Yep, Time To Prepare For The Shutdown

It's now clear that, absent an unlikely miracle, there will be a government shutdown.

Capitol Building Dusk

Sometime later today, probably not until well after the dinner hour when most Americans are at the movies, watching college football or MLB games that will decide the final makeup of the post-season, or just relaxing like normal people, the House will take up, and likely pass on a party line votes, legislation designed to respond to the Senate’s action yesterday. Already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made clear that the new CR will be dead on arrival in the Senate:

(Reuters) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Saturday his Democratic-led chamber was certain to kill legislation moving through the House of Representatives to delay “Obamacare” for one year and repeal a medical device tax that would be attached to a government-funding bill.

“After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one: Republicans must decide whether to pass the Senate’s clean CR (continuing resolution to fund the government beyond September 30), or force a Republican government shutdown,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said in a statement.

This indicates that Reid will either bring the new House CR up on a Motion To Table, which only requires a majority to pass and cannot be filibustered, or simply not bring the bill up at all. In either case, the matter would the be very quickly back in the House’s hands. At that point, as I explained earlier today, the House will have the option of either passing the Senate’s “clean” CR that was sent to them on Friday, passing a “clean” but short term (one or two weeks) CR in an effort to increase the time for negotiation while simultaneously avoiding a shutdown, or letting the government shutdown and seeing where the chips fall. The first option would require Speaker Boehner to bring to the floor a piece of legislation that will pass over significant Republican opposition, and only because most of the Democratic caucus ends up voting for it in violation of the so-called “Hastert Rule.” While Boehner has done this before, most recently was disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy victims, it would be a significant threat to his status with GOP Conference members and could conceivably lead to a challenge to his leadership. The second option would only be possible if it could also be passed by the Senate via unanimous consent, which is by no means assured thanks to people like Messers. Cruz and Lee. And, of course, the final option is the one that poses the most political risk for Republicans and Democrats alike because polls have been inconsistent on this issue. Some polls have said that the public would blame both sides relatively equally for a shutdown, others have said that the GOP would get more of the blame. In the end, how that plays out would depend on what happens after the shutdown and how both sides react. If it appears that one party is less willing to take the steps necessary to resolve the crisis, then they will likely take the most blame. Based on recent history, I’ve got to say that I think it’s more likely that it will be Republicans who are perceived this way regardless of whether it is a “fair” assessment or not.  This is why I’m skeptical about the idea that a shutdown, if it happens, will be a short term one or two day affair. Of course, just a week ago I was agreeing with the idea that there probably wouldn’t be a shutdown so I’m not going to claim to have any special prognostication abilities here.

What happens after the shutdown is the open question.

For reasons that I can’t honestly say that I understand completely, President Obama has chosen to stay mostly distant from the goings on up on Capitol Hill other than to make speeches wherein he says he isn’t going to negotiate over threats to the economy. While I tend to agree that Republican efforts to tie the Affordable Care Act to either the passage of a Continuing Resolution or the debt ceiling are foolish political ploys that ignore the reality of the 2012 election results, it’s equally absurd for the President to essentially withdraw himself from an important legislative battle. It’s not just the President, though; based on reports, there is no indication of any contact between the White House and anyone in Congress throughout the past week. At some point, the opposing sides are going to have to sit down and try to hammer out a deal of some kind. It would be even more essential for that to happen once a government shutdown occurs and we are approaching the October 16th deadline for the debt ceiling. Far too many times, President Obama has left himself detached from what happens on Capitol Hill, and more importantly failed to develop anything resembling a working relationship with the leadership there, even the leadership in his own party. This is something that has been documented in countless accounts of the first five years of his Administration. Now as we stand on the precipice of another crisis, he seems content to remain withdrawn yet again and the result may well be that it becomes harder to resolve this crisis then it really ought to be. Yes, the Republicans deserve a large part of the blame here but if Ronald Reagan and Tip O”Neill, and Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, could end up talking and working together, then there’s no reason the President can’t at least make the effort to do so with Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell. At some point, that’s going to be the only way that this current crisis gets resolved.

Of course, that will require Republicans to accept once and for all that their efforts to repeal, defund, or delay Obamacare cannot succeed. If they want to do that, they are going to have to win elections in 2014 and 2016. Until then, they’re just engaging in silly quixotic exercises.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Argon says:

    Why, might you ask? Because ‘freedom’!

  2. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Never done this before in my 25 years as a voting citizen, but yesterday I sent letters to my state’s GOP congresscritters. Told them to knock off the tantrum, grow up and accept the ACA as the law of the land. And I close by stating if they want to take the fight any further, I would be writing checks to any and all of their sane opposition.

  3. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Yes, the Republicans deserve a large part of the blame here but if Ronald Reagan and Tip O”Neill, and Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, could end up talking and working together, then there’s no reason the President can’t at least make the effort to do so with Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell.

    Just couldn’t resist a “both sides do it,” coulda ya, Doug?

    Don’t know if you’ve been following the news, but it’s obvious Boehner and McConnell are leaders of nothing.

  4. Argon says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:
    That and Sir Robin, aka Sen. McConnell is MIA because he’s afraid for his reelection. It looks like a power vacuum in the GOP Senate ranks right now.

  5. john personna says:

    Game theory dictates different strategies for single games and multiple game series.

    Republican brinkmanship (do this or I’ll crash the car/plane/economy) has become a series. For that reason, the Democrats can’t negotiate. We have already established the pattern.

    A minority demands their way.

    If an inch is given, another inch will be asked for, and then another, and then another.

    (And it really is important to note that the Republicans did not win the popular vote for the House of Representatives. Yes, they have a legal majority, but the do not that the complete, moral, or ethical, one they’d have if they’d actually won a majority of the votes. If they had not managed their legal triumph by gerrymandered games.)

  6. @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    Like it or not, the President has a role in this government too. There’s plenty of blame to be apportioned on Capitol Hill, and especially to Republicans. But, do you seriously think that someone like LBJ, or Reagan, or Clinton, would be this aloof in the face of a situation like this? of course they wouldn’t.

  7. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The Republicans are pushing the country over the cliff, in the hopes that the Democrats will reach out to catch it.

    If you endorse that .. well I can’t respect you enough to even ask you anything more.

  8. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    What a ridiculous comment. We don’t know how LBJ, Reagan or Clinton would act because they never had the majority party in Congress threatening to tank the economy if the president didn’t nullify the last election.

    It would be as if the Dems, in 1985, told Reagan to pass Mondale’s platform – OR ELSE.

  9. john personna says:

    So basically, where we are at:

    – Republicans lost the popular vote for the House.
    – gerrymandering gave them a solid majority nonetheless
    – that gerrymandered group has decided on an ultimatum
    – they will crash the country into ruin if they don’t get their way

    Doug says Obama has to agree to that because, hey, he’s an adult.

    BS.

    The first principle in any democracy is democracy.

  10. john personna says:

    (I think the GOP has overplayed their hand. The ultimatum, the terrorism, was never supposed to be this bald or this obvious. It was supposed to look like they were working with, negotiating with, Obama on change.

    That’s gone with today’s news.

    It is down to “do what we say, or the economy, and the nation’s fiscal reputation, get it.”)

  11. James Pearce says:

    At some point, the opposing sides are going to have to sit down and try to hammer out a deal of some kind..

    Just saying……I don’t want to be the guy going all-in with a bad hand against Barack “Poker Face” Obama.

    That he seems disconnected from the process should be a hint.

    (Here’s the hint: Fold; don’t raise.)

    if Ronald Reagan and Tip O”Neill, and Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, could end up talking and working together, then there’s no reason the President can’t at least make the effort to do so with Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell.

    Can’t think of a single reason, huh? I can….

  12. James Pearce says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Like it or not, the President has a role in this government too.

    Didn’t he fulfil his role when he signed Obamacare into law?

    It’s Congress who can’t get their act together. I fail to see what Obama can add to the process. He hasn’t been a Senator since 2008.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, you are not stupid. Why are you pretending to be? First off, why in Dog’s name would Obama call McConnell or Boehner? They have both proven time and again that they can not deliver the votes. They are nothing but messenger boys. Nancy Pelosi… now there was a Speaker.

    Secondly, my post from the other thread:

    Let me get this straight: The federal government has to be funded. The spending limit has to be raised. The GOP knows this. Why on earth would Obama negotiate over that? If in the end, Obama is going to get what the the country needs, with out giving the GOP a Dogdamned thing, why would he? Now, if he was asking for say, Single payer health care, or maybe a Carbon tax, or a Path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, or an End to sequestration, an End to Bush tax cuts above $259K, or a Wall Street tax, or the Speakership for Nancy Pelosi, THEN maybe he would negotiate, engage in some give and take.

    But he is not asking for any of that. He is asking the GOP to do what they have to do anyway, in a reasonable and responsible way, a way that does not damage the full faith and credit of the United States, or harm the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the gov’t on a daily basis.

    But all the GOP can do is hold a gun to their heads and say, “You better do what I say or the Ni**er gets it!!”**

    **(think Blazing Saddles)

    Doug? I try to give credit where it is due. This time? You are full of sh!t. Think of it this way: If Obama was your client, what would you advise him to do? We both know the answer to that question:

    “Tell them to pull the trigger.”

  14. john personna says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Doug? I try to give credit where it is due. This time? You are full of sh!t. Think of it this way: If Obama was your client, what would you advise him to do?

    I can see how Doug could be trained to see this differently. Say there are two business partners, negotiating a change in agreement. In the midst of that, one partner threatens to close the company accounts, which for the sake of argument is within his power. Then Doug might say “hey, better a bad agreement in a running company than a dead company.”

    The difference of course is that isn’t just a dead company, impacting a few to a few thousand.

    This is the country we are talking about, the whole enchilada.

    No, we cannot allow our “junior partners” in the House to set that pattern.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    No, we cannot allow our “junior partners” in the House to set that pattern.

    In a nut shell.

    Meanwhile, more important bizz: The Cards are once again kicking the Cubs ass (6-0). They may yet sew up home field advantage. Something like 16- 8 thru September. When the heat is on?? They are as cool as the other side of the pillow.

  16. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Same conservative idiots… different century.

    Nothing changes.

    Hear a voice from the past:

    “But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of your Constitutional rights.

    That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.

    When you make these declarations, you have a specific and well-understood allusion to an assumed Constitutional right of yours… But no such right is specifically written in the Constitution. That instrument is literally silent about any such right….

    Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.”

    Smart fellow, that Lincoln. Sounds like he’s talking to the tea party of today.

    Great speech, and worth a read: http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/cooper.htm

  17. Ben Wolf says:

    The prime question is whether the President has the balls to outmaneuver the Republicans. There are three realistic options for continuing operations without caving to these lunatics:

    1) Obama can gather the courage to use the platinum coin and retire several trillion dollars in securities, or all of them if he chooses. And no, the Fed cannot refuse to accept it as the Federal Reserve Act cedes ultimate authority to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Fed is simply his agent and must comply if ordered to.

    2) The Administration can challenge the constitutionality of the debt ceiling on 14th Amendment grounds, something which should have happened decades ago. I would expect the House Republicans to impeach him if he took that route, but at this point who gives a damn? The Senate will never cooperate, so let them rage.

    3) The Treasury can issue alternative bonds paying out interest but with no defined time for returning the principle, which will allow the Fed to continue indirectly funding expenditures via the bond market. If it weren’t for the Republicans markets would accept these securities as being risk-free like Treasurys, but as things stand they will likely require a higher interest rate to be accepted. Still easily managed, though.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Like it or not, the President has a role in this government too.

    Yeah. Let me sum it up for you: “Fuck off.”

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Not 100% certain, more like 99.999990% certain, I did not say that.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Apparently, I have pissed off somebody. Not Doug, not James, not Rodney, (is it possible to p!ss off Rodney?)

  21. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @Ben Wolf: This president doesn’t have balls. “walk softly and carry no stick” is the best description of his approach to governing. What would far right Republicans fear? He doesn’t use the bully pulpit and he is unwilling to throw a punch. I voted for him twice and am disgusted. Republicans must think he is pathetic.

    4 years after passing ACA he still hasn’t convinced America it is beneficial. His performance in this regard is pathetic. If he is so damn articulate, why not explain the benefits of your sole legislative success? Time and time again he makes concessions to opponents and receives nothing in return. Who wouldn’t pick a fight with him?

    He should have been railing against them for weeks and out on the stump hammering the House. Once again, he just rolls over.

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    Yes, the Republicans deserve a large part of the blame here but if Ronald Reagan and Tip O”Neill blah blah blah blah

    Shoot me now.

    Doug just never learns, does he? He just never ever learns.

  23. Woody says:

    On One Side: shutdown of the U.S. Government, at a minimum, costing the U.S. taxpayer $1.4 billion dollars (if not more in tougher-to-measure costs); possibility of a default on U.S. bonds (effect: incalcuable) over a law that was passed through a majority vote of both Houses of Congress, the Presidential signature, and the majority vote of the Supreme Court. This law makes health care into something affordable by average and below-average income Americans.

    The Other Side: Shutdown, incurring immense costs on every American, an attempt to invalidate the election theory of American politics, drum circles, Glenn Greenwald and Daily Kos because they wrote something as incendiary as Louie Gohmert (an actual voting member of Congress).

    “Chuck” Todd’s Side: Looks like both sides are equally at fault! Let’s interview Peggy Noonan, Joe Scarborough, Michael Steele, and Donna Brazile for their take!

    Ugh.

  24. Rafer Janders says:

    New rule: any pundit who resorts to the “buh-buh but the Gipper and Tip!” gambit has automatically disqualified himself from being taken seriously.

    That is, assuming he was taken seriously in the first place.

  25. James Pearce says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    Who wouldn’t pick a fight with him?

    An intelligent person.

    Bobby Rush was the last guy who tangled with Obama and prevailed. Ask Alan Keyes. Ask Hillary Clinton. Ask John McCain. Ask Mitt Romney. If you could, you could ask Somali pirates, Yemeni terrorists, Osama Bin Laden, or Muammar Gaddafi.

    I mean, I really wanted Alvarez to beat Mayweather, too, but despite my personal dislike of Floyd Jr, the guy can box.

  26. @OzarkHillbilly:

    That may make for a nice zinger in an Internet comment thread (and I had to let it through our spam filter due to language) but it doesn’t work in reality

  27. Pinky says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    New rule: any pundit who resorts to the “buh-buh but the Gipper and Tip!” gambit has automatically disqualified himself from being taken seriously.

    On what grounds? I can’t see any reason that this shouldn’t be considered a valid comparison. But if you want to take it off the table, you’ve got Bush working with the Democrats, Clinton working with the Republicans, and Bush working with the Democrats. I mean, Nixon, LBJ, Eisenhower, as far back as I can remember, presidents have worked with the other party. Carter is the only example I can remember of a president who didn’t work with Congress, but I’m probably just drawing a blank. And don’t say “obstruction” or “unprecedented” and think that closes the argument. Obama couldn’t even work with Reid and Pelosi when they formulated the health care bill. The past few budget/debt crises, it’s been Biden and McConnell who’ve done the legwork. The reason that health care is his signature accomplishment is that he’s failed on environmental legislation, gun control, any kind of budget reform since his first few days in office…ok, there’s one other piece of significant legislation that’s been passed, Dodd-Frank, and that again was done by Congress’s momentum, not the administration’s. President Obama couldn’t even convince his own party to support him on Syria.

    Sorry if I rambled. This one-side-blame thing is getting ridiculous.

  28. Moosebreath says:

    “For reasons that I can’t honestly say that I understand completely, President Obama has chosen to stay mostly distant from the goings on up on Capitol Hill other than to make speeches wherein he says he isn’t going to negotiate over threats to the economy.”

    Ignoring for a minute that Boehner has pledged not to negotiate with the President, there’s also two very obvious problems:

    1. If Obama offers any slice of the pie to resolve this crisis, everyone who is paying even the least bit of attention knows that the Republicans will not take it, and continue to demand the whole pie. Any Republican who is willing to take less than the whole pie will be primaried and lose next year.

    2. If Obama offers any slice of the pie to resolve this crisis, the Republicans will know that he will need to offer a larger one to avoid a default on our debt next month. And a larger one for whenever this stopgap funding ends. And a larger one for next year’s budget. And the one after that. And the one after that.

    It’s as if the Republicans are convinced that they just won a national election in the last 12 months by over 5 million votes, instead of the opposite being true.

  29. Gustopher says:

    I think the president has made his position clear, through his current statements and his past actions. He will accept moderately unreasonable demands at any opportunity.

    Why would he need to negotiate further?

    And why can’t the Republicans come up with some moderately unreasonable demands instead of asking for the completely unreasonable? Obama wants to cave. Obama is eager to give up. But the republicans somehow manage to not take advantage of this.

  30. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Pinky:

    Obama couldn’t even work with Reid and Pelosi when they formulated the health care bill.

    Yet. It. Is. Law.

    You’re just embarrassing yourself.

  31. James Pearce says:

    @Pinky:

    he’s failed on environmental legislation, gun control, any kind of budget reform since his first few days in office…ok, there’s one other piece of significant legislation that’s been passed, Dodd-Frank, and that again was done by Congress’s momentum, not the administration’s.

    Started cold but you got warmer towards the end there….still, valiant effort. C+.

  32. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    GOP’s new CR goes after contraception.

    Because it’s about the deficit.

  33. Woody says:

    @Woody:

    My apologies for the immensely poorly-worded post above. It was an attempt to draw a contrast between what the Democratic Party has successfully passed through traditionally honored means as opposed to the parliamentary methods currently employed by the Republican Party to thwart the traditional way laws are passed in this country.

    As to the “Chuck” Todd bit, here ya go.

    Watch the Gasbag shows, or listen to the Smiths? Which is more soul-killing?

  34. Tillman says:

    While I tend to agree that Republican efforts to tie the Affordable Care Act to either the passage of a Continuing Resolution or the debt ceiling are foolish political ploys that ignore the reality of the 2012 election results, it’s equally absurd for the President to essentially withdraw himself from an important legislative battle. It’s not just the President, though; based on reports, there is no indication of any contact between the White House and anyone in Congress throughout the past week.

    Did you know Our Heavenly Founders envisaged Congress as the dominant branch of government? And yet they can’t get anything done without some hand-holding from the executive.

    I’m not defending Obama here, I just can’t believe the presidency has become so imperial that its presence is required for legislative negotiations, otherwise the President is “distant.”

  35. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    Obama couldn’t even work with Reid and Pelosi when they formulated the health care bill. The past few budget/debt crises, it’s been Biden and McConnell who’ve done the legwork. The reason that health care is his signature accomplishment is that he’s failed on environmental legislation, gun control, any kind of budget reform since his first few days in office…ok, there’s one other piece of significant legislation that’s been passed, Dodd-Frank, and that again was done by Congress’s momentum, not the administration’s.

    A) The healthcare bill’s construction is a good example of Obama attempting to apply what he lectured about in his Constitutional law classes by letting Congress actually legislate things instead of dictating them to his party. Obviously that went awry. I wouldn’t exactly call it “being unable to work with Pelosi and Reid.”
    B) I was under the impression that they were Biden/Boehner talks, and this doesn’t strike me as a mark against Obama anyway. Those were, after all, conducted back when it still seemed Boehner could deliver his caucus on any deal he made with the administration. They had a $4 trillion deal at one point, didn’t they?
    C) No one should be proud of Dodd-Frank. A solid D for effort, but no teeth. Watered down. It was crafted a year before Occupy Wall Street drove public opinion openly against investment bankers.
    D) Ignore anything that claims “momentum” is a force in politics. It’s a symptom, not an agent.

  36. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    And don’t say “obstruction” or “unprecedented” and think that closes the argument.

    So we can’t use the truth in our argument?

    That seems to be a starting point for discussion with Republicans.

  37. Jeremy R says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Like it or not, the President has a role in this government too. There’s plenty of blame to be apportioned on Capitol Hill, and especially to Republicans. But, do you seriously think that someone like LBJ, or Reagan, or Clinton, would be this aloof in the face of a situation like this? of course they wouldn’t.

    Absolutely. Why won’t Obama and the Dems negoatiate!?

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/275295-boehner-tells-gop-hes-done-with-one-on-one-obama-talks

    Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he’s telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama.

    In closed-door meetings since leaving the “fiscal cliff” talks two weeks ago, lawmakers and aides say the Speaker has indicated he is abandoning that approach for good and will return fully to the normal legislative process in 2013 — seeking to pass bills through the House that can then be adopted, amended or reconciled by the Senate.

    “He is recommitting himself and the House to what we’ve done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will,” an aide to the Speaker told The Hill.

    The shift could have immediate ramifications as Congress heads into its next showdown over raising the debt ceiling …

    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/298223-senate-gop-denies-formation-of-budget-conference-for-third-time

    Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) tried for a third time to get agreement from Republicans to form a conference committee on the House and Senate budget resolutions.

    Murray criticized Republicans for saying they want to return to regular order yet then refuse to appoint conferees.

    On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried to get a unanimous consent agreement to appoint budget conferees as well. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) objected. Reid accused him of being a “schoolyard bully.”

    The Senate passed its first budget resolution in four years last month. Murray and her House counterpart, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have been meeting about setting up a conference, but Democrats say House GOP members are dragging their feet because they’re afraid of a backlash from Tea Party elements within the GOP ranks.

    Oh, I guess that’s why.

  38. Todd says:

    @Moosebreath:

    It’s as if the Republicans are convinced that they just won a national election in the last 12 months by over 5 million votes, instead of the opposite being true.

    They do. Many Republicans, and especially most Tea Partiers ‘honestly‘ believe (despite a total lack of evidence) that the 2012 election result was fraudulent. In their minds, they (and people like them) are “We The People”.

    It would be bad enough if (as in years past) Republicans only had to pretend to listen to these sort of delusional nut jobs … but now, these no-nothing ignoramuses are actually being elected to Congress themselves.

    We may be heading for the mother of all Constitutional crisis.. the CR is just the warm-up act .. the debt-ceiling is the real show. Unless John Boehner is willing to risk his speakership by allowing a vote with a majority of Democrat votes, we may very well see one of those extraordinary solutions that @Ben Wolf described above. (although they’ll deny it til the cows come home, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at Treasury has a platinum coin design tucked away in a safe place in case it’s needed).

  39. dazedandconfused says:

    Doug, I think you are right about public opinion being what’s to blame will be what settles this. That means Obama must appeal to the people. The radicals in Congress are not going to listen to him.

    It would be practically handing in his resignation to cave to this stuff. Going to take quite a bit of that “opinion”, I reckon.

  40. Davebo says:

    The US government really shouldn’t “negotiate” with terrorists and that’s what the House GOP is doing here.

    Ironically the guy most likely cheering on Doug’s pretzel logic here drives a pickup with a bumper sticker that says “These Colors Don’t Run”.

  41. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @James Pearce: Enjoy @James Pearce: Wow, the scourge of Somali pirates. Dazzled. As for Clinton, McCain and Romney, I agree–Obama is a great candidate. My point was he is a mediocre, ineffectual president.

    Four years after ACA passed he hasn’t yet convinced INDEPENDENTS–not Republicans– of its benefits. Stop coddling him and making excuses. It is a failure of enormous proportions not to have done so. Ronald Reagan with 50 fewer IQ points was a 100 times better at selling his agenda AKA doing the job.

    It is great that bin Laden is dead. At least there is an occasional benefit to defying allies’ borders and international treaties and law. Personally, Libya is another fiasco. A constitutional law professor who justifies ignoring the constitution. Again, it killed an evil man. It also turned Libya into a destabilized arms bizarre of competing factions.

    Not surprisingly, Syria didn’t make your list of accomplishments. Because the same tactics that destabilized Libya and ignored international law finally disgusted Americans and the world to scream “enough!”. Sick of his arrogance we were isolated until a Russian oligarch pulled our president’s ass out of the fire and back in to only a frying pan.

    It gives me no pleasure to say it, but it’s true–Obama has the worst political instincts since Carter and about as much respect for international law has Nixon. A depressing combination. Mataconis is right–Johnson, Reagan and Clinton would have been coaxing, cajoling or busting balls on this issue. Obama is bleating like a sheep. Sad–but it’s true.

    Apparently the President is always willing to launch ILLEGAL attacks abroad in Pakistan, in Libya or Syria. It’s the domestic thugs he is afraid to go after.

  42. Mr. Replica says:

    I was sent this by a buddy of mine.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yqAIqocQeM

    Al Cardenas

    BEAUCHAMP: What would the consequences be either, first, of shutting down the government or, second, of potentially defaulting on the U.S. debt during the Obamacare fight?

    CARDENAS: Well let’s make sure we keep this in historical perspective. We have shut down the government 17 times in the last 50 years. It sounds like it’s a radical idea and it’s the first time we’re contemplating it. It’s actually happened 17 times in America and nobody’s ever spoken about it in such radical terms as Democrats are. […] If you hit the mark on October 1st, that doesn’t mean government shuts down. Usually you can pay all the bills for 12 or 13 more days. The only time you go into default is if you don’t pay the interest which is about $18 billion a month. We’ve got plenty of money to pay that. […]

    BEAUCHAMP: So you don’t believe there’d be any major economic consequences for a government shutdown or a default?

    CARDENAS: I’m convinced there won’t be.

  43. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    ..as far back as I can remember, presidents have worked with the other party.

    You really have to be intentionally deceiving yourself to believe that the current GOP / Tea Party is not the source of basically all the problems facing Congress right now. The evidence is so overwhelming it’s fairly ridiculous to try and claim otherwise.

  44. Tillman says:

    @David M: I’d recommend he read the pieces linked to in the last part of the Atlantic article Dr. Joyner linked to in his post about Cruz and the Grand Old Civil War.

  45. john personna says:

    The GOP is controlled by its internet troll wing. It has become the Troll Party.

    When it polls like this:

    Should the US repeal Obamacare? NO, 44 percent to 38 percent.

    Defund the healthcare law if it means shutdown? NO, 59 percent to 19 percent

    there should be no way to report this as anything other than an extortion attempt by a minority.

    Sadly, like all trolls, they’ll never back down. We’ll need to wait for the wheels of Constitutional government to grind that 19 percent opinion to dust. That will take time.

  46. john personna says:

    @Pinky:

    You have a minority opinion and demand. You are in the 19% nationally who think shutdown is a viable path from which to defund the ACA.

    There is simply no way that we in the 59% should give you an inch. We have the voters on our side. It isn’t even close, on the question of shutdown we have a 3:1 advantage.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    But, do you seriously think that someone like LBJ, or Reagan, or Clinton, would be this aloof in the face of a situation like this? of course they wouldn’t

    Are you f’ing serious?
    That’s total BS and you know it.
    Has Jenos really been Doug all this time????

  48. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @john personna: Obama ALWAYS has the polls on his side going in to a negotiation and the right wing thugs still make him their bitch. He and Reid can’t even get a friggin’ federal judge approved but you think this time is going to be different…..I’m still waiting for them to cave on sequestration. Meanwhile food stamps are defunded and Obama bless and bleats and bleats.

    Obama should have been sounding the alarm about these sons of bitches months ago. But he doesn’t like confrontation. He should have called Ted Cruz out as a demagogue for calling ACA Nazism. Demand he be censured or apologize. Chastise the media for enabling this dog shit. Call itwhatit is: demogoguery and McCarthyism. No. Just roll over one more ime. Lament the lack
    of civility but don’t make anyone pay a price for abusing it.

    Pathetic wimp.

  49. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @Tillman: You were “under the impression they were Biden/ Boehner talks” so this isn’t a mark against Obama. Really?! All this time I was under the impression the vice president represented the agenda of and worked for the POTUS.

    When are his fans going to stop making excuses for Obama’s oafish, amateurish failures?. It’s more than ridiculous–it’s enabling. He is on the verge of making Jimmy Carter look like a master of state’s craft.

  50. James Pearce says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    Four years after ACA passed he hasn’t yet convinced INDEPENDENTS–not Republicans– of its benefits. Stop coddling him and making excuses. It is a failure of enormous proportions not to have done so.

    I hope this doesn’t sound like coddling or making excuses: but your complaint seems to be all about marketing. “Obama didn’t sell it well enough.” He didn’t hire the ad agency that did the Ted Cruz commercials. This is your “failure of enormous proportions.”

    Not a failure of enormous proportions, apparently, is the GOP’s inability to stop ACA from being passed in Congress, to sit powerless and watch the president sign it, to fight it in the courts, until John Roberts himself says, “Sorry, it’s Constitutional,” and then now, can’t even “defund” the damn thing without putting the entire economy in jeopardy.

    Yes, there is a failure of enormous proportions. You have just misidentified it.

    Not surprisingly, Syria didn’t make your list of accomplishments. …Sick of his arrogance we were isolated until a Russian oligarch pulled our president’s ass out of the fire and back in to only a frying pan.

    Oh my god. This doesn’t even make psychological or geopolitical sense. Why would Putin, an arrogant man himself, feel the need to “pull our president’s ass out of the fire?”

    Here’s what happened with Syria: The entire world was prepared to let the use of chemical weapons go unchecked, until Obama threatened airstrikes. That’s when everyone’s heads perked up, including Putiin’s and the UN’s, and what’s that? Weapons inspections but no airstrikes? Wow, man. Thought it was gonna be World War 3.

    So what you’d prefer to term arrogance and “being saved” by Russia, is actually a case of a world leader leading ….and others following, including Putin!

    So I can see why you can say:

    Obama has the worst political instincts since Carter and about as much respect for international law has Nixon.

    But that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

  51. James Pearce says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    He is on the verge of making Jimmy Carter look like a master of state’s craft.

    You’re dating yourself, Laurence.

    The people who were born on the day Jimmy Carter left office are now 32, going on 33.

  52. Todd says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    Ronald Reagan with 50 fewer IQ points was a 100 times better at selling his agenda AKA doing the job.

    Back in the 80s, it actually required some effort to be grossly mis-informed … now-a-days, all people have to do is turn on their computers.

    An uniformed public can be a problem, but a mis-informed public (who thinks they are well-informed) is a disaster for democracy.

    Here’s a perfect example:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2013-09-26/bloomberg-national-the-deficit.html

    Look at the Debt and Deficit questions. One question establishes that fully 85% of Americans are unaware that deficits are actually falling (at the fastest rate since most of us have been alive). Yet then we go on to ask them a question about what should be done about the deficit/debt ceiling.

    And of course, the results of that question are the headline … http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-26/americans-reject-by-61-obama-demand-for-clean-debt-vote.html

    It’s maddening.

    … and terrifying.

  53. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @James Pearce: You make a great enabler. No, I don’t think he should hire an ad agency–I think he should use the bully pulpit of his office. I guess you are as unaware of its potency as is our fearful leader. A pity that, but it explains so much about you both.

    BTW, everything said here is opinion, not fact, so get off your high horse — its sooooooo Barrack–the constitutional scholar who ignores the constitution. You can, if you like, hold him unaccountable. I choose and expect something beside bumbling and ineptitude for my support. Different strokes….

    It’s also my opinion that, like, man, my 7 year old granddaughter is made of tougher stuff than our cream puff president. And that is a shame.

  54. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @James Pearce: Why should I not date my self? I’m pleased not to be an uninformed, youthful ignoramus who thinks Obama constitutes success. I know better….James.

  55. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Like it or not, the President has a role in this government too. There’s plenty of blame to be apportioned on Capitol Hill, and especially to Republicans. But, do you seriously think that someone like LBJ, or Reagan, or Clinton, would be this aloof in the face of a situation like this? of course they wouldn’t.

    Yes, the nerve Barack Obama to get elected twice, and with over 50% of the vote each time. I too wonder why doesn’t he cave in and give the hostage takers what they want?

    Bill Clinton? He cut deals with Republicans and they impeached him – that’s the kind cooperation and bipartisanship I expect from Republicans.

  56. James Pearce says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    I think he should use the bully pulpit of his office.

    No, you don’t. You’re so stuck on “Jimmy Carter” that it seems that the last thing you’d prefer to see is Obama on the bully pulpit, making the case for a law that you clearly don’t support.

    First you decry his arrogance, then beg him to use the bully pulpit? This makes no sense.

    Besides, as Todd says, we have this problem:

    a mis-informed public (who thinks they are well-informed)

    As to this:

    everything said here is opinion, not fact, so get off your high horse

    High horse? C’mon, buddy. That was a movie quote. The Dude. From the Big Lebowski. Came out in the 90s. Remember the 90s?

  57. Laurence Bachmann says:

    1805293″>Todd: @Todd: I think you make both important
    and interesting distinctions, Todd (particularly between uninformed and misinformed) One of the rare occasions of nuanced thinking on the Internet….thanks.

    That said, I obviously don’t blame President Obama for today’s political climate. I blame him for functioning so poorly within it. He has all the resources and more than his opponents–the bully pulpit of POTUS but he is always on the ropes unable to counter 40 thugs in the house. James Pearce’s apologies for him notwithstanding, how is it possible that 4 years after ACA passed Independents are either indifferent, opposed or lukewarm. His gift is supposed to be communication and reaching across the aisle to bring people together. Are we supposed to now
    believe that independents are intractable too or is he just lousy at his job–which includes rallying the country around his agenda.

    Why can he beat back the Koch’s and The Evil Empire when it comes to his election but NEVER
    when it comes to legislating? Sorry, Todd but the fault doesn’t lie solely with Republicans. .He is mediocre at doing the mundane work of coaxing and arm twisting. Whether he regards it as beneath him or he is simply poor at it, I am not sure. but I do know he can’t even get a f&$ing federal judge appointee through the Senate.

    Like Pearce I made excuses for years. I looked away when he violated the constitution. The
    illegal drone attacks, the unconstitutional war against Libya. When Nixon did it in Cambodia–yes, James Pearce I remember even that–I howled in rage. With Obama I just mumbled and blushed. No more. Syria was the last straw. No more excuses, no more apologies. He is a bumbler.

    Great candidate. Mediocre president. And not as bright as I thought–he doesn’t realize the campaigning never stops. Reagan and Clinton and LBJ all understood that. They knew that with the public on your side, your opponents have to deal. There is no price paid for defying the
    President.

  58. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @James Pearce: @James Pearce: You really are stupid James. My complaint is he is so ineffectual he can’t sell the benefits of his ONLY legislative success. If you don’t think I support universal health care you’re as dumb as a box of hammers.

    Sorry I don’t want to join your fan club Jimbo. He will never be my BFF. Let’s chat in two weeks when Republican thugs have paddled his backside and he’s said, “thank you.”.

  59. James Pearce says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    You really are stupid James.

    Nah. I’m just fat.

  60. Laurence Bachmann says:

    @James Pearce: try not to be angry with liberals James. We have lots of reasons to be disgusted with the President. Good luck.

  61. Todd says:

    @Todd:

    He has all the resources and more than his opponents–the bully pulpit of POTUS

    Actually, that was the point I was making about the Internet.

    The bully pulpit isn’t anything close to what it used to be. In the pre-Internet era, if the President gave a major address and it was being discussed around the water-cooler the next day, there was a good chance that most, if not all of the people engaged in the conversation had at least listened to the speech (whether they agreed with/supported the President or not).

    These days, when the President uses the bully pulpit he is mostly “preaching to the choir”. I realize this is a generalization and won’t apply to all Conservatives, but among the many that I know, the overwhelming response when asked what they thought of one the President’s speeches or news conferences is either something along the lines of: “I can’t stand to listen to anything that narcissistic liar has to say, so I didn’t watch it” and/or, they go into a rant about a short (and usually out of context) clip that they saw or read about on one of their favorite “news” websites.

    In short, a good percentage of our country’s citizens are intensely pissed off about things that they either don’t fully understand, or in many cases aren’t even true.

  62. Mikey says:

    @Todd:

    In short, a good percentage of our country’s citizens are intensely pissed off about things that they either don’t fully understand, or in many cases aren’t even true.

    This is nothing new. People have been this way since time immemorial.

    What the Internet does, I think, is make it easier to stay in the “filter bubble.” It’s a lot easier to avoid the pain of cognitive dissonance when whatever reinforces one’s beliefs is conveniently at one’s fingertips.

  63. Tillman says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    You were “under the impression they were Biden/ Boehner talks” so this isn’t a mark against Obama. Really?! All this time I was under the impression the vice president represented the agenda of and worked for the POTUS.

    I fault leaders for their mistakes, not for factors outside their control. Cantor walked out of the negotiations back at the first debt ceiling debacle to give himself cover with the Tea Party. I find it hard to believe any president could have stopped that. One used to be able to offer benefits for a recalcitrant congressman’s district, but not only is that illegal now, you also have so-called “suicide districts” where the reps are only graded by ideological purity. You literally cannot negotiate with some of these people, and they have enough national reach to make every politician cautious of a primary challenge.

    And, like what Todd said above, you’re vastly overestimating how powerful the bully pulpit is in our age of media dissolution. The bully pulpit was great when there was only TV and radio, but now you can live inside your own little bubble of news sites that you agree with if you want. Not only that, but there’s enough content out there through the Internet, television, and video games that watercooler conversations don’t have to revolve around current events like they used to. Now it’s all Breaking Bad this and GTA V that.

    I’m not even defending Obama; I have plenty of problems with his performance. You, however, seem to have drunk the 2008 koolaid, and worse, haven’t noticed just how much has changed over time.

  64. Tillman says:

    I am being caught left and right by the moderation queue nowadays.

  65. David M says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    I’m fairly sure that the Green Lantern has something to do with comic books, not so much the actual presidency.

  66. Tillman says:

    @James Pearce:

    High horse? C’mon, buddy. That was a movie quote. The Dude. From the Big Lebowski. Came out in the 90s. Remember the 90s?

    *cough*
    @Laurence Bachmann: To refresh your memory.

  67. wr says:

    @Laurence Bachmann: “try not to be angry with liberals James. We ”

    So you’re a liberal now? Funny, it seems like just a couple weeks ago that someone with your name was posting standard right wing stuff on this site.

    All of the kinds of trolling on the internet, there’s little that’s less convincing or interesting that a conservative pretending to be a liberal to bash the left. (That works for liberals pretending to be conservatives, as well.)

  68. Pinky says:

    @john personna:

    You are in the 19% nationally who think shutdown is a viable path from which to defund the ACA.

    You have a very funny habit of telling me what my opinion is. It’s even funnier that you always get it wrong. I don’t remember saying anything like that, and I don’t believe it. It’s as if you see everything as your team versus the Other.

  69. Pinky says:

    @Tillman:

    The healthcare bill’s construction is a good example of Obama attempting to apply what he lectured about in his Constitutional law classes by letting Congress actually legislate things instead of dictating them to his party.

    I’d believe that, even respect it, if he presented it that way. He hasn’t. He hasn’t displayed any great affection for the Constitution while in office. He’s made comments about the Supreme Court that don’t make sense; he declared that Congress was in recess in order to make appointments to the NLRB; he frequently says that if Congress won’t work with him then he’ll do (whatever) himself. Only Nixon could go to China, and only a Constitutional lawyer could ignore the document the way he has.

  70. Pinky says:

    @David M:

    You really have to be intentionally deceiving yourself to believe that the current GOP / Tea Party is not the source of basically all the problems facing Congress right now. The evidence is so overwhelming it’s fairly ridiculous to try and claim otherwise.

    I think you’d have to be deceiving yourself if you think that President Obama isn’t the cause of most, not all, of the current problems. But such assertions don’t get us any closer to convincing each other.

  71. Pharoah Narim says:

    @C. Clavin: I swear I’ve suspected this the whole time I’ve been coming here. Not that that’s a bad thing…..it spices up the threads. Homogeny is boring.

  72. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Pinky: Seriously?!?? And you style yourself as a knower of the Constitution? The Constitution that sets up 3 CO-EQUAL branches of government….and you want us to believe that the President, who’s only in control of his own branch, is responsible for problems in another branch? You’re part of the nutty crowd that chastises the President for “failing to lead” another CO-EQUAL branch. Its not his responsibility. When you do things outside your responsibility in a team endeavor you make things worse in the long run by covering for the weak links. Better for this to be exposed so they than be identified and replaced. Eventually the People will send a Congress to DC that will work together…until then…. ‘eff em.

  73. al-Ameda says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    It gives me no pleasure to say it, but it’s true–Obama has the worst political instincts since Carter

    How in the world did he win 2 elections and garner over 50% of the vote each time? Amazing. I do not see parallels to Carter at all.

  74. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    I think you’d have to be deceiving yourself if you think that President Obama isn’t the cause of most, not all, of the current problems. But such assertions don’t get us any closer to convincing each other.

    Frankly, the only problem with Obama – a moderate president – is that he’s Black. That’s the root cause of all the over-the-top hostility toward him. From day one, polls consistently showed that 50% of Republicans did not accept him as a legitimate president, and the rest is history.

  75. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    he declared that Congress was in recess in order to make appointments to the NLRB; he frequently says that if Congress won’t work with him then he’ll do (whatever) himself.

    The whole “pro forma” nonsense? You mean that procedure the Senate goes through to ensure the President can’t make recess appointments? Because that’s certainly the picture of the Senate respecting their Constitutional role. All over what would normally be considered noncontroversial positions. Hell, there are still 53 pending nominees for U.S. federal courts waiting confirmation in the Senate, but they can’t be brought up because Republicans filibuster them. For no good reason.

    Obama’s certainly bending the law in some ways to enact an agenda (ceasing deporting the children of illegal immigrants, for example), but faced with the sort of obstruction he’s getting, I can’t fault him heavily. No politician respects the Constitution more than he has to. Congress could have challenged him over Libya (a bona fide unconstitutional deployment of the military), and they chose to roll over and try to score political points instead.

    He’s made comments about the Supreme Court that don’t make sense

    Can you elaborate?

  76. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: He does that.

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