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Get Ready For The Subpoenas If The GOP Wins In November

Notwithstanding the fact that it’s clear that the number one issue this year is the economy, Republicans are already talking about seemingly endless rounds of Congressional hearings if they regain control of Congress:

If President Barack Obama needed any more incentive to go all out for Democrats this fall, here it is: Republicans are planning a wave of committee investigations targeting the White House and Democratic allies if they win back the majority.

Everything from the microscopic — the New Black Panther party — to the massive –- think bailouts — is on the GOP to-do list, according to a half-dozen Republican aides interviewed by POLITICO.

Republican staffers say there won’t be any self-destructive witch hunts, but they clearly are relishing the prospect of extracting information from an administration that touts transparency.

And a handful of aggressive would-be committee chairmen — led by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) — are quietly gearing up for a possible season of subpoenas not seen since the Clinton wars of the late 1990s.

Issa would like Obama’s cooperation, says Kurt Bardella, spokesman for the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But it’s not essential.

“How acrimonious things get really depend on how willing the administration is in accepting our findings [and] responding to our questions,” adds Bardella, who refers to his boss as “questioner-in-chief.’

That’s feeding anxieties within the West Wing — even if administration officials won’t admit it publicly.

“I actually think it will be even worse than what happened to Bill Clinton because of the animosity they already feel for President Obama,” says Lanny Davis, a deputy White House counsel who lived through Clinton’s trials.

Stephen Green thinks this is a really bad idea:

This is an issues election, and the issues are more important than any in our lifetimes. People want action, they want results — and they’re going to need a new majority party to get those results. And that new majority party is going to need a popular mandate.

And you don’t get a mandate by running on a platform of bickering. Investigations can wait. And besides, does the GOP think they can do a better job of repudiating 18 months of bad Democratic policy than the American people will do on November 2? It’s almost as if they’re trying to lose.

I’m not sure that I agree with Steve that bringing this issue up hurts the GOP in upcoming elections all that much. After all, the people for whom it’s likely to cause a problem aren’t likely to vote Republican anyway. Moreover, to the extent Republicans do bring it up, it should probably best be viewed as throwing some red meat to the base. That’s the reason you see a back-bench bomb thrower like Michele Bachmann flirting with the absurd idea of impeaching the President.

The problem isn’t so much whether or not the GOP makes this investigation meme a part of the 2010 campaign, but what they do if and when they regain control of the House and/or Senate. While they haven’t done many smart things, I will say that the one thing that the Democratic Congressional leadership has been right about is resisting the temptation to give in to the demands of many on the left to launch Congressional investigations of the Bush Administration, either while Bush was still in power or after he left in January 2009. Politically, such hearings would have accomplished nothing and would have left the Democrats open to the charge that they wasted time on hearings while the economy burned (whether what they did instead of hearings was any better is, of course another question).

So, Steve is right. The GOP needs to concentrate on the issues, not just in 2010, but in 2011 and beyond.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    If they do gain control I’ve no doubt they will overplay their hand just as they did in the 90’s. Their approval went down Clinton’s went up. But it’s inevitable because these people are in the grip of a nihilist fever and have lost the capacity to govern sensibly. 
      

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  2. Herb says:

    “The GOP needs to concentrate on the issues, not just in 2010, but in 2011 and beyond.”

    Um…..we’re talking about the same GOP right?  The election is in 3 months.  They better get on that.

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  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    Is there anyway use the liberal 20%Er’s immunity to facts to fight off epidemic type diseases and viruses?
    How is the embryonic stem cell research going, and has there been any work done on the embryonic brain state?

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  4. sam says:

    “How is the embryonic stem cell research going, and has there been any work done on the embryonic brain state?”
    Perhaps you could donate your brain for research, GA.  You obviously use it so little, its loss should impair you at all.

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  5. Jay Dubbs says:

    If history teaches us anything, it is that a GOP led House would have non-stop hearings on the Obama Adminsitration.  I would expect hearings on birth certificates, citizen renunciation and black panthers to be included.  Think not, remember Rep. Dan Burton shooting a watermelon to try and show that Vince Foster didn’t commit suicide.  He could be considered one of the more reserved members today.

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  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Somebody lied about what Joe Sestak was offered and by whom.  Laws have been broken.  Congress has oversite.  Laws are not being enforced and powers are being exercised which do not exist.  The President of the United States does not have the authority to fire the CEO of a Corporation.  The President of the United States cannot require a Corporation to establish a fund for unproven damages.  Those acts alone meet the requirement of high crimes and misdemeanors.  Obama will be on his way out, this time next year.

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  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Oops, oversight.

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  8. Herb says:

    G.A. and Zels are the type of voters the GOP is going for.  The kind that offers jokes instead of ideas.  And the kind who has no clue what’s going on.

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  9. sam says:

    Jay’s got it right. If Darrell Issa has his way, Obama’s golf scores will be investigated for excessive mulligans.

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  10. Juneau: says:

    @ herb
    G.A. and Zels are the type of voters the GOP is going for.  The kind that offers jokes instead of ideas.  And the kind who has no clue what’s going on.


    While jokes may be a lamentable response to fixing a problem, they are vastly more preferable than the lies being served up to the American people like three course meals.  At least with a joke, you can being the conversation around to a serious note – with the lies  we belatedly find out that the joke was on us all along.

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  11. Brian Knapp says:

    While jokes may be a lamentable response to fixing a problem, they are vastly more preferable than the lies being served up to the American people like three course meals.  At least with a joke, you can being the conversation around to a serious note – with the lies  we belatedly find out that the joke was on us all along.

    Right on!  Especially when those lies result in the death of thousands of innocent lives and the suspension of civil rights and torture…

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  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    “The President of the United States does not have the authority to fire the CEO of a Corporation.”

    According to Zels the president has the power to start wars but not to fire the president’s of corporations owned by the state. Yeah that figures.  

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  13. Herb says:

    At least with a joke, you can being the conversation around to a serious note – with the lies  we belatedly find out that the joke was on us all along.

    Still waiting for the “serious note.”  All I hear are jokes.  “Didja hear the one about how Obama is a Muslim?”  You guys will be laughing all the way to the ballot box, I’m sure.

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  14. sam says:

    I’m tired of all this left-wing assaulting on our beloved Constitution. There are <strike>millyns</strike> <strike>myllionns</stike> a whole lot of us who believes as a whole lot of us do that Obama and his gang are the death of freedom. Thank God there are those about all over the land who know whats right from wrong and can still call a spade a spade. Or a muslim. Not for us the easy freeway, not for us the quiet drool. We stand united and completely together in apposition to the rape of our constitutional rights to object to all this assaulting. Nobody has put our case as good as  Kyle Mortensen of Escondido, Calif. Kyle knows. Read it and be afraid shifty lefties. YOur days are being numbered even as we count the days until the erection. Take this, you nazicommie bestards: <b>Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be</b> http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-man-passionate-defender-of-what-he-imagines-c,2849/

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  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***While jokes may be a lamentable response to fixing a problem, they are vastly more preferable than the lies being served up to the American people like three course meals. *** 

    You see I keep them from lying against every thing that is good decent and logical for a moment or two when I get them to attack me. um er ah um that dint come out right……

    ***Right on!  Especially when those lies result in the death of thousands of innocent lives a day and the suspension of civil rights and torture…*** fixed that for you Pookie….

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  16. Steve Plunk says:

    I expect the Republicans (if they have a majority, predictions make no sense) to play it smart and temper their exploits via investigations.  Some do need to be done but they are well aware of the dangers of overplaying their hand.
     
    I recall the predictions of Dem investigations once they controlled Congress yet they did not go hog wild.  I suspect part of that was the ambitious legislative agenda and part was the ’09 summer of town hall mayhem.
     
    Investigations will likely occur only when they are darn near guaranteed to yield results.

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  17. Jay Dubbs says:

    Steve,

    What would give you reason to believe that these Republicans would show restraint?  Issa has already signaled that he will be investigating every percieved slight.  And he is one of the less radical.  Do you think that if Michelle Bachman were to get contro;l of a committee she would show restraint? Steve King?

    Investigations will likely occur only when they are darn near guaranteed to yield results.

    Like that whole impeachment thing in 98?

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  18. anjin-san says:

    Holding nonsense hearings would be a hell of a lot easier than actually dealing with the many serious problems we face, so there is a pretty good chance the GOP would choose to go that route…

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  19. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
     
    Holding nonsense hearings would be a hell of a lot easier than actually dealing with the many serious problems we face, so there is a pretty good chance the GOP would choose to go that route…


    anjin getting practice – he’s already preparing to blame the republicans in anticipation that they will do exactly what Obama has done – nothing.

    Pretty good deal;  as democrats screw up the country let’s blame the republicans for not being a part of it.  And as republicans begin over the next two years to dismantle the “unsustainable” debt commitments made by Obama and his wrecking crew, he’ll still blame republicans for retreating from the same disastrous path.

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  20. Juneau: says:

    @ brian knapp
     
    Right on!  Especially when those lies result in the death of thousands of innocent lives and the suspension of civil rights and torture…


    Right on, man!  Power to the people!  Down with the establishment pigs!  Damn, I miss the 60’s.  Honey, where’s my special box of tie-died Depends?   I’m going down to the courthouse to stage a $hit in!

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  21. anjin-san says:

    Juneau… if Obama has done “nothing”, how has he screwed up the country? Doing nothing is exactly what the GOP preaches.

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  22. anjin-san says:

    > $hit in!
    Sooner or later, a hack will always get back to toilet jokes. Sadly, not everyone outgrows them by the time they are 15.

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  23. Juneau: says:

    Anjin, you’re hilarious.  First time I’ve done that, ever ( couldn’t resist) but you and the other Progs here on OTB spew your potty mouths all over the place –  and you’re calling me out.  That is SO much like a liberal that your reply is a thigh slapper in and of itself.  You’re a living stereotype..

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  24. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
     
    Juneau… if Obama has done “nothing”, how has he screwed up the country? Doing nothing is exactly what the GOP preaches.
    Oh, excuse me…you’re right, I should qualify for those who don’t read the papers, unemployment reports, housing sales statistics, and national debt charts –  Obama has done nothing positive.
    Although, in all fairness, there are some positives coming out of his policies;  I’m positive that the Republicans are going to take back the House in November, I’m positive that the TEA party is not going away – and will be coming soon to a Congressman, Governorship, Mayor, City Council, and School Board next to you, I’m positive that the majority of the American people want Republicans to repeal or defund ObamaCare, and I’m positive that Obama is one of the worst things to have happen to the Democratic party in a long, long, time.


    So yeah, a few positives…

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  25. Tlaloc says:

    If the GOP wins big it will mean a heavy influx of political neophyte teabaggers who like to toss the word treason around casually, So, yeah, I’d expect a lot of poorly thought out political stunts that will probably play out much like 1998.  Which kind of sucks because Obama does not deserve a second term.

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  26. anjin-san says:

    > you and the other Progs here on OTB spew your potty mouths
    Really? Please show me one toilet joke I have made. Sorry sonny, make up some better BS next time. I have written material for several professional comedians. When I set out to be clever and or funny, I can actually do it.

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  27. anjin-san says:

    >  the papers, unemployment reports, housing sales statistics, and national debt charts
    Oh yes. You mean the train wreck that Mr. Bush left on Obama’s desk when he took office. Know all about that. Apparently you don’t know that our economic difficulties preceeded Obama.
    Really, you are kidding no? You just can’t possibly be as stupid as you appear to be. Unemployment and housing have both improved since Obama took office, though certainly not as much as any of us would wish. You really don’t seem to be aware that we came terribly close to a cascade failure of our banking system in Sept. 2008 – a failure that would probably have taken us into a depression. No one is happy about deficits, but record deficits also are a legacy of the Bush era (admittedly they have worsened). Government intercession almost certainly pulled us back from the brink of a true disaster. It’s an instance where we did actually learn from history, thus were not doomed to repeat it.

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  28. An Interested Party says:

    Oh the delicious irony…if the economy continues to tank well into 2012, a rabid, foaming- at-the-mouth crew of teabagger neophytes, as Tlaloc so accurately describes them, as well as ridiculous investigations into who knows what, could help to deliver the president a second term…well, those things as well as Caribou Barbie as his GOP opponent…that would certainly seal the deal… 

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  29. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
     
    Really, you are kidding no? You just can’t possibly be as stupid as you appear to be. Unemployment and housing have both improved since Obama took office…


    You, Sir, are living in  La-La land.  Cuckoo.  Bonkers.  Cotton-candy wishes and unicorn dreams.  Show me one reputable report which says that the percentage of Americans who are unemployed is lower today than when Obama took office, or that more people own homes today than when Obama took office, or any other category you included in your fantasy.  One.

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  30. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
     
    Government intercession almost certainly pulled us back from the brink of a true disaster.


    Sure.  Because of ….what?  The stimulus?  TARP?  Did you hear about the new metric the Obama administration created to “measure” the success of his so-called  job programs?  It’s not enough to have a warm n’ fuzzy metric , which no one can possibly measure, called “jobs saved”  – now we have a brand new entry in the insanity contest, called “lives touched.”     You do realize that you’re like Hitler and his pals in the bunker there at the end, don’t you?  There’s no escaping the fate of this November, but just keep pretending that it wasn’t your man’s disastrous plans that ruined the Thousand-Year liberal utopia.
    Nobody’s buying your nonsense anymore, even the economists.  Obamanomics is a failure, even according to the economists.  Keynesian economics is a failure, according to the economists.   You can no longer blame Bush.  You can try, but nobody is listening.

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  31. Juneau: says:

    @ AIP
     
    Oh the delicious irony…if the economy continues to tank well into 2012, a rabid, foaming- at-the-mouth crew of teabagger neophytes,  [......] , could help to deliver the president a second term


    Won’t happen, and even if it did, he would have a second term of being powerless as he watches his ridiculous policies being tossed in to the sandbox like toys taken from a two-year old.

    What is really going to sink him in the eyes of the electorate is the little temper tantrums he will be throwing; just think about what his chances will be as he continues to show his lack of maturity by stomping his feet and whining about how “unfair” it all is.

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  32. anjin-san says:

    Juneau have you ever actually worked in the business world?
    What we have managed to accomplish in the last 2 years is to stop the hemorrhaging in the job and housing markets that took place under Bush. It’s a bit like getting a patient stabelized in the ER so that they don’t die. They probably still need surgery and post-op care, but they won’t die. You will not that I did not use the word “lower” in my remarks, so I am not sure where you are getting that from.
    Do you really think you can summarize something as complex as the housing market by “show more people own homes today than when Obama took office? Well, seeing that it is you, you probably do. The peak year for writing five year adjustable ARMs was 2005. That means were are still right in the thick of the process of paying the piper. If someone is on the verge of losing their home today because of a loan they took out before most of the people in this country knew who Obama was, how exactly is that Obama’s fault?
    The damage that was done to the economy was pretty severe. We are (not by much) out of recession territory and job and housing losses are no longer accelerating, as I said, the worst of the bleeding has stopped. That is a pretty huge improvement over where Bush left us, which was on the brink of a real and true disaster. When Bush said “the entire economy is at risk”, he was not kidding.
    I know you want to pretend that the Bush era never happened, but that is a hook you are not getting off of. Why don’t you give me some actual arguments that support the contention that Obama has harmed the economy that consist of something other than warmed over Fox/Palin/Beck talking points? Something that has some grounding in actual economics and the world that people who actually function in the business world exist in?
    Since we are talking business and the economy, can you tell us any real world experience that you have in business that would lend some credibility to anything you have to say?
     

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  33. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
     
    Juneau have you ever actually worked in the business world?


    I own a business and have been in business for myself for the last 18 years.

    The peak year for writing five year adjustable ARMs was 2005. That means were are still right in the thick of the process of paying the piper. If someone is on the verge of losing their home today because of a loan they took out before most of the people in this country knew who Obama was, how exactly is that Obama’s fault?


    Obama is a democrat.  He is one of the most liberal democrats to come out of the Senate based upon his voting record.  The liberal democrats insisted that CRA be expanded, even penalizing banks that did not write enough CRA loans.  CRA loans were made to people who had no business getting a loan.  Obama has insisted, like  you, in  blaming this policy on Bush.  Frank, Dodd, and the rest of the democrat wrecking crew insisted on there being no meaningful restrictions on the CRA program when the Bush administration tried to insist on more stringent loan guidelines.  Obama is still – TO THIS DAY – allowing the exact same types of loans to be made, because they have to be under current provisions of CRA.   This is now common knowledge, to the point where Barnie Frank is now totally reversing himself and has stated that Freddie and Fannie should be dissolved (little late now, don’t you think).

    That is a pretty huge improvement over where Bush left us, which was on the brink of a real and true disaster. When Bush said “the entire economy is at risk”, he was not kidding.


    Baloney.  Much of the Stimulus hasn’t even been spent yet, and you’re still trying to sell the idea that we had to go that much into debt because the “economy was on the brink”    According to the Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/13/AR2010081306058.html
    At the end of July, nearly 18 months after the stimulus passed, more than half of the $275 billion in investments had yet to be spent.


    Again, your sales job for both the debt, and Obama’s “successful” policy simply is not born out by the facts.

    Something that has some grounding in actual economics and the world that people who actually function in the business world exist in?


    Oh, you mean kike the cost of hiring employees once ObamaCare kicks in?  Or the fact that Obama is going to let the Bush tax cuts expire ( which will impact millions of small business owners)?  Or the new changes in the  Alternative Minimum Tax which is going to increase taxes on small business owners?
    Anjin – you are a true believer but your liberal knight is a nightmare for our economy and our children’s future.  He is bankrupting this country with a failed Keynesian philosophy that is UNSUSTAINABLE.

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  34. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
     
    I know you want to pretend that the Bush era never happened, but that is a hook you are not getting off of.


    Nobody is trying to get off of any hook about anything that Bush did. I didn’t like it, but when it comes to debt or spending Bush is to Obama what the Appalachians are to the Himalayas – and that’s  a hook none of us are getting off of, including our children.

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  35. Franklin says:

    Trying to decide what is worse here … pointless witchhunts, or Nancy Pelosi?  I have to admit, if this is what Repubs are planning, I think I’ll just try to tolerate Pelosi for a couple more years.

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  36. anjin-san says:

    Ummm, Juneau
     
    When I was talking about government intervention and stablizing the banking system, I was referring to TARP, not the stimulus. Sorry, thought that was obvious.

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  37. anjin-san says:

    Obama is a liberal Democrat, therefore the housing crisis is his fault.
    Juneau… step away from the radio, take few days off from right wing rant sites. Try and get your brain turned back on.
     
    BTW, still waiting for even a single example of the “potty mouth” behavior you accused me of.
     

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  38. anjin-san says:

    > Anjin – you are a true believer but your liberal knight
    Actually, I am pretty pragmatic about politics, I dislike doctrine and dogma intensely. If I was passing out report cards, I would give Obama a C+

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  39. matt says:

    Juneau wrote:
    Obama is a democrat.  He is one of the most liberal democrats to come out of the Senate based upon his voting record.
    I just wanted to address this particular fallacy. Obama’s voting record, like all voting records, doesn’t demonstrate him to be the most “liberal” democrat, but rather amoung the most “conventional” democrats — ie. voting with the democratic party position on issues.
    I believe Dr Joyner (or perhaps Taylor) has addressed how poor the voting record system is for gauging ideology in a past post. Here’s the reason why: take for example, the American Conservative Union’s analysis of voting numbers (available at http://www.conservative.org/) which, for 2007, rate Obama as more liberal than Dennis Kucinich. This doesn’t at all grok with their rhetoric or their stance on most issues.
    The reason that voting record is a poor representation is that representatives with stronger ideological convictions tend to vote against their party in cases where they consider legislation to be too much of a compromise. So for example, Kucinich voting against health care reform because it’s not liberal enough (in other words, based on liberal ideology) is counted as a conservative vote.
    Note that the same scale lists Ron Paul as significantly more liberal than a Michelle Backman (who scores 100% because she votes party line 100% of the time).
    Like most statistics, the liberal/conservative based on voting record sounds good (and scary), but when you dig into the reality of it, it doesn’t really tell you what you think it tells you.

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  40. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Right on, man!  Power to the people!  Down with the establishment pigs!  Damn, I miss the 60′s.  Honey, where’s my special box of tie-died Depends?   I’m going down to the courthouse to stage a $hit in!***lolzzzzzz…………………….

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  41. tom p says:

    <<<Nobody is trying to get off of any hook about anything that Bush did. I didn’t like it, but when it comes to debt or spending Bush is to Obama what the Appalachians are to the Himalayas – and that’s  a hook none of us are getting off of, including our children.>>>

    Yes you are Juneau. and you know it and so does everybody else.

    Bush’s contributions to the deficit:

    Bush tax cut one
    Afghanistan
    Bush tax cut 2
    Iraq
    Medicare part D
    Tarp
    Fannie and Freddie supports
    An economy in fail

    Obamas contribution?

    A stimulus bill.

    go here:

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3036

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  42. anjin-san says:

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html
    Some interesting information about public debt in various nations. Uber-Capitalist Japan has much more serious issues than the “socialistic” European nations that the right likes to froth about. Though our debt issues are no doubt serious, it is very obvious that we in a much better situation debt wise than much of the world.

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  43. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
     
    I rarely listen to talk radio anjin – rarely.  I also don’t watch beck, hannity, o’reilly, or anyone else on TV (don’t have cable).  You feel you know so much, but your impressions about me are incorrect.  You know a really scary thought?  What if your impressions about where others like me draw their convictions from are also incorrect?  What if all 38 % of the American people who poll as favorable to the TEA party positions really are doing it from inner conviction?  Then the political environment, as you know it, is about to undergo a radical transformation.  Pretty scary, huh?

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  44. Juneau: says:

    @ tom p
     
    Yes you are Juneau. and you know it and so does everybody else.


    OK, tommy.   Let me simplfy it for you:  little debt = fine (healthy even according to some economists),  moderate debt = bad ( Reagan, Bush) , humongous, UNSUSTAINABLE debt  = disastrous (Obama)

    Get it?

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