House To Vote On Budget That Makes A Government Shutdown More Likely

The House is going to make it more likely that we see a government shutdown at the end of the month.

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Later this week, the House will vote on a Continuing Resolution that defunds the Affordable Care Act and seems to raise the risk of a government shutdown:

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders — bowing to the demands of their conservative wing — will put to a vote on Friday a stopgap spending measure that would strip all funding from President Obama’s signature health care law, increasing the likelihood that the government will shut down in two weeks.

House leaders are hoping the vote on the defunding measure will placate conservatives once the Democratically controlled Senate rejects it. The House, they are betting, would then pass a stopgap spending measure unencumbered by such policy baggage and shift the argument to the debt ceiling, which must be raised by mid-October if the government is to avoid an economically debilitating default.

But publicly, Republican leaders say they are ready for a standoff with the Senate and will not easily give in.

“The law’s a train wreck,” Speaker John A. Boehner said of the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, on Wednesday morning. “It’s time to protect American families from this unworkable law.”

The decision to embrace a showdown on the health care law came after months of pushing by conservatives – and resistance by Republican leaders — to link it to the government financing measures that Congress must address this fall. In March, referring to the push to link funding for the health care law to an increase in the debt limit, Mr. Boehner asked: “Do you want to risk the full faith and credit of the U.S. government over Obamacare? That’s a very tough argument to make.”

Speaking to a national business group on Wednesday, Mr. Obama tried to raise the pressure on Congressional Republicans, saying that threats of a fiscal default or government shutdown by his political adversaries risk throwing the United States economy back into crisis.

Mr. Obama accused what he called “a faction” of Republicans in the House of trying to “extort” him by refusing to pass a stopgap spending measure or raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless the president’s health care plan is repealed.

“You have never in the history of the United States seen the threat of not raising the debt ceiling to extort a president or a governing party,” Mr. Obama told the group, the Business Roundtable. “It’s irresponsible.”

Mr. Obama called upon the business leaders to try to convince lawmakers to avoid the kind of “brinksmanship” that would lead to promises of “apocalypse” every few months.

“What I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip to make policy,” he said.

“I’m tired of it,” he added. “And I suspect you are too.”

At least for now, the decision by House Republicans to move ahead on a vote to link health care funding to a government financing measure has unified House Republicans, even as it has divided their Senate counterparts.

“I have not watched our conference so unified as we walk into this battle,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican whip.

Senators are not so sure. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, called gutting the health care law “a bridge too far” with Democrats in control of the White House and Senate. And, he added: “At the end of the day, a shutdown we own. Like it or not, we’re going to own it.”

For all this talk about Republican “unity” in the House, what we’re really looking at here is yet another in the long serious of votes against the Affordable Care Act that we’ve seen from the House since January 2011. Depending how you count them, there have been somewhere between 50 and 60 such votes in that period, none of which have gotten anywhere in the Senate. In this case, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Assuming the matter even comes up for a vote, the Senate will dispose of this matter quite handily and then we’ll be back where we were at the beginning, with no budget for the new Fiscal Year and the government facing a shutdown if Congress doesn’t come up with something. At that point, the GOP will have to ask itself whether it’s more important to continue scoring political points with the base over the Affordable Care Act, or to get a budget passed as required by law.

Politically speaking, there seems no way that Republicans can win this thing. Notwithstanding the fact that polling continues to show that the PPACA is wildly unpopular, and that there have been countless signs that implementation of the law is going to be filled with unforeseeable administrative problems, it seems fairly clear that the GOP is going to get blamed if the government shuts down, especially if it ends up being a prolonged crisis. However, on some level perhaps Boehner and company are playing the right game here. Let Ted Cruz and the Tea Party crowd have their Obamacare vote and, when it dies its inevitable death in the Senate, turn to them and ask “What’s next?” Because, any person who observes politics for more than a minute knows that there’s no way a the PPACA is going to be “defunded” or delayed as long as Democrats control the White House and the Senate. Of course, with just over ten days left until the Fiscal Year ends, they’re cutting things pretty close here.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    I hope the president tells the Republican delegation to f*** off, period. The Republican Party should not be rewarded for incessantly bad behavior. If they want ACA off the books then they should win the f***ing presidency and the f***ing senate, and repeal the legislation. Until then, the president should hold the line and not appease those f***ing slime.

    There. I feel somewhat better.

    Also, someday, perhaps in 2016 or maybe 2020, Republicans will win the presidency, and I wonder if congressional Democrats will behave as poorly toward that president as this group of House Republicans has toward this president? No, that would be wrong.

  2. mattbernius says:

    Because, any person who observes politics for more than a minute knows that there’s no way a the PPACA is going to be “defunded” or delayed as long as Democrats control the White House and the Senate.

    Actually it’s one step past that. Even if the Senate was to shift to Republican control, it’s unlikely that, at any time in the foreseeable future, either branch of Congress could muster the 2/3rd majority necessary to overturn a presidential veto.

  3. anjin-san says:

    It will be interesting to watch conservatives howl with rage as they lose access to the government services that they depend on. No doubt it will be all Obama’s fault.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    “…Notwithstanding the fact that polling continues to show that the PPACA is wildly unpopular, and that there have been countless signs that implementation of the law is going to be filled with unforeseeable administrative problems…”

    Today in political hack-dom.
    Did Jenos type that for you???

  5. James Pearce says:

    Notwithstanding the fact that polling continues to show that the PPACA is wildly unpopular

    Prove it.

    there have been countless signs that implementation of the law is going to be filled with unforeseeable administrative problems

    This must be conceded. From the part time rules to the individual mandate to how the exchanges will work, some legitimate questions have been raised.

    Not one of which has been addressed by this “shutdown the government to defund Obamacare” gambit. Instead of solutions, all we’re hearing from the GOP House majority is powerless mewling.

    Guess that’s what happens when your “leaders” are cowards who are afraid of the base.

  6. @C. Clavin:

    I didn’t get a chance to write about it yesterday, but you might want to check out this poll:

    A large number of Americans continue to adamantly oppose the nation’s new health-care law and believe it will produce damaging results, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    Forty-four percent of respondents call the health-care law a bad idea, while 31 percent believe it’s a good idea — virtually unchanged from July’s NBC/WSJ survey.

    By a 45 percent to 23 percent margin, Americans say it will have a negative impact on the country’s health-care system rather than a positive one.

    And 30 percent of respondents think it will have a negative impact on their families. Just 12 percent think it will be positive and a majority — 53 percent — don’t believe it will have an impact one way or another.

    Those numbers have been replicated elsewhere and are not easily dismissed.

  7. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    I look askance at any polling on the ACA because many of the respondents are getting their “information” from biased sources who find it profitable to scare people. Gold and seeds ain’t gonna buy themselves, you know.

    The only thing you’ve proved with that poll, Doug, is that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

  8. Rob in CT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, Conservative screaming, starting with “Death Panels” and so forth, has been pretty successful at scaring people into believing all sorts of nonsense about the PPACA.

    I concede that.

  9. marginoerra says:

    @C. Clavin: And isn’t it still true that more than 25% respond negatively to Obamacare pollsters because they don’t think the law went far enough (single payer. e.g.)? Am sure that roll out will have problems, in the same way that implementation of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicare Part D did.

  10. Todd says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In today’s society just because a large number of Americans “believe” something doesn’t actually tell us anything about what that belief is based on .. all polls really indicate is which side is more effective in their marketing to the uninformed and gullible.

    Just yesterday, there was news that a recent poll showed that the “Affordable Care Act” was about 14 points more popular/less unpopular with Republican voters than “Obamacare”.

  11. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Those numbers have been replicated elsewhere and are not easily dismissed.

    But those numbers are being interpreted in a deeply dishonest way. The majority of conservatives who disapprove of ACA think (right or wrong) that it will be a disaster for the economy & ought to be repealed. But the majority of liberals who disapprove of ACA do so because they don’t the the law goes far enough.

    That’s a critical point of difference that has been utterly lost on the GOP, as can be seen in the wide stories of Republican Congresscritters getting it in the face from their own constituents, who are telling them _not_ to interfere with it. It’s a miscalculation that could quite literally destroy the GOP in the next couple of years.

    Everyone with even a shred of sanity – Boehner in particular – can see that a) the GOP has zero chance of derailing ACA and b) if they shut down the government the GOP will be the only folks getting the blame. Unfortunately, their caucus has been filled with Tea Party Twits who believe that railing against the ACA (and anything with Obama’s name on it) is their only chance at keeping their own seats, regardless of what it does to the GOP’s chance at ever winning a national election again. They’re the political equivalents of 80s corporate raiders, who would buy up a company, strip out anything they could sell, and them dump the carcass (and the employees), moving on to the next fat target. Only now they’re doing it to the entire Republican party.

  12. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And the number of Republicans who support the “Affordable Care Act” is nearly double the number that support “Obamacare.”

    I can quite easily dismiss the opinions of uninformed idiots.

  13. pylon says:

    From the story on Doug’s poll that he relies on:

    “We’re going to get worse health care, and it’s going to increase the debt,” said one Republican-leaning female from North Carolina. “There are death panels in there, and they’re going to decide whether people get treatment or not.”

    Jeebus

    Others remain confused about what’s in it. “I don’t know personally how it’s going to affect me,” said another GOP-leaning opponent of the law from Ohio.

    Good thing he opposes it though.

    Still, most Americans say they don’t have a good grasp of what the law entails. Thirty-four percent say they don’t understand the law very well, and another 35 percent say they understand it only “some.”

    “Call any insurance company and ask them any question about the new health-care law, and they don’t understand,” said a New Jersey Republican man who opposes the law.

    That’s compared with 30 percent who understand it either “very well” or “pretty well.”

    NBC’s Domenico Montanaro looks at the upcoming – and familiar – congressional fights on government funding, the debt ceiling, and defunding Obamacare.

    As it turns out, that 30 percent has more positive opinions about the health-care law (42 percent good idea, 45 percent bad idea), versus the 34 percent who don’t understand it very well (17 percent good idea, 44 percent bad idea).</em>

  14. pylon says:

    And do the fears of the people who don’t understand the law stand up?

    Indeed, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study of 17 states plus the District of Columbia found that rates in the health-care marketplaces – open to enrollment beginning on Oct. 1 – were lower than expected.

  15. Todd says:

    As for the potential government shutdown, I find myself in the strange position of hoping that we do have one here in a couple of weeks.

    Although it would be a messy way to do it, with too much collateral damage, letting the Conservatives shut down the goverment, and possibly force Speaker Boehner to eventually pass a CR with Democratic votes, may be the best hope for the Sequester to go away.

    … and from my “selfish” point of view, I’d really love to see the sequester go away, so that I could be get a post-military job at one of the numerous locations that I know need qualified weather forecasters, yet aren’t allowed to hire right now because of the sequester driven hiring freeze.

  16. grumpy realist says:

    Which is weird, because when individual parts of the healthcare program are tested, they all poll very well: no more annual or lifetime limits, able to have kids on parents’ healthcare plan until age 26, no more “pre-existing conditions” guff.

    I’m one of those against Obamacare because it doesn’t Go Far Enough. I want a National Health Care System with a minimum level for anyone who signs up for it. (And yes, we will have to have some form of healthcare rationing and a Nanny State telling you to eat your vegetables.) For those who don’t want to be on it, let’s deregulate the rest of the system completely, and let all the “proud patriots” live with what they get.. No Medicare. They can go out and try to get support for their aging, diabetic fat asses all by their little selves. You guys want the results of the Free Market? Fine. We’ll rub your noses in it.

  17. Tillman says:

    I want them to shut down the government so we can at last get this over with. This Congress has been nothing but a build-up of events towards payoffs that never happen.

  18. george says:

    It is in fact a lousy system, which won’t really help a lot of people. Obama and the Democrats should have gone for a mixed public-private system such as France and Germany have – that would help the majority of the population.

    This act is possibly better than nothing (luckily I’m dual citizen living in Canada, so I’ve got a public system, which while it isn’t perfect, is much better than what I had when I was living in the US, though not as good as the French system which has the benefits of both private and public health), but not by that much. Some compromise solutions really aren’t worth much.

  19. Todd says:

    @grumpy realist:

    If we were a rational society, we would have simply expanded Medicare to cover everybody, and raised taxes enough to pay it. This would almost certainly be less expensive for nearly everyone than the health insurance they have now. (although you might have a hard time convincing most people, as many have no clue how much their current insurance actually costs .. and/or how much the governement already subsidizes it through the tax code)

    But alas, we (quite obviously) don’t live in a rational society.

  20. James Pearce says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Those numbers have been replicated elsewhere and are not easily dismissed.

    Or easily understood:

    Forty-four percent of respondents call the health-care law a bad idea, while 31 percent believe it’s a good idea

    This is your justification for calling it “wildly unpopular?”

    That’s like calling Pepsi “wildly unpopular” because 13% more people prefer Coke.

    And as Gold Star for Robot Boy mentions, Obamacare has been subjected to a disinformation campaign that renders the poll results on ACA suspect, especially considering that some ACA programs poll very high outside the context of the ACA. What’s happening here is that people are expressing their disapproval of Obama, not necessarily his health plan.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    @ Doug…
    In almost every poll I’ve seen…and this goes back some time…about half of those opposed to the PPACA want it improved…not eliminated. Hardly the same thing as wildly unpopular.
    The go-to guy for Healthcare on the web is Jonathan Cohn. If you want an intelligent look at the law you might check it out. Being part of the mindless “Shrink Government” contingent…you probably don’t care.
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/114740/obamacare-polling-badly-gop-governors-embracing-it

  22. rudderpedals says:

    Building additional roadblocks to ACA hastens the day when those polls will overwhelmingly show demand Medicare for all.

  23. Grewgills says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    So 44 to 31 is ‘wildly unpopular’?

  24. David M says:

    To be fair, the death panels and government takeover of the entire health care system are pretty unpopular. Of course, the proper response to that is to point and laugh at the morons, not take their concerns seriously.

  25. al-Ameda says:

    To be fair, Republican complaints that ACA is unpopular and cannot be implemented is analogous to those guys who arrive uninvited at a party, then proceed to punch holes in the walls, vomit on the couch, and urinate on the front lawn, then leave while complaining that the place is a dump and it smells.

    It is a sick sad joke that those who have done everything in their power to not cooperate and not proceed with implementation, are now pointing to their own petulance as a reason to repeal ACA.

  26. John D'Geek says:

    @mattbernius:

    Looking only slightly above your quote, we have:

    However, on some level perhaps Boehner and company are playing the right game here. Let Ted Cruz and the Tea Party crowd have their Obamacare vote and, when it dies its inevitable death in the Senate, turn to them and ask “What’s next?”

    There are several articles on BI (which I’m too lazy to look up just now) that go to that point. Speaker can’t get Ted Cruz & co. to shut up until the house passes the bill. So pass the bill, let it die in flames, and then actually try to get the work done.

    That’s not a bad plan — in fact, I’d guess it’s the only plan.

  27. William Wilgus says:

    @george: It’s 100% better than NO system.

  28. Neil Hudelson says:

    and that there have been countless signs that implementation of the law is going to be filled with unforeseeable administrative problems

    I might just be a grammar Nazi here, but that sentence does not logically work. Either the problems have been foreseen, or we don’t know if there are any problems at all…because they are unforeseeable.

    You can’t see signs of an unforeseeable force.

  29. MikeSJ says:

    Grumpy Realist:
    For those who don’t want to be on it, let’s deregulate the rest of the system completely, and let all the “proud patriots” live with what they get.. No Medicare. They can go out and try to get support for their aging, diabetic fat asses all by their little selves. You guys want the results of the Free Market? Fine. We’ll rub your noses in it.

    To be fair I’d let those people back on Medicare provided they paid a fine to re-access the program.

    Oh yeah, they’d also have to get a tattoo of Obama…

  30. James Pearce says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    You can’t see signs of an unforeseeable force.

    Ha! So true……

    To be fair, though, there will be unforeseeable administration problems. The right has just foreseen that they don’t really want to fix them.

  31. bill says:

    c’mon kids, it’ not gonna happen. they’re going to do the same back & forth like they did the last 2 (at least) times and then come to some sort of agreement and pretend all’s well, until a week before Christmas. then it’s wash/rinse/repeat.

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @bill: Methinks you charitably assume more intelligence from the guys running the train than they have demonstrated so far.

    As far as I can see, what we have is a bunch of politicians terrified of being sandbagged from the right when they next run, so they’re scurrying to abase themselves before the noisiest of their base before the gravy train runs out. And then we’ve got Cruz, who wants to demagogue himself into a position of power and doesn’t care how much damage he does to the Republican Party while doing it.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    The organizations talking about defunding Obamacare know it can’t happen…but they are raking in money from Tea Baggers.
    Same thing with Cruz.
    Just like Jim Bakers flock…the faithful are being fleeced.
    Republicanists are such suckers for this ideological nonsense.

  34. Jc says:

    @ Doug, I remember the Iraq and Afghan wars not being so popular among the population, was there any threat to stop funding those and shut down the government, or anything along those lines? This is embarrassing. I have to listen to old people on Medicare, who like Medicare, rail on the PPACA (Obamer’care) like it is some master socialist program that will destroy businesses and hurt everyone…when the program they favor is more socialist than the one they oppose. I also remember the bailout not being so popular among many as well, remember bailing out those private banks that f***ed us? Apparently that faded from memory as nothing of any substance has passed there either, so you had people railing back then against the bailout, then after the bailout was done we wanted to pass a few common sense laws to help make sure that doesn’t happen again, then those who railed against the bailout railed against railing in those they were against bailing out – WTF world do I live in now? I am with the 1st comment, get control of the house and senate and white house if you want to overturn the law and kill it, like the control they had in the 2000’s where they could have reformed medicare like they talk about now, but instead expanded it and increased its costs…- This is why we need term limits for these congressional “leaders”, for exactly these types of reasons…

  35. Neo says:

    “Now, this debt ceiling — I just want to remind people in case you haven’t been keeping up — raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress. It’s a basic function of [the Executive to be] making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved [, but it’s the job of the Congress to reign in this spending].”

    … but Congress must keep spending, ignoring those ‘crazy’ Tea Party folks, who would have Congress do her job.

  36. Barry says:

    @anjin-san: “It will be interesting to watch conservatives howl with rage as they lose access to the government services that they depend on. No doubt it will be all Obama’s fault. ”

    This is the big thing – Obama should do everything within the law to make sure that the Tea Party eats it first and foremost.

  37. Barry says:

    Doug: “and that there have been countless signs that implementation of the law is going to be filled with unforeseeable administrative problems”

    Doug, this is a foolish comment on your part. Of course there will be unforeseeable administrative problems; there will be such in anything more complicated than going out for dinner and a movie. The real question is how well things are going.

  38. C. Clavin says:

    “…… but Congress must keep spending, ignoring those ‘crazy’ Tea Party folks, who would have Congress do her job…”

    No…not at all.
    Congress could stop spending.
    We don’t need Air Traffic Control
    We don’t need Food Inspections.
    We don’t need Cops, Teachers, Firefighters.
    We don’t need Hospitals.
    We don’t need Schools.
    We don’t need Roads, Bridges, or Tunnels.
    We don’t need Parks.
    We don’t need to provide a dignified old age for our Seniors.
    We don’t need to help the sick and the down-todden.
    We don’t need Defense.
    We don’t need Scientific Research.
    Congress should just stop spending.

  39. Rafer Janders says:

    @pylon:

    “We’re going to get worse health care, and it’s going to increase the debt,” said one Republican-leaning female from North Carolina. “There are death panels in there, and they’re going to decide whether people get treatment or not.”

    What’s that woman even complaining about? Is she complaining that we’re going to “increase the debt” (which we’d do by spending even more money, even though the US already spends more on healthcare than the rest of the world) or that it’s going to deny care (“death panels”) and thereby reduce the debt?

    If you deny care via death panels, after all, you’ll spend less money on care, and thereby reduce the deficit (well, in the real world no you won’t, but this is the way it should work in her imagination). So she’s simultaneously complaining about spending too much money (“increase the deficit”) and not spending enough (“death panels”). I guess she wants everyone to get unlimited care but for it not to cost anything….

  40. LaMont says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Yes, this has become typical republican behavior;

    “The government is terrible! – Now watch while we demonstrate!!!!”

    It would make for a great joke if it were not actually true…sad indeed!

  41. C. Clavin says:

    Yglesias is up with a post about Tea Baggers…sponsored by the Kochs…trying to pursuade young people to not have insurance.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/09/19/uncle_sam_obamacare_gynecologist_ad.html
    His take…that trying to convince anyone that having no insurance is better than having Obamacare is an uphill push…is interesting enough.
    But I think the more fascinating view is; when did Conservatives decide that encouraging irresponsibility was a good thing? Conservatism used to be about personal responsibility. That, in fact, is why Conservatives came up with Obamacare in the first place…to provide a common-sense financial incentive to promote personal responsibility. Yet here are the Koch Brothers pushing the exact opposite…promoting personal irresponsibility.
    You call yourself a Conservative? The Democratic Party is the Conservative Party. Embrace it.

  42. KM says:

    All the polls show is essentially brand-name recognition reations. Use words like “Obamacare” and nobody likes it since they are repeatedly that “Obamacare is bad”. Use words that reflect content rather then title, like no more per-existing condition denial, and approval shoots through the roof. People like what’s in it but not the whole package as they are repeatedly bombarded with negative imagery regarding the whole thing.

    This reminds me of the commercials/experiments where people try products blind and have to state with they like better. They are usually surprised at what they pick as they wouldn’t have tried that brand name in the first place. Try it – give someone a different brand (Maxwell instead of Folgers, for instance) and see what happens. Most of the time they won’t even notice a change. People tend to have irrational brand loyalty and preference to a Name and its very difficult to get people to switch (as any retailer will tell you).

    The polls reflect marketing, that’s all. And Republicans, like it or not, are VERY good at marketing their ideas to their constituents. It says nothing as to whether ACA will be a decent product based off what polls say.

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @C. Clavin: It’s probably not going to get that far. We females have pounded into our brains the risks of not having gyn exams, especially from an early age. You only need to have one “abnormal” Pap smear and you will be very careful the rest of your life.
    Plus, the exams have become far more—well, I won’t call them comfortable, but by comparison to what they used to be like, far easier to tolerate.

  44. C. Clavin says:

    @ Grumpy…
    I must not pay very close attention…I assumed you are a male. My apologies!!!
    Yeah…that was part of Yglesias’ post, and I agree.
    Like most of the Republican battles these days…it just doesn’t make common-sense.

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    “We’re going to get worse health care, and it’s going to increase the debt,” said one Republican-leaning female from North Carolina. “There are death panels in there, and they’re going to decide whether people get treatment or not.”

    If ever there was a need for a self-service Death Panel …

  46. Stan says:

    Niccolò Machiavelli says

    “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”

    Beats Maureen Dowd by a country mile.

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @C. Clavin: Actually, I’ll take that as a compliment. (Yeah, I know–the feminists will shoot me.)

    Not to derail the topic of the thread entirely, but you’ve given me the idea for a pseudo-Turing machine test: can one normally tell from internet communication whether the individual on the other end is female or male? (Modulo obvious remarks providing giveaways.)

    (Actually, a lot of us with scientific backgrounds find the woo-woo aspects of radical feminists to be a load of dingo’s kidneys. My (female) roommate–majored in Materials Science–had a ding-dong drawn out fight with one of her (female) law professors who kept insisting that interpreting the world according to Newtonian physics was a creation of the patriarchy.)

  48. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    My reaction is utter disgust that the party that likes to pass laws mandating transvaginal probe ultrasounds as an abortion roadblock then cuts an ad trying to scare young women out of getting insurance for routine medical care by… claiming creepy Uncle Sam is going to assault you with a Pap smear.

    GOP DELENDA EST. They lie constantly, about everything.

  49. Rob in CT says:

    Huh, I have a comment in moderation. I have no idea why. I managed to not use naughty words (for once!).

  50. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I find it’s hard to tell unless something like healthcare comes up (or the poster volunteers the info), but a general assumption that you’re talking a guy on a comment section like this is probably going to make you right about, oh, say 75% of the time?

  51. anjin-san says:

    “There are death panels in there”

    My mother has been having some serious memory issues, and I’ve been helping her with end of life and estate planning so that we can make sure her wishes are recorded and carried out.

    Does that make me a death panel of one?

  52. anjin-san says:

    @ Todd

    I know need qualified weather forecasters

    Sounds like more of that hippie science BS.

  53. Todd says:

    @KM: Polls about the components of Obamacare show typically American results:

    Most people like the parts that give them something.

    Most people don’t like the parts about how we pay for it. (the more likely they are to personally pay for it, the less they like it … “shockingly”)

    Where they fall on the ideological spectrum will probably determine how they feel about the good stuff that other people get (even if they get it too). Whether, or even how much they will personally pay for it does not necessarily correlate to their resistance to other people benefiting … e.g. there are plenty of rich liberals who are in favor of “socialized medicine” and even more conservatives of modest means, who none-the-less can’t stand the idea of “freeloaders” (usually accompanied by the mental image of someone with a darker complexion) benefiting from the program.

  54. C. Clavin says:

    In my defense…because I am a wee bit embarrassed…grumpy is an adjective that does carry a male connotation.
    John McCain is grumpy.
    Grumpy old men…is a popular idiom.
    And of course Grumpy was a male dwarf.
    In any case…my bad!!!

  55. rachel says:

    @grumpy realist: Wait, what? Newtonian physics is… What?!

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @rachel: I kid you not. My roommate didn’t think of asking her whether quantum physics was therefore “feminine physics.”

    Some of the radical feminists seem to have cobbled together their mindsets from the worst of Germaine Greer, Lacan, and the loopier New Age religions. As Barney Frank said in another context: “it’s like trying to explain General Relativity to a table.”

    (I find this all particularly amusing because one of the sweetest, grandmotherly women I know is also one of the world’s top scientists in solid-state physics.)

  57. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    RadFem is crazytown, as far as I can tell, because what was once “Radical” feminism is pretty obvious to most of us nowadays. In order to remain “Radical” one had to push out into crazytown. It’s sort of like what happened to the GOP, actually.

  58. C. Clavin says:

    “…I kid you not. My roommate didn’t think of asking her whether quantum physics was therefore “feminine physics…”

    I was going to type…”Well of course…because no one understands it/them.”

    Then I decided not to…………………

  59. mattbernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    My (female) roommate–majored in Materials Science–had a ding-dong drawn out fight with one of her (female) law professors who kept insisting that interpreting the world according to Newtonian physics was a creation of the patriarchy.

    Wow. You must have gone to school during the “science wars” phase of second wave feminism (late 70’s-late 80’s). To be fair, there were a lot of feminists who thought the folks arguing against Science were completely crazy (see Donna Harraway for one).

  60. Moosebreath says:

    And as if this is not crazy enough, Boehner is now requesting Obama negotiate raising the debt ceiling with Harry Reid.

    “The same day he castigated Obama for being more willing to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin than Congress, Boehner said he had no intention of returning to the one-on-one grand bargain talks he pursued with Obama in 2011.

    “I’m not doing that,” Boehner told reporters. “The House is going to pass a bill. We expect the Senate to pass a bill. I would guess the president would engage with the majority leader over there if he so desires,” the Speaker added, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).”

    I would expect those negotiations to go something like:

    Obama: I would like a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling.
    Reid: OK. Let’s have a beer.

  61. C. Clavin says:

    @ Moosebreath…
    Reid is a Mormon…probably doesn’t drink beer.
    Otherwise…yup.

  62. Moosebreath says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Reid would have a non-alcoholic beer (like Biden at the Beer Summit).

  63. C. Clavin says:

    @ Moosebreath…
    Yuk….

  64. grumpy realist says:

    @C. Clavin: Zing!

    I think it was Mermin (of Ashcroft & Mermin fame) who said “anyone who doesn’t get good and worried about quantum mechanics isn’t a good physicist.”

    Then there’s Kip Thorne’s comment: “not only is the universe stranger than we imagine; it may be stranger than we CAN imagine.”

  65. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “A large number of Americans continue to adamantly oppose the nation’s new health-care law and believe it will produce damaging results, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. ”

    And it’s been a long-time fact that many oppose the law because they feel that it doesn’t go far enough.

  66. ElizaJane says:

    @Todd:

    Do you (or does anybody) have a link to this poll that showed that twice as many Republicans support the “Affordable Care Act” than “Obamacare”?

  67. Todd says:

    @ElizaJane:

    Do you (or does anybody) have a link to this poll that showed that twice as many Republicans support the “Affordable Care Act” than “Obamacare”?

    ElizaJane, I’ll admit I had just read about it, but I certainly didn’t say TWICE as much … it was a couple of percentage points.

    I can’t say for sure, but I think the article I read was referring to this FoxNews poll (question 34):
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2013/09/17/fox-news-poll-68-percent-concerned-about-their-health-care-under-new-law/

  68. ElizaJane says:

    @Todd:

    Thanks. It’s still 5% difference, not insignificant.