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Biden: Tea Party ‘Terrorists’

Vice President Biden has called Congressional Republicans and their Tea Party backers “terrorists.”

Politico (“Biden: Tea partiers like ‘terrorists’“):

Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit.

Biden was agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

Biden, driven by his Democratic allies’ misgivings about the debt-limit deal, responded: “They have acted like terrorists,” according to several sources in the room.

Biden’s office declined to comment about what the vice president said inside the closed-door session.

Earlier in the day, Biden told Senate Democrats that Republican leaders have “guns to their heads” in trying to negotiate deals.

The vice president’s hot rhetoric about tea party Republicans underscored the tense moment on Capitol Hill as four party leaders in both chambers work to round up the needed votes in an abbreviated time frame. The bill would raise the debt limit by as much as $2.4 trillion through the end of next year and reduce the deficit by an equal amount over the next decade.

Democrats had no shortage of colorful phrases in wake of the deal.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) called it a “Satan sandwich,” and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) called seemed to enjoy the heat analogy, saying: “the Tea Partiers and the GOP have made their slash and burn lunacy clear, and while I do not love this compromise, my vote is a hose to stop the burning. The arsonists must be stopped.

While Biden is substantially to my left on a host of issues, I generally like his cantankerous, shoot-from-the-hip style. I’d rather my leaders say what they mean than constantly use mealy-mouthed, focus-grouped language.

Further, while I more-or-less like the results of the Republican hard line on the debt ceiling, I share Biden’s frustration with the illegitimacy of the tactic.

But this language is as outrageous as it is absurd. The Tea Party isn’t murdering innocent civilians; they’re using the tools available to them in our system of government. They’re not terrorists. Nor are they arsonists or kidnappers. They’re elected representatives of the people of their states and districts.

While Obama and Biden were elected in 2008 and have a right to wield the enormous powers of the Executive Branch, Boehner and the Republicans won a landslide victory in 2010 with a mandate to cut spending, reduce the deficit, and oppose the Obama agenda. Similarly, the Senate Republicans closed the margin considerably in that cycle and are using the powers afforded the minority to obstruct to great advantage.

We at OTB have bitterly opposed the tactic of holding up a vote on the debt ceiling, which we agree has historically been a housekeeping matter, in order to get a second bite at the budget apple. It’s unprecedented and economically dangerous. But it’s not criminal. And we have another election cycle in a few short months to let the people decide whether the Republicans’ tactics will be rewarded or punished.

UPDATE: Biden has denied that he used the word “terrorists” and the White House has issued a condemnation of the use of that word.

Jake Tapper (“White House Calls Use of the Word ‘Terrorists’ to Describe Tea Partyers ‘Inappropriate’ and ‘the Product of An Emotional Discussion’“):

Given the presence of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., at Congress last night – and President Obama’s January 12 speech to the nation about the need for “more civility in our public discourse” – the White House has faced questions in the last day about Vice President Biden’s possible behind-closed-doors use of the word “terrorists” to describe Tea Partyers.

As we covered yesterday, meeting with anxious House Democrats yesterday, the Vice President heard from Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., who said “the Tea Party acted like terrorists in threatening to blow up the economy.” Doyle used the term several times. What happened next is in dispute. Several sources told Politico that the Vice President responded by saying, “they have acted like terrorists.” Other sources told ABC News that the vice president said something along the lines of “if they have acted like terrorists, we’re taking the nuclear weapon away from them.”

The Vice President told CBS News’ Scott Pelley, “I did not use the terrorism word…What happened was there were some people who said they felt like they were being held hostage by terrorists. I never said that they were terrorists or weren’t terrorists, I just let them vent. I said, ‘Even if that were the case, what’s been happening when you now have taken and paid the debt and move that down so we can now discuss, the nuclear weapon’s been taken out of anyone’s hands.’”

One reporter today asked White House press secretary Jay Carney about reports that the Veep had used the term, wondering if “the president thinks that’s appropriate discourse?” “No, he doesn’t, and neither does the vice president,” Carney said. “And I think the vice president spoke to this and made clear that he didn’t say those words, and I think the congressman in question has said that he regrets using them.” Carney said the use of the word “was a product of an emotional discussion, very passionately held positions in this debate, but that does not mean that it’s appropriate.  And it’s not.  The vice president doesn’t think so; the president doesn’t think so.  Any kind of comments like that are simply not conducive to the kind of political discourse that we hope to have.”

Whether Biden got caught up in the spirit of the venting and used the word “terrorist” or not, the administration’s considered position is correct. People say stupid things when they are angry, especially when in like company. But the top leadership needs to push back against dangerous rhetoric that marginalizes and delegitimizes the opposition party.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Loviatar says:

    But this language is as outrageous as it is absurd. The Tea Party isn’t murdering innocent civilians; they’re using the tools available to them in our system of government. They’re not terrorists. Nor are they arsonists or kidnappers. They’re elected representatives of the people of their states and districts.

    said by someone with a job

    said by someone with health insurance

    said by someone who didn’t have their retirement nest egg devastated by the financial industry

    said by someone who doesn’t live in a district with fracking or mountaintop removal
    .

    I could go on, but I just wanted you to know this is life and death to some of us Outside The Beltway

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 19

  2. This type of rhetoric is unhelpful. You’d think people would know better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

  3. Jay Tea says:

    Let’s just sum it up:

    Islamists who kill our troops and slaughter civilians aren’t “terrorists.”

    Americans who hold differing political views and use the existing political system to express those beliefs are “terrorists.”

    The Kossification of the Democratic party is complete.

    Go ahead, left. Declare war on the right. Declare them enemies of America.

    But be prepared if some actually take your threats seriously.

    J.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 31

  4. Jay Tea says:

    Whoops… Biden’s office is now denying he said it.

    I’d say it’s 50-50 whether or not he really did.

    But 100% on Loviatar being gravely disappointed.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  5. jan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Thank you Steven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  6. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Oh, goodie, Jay gets to pity himself some more. It is a fine day for him.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 9

  7. ponce says:

    “But this language is as outrageous as it is absurd. ”

    Haha, and when the Teatards call Obama a socialist dictaor who is out to destroy America?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 11

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Not surprising. Biden never was the sharpest tool in the shed and that was before he suffered brain damage via aneurysm. Now there’s also the senility factor in play. He’s like that crazy Democrat uncle in the attic. But with actual polical power, which admittedly is downright scary.

    In any event, since Biden is a Democrat and his targets were Republicans obviously the mass media won’t be in high dudgeon mode; accordingly this sordid episode quickly will be forgotten out there in Zombieland, to the extent it even was known in the first instance. Rinse-repeat.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 16

  9. DavidL says:

    When it comes to the terrorists who actually kill people, the Obami are allegeric to the word terror, and try to hide behind euphanisms like manmade disaster. Yet while the Obami are loath to condemn the enemies of our country, they quick to condemn their political opponents. Go figure. It is almost as if the Obami are incapble of seeing beyond the next election.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 20

  10. Ian says:

    If threatening to destroy the world economy if you don’t get your preferred policy outcome isn’t terrorism, then the word has no meaning. Keep in mind that lives around the globe would have been destroyed if the US had defaulted.

    Oh, and the side that screamed “TREASON!!” for eight years really doesn’t have grounds to take offence.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 13

  11. PD Shaw says:

    I wish the Democratic Party was more attune to what concerns Americans and concerned about trends which are making government too expensive in this country. Americans are concerned about the deficits, and about how it will effect the next generation. Democratic Pollster They do trust Democrats in theory to do a better job of this, but are skeptical in practice. From link:

    The deficit matters to people and has real meaning and consequences. A government that spends and borrows without the kind of limits that would govern an ordinary family is going to have big troubles. Voters I’ve studied say things like, if “we keep spending like this, we’re going to be bankrupt and there won’t be anything for anybody,” especially “our children.” The final straw is the government’s decision to continue spending and to put the country deeper into debt and more dependent on China.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  12. Jay Tea says:

    @Ian: If threatening to destroy the world economy if you don’t get your preferred policy outcome isn’t terrorism, then the word has no meaning.

    That’s a fair description of what the Democrats have been doing from 2007-2011. Obama also did yeoman work on wrecking hefty swaths of American industry. And I don’t use language like that against my fellow Americans — until they actually commit terrorism.

    But hey, you wanna talk war… don’t start whining when people decide to take you at your word.

    J.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 21

  13. Jay Tea says:

    I think I’ll just hush up a bit and see what the usual crowd of clowns have to say…

    J.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 14

  14. Argon says:

    @DavidL:

    When it comes to the terrorists who actually kill people, the Obami are allegeric to the word terror, and try to hide behind euphanisms like manmade disaster.

    Allergy? Sure. That’s why Obama didn’t escalate the war in Afghanistan, didn’t authorise drone strikes in Pakistan, didn’t send the Navy Seals to kill Bin Laden and isn’t doing anything in Yemen. Meanwhile, he’s shipped off CIA interrogators and former Bush officials to the Hague for war crime prosecutions related to torture of prisoners, vetoed the Patriot Act, and released all the Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Somalia.

    Sheesh… I suppose these ‘weak on national security’ and ‘fiscally irresponsible’ memes about the Democrats are going never going to die because there will always be a reservoir of reality-insensate brains to infest.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

  15. ponce says:

    Obama also did yeoman work on wrecking hefty swaths of American industry.

    Indeed.

    I remember back when Obama was working to destroy the American auto industry while the Teatards fought so valiantly to save it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  16. Fiona says:

    I don’t think that this kind of hyperbole adds anything but rancor to political debate, but to see the same wingers who routinely label Obama as a socialist and denigrate the left as traitors get their panties in a wad about it strikes me as more than just a tad disingenuous.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

  17. Hey Norm says:

    I think it’s certainly hyperbole, and unfortunate, and frankly a bad analogy.
    Jokers like Joe Walsh, who claims to be a fiscal hawk but is nothing but a dead-beat dad, are just suicide bombers. The terrorists are the Norquists, and Dick Armeys, and Koch Brothers, who have filled their minions heads with nonsense and false idols and mangled ideology and sent them to do their bidding.
    I mean…if you want to fill out the analogy properly that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10

  18. ratufa says:

    If the story is true, Biden should have known better than to poke the ant hill, even if it was done in a “closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting” in reaction to what some PO-ed folks said.

    Those people who think that what Biden said is literally true should get a grip. They should consider some of the people who make similar comparisons, such as Michele Bachmann using the Holocaust to make a point about our current debt situation, and try to be better than that.

    As for Jay Tea, whose reaction is to slur Democrats as a group by making claims about who they do and don’t consider to be terrorists and then follow that by veiled threats of violence, those remarks said more about you than they did about the Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  19. Pete says:

    @ratufa: I think Joe Biden is fine entertainment and we should not take the man too seriously. After all, he said the stimulus would be creating 500,000 jobs per month. As for unfortunate statements, both sides have produced some memorable whoppers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  20. An Interested Party says:

    Poor Joe, always mangling his words…of course the Tea Party crowd aren’t terrorists…they’re extortionists…

    But be prepared if some actually take your threats seriously.

    Oh my, I’m sure tough talk like that will have them quaking in their Birkenstocks…

    Now there’s also the senility factor in play. He’s like that crazy…uncle in the attic. But with actual polical power, which admittedly is downright scary.

    Yes, that does seem to be the trend with American vice-presidents in this century…

    @PD Shaw: Greenberg talks a lot about how so many people distrust government…this is hardly surprising as we have one of the major political parties in this country whose endless message seems to be all about trashing the government (outside of the military, of course)…also from your link…

    President Obama understood this essential lesson when he decided to unveil his own plan for long-term deficit reduction. The fog of the debt-limit debate has obscured that commitment, and his determination to raise taxes on the most fortunate to reduce our indebtedness and fund his priorities. Polls show that the public is with him, scornful of the Republican demand for no tax increases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  21. Boyd says:

    @James:

    I share Biden’s frustration with the illegitimacy of the tactic.

    You may not like the tactic. You may not have employed it yourself, if you had been in their position. You may wish they had not employed it. But illegitimate? Just because you don’t like it? Really?

    I’m no fanatic, but the Republicans employed legislative tactics to achieve political goals. If that’s illegitimate, then everything done by Congress is illegitimate.

    You’re indulging yourself in unwarranted hyperbole, James. And I should add, while everyone “at OTB [has] bitterly opposed the tactic of holding up a vote on the debt ceiling,” the results have shown you all to have been wrong, at least insofar as achieving its desired goals. Rewards entail risks, and you and Doug and Steven have appeared overly risk-averse on this subject, IMHO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  22. Anonne says:

    I dunno, threatening to do billions of dollars of damage, destroying livelihoods worldwide qualifies to me as terrorism. Yes, it is extortionist by nature, but they were and are still entirely willing to do it.

    But of course, here are the calls for “civility,” as if the incivility of the undemocratic political extortion was a lesser offense.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

  23. An Interested Party says:

    And I should add, while everyone “at OTB [has] bitterly opposed the tactic of holding up a vote on the debt ceiling,” the results have shown you all to have been wrong, at least insofar as achieving its desired goals.

    Democrats would do well to remember that the next time they have the opportunity to do something similar…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  24. WR says:

    @DavidL: Um, yeah. Except he’s the president who caught and killed Osama Bin Laden, instead of running away to invade Iraq.

    You know, that thing inside your skull actually has a purpose. You might try using it some day before opening your yap and making an idiot of yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  25. Boyd says:

    @An Interested Party: Sucks to be beaten at the game your own party invented, eh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  26. Pete says:

    @Anonne: Billions is chump change anymore. And somebody please tell me that our financial condition was in good shape prior to this circus. There would NOT have been a default, so please everybody be a little more serious. This was political theater at its best and nothing else. Our economy stinks, it has too much debt, too many people are unemployed, good jobs may take years to reappear, the world economy is suffering from the overindulgence on credit by complacent consumers and accomodative politicians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  27. Pete says:

    @WR: Good Lord, Obama just happened to be sitting in the Oval Office when the event occurred. Obama has no background in military operations or strategy. Using your logic, Obama is responsible for the deficit, which the libs love to blame on Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  28. WR says:

    @PD Shaw: I’m really tired ot his life. Or, to give you the benefit of the doubt, because I do believe you are honorable, this misperception which is spread by Republican liars. Americans by vast numbers don’t give a damn about the deficit. They care about jobs. They care about growth. They care about not seeing their lives flushed down the toilet so that billionaires don’t have to pay a penny of extra tax on their private jets.

    Check the polls. What’s important — 65% jobs. 20% deficit.

    Deficit freaks are just like any other kind of fetishist — they have a hard time believing that the rest of the world isn’t turned on by the same thing they are. But those are the facts.

    So please, do a little research before you innocently repeat the lies that the Republicans are busy selling to their followers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  29. ponce says:

    Good Lord, Obama just happened to be sitting in the Oval Office when the event occurred.

    Ahahaha,

    The fringe right will never forgive Obama for getting bin Laden.

    Never.

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  30. @Boyd: For what it is worth, I still would have preferred a simple clean upping of the debt limit earlier this year and I still would love to see the debt ceiling itself abolished.

    I have not thoroughly examined the plan, but figure that it ultimately will be a blip in regards to our real fiscal problems, so really do not think all of this was worth it. Further, I am highly dubious of a plan created under these conditions.

    I certainly don’t think the final result was worth threatening the economy over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  31. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: I believe you were the one screaming that Obama should have let the US auto industry die. You’ve got no way of saying that Democrats want to destroy American industry when you were shouting that one of the biggest should have been destroyed. Oh, except that you lie shamelessly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  32. WR says:

    @Boyd: Let me guess: You were one of the righties screaming about having health care “crammed down you throat.” Pardon me if I’m wrong.

    Which I’m not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  33. WR says:

    @Pete: Odd, Bush had troops in Tora Bora ready to take Osama out, and he declined. So don’t give me this “any president would have done it,” because we have proof that ‘s not true. Bush dismantled the unit hunting for Bin Laden, Obama put it back together. Again, use that thing between your ears before you start typing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

  34. Boyd says:

    @WR: If you were right (which you’re not), you can easily link to where I wrote that health care was crammed down my throat.

    But since you can’t, you just want to put words in my mouth that I never said, just so you could make the point you wanted to make.

    That would make you a coward and a liar.

    Yeah, not very courteous, but I have no patience for bald-faced liars. You should go into politics. You have lots of brethren there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  35. Pete says:

    @ponce: @WR: Uh, I don’t believe the quote you attribute to me is mine. Furthermore, the CIA never gave up looking for Bin Laden. So when they found him, Obama conveniently pursued the matter. To place a laurel wreath on Obama’s head may please his devotees, but the truth is that he benefited from a moment in history not the least bit of his making. Just like he will be forever scarred by the meteoric rise in debt; regardless of how much is his fault.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  36. WR says:

    @Pete: Sorry, your quote was that Obama “just happened to be sitting in the Oval Office.”

    And while it’s great that you have access to the classified information about the CIA’s activity, the fact is that Bush dismantled the operation to catch Bin Laden and Obama started it up again. If you’re going to claim that he “benefited from a moment in history not the least of his making,” then you’d better start saying the same thing about Reagan and the fall of Communism.

    Oh, wait, Saint Ronnie said “tear down this wall,” and the USSR magically crumbled. Because Republicans have superpowers, while Democrats just happen to hang around waiting for history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  37. WR says:

    @Boyd: You forgot to say “I dont suffer fools lightly.” Then you would have completed the entire “I’m so tough behind my keyboard” sonata.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  38. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Jay Tea:

    ” I think I’ll just hush up a bit and see what the usual crowd of clowns have to say…

    J. ”

    Good plan, better to keep your mouth shut and be suspected of being a clown than to open it and remove all doubt. You should practice this more!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  39. An Interested Party says:

    Sucks to be beaten at the game your own party invented, eh?

    Oh? I don’t seem to recall the Democrats ever holding the world economy hostage to get their policy prescriptions enacted…perhaps you could remind me when that happened…

    There would NOT have been a default…

    This from the same person who in the past compared gay people to Nazis by pushing some trash written by a pair of deranged homophobes…Pete, your credibility is just sterling…

    Good Lord, Obama just happened to be sitting in the Oval Office when the event occurred.

    Oh yes, of course, he was completely unattached and unconnected from the event…as I already wrote about your credibility…sterling…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  40. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: I believe you were the one screaming that Obama should have let the US auto industry die.

    Typically doltish WR. Ford did just fine without the bailout. What you championed — and what happened — was the subverting of the established laws regarding bankruptcy. Instead, Obama had the government take over GM and Chrysler, screw over the bondholders, and reward Obama’s backers in the unions.

    Oh, and they did it all with our money.

    Notice how GM is pretty much right back where it was right before the bailout, and Chrysler is now owned by Fiat. Oh, and we’re collectively out many billions of dollars.

    Would things have been better if GM and Chrysler had simply gone into bankruptcy? Maybe, maybe not. But it would have been a hell of a lot cheaper for the taxpayers.

    Well, maybe not the UAW. They got a couple more years out of those contracts that were a major factor in bringing down GM and Chrysler. A bankruptcy court would have had the option of setting them aside. Maybe GM and Chrysler could have restructured, once those contracts were altered.

    We’ll never know, because Obama figured he was smarter than the existing systems. And those bond holders? They’re rich, they can afford to get screwed. They were idiots for trusting the laws that protected their rights anyway.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13

  41. ponce says:

    We’ll never know, because Obama figured he was smarter than the existing systems.

    Jay Tea,

    How does any of this mindless spew support your contention that “Obama also did yeoman work on wrecking hefty swaths of American industry”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  42. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Yes, if only we’d made the autoworkers suffer, then the country would be whole again. But you forgot to whine about the poor bondholders, who were made to suffer a loss on their investment in order to keep several millions of families from losing their homes. Aside from that, you pretty much got the vile right-wing line down pat. Keep practicing, Jay, and maybe they’ll start shovelling money at you. I mean, this is the point of sellling yourself to the scum of the earth, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

  43. @Pete:

    Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part — deep in your heart, don’t you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won’t really eliminate the threat of –

    THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he’s alive at all. Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is — really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission.

    Terror is bigger than one person. And he’s just — he’s a person who’s now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is — as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide — if, in fact, he’s hiding at all.

    So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I’m more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.

    And there will be other battles in Afghanistan. There’s going to be other struggles like Shahikot, and I’m just as confident about the outcome of those future battles as I was about Shahikot, where our soldiers are performing brilliantly. We’re tough, we’re strong, they’re well-equipped. We have a good strategy. We are showing the world we know how to fight a guerrilla war with conventional means.

    Q But don’t you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won’t truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven’t heard much from him. And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

    But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became — we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore. And if we — excuse me for a minute — and if we find a training camp, we’ll take care of it. Either we will or our friends will. That’s one of the things — part of the new phase that’s becoming apparent to the American people is that we’re working closely with other governments to deny sanctuary, or training, or a place to hide, or a place to raise money.

    And we’ve got more work to do. See, that’s the thing the American people have got to understand, that we’ve only been at this six months. This is going to be a long struggle. I keep saying that; I don’t know whether you all believe me or not. But time will show you that it’s going to take a long time to achieve this objective. And I can assure you, I am not going to blink. And I’m not going to get tired. Because I know what is at stake. And history has called us to action, and I am going to seize this moment for the good of the world, for peace in the world and for freedom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  44. Jay Tea says:

    @ponce: Well, there was the auto industry. The medical devices industry is going to get royally pounded over ObamaCare. He declared war on Vegas tourism and corporate jets. He coerced banks that didn’t need bailout money to take it to provide cover for those that did, then used that as leverage to coerce them into going along with his demands.

    But ponce, sorry for interrupting. I was trying to let you folks continue to talk about how your fellow Americans who disagree with you about politics and work within the system are just as bad as the guys who carried out 9/11, who slaughter innocents by the thousands, and strap bombs to themselves. ‘Cuz that’s really, really educational.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

  45. WR says:

    @WR: Oops. I should have read the last paragraph. Of course, it’s the bondholders who matter. The ones who get a premium on their investment because of the risk. They must always be made whole, no matter what. The people who’ve spent their living making a middle class living making cars must be ruined so that magic bondholders can afford their — tax-free – private jets. Because rich people are wonderful, and may finally notice the little flea kissing their butts and give him some of their money. And those auto workkers? Well, they joined a union, so homelessness is too good for them.

    Oh, Jay, deep down are you even enough of a human being to loathe yourself? Somehow I doubt it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  46. jan says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Ford did just fine without the bailout. What you championed — and what happened — was the subverting of the established laws regarding bankruptcy. Instead, Obama had the government take over GM and Chrysler, screw over the bondholders, and reward Obama’s backers in the unions.

    That’s exactly what happened — totally screwed over the bond holders. But, of course this hasn’t done a thing to discourage people from trusting the government. Bond holders, business people, are simply lemmings programmed to accept the dictates of government, never complaining, sucking it up, ready to invest more that will be subject to whatever the government says will resolve a financial problem.

    Ford, as Jay pointed out, skipped the whole bailout gimmick and was able to bring themselves back, both financially and with a whopping amount of respect from the public at large — some of whom bought a Ford vehicle simply because of the merits of the company in refusing Obama dollars.

    Ponce, Interested Party, WR — have any of you owned or operated a business, met a payroll, worked with employees who depended on your skills to run a successful business so they could get paid?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

  47. jan says:

    @WR:

    I know if you have a 401K and the President decides we need some of that money, you won’t mind handing it over. After all, I’m sure you are richer than many out there, writing for Hollywood. And, if you have a stock portfolio, and circumstances become even tighter around the nation, I’m sure you will be more than willing to divest yourself of your wealth to help out another human being — mind you, simply if the President calls for it to happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  48. Pete says:

    @Timothy Watson: Tim, “Words, just words.” Obama has said whatever suits the politician in him. Apparently you haven’t lived long enough to have learned to take political statements with blocks of salt. Please remain an engaged citizen, though, as the country needs engaged citizens. Eventually you will accept politics for what it is: “Hollywood for ugly people;” as someone else said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  49. george says:

    Hyperbole, but no different than Tea Partiers who say Obama is a communist out to destroy the American way of life. Both sides play the “exaggerate beyond all recognition of reality” game; the only curious thing is that people still pretend that its only the other side that does it.

    In any case, I hope its pretend outrage on both sides. I’d hate to think that some people were really stupid enough to believe that the Tea Party is terrorist, or that Obama is a (Muslim) socialist out to destroy America – at least not while they were sober.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  50. WR says:

    @jan: Um, yeah, Jan. Unlike your little Tea friends, I accept the idea that paying taxes is a fundamental part of citizenship, and I am proud that my contribution is able to help those who have not been as lucky or as blessed as I have. I see it as my duty to contribute to the future of this great nation, even if it causes me a little irritation or discomfort when I write the check. Because when I do feel those negative feelings, I look around me and see what my taxes — and your taxes, and moron Jay Tea’s taxes (although I suspect he doesn’t pay income taxes) and everybody else’s taxes have built.

    What does cause me great pain is to see so many so-called patriots who are eager to destroy our heritage because it will save them a couple of bucks on April 15. For them I have nothing but contempt. They are not patriots, they are not even adults. They are screaming children who have only learned the word “mine” and have never progressed.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

  51. WR says:

    @jan: Oh, no, the bondholders. The beautiful, precious, wonderful bondholders, the only people who matter to Jan and Jay. Yes, the bondholders, who bought bonds that came with a premium because they were assuming risk. They should never actually have to encounter that risk. Just because they were receiving higher interest payments because there was a risk of default, that doesn’t mean they can ever be subject to a loss. They must be made whole. And the middle class auto workers who have spent decades toiling at this job? They should die in the streets. After all, they joined a union.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  52. anjin-san says:

    But be prepared if some actually take your threats seriously.

    Hmm. Sounds like Jay is working on another one of his revenge fantasies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  53. anjin-san says:

    Good Lord, Obama just happened to be sitting in the Oval Office when the event occurred.

    It’s a small man who can’t give credit where credit is due. Keep shopping for your pants in the boys department, you were them well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  54. anjin-san says:

    Obama also did yeoman work on wrecking hefty swaths of American industry.

    Really? Which ones? Please point to even a single industry that has been “wrecked”. And remember, words tend to have precise meanings. “Wrecked” does not mean “some bondholders lost money” or “I am speculating this industry could go south at some point”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  55. ponce says:

    Oh, no, the bondholders. The beautiful, precious, wonderful bondholders, the only people who matter to Jan and Jay.

    Wouldn’t the bondholders have lost out even if Obama hadn’t saved the auto companies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  56. jan says:

    @WR:

    But, WR what about your stock portfolio and 401K’s? Would you contribute those to the cause too. Because, for many business people, their business is equivalent to those kind of investments. Instead of passively investing people risk their money for something that may not materialize into a profit.

    Now in the case of the bondholders, there were some contractual obligations that the government apparently upended, favoring the unions over the private investors. Now, if you invested in something, and lost everything because of an arbitrary decision by the government, would you be inclined to reinvest? Be honest, now!

    And, as far as paying taxes….anybody making any money at all pays a graduated income tax. That doesn’t make you Saint WR. It means that you are following the tax code. My husband & I pay a ridiculous sum in taxes. But, then again, we have no big-shot lawyers to do all the creative tax shelters, and shuttling money to the Cayman Islands like the Kennedy family has done. Liberal democrats and their tax schemes are the best, which is why they are oftentimes referred to as “limousine liberals.” In Hollywood you have a lot of those types!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 16

  57. Drew says:

    Sometimes these things are surrogate IQ tests.

    Joe Biden? Really? Joe Biden?

    Some of you voted for his ticket………….and of course the top half has been just sparkling……..

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 16

  58. Drew says:

    “But, WR what about your stock portfolio and 401K’s? Would you contribute those to the cause too. Because, for many business people, their business is equivalent to those kind of investments. Instead of passively investing people risk their money for something that may not materialize into a profit.”

    I don’t know where you came from all the sudden, jan, but you are banging nails on the head here. Beware the trolls……..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  59. Drew says:

    “Wouldn’t the bondholders have lost out even if Obama hadn’t saved the auto companies?”

    No. But thank you for playing, and back to your post pumping gas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  60. jan says:

    @anjin-san:

    Well Obama, via the unions, are giving Boeing grief, because they voluntarily moved from the State of Washington to a right to work state, SC.

    In 2009, Boeing made a rational business decision regarding the placement of one of its new production facilities. It decided to open a new plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. The NLRB claims that Boeing decided to locate the new facility in South Carolina as retaliation for past union strikes in Boeing’s Washington State locations. This ignores the fact that in the meantime Boeing has added over 2,000 employees to its Washington State locations.

    Boeing built a state-of-the-arts new plant, and now the government doesn’t want it to open up. It has become a penalty call by the unions.

    NLRB to Boeing: Shut Up!

    Who knows how many companies have not acted on their ideas, opened doors for business because of the grim state of the economy that has become Obama’s hallmark as President?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 14

  61. jan says:

    @Drew:

    Drew, your posts are intelligent and inspirational. Common sense really turns me on!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  62. jan says:

    @WR:

    Oh and BTW, WR, for all your talk about being an humanitarian, my husband and I contribute privately to individuals needing help. No big pats on the back, just seeing a need and doing something about it, with no tax write-off, eithr. We paid for chemotherapy for an employee at a appliance company, schooling for a young child recently…..we do it because we want to, and we are grateful to be in the position to make someone else’s life easier. We contribute to public education, book faires, teacher supplies, gym equippment ….it’s a much better way to spend money than to give it to a goverment who spends our hard-earned money so foolishly and recklessly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  63. anjin-san says:

    Jan… Jay said “wrecked”. If you want to take up his cause, such as it is, let’s see a “wrecked” industry. Put up or shut up.

    And if you want to claim Obama is acting through the unions, how about some proof? “Rush says so” will not do…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  64. Drew says:

    “Drew, your posts are intelligent and inspirational. Common sense really turns me on!”

    (Blushing) This of course now guarantees an absolute jihad against me by, as you are probably now getting a feel for, certain commenters. I’ll put on my armour and prepare for the onslaught: “Drew, you ignorant, righty ass!”

    If I might return the complement, its easy to discern through vocabulary, phraseology and argumentation who is worth reading and listening to. At the risk of giving unsolicited advice, I’d recommend to you what I consider a very worthy “sister” site – Dave Schulers’s “Glittering Eye.” Like the Mark Wahlberg line from the opening of “The Departed” – “we need ya’ pal.”

    http://theglitteringeye.com/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  65. WR says:

    @jan: My God, do Tea Partiers ever do anything besides whine about how tough their life is. “Oh my Gawd, when I’m trying to sleep in the morning, there’s this shrill ringing that fills the room and I have to get out of bed even though I’m tired. Unlike all those liberals who wake up whenever they want to, I am forced to rise, even though I stayed up late watching Home Shopping Channel. This is all the fault of the poor black folks. If we can only stop them from getting unemployment, I won’t have to hear that alarm in the morning, I know because Rush told me.”

    For God’s sake, get a grip. Lives are tough all over, and you only make yourself look like a complete loser by whining about what is nothing more than everyday living. America too tough for you? Go find someplace cushier to live. But please stop trying to destroy our nation simply because you feel sorry for yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

  66. WR says:

    @jan: Especially if those ideas are screwing the workers by paying minimum wage in a race to the bottom state. Why don’t you just move to Somalia if that’s what you want?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  67. ponce says:

    No. But thank you for playing, and back to your post pumping gas.

    A little more info, Drew…how would those bondholders have gotten their money back from the bankrupt auto companies that had negative net worth?

    A government bailout?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  68. Ralph says:

    I’ve never seen weaker democrats and a weak president as we have today. Unfortunately, the republicans are much worse. That means we have no goverment. This country has one last chance to save it self. And it has nothing to do with democrats and republicans.

    “WAKE UP PEOPLE!” – If you are an American, you have to
    Read “Common Sense 3.1”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  69. jan says:

    @Drew:

    Thanks for the link. I’ll look into it.

    While I do learn something from the back and forth of opposing comments, it’s like taking a turnout, on a very fast road, to hear someone who is lucid in their thoughts, and is able to connect the dots, without having to resort to namecalling, as the only available retort that comes to mind.

    People who talk about how wonderful it is to give taxes remind me of an artist friend of mine. While I love him dearly, he really makes me laugh when he gets into his tax rant, saying how he would be willing to pay more taxes in order to make goverment work better. I want to say to him, “But, you do your business in cash, unreportable cash. And, you hide what cash you have in the ground!” So saying he pays more taxes, when he pays no taxes, holds no water, and is an invalid contribution to the conversation.”

    And, that’s what I think goes on here too — a lot of posturing for the cameras, while one wonders what these people really do contribute as a responsible fraction of their income.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  70. jan says:

    @Drew:

    Like the Mark Wahlberg line from the opening of “The Departed” – “we need ya’ pal.”

    After all this time, I just saw that movie on DVD last week. It was ruthless, but riveting. And, I distinctly remember that Wahlberg line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  71. anjin-san says:

    People who talk about how wonderful it is to give taxes

    Hmmm. Who said it was “wonderful” to pay taxes? Or are you just making crap up? In a lucid, connect the dots kind of way, of course…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  72. Jim Treacher says:

    And we have another election cycle in a few short months to let the people decide whether the Republicans’ tactics will be rewarded or punished.

    And to decide how much they enjoy being called “terrorists.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  73. Jim Treacher says:

    @george: You can be a communist without killing anybody. Other than that, you make an amazingly cogent point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  74. Drew says:

    “A little more info, Drew…how would those bondholders have gotten their money back from the bankrupt auto companies that had negative net worth?”

    Thank you for demonstrating your profound ignorance, ponce. In a workout the spoils are split for the futures. Debtholders get crammed down to the equity – the futures. You DO understand the debtors were aced out and the futures – the equity – given to Obama’s pals, the unions.

    Wait, no you don’t. You don’t have a clue how corporate finance or workouts or bankruptcy law works. You are a clown. I forgot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  75. Jim Treacher says:

    @Ian: If screeching “TERRORISTS!” when you don’t get your way isn’t pants-pissing, the phrase has no meaning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  76. jan says:

    @anjin-san:

    Glib to the end, huh anjin! Good night.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  77. anjin-san says:

    Yet while the Obami are loath to condemn the enemies of our country

    Funny, I remember Obama firmly declaring his intention to get bin laden and destroy al-queda while big bad John McCain was wringing his hands and declaring we can never risk offending Pakistan.

    Lo and behold, Obama did exactly what he said he was going to do. And what was it that “you can run, but you can’t hide” GW Bush said about bin laden? “I truly am not that concerned about him”. The President was not concerned about a man who murdered 3000 Americans in the heart of New York City. He dismantled the CIA unit that was dedicated to tracking him down.

    So, David, naturally you need your little fantasy. You sure as hell can’t deal with the truth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  78. ponce says:

    You don’t have a clue how corporate finance or workouts or bankruptcy law works. You are a clown. I forgot.

    Well, Drew,

    Seeing as you’re an expert in corporate finance…

    The GM bondholders recently got a payout from Motors Liquidation Company.

    http://www.wilmingtontrust.com/gmbondholders/notices.html

    Please use your expertise to evaluate how much they received and compare that to how much they would have gotten if the Republicans had gotten their wish and GM simply folded.

    We’ll all wait here for your post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  79. Xenos says:

    @Drew: ‘ “Wouldn’t the bondholders have lost out even if Obama hadn’t saved the auto companies?”

    No. But thank you for playing, and back to your post pumping gas.’

    The bondholders were unsecured creditors. The company was going through Chapter 11 reorganization. What is more critical for the success of the reorganized company, the bondholders or the trained workforce?

    This was a very simple, predictable, and proper bankruptcy. Some speculators bought bonds because they hoped their place in the front of the line of unsecured creditors would be worth something if GM went to Chapter 7. Obama came up with a political solution that helped keep GM in Chapter 11, saving a couple million jobs and a big chunk of industry. Bondholders lost, the rest of the country won. Tough for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  80. Scott O. says:

    @jan: @Drew: Get a room!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  81. Jay Tea says:

    @Xenos: Obama came up with a political solution that helped keep GM in Chapter 11, saving a couple million jobs and a big chunk of industry. Bondholders lost, the rest of the country won. Tough for them.

    Except, as noted, after burning through billions of taxpayer dollars, GM is pretty much right back where it was just before the bailout. More like “bondholders lost, taxpayers lost, but Obama’s backers in the unions won a couple more years on the labor contracts that had played a hefty role in the company’s ruination.”

    jan, thanks for the reminder about Boeing. The message here: once you’re a union’s bitch, you’re forever their bitch.

    And perhaps saying Obama has “did yeoman work on wrecking hefty swaths of American industry” was the slightest touch hypberbolic. (I dunno how the hell hyperbole came into this discussion, of all places.) But he’s certainly wreaked plenty of havoc, while telling us how much worse things would have been if he didn’t.

    “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  82. Rick DeMent says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Well Jay you play the exact same game, it would have been so much better if GM had been allowed to go under.

    First of all you don’t know squat about what would have happened, and frankly neither does anyone else. But those of you who stick to this “Obama wrecked the economy” meme seem to forget a few things.

    First the economy was wrecked when he got it. Wrecked in a way that was unprecedented. Fall all the fluffy tingly feeling the Bush Tax cuts caused it really did nothing of note for the economy except pile on a huge pile of debt the likes that had never been seen before despite the fact that they were touted as a fix that get the economy roaring.

    As for the bailout your fealty to the bondholders is touching. What you completely forget is that GM and Chrysler feed a wake of suppliers and business that amount to four times what they are worth, all of which would have gone down with them turning a bad economy into something much worse (again who’s to say who bad it would have gotten but it’s safe to say most of us would have ended up hurting more). And in less you have to be reminded, the money had already been voted on and allocated by Bush. You could make a good argument that the auto bailout alone saved more jobs then anyone will ever know because not only would the companies themselves gone under, but so would the supply chain (which would have put Ford under as well), as well as put all of the businesses that depend on the support of those workers like restaurants, stores, services; The list could go on and on.

    Finally, while i understand you won’t find any of this persuasive because you simply lack the imagination to comprehend such things, you still have yet to make the case that things are wrecked. The Bush recovery never got back to where it was despite shoveling unprecedented amounts of tax spending to the so called “job creators”. The only reason it limped along as far as it did was because of the housing bubble and that home ATM effect it created. Bottom line is that the Bush economy was never that great, the tax spending did not work at all other then a small Keynesian effect. If you think that that we can create jobs while firing workers and not investing in infrastructure, you simply don’t have the math skills to analyze the situation we are in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  83. HelloWorld! says:

    If you ask me they are all terrorists, using fear to keep everyone in line. Obama is doing exactly what I hated from the Bush admin (well, one thing). Everything is an emergency and must be done without a single hearing or debate about content. The patriot act, tax breaks, tarp, and now this. With each of those issues disaster looms unless we act immediately and without debate…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  84. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Joyner,

    What “outcome” from the current debt standoff is it you like? The spending cuts are actually caps on future growth which future Congresses are free to ignore. We effectively have an agreement to agree to an agreement on the budget sometime in the future, which means within a few months we’ll be right back where we started with this.

    If “automatic cuts” actually happen then government has become extraconstitutional, and it certainly won’t be a republic.

    Exactly how is this good?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  85. mattb says:

    @HelloWorld!:

    Obama is doing exactly what I hated from the Bush admin (well, one thing). Everything is an emergency and must be done without a single hearing or debate about content.

    Can you please explain how the Obama Administration turned a procedural vote into a emergency?

    For better or worse, this was a confrontation manufactured by the Republican party and turned into a crisis by a very vocal minority of the party. This process began months ago, the crisis here isn’t Obama’s fault.

    Oh, and Biden’s comment — though somewhat understandable as something said behind closed doors in a moment of frustration — was asinine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  86. mattb says:

    Seeing the general Conservative outrage at this comment, I’m reminded of Jan’s spirited defense of Allen West a little while ago:

    I think why so many liberals dislike Col West is because he is blunt, very blunt. Most politicians couch their words, posture their opinions so they will be acceptable to the very far left side of the aisle, creating a palatable distance of ideas from their opponents. Not so with Mr. West.

    As pointed out at that moment, what you appreciate in your side you tend to hate when the other side does it.

    Again… Biden’s comment was asinine. So was Wests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  87. hey norm says:

    This just amazes me…

    “…People who talk about how wonderful it is to give taxes…”

    You are just making shit up out of whole cloth for the sake of posting inane opinions!!!!
    Jan and JTea and Drew and some others need to research and understand:
    1) Epistemic Closure
    2) Dunning-Kruger Effect
    We keep seeing the same false information, mis-interpreted data, bogus analogies, and ridiculous personal adecdotes.
    Please – enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  88. HelloWorld! says:

    @mattb: This is fair. Your right, tea party leaders are somewhat responsible but the president did not have to implement the “doom in the markets” strategy. He could hve just said “Give me an up or down vote, or give me some spending cuts but in the end if the debt limit is not raised then there will be more uncertainty in the markets and congress needs to be prepaired for that”.

    Fact is, no debt increase would cause the markets to fall but they would recover in a few weeks or months. Macroeconomics is not as complicated as they want you to think.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  89. mattb says:

    @HelloWorld!:

    Fact is, no debt increase would cause the markets to fall but they would recover in a few weeks or months. Macroeconomics is not as complicated as they want you to think.

    But this is fundamentally inaccurate. If the debt had not increased, we would have had to close a large chunck of the government in order to maintain debt payments, social security, and necessary military expenditures.

    This is the thing that people don’t seem to get. Payments to states to support federal mandates would have ceased.

    Business COULD NOT HAVE continued as usual with a just a market blip. That’s why this was considered to be a procedural vote — congress had already approved the spending in the budget. To blieve otherwise is to fundamentally bury your head in the sand.

    It sad that people just don’t seem to want to acknowledge that part of the equation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  90. Eric Florack says:

    If the debt had not increased, we would have had to close a large chunck of the government in order to maintain debt payments, social security, and necessary military expenditures.

    Utter BS. (Or is that udder BS?)
    Governments don’t default, they simply print more money.
    Think I’m wrong? Here’s a challenge; Where in history has a government that had it’s own currency, ever defaulted? Ever?

    Look, gang, this whole thing was set up to do two things:
    Raise taxes… something they’d not be able to slip by absent a crisis situation
    Demonize the increasingly popular Tea Party who is giving the Democrats, including those who call themselves moderate Republicans, fits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  91. anjin-san says:

    And perhaps saying Obama has “did yeoman work on wrecking hefty swaths of American industry” was the slightest touch hypberbolic

    Actually, it is complete and utter crap, to the extent that even a blowhard like you is trying to walk it back.

    Except, as noted, after burning through billions of taxpayer dollars, GM is pretty much right back where it was just before the bailout

    Really? GM is on the brink of collapse? Please document this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  92. Hey Norm says:

    Eric,
    Please see my post @ 9:41.
    Thx

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  93. anjin-san says:

    “…People who talk about how wonderful it is to give taxes…”

    Now that you have had a good night’s sleep, perhaps you could show where anyone here said paying taxes is “wonderful”. Otherwise I will just have to be blunt and call you a liar…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  94. mattb says:

    Governments don’t default, they simply print more money.

    Did you seriously just suggest that as serious option?!

    This logic makes absolutely no sense — especially if a country does not want to experience incredible inflation. Further printing more money would have been tantamount to a default and would definitely have wrecked the nation’s credit rating leading only to more debt (due to interest) alongside hyper-inflation.

    It makes neither political or economic sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  95. Eric Florack says:

    I remember back when Obama was working to destroy the American auto industry while the Teatards fought so valiantly to save it.

    You do? You mean you consider government money and control to be a HELP?
    Yeah, I’ll bet those supporting government handouts for the Indians felt the same way. We see how that worked. And what has government handouts done for the black family in America?

    Same thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  96. sam says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Think I’m wrong? Here’s a challenge; Where in history has a government that had it’s own currency, ever defaulted? Ever?

    Mexico in the 80s. See, Latin American debt crisis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  97. Eric Florack says:

    Did you seriously just suggest that as serious option?!

    I don’t advise it, but it’s what is done. I ask again, does anyone have record of any government with it’s own currency defaulting?

    This logic makes absolutely no sense — especially if a country does not want to experience incredible inflation

    And we’re not? Look, the ony thing that’s saving our ass right now is that the rest of the planet’s in the crapper, too.

    Really? GM is on the brink of collapse? Please document this.

    Amazing that you don’t know about this stuff. Oh, wait. Lemme guess… CNN, and CBS, right?

    Here’s another:

    The Detroit-based automaker, 33 percent owned by the U.S. after its 2009 bankruptcy, has 280,000 Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups on dealers’ lots around the country. If sales continue at June’s rate, that would be enough to last until November.

    After GM’s truck inventory swelled to 122 days worth of average sales, the company said 100 to 110 will be normal going forward for such a large and complex line of vehicles, compared with 60 to 70 days for most models. Peter Nesvold, a Jefferies & Co. analyst, isn’t convinced.Ford Motor Co. (F), which makes similar trucks, is running at 79 days, and Nesvold says GM averaged 78 days on hand at year end from 2002 to 2010.

    “It’s unbelievable that after this huge taxpayer bailout and the bankruptcy that we’re right back to where we were,” Nesvold, who has a “hold” rating on the stock, said in a telephone interview. “There’s no credibility.” In a research note he asked: “Is GM falling into old, bad habits?”

    I won’t bother with the link, for fear of tripping the automatics, but you get the picture. It’s as Doug Ross points up the other day…

    You mean that abrogating bankruptcy law, screwing over secured creditors and rewarding Democrats’ union supporters with billions in equity, tax breaks and subsidies didn’t really fix GM?

    The answer would have been no in any event, but when the government also uses the money as a lever to make demands on what kind of cars and trucks GM can produce, of course the whole thing is headed for failure.

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  98. anjin-san says:

    You mean you consider government money and control to be a HELP?

    You do make your living driving a truck, no? I am pretty sure roads are paid for with government money and the government(s)controls them. You are a pretty good example of the conservative default position – “I am against government except when it is doing something that benefits me”.

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  99. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: GM’s on-hand inventory is 122 days, pretty much as it was in 2008. (Ford has about half that overstock.) That means they got an assload of vehicles that they can’t sell.

    In June 2008, when they got the bailout, they had 21.1% market share. In July 2008, when they got out of bankruptcy, they had 16.9%. Today they have 15.6%.

    For June 2008, GM sold a bit over 262K vehicles. For June 2011, just over 215K.

    Oh, and let’s not forget how the GM and Chrysler dealerships closed down tended to feature a lot more Republican donors than Democratic ones. Funny how that worked out.

    You know, the pro-bailout arguments sound a hell of a lot like the stimulus arguments. “Yeah, it wasn’t anywhere near as great as we promised, but it would have been far worse if we hadn’t done it! Honest!” “Jobs created or saved,” anyone?

    J.

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  100. anjin-san says:

    ahhh, bit? Once again, please show that GM is on the brink of collapse. Not that all is not rosey, on the brink. Words mean things.

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  101. sam says:

    @Jay Tea:

    You know, the pro-bailout arguments sound a hell of a lot like the stimulus arguments. “Yeah, it wasn’t anywhere near as great as we promised, but it would have been far worse if we hadn’t done it! Honest!” “Jobs created or saved,” anyone?

    I’m thinking now that maybe we misunderstand to roll of fiscal stimulus in a downturn. Let me use a naval analogy that might appeal to Jay.

    Suppose you have a ship that is holed below the waterline by a torpedo. The work crews descend below decks to plug the hole and shore up the bulkheads. The work is not primarily intended to return to the ship to its state pre-torpoedo warfighting state, but rather to enable it to stay afloat until it can make port for more extensive, foundational repairs. Maybe that is the proper way to think about fiscal stimulus: Not to return the economical ship to its original state, but to stave off its sinking until really corrective repairs can be accomplished.

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  102. Eric Florack says:

    @sam:

    That’s actually a reasonable response, but I’ll point out that there’s condition there which are not duplicated here. The value of the base currency (At the time USD) going up in dramatic fashion, for example.

    You do make your living driving a truck, no? I am pretty sure roads are paid for with government money and the government(s)controls them. You are a pretty good example of the conservative default position – “I am against government except when it is doing something that benefits me”.

    You keep saying that, but you keep forgetting… I suggest intentionally… that the roads are written into the Constitution.

    Once again, please show that GM is on the brink of collapse. Not that all is not rosey, on the brink. Words mean things.

    You tell me… do you see anything stopping that trend, Anjin? Absent that, even you can see where it’s headed.

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  103. sam says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I ask again, does anyone have record of any government with it’s own currency defaulting?

    See my Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 10:32

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  104. ratufa says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Utter BS. (Or is that udder BS?)
    Governments don’t default, they simply print more money.

    Do you understand that “to spend is to tax”, and that inflation due to rapidly increasing the money supply is effectively a tax on everyone? Is that really what you’re advocating in response to mattb’s observation that large chunks of the government would have to close down if the debt limit wasn’t raised?

    When mattb said:

    If the debt had not increased, we would have had to close a large chunck of the government in order to maintain debt payments, social security, and necessary military expenditures.

    He was correct. Note that he was not talking about the Federal defaulting on its bonds — he was talking about having to cut other expenditures in response to the government being unable to borrow more money.

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  105. Ben Wolf says:

    @ratufa: Printing a $1 bill is no more inflationary than issuing debt. Both increase the money supply and both are backed by the U.S. government. Erick is correct on this one. There was absolutely no reason for the debt ceiling to have even been an issue.

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  106. Jay Tea says:

    @sam: Here’s the difference, sam: you can see the results of the DC teams immediately, by simply checking draft, freeboard, and list. Obama’s claims, though… utterly unverifiable. They’re bilgewater.

    (Sorry, you used a naval metaphor on a naval warfare geek. I’ve actually studied what happens when ships get hit by torpedoes — mainly the old torpedoes with contact-type fuzes, because the modern torpedoes with their magnetic fuzes tend to not leave a repairable ship.)

    Well, that’s not fair. I remember his projections on unemployment with and without the stimulus. The official numbers are worse than either case. And the “unofficial” ones are even worse. So we have that datum for their reliability — and it ain’t good.

    J.

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  107. sam says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Well, that’s not fair. I remember his projections on unemployment with and without the stimulus. The official numbers are worse than either case. And the “unofficial” ones are even worse. So we have that datum for their reliability — and it ain’t good.

    My point was maybe we all misunderstand the role of fiscal stimulus in a down economy. Supporters and detractors both.

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  108. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Look, Jay Tea’s repeating another right wing lie, this one magically combined with right wing self pity. It’s the “Republican car dealers got shut down while Dems didn’t,” which was debunked in about five seconds. But there’s no lie so obvious that the JTs of the world won’t repeat it.

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  109. sam says:

    @Jay

    Oh, and I was thinking Mark 14 with the bad Mark 6 (for the Mark 14) contact exploder for the “holing”, not Long Lance…

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  110. Jay Tea says:

    @sam: The purpose is kind of irrelevant, when measured against results. Not only were the projections wildly off, but now Obama’s even admitting that his term “shovel-ready” was a joke.

    A lot of us predicted that the “stimulus” program would be a fiasco. We said that its main effect would be to Hoover up a ton of money out of the private sector and be doled out by politicians looking to maximize advantage to them and their allies. And when it failed, the two defenses would be “it would have been worse if we hadn’t done it” or “we didn’t spend enough money.”

    We’ve also seen how this administration treats actual job creators. I presume you’re familiar with the situation with Boeing and South Carolina? Or the hit that Vegas tourism and private aircraft took after Obama decided they were the new boogeymen?

    If we’re going to toss around the term “economic terrorism,” I’d say the Obama administration’s screwing over of Boeing — forcing them to abandon a $2-billion new plant and cancel plans to hire 2,000 new workers in South Carolina as a favor to Boeing’s unions — would certainly qualify.

    Especially since stopping Boeing from going to South Carolina does nothing to keep them from simply sending those jobs to China.

    J.

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  111. Jay Tea says:

    @sam: If you’re into that sort of thing, sam, I recently finished writing a story that featured the USS Arkansas in late 1942, in an utterly implausible (just short of impossible) battle that featured some rather interesting (to me, at least) torpedo effects. If you’re curious, I can give you a link…

    J.

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  112. HelloWorld! says:

    @mattb: I’m afraid your mixing up apples and oranges. The federal budget for the government doesn’t come into play until September, when we are due for another fight. Yes, treasury estimated that if the debt limit wasn’t raised we would not be able to pay some bills – in which case the govt would probably sell some bonds to pay bills and investors would have lost money. Even still, there are other options the govt could use to try to pay those debts, but they would have been extremely unpopular politcally. For example, the president by executive order could order the sale of oil from the petrol reserves. Unorthodox, but doable. He wouldn’t even have to go that far though. He could have laid out his terms and when congress failed to meet them he could have raised it himself.

    Obama had the upper hand. He blew it. No closing tax loopholes or anything to support this “fairness” he is always talking about. Will be interesting to see what he caves on in the upcoming September battle.

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  113. sam says:

    @Jay Tea:

    @sam: The purpose is kind of irrelevant, when measured against results.

    Not if the actual purpose, as opposed to what folks say is the purpose, is to keep the economy from really, really going under. That is, if the real function of fiscal stimulus is to keep the ship of the economy afloat and underway, if limping.

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  114. hey norm says:

    “…utterly implausible (just short of impossible) …”

    Describes your opinions…and thus by extension…your posts here.

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  115. sam says:

    What’s the link? We’re off topic, but I just finished Hornfischer’s Neptune’s Inferno. Good book. Recommend it in conjunction with Frank’s Guadalcanal .

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  116. mattb says:

    @Ben Wolf and @Eric Florack: After a bit of reading, I see the point that you are making. And from a technical perspective, I concede the point that printing more money (Quantitaive Easing aka QEx) in theory creates the same amount of inflation as issuing more bonds. Further I note that the two measures are done side by side.

    That said, it also seems clear that in practice, as it grows QEx is seen as the more volatile method of debt control. As such it appears to have a disproportionate effect on currency values and can lead to further and faster destabilizations* than selling debt which in turn can lead to larger increases in inflation.

    Covering the debt by selling more bonds is admittedly unstustainable, but it’s a far, far better option than covering this by QE. Defaulting or going into an operating budget crisis would have been bad. Covering the ongoing operation of the government primarly through QE appears as if it would have been far far worse.

    (Based on aggregating content from a number of writings on this including http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2011/03/how-quantitative-easing-really-works.html , http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2011/02/federal-reserve-raising-inflation-expectations.html , http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2011/07/debt-ceiling-crisis-1 , http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7925981.stm ,

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  117. mattb says:

    @HelloWorld!: Could you offer a link or two that might help untangle the relationship between debt and budget? Especially since I had been hearing the two discussed at the same time by a number of economists and politicians (on both sides).

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  118. Rick DeMent says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Your right Eric, that way the feds jammed that money down the throats of the car companies was shameful. I mean it’s not like they asked for it, they just got reverse mugged by Obama.

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  119. Jay Tea says:

    Dang it, sam, you called my bluff.

    I never put it all into one piece, but it’s 37 chapters and just over 30K words. That link is a quick way to find all the pieces.

    BTW, there is absolutely NOTHING political in the piece, but I did include a politically-themed “Easter Egg” to keep the readers distracted from noticing how utterly ridiculous the basic premise was. About the first half the story is frantic hand-waving to engineer the battle I wanted to write about…

    And damn, was it a lot of fun.

    J.

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  120. Jay Tea says:

    @Rick DeMent: Refresh my memory, Rick. What happened to Rick Wagoner?

    J.

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  121. ratufa says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Printing a $1 bill is no more inflationary than issuing debt. Both increase the money supply and both are backed by the U.S. government. Erick is correct on this one. There was absolutely no reason for the debt ceiling to have even been an issue.

    Interesting. If there are no inflationary consequences to printing money instead of issuing debt, why isn’t the government printing money and thus avoiding having to pay interest to bond holders? Or is there some other reason why printing money is not a free lunch?

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  122. HelloWorld! says:

    @mattb: Sure – its a long read but both of these web-sites explain how the two are related but different.

    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/resources/faq/faq_publicdebt.htm
    http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/debt/debtbasics.html

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  123. mattb says:

    @ratufa: See my post on Printing Money (aka QE) for links that begin to address why it is — in excess — more problematic and undesirable than issuing bonds. Neither is a great option and both get used together (and are currently being used today — unless there’s been a change in policy).

    @HelloWorld! – Thanks for the links… I’ll read through them later today.

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  124. Brendan says:

    @Loviatar: I can’t believe your comment has any likes. You didn’t even make a point.

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  125. Jay Tea says:

    @Brendan: Yes, he did. His point was that only certain people with certain standing are allowed to say certain things. “Absolute moral authority” and all that. Plus, it was all about feelings and not facts, and feelings are more important than facts.

    On those elements, I’m surprised it didn’t get even more votes.

    J.

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  126. sam says:

    I think Dave Weigel puts this tempest in teapot, if I can say that, in the correct light:

    The founders are as venerated now as they’ve ever been, but for reasons that elude me, they’re remembered in a way-too-sanitized way. They The Founders were slashing, petty, mean slingers of insults. They spent far more time drafting angry letters and editorials than they did drafting the Constitution. They called each other bastards and octoroons. Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton because he’d heard that Hamilton insulted him at a dinner. And so on.

    [Dave quotes Michelle Bachmann on the dustup -- save yourself the trip, you can imagine what she said. Then Dave goes on]

    You know what? Stop whining. All (maybe) Biden and (definitely) other Democrats here did was lean on a cliche. The cliche is: “I will not negotiate with terrrorists.” The point Democrats are/were making was that by refusing to back an increase of the debt limit unless certain conditions were met, Republicans were threatening to damage the nation’s credit rating or force a partial government shutdown. Which they were. Try and prove that wrong. You can’t, because it’s exactly what happened. No one had tried a move like this with the debt limit before. Republicans almost did in 1995, but they gave up, because the politics were rotten.

    If you don’t want your opponent to label you a hostage-taker, here’s a idea: Don’t take hostages. You could argue that this fight was more like an intervention, or a trip to one of those “scared straight” camps, where there’s no ransom. But all of these situations involve the prospect of harm to a third party in exchange for concessions from a second party. And that’s not uncommon in politics. You guys are in politics. Don’t pretend you’re in mortal danger if someone uses a label you don’t like and you’re not next to your fainting couch.

    Exactly. It ain’t beanbag. Cowboy up, for Christ’s sake.

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  127. Ben Wolf says:

    @mattb: The primary problem with QE (in my humble opinion) was in its structure. The moolah was effectively given away to large financial institutions which then began using it to mainpulate stock prices, buy government debt and pouring it into yet more exotic financial vehicles for quick returns.

    I agree with you entirely that QE1, QE2 and the soon playing at your theater QE3 did more damage than good. Ideally new money would be used to pay for real projects and quickly placed into general circulation rather than distributed to cronies in the financial industry. This would also stimulate credit formation at the local bank/small business level.

    Unfortunately there seems to be a law stating nothing can be done unless the TBTFs profit from it.

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  128. An Interested Party says:

    Forget “terrorists”…I wonder how the Tea Party crowd feels about being called neo-Confederates

    The debt ceiling crisis is the latest case in which the radical right in the South has held America hostage until its demands are met. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln refused to appease the Southern fanatics. Unfortunately, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress chose not to follow their example and instead gave in. In doing so, they have encouraged the neo-Confederate minority in Congress to find yet another opportunity in the near future to extort concessions from America’s majority by sabotaging America’s government.

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  129. @Pete:

    Uh…Pete, you know that quote was from George W. Bush in 2004, right?

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  130. @Timothy Watson:

    Correction: That quote was from 2002, not 2004.

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  131. david hume says:

    Joe Biden needs to follow through, and put all Tea Party supporters on a watch list, with wire taps, to prepare indictments for terrorism, maybe military trials. Anyone who wants to cut spending is clearly a terrorist. It’s so obvious.

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  132. david hume says:

    Keynesian ideas failed with Franklin Roosevelt, as he drove the economy into a deeper Depression and higher unemployment. Paul Krugman wants more keynsian policies. the only thing that saved Roosevelt was a world war, and drafting all the unemployed, giving them jobs at low wages. That’s where Obama is leading us. Anyone who opposes this global viewpoint is a terrorist, fanatic. Anyone who believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and lower taxes is clearly a terrorist fanatic. Obama and Biden remind me of a teenager told that the credit limit on their credit card will not be raised, unless they begin paying off more of the balance due. The teenager throws a tantrum. Its so convincing. the world is coming to an end. Modern economics doesn’t believe in balanced budgets, but in spending and more spending, until government spending crowds out private investment, which is the real goal. Because private investors and business people are just greedy and social parasites. Resources are spent so much more wisely by government bureaucrats, who have the public interest at heart.

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