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September 24, 2010

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I only disagree with the conclusion. Forced to choose i would pick smaller government,eliminating earmarks and the party that I can openly disagree with on these civili liberties issues.

Choosing the party that says one thing and does another provides much less ability to publicly debate the issue. When they nod and say "I agree", then do something else, I am more afraid.

Yeah, but it's not like the GOP is going to eliminate earmarks, or even implement a smaller government.

In fact, they will nod, say "I agree," then do something else.

Neither Reagan, nor Bush, nor Bush eliminated earmarks or shrunk the govt. Quite the opposite in each instance, and Bush even had both Houses to play with.

I knew you'd be the first to comment on this post, Marty. You're like my friend who's become a militant libertarian outraged and worked into a froth over HCR who spews about nullification and other such things. But, strangely, never worked up a bit of moral outrage about torture or stupid wars.

I'd also add that the GOP's actual proposals don't, actually, cut the size of government. Even Ryan's vaunted plan doesn't do that.

JustMe,

Well, I am not militant, outraged and certainly not libertarian by this blogs standards. I was responding to Conors conclusions from his criteria.

I have regularly criticized our current war, defended the decisions at the beginning of the Iraq war and criticized the way it was run, and think chasing terrorists all over the world a country at a time with billions of dollars of military force is a fools game.

I criticized the use of torture and commended Obama for making it clear we don't do that anymore, right up until I didn't believe him anymore.

HCR could have been, and could still be, done right.

And so on, so I don't sound to me like your friend.

Eric,

I am always, in the end, the most hopeful pragmatist. They get the next chance if my vote counts. Obama is the sure road, not the other way around.

I am always, in the end, the most hopeful pragmatist. They get the next chance if my vote counts. Obama is the sure road, not the other way around.

Yeah, they're counting on it Marty. Just a little wave of the arms, some platitudes, and biz as usual - only more things that go "bang" in foreign lands.

Marty, you've consistently expressed a lack of concern about torture in favor of preening about "small government" you know will never arrive. But I guess it's nice to support tax cuts on the salary you don't have.

Platitudes is what the current President does best. Arm waving?

Starting with a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, is GITMO closed?, how about Bagram?, do we have ANY plan for Afghanistan?, killing some US citizens by assassination, lets arm Yemen and outfit Saudi Arabia with the latest and greatest.

But that GOP is gonna be bad.

Someone is counting on biz as usual from some arm waving but it isn't the GOP.

"But I guess it's nice to support tax cuts on the salary you don't have."

???

Yeah, because the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich are great examples of respectful civil libertarians. I'm sure the first thing a Republican Congress would do is close down Gitmo, and Bagram, pull troops out of Afghanistan, and...

I can't even go on. As crazy and single note as their domestic plans are (tax cuts for rich people!) their foreign policy is even more so.

"is GITMO closed?"

And that's Obama's fault, not Congress'?

I'm with you on most of the others, although the crisi were indeed wasted.

???
I was under the impression that you were unemployed and your support for the GOP and lack of concern with their destructive policies was just part of your way of keeping yourself entertained and creating a "civilized, sophisticated" persona.

"although the crisi were indeed wasted."

This I also agree with.

Platitudes is what the current President does best. Arm waving?

Well, that and HCR and saving the auto industry (big win) and passing a stim to keep the economy going, and financial reform...

Starting with a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, is GITMO closed?, how about Bagram?, do we have ANY plan for Afghanistan?, killing some US citizens by assassination, lets arm Yemen and outfit Saudi Arabia with the latest and greatest.

He tried to close GITMO and Congress denied the funds.

The GOP will be worse on all of those fronts - at least, they pledge to be.

As long as Obama doesn't start any new wars, assert any Presidential privileges not already asserted by the last guy, start any new warrantless domestic spying programs, or enact any gigantically regressive tax cuts, he'll be doing fine.

HCR and economic stabilization are gravy.

There are a lot of other things I wish he was doing, or had done, but as long as he's not actively burning the country down he's doing a lot better job than anyone else promises to.

"your support for the GOP and lack of concern with their destructive policies was just part of your way of keeping yourself entertained and creating a "civilized, sophisticated" persona. "

As opposed to my less "civilized, sophisticated" persona reflected in Bruce Willis response in (fill in movie I can't remember)when called an a??hole :

And then some

Starting with a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, is GITMO closed?, how about Bagram?, do we have ANY plan for Afghanistan?, killing some US citizens by assassination, lets arm Yemen and outfit Saudi Arabia with the latest and greatest.

If that's your agenda, I don't think the R's are going to make you happy.

But it's your vote.

Here's my snapshot of the pledge.

Cut taxes.
Cut spending.
86 Obama's HCR, replace with ours.
Get tough on terrists, meskins.
Put a leash on Congress and activist judges. No, really, this time we mean it.
NO FEDERAL MONEY FOR ABORTION GODDAMNIT!

SSDD

Good luck.

Yeah, except there are no actual spending cuts.

As in, can't name one.

And their version of HCR is ridiculous: they won't allow ins companies to deny for pre-existing conditions, but won't mandate that you purchase either.

Which means everyone will wait until they actually get sick, then buy the insurance. Can you say, "Death Spiral" kids?

The pledge.

Not beloved on the right, either.

Yeah, except there are no actual spending cuts.

Heard one of the bright lights of the Pledge To America groundswell on the radio yesterday.

What actual agencies will you cut?
Well we can't talk about specific agencies, that's too broad.

What programs will you cut?
Well, there are lots of programs to cut.

Can you name one?
Well, there are lots of programs to cut.

And so on.

SSDD

They'll cut taxes, they'll run the budget into the ground, they'll let industry groups drive every regulatory decision, they'll demonize gays and poor people, they'll do their damndest to gut any and all social welfare programs, they'll have excellent lunches with their lobbyist buddies, and they'll generally f*** things up royally.

It's what they do. It's what they've done as long as I've been alive, Eisenhower excepted.

SSDD

Good luck Marty, enjoy the limited government that will exist in your head and nowhere else.

Don't mean to be picking on you specifically, you've just made yourself handy.

"Yeah, except there are no actual spending cuts."

You know, there was a point in one of the debates where this came up. McCain said he would institute spending freeze to force Congress to identify priorities.

Obama said that was the hammer approach and he would cut spending with a scalpel, ensuring the right things were cut without having to apply the hammer.

To this day I think McCain's way would have worked better.

You can keep saying this Eric but the scalpel hasn't worked.

Right, meant to link to this about Republicans unhappy with the Pledge.

Marty,

Obama has actually applied the scalpel quite well - including, especially, to Medicare of all things.

Unfortunately, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the deepest recession since the Great Depression, have necessitated spending that has overwhelmed the scalpel approach.

Regardless, neither McCain nor the GOP will ever, ever, ever institute an across the board spending freeze.

Do you even know what that would look like? Seniors without SS and Medicare checks, unemployment benefits cut, workers out of jobs, Pentagon frozen, troops without funds, etc.

It's a gimmick. Doesn't work in real world. Perfect for GOP campaigns, that's all.

they won't allow ins companies to deny for pre-existing conditions, but won't mandate that you purchase either.

Which means everyone will wait until they actually get sick, then buy the insurance. Can you say, "Death Spiral" kids?

Except even that won't happen.

The no-denial-for-pre-existing-conditions was a quid pro quo for mandatory purchase.

Not pretty, but sometimes that's how it plays out.

Take away mandatory purchase, the private insurers are going to walk away from no-pre-existing-condition guarantees.

Status quo ante, y'all.

To this day I think McCain's way would have worked better.

I hate to break it to you, but McCain's way wouldn't have worked either, because McCain's way wouldn't have happened.

Because McCain was full of sh*t. He didn't mean a word of it, it's just something he said.

Were John McCain President today, the government would be not one ounce smaller than it is right now, nor would the budget.

Among other reasons, as far as I can tell the President doesn't have the authority to institute a "spending freeze". Correct me if I'm wrong.

Call me crazy, but I just don't see John McCain as a guy who's serious about scaling back the scope or size of the federal government. None of them are. Maybe Ron Paul, other than him, on that particular topic they are a bunch of posers.

They just want to get rid of stuff they don't like.

russell: that bright light was McCarthy.

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/09/24/mccarthy-cant-cut-anything/

"Do you even know what that would look like? Seniors without SS and Medicare checks, unemployment benefits cut, workers out of jobs, Pentagon frozen, troops without funds, etc."

He didn't say a spending freeze sorry, he said a budget freeze at current levels.

Russells answer was, at least, the one I can accept from the other side as a potentially valid response:

"Because McCain was full of sh*t. He didn't mean a word of it, it's just something he said."

Could be true, this way hasn't worked.

And that's Obama's fault, not Congress'?

There's always the bully pulpit. And there's always that thing about having your party in majority in both houses just like Bush.

If Democrats can't close Gitmo with both the Oval Office and Congress in their pocket, what's it going to take?

If Democrats can't close Gitmo with both the Oval Office and Congress in their pocket, what's it going to take?

Slarti, 'in their pocket' is some rather suspect rhetoric. Even solid majorities aren't enough. Evidently Republican Democracy now requires 60 votes in the World's Worst Deliberative, and already laughably unrepresentative, Body to pass anything. What a great innovation to an already screwed up institution.

Obama and this congress have actually gotten some good stuff done. What hasn't 'worked' is some sort of instant nirvana. And let's not forget just how mindlessly obstructive this GOP caucus has been, obstructing absolutely everything Obama - and most of the country - and more than once, even they themselves, normally - would be for.

However, there's no point in pretending that the Democrats aren't hopeless at the electoral part of politics. They proved their overall political incompetence again this week - just stunningly inept. But much as I despise the dems, the GOP is so much worse. The Dems are like an old fashioned medication, which has some big side effects, and is slow and only moderately effective; the modern GOP, OTOH, is relatively efficient - but it's a disease! The choice between the two is not a happy one, but why anyone would prefer the disease, simply because it's more coherent, is beyond me.

BTW, 'earmarks' is a stupid, diversionary issue.

Slarti, 'in their pocket' is some rather suspect rhetoric.

It's just rhetorical shorthand; I know not what "rather suspect" means. As Eric implied above, the President having his own party in majority in both Houses ought to make putting forward the party agenda a cinch.

Evidently Republican Democracy now requires 60 votes in the World's Worst Deliberative

You're saying that cloture votes are failing because of unified Republican opposition on this issue?

BTW, 'earmarks' is a stupid, diversionary issue.

The word earmarks has not been used by me in quite some time. Perhaps you're confusing me with Marty.

"Maybe Ron Paul, other than him, on that particular topic they are a bunch of posers."

I think Tom Coburn is a whack job, but sincere about cutting spending as well.

Slart: "If Democrats can't close Gitmo with both the Oval Office and Congress in their pocket, what's it going to take?"

Republicans to stop demagoguing the issue, and Americans to stop being so crazy stupid.

And, seriously, saying the Senate is in the Democrats' "pocket" simply isn't accurate.

If there were 60 rock solid Democratic votes, or, better, a couple more, sure. But there aren't. So it isn't.

Specifically, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson have largely voted as if they were Republicans, and, of course, Joe Lieberman, who is indisputably not a Democrat any more.

"BTW, 'earmarks' is a stupid, diversionary issue.


The word earmarks has not been used by me in quite some time. Perhaps you're confusing me with Marty."

I did throw earmarks in because Conor did, but oddly I like earmarks, they can actually create accountability.

You know, there was a point in one of the debates where this came up. McCain said he would institute spending freeze to force Congress to identify priorities.

Well, you've already corrected this from "spending freeze" to "budget freeze," and others have addressed whether or not McCain was ever serious in the first place, but it was a double stupid idea because a) he said it in the middle of a recession, and b) government agencies have fixed costs and overheads that aren't going to go away, nor get any cheaper, just because you froze their budgets. Which means job losses, once again, in the middle of a recession.

As Eric implied above, the President having his own party in majority in both Houses ought to make putting forward the party agenda a cinch.

You may have noticed that the Democrats are not quite the tyrants about party discipline that Republicans are (make of that what you will in terms of the underlying politics). Therefore, while all the Republicans will nearly always vote together, a handful of Democrats can be counted to support the Republican agenda more than the Democratic one.

Or, maybe you haven't. I don't know what papers you read.

Specifically, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson have largely voted as if they were Republicans, and, of course, Joe Lieberman, who is indisputably not a Democrat any more.

I've seen a lot more no votes on the Gitmo closure than just Lincoln, Nelson and Lieberman. Opposition seems almost broad, at times. Unless I'm completely misinterpreting the roll call votes or the bills & amendments they apply to. Which is always a possibility.

I just went to Thomas and did a search on "Guantanamo", and looked at all the bills and amendments dealing with base closure and relocation. From what I can see, Democrats aren't nearly uniformly in favor of closure, nor are Republicans reliably oppositional.

But all I saw was Senate action.

Or, maybe you haven't.

I am aware that the Democrats belong to no organized political party, Phil. Believe me now or believe me later.

"We can’t afford a nation less solicitous of civil liberties than is already the case."

That war is over and your side has lost. Concerns about civil liberties are so September 10.

"I've seen a lot more no votes on the Gitmo closure than just Lincoln, Nelson and Lieberman. Opposition seems almost broad, at times."

Yes. Thus there is no Democratic Commander who can order Democrats to vote one way and who keeps the Senate and Congress in a pocket.

And as I responded earlier to your question as to what it would take: "Republicans to stop demagoguing the issue, and Americans to stop being so crazy stupid."

I'd condemn the Democrats for being cowardly, but the fact is that they're accurately responding to the fears of the populace, which are being whipped up largely by the largely, at least, by Republicans;s if there are Democrats you spot demagoguing the Guantanamo issue, I will thoroughly condemn them, as well.

I think Tom Coburn is a whack job, but sincere about cutting spending as well.

I stand corrected.

I too mentioned earmarks because Connor did. He is generally an intelligent Tory, but now and then he's just a Tory (in my judgmental opinion).

Oh yes, slarti, 'in their pocket' is shorthand for 'majorities'. sure..


"As long as Obama doesn't start any new wars, assert any Presidential privileges not already asserted by the last guy ... he'll be doing fine."

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/04/07/assassinations

The Obama administration asserts a right to assassinate U.S. citizens, which is not something the Bush administration did (based on what I've read).

If conservatives are worried about their "liberty" being taken away (and they only seem to see that in the context of having to pay their taxes), they should be up in arms about this:

http://www.startribune.com/local/103716104.html?elr=KArksUUUycaEacyU

When the FBI starts raiding the homes of anti-war protestors, it's time to grab the pitchforks and torches and march on Washington!!!

He didn't say a spending freeze sorry, he said a budget freeze at current levels.

Same result. That doesn't change my response on how impractical it is, and what the real-world consequences would be.

It's a gimmick, pure and simple.

As Eric implied above, the President having his own party in majority in both Houses ought to make putting forward the party agenda a cinch.

Well, it was certainly easier for Bush before the GOP decided to filibuster EVERYTHING. An unprecedented level of filibustering.

A huge spike from the moment they lost the Senate.

So, yeah, because the Dems were playing by the unwritten rule of comity during the 2000s, Bush was able to get more done.

And, certainly, if he wanted to cut some spending he could have tried.

Instead, his Medicare bill had provisions to increase spending by preventing the govt to negotiate down drug costs (that, on top of the fact that it was completely unfunded by anything, unlike Obama's HCR which makes a good faith effort to remain revenue neutral if not positive).

Brilliant! Fiscal discipline! Bah.

If conservatives are worried about their "liberty" being taken away (and they only seem to see that in the context of having to pay their taxes)

My observation, perhaps faulty, is that conservatives view everything through the filter of property rights.

Doing so seems myopic to me, but then again I'm not a conservative. Not a political one, anyway.

The Obama administration asserts a right to assassinate U.S. citizens, which is not something the Bush administration did (based on what I've read).

Not only this, but maintaining the Bush standard on claims of executive power does not mean Obama is doing fine. In fact, it means he's doing horribly.

Bruce Willis response in (fill in movie I can't remember)

The Last Boy Scout. Excellent movie.

It's hard out there for an actual small government conservative these days.

It's also hard out there these days for unicorns, god, and New York Mets fans. While it's not proven with mathematical certainty that none of the above exist, they're all more likely to exist than is an actual small government conservative.

The notion that we can have the kind of governance you would find in a community of 30,000 be a suitable model for a nation of 300-odd million people is a mysterious one to begin with.

It is impossible for America to have small government, especially with the Republicans at the helm, ever, because we're too big for it. The military-industrial-COIN-torture regime the right loves is a key component of their mechanism of government, not just incidental to it. You're not going to have any kind of small government so long as that baggage comes with having the GOP in charge.

When it comes to social and economic policy, the crisis in a number of our programs is tied directly to the crisis of the market mechanisms we've rested them on. The inability to get a health care system worthy of the name is a star example of this - we're unwilling to face facts that the market is not where the seat of such policy should be, and our inability to face this is because we're still clinging to an ideology that the market is the only panacea we need.

The GOP is the worst for this, but the Dems are equally as guilty for not having the balls to say it out loud and do something about it. And thanks to the fact that we've had a generation of politicians who don't believe in government yet have made handsome careers out of it, we're not going to have a more robust conception of government that, for all we know, might prove to be more cost-effective overall than what we're believing.

Jeez. "We could use a man like Herbert Hoover again." I guess Archie and Edith's sigh was more prescient than what anybody thought, because that's what you're going to get with the GOP back in charge.

I like Connor, and I largely agree with him here. Sadly, Obama's been pretty much awful on civil liberties issues as well. Greenwald's been all over this. He's backed up nearly everything Bush did and then taken things up a notch by asserting the right to assassinate US citizens. Nice.

So what do you do? Obama remains the LOTE, it seems. Ron Paul (who I vehemently disagree with on a number of issues but I kinda love on the WoT/foreign policy in general and the WoD, and who I can at least respect for being consistent) is a Republican. There's the libertarian party & the greens. I've voted for each of those already (1996, 2000) with predictable results (nothing).

Bah.

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