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July 24, 2011 11:50 AM The threat ‘domestic zealots’ pose to the nation

By Steve Benen

To hear Nick Kristof tell it, congressional Republicans aren’t just wrong; they’re literally putting the United States at risk.

If China or Iran threatened our national credit rating and tried to drive up our interest rates, or if they sought to damage our education system, we would erupt in outrage.

Well, wake up to the national security threat. Only it’s not coming from abroad, but from our own domestic extremists.

We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack. But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength — and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.

House Republicans start from a legitimate concern about rising long-term debt. Politicians are usually focused only on short-term issues, so it would be commendable to see the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party seriously focused on containing long-term debt. But on this issue, many House Republicans aren’t serious, they’re just obsessive in a destructive way.

Is Kristof suggesting that GOP lawmakers represent some kind of domestic threat, willing to undermine the nation’s interests from within? Well, the column certainly comes close to going there.

The NYT columnist walks through the drastic consequences of failure to raise the debt ceiling, which would be the direct result of Republican “fanaticism.” GOP recklessness would also “leave America a global laughingstock,” undermining not only our economy, but also our security.

“[L]et’s remember not only the national security risks posed by Iran and Al Qaeda,” Kristof concludes. “Let’s also focus on the risks, however unintentional, from domestic zealots.”

This is pretty bold stuff from a media establishment figure. Kristof isn’t saying Republicans are trying to destroy the strength of the United States, but he seems to be saying the GOP is doing so inadvertently, due entirely to a fanatical agenda.

It’s not like Kristof has a reputation for being an unhinged polemicist. On the contrary, he’s pretty mainstream, especially on domestic politics.

And yet, today, Kristof suggests Americans have every reason to fear Republican radicalism. Indeed, he seems to believe there may be no greater threat to the nation’s strength.

That’s quite an argument from an influential columnist at the nation’s most important newspaper.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • jjm on July 24, 2011 11:56 AM:

    See the Independent.UK: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/vince-cable-launches-attack-on-right-wing-nutters-2319748.html

    The "right wing nutters" the Business Secretary in the British Government are the GOP members of the House: "Business Secretary Vince Cable today launched an extraordinary attack on "right wing nutters" in the US who are threatening to cripple the world economy. Mr Cable said the row over whether to raise the American government's debt ceiling was a more serious crisis than the eurozone's problems."

    Our dirty, ugly slip is showing...

  • KWD on July 24, 2011 12:00 PM:

    Republicans are trying to destroy Obama's Presidency, and if the country is destroyed in the process, well so be it.

  • Bobfr on July 24, 2011 12:05 PM:

    One American's message to the President:

    23 July 2011

    Dear Mr President,

    As you well know, President Lincoln had these words for the US Congress in 1865:

    "“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire
    against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more
    insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as
    public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its
    crimes…. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high
    places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to
    prolong it’s reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all
    wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

    What irony that the Republic's first black President is the person called upon to defend everything that our Founder's crafted and that 235 years of patriots have strived to achieve.

    What irony that the Republic's first black President now confronts the 'party of Lincoln' as it unabashedly strives to do what Jefferson Davis and his treasonous bandits failed to accomplish during their attempt to not just preserve enslavement but render the Republic a defunct democracy and, thereby, comprehensively deny the inalienable rights of each person irrespective of the color of their skin, their personal faith, their economic status.

    Yes, President Obama, it comes to this moment that a non-white American citizen, a multi-cultural, empathetic, brilliant human being, a community organizer and eloquent statesman, a scholar and an internationally recognized champion of all that is the essence of the human spirit - it comes to you to lead America from the brink of the most concerted, vastly funded onslaught of all that our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution represent.

    You have millions of your fellow citizens standing with you. No poll. No analysis. No pundit. No one can obscure for you the fact that WE THE PEOPLE are with you, Mr. President.

    If we now face the 21st Century equivalent of January 1861, if we now face the 21st Century equivalent of April 12, 1861, Mr President, millions of Americans stand with you to preserve the Republic from the totally obvious threat by the very, very few ultra-wealthy, and ironically yet again, the under-educated, fear-driven, pitiful bigoted few whom enabled the destruction of the 'party of Lincoln' and replaced it with a pack of treasonous barbarians too inept to realize that in serving their ultra-wealthy, skillfully manipulative masters they are witless slaves - at least the slaves Lincoln and the Republic were trying to free knew they were slaves. Oh, the irony.

    Yes.We.Can. ... DO.More.Together!

  • stormskies on July 24, 2011 12:05 PM:

    When American elect crazy people who live in a state delusional paranoia this is exactly the results of such an election. America has only itself to blame, and a corporate media who had aided and abetted the election of these crazy, crazy people. We all remember last summer when the CNN bus was sent repeatedly to the 'tea party' gatherings of 20 people here, 10 over there, and so on and the presenting this to America as a 'grass root's' rebellion. Of course it was not. Yet because of the 'active complicity' of our corporate media in electing these crazy people to power this is now the result.

  • walt on July 24, 2011 12:05 PM:

    I've posted this comment so often that it should be my signature: the number one security threat to The United States of America is the Republican Party. Nothing else even comes close.

    Mainstreaming right-wing extremism has been the unique accomplishment of our corporate media. Thanks, guys! Now that the right is on the verge of turning this last, great hope of mankind into a third-world country, it's time to refocus our attention on sports and entertainment. We're Rome now and it's cheaper than circuses.

  • Bob M on July 24, 2011 12:07 PM:

    The Republicans are certainly playing with fire. Right wing rage is nothing compared to rage of people who have lost investment money because of the nuttiness of others.

  • stormskies on July 24, 2011 12:08 PM:

    walt is so fucking right ...

  • JW on July 24, 2011 12:13 PM:

    "Is Kristof suggesting that GOP lawmakers represent some kind of domestic threat, willing to undermine the nationÕs interests from within? Well, the column certainly comes close to going there".

    Benen: For the love of God, they've already been there and done that. How does having engineered a war with Big Lies not rise to having undermined our national interests? Do you honestly believe we blundered into unleashing the 2003 Iraq War?

    (As always, your belief in the existence of "influential columnists" remains (almost) endearingly quaint, or downright annoying, depending on my mood).

  • kevo on July 24, 2011 12:15 PM:

    No great nation is destroyed from the outside, until it has been destroyed from within! -to paraphrase Will and Ariel Durant!

    The diabolical change in our body politik is manifest simply by looking at the history of the debt ceiling legislation over the past 40 years. Doing so brings into sharp relief this year's Republican assault upon our nation's democratic policies, institutions, and most importantly, our spirit!

    To hold a necessary piece of legislation hostage now - in light of its past - is to disrupt the very foundation of our constitutional democracy!

    We the People began to use government for our benefit in the 1930s when others had used it for their own profit before, and ultimately caused a too-much-supply-(particularly credit)-circumstance, crashing the economy!

    Well, here we are again, in the early 21st century, and those profiteering others are back with a vengeance! Look around, and witness the assault on all that We the People have come to accept and rely upon!

    Is reform necessary - perhaps, but that is not what constitutes the hostage!

    Severe negative impact is what We the People should anticipate, and getting out the Anti-Republican vote in 2012 is what We the People should be doing right now! -Kevo

  • Varecia on July 24, 2011 12:22 PM:

    Good to read that someone like that sees this pretty much as I do. Only I think it's deliberate.
    If a terrorist group was trying to damage the nation's economic stability it would be a crime. It is a crime. They belong in jail.

  • bigtuna on July 24, 2011 12:27 PM:

    Asian markets open in 8 hrs .... We were supposed to be on our way to some sort of plan by now. It will be interesting to hear what this week's response will be from the bond vigilantes.


    btw. Excellent interview with John Nichols this week on Fresh air about ALEC - another Koch/DeVos/Scaife etc funded group, that since 1979 has been writing legislation, etc. for states.. Not to add to our collective suspicion that there is a vast right wing conspiracy ...

  • zandru on July 24, 2011 12:30 PM:

    @Bobfr: Wow! That's really excellent.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on July 24, 2011 12:37 PM:

    "Is Kristof suggesting that GOP lawmakers represent some kind of domestic threat, willing to undermine the nation’s interests from within? Well, the column certainly comes close to going there."

    Good grief. This should already be the commonly accepted position. Anybody paying attention knows it.

  • foghorn on July 24, 2011 12:46 PM:

    +1 to Bobfr. Great post.

  • Zorro on July 24, 2011 12:49 PM:

    I've said it before: the Tea Party Republicans are committing treason, and should be arrested for doing so.

    -Z

  • rational on July 24, 2011 12:52 PM:

    We are already the world's laughing stock. We don't have a safety net for our poor and vulnerable. We don't have reliable health coverage.

    If the world wants to laugh at us a little harder because we don't honor all our debts (hasn't happened yet, mind you), so be it. I'd rather be laughed at for that than for neglecting the poor, the unemployed, and the elderly.

    The investor class has managed to buy off a large chunk of columnists and bloggers. They want profits without risk, even if they have to screw the society (cut spending, they say) in that process.

  • TCinLA on July 24, 2011 12:52 PM:

    Nice to see even a guy like Kristof finally figure out who the (mostly Southern) traitors are. These guys may have changed their party label, but they're still pushing the same insane "economics" that Alexander Stevens believed in back in 1861, as enunciated in his "cornerstone" speech, and they also still believe in the same racisim and militarism these Confederate scum have always pushed.

    Nowadays they aren't strictly "southern" geographically because their crazy fundamentalist b.s. can be found nationwide. But it's southern crazy fundamentalist b.s. all the same.

  • Sapient on July 24, 2011 1:04 PM:

    Thank you, Bobfr. I am inspired to write to the President with the same spirit, if not eloquence.

  • Harun Magnuson on July 24, 2011 1:12 PM:

    The Republicans are nihilists and suffer from arrested development. For some reason they cannot reconcile living in the "Land of the Free" with living in a land presided over by an elected black man. Forget all the smoke and mirrors about the budget. The Republicans are out to destroy our country because they can't make it fit their own white dominated image. Oh, and hell yes they're traitors!

  • golack on July 24, 2011 1:30 PM:

    So can Bobfr's comment be setup online as an open letter for all to sign????

    Sad thing is that it will only make Boehner et al. dig in further....

  • Elie on July 24, 2011 1:41 PM:

    Bobfr --

    very eloquently said...

    Thanks

  • Elie on July 24, 2011 1:44 PM:

    rational;

    I doubt that we are a "laughingstock". I think that they are appalled and horrified. Our economy can fuck the world so no one, NO ONE, is laughing. They might laugh if and when we resolve the impasse, but they are not laughing right now.

  • DTTM on July 24, 2011 1:45 PM:

    For those wanting updates about Boehner's attempt at destroying America and what the President is thinking this afternoon, please follow WH Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer's twitter feed. Revealing. So far, no go on short term hike.

    Stay strong, Mr. President!

    I suspect the Repubs have no plan B except to blame the President for "moving the goal posts" and blame the "liberal media" and hope they can get away with it.

    And PBO's plan B? Suggestions anyone?

    I am suddenly mulling the 14th Amendment, which I never thought wise, after all, it would be an extraordinary foray for the executive into congressional balance of power which could cause an utter collapse of the Congress as a functioning entity.

    But what a move by PBO if he did it. Audacious wouldn't begin to describe it.
    Thoughts?

  • Kane on July 24, 2011 1:52 PM:

    If George Will can use the WaPo to openly call for the Tea Partyers not to help to solve the debt-ceiling dispute because it might help President Obama's reelection, then it's beyond time for individuals such as Kristof and others in the MSM to point out the Republican anarchists.

  • typical Purist Liberal asshole on July 24, 2011 1:54 PM:

    Boy I am SO glad all the liberal purist assholes decided to stay home for the Nov 2010 elections, to teach Obama and the democrats a lesson. It's working out so well, isn't it?

  • knightphoenix2 on July 24, 2011 2:00 PM:

    Bobfr's response was eloquent and correct!

    My advice to President Obama is this:

    If the Republican-led House of Representatives DO NOT pass a clean debt-ceiling bill by 11:59 PM August 1, then use the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling. Then declare martial law, and arrest them ALL for sedition and treason.

    Because THAT'S exactly what they are doing.

  • sapient on July 24, 2011 2:02 PM:

    DTTM, The NYT has an article, that I saw come online just a few minutes ago, regarding the 14th amendment. I'm totally in favor of Obama invoking it, although I can see his point if he doesn't. (His point being that the whole "debt ceiling crisis" in terms of the international financial market, is a matter of confidence in the U.S. Government, and a risky legal move is not confidence-inspiring.)

    But yes - if it's that or nothing, let's take it! He can definitely pursue that argument in good faith. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/25/us/politics/25legal.html?hp

  • DTTM on July 24, 2011 2:19 PM:

    @ sapient. Thank you for the link. And an interesting point about international market confidence. People often forget about that element when we focus on our domestic politics.
    But PBO can't forget that. In a computer-connected global economy, the challenge of maintaining market stability is one his hardest tasks.

  • j on July 24, 2011 2:30 PM:

    Just one more thing to add to repub dirty tricks Walker of Wisconsin has closed ten DMV offices in democratic districts and is using the money saved to enlarge those in repub districts.No ohoto ID,s for democrats.

  • berttheclock on July 24, 2011 2:38 PM:

    @bigtuna, thanks for the headsup on the ALEC interview - I have posted, many times, about their corrupt power in capturing RepuG state legislators. ALEC is responsible for the co-ordinated effort to bring anti-abortion bills to the many states. They are, also, behind the anti-union moves in the states. Yes, they are funded, as you say, by the Koch Brothers and other right wing money powers.

    Someday, perhaps, Steve Benen will discover how dangerous this group is to our body politic. However, I presume it will be only after Rachael Maddow has sired an indepth report on ALEC.

  • burro on July 24, 2011 2:40 PM:

    This is a coup.

    On Thursday, 7/21, Fresh Air aired a discussion regarding ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

    It's all worth listening to, and here's the link:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/07/21/138537515/how-alec-shapes-state-politics-behind-the-scenes#commentBlock

    At the 19:00 mark, Terry asks John Nichols, a reporter from "The Nation", about the lack of willingness for compromise on the part of the corporopolical right. He says that true believing conservatives have been constantly disappointed in their elected politicians and that Nixon was sort of a last straw. He was a jerk, but he also let slip though a number of things like the EPA, clean air and water legislation, expanded public housing and that he was not as anti union as they wanted, or expected.

    The true believers then began to set up the "think tanks" and lobbying groups and right wing training organizations that we have all around us today.

    And now, the presence of a mixed race community organizer in the White House is an affront and another last straw moment.

    They are no longer waiting. This is how it happens. The economic credibility of the U.S. is going to be trashed. And that is the plan. No compromise means destruction of the status quo and no more screwing around with democracy and civil rights and fairness and empathy and safety and what have you.

    I still don't understand why so many who are in the middle to upper middle classes identify with this path. Many of those folks may be doing well, (enough), but much of their well being depends on running businesses, and providing services, to their own level of economic well being or below. When the rug is pulled out from society, they will lose the underpinnings of their economic well being also. Maybe they all think it will be the other guy who will go down. Maybe they all envision themselves as successful owner/operators of Dollar Stores and McDonald's francises.

    This is a coup. The waiting is over. The metal bar of no compromise has been inserted into the cracked open lid of Pandora's Box and the truly destructive crap that is inside is stirring, realizing that it's time, finally, to emerge and change history. If Obama uses extraordinary measures to avoid the disaster, then he will be vilified and declared a black muslim traitor with an overthrow agenda of his own. It will be bullshit, but the 2000 appointment of the shrub was bullshit too, and we know how that came out.

    Good luck to President Obama, and to all who believe in freedom and democracy. This is not about debt, it's a power play. And the loser, is going to lose big.

  • burro on July 24, 2011 2:43 PM:

    I missed Big Tuna's reference to ALEC when I first looked through the posts. Needless to say, ditto.

  • hornblower on July 24, 2011 2:48 PM:

    It amazes me that anyone can consider a columnist of any stripe to be influential. The people on this board may read some of them but the days of Walter Lippman are over. Those blond ladies on Fox and Nancy Grace have more say in the national conversation than any political observer. If the President is waiting for the NY-DC corridor to rescue this stuff by saying even Nick Kristof agrees with me he is mistaken. Fortunately he is smart enough to know that most Americans don't know who Kristof is or Will, for that matter, outside of the Seinfeld reference.

  • Joe Friday on July 24, 2011 2:49 PM:

    PORTRAIT OF AN IDIOT


    Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) on 'MEET THE REPUBLICANS' (who was introduced as being "elected by Tea Party support"):

    "We've spent too much money. We have the same tax rates, the same two wars, the same prescription drug benefit that we had in 2007, but the deficit in 2007 was $161 billion, this year it's $1.5 trillion."

    Ah, earth to Kinzinger.

    During the Chimpy Bush administration, both wars, the prescription drug program for the pharmaceutical corporations, as well as all the costs of the new Homeland Security infrastructure, and the entire budget of the so-called "Global War on Terrorism", WERE ALL OFF-BUDGET.

    After Obama entered office, he put ALL of this ON-BUDGET. Not to mention the numerous rounds of tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate, which are the largest drivers of our federal deficits & debt.

    The trillion-plus dollar deficits were there in 2007, but nobody paid any attention to those that were exclaiming that the Emperor had no clothes.

    How is it that a member of Congress can be such a jackass fool ?

  • Tom Marney on July 24, 2011 3:16 PM:

    Hey, I've got a great idea. Obama resigns. Biden, too. Let Boehner be President. Then let's see how the blame game plays out.

  • Jjm on July 24, 2011 3:21 PM:

    Indeed, and alas, too late the NYT this morning FINALLY showed the chart of how much Obama has added to the debt, and how much Bush did.

    Bush beats Obama 5:1.

    Over 5 trillion dollars for Bush; 1+ trillion for Obama.

    And the nasty, hostage taking GOP/TP is trying to blame Obama?????!!!!!! Give in or we'll murder you? What kind of totalitarian dictatorship of the minority is that?

  • golack on July 24, 2011 3:34 PM:

    Bush... the gift that keeps on giving....

    Ted Frier at thegaveusarepublic has a nice write up too.

  • Rick B on July 24, 2011 3:46 PM:

    What's the difference between Norway's Anders Behring Breivik and America's tea party Republicans?

    Other than the fact that the tea party Republicans have recognized that Timothy McVeigh's bomb already failed to get political control of the government for the right wing I don't see any difference at all.

  • Joe Friday on July 24, 2011 3:54 PM:

    Jjm,

    "Indeed, and alas, too late the NYT this morning FINALLY showed the chart of how much Obama has added to the debt, and how much Bush did. Bush beats Obama 5:1. Over 5 trillion dollars for Bush; 1+ trillion for Obama."

    But even that $1+ trillion that occurred after Obama took office was overwhelmingly from the plunging federal income tax revenue as a result of the numerous rounds of tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate enacted by Chimpy Bush and the Republican Congressional Majority, according to the independent non-partisan CBO.

  • Kathryn on July 24, 2011 3:57 PM:

    Wonderful post Bobfr and thoughtful flip side from burro on the danger of using the 14th Amendment.

    When the Asian market tanks tomorrow, followed by Wall Street, then what?

  • ameshall on July 24, 2011 4:10 PM:

    You know the right wing has successfully beaten the mainstream media into submission when a distinguished columnist from the New York Times has to put his own career and reputation at jeopardy just to state the obvious about the Republican party.

  • max on July 24, 2011 4:11 PM:

    Next comes the hard part for the sane people who understand what the GOP is about to do to the country. The President should call their bluff, stand fast, we will all have to take our financial losses, and then take these bastards down once and for all in 2012. This could be a rope-a-dope on steroids.

  • Rick B on July 24, 2011 4:23 PM:

    @TCinLA

    You're right that the traditional American traitors from the Southern culture are committing their treason again. The largely rural landowners in the South fear the advance of large urban centers of the type like Atlanta which voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008.

    The "southern" fundamentalism that aids and abets their politics, however, is most recently exported from California. There the most significant cultural driver in my opinion has been the loss of political and demographic dominance of Caucasians over the last two generations. The resulting fear of loss of dominance has resulted in the dogmatic fundamentalist protestant religions. They have been spread nation-wide through the "christian" media empires.

    Both of these groups are in political decline so they are redoubling their efforts to take control of the power center - the government (the only institution we allow to legitimately gain power through violence) - in order to halt the decline.

    The tea party itself is now in decline, so the right-wingers used their access to FOX and to large sums of money to demonize the government for the economic disaster they themselves caused when Bush and the Republican right-wing were in power. But their decline is now proceeding more rapidly as the public wakes up to their true agenda. So the right wingers are now desperate to maintain what power they have in state governments and to try to gain control of the electorate.

    The current economic mess is the result of their desperation. They can't negotiate any "fair" or legitimate agreement with the Democrats because they are so far out on the limb that if they do they have lost everything.

    Boehner loses his job and the tea party loses everything if they actually resolve this crisis. Show me the elder statesmen Republicans who can step in and say "Enough!" and stop the insanity or it is my opinion that Boehner and the tea party are going to take down the economy or force Obama to take extra-Constitutional steps to protect the security of the nation.

  • Some Other Steve on July 24, 2011 4:34 PM:

    While I can to some extent empathize with the sentiment, based as it is in frustration, I cannot go along with the notion of putting Tea Partyers or any other dissenting group in jail. Whether the posters above are being serious or not, I'm not sure, but this kind of thinking is antithetical to anything that I understand about modern progressive liberalism.

    The cure for idiotic conservative speech is rational progressive speech, not tossing people in jail for having ideas different than one's own.

    Where did we hear this sort of rhetoric before recently? Post-9/11 and in the run up to the Iraq war, perhaps, when the dissenters on the Left were told to watch what they say? Does anyone remember the outrage the Left felt at being told they were disloyal? I still see bumper strips from that era saying "Dissent is Patriotic."

    While I believe that the Tea Party is prepared to drive this country off a cliff and that many are doing so for crass and, frankly, somewhat despicable purely political motives, I would oppose any move to censor them as a clear and present danger to the very principles upon which we stand as a republic and a nation.

    Creating "enemies lists" is never a good thing.

  • Rick B on July 24, 2011 5:01 PM:

    @Some Other Steve

    I will agree that creating an enemies list and using the government to go after those alleged enemies is bad news. That is simply authoritarian government no matter what ideology it supports.

    But Progressives need to recognize who their enemies are. I'll list a few right now - DeVoss, Koch brothers, Coors, Scaife, Prince, Rupert Murdoch, Norquist, any number of politicians to include Scott Walker, Rick Scot, and Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and so on. Every possible effective non-government way of stopping these people needs to be applied. These people have declared that they are our enemies and we permit them to attack us with impunity at our peril.

    It is especially important to put the ultra-conservative very wealthy families who are attacking America up in the limelight so that their actions are visible to everyone.

    This is not a Nixonian enemies list. The power of government is not being called down on them - as they do on us like when Walker threatened to call the National Guard out on pro-union protestors.

  • bob somerby on July 24, 2011 5:12 PM:

    Rewritten:

    "That’s quite an argument from an insider columnist who is careful not to name the politicians (e.g., Bachmann) who have been telling millions of voters that the debt limit doesn't matter and who then goes on to waste everyone's time with silly, feel-good, clueless BS about the need for good education."

    Kristof has very little to say. He always says it way too late, and he's verrrrry careful when he finally does.

  • bob h on July 24, 2011 5:58 PM:

    Its a pity Kristoff has been so preoccupied with rescuing foreign prostitutes that he has only come to the debt crisis at the 11th hour. We could have used his voice.

  • Varecia on July 24, 2011 6:03 PM:

    Some Other Steve on July 24, 2011 4:34 PM:

    "While I can to some extent empathize with the sentiment, based as it is in frustration, I cannot go along with the notion of putting Tea Partyers or any other dissenting group in jail. Whether the posters above are being serious or not, I'm not sure, but this kind of thinking is antithetical to anything that I understand about modern progressive liberalism.
    The cure for idiotic conservative speech is rational progressive speech, not tossing people in jail for having ideas different than one's own."

    It's not for their ideas or the free expression of their ideas. It's for deliberately engaging in a concrete strategy that they know will destabilize the economy, inflict damage to the well being and livelihoods of the American people, and thereby threatening the security of the nation. That's treason. It's a crime and they should be dealt with as any other terrorists or criminals. If you or I did something like this there'd be no mercy.

  • Varecia on July 24, 2011 6:18 PM:

    Some Other Steve: "...The cure for idiotic conservative speech is rational progressive speech,.."

    "Wouldn't it be pretty to think so."

    The trouble is that crazy fanatics don't respond well to rationality. That's probably because they're crazy fanatics.

  • cld on July 25, 2011 12:29 PM:

    I would say you don't even have to go so far as to say the debt ceiling is unconstitutional, I'd say it's simply illegal.

    If I contract with somebody to build me a house and halfway through I say, well, maybe I won't pay you, maybe I will. I'll have to think about it.

    How's that going to go over?

    (the captcha reads: society's siaunion)

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