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“Talk About A Hot Mess!”: Attempting To Blow Up Hostages Is NOT Governing

Talk about a hot mess! Just try unravelling the lunacy contained in this article by Sarah Mimms. As best as I can understand it, she is suggesting that perhaps Sen. Tom Cotton has come up with a new way for the “conservative firebrands” to blow up hostages in light of the fact that Republican leadership is thwarting their attempts to do so via the legislative process.

Just look at Cotton. His letter criticizing the administration’s attempts to craft a deal with Iran—and his relentless pursuit of signatures from conservative and establishment Republicans—has driven the conversation in the Senate all week and has 2016 candidates clamoring to join his effort. Cotton, with a few mere months under his belt in the upper chamber, arguably holds more power on the issue of Iran right now than Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and, perhaps, even McConnell himself.

Whether he can translate that into legislative victory remains to be seen, but Cotton is creating a model that conservatives hope to follow. But by getting out ahead of the issue, Cotton has forced leadership to include him in the conversation from the start, rather than having to try to outmaneuver the establishment in a floor fight after the fact.

Mimms alludes to previous legislative battles where conservatives tried to shut down the government over funding of Obamacare or deny DHS funding over executive actions on immigration only to eventually be thwarted by Republican leadership’s mastery of the “rules” of the legislature.

But its really not that complicated. Leadership had to amend legislation in a way that attracted enough votes (including Democrats) to actually get passed. That’s called “governing” – something about which those conservative firebrands seem to be completely oblivious.

But this is the paragraph where Mimms really got me scratching my head with a “whuuuu?”

What’s often lost in those fights is that on the biggest issues facing Republicans, conservatives and their leadership are on the same page. The difference is in how and when to fight those battles. If it were possible to gut the Affordable Care Act or overturn Obama’s “executive amnesty,” as conservatives term it, leaders would have done so by now.

She’s right…on most of these issues Republicans are on the same page. But the difference isn’t about “how or when to fight those battles.” It’s that as long as Barack Obama is in the White House and Republicans can’t put together a veto-proof majority to roll back his policies, it can’t be done – not unless you are willing to blow up the hostage. THAT’S the big difference between those she calls “conservatives” and the Republican leadership.

Ever since our founding, politicians have gone to Washington and found it difficult to accomplish their agenda. That’s because our Constitution sets it up that way. Actual governing requires working with the opposition, negotiation and compromise. What Mimms and these conservatives are trying to come up with is a way to avoid all that.

If you are looking for a culprit that could destroy our democracy, you need look no further than those who continue to threaten to blow shit up if they don’t get their way. Sen. Cotton tried to find a new way to do that with the Iranian negotiations. It’s pretty clear by now that he has failed. Rather than cheer him on, those who value our democratic process should be breathing a sigh of relief.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 14, 2015

March 16, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Governing, Tom Cotton | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Fundamentally Stupid And Dangerous”: The GOP Debt Ceiling Strategy Is “Hostage Taking”

Paul Krugman on Sunday accused the Republican leadership of holding the country hostage.

The Nobel-Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist argued that congressional Republicans are “threatening to blow up the world economy” if they don’t get their way in the debt-ceiling debate. After a difficult fiscal cliff battle, President Barack Obama said he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling, but Republicans have said they won’t authorize an increase in the country’s spending limit without major spending cuts.

“We should not allow this to become thought of as a legitimate or normal budget strategy,” Krugman said on ABC’s “This Week.” “This is hostage taking.”

Krugman has made similar statements in the past, particularly when defending the idea of minting a trillion-dollar platinum coin to avoid the debt ceiling crisis — a loophole the White House ruled out Saturday. In a blog post earlier this month, Krugman argued that Obama should be ready to mint the coin because it offered a “silly, but benign” solution to the crisis. The alternative: Putting the nation’s ability to meet its financial obligations at risk, an option that Krugman described as “both vile and disastrous.”

“The debt ceiling is a fundamentally stupid but dangerous thing,” Krugman said on “This Week.” “It’s incredibly scary, this is much scarier than the fiscal cliff,” he added later.

If Congress does nothing to raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. could lose its ability to meet its financial obligations by as early as February 15, according to a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center. Republican leaders and the White House came to an agreement earlier this month to address the so-called fiscal cliff, a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that economists warned could have plunged the country into recession.

 

By: Jillian Berman, The Huffington Post, January 13, 2013

January 14, 2013 Posted by | Debt Ceiling | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A False Equivalency: Don’t Blame ‘Both Sides’ For Debt Impasse

Washington has many lazy habits, and one of the worst is a reflexive tendency to see equivalence where none exists. Hence the nonsense, being peddled by politicians and commentators who should know better, that “both sides” are equally at fault in the deadlocked talks over the debt ceiling.

This is patently false. The truth is that Democrats have made clear they are open to a compromise deal on budget cuts and revenue increases. Republicans have made clear they are not.

Put another way, Democrats reacted to the “grand bargain” proposed by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner by squawking, complaining and highlighting elements they didn’t like. This is known throughout the world as the way to begin a process of negotiation.

Republicans, by contrast, answered with a definitive “no” and then covered their ears. Given the looming Aug. 2 deadline for default if the debt ceiling is not raised, the proper term for this approach is blackmail.

Yet the “both sides are to blame” narrative somehow gained currency after Boehner announced Saturday that House Republicans would not support any increase in revenue, period. A false equivalence was drawn between the absolute Republican rejection of “revenue-positive” tax reform and the less-than-absolute Democratic opposition to “benefit cuts” in Medicare and Social Security.

The bogus story line is that the radical right-wing base of the GOP and the radical left-wing base of the Democratic Party are equally to blame for sinking the deal.

Leave aside, for the moment, the fact that in the Obama-Boehner proposal, there would be roughly three dollars’ worth of budget cuts for every dollar of new revenue. Don’t pause to ask whether it makes sense to slash government spending when the economy is still sputtering out of the worst recession in decades. Instead, focus narrowly on the politics of the deal.

It is true that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi howled like a blindsided politician when she learned that entitlement programs were on the table. But her objections — and those of Democrats in general — are philosophical and tactical, not absolute.

Progressives understand that Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable on their current trajectories; in the long term, both must have their revenue and costs brought into balance. Pelosi’s position is that each program should be addressed with an eye toward sustainability — not as a part of a last-minute deal for a hike in the debt ceiling that covers us for two or three years.

It’s also true that Democrats believe they can win back a passel of House seats next year by highlighting the GOP plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program. They don’t want Republicans to be able to point and say, “See, the Democrats want to cut Medicare, too.”

There’s nothing in these Democratic objections, however, that couldn’t be creatively finessed. You can claim you haven’t actually “cut” a benefit, for example, if what you’ve done is restrained the rate at which its cost will grow. You can offset spending with new revenue, and you can do so in a way that gives low-income taxpayers a break. Democrats left the door open and these options could have been explored.

The story on the Republican side is entirely different. There are ways to finesse a “no new taxes” pledge, too. Instead of raising tax rates, you close loopholes in the name of reform; you add an enhancement here, a “user fee” there, and you can manage to get the revenue you need and still claim you haven’t voted to raise taxes.

But Republicans are taking the position that not a cent of new revenue can be raised, no matter the euphemism. Some Democrats, yes, are being scratchy and cantankerous. But Republicans are refusing to negotiate at all. That’s not the same thing.

I understand why President Obama, in his news conference Monday, chided “each side” for taking a “maximalist position.” For political and practical reasons, it’s advantageous for him to be seen as an honest broker.

Meanwhile, though, the clock ticks toward Aug. 2 and the possibility of a catastrophic default becomes more real. And no one should be confused about what the president confronts: On one side, grousing and grumbling. On the other, a brick wall.

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, July 11, 2011

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Debt Ceiling, Deficits, Democrats, Economic Recovery, Economy, GOP, Government, Government Shut Down, Ideology, Immigrants, Journalists, Lawmakers, Media, Middle Class, Politics, President Obama, Press, Pundits, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Wealthy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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