When pigs fly"..?)

Posted by: madhattertucson | November 17, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

We live and learn and move on in life and never come to the conclusion that what really messes us up is not what we know but what we know that just ain't so.

So they come to Congress determined to cut all spending. Just like they did in 1930.

The idea that we have both good and bad spending is lost on the pure of heart. Just cut it all.

Even spending that cuts health care cost in the long term and spending that creates jobs.

The one lesson that we can believe is that if we do put people back to work, the deficit will go away immediately. Just like it did ten yeas ago.

Think about that. It is a fact.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | November 17, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | November 16, 2010 4:32 PM :

["I can't say I agree with most of them, but I do hope they are able to do some good. Maybe when they face the things you mention that you think will disillusion them, it will instead be an eye-opener and they will react in ways we can't predict. Maybe they will live up to their "no BS from either side" images.

I know it seems like a lot of right-wing ideologues and a few just plain nuts are coming into town so it's hard to look at things from a hopeful standpoint as far as working with the other side of the aisle and actually addressing problems but who knows. Until they actually get started we really should reserve judgment. Pre-judging and hand-wringing accomplishes nothing, after all. The House is their baby for the next couple years, for good or ill."]

------------------
Fair enough. The House leadership will have their challenges given a Democrat led Senate and a Democrat in the WH. That said, the GOP weren't returned to power to sit on their hands. They'll have to sort out clever ways of moving the Conservative agenda forward and slowing down Liberal initiatives.

Toles rant is really depressing though. You know, even as a Conservative, I hoped Obama would do better when he came into office. I drove through Ohio in the spring of this year and witnessed the economic devastation first-hand. Mall parking lots empty; houses for sale everywhere; ghost towns were more the norm. People there still had that hearty midwest morale but it was not good. But even setting aside the political divide, the Democrats did not manage their agenda with much coherence or leadership or energy. They frittered away their perceived mandate and for all the laws passed, they didn't result in making life better for Americans. Great example of a self-licking lollipop.

And I love how you talk about right wing nuts and ideologues the same week Charlie Rangel is found lacking with Maxine Waters next to face the music. We've elected navel gazers on both sides of the aisle -

Posted by: pararanger22 | November 17, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Liberal greed rather than the people in need.

Posted by: jornolibist | November 17, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

~~So do you consider this similarity in attitude as you see it a foreshadowing of things to come for the new incoming congresspeople?
Posted by: jhnnywalkr ~~

Yes and No…as for the newly elected congress, they are running on party lines period. I’m sure they will TRY their best to abide by that… They were put in place by the common folk.

My reference has more to do with Obama, in so much as he was lead to believe ( as were the majority of the American Public) that He could indeed be ‘the one’ to make a real change in our government, to unite the peoples. To Make a Difference in the way government is run. He was even "set up" with the Nobel Peace Prize for crying out loud!
Little did he (or we for that matter) know that he was and is the “wide eyed innocent lamb?” The people of this country rallied and were fed what we wanted to eat.

Such is the grand scheme of things…

Posted by: bertzel | November 16, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

interesting link ptgrunner Solve the deficit yourself
http://www.nytimes.com/weekinreview/


The Market (the rich) and Banking (the rich) and the working stiff (the middle class) like some stability or at least predictability. Managing our debt creates a sense of stability even if some tax increase is part of the medicine. A lot of conservatives don't care for the current war much as the historical experience has been poor there. The new Freshman House will see a lot of excess in the Budget and may proceed to gore a lot of oxen esp. If your guy the Eloquent One cheerleads effectively. It is a long shot but much better than a Greece like decline.

Some of the new guys purpose is to shrink the Government and that has many flavors. (see link) There is a perceptible shift in attitude and measurable disenchantment with the status quo. So many long term politcos are now gone, both state and federal. Perhaps Americans are wanting an end to partisanship and we will encourage our Representatives to get things done in spite of all the respective talking heads lampooning daily. Perhaps even the "free press" will become more informative and less partisan to facilitate educating the ordinary citizen with maybe the AP distributing information contained in the link and other pertinent information. (although I heard about it here at the WaPo on T. Toles blog fancy that)

Or perhaps I am overly optimistic and naive.

Posted by: dalyplanet | November 16, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Democrats are the ones taking care of the wealthy first which looks to be always them.

Posted by: billybeer6 | November 16, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I predict the new Congress will be soso: same old, same old.

Posted by: 4Runner1 | November 16, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

So... Who is cynical here?

Posted by: chaunceygardener | November 16, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

2 things:
I'm sure the rich line the pockets of plenty of congressfolks that aren't in their own district, plus congressfolk are rich. The poorest congressman makes just under $200k.

Second, I am very happy with the proposed ban on earmarks. Certainly, it isn't a solution, but it will be nice for pork to end (yes, even if I benefit from pork!)

It will probably make it harder for incumbents to get reelected. It will be a lot harder to send federal dollars home.

Posted by: will12 | November 16, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Well that is just strange. I am referring to your first sentence Toles....That is how I saw Obama when he was elected and look how that has turned out....

Posted by: bertzel | November 16, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

So do you consider this similarity in attitude as you see it a foreshadowing of things to come for the new incoming congresspeople?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | November 16, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Well that is just strange. I am referring to your first sentence Toles....That is how I saw Obama when he was elected and look how that has turned out....

Posted by: bertzel | November 16, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I can't say I agree with most of them, but I do hope they are able to do some good. Maybe when they face the things you mention that you think will disillusion them, it will instead be an eye-opener and they will react in ways we can't predict. Maybe they will live up to their "no BS from either side" images.

I know it seems like a lot of right-wing ideologues and a few just plain nuts are coming into town so it's hard to look at things from a hopeful standpoint as far as working with the other side of the aisle and actually addressing problems but who knows. Until they actually get started we really should reserve judgment. Pre-judging and hand-wringing accomplishes nothing, after all. The House is their baby for the next couple years, for good or ill.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | November 16, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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