Political Animal


December 21, 2012 5:54 PM Evening Links

By Ryan Cooper

That’s it for me for today, folks. Kathleen Geier will be your weekend blogger. As always, thanks for reading and commenting. Here are some tidbits from around the web:

1. We’re still doing our fundraiser, please consider a donation! If you’ve already donated, you have my sincere thanks.

2. Matt Taibbi finds some a hilarious deposition of Glenn Hubbard, the hack economist for sale.

3. David Dayen’s final substantive post.

4. Paul Waldman responds to my post from earlier, taking a shot at explaining why Boehner is so weak. (I’m not Ed, by the way, though that is a flattering mistake.)

5. If we don’t pass a farm bill, milk prices could hit $6-8 per gallon.

6. John Kerry officially nominated for Secretary of State.

Finally, Hank Green explains that while toilet seats are cleaner than your sponges and cutting boards, you shouldn’t get too worried about it:



Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper


  • Rick B on December 21, 2012 7:37 PM:

    Regarding your item #4 above, I agree with both of you. Waldman does lay out the problem. The tea baggers do not think strategically and they have no respect for legislating policy.

    In fact, I would say they have no respect for democracy. These are authoritarians who look to find a strong leader they can follow and they do his bidding.

    They did not get elected just by outshouting their opponent in their districts. They were handed great gobs of money by people like Karl Rove (fronting for the Koch brothers through American Crossroads), Dick Armey (similarly fronting for multimillionaires through Freedom Work), Grover Norquist (another front for the Koch brothers in Americans for Tax Reform) and such similarly wealthy people as Sheldon Adelson.

    Adelson and his ilk determined who would be the Republican Presidential nominee by running the (comparatively) competent candidates out of the race early on and supporting idiots like Newt Gingrich.

    Locally here in Texas Rick Perry is a similar politician selected by big wealth. He's just a lot more obviously bought than most. Some, like Texas' Louie Gomhert, sell their ability to demagogue - but it's not his mouth that gets him reelected. He was a judge and a LtC in the National Guard, made himself known to the money people, and sold his services to them. He's not stupid. He just plays stupid so he can demagogue for his paycheck.

    The list goes on, but the fact is that the Republican party is not a marketplace for politicians. It's a marketplace for tame lackeys searching for money from the very wealthy.

    Wealth comes from power and from ownership. If you are wealthy you have to control the government in order to assure that your ownership remains and that your income from what you own continues. But ownership of this sort does NOT create value. It only extracts it. That's why the wealthy have to control government. Government provides the power to extract wealth from the flow of earnings in a modern society.

    Earnings, wages, come from exchanges of goods and services. The creation of those goods and services is what creates the wages, and over 90% of the population exist on those (impermanent) wages.

    Our social inequality today comes from the power of the wealthy to monopolize control of wealth by controlling much of the government through the conservative and authoritarian Republican party.

    Do you really think that the powerful wealthy people who are buying politicians really want politicians who think strategically and negotiate for the good of the nation? When things start going south for the holders (close to monopolizers) of wealth, they want their tame politicians to listen only to their needs.

    One of those needs is core to the wealthy. It is the inheritance tax. It should be perfectly clear why the Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to eliminate inheritance taxes. Wealth (and the power that is associated with it) is inherited. Wages are not inheritable.

  • maryQ on December 21, 2012 11:12 PM:

    Not to sound elitist or anything, but I buy milk from a local organic farm, where the cows are pastured and not fed shovel loads of antibiotic-laced corn, and it costs $6-8 a gallon. It's what milk costs.
    We don't buy lots and lots of it, so we probably spend the same on milk as other families our size.

  • MuddyLee on December 22, 2012 9:04 AM:

    Nice comment, Rick B. The conservatives I know are obsessed with programs like SNAP (food stamps) and housing subsidies and how these programs are making people dependent on government and less likely to seek employment. You never hear them talking about how people who inherit a lot of money and property are less likely to work, and you never hear them talk about how the mortgage deduction is a subsidy for people who are not poor (especially when there's a vacation home involved). There's also no talk about how the wealthy and middle class get tax deductions for giving to church/charity and other nonprofits, some of which are political organizations (just look at what they do). If republicans really want to help "job creators" and not those who are trying to coast, they should actually focus on real "small businesses" and their workers (who need health insurance, child care, public transportation, safe workplaces). The wealthy and their kids and multiple spouses can take care of themselves - they don't need any more help. Back to the Clinton era tax rates is a first step. If you're going after waste and fraud in the government, start with the military and the defense contractors - you will find a lot of low hanging fruit.

  • zandru on December 23, 2012 2:07 PM:

    So, your toilet seat is "cleaner" than your kitchen? How about after someone --er, SITS on it?