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Republicans Fail Math Test

balanced budget

Last night, House Speaker John Boehner canceled the vote that he himself had scheduled as a maneuver to put pressure on President Obama. There weren’t enough Republican votes for Plan B and the Democrats sure weren’t going to give him a win.

While I doubt it had tremendous impact, Red State’s Erick Erickson put out an URGENT call yesterday morning that explains why Republican Members were afraid of the bill:

This disastrous idea is being pushed by Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor and will do nothing other than put Republicans on record supporting tax increases that should be the sole responsibility of President Obama. Fortunately, groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America are opposing the bill.

Sigh. The so-called Bush Tax Cuts had an expiration date. Republicans used their power in Congress, including resorting to unprecedented sabotage on the debt ceiling vote, in order to get it extended multiple times. Now, it’s set to expire again with the New Year. There’s nothing Republicans can do to stop that.

President Obama has proposed to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent except for households making over $250,000, who would revert to the Clinton era rates on earnings over that amount. Boehner has negotiated a compromise to raise that ceiling to $400,000 but isn’t satisfied with the spending cuts being offered in return. So, Plan B was designed to turn the tables. The House Republicans would pass a measure making the Bush Tax Cuts for income under $1 million.

Under present law, then, all three proposals on the table constitute a massive tax cut. Obama’s proposal is a tax cut for all income under $250,000. Boehner’s proposals are a tax cut for those under $400,000 and $1 million. The only proposal here that isn’t a tax cut is the one Erickson proposes: simply going over the cliff and allowing the rates to go up as scheduled on everyone.

Politically, Boehner’s Plan B would have been a massive win for the Republicans. It would have put a bill passed by the Republicans out there to compete against mere negotiating proposals. It would have had quite a bit of support from Democrats, including prominent coastal senators like Chuck Schumer, who prefer the $1 million definition of “rich” over Obama’s $250,000 mark.  Now, granted, it didn’t include the matching spending cuts that would come under the current negotiations. But that doesn’t seem to have been the deal killer here so much as the tax hike on millionaires that’s actually a massive tax cut, even for millionaires, compared to what happens automatically in nine days.

Now, not only does Boehner look like an idiot but Republicans are seen as willing to let taxes go up on 99 percent of the country rather than let millionaires pay even a little but more. Which is to say: they’re even worse off than they were under Obama’s starting proposal, when the line was $250,000.

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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. sam says:

    Part of me feels sorry of Boehner. After all, here’s guy who’s reached, what for folks of his bent is, the pinnacle of his profession, Speaker of the House — only to find out that he’s the white coat-in-chief of a lunatic asylum.

    Then I think, he deserves everything he’s getting because he abetted the lunatic takeover.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  2. superdestroyer says:

    I think the Republicans have realized that a conservative party cannot survive in a country where only about 50% of the tax payers (and much less than 50% of voters) pay income taxes. Spending will never be cut when less than half of the voters care about the level of taxes needed to fund the government.

    The best thing the conservatives could do is raise taxes high enough eliminate the budget deficit and then tell people the only way to lower taxes is to cut spending dollar for dollar. I doubt if all of the current supporters for a $4 trillion dollar federal government would still be supporters if income taxes were double and a higher percentage of voters paid taxes.

    The Democrats are following the Axelrod strategy of trying to limit tax increases to a small group while increasing government spending of as large a group as possible. What no one wants to ask is what politics will be like when only a few percent of voters are paying the bills for everyone else?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 66

  3. Rafer Janders says:

    Now, not only does Boehner look like an idiot but Republicans are seen as willing to let taxes go up on 99 percent of the country rather than let millionaires pay even a little but more

    Well, they’re not “seen” as willing — they are willing. The GOP’s raison d’etre is making sure the rich don’t pay taxes. All else is secondary. They don’t care about low taxes in general, or “small government”, or jobs, or the American economy — they care about rich people not paying taxes, period.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  4. James Joyner says:

    @Rafer Janders: In fairness, they’re hoping to force Obama to cave and just make the cuts permanent in their entirety. But it’s an absurd position just given what happens on 1 January.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  5. LaMont says:

    So let me get this right – The republicans could not pass a bill that is further to the right than what Obama would have negotiated simply becuase it would raise taxes on the 2%? If I’m Obama I’m thinking right now that any attempt to negotiate in good faith is totally useless now. Cliff, here we come. These republicans are absolutely crazy!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

  6. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    In fairness, they’re hoping to force Obama to cave and just make the cuts permanent in their entirety.

    I’m hoping for a pony for Christmas. I think we’ll both be disappointed, though.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    Plan B would not have been a massive win for Republicans JJ. God knows where you get the idea it has any Democratic support. Plan B was a debacle for Republicans and it’s now just a super debacle. Is Plan C that Boehner is dumped as leader?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  8. superdestroyer says:

    @James Joyner:

    I think President Obama would be very happy to have taxes go up on 53% of the taxpayers (those who actually pay taxes) while having the Republicans being blamed for everything.

    I think you are wrong in believing that the Democrats do not want taxes to go up. More taxes means more spending and thus, more power to Democrats. If Nancy Pelosi is back as Speaker of the House in 2015, the Democrats will also be in a position to renege on all of the spending cuts which would also be a huge winner for the Democrats.

    When politics has evolved to the point where the Democrats will always want bigger government and more spending, then politics will be about higher taxes, more spending, and bigger government.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 55

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Please pass the popcorn….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  10. Anderson says:

    JJ, Rafer is right. Whatever the notional GOP of you and other intelligent Republicans may stand for, the GOP in reality has as its First Commandment “thou shalt not raise taxes on the rich.”

    They were happy to negotiate deduction limits (ie, tax hikes) that would affect the middle class but have minute effects on the rich. But last night’s vote proves to the country whom they’re working for – and I daresay it isn’t you or me.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    Now, not only does Boehner look like an idiot but Republicans are seen as willing to let taxes go up on 99 percent of the country rather than let millionaires pay even a little but more.

    This is the party JJ that you think offers answers to the nation’s problems. Ironically the super gerrymander that enabled Republicans to retain control of house has made most of the Republican caucus totally independant of the leadership. They don’t have to take orders from anyone…..least of all Boehner. It’s a recipe for ongoing chaos in the GOP.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  12. george says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Spending will never be cut when less than half of the voters care about the level of taxes needed to fund the government.

    The GOP is no more interested in cutting military spending than the Democrats are social security. Neither party wants small gov’t (military is part of the gov’t), the Democrats are just more honest about it. Big gov’t means big taxes – and again, at least the D’s are honest about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  13. Neil Hudelson says:

    So, in order to make sure Obama gets tagged with the “Obama tax hikes” the Repubs have created a situation where once tax cuts are passed–and tax cuts will be passed in some measure–they will be the permanent “Obama tax cuts.”

    Politically, can this get any better for Obama? He wins reelection by a huge margin, the opposition loses seats/power, then the opposition shoots themselves in the foot while at the same time setting Obama up for a legacy of tax cuts.

    Now, not only does Boehner look like an idiot but Republicans are seen as willing to let taxes go up on 99 percent of the country rather than let millionaires pay even a little but more.

    In a weird way I have to hand it to the Republicans for their honesty. If the tables were turned, and it was the democrats that wanted to raise taxes by a bajillion percent, but public polling was strongly against them, they would have folded in about 3 seconds.

    The Republicans, despite most of the nation being against their position, have decided that they will commit political suicide just to protect the uber-rich from a tax rise of a few percentage points. They’ve got balls, I’ll give them that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  14. Argon says:

    @superdestroyer:

    More taxes means more spending and thus, more power to Democrats

    Ha. That would make sense if the GOP were willing to cut defense and oil subsidies. Or if the GOP hadn’t played the ‘Obama is trying to take money from Medicare’ BS line during the election. The difference between the parties is *where* they want spending and which party is serious enough to secure the appropriate level of revenues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The Republicans, despite most of the nation being against their position, have decided that they will commit political suicide just to protect the uber-rich from a tax rise of a few percentage points. They’ve got balls, I’ll give them that.

    Balls or no sense of reality? When ignorance is bliss wisdom is folly?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  16. cd6 says:

    Obviously, there’s no real point in arguing this, but:

    Politically, Boehner’s Plan B would have been a massive win for the Republicans.

    Are you kidding me? Plan B was a desperation that was DOA in the Senate and Obama’s desk. It was a far smaller number than the things being negotiated, so if you truly actually cared about deficit reduction, it was sad in comparison.

    AND to get Plan B any chance, Boehnor had to pair it with a crazy conservative wet dream “spending reduction act” which put the house on record voting again Food stamps and Health Care and Old People just so we could avoid cuts to poor, innocent defense contractors.

    To get here, Boehnor had to walk away from what were seeming like relatively productive negotiations. Only in crazyland was Plan B a potential “massive win” for Boehner.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  17. C. Clavin says:

    “…Democrats will always want bigger government and more spending…”

    Except that Government has shrunk under Obama, and spending is flat.
    The facts don’t match your BS.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  18. Rob in CT says:

    *ear to ear grin*

    Now, not only does Boehner look like an idiot but Republicans are seen as willing to let taxes go up on 99 percent of the country rather than let millionaires pay even a little but more

    As others have said, this is not an “appearance.” That’s the reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  19. Anderson says:

    Superdestroyer reminds me of a Bible verse:

    “Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his folly will not depart from him.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    @cd6:

    Politically, Boehner’s Plan B would have been a massive win for the Republicans.

    I’m bound to say this statement by JJ suggests that contrary to the efforts he makes to suggest otherwise that in fact he shares the general sense of unreality that pervades the Republican party. At best it was minor tactical maneuver of little or no real importance outside of providing Republicans with a talkiing point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  21. Andre Kenji says:

    @george:

    The GOP is no more interested in cutting military spending than the Democrats are social security.

    The GOP is they Party of the Geezers and the Party of Medicare. They only talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/young-americans-get-the-shaft/2012/06/13/gJQAeHp4ZV_print.html

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/27/medicare-republicans-george-w-bush-opinions-columnists-bruce-bartlett.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. Moosebreath says:

    It now seems like there are only 2 ways forward:

    1. go over the cliff, and then negotiate tax cuts and spending increases from the results of it. In other words, we show we are a disfunctional democracy, and give Obama the chance to put his name on a package which will be very popular.

    2. negotiate a deal which can get 218 votes in the House, and 60 in the Senate. This would likely require the vast majority of Democrats, and a relative handful of Republicans who prefer a deal which does not thrill them to trashing the economy. It would also mean the end of Boehner as Speaker.

    And 1 is looking more likely by the minute.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  23. Rob in CT says:

    @Moosebreath:

    One thing I’d quibble with is the idea that any deal will be “very popular.” The best we’re likely to get is a deal that most folks are ok with. We are, after all, talking about tax increases and spending cuts. Hardly anyone will be happy about it. So I’d be careful assuming “very popular.” It might end up something like that if it goes hand-in-hand with a stronger recovery, but since we’re talking about various flavors of austerity, if that happens it’s despite the deal, no b/c of it.

    I can’t imagine #2 coming to pass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. @Anderson:

    the GOP in reality has as its First Commandment “thou shalt not raise taxes on the rich.”

    They have no other commandments.

    Lest we forget, the GOP junked our surpluses for deficits; going forward, those same policies, supported by folks like Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, and McConnell, will continue to exacerbate the deficit.

    Republicans gave Pres. Bush high marks throughout his presidency, right up to the very end. This despite Medicare Part D, the occupation of Iraq, the Bush fiscal policies (on the theory that they would be an effective Keyensian stimulus), TARP, No Child Left Behind, the USA PATRIOT Act, etc.

    Republicans don’t care about the deficit, they don’t care about national security, they don’t care about federalism or executive power.

    They care about having power, and they care about keeping very low tax rates on the wealthiest. Full stop, the end, nothing more.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  25. michael reynolds says:

    James:

    I have to agree with all the above who say that…

    Politically, Boehner’s Plan B would have been a massive win for the Republicans.

    …is just silly. It makes me sad to see you writing it. It smacks of Mitt Romney on election night making lists of cabinet appointments.

    The president is at 56% approval. The House Republicans have support from their mothers. (A plurality of their mothers, anyway.) Boehner doesn’t even own a wedge at this point, let alone have the power to wield it. There was no play he could have made that would result in blame being shifted to Obama.

    What we have here is some awesome foot-shooting. And a wonderful reveal of the sheer insanity of your party. You’re going to see a lot of analogies to lunatic asylums. There’s a reason for that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  26. Stonetools says:

    If I were Obama, I’d say, ” We tried to negotiate with the Republicans in good faith. I bent over backward and angered many of my guys by putting Social Security on the table, only to have the Republicans try and stab me in the back with this Plan B gambit. So I’m going back to my original $1.6 T offer. I know I can get every Democrat on that. I’m sure of MY votes. If 17 republicans want to join us, fine. If not, see you January 2″.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  27. MBunge says:

    @Moosebreath: “go over the cliff, and then negotiate tax cuts and spending increases from the results of it.”

    The big picture problem is that while some level of tax cuts will absolutely happen, I don’t think anyone has the slightest idea of what’s going to happen on the spending side. There’s a very good possibility that massive spending cuts are inevitable if we go over the cliff, because neither side is willing to yield on what the other wants. Will the GOP in the House vote for a bill that restores most of the defense cuts if it also restores most of the social spending?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. Just Me says:

    While I am not sure the senate or Obama would have supported the “Plan B” I am pretty certain that it would not have been seen as a victory for the GOP by the voters who will essentially blame the GOP for the bad things involving the fiscal cliff. If they cut a deal the GOP gets no credit and all blame if things go sour. If they go over the cliff the GOP was always going to lose.

    The GOP is currently in a “Lose no matter what you do” situation, and I think some of them would rather lose going over the cliff than passing plan B or really any other plan.

    I am not sure how passing plan B would have been seen as a victory-the GOP has already drawn the losing card on the fiscal cliff issue and they don’t have anything to play that doesn’t turn into victory for Obama. I think how they lose is currently the main debate not how to find a win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Geek, Esq. says:

    House Republicans just made Nancy Pelosi the de facto speaker of the House when it comes to the Fiscal Cliff, to preserve their purity on taxes.

    The only thing that will pass Congress to avert a slide down the fiscal slope is a bill that will attract numerous Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. Geek, Esq. says:

    And this is priceless from the National Review:

    Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a conservative with libertarian leanings, was stunned. As he walked back to his office, he said the episode was unfortunate, even though he was planning to vote against the measure. For the past month, since House leaders booted him off the budget committee, he has been railing against Boehner for his management style. But even Amash wondered whether the House GOP was making the right move. “Too many people in there were arguing that this thing is a tax increase, and I don’t think that’s what Boehner was trying to do,” he said. As much as he disagrees with Boehner’s approach, even he regretted how the speaker’s plan was killed.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336287/inside-meltdown-robert-costa?pg=2

    They cannot govern themselves, let alone the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stonetools:

    We tried to negotiate with the Republicans in good faith. I bent over backward and angered many of my guys by putting Social Security on the table, only to have the Republicans try and stab me in the back with this Plan B gambit.

    Who doesn’t know this wasn’t his expectation all along. He probably didn’t expect quite such a spectiacular burnout when Boehner tried to pass his fig leaf but I’m sure he’ll take and bank it. Either way this has put the progressive wing of the Democratic party back in the driving seat since to pass anything before or after December 31 is going to require all the Democrats to support it and they are going to be very resistant to any concessions. Obama and his guys must be chuckling this morning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. Moosebreath says:

    @Rob in CT:

    “The best we’re likely to get is a deal that most folks are ok with. We are, after all, talking about tax increases and spending cuts. Hardly anyone will be happy about it”

    No, the tax increases and spending cuts are the fiscal cliff. The bill after that will reduce taxes and increase spending in the short term, which will very popular.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  33. john personna says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Heh, that reminds me of someone I know here, Geek. People vote the way they think they “should,” but don’t really want the outcome they vote for.

    It is cognitive dissonance … more than accepted, ingrained.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  34. nitpicker says:

    There’s no way Plan B would have been a “massive win.” A talking point, perhaps, but, since it wouldn’t have passed the Senate nor signed into law by the president, I think it would have ended up only being slightly better for Republicans than it’s going to be. Most people see the Republicans as intransigent, foolhardy extremists and a bill that hurt a bunch of poor and elderly people–by cutting food stamps and Meals on Wheels–while relieving banks of much of their oversight would do little to belay that idea. The failure of Plan B will have almost no effect on how disgusted Americans are with that idiotic party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. I fear that the Republicans are not just failing the math test, but the governing test.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  36. David says:

    It’s pretty sad when a political party is more dysfunctional than the Kardashians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. john personna says:

    A very nice use of technology:

    Check your US tax rate for 2012—and every year since 1913

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Some of us have called them on opposing not just government, but governance, for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. @john personna: It has been going on for a while now, yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @john personna:

    Heh, that reminds me of someone I know here, Geek.

    To quote Absolutely Fabulous: “Just the one, dear?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  40. Rob in CT says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Oh, I see what you’re saying. The cliff resets things, and then you propose popular changes. I’m looking at the net change from present-day policy. While most folks don’t follow this as closely as we do, I rather doubt they will simply ignore the reset when they think about things. So while Obama & the Dems would be putting something popular on the table in comparison to the full “fiscal cliff,” when folks sit down to think in my general terms about “the government” I don’t think “very popular” is going to be the result.

    Like I said, a quibble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. george says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    The GOP is they Party of the Geezers and the Party of Medicare. They only talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare

    Good point about the Medicare – I’d forgotten about the “keep your government hands off of my medicare” crowd. Not so sure about social security, I think they’d be willing to cut that, if they could put the money in the miltary.

    And actually the Democrats haven’t exactly been big about cutting back the military either. So I suppose the reality is that both parties want big gov’t in military and medicare, and probably social security, but the Republicans like to pretend they’re for small government … perhaps the military is private enterprise in their eyes, as is medicare.

    Which pushes fiscal conservatives out of the GOP tent , since for those who don’t like deficits, the only solution is raising taxes, as neither party is going to cut spending.

    Oddly enough, social conservatives tend to be some of the biggest proponents of big gov’t – the drug war, morality and so forth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: @michael reynolds: My point isn’t that it was going to be passed into law or even that it was a great outcome for the Republicans even if it somehow was. Rather, it would have moved them from a position where they’re holding tax cuts for 98 percent of the country hostage to one where they’d have passed a tax cut for 99 percent of the country while sticking it to millionaires.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  43. grumpy realist says:

    Charles Pierce has a wonderful piece of analysis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  44. Scott F. says:

    @john personna: and @Steven L. Taylor:

    Isn’t it inevitable that governance is a problem for a party when a core philosophy of that party is that government is the problem?

    Smaller, efficient government does not have to equal minarchist feeble government, but for the GOP it now does. The results speak for themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  45. john personna says:

    @Scott F.:

    In the past I’ve accused them of being for bad governance, because it proves their point.

    Vote them all out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  46. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    No sir. See the above interactive on tax rates.

    That would not at all be “sticking it” to anyone, on historic terms.

    (Class warfare BS creeps in.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  47. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist

    a sprawling confederation of collected resentments

    Yeah, that about sums it up, Charlie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. mattb says:

    Rush Limbaugh’s “logic” on this was “brilliant” today. Basically his view is that by doing this, the Republicans are calling Obama’s bluff (if he really doesn’t want to go over the cliff), thus forcing him to make concessions or get blamed for going over the cliff.

    What made it even better is that “logic” followed Rush’s saying that “Elections have consequences and the Republicans lost the last election.”

    So basically, by shooting down their own plan and rejecting the President’s plan or any attempt at compromise, the Republican’s are going to shift all the blame onto Obama…

    Is he back on the drugs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  49. john personna says:

    @mattb:

    “We are completely irresponsible, and so all the blame goes on Obama!”

    Brilliant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  50. Rob in CT says:

    The toddler holds his breath, and if the adult does not force him to breathe, the adult is at fault. Yeah, it sort of works doesn’t it?

    Except for the part where 1 of our 2 political parties is acting like a toddler having a meltdown, that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  51. andrew says:

    How can the Republicans govern when they only have half of Congress and the other party doesn’t give a crap?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  52. stonetools says:

    Vote them all out

    This. At this point we can’t reason, bargain with, or reach out to these ideologues. We can only vote them out. And gerrymandering unfortunately makes this difficult.

    We should campaign in 2014 on “Taking back our country from the Tea Party.”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  53. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    or even that it was a great outcome for the Republicans even if it somehow was.

    So why claim passage would have been a massive win for Republicans?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  54. sam says:

    @andrew:

    You mean this party?

    There is no possible definition by which the Republicans can be considered an actual political party any more. They can be defined as a loose universe of inchoate hatreds, or a sprawling confederation of collected resentments, or an unwieldy conglomeration of self-negating orthodoxies, or an atonal choir of rabid complaint, or a cargo cult of quasi-religious politics and quasi-political religion, or simply the deafening abandoned YAWP of our bitter national Id. But they are not a political party because they have rendered themselves incapable of politics. [Source]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  55. wr says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: This is making me crazy. I can hear June Whitfield saying the line, but I can’t for the life of my remember what she’s talking about. A little AbFab context?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @wr: I am probably paraphrasing slightly.

    Edie (wearing designer not-actually-made-for-working-out-clothing): “There’s a thin person in here DYING to get out!”

    Mother: “Just the one, dear?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  57. Just Me says:

    Rush Limbaugh’s “logic” on this was “brilliant” today. Basically his view is that by doing this, the Republicans are calling Obama’s bluff (if he really doesn’t want to go over the cliff), thus forcing him to make concessions or get blamed for going over the cliff.

    Not sure what he is thinking.

    Polls pretty much indicate no matter how things turn out the GOP is getting the blame for anything that goes wrong.

    Over the fiscal cliff it is the GOP’s fault.

    Work out a deal and things go great, the GOP gets no credit and anything that goes wrong witll be the GOP’s fault.

    Basically the GOP is holding a whole hand of losing cards, and they aren’t going to come out of this fiscal cliff mess with any credit but with tons of blame.

    Obama holds the winning hand and the winning cards and he can choose to make a deal or go over the cliff and he wins.

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  58. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    The cards the GOP is holding isn’t a good analogy, as the GOP 1) requested the dealer give them those cards and 2) can exchange them for better cards at any time.

    This mess is entirely of their making, and their concern for only their own political fortunes, rather than the economy or the country as a whole is the problem.

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  59. Just Me says:

    Well the current mess is partially of their making. I would buy that it was all a GOP problem if the senate had bothered to pass a budget in the last 3 years.

    Either way I don’t think it matters if they pass a bill to avoid the cliff or not. The GOP isn’t going to get any credit or any kind of win, so this discussion is mostly redundant.

    I think Obama doesn’t want a deal-or at least he doesn’t want a deal that involves compromise on his part. If the GOP passed the plan B Obama was going to veto it anyway (that is if the senate bothered to vote on it).

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  60. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    I would buy that it was all a GOP problem if the senate had bothered to pass a budget in the last 3 years.

    Passing the non-binding budget resolution would not have changed anything.

    The GOP isn’t going to get any credit or any kind of win

    That’s because the GOP is unwilling to accept reality, negotiate in good faith, recognize a win and then take credit for it. The bind they are in politically is entirely of their own doing.

    I think Obama doesn’t want a deal-or at least he doesn’t want a deal that involves compromise on his part.

    Nonsense, as Obama has offered much more in the deal than he should have. Boehner and the GOP can’t even come to an agreement to pass anything on their own, let alone an actual compromise. Plan B was in no way something people should have taken seriously and the GOP still couldn’t pass it.

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  61. andrew says:

    “I think Obama doesn’t want a deal-or at least he doesn’t want a deal that involves compromise on his part. If the GOP passed the plan B Obama was going to veto it anyway (that is if the senate bothered to vote on it).”

    Bingo. This is the source of the problem. Democrats simply choose not to govern, and of course the media is their propaganda arm so Republicans get the blame. It’s government by chaos and it’s here to stay.

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  62. David M says:

    @andrew:

    This is the source of the problem. Democrats simply choose not to govern, and of course the media is their propaganda arm so Republicans get the blame. It’s government by chaos and it’s here to stay.

    What kind of media bubble is required to actually believe this? The fact that there are loony GOP voters that believe this nonsense does not relieve the GOP as a party from the responsibility of confronting the monster they created.

    …and the comment I was responding to has now been deleted.

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  63. superdestroyer says:

    @sam:

    Of course, the Democratic Party can easily be defined as very different groups that are joined together in their desire to get something from the government while sticking someone else with the bill. Why else would all of the Democratic Party groups support the idea of increasing wages while increasing immigration, both opening trade and raising tariffs, improving education while eliminating standards, improving people lives while increasing the number of single mothers.

    The biggest problems that the U.S. faces as it becomes a one party state is how to fund everything that the Democrats want the government to go and how to maintain the U.S. as a competitor in the global marketplace while the birthrate of educated, productive people goes well below replacement levels.

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  64. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Of course, the Democratic Party can easily be defined as very different groups that are joined together in their desire to get something from the government while sticking someone else with the bill.

    But of course we know this describes the Republican party, even more so.

    By cutting taxes and increasing spending they stick it to the grand kids.

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  65. Wr says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: ah, yes. That’s it. Thanks.

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  66. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    I think creating entitlements without thinking about the long term costs and costs growth is a great way the Democrats screw their grandchildren (not that many white Democrats will have grandchildren). If you look at the websites of Democratic groups like the Progressive caucus, the black caucus, and the Hispanic caucus, there is little thought about how future generations will pay for anything. Democrats are totally dependent only the governments ability to raise taxes in the future. It is easy to have a big tent when everyone is getting their share of the largess of the government.

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  67. An Interested Party says:

    Bingo. This is the source of the problem. Democrats simply choose not to govern, and of course the media is their propaganda arm so Republicans get the blame. It’s government by chaos and it’s here to stay.

    Not bingo…more like bull$hit…and this incessant whining about the media sounds like the talk of the bitterest losers…

    It is easy to have a big tent when everyone is getting their share of the largess of the government.

    Except the white people, right? They just pay all the bills in your world…

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  68. superdestroyer says:

    @Argon:

    Defense spending is used to fund civil servant who are very loyal Democratic Party voters, it funds minority set asides that create very loyal Democratic voters, and it fund a military where minorities are overrepresented in the support units. Those minorities are, of course, very loyal Democratic Party voters.

    What Republicans need to realize is that every additional dollar of government spending helps the Democrats no matter what the money is supposed to be spent on.

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