Monday, August 26, 2013

The Republi-CON 'I Was For Government Spending Cuts Before I was Against Them' Con

UPDATE VI:  "At some point, even John Boehner and other GOP leaders know they’re going to have to level with their base on Obamacare (it will not get defunded) and the debt ceiling (it will get raised) and government appropriations (it will get funded) — so when will they be brave enough to have that hard talk?"

Read the Washington Post, The Tea Party tiger has no teeth.  

UPDATE V:  In 2010, "the government spent a whopping $3.457 trillion."

So after "a tea party uprising, a Republican takeover in the House and then a series of ulcer-causing showdowns in Congress" how much does the government spend?

$3.455 trillion.

Read the Washington Post, After six budget showdowns, big government is mostly unchanged.  

UPDATE IV:  Will the Republi-cons vote for a "costly and self-destructive government shutdown" or is it just part of the "insane . . . internal dynamics of House Republicans. . . [with] reckless, ridiculous promises they’ll never be able to deliver on. . . bedtime stor[ies]. A way for House Republicans to feel like they’re doing something at a time when there’s really nothing they can do."

Read the Washington Post,  A terrifying look into John Boehner’s awful job

UPDATE III:  "The sad truth is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing.. .

How did the G.O.P. get to this point? On budget issues, the proximate source of the party’s troubles lies in the decision to turn the formulation of fiscal policy over to a con man. Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has always been a magic-asterisk kind of guy — someone who makes big claims about having a plan to slash deficits but refuses to spell out any of the all-important details. Back in 2011 the Congressional Budget Office, in evaluating one of Mr. Ryan’s plans, came close to open sarcasm; it described the extreme spending cuts Mr. Ryan was assuming, then remarked, tersely, “No proposals were specified that would generate that path.”

What’s happening now is that the G.O.P. is trying to convert Mr. Ryan’s big talk into actual legislation — and is finding, unsurprisingly, that it can’t be done. Yet Republicans aren’t willing to face up to that reality. Instead, they’re just running away.

When it comes to fiscal policy, then, Republicans have fallen victim to their own con game. And I would argue that something similar explains how the party lost its way, not just on fiscal policy, but on everything.

Think of it this way: For a long time the Republican establishment got its way by playing a con game with the party’s base. Voters would be mobilized as soldiers in an ideological crusade, fired up by warnings that liberals were going to turn the country over to gay married terrorists, not to mention taking your hard-earned dollars and giving them to Those People. Then, once the election was over, the establishment would get on with its real priorities — deregulation and lower taxes on the wealthy.

At this point, however, the establishment has lost control. Meanwhile, base voters actually believe the stories they were told — for example, that the government is spending vast sums on things that are a complete waste or at any rate don’t do anything for people like them. (Don’t let the government get its hands on Medicare!) And the party establishment can’t get the base to accept fiscal or political reality without, in effect, admitting to those base voters that they were lied to."

Read The New York Times, Republicans Against Reality.  

UPDATE II:  "The key budget story since January has been the Republican Party’s rediscovery of the fact that sequestration is bad policy — and thus bad politics — for them.

Ryan’s budget tried to get around sequestration by restoring some of the money to defense and taking a corresponding amount from domestic programs. The failure of the THUD bill came because even Republicans can’t stomach cutting that deeply into domestic programs. And THUD isn’t even where they need to make the toughest cuts: That designation goes to labor, health and human services — and that bill, which was supposed to be unveiled last week, has been pulled from the schedule.

And all this is coming in the early days of the sequester. This is the low-hanging fruit, such as any exists. It will only be worse next year. And the year after that. And the year after that."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans need a budget deal. They need a budget deal bad.

UPDATE:  Three Pinocchios for Republi-con claims regarding furloughs of air traffic controllers. 

Read the Washington Post, Sequester politics: Claims about the FAA furloughs

"The Republican strategy on sequestration has been clear for months now: sequestration is terrific because spending cuts are good…and every specific program cut by sequestration is a terrible injustice that Barack Obama should have avoided. . .

The truth is that sequestration cuts — which are significant enough already — already represent significantly lower levels of cutting spending than what House Republicans wanted. Some Tea Partiers in the House voted against them because they were not severe enough. And don’t forget: the budgets that Republicans have been voting for, year after year, promise to entirely wipe out non-defense discretionary spending over the long term. All of it. . .

The real story here is simple: if you want massive spending cuts, that means massive cuts to government programs that people like. And one political party has been advocating those cuts, and even risking default of the government in order to get them. No matter what Republicans say now about the effects of those cuts."

Read the Washington Post, Yup: Cutting spending means … you have to cut spending.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

When Insults Had Class

From an email:

These glorious insults are from an era before the English language became boiled down to four-letter words.

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."  "That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." -William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one." -George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx