Speaking of Fidelity to the Constitution….

The constitutional purists in the Tea Party apparently do not understand either bicameralism nor separation of powers.

Another line that is worth noting from the Krauthammer piece that I noted in a previous post is the following:

Today’s resurgent conservatism, with its fidelity to constitutionalism, should be particularly attuned to this constraint, imposed as it is by a system of deliberately separated — and mutually limiting — powers.

Without getting into the issue of whether, in fact, today’s conservatism has a special fidelity to the constitution, Krauthammer has a key point here that bears consideration.  To wit:  we have a bicameral legislature and a  system of separation of powers.  This means, quite simply, that all legislation has to pass through the House and the Senate and then be signed by the president (or, at a minimum, allowed to become law sans a signature or veto).

This means that is it foolish to pass legislation that has no hope of making through this constitutional gauntlet if one is actually interesting is doing more than just making a statement.

As such, Krauthammer is correct:

Given this reality, trying to force the issue — trying to turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice.

Given that the blocking minority is question is the Tea Party faction of the GOP, the group which claims a deep understanding of the US Constitution, is telling.  What it tells us is that they do not understand the most basic mechanics of the document they allegedly revere.   It also demonstrates that much of what they claim to understand is based in myth, not reality (yes, I know, a shocking revelation).

They can claim that they are driven by constitutional imperatives, but this is false.  There, for example, is a legitimate debate about things like what the Commerce Clause allows, but there is no debate about the way the laws are made.  When it comes to “constitutional fidelity” one has to first go with the certain.

At the moment, the Tea Party appears hell-bent on passing legislation (i.e., the re-inclusion of a Balanced Budget amendment) in the House that simply cannot pass in the Senate.  This is foolishness, especially given the deadline we face:

Republican lawmakers say the Boehner framework would still pave the way for the debt limit to be raised through the 2012 election in two chunks. But it would also mandate that the second hike of the ceiling could only occur after a balanced-budget amendment passed both chambers of Congress and went to the states for ratification.

As Stephen Bainbridge asked the other day:  Can’t the House GOP count?

Apparently, the answer is:  no.  Either that, or they are as in denial about mathematics as they are about both the significance of the debt ceiling and the constitutional parameters of our government.

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, Politics 101, Tea Party, 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. Liberty60 says:

    Help me out here, constitutional lawer types- isn’t it a bit nutty to write legislation this way?

    “We authorize the Treasury to raise the debt ceiling, upon condition that a Consitutional Amendment passes, or the Cubs win the Series, whichever comes first.”

    I mean, predicating actions based on things that are wildly beyond the Congress’ ability to effect?

  2. Wayne says:

    I hate jumping a thread like this but I figure this story won’t otherwise be mention here since there are so many fanatic Believers of manmade global warming crowd here. This is approximately the third similar story in last couple weeks I’ve seen but not mention here.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/07/29/data-cooling-on-global-warming/

  3. Wayne says:

    Legislation that is passed in one house has little to no chance of passing in the other house. That almost always how it is done. It is done even when a party controls both houses. It was almost always done that way when the Democrats controlled the house and had a super majority in the house.

    Anyone that doesn’t know that doesn’t know how Washington works.

    Reid bill won’t be passed the house either. So is he wasting his time?

  4. Trumwill says:

    I agree it’s foolishness, but I’m not sold that it’s counter-constitutional foolishness. The house is allowed to pass bills whether they have a chance in the senate or not. Sometimes they pass things that have no legal weight whatsoever.

    To me, this is like picking on a congressman introducing a bill that he knows won’t pass and suggesting that there’s a lack of understanding of how the government works.

    I don’t see much indication that the House doesn’t know how the government works. They are making a statement, they don’t want the debt ceiling raised, or they think that the senate is bluffing. Or they have determined that this failing is preferable to whatever might succeed.

  5. MBunge says:

    @Wayne: Reid bill won’t be passed the house either. So is he wasting his time?

    The House bill won’t pass the Senate because it’s frickin’ crazy. Reid’s bill won’t pass the House because the House GOP is frickin’ crazy. Can you detect the common problem?

    Mike

  6. MBunge says:

    “As Stephen Bainbridge asked the other day: Can’t the House GOP count?”

    It’s not that they can’t count. It’s that they don’t believe in democracy.

    Mike

  7. ponce says:

    Reid’s bill won’t pass the House because the House GOP is frickin’ crazy.

    That’s not really a problem…Reid’s bill only needs a few Republican votes to pass.

  8. Wayne says:

    @MBunge
    Yes I see the common problem. You are too blinded by your ideology to see the truth. Once again liberals are bashing and ridiculing conservatives for doing the exact same thing they are doing. Once again liberal are responding emotionally while throwing logic out the window.

    “Oh it’s ridiculous for the House to pass a bill that won’t pass the senate but a great idea for Senate to pass a bill that won’t pass the house”. That is really being logical and consistent there. Not.

  9. @Wayne and @Trumwill:

    The problem becomes, in the context of a real deadline, that one has to pass something that forms the basis for a compromise. If the House GOP can only pass a bill in its chamber by making it impossible for achieve a compromise, then that is the problem (and placing a BBA requirement in the bill does that). The Tea Party faction does not appear willing to acknowledge that they have to compromise.

    @ponce: Of course, if the Reid bill passes, it still needs the acquiescence of House Leadership to get it to the floor for a vote.

  10. @Wayne: In fairness, the Reid plan would appear to be a compromise on the part of the Dems: spending cuts without tax increases.

    As such, I cannot accept the notion that the Dems are acting in the same fashion as the Tea Partiers.

    For the comparison to hold, the Dems would have to be asking for something, say income tax hikes, that could in no way pass the House.

  11. Wayne says:

    Reid won’t even debate or bring up for a vote the House bill which is the only bill that has passed by either house.

  12. MBunge says:

    @Wayne: “Oh it’s ridiculous for the House to pass a bill that won’t pass the senate but a great idea for Senate to pass a bill that won’t pass the house”.

    Why won’t the Reid bill pass the House?

    Mike

  13. A follow-up: the Boehner Plan, sans the two-steps and sans a BBA requirement would pass the Senate. And if it did, would represent a compromise on the part of the Ds.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    This means that is it foolish to pass legislation that has no hope of making through this constitutional gauntlet if one is actually interesting is doing more than just making a statement.

    Such as legislation that the President threatens to veto.

  15. Wayne says:

    @Steven
    Why because Democrats are saying so?

    From what I heat Reid’s plan has only promises of cuts somewhere in the future. When they actually produce it we will know more. Dems have “drop dead “measure also. Pretending otherwise is only fooling yourself.

    Republicans have been compromising also. Hell for one they are agreeing to a debt ceiling rise in the first place. They have compromised on many of the cuts and the timing of the cuts including the defunding of Obamacare.

    I understand ideological blinders. They cause people not to recognized that their side is doing much of what the other side is doing. The “end justifies the means” when you agree with the ends. However if you don’t then it doesn’t.

  16. Wayne says:

    @MBunge
    Same reason the House bill won’t pass the Senate.

    There will be things in it or not in it that the other house won’t like.

  17. Moosebreath says:

    Wayne,

    “Reid won’t even debate or bring up for a vote the House bill which is the only bill that has passed by either house. ”

    Having a vote on a motion to table (as Reid did on Boehner’s first attempt, and as he was prepared to do on his second) is bring it up for a vote. It’s just that the bill the House passed died. Moving further to the right is not likely to get a different result, no matter how many times Boehner does it.

  18. @Wayne: Because it you look at just the cuts in the two plans, there is room for compromise.

    The problem with the House measures are the gimmicks: a BBA that cannot pass and the Boehner two-step.

  19. legion says:

    @Wayne: Per the Constitution, these bills must originate in the House – the Senate can put together a “bill-like substance” to show what they’re willing to build a consensus package out of, but they can’t actually pass anything until they get a starting point from the House. That starting point pretty much _never_ passes the Senate as-is… there are always some alterations done in committee to create something both bodies can agree to.

    The problem is that the Teatard contingent, for all their chest-thumping about how much they loooooooove that there Constitution, don’t actually comprehend its most basic ideas. They are insisting Boehner pass on a bill that will get approved by the Senate and signed by the President _exactly_ they way they want it, with no compromises allowed. That will _never_ happen. And we will all pay the price for their immaturity.

  20. Trumwill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Doesn’t that assume a belief on their part that the deadline is all-important and that not raising the debt ceiling would be a very, very bad thing? These are assumptions (very correct ones, in my estimation) that they simply do not appear to share. It seems to me that, and not a failure to understand how the Constitution laid out bills becoming law, is the core of the problem. They’re operating under different assumptions than we are with regard to the nature of spending and the debt ceiling.

  21. @Trumwill: I agree, but only to a point. The insistence on a BBA is simply playing pretend politics.

  22. Wayne says:

    If the House tables the Senate bill, I bet that many will scream how irresponsible and such doing so is.

  23. @legion: Since they are not bills that originate new spending, I don’t think that there is any reason why the Senate can’t originate their own bill.

    @Wayne: If the Senate passes a bill that will a) cut spending and b) does so without raising taxes, then yes: it would be radically irresponsible for the House to table it.

  24. Wayne says:

    @Legion
    The bill that passed and the bill that is being considered are not exactly the way they want it. Try again.

    Democrats are the immature ones here. They haven’t put out a detail planned, do nothing but blame others and call the other side names. They refuse to balance the budget. Hell they refuse to even make one for two years now. They refuse to do what is needed to be done. Talking about acting like little kids, the Democrats are acting like infants.

    If the BBA won’t pass then why not allow a vote on it? They are holding up the raising the debt ceiling by refusing to vote on a bill that supposedly won’t pass.

  25. lunaticllama says:

    @Wayne: How is agreeing to raise the debt ceiling a “compromise”? Do you believe that the government should intentionally default on payments it owes? Do you believe that the government should be forbidden to roll over debt to pay for the trillions of dollars in spending that Republicans routinely vote for, and as recently as last April?

  26. Trumwill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I view it as someone believing that they have all the leverage. If something you are indifferent about or against is very, very important to the other side, why not ask for the moon and stars? Either you get it or you don’t.

    Oddly, I would feel *more* comfortable if I thought that this was a cynical ploy or, as you put it, “pretend politics.” But I think that they are actually convinced that they are going to come out ahead either way

    From their perspective, we’re looking at the following possibilities:
    1. We reach the debt ceiling. Massive, massive cuts are required. Acceptable.
    2. We use this to get a BBA, in exchange for raising the ceiling. Ceiling raised, BBA gotten. Acceptable.
    3. The BBA requirement gets passed, but the amendment doesn’t occur. See #1. Acceptable.

    and even…

    4. We hit the ceiling, things turn out bad, they agree to the BBA just to make it stop. Eliminating the Department of Education. Whatever. The worse it is, the more they will give up.

    The only way to lose is…

    5. We raise the ceiling with moderate, token, or phantom cuts.

    I fear this is where they are really coming from. It’s a game of chicken and they don’t believe the collision will happen. So why slam the breaks?

  27. Wayne says:

    @Steven
    So you are satisfied with “promises “of future cuts years down the road? The same promises that have been broken time and time again? How about if it is nothing but cuts to the military?

    I guess we have a very different idea on what constitutes “radically irresponsible”. Allowing out of control spending to continue is what I consider “radically irresponsible”.

  28. Trumwill says:

    @Wayne: What’s the alternative? There’s only so much of the spigot you can turn off tomorrow.

    I suspect, though, that you are quite right that a lot of these cuts won’t happen. In part, though, because that’s what happens when you get concessions via hostage. Once you lose the hostage, you lose the leverage.

    On the other hand, the BBA simply isn’t going to happen. Period.

    So in essence, you’re taking the position that default or massive, instantaneous cuts won’t be detrimental to the economy and won’t cause a huge outcry. Because if it does cause an outcry, you can bet that some of your congressfolk will buckle.And the debt limit will be raised anyway. And the deficit will be worse because we’re suddenly paying much higher interest rates.

  29. Wayne says:

    @lunatcllama
    We have enough incoming money to pay our debts. It is “some” of the other spending we couldn’t do. Raising the debt ceiling is a compromise. We should have a balance budget and should be paying off the debt.

    However that is not where we are at. IMO we should raise the debt but only by a small amount and with some other major changes. We need to put measure in where we will be force to have a balance budget and hopefully start paying off the debt within a few years.

  30. jan says:

    @Wayne:

    “Oh it’s ridiculous for the House to pass a bill that won’t pass the senate but a great idea for Senate to pass a bill that won’t pass the house”. That is really being logical and consistent there. Not.

    Wayne, you’ve hit at least one nail on the head, that being the glaring hypocrisy which many people have in viewing their side as absolutely correct, while the other side is seen as being ridiculous and bone-headed for believing in themselves, and continuing to pursue that belief.

    People are often driven by what they think is principled and right. In some cases, where the odds are against them, and they don’t give up, they are seen as heroic.

    In medicine when a doctor gives you a ‘death’ prognosis and you go on with an alternative tx which is seen as fundamentally foolish, then recover because of taking such an unorthodox course, you are seen as a strong, medical trailblazer kind of individual, rather than a lackey of ‘traditional’ medical protocol.

    In combat, where the enemy outnumbers you, but you don’t turn tail and run, and defeat the odds through bravery, strategy and/or divine guidance, they pin medals on you.

    But, in Congress, the intellectual elite, call people wackos, defaming most paths who push current prudent envelops in order to stave off a future calamity. This kind of ‘fidelity’ seems more like a slavish adherence to not rocking the boat, rather than finding a real solution to making a situation better.

  31. David M says:

    Nothing but cuts to the military would be so very unfortunate. I mean we might only be spending way more than everyone else instead of way, way, way more!

    What does this “they haven’t written it down” nonsense even mean? (I’m pretty sure it’s not true, as I don’t think the Reid bill could get a CBO score if it didn’t actually exist.) Do they think it won’t change once it’s written down the first time? By this logic, the GOP plan isn’t written down either, as they are still working on it.

  32. Liberty60 says:

    @Wayne
    See, what we are seeing now is the inevitable collision of rhetoric and reality.

    “Raising the debt ceiling is a compromise. We should have a balance budget and should be paying off the debt. ”

    This year we are budgeted to spend about 3.8 Trillion dollars, while collecting about 2.3 Trillion in revenue.

    So according to your post, we should cut about 1/3 of all government spending, immediately.

    Before I whip out my numbers (yet again!) lets be clear- is this really what you want to do?

  33. ratufa says:

    I think Trumwill has pretty much nailed it. At this point, I wouldn’t be that upset if the debt ceiling isn’t raised before the deadline, in the somewhat forlorn hope that the effects would be educational for some people.

  34. Wayne says:

    @Trumwell
    That is why you don’t give up all of your hostages and you make sure you get your demands before handling any hostage over. Giving up all your hostages for promises is very stupid. If we don’t get our spending under control this country will collapse.

  35. Trumwill says:

    We have enough incoming money to pay our debts. It is “some” of the other spending we couldn’t do. Raising the debt ceiling is a compromise. We should have a balance budget and should be paying off the debt.

    Do you realize that current spending is something on the order of 160% of revenues.

    Some? We’re talking about 38 cents on every dollar spent. To break even.

  36. WR says:

    @jan: In this case, the closer analogy would be a military commanded, surrounded and outnumbered, who decided to kill all his own troops and then bomb his own base instead of attacking the enemy.

  37. Trumwill says:

    If we don’t get our spending under control this country will collapse.

    Re-read my last paragraph on how likely things are to go. Do you really think everything is going to be okay if we hit the ceiling? That there won’t be a tremendous backlash? That’s the gamble that you’re making. It strikes me as a pretty bad one.

  38. David M says:

    Whether or not you think there should be less government spending, the debt ceiling is not the time to do it. If the GOP thinks spending should be cut by 40%, the time to do it is when they pass the appropriations bills. The 40% cut due to not raising the debt ceiling will be extremely chaotic as no one really knows which bills would end up being paid. There is no upside to this course of action, and no one but a deluded fanatic would support it.

  39. WR says:

    @Wayne: Hostage taking is by its very nature evil. It’s not how our government is supposed to work. If the Tea Morons can’t persuade the American people that they’re right, then they have to work harder at persuasion. Threaten to destroy the nation unless a small minority is granted the power to enact vast changes on the Constitution is nothing less than terrorism, and is the last refuge of a pathetically failed movement.

  40. Trumwill says:

    What David M said. Look, if you have the popular support to cut spending, then you can cut spending. Without that popular support, creating and then using an emergency to do it will not, ultimately, work. Either the emergency will pass or there will be enough defectors unwilling to sink the ship.

  41. MBunge says:

    @Wayne: We need to put measure in where we will be force to have a balance budget and hopefully start paying off the debt within a few years.

    Wayne, where exactly were you when George W. Bush and the Republican Congress exploded the deficit and debt with tax cuts, two wars and an unfunded Medicare expansion?

    Mike

  42. Wayne says:

    @jan
    Much of what I have tried to say.

    @Liberty60
    Reread my post especially the part “IMO we should raise the debt but only by a small amount and with some other major changes”

    However much of the spending was increase quickly and it needs to be cut quickly. We have a 1.5 trillion deficit. IMO we need about a need 300 to 500 billion cut next year and address the rest in next few years. One or two billion cuts next year with promises of more cuts years from now is not good enough.

    If wanting more than one or two billion cuts next year is being radically irresponsible, count me in.

  43. jan says:

    McConnell to dems: “Where is your plan?”

    McConnell’s statement has been making the rounds today. Usually he just parrots talking points. But, today he caught my attention with his observations of what the Senate has been doing to deal with this debt ceiling stalemate. While Reid has talked about a plan, the prez has endorsed such a plan, and even the rating agencies have politicized Reid’s plan, there is no such plan in writing, just ideas. They haven’t formally voted on any plan either, that I am aware of. This is what McConnell noted where the Senate has been putting their energies:

    “And what about here in the Senate? Well the contrast couldn’t be starker. Rather than working these last few days towards a solution to this crisis the way the Republican Majority in the House has, the Democratic Majority here in the Senate has been wasting precious time rounding up `no’ votes to keep this crisis alive. Rather than being responsible and doing their duty and come up with a bill that can pass, they’ve been busy signing people up for the `not good enough’ caucus and ginning up opposition to everything else.

    Now why is that any less controversial or heretical than what the teas are doing in the House?

  44. mattb says:

    To @Wayne and @Jan,

    Here’s the fundamental problem with the position of “Each side is doing it…” in this case — the fact is that a very vocal and powerful minority within the minority party has hijacked this entire process. And its not just that they are threatening the “opposing side” but they are also threatening their own side.

    I know that @Steven and @Doug have used the metaphor of Kamikaze’s to refer to the Tea Party position, but Suicide Bombers is probably a better metaphor. The Senate proposal has integrated numerous ideas from previous Republican legislation. In fact, all the “compromise” since the beginning of this process has been largely in the favor of the Republican position.

    The issue is that a powerful minority within the House isn’t willing to give anything beyond the idea that simply raising the debt ceiling is the only compromise that they are willing to consider. And not only are the holding a gun to the head of the opposition party, but they are holding it to members of their own party.

    And the fact is that many of them seem willing to fall on their swords and take the other side, their own people and the rest of us with them. I’m willing to admit that these individuals probably think they are doing “the right thing.” But that strength is coming more as a type of faith (a quasi religious/moral belief) than any type of rational governing.

    But of course, its easier to throw out big, comforting words about “ideology” than admit to the reality of the situation.

    I’d respect both of you more if you came out and said: I believe that it’s better to not raise the debt ceiling and suffer the consequences than give an inch to the Democrats, and if the economy crashes, then I’m willing to accept the blame for that failure.

    Sadly, neither of you are brave or intellectually honest enough to do that. In fact, I can confidently predict that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, and things go south, you with blame the democrats/liberals/anyone-else-but-you-and-your-party without a second though. An what’s worse, you will claim that you’re the victims of a lame-stream media, an evil liberal conspiracy, and RINOs.

    Because, at the end of the day, that’s all you ever are… “victims.” But of course, at the same time you’ll claim that like all “real independents” (meaning talk-radio conservatives) you’re the only ones who really accept responsibility for your actions.

    And in doing so you will prove how bankrupt the two of you are.

    Keep on keeping the faith you two. Because logic clearly never reaches the two of you.

  45. MBunge says:

    @jan: “Now why is that any less controversial or heretical than what the teas are doing in the House?”

    Uh, we’re supposed to take seriously the words of someone who has publicly stated that his main goal is making sure Barack Obama doesn’t get a second term? Not doing what’s good for the country, just beating Obama?

    When you act in bad faith, you lose all right to criticize anyone else’s behavior.

    Mike

  46. PD Shaw says:

    @Trumwill: On leverage, there is also a time component. Both chambers (and the POTUS) play this game. The Senate isn’t moving forward for one of two reasons, they are also deeply divided (but largely concealing it) and/or they want the benefit of playing the last card to maximize influence on the final product.

    I think the President started to play a game of “last card,” but he realized his influence was waining as the deadline approached — there is no way he will veto a bill now. I think what people see as inconsistency is simply changing tactics as his leverage changed.

  47. MBunge says:

    @Wayne: IMO we need about a need 300 to 500 billion cut next year and address the rest in next few years.

    In what way would 500 billion dollars in cuts be LESS damaging to the economy than 500 billion in tax increases?

    Mike

  48. legion says:

    Steven:
    Good point – the more I look at it the more I think you’re right. This could start from either direction.

    Wayne:
    The Senate Dems have offered numerous (some say too many) concessions to try to find a compromise position on something that Obama will sign. The Repubs – specifically the Tea Party faithful – continue to insist on things that a) will never pass the Senate or the Pres’s desk, or b) have nothing to do with paying current obligations (i.e., the BBA).

    You may not like it, Wayne, but if this blows up, the blame will be completely, totally, and IMNSHO correctly laid at the feet of the Republican party. Period. You might disagree, but you’re wrong.

  49. David M says:

    WIll the people claiming “the dems have no plan” please explain this. Anyone paying even a little attention to this issue knows the CBO scored higher savings from the Reid plan than the first Boehner plan. I understand not liking the Ried plan, but pretending it doesn’t exist is just plain bizarre.

  50. Liberty60 says:

    @Wayne:
    OK, great:

    Here is what our FY 2011 budget looks like:

    Defense/ Homeland Security- 1,420 Billion
    Social Security- 730 Billion
    Medicare/ Medicaid- 800 Billion
    Debt Service- 250 Billion
    Every Other Thing The Govt Does- 630 Billion

    Total Spending 3.8 Trillion

    Total Revenue 2.56 Trillion

    Deficit- 1.5 Trillion

    So here you go- cut away!
    Tell us where you want to cut 300-500 Billion next year.

    I don’t even disagree with you- I just have been making this same argument for years now, and not once has an alleged “conservative” have the balls to stand up and openly say what they would like to cut.

    Its always just some magical mythical “Dept. of Wastanfraud” that they can’t quite specify, but goddamnit, it needs to be cut.

  51. mattb says:

    On leverage, there is also a time component. Both chambers (and the POTUS) play this game. … I think the President started to play a game of “last card,” but he realized his influence was waining as the deadline approached — there is no way he will veto a bill now.”

    @PD — Provided that the senate and the Dems maintain a spine and hold the line that they have offered every rational concession, and the resulting compromise largely resembles the Reid Plan, I think this is accurate. But pretending that anything seriously resembling what’s being brewed in the house (BBA in particular) isn’t going to fly.

    Following up on Legions point, and as a much simpler response to @Jan and @Wayne, the issue here — the failure in your logic or your claims of compromise or equivilency — is that over time, the Democrats have put forward multiple plans with adopt many Republican/Right/Conservative positions. But at the same time, the Republican responses from the house continue to move the goal posts further to the right and the general talking point — which many within that party seem to be taking as a matter of fact — is that any move leftward, any concessions beyond simply raising the ceiling is a step too far.

    So regardless of what you “prefer” Wayne and Jan, you continue to support and defend people who don’t support your position and see it as a compromise too far.

  52. sam says:

    @Wayne:

    Republicans have been compromising also. Hell for one they are agreeing to a debt ceiling rise in the first place.

    Jesus Christ. Agreeing to a debt ceiling raise as a compromise. You’re batshit crazy if you think there is another option instead of raising the debt limit, one that will avert financial disaster. Compromise. That’s rich.

    Thelma to Louise: “Let’s compromise. I steer, you press the gas pedal. How’s that?”

    And BTW, how many of your compadres from the red states, net importers of federal tax dollars, understand that with all this austerity being pushed, they’ll be on their way deeper into the financial/cultural shithole? And that the blue states, bastions of liberalism that they are and net exporters of federal tax dollars that they are, will weather the austerity storm just fine and become even wealthier and more liberal. Hell, you know, I can get behind the Tea Party now that I think about it, if that’s the outcome.

  53. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    This is approximately the third similar story in last couple weeks I’ve seen but not mention here.

    Yes. The reason is that the data used is (contrary to claims) not really new but rather well-known. And while Spencer is (as opposed to most other guys peddling climate schience on Fox) a real climate scientist, this specific article has been rejected by peer-reviewed journels due to the bad models used. He actually had to pay to get it published by a free online magazine.

    You can find a good (if a bit technical) review here: http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/just-put-the-model-down-roy/

    Short version: Spencer used a model in which his assumptions about nature were severely unrealistic (hugely overstated ocean mixed layer depth) and which allowed for a large variance in the variable values. As a result , he efectively could get any result desired out of the data. You can run the same model with slightly different variables (which would still be valid under his model) and “prove” man-made global warming. He just took the most publicity-getting results and ran with it.

    While this fits very well for a Fox news article the models relevance to understanding climate science is close to nil.

  54. legion says:

    @sam: I think “secession” is a word they like to throw around a lot. I too think it would be a net gain for the rest of the country…

  55. An Interested Party says:

    I understand ideological blinders.

    No, you don’t, because if you did, you would realize that ideology is the only thing stopping a clean raising of the debt ceiling…

    Democrats are the immature ones here.

    The GOP is practicing extortion, but it is the Democrats who are immature…right…

  56. sam says:

    @jan:

    While Reid has talked about a plan, the prez has endorsed such a plan, and even the rating agencies have politicized Reid’s plan, there is no such plan in writing, just ideas. .

    And what was sent over to the CBO for scoring? Chopped liver? Don’t be an obvious idiot.

  57. MBunge says:

    @sam: Don’t be an obvious idiot.

    You might be asking for too much. We are talking about people who consider baseline budgeting an incomprehensible practice, inflation and population growth being unknown concepts to them.

    Mike

  58. PD Shaw says:

    @sam: Where is Reid’s bill? As I recall both Reid and Boehner announced that they would introduce bills about the same time. Again, I think he is also playing a game and also has deep divisions in his chamber.

  59. @PD Shaw: I think this is a legit question, and my preference would be for the Senate to be dealing with its own bill at the same time.

    On the other hand, in addition to basic politics, I expect part of the problem is knowing that the Senate will have to deal with the 60 vote problem and trying to figure out exactly where the House is going to end up.

    Still: time is getting rather short.

  60. michael reynolds says:

    For the vast majority of people the Constitution is like the Bible: it says whatever they want it to say.

    The idea that most people are even capable of abstract reasoning is laughable, let alone that they would subordinate their own narrow self-interest to some set of principles.

    Please.

    Christians read the Sermon on the Mount and come away believing Jesus wanted them to amass wealth and sh!t on poor people. Americans read the Constitution and come away with the conclusion that they, and they alone, are a special class of super-Americans entitled to special status.

    People believe in angels and devils and ghosts and magical marketplaces and wondrous trickle-downs and that less is more. They’re idiots.

  61. jukeboxgrad says:

    wayne:

    They refuse to balance the budget. … We should have a balance budget and should be paying off the debt

    “They refuse to balance the budget” is a good summary of the Ryan budget. If the GOP really wants “to balance the budget,” then why does the Ryan plan take 50 years to balance the budget?

    It takes an astonishing amount of chutzpah to vote for a plan that adds debt for 50 years and then preach about the importance of not adding debt.

  62. anjin-san says:

    We should have a balance budget

    We had one. Your party pissed it away in no time at all.