Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 20, 2010

NONE DARE CALL IT SABOTAGE.... Consider a thought experiment. Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?

You might start with rejecting the advice of economists and oppose any kind of stimulus investments. You'd also want to cut spending and take money out of the economy, while blocking funds to states and municipalities, forcing them to lay off more workers. You'd no doubt want to cut off stimulative unemployment benefits, and identify the single most effective jobs program of the last two years (the TANF Emergency Fund) so you could kill it.

You might then take steps to stop the Federal Reserve from trying to lower the unemployment rate. You'd also no doubt want to create massive economic uncertainty by vowing to gut the national health care system, promising to re-write the rules overseeing the financial industry, vowing re-write business regulations in general, considering a government shutdown, and even weighing the possibly of sending the United States into default.

You might want to cover your tracks a bit, and say you have an economic plan that would help -- a tax policy that's already been tried -- but you'd do so knowing that such a plan has already proven not to work.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Matt Yglesias had an item the other day that went largely unnoticed, but which I found pretty important.

...I know that tangible improvements in the economy are key to Obama's re-election chances. And Douglas Hibbs knows that it's key. And senior administration officials know that its key. So is it so unreasonable to think that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner may also know that it's key? That rank and file Republicans know that it's key? McConnell has clarified that his key goal in the Senate is to cause Barack Obama to lose in 2012 which if McConnell understands the situation correctly means doing everything in his power to reduce economic growth. Boehner has distanced himself from this theory, but many members of his caucus may agree with McConnell.

Which is just to say that specifically the White House needs to be prepared not just for rough political tactics from the opposition (what else is new?) but for a true worst case scenario of deliberate economic sabotage.

Budget expert Stan Collender has predicted that Republicans perceive "economic hardship as the path to election glory." Paul Krugman noted in his column yesterday that Republicans "want the economy to stay weak as long as there's a Democrat in the White House."

As best as I can tell, none of this analysis -- all from prominent observers -- generated significant pushback. The notion of GOP officials deliberately damaging the economy didn't, for example, spark widespread outrage or calls for apologies from Matt or anyone else.

And that, in and of itself, strikes me as remarkable. We're talking about a major political party, which will control much of Congress next year, possibly undermining the strength of the country -- on purpose, in public, without apology or shame -- for no other reason than to give themselves a campaign advantage in 2012.

Maybe now would be a good time to pause and ask a straightforward question: are Americans O.K. with this?

For months in 2009, conservatives debated amongst themselves about whether it's acceptable to actively root against President Obama as he dealt with a variety of pressing emergencies. Led by Rush Limbaugh and others, the right generally seemed to agree that there was nothing wrong with rooting against our leaders' success, even in a time of crisis.

But we're talking about a significantly different dynamic now. This general approach has shifted from hoping conditions don't improve to taking steps to ensure conditions don't improve. We've gone from Republicans rooting for failure to Republicans trying to guarantee failure.

Over the summer, this general topic came up briefly, and Jon Chait suggested observers should be cautious about ascribing motives.

Establishing motive is always very hard to prove. What's more, the notion of deliberate sabotage presumes a conscious awareness that doesn't square with human psychology as I understand it. People are extraordinarily deft at making their principles -- not just their stated principles, but their actual principles -- comport with their interests. The old Upton Sinclair quote -- "It is difficult to make a man understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it" -- has a lot of wisdom to it.

I don't think many Republicans are actually trying to stop legislation that might help the economy recover because they know that a slow economy is their best route to regaining power. I think that when they're in power, consequences like an economic slowdown or a collapsing industry seem very dire, and policies to prevent this are going to sound compelling. When you're out of power, arguments against such policies are going to sound more compelling.

That seems largely fair. Under this line of thought, Republicans have simply lied to themselves, convincing one another that worthwhile ideas should be rejected because they're not actually worthwhile anymore.

But Jon's benefit-of-the-doubt approach would be more persuasive if (a) the same Republicans weren't rejecting ideas they used to support; and (b) GOP leaders weren't boasting publicly about prioritizing Obama's destruction above all else, including the health of the country.

Indeed, we can even go a little further with this and note that apparent sabotage isn't limited to economic policy. Why would Republican senators, without reason or explanation, oppose a nuclear arms treaty that advances U.S. national security interests? When the treaty enjoys support from the GOP elder statesmen and the Pentagon, and is only opposed by Iran, North Korea, and Senate Republicans, it leads to questions about the party's intentions that give one pause.

Historically, lawmakers from both parties have resisted any kind of temptations along these lines for one simple reason: they didn't think they'd get away with it. If members of Congress set out to undermine the strength of the country, deliberately, just to weaken an elected president, they risked a brutal backlash -- the media would excoriate them, and the punishment from voters would be severe.

But I get the sense Republicans no longer have any such fears. The media tends to avoid holding congressional parties accountable, and voters aren't really paying attention anyway. The Boehner/McConnell GOP appears willing to gamble: if they can hold the country back, voters will just blame the president in the end. And that's quite possibly a safe assumption.

If that's the case, though, then it's time for a very public, albeit uncomfortable, conversation. If a major, powerful political party is making a conscious decision about sabotage, the political world should probably take the time to consider whether this is acceptable, whether it meets the bare minimum standards for patriotism, and whether it's a healthy development in our system of government.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (89)

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The minute a prominent democratic politician/official says the GOP is actively trying to sabotage the country for political gain, the MSM will start clutching their pearls, and pretend it's an affront to reasoned discourse.

The media in this country is largely worthless. There are some notable exceptions, but, on balance, they just act as enablers for the right.

Posted by: Holmes on November 20, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

During the Clinton presidency, Rush Limbaugh began every show with the words "America held hostage day ..."

Of course it wasn't true back then.

Unfortunately, it looks like that's exactly what is happening now.

Republicans are holding the economy and security of the U.S. hostage in order to win the White House.

Posted by: _zack_ on November 20, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

You can't fight a mad dog with a wet noodle. Or rather, you can, but the outcome is pretty predictable.

Posted by: tatere on November 20, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

The Democratic party is failing to take point on addressing the harm the Republican party is doing to this country and how harmful this "No." campaign has been to this country. There has been no attempt to create a retort to Fox News/Propaganda Media that has overwhelmed the political discussion.

If indeed we have entered the new age of "Corporate Politicalism" - we have become a one party system.

Posted by: Dean on November 20, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

I second Holmes, above.
Noonan would wash down a Prozac with her 4th pre-dinner double martini to write how evil the Democrats are to even imply something like that.
Broder will go to the photocopier and blow the dust off of one of this insipid bipartisan columns from the last few years, and blame the Democrats for the current discourse.
Brooks will write something that maybe someone fluent in Gibberish-Doublespeak might be able to make heads or tails of.
And Rush, Drudge, 'FOX and Fiends' will work themselves to the point of coronary's denying any such thing, and how it's the Democrats actions since Andrew Jackson's time that have sabotaged this nation.
In other words: Same Ol', Same Ol'...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 20, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Americans have been a bit unassuming for far too long!

We've believed the Republican brand is within the mainstream of our political culture even as it attacks the underpinnings of our political heritage.

We've believed the Republicans have our economic interests in mind when they propose and then pass though reconciliation a huge tax cut that undermined a robust economy and skewed economic rewards upward.

We've believed the Republicans have our nation's interests in mind when they first proposed under Reagan, Peace through Strength, and now 30 years later are condemning their political opponents as unpatriotic when their elected war in Iraq was seen as the charade it was!

And at this moment the Republicans want us believe they are serious, credible, and now elected political players, when their actions, rhetoric and proposals (or lack thereof) tell us otherwise!

Start paying attention over the next two years and any previous beliefs may just be debunked enough to lay bare the true Republican brand -

Everything for the 2%ers! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on November 20, 2010 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Again, the GOP's strategy has been evident to any sentient person since the stimulus debate and legislation in early '09. And it's working brilliant. It's up to the Democrats -- and most especially the leader of the Democratic party -- to spell this out clearly to swing and low-information voters. I ain't holding my breath.

Posted by: BrklynLibrul on November 20, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Stop blaming politicians. They don't shoot their way into office - they get elected by your fellow Americans.

Remember that great line from the Nazi official from the movie "Downfall"? "They gave us a mandate, now they are getting their little throats cut." That's where we are with the modern American Right.

Posted by: moodmovesmarkets on November 20, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

"But I get the sense Republicans no longer have any such fears. The media tends to avoid holding congressional parties accountable, and voters aren't really paying attention anyway."

This point can't be repeated enough. The media's job of informing the public is not only not being done (as the Pew Research polls have proven), but is actually MIS-informing us to the point that people are voting based on beliefs that can be easily disproven by the facts.

The GOP realized that they could vote 'no' on every piece of legislation brought up by the Dem House and Senate majorities - even when they were the one's who co-sponsored it - with absolutely no fear of reprisal. You quite literally cannot be too cynical when it comes to the GOP today. God help us all.

Posted by: Kiweagle on November 20, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

This is, of course, the trap that Obama's been in since the start. In order to have any success, he needs to fight back hard, but if he does, the Villagers will get the vapors about the scary black man demeaning their town. So instead he tries to fight fire with reasonable discourse and look what happens - he literally gets called a pussy by one of my all-time least favorite Villagers, James Carville. He simply can't win for losing and for the life of me, I've no idea how he proceeds, let alone wins in'12.

Posted by: Millstream Pigworker on November 20, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why would the Republicans enable Iran's nuclear weapons program? Because a nuclear war with Iran is better than no war at all.

Posted by: Tom on November 20, 2010 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I began thinking the unthinkable the first week of the Obama administration when House Republicans voted in lockstep, 177-0, against the stimulus. At the time I was inclined to pass this off as a "messaging" move by Republicans. By standing firm against ALL spending no matter how necessary, Republicans could both recapture their Ronald Reagan "government is the problem" mojo, but also set up a simple equation for simpleton voters two years later: if unemployment did not go down then government spending was actually the cause.

After making "Big Government Spending Bad" their message, Republicans had every motivation in the world to spend the next two years undermining the economic recovery itself by fighting government at every turn. And when liberal critics asked "then where is the private sector, why aren't they doing more to help," Republicans could just blame "uncertainty" for why Wall Street and Big Business were sitting on their hands -- and their taxpayer bailouts.

Republicans could also count on Fox News and talk radio to cover their back to make sure no one saw their fingerprints on the murder weapon.

It all makes perfect sense to me and explains why Republicans have been full of talk of vague "conservative principles" but short on specifics and details of any kind, including actual numbers.

Posted by: Ted Frier on November 20, 2010 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

moodmovesmarkets...you're absolutely correct. Blame the American people.The GOP was put back in a position of power, willfully, almost gleefully, by the american people. Their agenda has been out front and center, there was no sleight of hand here. We are living with the consequence of our vote, plain and simple.

Posted by: SaintZak on November 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's even bigger than that. The zillionaires who control the Republican party have a simple agenda that requires sabotaging Democrats and funding the looniest, most incompetent Republicans. What is it? To weaken the only conceivable check on their power -- the U.S. government. The Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch and their ilk don't give a shit about this country or its people. In their minds, it's perfectly acceptable to destroy us in order to wallow in their billions, undisturbed by any pesky laws that might limit their fortunes or prevent them from satisfying their smallest wish.
And they've managed to get millions in the right wing to bend over and ask for it!

Posted by: dalloway on November 20, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I said this to my husband last summer. He advised me not to say it in public, as people would label me paranoid and a hater.

I'll go one step farther. Why would the banks sit on their bailout funds instead of turning the crank on our economic engine by making loans available? Could it be that the worse the economy, the less likely it becomes that Democrats can hold on to power? Once the Democrats are voted out by an incredibly ignorant public, any regulations the Dems may have put in place will be removed. And so it goes.

Posted by: cmac on November 20, 2010 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

The Very Serious People, by their silence, are telling you what they really think. To wit:

  • A Democratic administration is, ipso facto not a legitimate government.
  • Consequentially. no step necessary for its ouster is too extreme.
  • Politicians taking those steps are tantamount to the London governments-in-exile of the nations overrun by Hitler or Stalin.
  • Those politicians deserve support, regardless of how odious they are.

Welcome to the Cold Civil War.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 20, 2010 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?"

Run around shouting Milton Freidman was right.

Posted by: max on November 20, 2010 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

And remember that for 8 years, the slightest hint of even disagreement wih "our Commander-in-Chief in a time of war" was outrageous to these motherfuckers....

There aren't words for how low these bastards have sunk...

Posted by: marty on November 20, 2010 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think Congressional Republicans would certainly agree that they're trying to 'sabotage' the Democrat agenda, but I don't think they believe they are sabotaging the country itself.

Repubs have convinced themselves and their voters that the Dem agenda *is* bad for the country (unsustainable deficits, out-of-control spending and the like) and so any means necessary for stopping it will do just fine.

I think the New START treaty thing is a bluff, and it will eventually be ratified (I hope).

Republicans seem to actually *believe* that cutting taxes, choking down spending and ending entitlements would be good for the country as a whole, and would somehow help end the recession.

They are impervious to the sea of facts showing how wrong this belief is, but it's worth considering the possibility that they genuinely & earnestly believe it anyway. They're more like religious zealots than Machiavellian manipulators.

Posted by: Jordan on November 20, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I am not afraid to call it what I perceive it to be: treason. If Democrats did it, that would be the first word, not the last, that was used.

Posted by: bloomingpol on November 20, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

This may not take two more years of sabotage. If the republicans get their tax cuts for the rich and the economy continues to improve they will take all the credit. And deliberate sabotage now or not, the sick economy created by financial monkey wrenching and malfeasance is in such a deep hole that any significant recovery may not happen. Plus, their master plan for such a long time has been to kill the baby with the bath water -- to shrink the size and scope of the federal government. If this means destroying the economy to accomplish this unfinished task they would not be above doing so. It ain't just Obama they are after.

Posted by: lou on November 20, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm always amazed at the denial among non-Republicans about their practiced vicious nihilism.

This is not new folks. And it's not limited to attacking Democrats or the government. They deal with each other with the same level of viciousness, that's why the survivors are so good at it. They steal elections from each other. In 2008, the Washington Republican primary counting was simply shut down because it was becoming an embarrassment to McCain. Even superficial, meaningless elections like president of the college Republicans become a bloodbath of bad faith and back stabbing. The idea that they would treat 'outsiders' any better is just denial.

Impeachment is over 10 years ago folks. These people don't let the common good, proportionality, or adult judgment interfere with anything. They are a pack of vicious political dogs well versed in pulling down their prey, and in between battles beyond the pack turning on each other to keep their ambitions and skills tuned.

The Democrats don't even understand the game their in.

Posted by: LosGatosCA on November 20, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party is engaged in an organized criminal conspiracy to destroy the United States. Republicans are traitors, and yes, they belong in prison. No patriot can vote Republican. Ever.

Posted by: Mike on November 20, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget that this is happening on the state level also...see the Wall Street Journal article entitled "GOP Governors Plot Budget Cuts With Eye to 2012":


"'This is put-up-or-shut-up time for all of us,' said Mr. Walker [Wisconsin's Newly elected Republican governor], 'If we do what we said we would do in the campaign, there is no doubt it will be harder for Obama' to carry states such as Wisconsin and Ohio in 2012, Mr. Walker said."

Posted by: delNorte on November 20, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I love the subtle cowardice contained in the title of this post - "None dare call it sabotage." After two years of the Republicans practically bragging about their willingness to destroy America in order to defeat Obama, you still cannot bring yourself to utter the word "treason" to describe it.

Al-Qaida wishes it could damage America as much as the GOP has.

Posted by: Citizen Alan on November 20, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of the book "The Sociopath Next Door" only now we have sociopaths in leadership positions in Republican party. Political sociopaths have no empathy, feel no guilt, and will never assume any blame if the country fails. That is who they are.

Posted by: sheridan on November 20, 2010 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK
Maybe now would be a good time to pause and ask a straightforward question: are Americans O.K. with this?

Blue Americans, or Red Americans? Depends on which team they follow. Sell your copy of the Federalist Papers to some unsuspecting AP US Government student, and buy a big foam "We're #1" finger with the proceeds.

That's American politics...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 20, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Citizen Alan.

I used the word treasonous in a post on another blog and people came down on me with both feet. When you put your own interests and that of your party above the interests of the country, that IS treason.

And the Republicans have always been completely inept at governing because all they are looking out for is themselves and getting re-elected to their cushy government jobs.

They have zero character and even less credibility as honest and patriotic Americans.

Posted by: jjm on November 20, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Just because you are paranoid, that doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if they were doing it on purpose. Not all of them of course. Many republican voters and newly elected members of congress really bought the whole ridiculous platform, hook, line and sinker. That's why, when you press them with actual facts, it is more than they can take and must be dismissed as "liberal propaganda"

Posted by: atlliberal on November 20, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what I don't get: so the Republicans succeed in destroying the US economy in order to destroy Obama. OK. So far, I get it. But then what? They return a Republican to the Presidency and Republican majorities to Congress. A wrecked economy can't just be fixed with a snap of the fingers. All the policies and tools that could help have been actively opposed and/or dismantled. They have no vision and sore little competence. What will they do? Do they really imagine this is going to bring them glory? I guess sheridan is right: they're sociopaths who just don't care. Otherwise, it makes no sense.

Posted by: Stacy on November 20, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

How about this: A foreign born media magnate buys citizenship into the country so that he can buy a major media organization. He proceeds to develop a propaganda machine that works to divide the country into two classes, rich white people and everyone else and through relentless faux news demonizes people and pits groups against each other based on race, class, ethnicity, religion, and political beliefs. He employs gasbags and blowhards that use the media megaphone to bring out the worst in everyone. He funds one side of the political spectrum to the detriment of the other. He has a revolving door policy with politicians. They spend time on his shows bloviating and getting exposure, then gain office and return favors to the master, gutting government media control, changing elections laws to favor corporations and the rich, and passing tax laws that rob from the poor and give to the rich. He is destroying the country from within and because he controls the message, few can see it and for those that can, their voices are drowned out amongst the noise of his media machine and crushed by his vengeful hoards who even follow them home to harass them into shutting up. Couldn't happen the the US?

Posted by: Shivas on November 20, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I have said it before and I will say it again, the radical extremist republicans and their stooges, wherever they may be, have done more economic damage to the USA than all of our foreign enemies could ever dream of.

Posted by: ghostcommander on November 20, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are playing with fire. They will be at the ends of ropes or perhaps find freash leaking if they cause more economic chaos. Mobs have a way of turning on incitement.

Posted by: Trollop on November 20, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe now would be a good time to pause and ask a straightforward question: are Americans O.K. with this?

And the answer will be: "Why do you hate America? Can't you see Al Gore has gotten really fat?

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on November 20, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is so heavy, so I thought I'd share a humorous, yet accurate, depiction of what is going on with the parties "in power."

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude
> and spotted a man in a boat below on a lake. She shouted to him,
> >
> "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour
> ago, but I don't know where I am."
> The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air
> balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 1,346 feet above sea
> level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees,
> 49.09 minutes west longitude.
> "She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat."
> >
> "I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
> >
> "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically
> correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still
> lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."
> The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."
> "I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"
> "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going.
> You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a
> promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your
> problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but
> somehow, now it's my fault."
> (From Karl Kroeber)

Posted by: st john on November 20, 2010 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Nixon had no problem keeping the war in Viet Nam going for political advantage, so why would the current crop of assholes have a problem with trashing the economy for the same reasons?

-From Rick Perlstein's Nixonland, page 709:

"Back in February, Nixon had said antiwar Democrats "might give the enemy an incentive to prolong the war until after the election." Actually, that was what he was doing, just as he had in 1968. Twenty years later, a superannuated Richard Nixon met with a group of young reporters just before the 1992 New Hampshire primary and copped to it. He explained that the incumbent Republican president would have been able to guarantee his reelection, but that it was too late: he ended the Iraq war when he should have kept it going at least until the election. "We had a lot of success with that in 1972", he told the assembled scribes."

Posted by: hawiken on November 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

"As best as I can tell, none of this analysis -- all from prominent observers -- generated significant pushback. The notion of GOP officials deliberately damaging the economy didn't, for example, spark widespread outrage or calls for apologies from Matt or anyone else."

Maybe that's because no thought it worth their time to waste on such whining.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on November 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Thus far, I haven't seen anything from the Republicans this time around that rivals Rockefeller for sheer mean-spirited destructiveness."

Then you are an ignorant and illiterate boob.

Posted by: Joel on November 20, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Since 9/11, who has done more damage to this country: Al Qaeda and the entire terrorist movement, or the Republican party?

Not that I really had to ask.

Posted by: Zak44 on November 20, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Some may say that the Republicans want the economy to stay weak as long as a Democrat is in the White House, but that's naive. When the Republicans had the White House, they did everything they could to weaken the U.S. economy.

So the truth is they want a weak economy, period. That's the best way for them to gain leverage so they can manipulate the desperate masses, pass draconian measures limiting personal freedom, encourage people to rely on faith instead of works, and generally return to those glorious days of yesteryear before minorities began to feel themselves to be equal.

Posted by: Robert Moskowitz on November 20, 2010 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I am the first one to cringe and cry foul when conservatives accuse Obama of deliberately trying to destroy America. This one gives me pause. While I'd like to give the GOP the benefit of the doubt, and assume that their opposition to certain policies/programs is rooted in a belief that their own policies/programs (even though we aren't quite sure what those are, or they're things that have been tried--and have been miserable failures-- before) will cure what ails us...this leaves me wondering. Would the GOP deliberately keep the economy in the toilet in order to gain the White House in 2012? I hope not, but...

Posted by: Diane on November 20, 2010 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Irreconcilable value systems.

Some people (quite a large number, judging from the latest election results) actually do believe that government is the problem, not the solution.

Y'all disagree. That's fine. Neither belief is treasonous, however. Judging from history, the belief of "more government, more bad stuff" has more evidence, but that doesn't make it inevitably true, of course.

Posted by: mrsizer on November 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

"The lockstep hatred and intolerance is completely obvious on this site."

You give us far too much credit. When it comes to hatred and intolerance we are but lowly amateurs next to the virtuosos of vitriol who make the rightwing media the all-powerful juggernaut it is.

If only we were half as good.

Posted by: Zak44 on November 20, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Starving the countryside to cause political unrest upheaval? Didn't Stalin try this???

What Republicans failed to learn in the last election is that leadership means doing what's right for your constituents whether or not you're the party in control.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Incredibly great satire.

Posted by: Here come the judge on November 20, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Let's call it what it is Steve.

It's treason. Plain and simple. Deliberate, conscious treason. The GOP has been committing treason against the People of the United States for the last 30 years, starting with Reagan's double-dealing during the Iran Hostage Crisis, and nothing has changed.

People are imprisoned and executed in other countries for doing what the GOP is doing as a matter of public policy.

Can anyone stop them?

Posted by: LL on November 20, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

No, they know that Obama has saved and is improving the economy, but are setting the stage, where when Obama gives them the tax cuts for the rich, they can say that THAT, is what saved the economy. And of course, the gullible American public will believe them . . .

Posted by: Michael on November 20, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

The reason the Republicans think that they can get away with it is that the Democrats have failed to hold them accountable, and continue to fail to produce a unified, coherent message. The level of political incompetence is amazing, in fact, it's so bad that it's starting to spark conspiracy theories (that the Democrats are in on the game somehow), deliberately playing Colmes on the old Hannity show.

I don't think it's incompetence so much as aimlessness; many elected Dems appear to have no guiding principles beyond careerism, so it's natural for them to bend whichever way the wind blows.

Posted by: Joe Buck on November 20, 2010 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

To be more precise, Stalin starved the countryside in order to consolidate power. By willingly sacrificing the well-being of millions of Americans to undermine Obama it sounds like Mitch McConnell is stealing a page out of Stalin's playbook.

This coming Saturday is the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor, or death by hunger. Let's all take a minute to remember how corrupting power can be when it becomes a goal in and of itself.

Listen up, Mitch McConnell. One of the lessons you are failing to learn from the last election is that you and the GOP are NOT invulnerable.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK


One of my relatives was the president of a small town Tennessee bank during the Depression. To his dying day he thanked Roosevelt for restoring the country's faith in the US banking system.

And FYI, I minored in economics and ran a successful business for 25 years.

What about you? Where did you study history.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

To the moron whose comment has since disappeared since I started writing this:

Take a lesson from the Depression and it's aftermath, folks. It went from bad to worse under Roosevelt where he tried to increase government spending and government jobs.

Uh, no.

Try this link: http://ingrimayne.com/econ/EconomicCatastrophe/GreatDepression.html

When Roosevelt entered office and began massive spending and employment programs the economy was buoyed and Gross National Product immediately began to increase.

You idiot.

At the same time, the unemployment rate immediately began to fall

You idiot.

Roosevelt's economic programs were a wild success. He helped the economy recover and put people back to work while not allowing the banks to run roughshod over them. In fact, the only year in the 1930's that unemployment rose is 1937, when Roosevelt's treasury secretary convinced him to suspend some of these programs and focus instead on fiscal discipline...which is what the Republicans and Teatards are now proposing.

These are easily available and incontrovertible facts. How you could come on a blog and shoot your mouth off without knowing anything about them them is beyond comprehension.

Posted by: trex on November 20, 2010 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP have help too.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


I think the idea of the Chamber of Commerce having sessions with the Chinese on how to outsource American jobs should terrify every American and put into question who the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is loyal to. America as a country or the bottom line of companies that outsource.

I think most of us here know the answer but I don't think it's gotten through every Americans head that when members pay the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dues, those dues are expected to increase their bottom line. If that increase consists of shipping manufacturing and customer service overseas for the owners of the U.S. companies to compete with foreign companies then that's what they are fighting for.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not represent the U.S. worker in the least bit and hopefully Americans will come to realize that sooner rather than later.

Selfishness disguised as liberty. Power wearing a mask of freedom. Free trade tearing our working class apart hidden under the facade of patriotism.

That's what the Chamber stands for.

Sarah Palin, China, the European Union, Greenspan, the Chamber of Commerce and about 20 conservative columnists have come out against it.

The result of QE2 would be a lower priced currency. This would have the affect of increasing domestic production and intern possibly increasing the working class wages (that means you blue collar workers).

So, explain to me again, why QE2 is such a bad thing?

And if Palin, Greenspan and the right wing are siding with China and the European Union you've got to wonder where their loyalty lies.

I don't think this is just a short term goal. Their long term goal is to lower labor standards across the globe to increase multinationals profits. There's evidence of it everywhere you look.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on November 20, 2010 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, can't call it sabotage ... can we call it treason? Why do they hate America so much?

Posted by: Wacky Librul on November 20, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

If the GOP uses their power for economic sabotage, then the Dems need to call them on it and communicate to the public in no uncertain terms who is responsible.

If voters believe the GOP is acting counter to the country's interests they will vote them out in 2012. But the Democrats need to get that message out instead of sitting back and letting them.

Posted by: JEA on November 20, 2010 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Mike,

Let's remember that if companies are investing overseas simply to lower their manufacturing costs that's one thing. That's a dead loss of US jobs. But if they are investing to set up overseas warehouses and distribution centers for US farmers and manufacturers, building service centers for American airplanes and cars, or opening branches of US financial institutions that's a good thing, right?

Also, paying foreign countries via Exxon, Mobil, etc. for oil and gas is a huge financial and security drain when we can be generating so much wind, solar, biomass, and yes, nuclear jobs here at home, not to mention the jobs generated by investment in energy savings.

In the last year I put my money where my mouth is -- I bought two Ford hybrid cars, upgraded my furnace to an American-made, two-stage blower-type and installed American-made thermal doors on my house. All these qualified for . . . wait for it . . . TAX REBATES!! I got $4,500 back under Cash for Clunkers and another $4,000 tax deduction for buying a hybrid car. Imagine a Democratic president cutting my taxes!

I have made out very well financially with Obama. I cannot imagine the economy would would be where it is right now if McCain-Palin had been elected. Mitch McConnell should be ashamed of himself for his obstructionism.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Why do comments that disagree with the Democrats disappear but the inanity from people like Trex lives on?

Oh, right, it's actually the left that is anti-free speech. I forgot.

Posted by: Jack Lacton on November 20, 2010 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

FDR wrecked the United States economy for a decade with his ruinous spending policies.

No, the data shows the exact opposite: unemployment steadily fell and GNP increased. That is incontrovertible.

Even his closest economic advisor stated in around 1938 that the government had kept spending and spending and yet the economy got worse

The economy did not "get worse," it had been, in fact, steadily improving as the records I cited show.

FDR wrecked the United States economy for a decade with his ruinous spending policies.

The argument from your link is that even though prior to Roosevelt's inauguration and New Deal policies the economy sucked beyond belief, and even though as a result of his policies the economy and employment improved...it just would have been better had some other thing been done.


Posted by: trex on November 20, 2010 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

If only Hofstadter were alive to see this post-shellacking analysis.

He'd be so proud.

Then he'd queue up "Almost Cut My Hair" on his i-phone and hang himself with his bow tie.

Posted by: tao9 on November 20, 2010 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

So Lacton,

Why don't you enlighten us about how your plans would have rescued the auto, housing and banking industries simultaneously while stopping job losses and giving Americans hundreds of billions in tax cuts and job-creating investments in their communities?

As Bush's chief acolyte Mitch McConnell and John Boehner had N-O-T-H-I-N-G, nada, zip, bupkus in the way of viable economic plans. This isn't about first amendment infringements (glad to see conservatives finally on board with the first amendment). This is about Republicans using political obstructionism to consolidate control over the Senate and the White House while your neighbors don't have enough money to buy their kids winter coats.

So enlighten us, please. Why are your plans important? Why will they work and Obama's won't? We want to know, and spare us the empty ideological blather.

You have the floor.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Defending FDR's policies seems to be a shibboleth of the left these days. The right recognises the damage that Hoover's big spending and Nixon's price control policies did. Why can't the left get past the 1930s, economically?

Posted by: Jack Lacton on November 20, 2010 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

I have always thought the republicans wanted the economy to fail under Obama, anyone else notice how the republican governors did not do much with the stimulus money, democratic governors (and Charlie Crist) praised the stimulus and were able to keep state employees in jobs they would have lost. The problem is 'who is there that can call the republican strategy what is is - treason'
We must have someone who is unafraid to spread the story!

Posted by: joan on November 20, 2010 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK


That's all you got? "FDR's policies seems to be a shibboleth of the left . . ." ???

The Obama Administration saved the auto, housing and banking industries from total collapse -- simultaneously. For this alone he will go down as one of America's greatest presidents. And all you can do is carp about hypothetical liberal interpretations of Roosevelt and the Depression?

C'mon, you must have more stuff than that if you're lurking around liberal blogs. Show us what you got.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, what the Republicans are doing, unless they're doing it in collaberation with OBL (our only current "enemy") it's NOT treason.
Stupid, yes. Vile, yes. Shortsighted? You'd better believe it. But, treason? No.

Posted by: Doug on November 20, 2010 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

So, Lacton,

GM just returned to the capital markets yesterday. Two years ago they were insolvent and had 0 market value, piles of debt, old plants and outdated products. Now thanks to Obama's bailout of the auto industry GM is worth $50 billion, they are adding employees and shifts at most of their plants, they are now on the cutting edge of the alternative fuel vehicle. The US is now a minority shareholder and will probably make money when the government sells off the last of its GM stock in a couple of years.

What would you have said to GM's employees two years ago? Buy a Toyota???

C'mon, let's hear it! Tell us all about the Republicans better plans for the auto industry.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

So I explained to you how thanks to Obama I got thousands of dollars in energy tax rebates this year, and I am not atypical. I explained how the key engine of American economic growth -- the auto industry -- just returned to the capital market thanks to Obama's bailout.

I have directly refuted (or as Sarah would say, "refudiated") two of your fundamental philosophical cornerstones -- that Democrats don't cut taxes and Democrats don't understand how to spur business. And no, you can't say McCain would have done as good as Obama because McCain OPPOSED EVERY ONE OF OBAMA's ECONOMIC PROPOSALS. He clearly had other plans for the economy.

What do you say to that?

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

"who wants the economy to fail?"
It's part and parcel of the Republican ideology. When a stimulus is necessary to save jobs and keep up demand, Repbulicans decry it.
Those same Republicans had no trouble when Reagan tripled the national debt and put the country into recession, nor when G. W. Bush more that doubled the national debt from 5 to 11 trillion and gave us the worse recession since the Great Depression.
American learned in those bygone days that business have to be regulated to prevent their irresponsible behavior and insensate greed. Republicans never did.
The one and only way to save future generations of American from the chaos of Republican policies is to grow the economy and grow it not. The Bush tax cuts failed miserably to help the American economy during his term and after. The Clinton tax increases led to 8 years of growth and 22,000,000 new jobs.

Posted by: Mike on November 20, 2010 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sweden was the first country to emerge from the worldwide depression in 1934 by following a policy of Keynesian deficit spending and policies very similar to those of FDR:

...Sweden's economy hit rock bottom, a few months later than it did in the United States. But Sweden would recover faster. This was the result of both a liberal monetary policy and public spending. A reduction in taxes for the average wage earner gave him more money to spend. A raised minimum wage increased the ability of low-income people to spend money. The government increased investments in public works. Federal money was pumped into unemployment insurance, medical care and old age pensions. The government willingly created a deficit, believing that it was emergency spending that would be paid back after the recovery. And with recovery being rapid and revenues increasing as a result of the rising economy, the deficits were quickly overcome.


The Swedish model went on to produce one of the most productive economies in the world for fifty years following, with consistently high GDP, low unemployment, a boom-and-bust resistant economy due to government policy, and a very high quality of life, all the while managing the costs of universal health care and generous unemployment insurance.

Conversely, countries like France and England -- or the U.S. in '37-'38 -- which pursued low tax, balanced budget, debt reduction policies languished in Depression due to the lack of any significant stimulative effect.

We know what works. We can compare right -vs left economic solutions worldwide during the Great Depression and see that austerity measures failed and government stimulus worked. We can look at Hoover's disastrous non-interventionist policies vs Roosevelt's and see a dramatic difference in results illustrated by graphs with lines that trend neatly up or down depending on the measure. Roosevelt's measures weren't perfect but they consistently improved the economy and kept people working. Would it have been possible to grow the economy even faster by pursuing conservative fiscal policy? That's quite possible. In fact, transferring wealth from the average worker into the very rich is what happened during the Gilded Age and lead to the crash in the first place.

A better plan for the auto industry is to stop giving government handouts and make them compete.

This isn't a plan, it's a ridiculous slur with little bearing on reality. In no particular order: the automakers already compete; not bailing them out would have been disastrous for the economy in terms of lost jobs and stimulative consumer spending; foreign auto companies like Toyota don't compete if by "compete" you mean "not subsidized by the government" which Toyota and other automakers are, giving them an unfair advantage over American automakers; the Chrysler bailout was a stunning success not only for the company's brand and bottom line but the taxpayers, who realized a profit on it; Ford now has higher overall quality than most foreign automakers so obviously they're doing something right; and your vague hand-waving and general ideological fuckwittery have now just become tiresome.

Posted by: trex on November 20, 2010 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Where did Lacton go? Did he concede??

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

If the democrats were holding up the Start treaty, as the republicans are now doing, wouldn't they be called treasonous by now? These folks are willing to sacrifice national security for the sake of power. They are republicans first, Americans second. How sad for all of us.

Posted by: Beth on November 20, 2010 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

[...] if you want to make comparisons with other countries' systems then please make sure to add in the real cost of developing the medicines that the US does and the rest of the world leeches off [...] -- Jack Lacton, @18:39

Before your comment disappears, in the cause of the liberal anti-free-speech policy... Aren't the biggest medicine developers and producers either in Switzerland or in Germany? Americans may be (and probably are) the largest *consumers* of chemicals, but not the largest developers of same.

Posted by: exlibra on November 20, 2010 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Consider a thought experiment. Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?

I would write a book on how greed is good and make friends with a FED head.

Wait...dint that happen?

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Well, as one can easily google, bing or blekk that S & L crisis and the subprime financial crisis both came about for the same reason...deregulation.

Tax cuts didnt lead to economical growth during previous admin even with more subsidy programs, privatization and military operations in far off lands even while the DOW hit a record high.

Wall street and main street are on divergent paths.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

..should be able to understand that it's the private sector which generates the wealth you all live off. -Craig

I get so tired of these myths cum fact.

The private sector gets its 'wealth' from the public sector that purchases its products or, today, many 'private' sector industry gets its wealth by lobbying government. Again its the public sector from which the wealth is transferred.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, the $787 billion stimulus has created a how many jobs?

Roughly 3.3 million, about the same net amount created under Bush and Republican policies in eight years.

Not bad, eh?


The Obamacare Plan sent what message to businesses? I believe it was, "Your costs are going up."

Uh, no. By bringing overall costs down, the ACA actually saves money for businesses who have to provide health care to employees. Of course, there were even better options to save money by creating a public option or providing universal access, but Republicans and conservative Democrats resisted this.

If it's costs you're concerned about, universal health care would lower overall costs by a few dozen percent while freeing up businesses from all kinds of costs.

The lack of action on continuing the Bush tax rates has sent what message to businesses? I believe it was, "Your taxes are going up."

WTF? Millionaires don't need tax cuts. Wealthy people can afford them on their marginal income. The middle class needs them to stay.

Sunsetting the Bush marginal tax cuts would put us about 10% under the marginal rate in place while Reagan was in office and about 50% under rates in place during the 50's and 60's when the economy experienced tremendous growth.

There is $2 trillion dollars sitting in business coffers because they cannot see what is coming except more costs, more taxes, and more regulation. Why invest or expand with such an outlook?

Now you've descended into insanity. Any money sitting around is due to lack of demand. The other stuff is just your fantasy. Even the weak-tea "reforms" haven't reregulated markets to where they need to be or even where they were during the prosperous Clinton years.

Posted by: trex on November 20, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

As weird as it sounds, probably the best strategy for Democrats -- since they've totally lacked backbone and are unwilling to force Republicans to own what they say -- would be an old, old football strategy for gaining all-important field position.
Punt on first down.
Just give the ball to the Republicans. Sorry, Obama, this isn't law review and it isnt' a wonk committe. It's a dynamic situation that requires in-your-face leadership, break their 'nads brinksmanship.
It demands that the president be downright uppity. That's the one thing Bush understood, though he didn't stand under anything else. I'm sorry you fear doing that, though I understand why. You wouldn't have gotten where you are if you had been "uppity" when warranted and necessary. I just really wish you could now that it's what works and what is needed. The racists are already upon you. So that doesn't matter anymore. But, alas, it's not to be.
So let's punt. Force the other guys to try to run on this horribly muddy field -- quagmire -- they created.
If there's any chance at all as this handbasket we're riding gets hotter, goosing the Republicans to their logical conclusion might be the only way.

Posted by: Larry Reilly on November 20, 2010 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

~~ There is $2 trillion dollars sitting in business coffers because they cannot see what is coming except more costs, more taxes, and more regulation ~~

The problem is trust. All the fraud and toxic assets sitting on balance sheets has created the mistrust that is seizing the system.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to complain about the Republicans sabotaging the country, the START Treaty is a much better vehicle than the economy. The range of expert opinion on the economy is broad, and the range of respectable opinion is much broader, so it is not easy to convincingly argue that the Republicans are consciously and willfully trying to undermine the American economy. But essentially all experts agree that the START Treaty is a good enough deal, and a critical component of our national security. Today Senator Lugar called on his Republican colleagues to "do their duty" on this issue. Presumably "their duty" is to vote their conscience when the country's fate depends on it, so he is, in effect, saying that his colleagues know quite well that the treaty deserves to be ratified on its merits, and that failure to ratify will endanger the US, but they are inclined to vote against it because they want to deny Obama a victory. On its surface this is a shocking accusation, but in fact EVERYONE IN THE MEDIA UNDERSTANDS THAT THIS IS GOING ON AND ACCEPTS IT AS NORMAL. Until prominent voices (you, Kevin, Matt, etc., for starters) starts squawking when it is really egregious, sabotage will continue to be treated as just part of the way the game is played these days, and Lugar's accusation will be just another minor cable news kerfuffle.

Posted by: Andy McLennan on November 20, 2010 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

For 1932, GNP falls a record 13.4 percent; unemployment rises to 23.6 percent.

Look you stupid fuckwit, I was talking about the effect of Roosevelt's policies. He wasn't inaugurated until 1933 and was immediately able to begin to turn the economy around. If you're too dim to get that I can't help you. But thank you for making my point that the Republican policies of the time not only caused and exacerbated the Great Depression but that Roosevelt's policies immediately began to turn it around.

What's you next substantive argument. That I misspelled something? Forgot a comma?

Posted by: trex on November 20, 2010 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

It is almost as if nobody remembers that the US unemployment rate was 4.6% when Pelosi & Reid took control of Congress. -Jay

but but but government has never created a single job!!!


Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. government will likely lose at least $1.6 billion on the total deal, though previously the administration thought they would lose not recover any of the $4 billion

As if the military industrial complex makes the government money..

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems are such pushovers that they must be closet Canadians.

Posted by: Bob M on November 20, 2010 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

There is no profit for taxpayers

I was talking about the Chrysler bailout of 1979, in which taxpayers received their money back with interest.

Laugh out loud funny. You realize you have no data that can demonstrate this, right?

Look you inbred turd, I've posted links to the data over and over. Look at unemployment data and GNP from 1933 to 1941.

And to the comment about universal health care saving costs being "hysterical," here are a few links for you:



Whether you measure per capita costs or health care expenditures as a measure of GDP, the U.S. spends far in excess of any country that has universal coverage. We spend nearly double of some countries that have overall similar health outcomes.

Posted by: trex on November 20, 2010 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Im not a leftist or a rightist.

I dislike both main political parties equally.

As for your comments being deleted Jay.

Dont care.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Of course subsidising health care insurance saves money.

You know what the cost of a hamburger would be without subsidies?

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 20, 2010 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

I read recently about the Great Depression, and how they solved the problem by 1) investing in our country, 2) developing social problems to help the needy, and 3) investing in infrastructure. Why can't there be a reading lesson in the House and the Senate, so they find out that this worked in the past and will work again. We can't recover when people are living in homeless shelters and losing everything. Infrastructure projects (very needed) will provide jobs at many levels, and keeping our citizenry healthy is better than killing people in other countries and then paying to rebuild THEIR building and roads, while our entire economy deteriorates. Read the story, and learn from their experience.

Posted by: seniorreader on November 20, 2010 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

are Americans O.K. with this?

YES. Face it, the GOP have spent decades making sure Americans have been bred to be genetically stupid.

Posted by: Amy Proctor on November 20, 2010 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

One of 2 things is happening here, it's either deliberate sabotage or accidental sabotage. Accidental would be like collateral damage to the economy while destroying the President of the United States. What's happening now looks more intentional than that.

And then Republican Obstructionism starts to bleed into the real world where Iran really is enriching uranium, and Russia is an important ally in successful sanctions. China recognized immediately the economic advantages being the number 1 manufactuerer of solar panels and wind turbines. and where the EU may contemplate economic sanctions against the US for it's climate change intansigence (I hope they wait until Sarah Palin in President beforem they pull the trigger on that one)

If it turns out that Obama is a one terms Presidednt, the Republicazns will have done more in four years to damage our standing on the economic and global stage than even Bush did in 8 incompetent years.

It's deliberate sabotage.

Posted by: bcinaz on November 20, 2010 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think Steve Benen makes a good point. Certainly this must have occurred to the Republicans. They'd be idiots if they didn't at least consider this in their minds, even if only to dismiss it.

But I don't think that they do dismiss it, in their minds. And a way, you can't blame them. After all, it must be hard to support policies that you believe will bring accolades and continued power to your bitter rivals. Right?

If the Republicans were moral paragons this wouldn't be a problem. But they're not, they're human beings. And you can't run a country by assuming that politicians will be moral paragons.

What you need (as Benen points out) are for the press and the people (at the voting box) to insist that politicians at least act as if they were high-minded and patriotic.

But we don't have that anymore. That's over, finished. So what to do?

I don't know. But I think opening a dialogue about patriotism is not a good idea at all. Once the term "treason" is in the air, we are starting down a slope that leads - in ten years, in twenty years - to a situation where the two party system can't stand.

Which party would end up in jail we can't know, but it'd more likely be the Democrats than not. For one thing, if it comes to it, the armed forces are more likely to be sympathetic to the Republicans. For another, liberals are no good in a fight. Reds (socialists) can fight, but we have few of them. Students are OK for turning over busses and so forth but American students won't face bullets, I don't think.

Tough problem. Don't know the answer. Pretending that nothing is happening and hoping for the best might be the best thing.

Posted by: herostratus on November 20, 2010 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP may yet implode -- signs of conflicted factions are emerging. Boehlert "moderates", traditional McConnell Republicans, Tea Partiers & the Palin/Bachman wing, potential Democratic converts (Olympia Snowe). Boehner has his work cut out for him keeping this group of jackals on the same page.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2010 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK



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