This isn’t 1995 and the GOP isn’t insane

Steve Benen:

House GOP Suicide Squad gets bigger

By late yesterday, the political world seemed to be feeling optimistic about the debt ceiling again. The Gang of Six had made a lot of senators happy; President Obama seemed upbeat causing a sudden spike on Wall Street; and the House was wrapping up work on a pointless vanity project, clearing the way for real work. Maybe, folks thought, we’ll avoid that catastrophe after all.

This afternoon, that optimism is evaporating again.

On Monday, Rep. Joe Walsh, a radical GOP freshman, began circulating a letter among his House Republican colleagues drawing a line in the sand: they won’t accept the McConnell/Reid plan. Period. Full stop.


Let’s do a little arithmetic. It will take 217 votes to pass a bill in the House right now (it would ordinarily be 218, but there are a couple of vacancies). There are 240 House Republicans. If 80 GOPers refuse to even consider the McConnell/Reid compromise, Plan B would need 57 House Democrats. That’s a pretty large number for a center-right agreement that includes zero new revenue.

If Walsh succeeds and the Suicide Squad reaches the 100-signature goal, Plan B would need 77 House Democratic votes for a bill Dems really aren’t going to like.

What about the Gang of Six plan? Even if it could be crafted and passed in the Senate quickly — I suspect that’s literally not possible — a growing number of House Republican leaders are concluding it’s just not right-wing enough to pass the lower chamber.

So, where does that leave us? The House won’t pass a clean bill; it won’t pass a Grand Bargain; it won’t pass the Gang of Six proposal; and at least 80 House Republicans are prepared to try to kill the Plan B compromise.

And the clock runs out in just 13 days.

Maybe someone can talk some sense into the Suicide Squad. Maybe there will be a temporary extension (there are some whispers to that effect coming out of the White House today). Maybe President Obama will give that “Constitutional Option” a second look after all.

But at this point, if you’re not nervous, you’re not paying attention.

Sorry Steve, but I’ve been paying attention and I’m not nervous. The sky isn’t falling and the world isn’t going to end.

What we’re seeing right now is kabuki poker. Barack Obama had this silly idea that he could maneuver the GOP into shutting down government the way Newt Gingrinch did in 1995 – which helped spark Bill Clinton’s resurgence.

But these GOPers aren’t bitten by the hubris bug, and Obama ain’t the Big Dawg. Them Republicans are some pretty smart fellas, despite what the media keeps trying to tell us. They got their game on and they’re playing to win – but “winning” for them does not include destroying our country. (They gotta live here too.)

Let me be clear – I don’t agree with the goals of the Republicans. But then I don’t agree with Dick and the Dickocrats either.

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76 Responses to This isn’t 1995 and the GOP isn’t insane

  1. myiq2xu says:


    President calls debt crisis ‘self-created’

    As President Barack Obama sat down with television stations from three key political states, he said he is still hopeful the White House and congressional leadership will come to an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling but said politics is interfering.

    “This is actually a self-created crisis in some ways. It has to do with folks who are digging into set positions rather than saying how do we solve a problem,” the president told KMBC, a CNN affiliate in Kansas City, Missouri.

    When asked if people can expect their Social Security checks in August, he told the station it is not guaranteed.

    “I am going to do everything in my power to make sure they do. My interest here is not scaring people. I want everyone to understand the consequences. If you don’t have money you have to make very difficult choices. The fact of the matter is if you don’t raise the debt ceiling then we have more obligations – 70 million checks have to be sent out – and all of those have to be covered.”

    Saying “there is no reason this should be a problem,” Obama urged all the parties again to take “a sensible approach” to the issue, emphasizing a solution should also include major deficit reduction that has both spending cuts and brings in more revenue.

    If it’s such an important thing, why won’t he agree to a temporary raise in the debt ceiling? If he’s not trying to scare anyone, why is he trying to scare everyone?

    Fucking dick.

    • myiq2xu says:

      “I am going to do everything in my power to make sure they do.”

      Are you gonna cancel your vacation?

    • 1539days says:

      We’ve been without a debt ceiling for months now. The first thing the White House did after the vote failed was to bring out Timmy and say “nah nah nah, I can cook the books and keep us from default for weeks.” Basically, he got an extension. And like the unmotivated, entitled student that he is, Dick didn’t use that time to finish his paper. He waited for the last second and tried to get Congress to write it for him. I can’t wait to see what happens when he gets an F on his birthday.

    • angienc says:

      Self-centered? Self-created? Project much, Barry?

      You know, certain people are vampires who can’t see their own reflections– they sit around talking smack about everyone else without realizing they are describing themselves to a “T.” Barry is one of those people.

      • Mary says:

        Self-created? SNORT

        Had the Dick come off the campaign trail (months—$86 million) and begun to do HIS job in making this happen, the country may not have had its back against the wall now. Dick Durbin is on record saying, “Until the president tells us what he wants, we can’t do anything.”

        But then again—this is what he wants, so he can play tough, and so major legislation will be rushed through without time for the people to know what’s in it.

        There’s a pattern here, folks.

  2. 1539days says:

    Can I post a link to my blog post about the debt ceiling?

  3. yttik says:

    The GOP has always been smart, haven’t they? Clinton is unbelievably smart and that’s why he was able to maneuver around them, but he still almost got himself impeached in the process.

    I think Bush gave us the phony idea that the GOP is stupid. I used to try to tell people, he can’t be that stupid, he “tricked” Democrats into voting for all sorts of things “against their will.”

    • 1539days says:

      The biggest loser in the government shutdown was Newt. The Republicans, however, did fine. After Clinton won the showdown, he signed a Welfare reform plan, cut the federal budget and lowered capital gains taxes from 28% to 20%. And the Republicans kept Congress from 1995-2007.

  4. Dario says:

    Congress might not increase the debt ceiling before August 2. The government will pay the most important bills, including the interest to the bondholders. There won’t be a catastrophe.

    • 1539days says:

      The rating agencies have threatened to lower our credit rating if we fail to pay anyone, even our own contractors. Personally, I don’t care. If the interest of Treasuries goes to 7% it might actually be worth it for Americans to buy bonds.

      • WMCB says:

        Yeah, they have also threatened to lower our rating regardless, even if we DO raise the debt ceiling….. because of our debt.

        I think they are full of crap anyway – please remember that these were the same ratings agencies who told us all those mortgage derivatives and credit default swaps were sound as a rock, and our banks weren’t over-leveraged at all.

        I have no confidence anymore in “the smartest people in the room”. I’m leaning toward informed common sense these days.

      • Dario says:

        I will strengthen savings, help the dollar against the Euro, and make it a good currency for bondholders. A stronger dollar will lower the cost of oil, which is good for the whole economy. Normally the bad part is that a higher interest rate is a negative for the economy in that most capital investments, e.g. plants and new businesses, must have a greater return than U.S. Treasuries. The higher the U.S. Treasury interest, the lower the investments will be. But right now we have almost zero interest, and because we have excess capacity, there’s non investment. I say it’s a wash.

        • Dario says:

          It will strengthen savings, help…

        • Three Wickets says:

          Stronger dollar also makes our debt more expensive, exports more expensive, imports less expensive…great conditions for accumulating more debt.

          Borrowing rates and inflation have remained at record lows despite our debt levels because the economy can’t get off the ground. Severely cutting into deficits in the near term will probably end up cutting into consumption and demand mostly. Compared to the Reagan years, interest rates, inflation rates, tax rates, are all very low. We should be focused on growth investments, jobs, and writing down bad mortgage debt, and in the longer run bending the curve on entitlements. But right now our public debt ‘crisis’ is not what is keeping the economy down, but Simpson-Bowles and everyone else has convinced the country that it is. This is an establishment, creative-class, supply-side view, imo.

        • 1539days says:

          The problem with that idea is that people who were not supply-siders were in charge for two years. This Congress spent $3 trillion and raised the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion. The unemployment rate is 2% higher than it was at any time under Bush.

          At this point, interest rates can;t go any lower and businesses still don’t invest. The only thing we can do is raise interest rates and threaten to raise them higher. Basically, put a cost on delayed investment. If companies know that they only have a few months to borrow before the rates go up, they may start borrowing now to get ahead of the train.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          HONK again Days! You are on a roll!

    • Darn tootin’. What they won’t have money for is more war, which they obviously want. Want more war, that is.

  5. They got their game on and they’re playing to win – but “winning” for them does not include destroying our country.

    So poker chicken game? If they are going to get blamed for any shutdown, then how do they win?

    • myiq2xu says:

      You really think there will be a shutdown?

      • Dario says:

        I think it’s possible there will be a partial government shutdown because Obama is incompetent.

      • yttik says:

        I was trying to remember the horror of the shutdown back when Clinton was president. LOL, all I can remember is all that peace and prosperity and actually being able to pay my bills. Perhaps shutting down the Gov is good for the economy?

        • myiq2xu says:

          Newt thought the Big Dawg would cave in. But unlike Dick, Bill has a spine.

        • DandyTiger says:

          Dick was born pre-caved in.

          • myiq2xu says:

            If this whole mess goes nuclear it’s because the people Dick works for want it to go nuclear – in which case there ain’t no stopping it anyway, no matter what the GOPers do.

        • Dario says:

          Unless your livelihood is dependent on the federal government, you wouldn’t notice it. State governments, all of them, depend on money from the federal government to run many agencies. They will feel it and may have to borrow or stop services. Companies that have contracts, such as with the Pentagon, highway repairs and all sort of contracts will feel it.

        • myiq2xu says:

          That assumes that refusing to raise the debt ceiling will shut down the government – that is not what is happening here.

          In 1995 the GOPers refused to pass a budget.

        • WMCB says:

          Well, the Dems have neglected to pass a budget for over 2 years now, and no one seems to care.

          This is what pisses me off here, because even though there is a lot I do not like about the republican debt ceiling plans or Ryan’s budget, they at least did their fucking jobs. They put it in writing and voted on it. They may be wrong on some stuff, but they are not hiding in the weeds acting above it all.

          The Dems are. They and Obama have completely abdicated all fiscal responsibility for 2 fucking years, but still get the media to pass them off as “responsible adults”.

          I have great admiration for those TeaParty house members, though I disagree with them on so much. You know why? Because they are attempting to do a rare thing in DC. They are attempting to do precisely what their constituents sent them there to do. That’s called representative government, and I am all for it, and I frankly admire it, even if I’m not crazy about all the outcomes.

        • 1539days says:

          The Tea party is the scariest group in Washington because the only power they want is the ability to vote in Congress. They could care less about pork for the next election. These people don’t like DC, they don’t want to stay there and if they lose an election, they go right back to their old job.

          Kind of the way the Founding Fathers envisioned it.

        • Dario says:

          Well, the Dems have neglected to pass a budget for over 2 years now, and no one seems to care.

          The statement is not true. The Democrats continued the previous budget, without changes, but only for a few months, and then for another few months. If there was no budget, the government would have come to a complete stop, like when Newt refused to pass a budget.
          There are differences between not passing a budget and not increasing the debt limit. No budget means no appropriation. Bill Clinton could pay SS because those payments are not from an appropriation, but benefits from a fund.
          Not increasing the debt limit, is like maxing out the credit card. The government can make payments but only with the money it has available. Even though congress has appropriated money to spend on fancy weapons, the government cannot pay for them because it needs credit. See the difference? The budget gives the okay to spend money. Increasing the credit limit is about paying the bills with borrowed money.

      • “You really think there will be a shutdown?”

        Not so’s we’d notice it. The GOP would get blamed for sure, and Obama would get blamed by some people. GAme of chicken.

        So what would the GOP win?

        • myiq2xu says:

          They really want to cut the federal budget AND taxes.

          I don’t agree with them but they have goals and they’re trying hard to reach them.

          That’s democracy.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          I’m certainly behind the idea of living within our means.

        • djmm says:

          The GOP could “win” a depression like the 1930’s. Then they can argue that we cannot increase government spending, because Obama “proved” it would not work. They will use the ensuing ugliness and desperation to achieve more “gains” — more concessions from ordinary Americans in a worldwide race to the bottom. Some Americans profited greatly during the Depression, mostly (so I understand) by buying, at low prices, stock which paid dividends.

          Remember, during the Depression, many Americans still lived on farms and could (dust bowl permitting) grow their own food. We don’t have that now (though there is an urban farming movement which might be helpful).

          As myiq says, that’s democracy. No one ever said it was perfect.


      • Lola-at-Large says:

        Not a chance. You were right with the kabuki theater comment. Now, if you put some outliers in the room, things could change. But right now they are dancing their way to our doom. And I mean all of the people in the room, regardless of party.

  6. myiq2xu says:

    Also – keep in mind that anything they pass is changeable – and will certainly be changed.

    Congress can always pass new tax/spending increases or decreases.

    These 10 year plans are bullshit.

  7. myiq2xu says:

    Lucienne’s kid:

    In 1994, the Republicans took back the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The significance of that victory is hard for some younger people to appreciate, because we now seem to go through political leaders the way Lady Gaga goes through wardrobe changes. In the old days, it was a given that the House was the Democratic Party’s fiefdom, which is why the Gingrich Revolution was such a tectonic shock. By the spring of 1995, Americans were talking as if we had suddenly adopted a parliamentary system with House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the prime minister. Really.

    President Bill Clinton was asked if he were even relevant anymore. He responded: “The Constitution gives me relevance.” Critics guffawed. Didn’t the president bring anything else to the table, other than the job description?

    But Clinton was right. The presidency matters, period. Soon, Clinton had more going for him. The news conference after the Oklahoma City bombing gave him an opening, and the rebounding economy gave him a wind at his back.

    I disagree with that last part somewhat – Newt’s hubristic overreach had a lot to do with it. Public opinion went with the Big Dawg because they didn’t like what they were seeing from the GOPers.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      Newt was all spittle to Dole’s impotence. That’s what doomed them. Obama is playing Newt in the current movie, ftr.

  8. Lola-at-Large says:

    Myiq, you posted the opening quote from this article in comments on the last thread:

    Have you read it all? Because it the best thing I’ve seen in months on what is going on with Obama and the economy. It bears repeating my comments from that thread:

    I’ve read over half of this link (it’s waaaaay long) and if you read one thing this year, read the whole blog post linked at Cannonfire. It’s true. The best way to stop warmongering is to refuse to raise the debt ceiling and Michele Bachmann is to the left of Obama economically. This is exactly what I’m seeing and didn’t have the words to articulate. Please, I beg all of you to go read it. I’m going to finish it tomorrow.

    • angienc says:

      Great article. He is so on point with the “financial warfare” going on in Greece being waged by the rest of the EU. I wish to God Greece would just go bankrupt, tell the rest of the EU to go fuck itself & go back to the Drachma. The Greek people will suffer for a long while, but they’ll come out of it owning their country & be better off in the long-term. (I’m not excusing the corrupt Greek politicians starting with Andreas Papandreou, father of the current PM George Papandreou* & all other PMs in between, but the rest of the EU was aware of the financial circumstances in Greece when the EU started & how the transfer to the Euro from the Drachma was simply unsustainable for Greece without taking on crippling debt). If Greece keeps going this way they will be owned lock, stock & barrel by the rest of the EU & just be servants when the German tourist/owners come down for holiday, playing bouzouki & breaking plates like dancing monkeys. I actually think this was the *real* plan by Germany when they started this EU bullshit. They’ve been trying to conquer all of the Continent since the days of the Hun & now they are going to do it without shedding any blood.

      *When taking the latest $$ that asshat George Papandreou actually said that the “financial system is more important than the will of the people.” On one hand, at least there is one politician in the world who admits it; OTOH, WTF?

  9. ralphb says:

    IBD Steve Wynn not alone among CEOs

    Wynn’s words resonate because America’s weak economic growth and high unemployment can be laid in large part to the inexperience of this president and his just-as-callow advisers.

    In such a climate, it’s no surprise that executive outbursts are erupting like lava from scorched earth. Wynn’s remarks echo those on a lengthening list of CEOs including:

    • 3M’s George Buckley, who blasted Obama last February as anti-business. “We know what his instincts are,” Buckley said. “We’ve got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada or Mexico — which tends to be more pro-business — and America,” he told the Financial Times.

    • Boeing’s Jim McNerney, who in the Wall Street Journal last May called Obama’s handpicked National Labor Relations Board’s suit against his company a “fundamental assault on the capitalist principles that have sustained America’s competitiveness since it became the world’s largest economy nearly 140 years ago.”

    • Intel’s Paul Otellini, who told CNET last August that the U.S. legal environment has become so hostile to business that there is likely to be “an inevitable erosion and shift of wealth, much like we’re seeing today in Europe — this is the bitter truth.”

    Usually these guys don’t go public like this.

    • yttik says:

      It’s true. As a business owner, you don’t know whether to be afraid of the government shutting down or staying open.

      In my area, they’re trying to increase vendor permits from 130 dollars to 2300. What that means is that somebody selling 1000 dollars worth of tacos at a street fair is simply out of business. The city said, “well everybody has to pay their fair share” and this poor guy stood up and said, “what do I do when my fair share seems to exceed my income?”

    • Dario says:

      I dislike Obama as much as IBD, but I know IBD is not a publication that’s honest and balanced. Businesses dislike all regulations. I’m surprised those CEOs didn’t say China or India. Regulations are needed because without them, businesses will destroy everything that we need to survive. Most regulations are the result of businesses not doing the right thing. For example, people died because of the unsafe conditions at work. In China that’s what is happening. That why OSHA came to be. I’m not saying that there are many regulations that are excess and unnecessary, but for the most part, regulations are the direct result of businesses taking advantage that there was no regulation, the bank crisis is a perfect example.

  10. myiq2xu says:

    Legal Insurrection:

    Obama previously had vowed “I will not sign a 30 day, or 60 day, or 90 day extension.”

    And I believe he will hold to his word, because he does not want a “read my lips” moment.

    So expect a 45- day or 75-day extension.

    Professor Jacobson knows Dick

  11. Pips says:

    Test your knowledge.
    How much do you know about the State of the News Media?

    Quiz via

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