Radicals in Washington

If one considers oneself to be conservative, ask if the the actions of the GOP at the moment conform to that term..

RobespierreI know this has been said before, but it needs to be said again:  the actions of the Republican Party at the moment are not conservative—not by any definition of the term.  One of the basic tenets of conservative political thought is that change should be incremental and another is that the unintended consequences of governmental actions should be a major concern for policymakers.

The government shutdown tactics, and especially holding the debt ceiling hostage, are not prudent, well-considered notions.  These are not even the moves of reformers.   And while there is a certain level of certainty about the short-term consequences of a shutdown, we really do not know what consequences will emerge from a protracted debt ceiling crisis.

Beyond the specifics of the policy choices, the truly radical aspect of this ongoing confrontation is the transformation of the legislative process into one that is handled not by winning elections and negotiating and compromising within the established process, but rather one that will exploit whatever deadline it can to force concessions from political opponents in the context of manufactured, yet still very real, crisis.

This subverts elections.  This subverts the legislative process and the institutions of the US government.  This subverts the constitution.  This is not conservative.  This is radical.  This will have long-term, unforeseen, and unintended consequences.  As such, this is about far more than the PPACA (or monuments or whatever else is being affected in the short term).

Further, these are not even intellectual radicals who believe that they have applied reason to the situation and have designed a better future.  No, these are pyromaniacs who are saying “let it burn” and that we’ll sort out what is left over in the ashes.

This is not intellectual.  This is not responsible.  This is certainly not conservative.

This is also a reactionary element here in terms of policy goals.  Many within the faction driving this crisis seem to want to roll back the welfare state in general and to  return the federal government to the 19th Century.  Reactionary goals through radical politics, I suppose.  It makes for an interesting phenomenon for study, but it is a pretty lousy model for governance.

I write this not to try and persuade what a friend and commenter called the “Incorruptibles”* in the audience, nor to those who already agree with me, but rather to hopefully get through to the persuadable in the audience who are caught up in the partisan nature of this confrontation.  Stop looking at this as Democrats v. Republicans, or as Boehner v. Obama.  Set aside for a moment your dislike for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.  Don’t fall from the petty point-scoring snark that seems to be the mainstream of political “discourse” and think through the clear consequences of allowing this tactic to become normalized.

Certainly, if one considers oneself to be conservative, ask if the the actions of the GOP at the moment conform to that term.  It is a fair question.

And by the way, I will note that, of course, Democrats in this process are also playing politics and saying and doing political things.  However, it has to be clear, despite whatever talking points one has read or heard, that the House GOP caucus is directly responsible for the situation.  They control the key veto gate in this process and until they are willing to open it, we are in this position (and this is true about the debt ceiling as well).

Update:  It should be noted that one can wish to repeal the PPACA, or engage in any number of other policy goals.  However, the issue at hand is not even the debate over policy, but rather the method of policy change being attempted.  This all has the potential to go well beyond the current moment.

*”That’s a deliberate nod to Robespierre, who got that nickname because of his unwaveringly rigid application of his revolutionary principles. For the Incorruptibles, compromise is a bad thing. The fact that the US federal government cannot function without compromise is less important than fidelity to principles. The Incorruptibles don’t trust other Republicans, just as the Jacobins didn’t trust the Girondists and their mushy dedication to the creation of a new society.” ( link)

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Perhaps the appropriate term for what American conservatives are trying to do is a “Radical Restoration”?

  2. Of course, it’s also the case that the meaning of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” have changed significantly over the years.

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    “Certainly, if one considers oneself to be conservative, ask if the the actions of the GOP at the moment conform to that term. It is a fair question.”
    —————————-

    “Stop making sense..” -Talking Heads

  4. gVOR08 says:

    As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; in actual practice conservatism comes down to protecting and enhancing the wealth and power of the currently wealthy and powerful. The Koch bros and their co-conspirators are funding and driving this shutdown to protect their wealth. At least that’s how they see it. There’s a fair chance that they’re wrong and are hurting themselves as much as anyone else. But in their minds they must “win”.

  5. Surreal American says:

    Whenever I come across the term “Radical Republicans”, I think of this guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaddeus_Stevens

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    Thank you professor Taylor for this wonderful historical look at the present situation. What we are experiencing now is nothing less than The Civil War Part II. Make no mistake, this is a war and one the country may not survive. Obama has refused to negotiate with people who won’t negotiate only demand – who won’t listen only talk.

  7. @gVOR08: You make a point: part of the goal is the conservation of the dominant power distribution. In that sense one could argue that the goals have conservative origins. The methods, however, are a different matter.

  8. Gavrilo says:

    “Radical.” “Holding the debt ceiling hostage.” “Subverts the constitution.” “Pyromaniacs.” “Not intellectual.” “Not responsible.” “Reactionary.”

    And, a deliberate nod to Robespierre.

    I’ll be careful not to fall for the “petty point-scoring snark.”

  9. greg says:

    BOOM! Nailed it Steven, great post.

  10. john personna says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Hmm, I thought conservatives were fond of the “duck test.”

  11. Ron,

    With all due respect, a Civil War analogy is about as silly as a Holocaust analogy would be. There are people in Congresss who represent fellow citizens who disagree with you, that’s reality. Treating them like an enemy will accomplish nothing.

    And, yes, I’d say the same exact thing to a member of the Tea Party.

  12. legion says:

    The Koch bros and their co-conspirators are funding and driving this shutdown to protect their wealth. At least that’s how they see it.

    That’s the problem; they don’t believe the literal destruction of the US economy will harm their wealth. I don’t know if they’re right or not, but Prof Taylor’s references to the French Revolution may become far more relevant in the next couple of years…

  13. Woody says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Since 1995:

    “Conservative” = whatever is currently approved by News Corp + strong, admirable, powerful (yet constantly under insidious siege and thus heroic)

    “Liberal” = whatever the opposite of “conservative” is at a given moment + weak, immoral, loathsome (yet constantly threatening, and thus an existential threat)

    (Certainly, there is a mirror image of this from MSNBC – in the evening only – , but in terms of audience and influence on professional pols and activists, it’s a mighty small mirror)

  14. @Gavrilo: Except, that I am not being snarky. The only word/phrase in that list that could even be accused of being snarky is “pyromaniacs” and that is not an attempt at snark (definition here), but rather at metaphorical language. I am not attempting to be snide or sarcastic.

    The rest is clearly not snark. The GOP does intend to hold the debt ceiling hostage and the overall goal is to subvert the basic legislative process created by the constitution by forcing huge concessions as the result of a manufactured crisis.

    Tell me how I am wrong, rather than, well, snarking at me. (You are, in fact, being snide here).

  15. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I agree that fears of a real civil war are overblown, but a number of writers have been noting parallels in current radicalization to the pre-CW era.

    (Overblown because as one obstacle, today’s radicals are widely distributed, and not concentrated [with] any clean, separable, boundary.)

  16. @Ron Beasley: @Doug Mataconis: @john personna:

    I will confess, I find Civil War analogies to be overblown.

    However, there is a clear element of a neo-nullification doctrine here, so that parallels are not entirely off.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @Gavrilo: Steven’s not the only writer who has noted the semblance to Robespierre.

    So has the Financial Times. Today the main headline was China and Japan warning us on defaulting on the debt.

    What these idiots are doing is deliberately trashing the validity of the dollar as a reserve currency.

    We’re dealing with a set of three-year olds who insist on their right to sit in a puddle of gasoline and play with matches.

  18. Mikey says:

    @Doug Mataconis: True, but the meaning of “conservative” hasn’t changed so much it would include what the House GOP and Tea Party are pushing for today.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    How did things work out for the incorruptible Monsieur Robespierre? Toddling over to Wikipedia to see. Hmmm. Ooooh. Ouch. Yeah, that shave was a bit too close.

  20. Franklin says:

    Certainly, if one considers oneself to be conservative, ask if the the actions of the GOP at the moment conform to that term.

    To which they might reply, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

  21. Franklin says:

    (Not that I agree that they are somehow “defending” “liberty”, by the way, but that might be what they imagine in their heads.)

  22. @Mikey: Indeed and exactly.

  23. Ron Beasley says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    However, there is a clear element of a neo-nullification doctrine here, so that parallels are not entirely off.

    That was my point – they are trying to nullify a Democratic election. When you come down to it the Civil War was all about nullification.

  24. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Ok, Dr. Taylor. If the Republicans are so radical and unreasonable, why is it that the President is the only one who has stated that he will not negotiate? Why has the Senate refused to vote on the numerous appropriations bills that have been passed by the House that would virtually end the shutdown? Why did Harry Reid have to apologize for his violation of Senate rules due to his inflammatory personal attacks on Republicans? Why do Democrats routinely refer to Republicans as “terrorists, hostage-takers, arsonists” etc. instead of recognizing that they are elected officials with constituents that they are answerable to?

    (See, I made all those points, and I didn’t even have to compare Democrats to Stalin.)

  25. john personna says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The Democrats have a very fair offer on the table. The clean CR offers no special advantage to Democrats or to Republicans.

    Only a fool would say “that doesn’t matter, the offer doesn’t matter.”

  26. john personna says:

    (As an aside, you may remember that a few days ago the meme machine was saying “the clean CR gives Obama everything he wants!” That meme died quickly, because it was transparently false.)

  27. Dave Schuler says:

    The term I’ve been using over at my blog has been “Right Bolsheviks”.

  28. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    What is there to negotiate about raising the debt ceiling or the 6 week continuing resolution? Both are very straightforward bills that really should be passed immediately so they can move on to the entire FY2014 budget.

    Why is negotiating over those two things worth shutting down the government? Why isn’t the entire FY2014 budget the priority?

  29. @Gavrilo: The basic answer is straight-forward: dating back several years now, the House GOP has used deadlines to create crises in attempts to dictate policy outcomes that they cannot achieve via the normal process. The current round is the most dramatic, with an even more dramatic one to come (the debt ceiling). The current round is the House GOP, driven by a minority faction therein, who wants to subvert the legislative process by making demands that legislation be either repealed, defunded, or delayed or else they will not vote to continue to fund the government.

    This is, by definition, legislative blackmail/extortion (hence, those terms). It is literally holding the funding of the government hostage. In a hostage situation, the hostage takers are those who bear the responsibility for the hostage crisis, not the other parties involved. It is for this reason, too, that the word “terrorist” is flung about, although given its place in the zeitgeist, I would prefer to avoid it.

    I used the word “pyromaniac” and others have used “arsonists” because the metaphorical effect of not raising the debt ceiling is the burning to the ground of the economy. This is no small thing, and warrants the deployment of strong language.

    I am unfamiliar with the details of the Reid situation, but if he was inflammatory on the floor and had to apologize, I suppose that at least he did apologize. However, in the overall discussion being had, I am less concerned about lack of decorum by a Senator (even a prominent one) than I am with the long-term implication of the current strategy being deployed by the House GOP.

    The bottom line is this: you can pretend that other actors are responsible for not capitulating to demand, but the origins of this crisis are clear and to pretend otherwise is denial.

    Tell me, for example, how we would be in shutdown if it was not for the direct actions of the House GOP.

    Also: if we have a debt ceiling crisis, who is going to create it? And how?

  30. john personna says:

    @David M:

    I’m sure Gavrilo just thinks this is a debt negotiation, and in a debt negotiation Obama always gives out presents. His refusal this time is confusing.

    Which is of course why many of us opposed the presents in earlier cycles of debt negotiation. It was bad game strategy in a multiple game series.

  31. Modulo Myself says:

    MIchael Lind has a pretty good take on the Tea Party:

    The political strategy of the Newest Right, then, is simply a new strategy for the very old, chiefly-Southern Jefferson-Jackson right. It is a perfectly rational strategy, given its goal: maximizing the political power and wealth of white local notables who find themselves living in states, and eventually a nation, with present or potential nonwhite majorities.

    Basically, they are the big fish of tiny ponds who fear deeply losing their ponds.

  32. Ben says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Why has the Senate refused to vote on the numerous appropriations bills that have been passed by the House that would virtually end the shutdown? – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/radicals-in-washington//#comments

    The Spending bills passed by the house would fund everything the Republicans like, and nothing more. Conspicuously absent from those bills are the funds for Obamacare. Why do you think the Democrats would fall for the Republicans defund-by-piecemeal trick?

  33. mantis says:

    @Gavrilo:

    . If the Republicans are so radical and unreasonable, why is it that the President is the only one who has stated that he will not negotiate?

    Democrats im Congress tried to negotiate the budget in conference for 7 months, but Republicans refused until they had a gun to our heads. Your question is dishonest.

  34. SKI says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There are people in Congresss who represent fellow citizens who disagree with you, that’s reality. Treating them like an enemy will accomplish nothing.

    Where I think this approach fails is that it is more than they disagree on policy choices. The neo-Birchers (for that is really what they are – the revival of a long-present strain of Amwerican polictics) challenge the legitimacy of those they disagree with. Hence why they can’t compromise. If it was a policy choice dispute, losing wouldn’t carry with it the horrific consequences the Tea Party GOP ascribe to it.

  35. Joel says:

    I’m glad you’ve drawn attention to the dangerous precedent this is setting. We’re supposed to have three branches that check and balance each, but this is half a branch stomping on the others because it doesn’t get its way. Anyone who is worried about judicial activism or the increasing power of the executive branch (these are valid concerns, but I would add there’s also right-wing judicial activism and Obama is hardly the first instance of executive power creep) should be bothered by this legislative move for the same reasons.

  36. matt bernius says:

    If the Republicans are so radical and unreasonable, why is it that the President is the only one who has stated that he will not negotiate?

    This comment only works if one ignore the broader history of this and previous debt conflicts.

    In the current conflict, the fact is that the two side had *already* negotiated this summer, with Democrats compromise concession to continue funding at the proposed Republican House Levels (including the ACA) in return for the Republican compromise concession of funding the ACA. The House Republicans then broke the deal and demanded further concessions without giving anything in return beyond the originally agreed upon deal.

    At some point, when one side is only taking and refusing to give, the only option is to stop negotiating.

  37. C. Clavin says:

    “…Of course, it’s also the case that the meaning of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” have changed significantly over the years…”

    Right…because both sides do it.

  38. john personna says:

    So it’s like you have two auto dealers in your town. The first starts at $30,000 but is willing to negotiate. After an hour of jawing, you get him down to $26,000. Then you visit the second dealer. He’s a “one price” guy, “no negotiation.” His price is $25,000.

    It wouild be deeply irrational to storm out of the second dealership because he is unwilling to negotiate.

  39. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Nonsense. The House passed a CR that funded everything except Obamacare. You might not agree with it, but that doesn’t make it illegitimate. How many times has the argument been made that the Congress’ ultimate power is the power of the purse? Well, here Congress (the House at least) attempted to use the power of the purse to defund an unpopular program. Again, a totally legitimate exercise of Congressional authority.

    The Senate rejected the House CR and passed it’s own that restored funding for Obamacare. Again, totally legitimate. Except the Senate is just as responsible for the shutdown because it could have passed the House CR, and the President could have signed it. Then, they could have negotiated funding Obamacare during the budget process and there would have been no shutdown. At least not now.

    Regarding the debt ceiling debate, it is the President who has unilaterally declared that he will not negotiate, against all historical precedent as Mataconis points out in another posting. The President is the radical one here, not House Republicans.

  40. john personna says:
  41. john personna says:

    @Gavrilo:

    I think it’s really telling that you cite Mataconis as one of your boys.

    He also says:

    I’ve said repeatedly that the House should just pass the clean CR, which only authorizes spending through December 15th (or November 15th under the Senate version) but, of course, my opinion is only tangentially relevant to what’s going on in Washington right now since I don’t have a vote on either the House or Senate floor.

    But I get you totally, he is playing for you with the whole “Obama should negotiate” thing.

  42. Jim Henley says:

    There’s an old adage on the right, paraphrased from De Toqueville, that “Democracies last until the people realize they can vote themselves money.” I think it might be more nearly true that democracies last until the wealthy decide that police are cheaper than a safety net. Conveniently, the parts of the government the hard right is willing to fund are the parts required to stomp the afflicted and safeguard the plush.

  43. @Gavrilo:

    The House passed a CR that funded everything except Obamacare. – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/radicals-in-washington/#comments

    This is, by definition, legislative blackmail.

  44. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Change ‘X’ or I’ll shut down the government can’t really be described as responsible behavior.

    The GOP are also threatening to damage the economy if they don’t get their way on ‘X’, which is in no way a legitimate action.

    Finally, (and again!) why should the negotiations be over a 6 week CR rather than the entire FY2014 budget?

  45. michael reynolds says:

    Here si what the House GOP is saying:

    1) Yes, Congress passed Obamacare.

    2) Yes, the Supremes okayed it.

    3) Yes, Obama was re-elected by 5 million votes in an election where Obamacare was a central issue.

    4) Now one half of one half of one third of the American government wants to unilaterally repeal the law.

    5) Otherwise we’ll crash the economy, cost millions of jobs and actually increase the deficit.

    That’s not negotiation, it’s economic terrorism.

  46. Ben Wolf says:

    @legion: The Kochs and their ilk are perfectly willing to destroy much of their wealth if the result is they own a much greater share of a much smaller pie. Their goal is power over the rest of us, not a greater quantity of dollars.

  47. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s worse than that now. The CNN poll is of House Members. They are ready to support the clean CR and open government.

    Boehner is blocking his own House from ending the shutdown.

  48. C. Clavin says:

    “…The House passed a CR that funded everything except Obamacare. You might not agree with it, but that doesn’t make it illegitimate…”

    Well…yes it is…on a couple levels.
    First…it’s blackmail…and it upsets the Constitutional balance of power. If you resort to blackmail every time you don’t like something…then you are literally usurping the other branches.
    Secondly…because you claim it’s an unpopular program does not necessarily make it so. The polling is pretty clear that the majority wants it in place…not eliminated Some may want it improved…but that’s not the Republicans play here. Republicans have lost this issue in elections, the legislative process, and the courts. Now..unable to accept their losses… they are resorting to blackmail. See my first point.

  49. Even as someone who’s not particularly fond of the Affordable Care Act, I’m hoping the Republicans fail and fail hard here.

    Why? I don’t think they have considered the Pandora’s box they’re opening if this proves to be a political successful tactic. If it succeeds, any group that has a policy goal they want to achieve, but are unable to do so through the normal legislative process will start using shutdown threats to get it through extortion. Gun control, higher taxes, etc.

    In the name of small government, the Republicans are creating a process that will end up making it bigger than ever.

  50. C. Clavin says:

    u·surp
    yo͞oˈsərp
    verb
    gerund or present participle: usurping
    1. take (a position of power or importance) illegally or by force.

  51. Rob in CT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Exactly.

    Republicans would be screaming bloody murder if the Democrats were doing this. And they’d have cause.

  52. Rob in CT says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Nah. Extortion is the right word.

  53. Ron Beasley says:

    @Ben Wolf: The apple does not roll far from the tree, keep in mind their father was a hard core John Bircher.

  54. An Interested Party says:

    Gavrilo is a perfect representation of the kind of people in the House that are responsible for this mess…they think they are completely right and anyone who disagrees with them is completely wrong…even further, they project the fact that they are responsible for the shutdown onto everyone but themselves…how can anyone negotiate with such people…

  55. Steve V says:

    I would like to know more about this notion that voting to defund programs is a legitimate use of the House’s power. Obviously, I mean, I know it has the power to defund. But I’m curious about the culture of the House and how it has pursued these issues historically. How often has it voted to defund programs? How often have those votes actually been sustained as policy? Have defund votes only occurred in rare circumstances, or has it happened all the time? (My only memory is from when Pelosi was Speaker and they were talking about defunding the Iraq war, and it seemed pretty unusual at the time.) Has it been successful when the Senate disagreed with the House on the issue? How many times was it sustained after a presidential veto? How often in the past have defund initiatives been pursued during negotiations to fund the entire government?

    I have a suspicion that even though the House’s power of the purse is will known, the way it’s being used by the current House is unusual by historical standards.

  56. David M says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Not only that, but they won’t address the question of what the GOP is offering in this negotiation. They just ignore the question, apparently unwilling to even say it’s either nothing or just reopening the government. I can’t decide whether really don’t comprehend how negotiations work, or they don’t want to admit they are simply making demands and not offering anything in return.

  57. john personna says:

    Well this is the most dispiriting thing I’ve seen:

    Fox News Poll: Majority would vote against raising debt ceiling

    This is primarily a Republican thing, but it really shows a deep economic illiteracy across the board.

  58. David M says:

    @john personna:

    I’d be more interested in the answer to this question: “Should Congress intentionally cause a recession that hopefully won’t be as bad as the great recession, but could lead to a depression?”

    I don’t think the economic illiteracy wouldn’t get in the way of that one.

  59. Gavrilo says:

    The idea that the House of Representatives voting to defund a federal program constitutes legislative blackmail is ridiculous. The House passed a CR that funded everything but Obamacare. The House has passed some two dozen resolutions funding various departments and programs affected by the shutdown. It’s the Senate Democrats and the President that are insistent on a “clean” CR. 99% of the federal government would be operating right now if the Senate would vote on the House resolutions. Where is it written that the federal goverment can only be funded through one “clean” continuous resolution?

    What’s also ridiculous is this notion that once a law is passed by Congress it can never be subject to revision or repeal. So what if Obamacare was passed by a previous Congress? So what if it was upheld by the Supreme Court. It’s still a bad law. It’s still opposed by the majority of Americans. The rollout of the healthcare exchanges has been an utter failure. What’s amazing is that the Democrats have shut down the government and are risking default to protect an unpopular law whose implementation has been a disaster and was a major contributing factor to the “shellacking” they took in 2010. Talk about radical.

  60. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Shorter Gavrilo “”Go Team! The ends justify the means!”

    Do you really not see that the side demanding a change is the one causing the shutdown? You’re seriously arguing that the side that said “Change ‘X’ or we’ll shut down the government” wasn’t responsible?

    Reminder, you haven’t addressed the debt ceiling, the fact the CR is only for 6 weeks and is funded at sequester (GOP) levels or the GOP’s refusal to negotiate the entire FY2014 budget. Those seem pretty relevant to the issue.

  61. Ben says:

    @Gavrilo:

    If the Republicans want to repeal or revise the PPACA, then they are perfectly within rights to try to do so legislatively. But they can’t, because they don’t have the votes for it to make it past the Senate or the President. So, because they can’t repeal or revise it the right way, they’re going to shut down the government unless we all agree to a defund. And now they’re threatening to tank our entire economy unless everyone agrees to a defund. That is hostage-taking.

    You can’t call it a negotiation if both sides don’t have to give up something. What are the Republicans offering to the Democrats in exchange for delaying or defunding the PPACA?

  62. @Gavrilo:

    What’s also ridiculous is this notion that once a law is passed by Congress it can never be subject to revision or repeal.

    Yes, that would be ridiculous. However, no on is arguing that.

    There is a process for changing laws and/or repealing them: it is called winning enough seats to have the votes to do so. Trying to repeal a law without the votes is what the GOP is trying to do and that is the problem.

  63. Rob in CT says:

    Up/down, black/white, etc.

  64. J-Dub says:

    “Why won’t you negotiate?!?!?!”
    “I didn’t ask for anything.”
    “Why won’t you negotiate?!?!?!”
    “I didn’t ask for anything.”
    “Why won’t you negotiate?!?!?!”
    “I didn’t ask for anything.”
    “Why won’t you negotiate?!?!?!”
    “I didn’t ask for anything.”
    “Why won’t you negotiate?!?!?!”
    “I didn’t ask for anything.”
    etc. etc. etc….

  65. @Gavrilo:

    What’s amazing is that the Democrats have shut down the government and are risking default to protect an unpopular law whose implementation has been a disaster and was a major contributing factor to the “shellacking” they took in 2010 – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/radicals-in-washington/?#comment-1810955

    2010 was far more about the economy than it was about the PPACA.

    Regardless, you seem to be forgetting 2012, in which Obama ran rather explicitly on protecting the law (and Romney ran to repeal it). As I recall, Obama pretty handily won (and yes, I am being abut snarky there). Regardless of one’s view of the law itself, however, it takes nothing short of denial to pretend like the voters have overwhelmingly rejected it when they failed to do so when given the chance. If the law was as wildly unpopular as you believe it to be, then we would have President Romney right now.

    And to point out two facts that are needed to assess the law’s popularity:

    1. Some unhappiness with the law that is captured in the polling is because there are those who would prefer a single payer system. In other words, whatever’s aggregate measure of dissatisfaction you point to captures a sizable number who want an even more liberal law. To use such a measure to assume it means support for repeal (especially at any cost) is to misread what the measurement is capturing about the population. Even people who say they don’t like the law are not necessarily in favor of shutting the government down as a means of forcing repeal.

    2. The individual provisions of the law poll well. This also mitigates against the thesis that there is deep and widespread support for repeal.

  66. Rob in CT says:

    Short version:

    The Republicans do not have the political power to repeal the law. Therefore, they need the Democrats to do it with them. They could, theoretically, offer the Democrats something in exchange, but that’s not how they roll. They have, instead, attempted to make one of those “offers you can’t refuse.” They’ve refused to fund the government and threatened to drive us into default if the Democrats don’t surrender and agree to gut their signature policy achievement of the past decade. The Democrats get… nothing, except avoiding default, which is or should be something both parties want.

    Extortion, plain and simple.

  67. C. Clavin says:

    Look, Gravillo…

    “…It’s still a bad law…”

    That’s your opinion and you are entitled to it.
    But opinions are subjective.
    Basing your argument on that is pointless.
    But if it’s all you’ve got…time to move on…

  68. michael reynolds says:

    Is Gravilo today’s Jenos sock puppet?

  69. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Perhaps in a way. The hand is the right wing meme machine. Puppets unquestioningly “argue” the talking points they are given. It doesn’t really matter if Jenos and Gravilo are the same person, what matters is that a talking point is all they need.

    It doesn’t have to make sense.

  70. Alanmt says:

    Mass movements aggressively promote the use of Doctrines that elevate faith over reason and serve as “fact-proof screens between the faithful and the realities of the world”.[

    Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

  71. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I’m going to start off polite and civil here, and respectfully ask that others continue the tone.

    In the last vote to raise the debt ceiling, I — and a lot of others — believed that it came with a tacit pledge of “this is what we want, and no more.” I had a suspicion that the compromise actually meant “we’ll take this much now, and you’ll give us the rest of it later,” but hoped that the deal would actually be the deal. That if the debt ceiling was raised to almost seventeen trillion dollars, that would buy enough time to get our fiscal house in order.

    Which is what had been tacitly promised each time before, but sometimes my optimism gets the best of me.

    There has to be a point where we take a look at just how much we — we, as a nation, not any party or group or faction, but all of us — owe, and stop kicking the can down the road. Because it isn’t a can, it’s a snowball rolling down a hill. And at the bottom of the hill are our children, and their children.

    We need to decide if we’re going to take the hit from that snowball now, when it’s still (I hope) survivable, or if we’re going to let it keep getting bigger and bigger and let our posterity figure out how to survive it. And it’s not going to get better — it’s growing faster than the economy and the population.

    The hit is coming. And it’s going to hurt, when it comes. The only question is whether we take the hit, or we duck it and let it take out a future generation.

    Because they’re the real hostages here. They’re the ones who will have to live with the decisions we make — or refuse to make.

  72. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In the last vote to raise the debt ceiling, I — and a lot of others — believed that it came with a tacit pledge of “this is what we want, and no more.” I had a suspicion that the compromise actually meant “we’ll take this much now, and you’ll give us the rest of it later,” but hoped that the deal would actually be the deal. That if the debt ceiling was raised to almost seventeen trillion dollars, that would buy enough time to get our fiscal house in order.

    I don’t know where you got this impression (i.e., that there was a deal struck to fix everything for all time). Indeed, since the super committee appointed to come up with cuts couldn’t come up with a viable short-term plan, and hence we ended up with the sequester, I am not sure why you would have thought what you say you thought. Nor, to be honest, can I see why anyone would think that a debt ceiling showdown would lead to such a deal.

    Not to mention that, at the moment, the argument is not for a long-term debt solution (or even a short-term one). The stakes have now become Obamacare. This is not about long-term fiscal policy.

  73. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The only question is whether we take the hit, or we duck it and let it take out a future generation.

    Because they’re the real hostages here.

    While I understand the long-term, this is simply not true. Indeed, if you really want to damage future generations, take us over the debt ceiling cliff and damage the US as the economic fulcrum of the global economy. That is the real risk.

    The debt, while an issue, not doomsday.

  74. Rafer Janders says:

    I’ve said this before, but the political term “conservative” only has a little overlap with the word “conservative” as it implies prudence, moderation, etc. “Conservatism” as a political philosophy has always been about the defense of the powerful elite, it’s been about maintaining the status quo to keep the rich and powerful on top and the poor and minorities down.

    So there is, in many senses, no conflict between being a political conservative and radicalism– so long as that radicalism is in the service of the ruling class. The Pinochet coup in Chile, Franco’s revolt in Spain, Hitler’s reshaping of German society along Nazi principles, etc. etc. were all radical movements, but they were all done for right-wing ends.

  75. anjin-san says:

    In the last vote to raise the debt ceiling, I — and a lot of others — believed that it came with a tacit pledge of “this is what we want, and no more.”

    Was that what Reagan meant the first time the debt ceiling was raised for him? How about the second? The ninth? How about the seventeenth?

    And GW? The first? The third? the sixth?

  76. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You think we’re robbing future generations of fiat currency? Stuff that comes from a computer and a printing press? That’s like saying we need to save some bullshit now, otherwise the internet will run out of it.

  77. anjin-san says:

    You have to wonder – where were all these folks who are so concerned about future generations when GW Bush took us from surplus to record deficits in short order?

    As I remember it, they were cheering him at the top of their lungs.

  78. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The idea that the debt ceiling wouldn’t need to be increased again is simply nonsense, no one credible thought otherwise. There is no political will to cut spending to those levels, even in the GOP.

    Secondly, voluntarily defaulting is akin to amputating a leg for an ingrown toenail. Sure, if you never address the toenail it can cause a problem, but amputation is not first course of treatment.

  79. becca says:

    @Dave Schuler: Paraphrasing Dr Zhivago, scratch a tea partier, find a Bolshy.

  80. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So make the argument, please, that a “debt ceiling” is irrelevant. That we should actually trust the federal government with, essentially, a blank check to borrow as much money as they can and spend as much money as they can. Because so far the existence of that ceiling is the only thing at has stopped it thus far — witness how we keep running up to it.

    I can’t see how it’s “irresponsible” to put off taking responsibility for the debt we’ve already run up, and to borrow even more.

    To tie it into another thread, in a democracy (even a democratic republic like we have), the people tend to get the government they deserve. And while it may be satisfying to blame “the other people,” in the end there are no other people. Only us. All of us enabled this, and it’s going to take all of us to reverse it.

  81. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: @anjin-san: @becca:

    Sorry, not gonna get down in the mud just yet. I’d like to say that without qualification, but I know myself too well.

  82. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: The idea that the debt ceiling wouldn’t need to be increased again is simply nonsense, no one credible thought otherwise. There is no political will to cut spending to those levels, even in the GOP.

    In an earlier thread, it was noted that a lot of the most obstinate GOP House members are actually reflecting the wishes of their constituents. If enough people speak loudly enough, then our elected officials will find the “will.”

  83. anjin-san says:

    I can’t see how it’s “irresponsible” to put off taking responsibility for the debt we’ve already run up

    Interesting viewpoint, considering that the GOP’s strategy is to refuse to take responsibility for the debt we’ve already run up unless Democrats are prepared to essentially invalidate the last free election we held.

    In case you did not notice, Republicans have been telling us this is all about Obmacare, not debt levels or the deficit (which is falling like a stone as we speak)

  84. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So make the argument, please, that a “debt ceiling” is irrelevant. That we should actually trust the federal government with, essentially, a blank check to borrow as much money as they can and spend as much money as they can. Because so far the existence of that ceiling is the only thing at has stopped it thus far

    How has the debt ceiling actually stopped it thus far? Even in your example it has been completely ineffective and useless. Also, if Congress (federal government isn’t really accurate) can raise the debt ceiling now, then they already have the blank check. So we given that have a law that does nothing positive, but could cause great damage to the economy, I think the burden should be on it’s supporters as to why it is necessary.

  85. mattbernius says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The rollout of the healthcare exchanges has been an utter failure.

    Judging the effectiveness of any major initiative by the first week — let alone expecting it to roll out perfectly — is a fundamentally flawed way of thinking.

    By this reasoning, the British, South, and Germans should have won The American Revolution, The Civil War, and WWII respectively, because in each of those cases “the Good Guys” didn’t get off to a particularly good start.

    Likewise there are countless major innovations that faltered when they were introduced or initially failed to find an audience.

    It is entirely possible that the ACA will be a failure, but one should probably wait to proclaim it that until, you know, coverage actually begins.

    All you are doing is regurgitating talking points that are not particularly well thought out or grounded in any sort of logic than personal/political bias.

  86. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos Idanian #13

    not gonna get down in the mud just yet.

    Please show where I have made a comment on this thread that is “muddy”…

    You are in a very poor position to cast yourself as the class act who just wants to debate the issues.

  87. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In an earlier thread, it was noted that a lot of the most obstinate GOP House members are actually reflecting the wishes of their constituents.

    The views of the GOP constituents are of no interest to me, the GOP legislators are culpable in the perpetuation of the fantasies the constituents believe.

  88. Rafer Janders says:

    @anjin-san:

    You are in a very poor position to cast yourself as the class act who just wants to debate the issues.

    Eh, he’s a sociopath, he doesn’t really get emotions or consequences or responsibility or why people would remember his record of serial dishonesty. Lying gives him a thrill, he gets off on it, and if he chooses to pose today as the last reasonable man, who are we to accurately remember his literally thousands of bare-faced lies?

  89. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You are in a very poor position to cast yourself as the class act who just wants to debate the issues.

    It’s gotta start somewhere. Among Christ’s earliest followers — the ones he sought out — were a Roman tax collector and a prostitute.

    And I didn’t put any demands on anyone but myself.

  90. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: The views of the GOP constituents are of no interest to me, the GOP legislators are culpable in the perpetuation of the fantasies the constituents believe.

    Other terms for “GOP constituents” are “voters” and “fellow Americans.” And those legislators are answerable to them.

  91. Ben Wolf says:

    How is it that during the period of the prosperity after the war we were able in spite of what is termed our extravagance – which was not extravagance at all; we saved too much and consumed too little – how was it we were able to balance a $4,000,000,000 annual Budget, to pay off ten billion of the Government debt, to make four major reductions in our income tax rates (otherwise all of the Government debt would have been paid), to extend $10,000,000,000 credit to foreign countries represented by our surplus production which we shipped abroad, and add approximately $100,000,000,000 by capital accumulation to our national wealth, represented by plants, equipment, buildings, and construction of all kinds? In the light of this record, is it consistent for our political and financial leadership to demand at this time a balanced Budget by the inauguration of a general sales tax, further reducing the buying power of our people? Is it necessary to conserve Government credit to the point of providing a starvation existence for millions of our people in a land of superabundance? Is the universal demand for Government economy consistent at this time? Is the present lack of confidence due to an unbalanced Budget?

  92. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And to point out two facts that are needed to assess the law’s popularity

    Further, those former un-skewers who have suddenly stopped worrying and come to love the polls also tend to conveniently ignore two counterfactuals:

    1. That while there are people who don’t like the law, the number of people for and against are — in most polls — within a few percentage points of each other. Which means, if a *lot* of Americans don’t like it (for whatever reason), then a *lot* of Americans do like it.

    2. That polls have consistently show that regardless of whether people like or dislike the law, they don’t want to see it repealed. According the Kaiser’s tracking, for example:

    Still, a majority (56 percent) of the public continues to disapprove of cutting off funding as a strategy for stopping the law from being implemented, including about a third of Republicans (34 percent) and a similar share of those with an unfavorable view of the law overall (31 percent). The survey was in the field from September 12-18, before the House voted to approve a spending bill that stripped all funding for the ACA on September 20.
    Source: http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-september-2013/

    That 56% percent of the public who disapprove of cutting of funding is a higher percentage of the population than the percentage of the population who *doesn’t like* the law (43%).

    So claiming that the House is doing “the will” of the American people, versus the will of hard right conservatives, continues to be at best willful ignorance and at worst bold faced lie.

  93. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Other terms for “GOP constituents” are “voters” and “fellow Americans.” And those legislators are answerable to them

    They are gullible fools who have believed the snake oil about creeping socialism and Obamacare death panels. No one including the congressmen representing them should do anything but politely point out they were duped. The same goes for the 9/11 truthers.

  94. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Among Christ’s earliest followers

    Yes. Well, Christ had a message that was somewhat more compelling than “I am a brain dead parrot”

    At any rate, you promised you were not going to talk to me any more the other day. Please put more effort into keeping your promises.

  95. mantis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Indeed, if you really want to damage future generations, take us over the debt ceiling cliff and damage the US as the economic fulcrum of the global economy.

    No, we must do massive damage now to prevent speculative future consequences. Oh, and the damage we do now would actually do nothing to stop those future debt consequences, and would in fact assure they do happen, and worse. But we have to do it. For the children!

  96. Rafer Janders says:

    @David M:

    Eh, why bother even replying directly to him? He’s just trying on an oily, oleaginous pose today, hoping that you’ll bite. It’s his Uriah Heep thing — be unpleasant, but in a cringing, oh, everyone’s against me and look how good I am! way, all in order to get attention.

  97. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Only one other democratic nation on Earth has a debt ceiling: Denmark. And theirs is so high they’ll never reach it.

    It’s a pointless construct that has long outlived its usefulness as anything besides a gun the GOP can use to hold us hostage. The ironic part is they have contributed just as much as the Democrats to the financial commitments they then feign outrage over having to actually pay for. It’s fundamentally stupid to have the authority to approve spending separate from the authority to actually acquire the money.

    The way to control spending is to control it when legislation is passed, not to run up the country’s credit card and then try to tear up the bill when it comes due. But the former is difficult.

  98. mattbernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In an earlier thread, it was noted that a lot of the most obstinate GOP House members are actually reflecting the wishes of their constituents. If enough people speak loudly enough, then our elected officials will find the “will.”

    Right. And if the wishes of those constituents are damaging to the short-term or long-term future of the US, is it ethical for the members to follow those wishes?

    Further, was it responsible for those same Politicians to promise things to their constituents that they cannot possibly deliver (i.e. a defunding or delay of the ACA)?

  99. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Most right-wingers who argue that the “debt is unsustainable” don’t really understand what that means. It is just a phrase they trade back and forth.

    Can you read a chart?

    The national debt, as a percentage of GDP has been higher, following WWII.

    If you just thought “but that was after a big war” you missed that we are also coming off two big wars, started by Republicans who thought the way to finance them was through tax cuts.

    Seriously. Do you wonder why your little tokens of conservative identity aren’t taken more seriously?

  100. C. Clavin says:

    I am not sure why you would have thought what you say you thought…

    Well…you could say that about every Jenos comment.

  101. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Other terms for “GOP constituents” are “voters” and “fellow Americans.” And those legislators are answerable to them.

    Yes, they are ‘voters’ and ‘fellow Americans’ who apparently support a default on American bonds. I think of those people as morons who happen to be Americans.

  102. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In an earlier thread, it was noted that a lot of the most obstinate GOP House members are actually reflecting the wishes of their constituents.

    I wish they would put country first instead. But I guess if they think their constituents want something, it’s all good. How about if their constituents wanted them to shutdown the government and cause an economic collapse unless we set all of the nation’s forests ablaze? I guess they would just have to do that, right?

  103. mattbernius says:

    @john personna:

    Most right-wingers who argue that the “debt is unsustainable” don’t really understand what that means. It is just a phrase they trade back and forth.

    Its actually worse than that. The fact is that the entire “debt is unsustainable” idea is a relatively new idea in mainstream conservative discussions. It’s been pointed out that throughout the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s, beloved GOP and CMC media figures like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh pontificated about how debt is an illusion and, with a turn of the economy, can immediately disappear.

    Somewhere around 2006 (coinciding with the Republican’s losing the House) all understanding of Fiat currency magically was wiped from their minds and micro economics became the only way to understand the macro economic world of the Federal Government.

  104. Andy says:

    I write this not to try and persuade what a friend and commenter called the “Incorruptibles”* in the audience, nor to those who already agree with me, but rather to hopefully get through to the persuadable in the audience who are caught up in the partisan nature of this confrontation.

    Personally, I don’t think your intended audience exists, but perhaps I’m not interpreting it correctly. Who is “caught up in the partisan nature of this confrontation” yet far enough removed from tribal loyalties to consider alternatives? I’d say that’s a very small group and practically nonexistent in the OTB comment section.

    Even so, just as a general point, bombastic rhetoric and colorful subjective adjectives very rarely sell arguments in my experience, but YMMV.

    It should be noted that one can wish to repeal the PPACA, or engage in any number of other policy goals. However, the issue at hand is not even the debate over policy, but rather the method of policy change being attempted. This all has the potential to go well beyond the current moment.

    I think that is a more productive line of reasoning. Political “hostages” and “extortion” (etc.) are not new tools in the political toolbox – far from it. What’s new in his case, for America at least, are the stakes and the scale of the leverage. GoP tactics in this case, while Constitutionally legitimate, are outside the established norms of political behavior. It seems to me that should be the main point to focus on but again, YMMV.

  105. john personna says:

    @mattbernius:

    I don’t know, I would have thought that the gold bug, end the fed, contingent was a small minority, but given that ~75% of Republicans support capping debt in one hard move, something strange is going on.

    A postmodern belief that you can choose your reality?

  106. C. Clavin says:

    Jon Chaits synopsis of Obama and Boehners statements:

    The most telling thing about Boehner’s remarks is their brevity. The Speaker spoke for about five minutes, responded briefly to one question, and bolted out the door. Obama’s disquisition earlier today may have been long (over an hour) and professorial. But he was able to defend his position against questions, engage counterarguments, and marshal facts to support his position. Boehner couldn’t do any of those things. So he did the only thing a man in his position could do: repeat a handful of false or crazy talking points and quickly flee the premises.

  107. grumpy realist says:

    If the debt is really that much of a problem, why aren’t the so-called “conservatives” screaming at the top of their lungs about how We Need To Raise Taxes to cover all the spending they’ve already run up on the credit card?

    It was YOUR set of bozos who decided to have a merry (and very expensive) little war in Iraq without bothering to decide how to pay for it. Now that the bill has come due, and you’re griping.

    Hark! Do I hear the smallest violin ever playing?

  108. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I can’t see how it’s “irresponsible” to put off taking responsibility for the debt we’ve already run up, and to borrow even more.

    Speaking of “irresponsible.”
    How is it responsible behavior for one prominent American political party to be entertaining a default on existing federal debt securities? Is “irresponsibility” the new “responsibility?”

  109. george says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    @Ben Wolf: The apple does not roll far from the tree, keep in mind their father was a hard core John Bircher. – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/radicals-in-washington/#sthash.AfwnTcZm.dpuf

    Actually that makes it surprising they turned out the way they did. Most folks I know rebel against their parents – isn’t that one of the complaints of many conservatives, that their kids are turning into liberals?

    Agree that extortion is the best word for what they’re doing.

  110. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: To make sure that the debt ceiling never raises again, you need to cut spending by 40%, raise taxes by an equivalent amount, or some combination of both, and then probably keep cutting and/or raising until such time the business cycle somehow upends the recession this fiscal policy causes. Which cuts are you willing to make? Which taxes are you willing to raise? Perhaps, you suggest that the fed engages in a massive inflationary program to reduce the nominal amounts of debt? Please, be specific in your answers.

  111. Todd says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Jenos Idanian: You think we’re robbing future generations of fiat currency? Stuff that comes from a computer and a printing press? That’s like saying we need to save some bullshit now, otherwise the internet will run out of it.

    I think the word “debt” is what trips most people (even non-conservatives) up. When they think of the $17 Trillion they have a mental image of Chinese bankers examining our income and deciding whether or not to loan us money.

    It’s a horrible analogy.

    Still not entirely accurate, but much closer to the truth would be to imagine a few Chinese (along with many Americans) as grandma looking for a safe place to buy a CD to keep her retirement savings.

    In short I don’t fear our “debt”. I fear the destructive policy decisions that will be driven by people who don’t understand the “debt”.

  112. Joel says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    Come on, that’s just a cheap shot. Are you really bringing up Hitler and other fascists as representatives of political conservativism in general? One could just as easily name Stalin and Mao as examples of liberalism, but that wouldn’t be fair either.

  113. Ben Wolf says:

    @Todd: I agree completely. The biggest problem we’re facing is the failure to understand the difference between a fixed-rate convertible currency and a free-floating nonconvertible. 99% of people still have their heads in the 19th Century and don’t know the difference between a debt and a liability; unfortunately we have the economics profession itself to thank for this confusion.

  114. Moosebreath says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “That if the debt ceiling was raised to almost seventeen trillion dollars, that would buy enough time to get our fiscal house in order.”

    And the annual deficit has dropped by over 50% during Obama’s time in office. Mission accomplished.

    Plus what Steven Taylor said about how no one thought we would never have to raise the debt ceiling again.

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Other terms for “GOP constituents” are “voters” and “fellow Americans.” And those legislators are answerable to them.”

    That’s pretty rich coming from a Republican. Do you think you can get through an hour of Fox “News” or 2 minutes of one of Sarah Palin’s speeches without a reference to how Republicans are the only real Americans?

  115. C. Clavin says:

    And the annual deficit has dropped by over 50% during Obama’s time in office. Mission accomplished.

    Seriously?
    Link?

  116. RaflW says:

    This subverts elections. This subverts the legislative process and the institutions of the US government. This subverts the constitution.

    At the risk of saying what’s already been said, this GOP is not just radical, it is sowing the possible seeds of the destruction of the American experiment. It really may be that drastic a situation.

    How this ignored or “both-sides-do-it”-ized by so much of the press corps is truly alarming. The Republican party is out of control, and most media outlets are too invested in false balance to even mention it. The situation is getting grim.

  117. Moosebreath says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Here you go, Cliffy:

    “In 2009, it rocketed up to $1.4 trillion. It stayed above the trillion-dollar mark for 2010 through 2012.

    As the economy has gradually recovered, those cyclical expenses have receded. Tax revenues have risen modestly along with the slowly rising gross domestic product. The FY 2013 shortfall should end up at around $642 billion, according to the CBO.” Link

  118. Rafer Janders says:

    @Joel:

    Are you really bringing up Hitler and other fascists as representatives of political conservativism in general?

    No, I’m bringing up Hitler, Pinochet, Franco, Mussolini etc. as examples of radicals who used their radicalism in service of conservatism (or used their conservatism in service of radicalism). That’s the difference you don’t understand. Winston Churchill, say, was right-wing but not a radical. Adolf Hitler was right-wing but a radical.

    One could just as easily name Stalin and Mao as examples of liberalism, but that wouldn’t be fair either.

    Well, first, once couldn’t, and second, that wouldn’t be fair because it wouldn’t be accurate, since neither Stalin nor Mao were liberals nor approved of liberalism. In fact, they hated liberalism, actively suppressed it, and sent tens of millions of liberals to their deaths.

  119. Rafer Janders says:

    @Joel:

    Had you used the term “left-wing” instead of “liberalism”, you might have had a point, but you forgot or don’t understand that the two are not equivalent. The point I was making is that in the political realm, there’s nothing inherently contradictory between being “conservative”, right-wing, and being radical or using radical ends. This is something that people seem to understand (and more often assume) about left-wingers and radicalism, but not about right-wingers and radicalism.

  120. RaflW says:

    @Gavrilo: Revision or repeal are legislative processes that involve both houses of Congress and the President. Y’know, legislating.

    What is happening in the defund movement is not at all equal to repeal or revision.
    10 yard penalty, repeat the down.

  121. C. Clavin says:

    Thanks Moose…turns out Jenos is full of shit…again.

  122. Ron Beasley says:

    Well this was an interesting thread!

  123. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I can’t see how it’s “irresponsible” to put off taking responsibility for the debt we’ve already run up, and to borrow even more.

    Funny how that amounts to, I care about the debt ceiling when my 27% of the electorate doesn’t get to set 100% of the policy, where each compromise begets another round of hostage taking.

  124. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “Thanks Moose…turns out Jenos is full of shit…again. ”

    For that you needed evidence?

  125. Kingdaddy says:

    Why, suh, ah am honored!

  126. Joel says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    I’ll admit that I was careless with my language – I should have said leftism instead of liberalism. I think you should have said right-wing or reactionary instead of conservative though.

  127. Moosebreath says:

    Applying the logic of the Republicans to other areas of life gets us this

    “I understand this solution may sound unconventional. But we can no longer afford to play baseball as usual. This issue is too important. Americans — by which I mean Braves fans like me — overwhelming oppose a Dodgers win. Allowing them to impose their left-coast values on our post-season play is ruing America. And my fantasy team.”

  128. Rob in CT says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I mean, hey, my team won the 2010 midterms one game! That should mean we get to win! If you refuse to accept my demands, you’re being unreasonable.