Democrats & Liberals Archives

Those Who Do Not Remember History...

Are doomed to represent the Republican Party.

We get to a point in our history now, where the party that’s still clinging to its former power, refusing to move on is appealling to one of Military history’s most collosal mistakes, basking in the glory of the act, while forgetting the bitter irony of the event.

The Republicans want glory. They want credit for being the heroes, for saving civilization. The irony is, their narrow-mindedness, their lack of perspective, their superficial perspective on world events dooms them to be a curse upon their land. Nothing is getting done, because of the Conservatives of this land. And what are Conservatives fighting to defend? One of the worst situations this country has been in for a long time. Want reform of the financial markets? Screw you, we're filibustering.

Want Healthcare Reform? Screw you, forty thousand people a year can die so the rest can be charged twice as much as the rest of the world for inferior care.

Of course, resisting this is painted as resisting big government and the evil overspending liberals. Never mind that we're basically doing most of our healthcare spending in budget neutral ways, or that the Republican's own conduct speaks poorly to their skills as fiscal guardians. The Republicans need their dark enemies to highlight their glorious crusades. The Public Option has to be this great evil, healthcare reform has to be government taking decisions from your doctors hands.

Never mind the facts.

No, never mind the facts. The Republicans want grandiose rhetoric and emotionally overwhelming appeals. Franken helps cut Senator Thune down to size on his claim that no benefits would be seen by Americans in the bills first year. He makes a point about what arguments that you take to a debate that Republicans might want to follow, if they care about arguing about the truth at all.

They did this all along during the Bush Administration. Everything was about defending what Bush and his Congress was doing, everything was about justifying collosal mistakes. Whether turning a soldier's request for more armor into another chapter in the epic of the evil liberal media, or blaming Katrina's death toll and the subsequent humanitarian disaster on the victims themselves, or coming up with a million different justifications for outing Valerie Wilson, the Republicans devoted themselves to the task of rationalizing failure on a massive scale.

If I sound angry here, that is only to be expected. This is what I've fought for the last several years. I don't want to live in a country where the government exists in an alternate universe, where the politicians are so oblivious to reality. And I'm not [freak]ing done, not by a long shot. Since I don't have plans to leave this country that I love, I have plans to be part of a movement, whether it's me by myself, or millions answering the call around my nation, to make the government that runs this country a part of the reality-based community. Rather than jump the gun and jump to conclusions as it suits some ideology, I'm in favor of a government that is constantly on the move, doing objective good for this country.

I'm in favor of the Republicans finally coming to grips with the fact that their policies didn't work. They can remain conservatives, keep on favoring conservative ideas, but damn it, what gives them the right to let things go to hell to prove ideological points? They are more out of the majority than they've been in years in no small part due to their failure to put politics aside and deal with an emergency with the fortunes of the nation, rather than the fortunes of their party first and foremost.

Failure is not an option for me. A government that lets things fail to prove political points is not doing its job. A government that justifies failure by making political points, is not worthy of governing this country.

My main question is: Does it work?

The next question is, How do I know the difference?

For the last decade, America has been the victim of unwise policies, policies that presupposed a willingness for restraint from the financial sector, policies that presupposed that perseveration on a military strategy and distraction from a critical theatre of battle would somehow lead to success. These were people who looked at our economy last year, and said the fundamentals of the economy were sound. That, right up until the point where the crashes made the obvious truth unavoidable.

I don't want more government by people who are simply persisting in their policies until events overtake them and make it impossible for them to maintain the status quo. I want people who are adapting to our problems in advance, and allowing the government that flexibility. The last thing this country needs is another decade, decades worth of governance from a party that cannot tell the difference between a defeat and a victory, and resists all efforts to bring its attentions to these problems.

The Democrats aren't perfect, like Obama might say, but they are perfectable. There is at least a recognition among the rank and file that the current situation is not to be tolerated, or continued.

The Charge of the Republican Light Brigade should end, and this country should be allowed to get back to deciding what the wise thing is, not what is politically convenient to an unwilling, undignified minority.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at December 15, 2009 4:02 PM
Comments
Comment #292677
The Democrats aren’t perfect, like Obama might say, but they are perfectable (sic).

That would require giving up hubris, demagoguery and thinking you know what is best for everyone else.

I think the days of Democrats being ‘perfectible’ are a long ways away.

And I think this post shows exactly what I mean about that. Facts are an interesting thing, ignoring those you don’t like to make your point is a sign of weakness of argument.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 15, 2009 5:02 PM
Comment #292679

Stephen, you go on and on… but fail to address the roots of your discontent.

The Republican Party exists due to its intractable support by some powerful factions in our society. Are they to be discounted as citizens, as voters, and supporters of the GOP, brushed aside to make it easier for the Democrats to have their way without having to justify and defend rationally their motives and intents?

The GOP exists because supporters for its rhetoric, its history, and its governance exist. They are part of our democracy and electorate.

Why is it Democrats do not have sufficient numbers of their own representatives in consensus to pass the reforms you rail about? That is the real and fundamental issue facing Democrats. Using Republicans as a scapegoat to avoid that question, is just a Republican tactic employed by Democrats.

Polls have GOP approval ratings at 35% and Democrats at 53%. I frankly don’t buy your partisan beef with what is going on. If you lack the consensus to reform, then go get that consensus to reform in 2010, by making a compelling case to that 65% who DO NOT APPROVE of the GOP in government.

Bellyaching about the 35% is just playing into GOP rhetoric to keep their base strong and active.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2009 6:40 PM
Comment #292685

David

I am not sure where you get your numbers. Gallup has a running poll on voters prefer. Democrats and Republicans have been trading the lead and independent prefer Republicans.

I think that is what worries Stephen.

And, BTW, 61% of Americans oppose the Democratic health care proposals, according to CNN.

Stephen

We indeed remember history. We remember 1975, when Republicans were dead and 1980 when Ronald Reagan won big. We remember 1991, when they talked about a Republican lock on the electoral college and 1992 when Clinton won. We remember 2004, where there was lots of talk about a new permanent Republican majority and we remember 2008, when the talk of a permanent Democratic majority was all the rage.

And we remember this week, when Gallup says that voters’ preference are too close to call and when they reported that President Obama’s approval ratings hit 47%.

Posted by: Christine at December 15, 2009 8:23 PM
Comment #292687

Rhinehold-
I have plenty of inconvenient facts that I face every day as a Democrat, one of which is the make-up of my Party’s Caucus in the Senate, and the lack of progress on many issues. If you have some troublesome facts, please point them out, and do me the courtesy of not wasting my time with generalized statements.

David R. Remer-
I do not deny that Republicans have a base for a reason. What concerns me is the extent to which that base has become misinformed and unaware of outside points of view and perspectives, and the extent to which this failure to deal with others on common ground makes it extraordinarily difficult to both address the real problems and our differences in a constructive way.

The Republicans in Washington seem unconcerned with their low approval ratings, mostly because they’ve got their own deck stacked with most of the people doing the approving. As long as that’s the case, they can maintain this problematic approach to politics.

My own party is hobbled in even a basic compromise by the fact that one guy, just one guy, can ruin it for everybody. Why? Because sixty is not a magic number for breaking filibusters, its the minimum number, so one person can hold fifty-nine hostage to his agenda, which is apparently to scuttle any compromise that liberals have even a scrap of appreciation for.

Far from being a tool to force compromise, this is the Republicans and the Democrat Conservatives way of avoiding one altogether. This despite what two elections and all those polls tell us what the American people want. I’m sick of this disconnect. I’m sick of a few forcing something on the rest of us that we don’t want. I’m sick of a regressive few doing things that put the rest of us to shame.

I’m sick of the Republicans’ blind greed for power, and their inability to recognize their own incompetence. We get things graded by the CBO, and they tell us that our plans are deficit neutral or better!

But does that matter? Does any kind of grounded estimate matter? No! To them, it’s an inconvenience, which they run over on their way to their next opportunity to call us spendthrifts after their record breaking years of deficit spending. I am sick to death of the double standards, of being held accountable for their bull****.

The Republicans are living in a dreamworld, which has a separation from reality equal to the degree that their actions have caused havok with our society, and failure with our policies.

They screw up a war, so they’re they only ones who can defend us, unlike that guy palling around with terrorists.

They screw up an economy so badly that people come to doubt capitalisms continued existence, so it’s only them who can save capitalism.

So on, and so forth.

I used to know there were Republicans out there more concerned with getting at least functional policy through. You could trust a Bush or a Reagan to put ideology aside and make things work. Many Republicans bring up George Soros’s name to revile him as a member of the far left, funding MoveOn.org.

They forget that he was an advocate for capitalism, and for open government, that he was a bitter opponent of totalitarian governments and communists. His opposition to Bush came from his disgust with Bush’s secrecy in government.

But of course, everything has to fit the narrative. If you’re against them, you’re a far-left Marxist. If you’re against them, you love the terrorists. If you’re against them, you hate the troops. My God, how many years did I put up with that BS?

If I tell you I believe something, the likelihood is I’ve told you exactly what I think.

My biggest problem with Republicans right now is that they are so wrapped up in their ideology that they won’t even acknowledge when their policies gone off the rails. They’re too busy trying to force the real world to conform to their vision to take a look at it and act appropriately.

That’s why we have deficits right now: they lowered taxes, then started two wars, and added on to Medicare. No CBO estimates sought or wanted! No need for that, because only Democrats have to be held accountable on budget matters, not the fiscally wise Republicans.

That’s why we have two wars unfinished, binding us to regions we should have had a clear mission in, and a clear way out of. See, they don’t have to listen to anybody else, no matter how appropriate and germane the concerns are, because only they truly know how to win wars.

That’s why we have an economy in shambles, because they insist on the idea that pure market mechanics can police the financial companies, and that the Corporations will make themselves honest out of their own self-interest.

I mean, corporations learned their lesson after Enron. No more inhumanly complex schemes that implode in on themselves to everybody’s loss!

I am not altogether impressed with what the Democrats have done, to be honest, but at least they seem halfway willing, most of them, to correct the mistakes that have gone on. I’m willing to fight and put forward the effort to reform my party.

My angle is obvious. I want a government where the politics is an ends to the means of good policy, where the public good is served. I want success in substance, not merely in politics.

Politics to me is a complication of something that only needs to occur because while it’s simple for the like-minded to agree on something, people with differences have to negotiate between themselves. To the extent that politics helps us get productive policy, helps keep people honest, I understand it, and tolerate it.

But to the extent that it all just becomes a nihilistic game of double meanings and frivolous horse-trading, I think it’s something that has to be nipped in the bud.

The Republicans offer no compromise that the rest of us find favorable. So when they obstruct, I find what they do especially hateful. You cannot take with your left hand and give nothing with your right, and expect people like me to tolerate it.

Christine-
Your problem is that there’s no active disaster that your party doesn’t already share, or bear the majority of blame on. You can attack us on jobs, and we can remind people whose policies lead to those job losses.

Understand: your party’s path requires Obama to be a failure. If his policies bring progress, he can boast of it.

And it already has.

The Tea Partisans are a dead end for your party, the mixed-up, logically inconsistent essentialized distillation of years of Talk radio talking points. When the big leaders are simply talking heads who grow ever more provocative and obnoxious with every passing day, then you’ve got problems, because eventually, you’ll have your Bishop of Canterbury moment, when somebody asks to be rid of a troublesome priest, and gets their wish.

What you need is a moderate, less partisan, more pragmatic party which can actually agree with somebody else for a change, not just demand agreement from them. Unless Republicans feel free, feel compelled to assess things for themselves, you will not get the next evolution of thought necessary to carry the Republican Party forward into the 21st century.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 15, 2009 9:55 PM
Comment #292691

Stephen

Both parties have trouble with their wings. The left of the Democrats has pulled their center too far from the mainstream.

You notice that 61% of the American people oppose the Democrats version of health care. It is disingenuous to say that somebody like Lieberman is blocking what they people want. He is standing up for the people.

You worry a lot about the future of the Republican party. Your concern is touching, but misguided.

Remember in 2002 and 2004 George Bush added to Republican strength in the congress. Let’s see what happens in 2010. If you are right, Republicans will lose seats.

Neither of the parties truly represents me, BTW. It bothered me that Republicans grew the government so much from 2002-2006. The scary thing is that Democrats are growing it much faster.

I thought the deficit of $187 billion (the last Republican budget in 2007) was scary; this year’s deficit may reach $1.4 trillion. Next year, spending is supposed to increase by 12% on top of all this.

Posted by: Christine at December 15, 2009 10:43 PM
Comment #292693

Wings?

Hell, neither party can walk a straight line, let alone fly.:)

Posted by: gergle at December 15, 2009 10:57 PM
Comment #292696

Christine-
A majority of Americans support the Public Option, yet Centrists in my party, due to the complete and utter blockade of the Republicans, have been given the power to nix anything with a public option.

Exactly what excessive pull are you pointing to here?

Pointing to polls now is pointless, for two reasons. One, it doesn’t affect what the better policy actually is. Two, the Republicans have been playing the political game all year. The fact that you can find people against a plan, but for the plan’s components, tells you what the polls really represent.

The real question is what comes of the actual law.

Why don’t you discuss that? You favor a single payer system, yet your party vigorously villainizes that as being socialist. I guess you’re not getting that discussion any time soon; Democrats didn’t even try it, knowing how quick and how fierce the reaction would be.

Your party is choking the oxygen out of our country’s political discussion at a time when we need clear heads.

Sometimes a government must be grown. Sometimes, a part of it should be shrunk.

But my point would be, a government should always be lead and operated properly. Why don’t we focus on that?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 15, 2009 11:20 PM
Comment #292699

Stephen,

I also think that you have misunderstood the polical aspirations of the Republican Party for the next couple of years. While they may say that they want to be back in power,if you pulled them into a closed room in that fanciful world you have invented where the Republicans single-handly destroyed the economy by convincing Enron to break the law, filled that room with a magical vapor that exists only in that world that would make them tell you the truth, you would hear them say that they don’t have a chance in hell.

Though it appears that you believe they are, the Republican’s aren’t dumb. They can read the tea leaves. The Democratic Party would have to make a collasal mistake at this point like Katrina in order for that to happen. The liklihood of that happening is about 0%. The reality is that the Republican’s are just hoping to hold steady so that they can remain a viable National Party and to stave off the creation of a Third Party alternative.

The reality is that the Republican’s will not come back to power until they find their DLC equivilant. It took the steady decline of the Democratic Party’s power culminating in the most lopsided Presidential loss in history to get the Democrats to form that group in 1984. It took them another 8 years for them to take advantage of this group to produce a viable Presedential candidate. It took another 10 after that to regain their full dominance in the House. Using that model, I’m guessing that it will take the Republican’s another 5 to 15 years to recraft their agenda to appeal to a broad-based electorate.

In the meaintime, the Republican’s that you rail against as being out of step with the majority, are really out of step with the majority. But so likely are there constituents. Would you have them ignore the wishes of those who elected them to suit your goals? The Republican’s as a whole do not support the Public Option or much more than the barest incrementalism in Healthcare reform. It is their job to represent their constituents in Congress by fighting against it.

You noted that “That’s why we have an economy in shambles, because they insist on the idea that pure market mechanics can police the financial companies, and that the Corporations will make themselves honest out of their own self-interest.

I mean, corporations learned their lesson after Enron. No more inhumanly complex schemes that implode in on themselves to everybody’s loss!”

Let’s step into the realm of fantasy for the moment and accept your premise that Republicans unilaterally crafted legislation that allowed this to happen and that a Republican President signed this legislation all over the vociferous concerns of Democrats. I would think that you would have been disappointed in the Democrats for not organizing and using every parlimentarian tool at their disposal to block your imagined straw-man legislation from ever becoming a reality. Wouldn’t saving the economy have been worth of such a measure?

However, by your own standards today, that wouldn’t be allowed. I dare say that your arguments have degenerated to if you don’t agree with me and let me do what I want then you are stupid and shouldn’t be allowed the full right to vote for a representative that will represent what you believe in.

Since I know that you don’t believe that I can only conclude that you are projecting your frustration with your own Party onto the Republicans. The Democrats have the power to pass any legislation they want. It’s simple math. It’s very complicated politics. However, hard politics is not always a bad thing for the country. It prevents big mistakes from being made.

As a result of the Republican’s forcing Democrats to do politics the hard way, they enabled the Democrats to form a rock solid concensus on how Health Care reform should be accomplished. I’m think this is a good thing for the country as a whole. This is a very large change for the country with mamouth implications and most likely at least some sizable reprucussions do to the laws of unintended consequences.

At the end of the day, there will be some kind of Healthcare reform in the U.S. The Democrats will have fulfilled the mandate, and it will be up to history to judge whether it was the right move or not. That it took an extra six months to figure out how to do it right in the end might actually help mitigate some of the enormous risks (political and economic) that quick passage of the initial legisltation might have overlooked.

Posted by: Rob at December 16, 2009 1:53 AM
Comment #292702

Stephen

It depends how you ask questions. There are polls that say Americans want it and those that say different. It is no the manifest will of the people. Sorry that you guys are on the wrong side of this… and Democratic senators know it.

Posted by: Christine at December 16, 2009 7:30 AM
Comment #292703

Rob-

I also think that you have misunderstood the polical aspirations of the Republican Party for the next couple of years. While they may say that they want to be back in power,if you pulled them into a closed room in that fanciful world you have invented where the Republicans single-handly destroyed the economy by convincing Enron to break the law, filled that room with a magical vapor that exists only in that world that would make them tell you the truth, you would hear them say that they don’t have a chance in hell.

Where are the Republicans making compromises? At best, we have only two, and they won’t let a public option be part of the bill. Literally speaking, 95% of the other Republicans are unwilling to make any deals whatsoever.

As for Enron, you see the focus on speculative ventures, the use of the derivatives market and predatory behavior towards consumers (The California Energy Market being a great example) along with inhumanly complex financial arrangements to create more apparent wealth in the company than actually existed.

The Republicans didn’t convince Enron to break the law. Instead, they changed the laws so that Enron and its partners could pursue profits this way.

The Republicans lead on this, did their best to make this the paradigm of doing things that were good for the economy. Reform meant deregulation or industry friendly regulation.

Am I wrong?

You seem to be confused with my stance, thinking that I’m somehow saying that these folks are the only ones who voted for this, or who adopted this philosophy, or that the Republicans were evil folks who made otherwise good businesspeople fall from grace.

No. And the fact that you cariacture my argument that way shows what a touchy issue it is. You’re in a tough position here: you can’t say things went completely well under your folk’s leadership, because they didn’t. But you can’t also admit that your party bears the bulk of the responsibility for what happened, because then you must agree that the fall from grace is deserved, the current strategy is hugely cynical (I mean, keeping people from cleaning up your mess in order to blame them for it?), and the current stabilization is built on a hollow sort of victory.

The Republicans can and should represent their constituents. But they have more than just the filibuster to do that with. In fact, availing themselves of other means would have allowed them to do that better, because a filibuster is all or nothing. There’s no diluting what passes as a legislation. There’s no serving their constituents interests in the new legislation by attaching amendment. There’s only preventing a vote on legislation.

I am not projecting my frustration with my own party, because I know many of my frustrations come from the obstructive attitudes and actions of your party. I’m informed about what it’s been doing, and I know that the only reason why those few Conservative Democrats and Joe Lieberman have any power whatsoever to just veto legislation is because they have forty Republicans in the Senate whose consistent votes against cloture make their votes critical.

I’m not so short in my memory that I don’t recall that this obstruction has been going on at literally record-breaking pace since the beginning of our majority. Knowing that, I reject arguments based on this being a matter of the Democrats exceeding their mandate, because not only did the Democrats never get a chance to even pursue that mandate to offend Republicans, there was also an intervening election that confirmed that the mandate was real, and greater than just the status quo.

I don’t think it’s a good thing to be forcing a party-line atmosphere in legislation, because then the ruling principles of the party become more important than the weight of individual positions in Congress.

With people raving about death panels, I don’t think the discourse has been improved. I think the kind of partisan theatre the politicizing of the matter leads to rarely bodes well for policy. I mean, to throw a bone to a radical right, we threw out a provision that would have committed the great crime of having Medicare pay for people to get counselling of making their critical care issues plain to their children, relatives, and healthcare providers. These kinds of compromises seem bitterly stupid to me, especially when many of the provisions that get opposed, like Medicare Buy-In, are provisions people supported before in more reasonable times.

My moderation is always going to be focused on getting things right, rather than getting things square with the slogan spouters and the ideologues. Getting legislation right is more important than suiting it to somebody’s agenda.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 16, 2009 8:43 AM
Comment #292710

Stephen D., I think you are still missing the big picture here.

Republicans have abandoned the nation’s future for the sake of solidifying their base for the 2010 elections. As unpatriotic and irresponsible as this is, the Democrats are doing EXACTLY the same thing with health care reform. They abandoned all principles in fashioning this reform in the name of bipartisanship and then political expedience recognizing that failure to pass something, anything called health care reform, no matter how bad, must occur if the 2010 elections are to be salvaged for Democrats.

Even more fundamentally, the Democratic Party made the decision 4 years ago, to reinflate their big tent party by bringing conservatives into the fold. In other words, they chose power acquisition over the ability to govern responsibly, sowing the seeds of the demise of the health care reform unfolding before us. Your party selected, supported, and elected these conservative Democrats who have forced your Party to abandon principles for political expedience.

I truly fail to see how the Democratic Party is doing this nation any greater favors than the GOP. Both parties operate on the same priority, acquisition of power first and foremost, casting principles of good governance aside for that one unifying priority.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2009 10:49 AM
Comment #292717

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Want Healthcare Reform? Screw you, forty thousand people a year can die so the rest can be charged twice as much as the rest of the world for inferior care.”

Hmmm…even your past party Chairman, Mr. Dean, today announced that he believes the health care plans floating around congress should be dumped. He finds a problem with its cost, the huge increase in premiums for most American’s and it’s failure to control future health care costs.

A former Democrat Vice Presidential candidate, Mr. Lieberman, finds much of the democrat plan objectionable.

Mr. Remer writes about a Democrat party that enlisted and supported conservatives in the last election who are now seen as obstructionists.

Yet, all the countries problems are laid at the feet of Republican’s. Open your eyes Mr. Daugherty and come to realize that liberals will never ever have a majority of American’s supporting their flawed and dangerous policies. Listen carefully to your own leaders who are predicting huge congressional losses in 2010.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 16, 2009 1:28 PM
Comment #292721

” one guy, just one guy, can ruin it for everybody. Why?”

American History? How is this is the Rpblcns fault? The Dmcrts just need to let them filibuster, and make fools of themselves, for as long as possible, until they get it out of their system.

Even in a recent Fux poll, only 20% of those polled agreed with the “Tea Parties”, and a much larger number didn’t even know who they were.

“forty thousand people a year can die ” How does that number compare to people who die from too much medicine and “health care”?

Posted by: ohrealy at December 16, 2009 2:10 PM
Comment #292722

Rob, your conjecture about the secret thoughts of Republicans and their election chances clearly is WRONG! Republicans are working diligently to bring Obama’s approval down, in order to lower the hurdle for a Republican president in 2012. One doesn’t need a secret magic aromatic to get this out of Republican strategists and RNC Chair Steele.

Granted, there is no chance of Republican majorities taking over Congress in the next couple elections. But, diminishing the potential filibuster proof majority of Democrats in the Senate is, without question, a major objective of the GOP in 2010.

As Democrats demonstrated, coming back to majority status occurs in increments over multiple elections after having lost favor with the electorate. Why would you think the GOP is not engaged in the exactly the same game plan?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2009 2:25 PM
Comment #292724

Royal Flush-
I believe Dean is wrong.

I know Lieberman to be a flaming hypocrite because he blocked the bill over a provision, Medicare buy-in, that he actually has supported in the 2000 election and as recently as three months ago. He also once sponsored a bill to end the modern filibuster, and decried the ability of just a few people to hold the majority’s legislation hostage. He reportedly made the switch because he heard Liberals in his party liked it.

So, if you want to glory in senseless, hypocritical partisanship, Lieberman’s your man!

Oh, and yes, I think he’s wrong.

Both you and David are wrong about the direction in which Democrats reached. In truth, most of the Democrat’s recent recruits supported Healthcare reform, including the two recently elected members who replaced a Republican and a centrist Democrat. The problem we have is mostly with the Centrists and conservatives who are products of the long term Republican rise. following the GOP’s lead has become a habit for them.

As for the public not supporting our policies? Why did they elect us? To sit around and do nothing? I don’t buy that.

We were elected on an openly liberal agenda. I don’t think the voters are as stupid as you must think the voters are.

The big problem is, your party is too chicken**** to let us pass legislation to be judged on its merits. You could, like we did, run against our competitor’s actual policies, if it turned out wrong. But apparently, Republicans do not have enough faith in the ability of Democratic Policies to fail on their own, in the public’s eyes, to let things work out that way. Hence the record-breaking obstruction. The Republicans dare not let Democrats earn their way to a continued majority.

But if you ask me, then that means the Republicans must feel pretty weak, if they have to resort to such cheating to win. If it weren’t for the fact that I actually care about policy, I’d let the Republicans continue to show such weakness.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 16, 2009 2:39 PM
Comment #292731

Stephen:

You are just plain wrong on all of this.

If you had the majority of the American people behind you this would be done and signed.

Here is the latest approval of your health care plan:
]
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/obama_and_democrats_health_care_plan-1130.html

As for the future of the Republican party here is the latest generic poll:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/generic_congressional_vote-901.html

Republicans are on the side of the American People on this vote and have erased and in some cases pulled ahead of you in generic polling.

Then look at Obama:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

Obama is the most unpopular president EVER RECORDED at this stage of his presidency.

Can you give a factual reason instead of an emotiotional reason why Republicans future is so bleak? It looks like you are going down because you Democrats are going against the will of the people.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 16, 2009 3:29 PM
Comment #292735

Craig Holmes-
The polls reflect the winning of Republican talking points in the media, not the facts of my party’s reforms. Did you not watch the linked video?

The polls say people believe that the programs will increase the deficit. Several CBO studies say otherwise for multiple versions of the Democrats’ bills. Which indicates that this is not the product of the Public having an informed opinion, which means your argument that my party should yield to public opinion is merely a roundabout way of trying to get us to agree to a circular argument based on false rhetoric that has unfortunately caught on.

I am a man of reason. I will appeal to popularity polls to make points concerning public sentiment, but I’m not going to say that this is what makes a policy good or not.

I say the Public option is more popular than not, with majority support. But I say so not merely with a poll result to say its a good policy, but with several CBO estimates that say it will do as it is meant to do.

Understand the difference? Your party spreads absolute lies, provable dishonesties about my party’s agenda. So any popular numbers you site about their agreement have been attained by bad-faith information, and being false could not be used for reliable judgment of policy.

I agree that my party needs to do a better job letting the American people know how badly they are being decieved. But that doesn’t mean I will ever counsel my party to shift its policies to mollify those whose complaint stem from those lies.

Kirk-
Man, What is it with Republicans and polls these days? Got the results you want, so now they mean something? You folks were supporting a president with polling in the twenties, and your own people in Congress are more unpopular than the Democrats, in nearly every poll.

Moreover, any recovery you’ve made is on shaky political grounds. First, you’ve made that recovery based on relentless, unprecedented obstructionism. Second, you folks don’t seem to have the first idea of what to do differently when you get back in power, so inevitably, you’ll screw up the same way, and the same problems that caused people to kick you out the first time will be around to haunt you the second time.

Let’s talk about these lies that you’ve bought into.

1)It guts medicare, to the tune of 465 billion? First, that’s a number over ten years. Second that’s out of money paid as subsidies to insurers as part of the advantage program. They aren’t aren’t paying that money out as benefits. In other words, it’s just wasted on padding insurance company profits. Nice to know where Republican sympathies are.

2) Hide true costs? The expansion is FULLY federally funded. Meaning the states don’t have to kick in more money for it.

3) The video I linked to explained that many of the benefits start the moment the bill is signed. That includes funded benefits. Of course, we take our time setting things up, but that’s so we minimize the impact of the budget to be fiscaly conservative about the matter. What did you Republicans do with Medicare Advantage and the Drug benefit?

4) As for the Medicaid aid to Louisiana? I guess you’ve never heard of horse-trading. It’s not pretty, but that’s the way all parliaments work. I wonder if we would have to be so generous to get things moving forward if Landrieu could just vote no and let the rest of her party vote as it wishes. But your Republican friends aren’t being so kind.

As for this?

This unfortunately points to the major problem with liberal thinking. Liberals know what is best for us, regardless of what the rest of the populace wants or believes.

This line of logic is blatantly hypocritical, given the fact that your party has been obstructing the Democrats since 2007. Why, oh humble Republicans, do you think you’re justified as a minority holding back the people that Americans voted into the majority? Why?

I’ve already checked off a list of reasons that have no substance, due to the fact that your people started obstructing before they became relevant. The only reasons left is that you think the voters did something foolish, or that you think that you are entitled to set the political order and that the fact we’re in the majority shouldn’t get in the way of that.

Either way, you are forcing your style of government down peoples throats without the benefit of an election to give formal mandate to your authority. That means you think you know what’s best for the rest of us, and are acting accordingly.

But lets stop for a minute, and understand just how silly this point is. Put simply, everybody thinks they know what’s best for everybody else. Otherwise, why have politics at all.

The point of having an assembly like Congress is that these preferences, these claims to know what are best are mediated and moderated by a set of elected officials, who negotiate out the difference between people.

Whatever we Democrats think is best, we have at least earned the seats in Congress to push that policy forward. Under non-dysfunctional circumstances, if the voters didn’t like what we did, they could vote us out. But your side is perverting that, both by forcing supermajority numbers for legislation that your side typically won’t help with, and by not allowing us to pass our legislation so the merits could be measured in the real world, not merely in the florid hypothetical opinion of the hostile opposition party.

You’re demanding fairness from us that you never have shown us. How much longer do you think this situation lasts? You can’t keep us down forever. You tried during the Bush Administration and failed miserably. You’re only making it worse for yourselves by using dishonest, brute force means to keep down the other side. Do that enough, and you just make the fall from grace that much harder, as all the mercy and patience you wrung out from people is not there when you need it.

What kind of a minority do you want your party to be in? You can’t keep the obstruction up forever without getting in the way of something else you ought not to have roadblocked.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 16, 2009 6:23 PM
Comment #292743

Stephen, I watched your clip. Thune says that the “many” of the benefits don’t start getting paid out for another 1,479 days (.10) and Frankin says that the “large majority” of the benefits kick in on day one (3:21).”

Which one are you saying is the fact?

Posted by: George at December 16, 2009 8:15 PM
Comment #292758

Stephen,

You said, “The Republicans didn’t convince Enron to break the law. Instead, they changed the laws so that Enron and its partners could pursue profits this way.

The Republicans lead on this, did their best to make this the paradigm of doing things that were good for the economy. Reform meant deregulation or industry friendly regulation.

Am I wrong?”

Yes, you are wrong. On several fronts actually.

Let’s start with the idea of deregulation being a Republican one. I’ve provided links and history lessons in previous posts on this showing this to be not the case. You ignore them because they don’t fit your constructed paradigm of the history of deregulation.

Now on to Enron. The first market that Enron began in was Natural Gas. They were able to move from being a producer to a transporter to ultimately a broker finally with the passage of the The Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act of 1989. This law was signed by a Republican; however, there was some fairly heavy Democratic representation in it including the Senate sponsor of the bill, Philip Sharp Riley (IN Congressman from 1975 - 1995). There were also some other prominent Democratic co-sponsors including John Dingell (MI), and Bill Richardson (NM).

The ultimate goal of this bill was to further the deregulation of the natural gas industry that began in the 1980’s which was in response to the fuel shortages in the 1970’s. As a result of the bill, Natural Gas prices dropped, supplies stabilized, and exploration into other technologies increased. All valid and valuable contributions to our society.

It also opened a market for brokering natural gas, that Enron moved into. At that time, Enron provided a valuable service because they allowed purchasers of natural gas to lock in longer term contracts at fixed prices which even further stabilized prices. Based on this early success, Enron decided that if it would work for Natural Gas it would work for other markets too. The company rapidly expanded into other markets, showed record profits, and became a darling of the media in the 90’s for their success.

However, what we didn’t know then we learned later. They weren’t doing all that well. The reason that we didn’t know was because Enron was hiding poor results and emphasizing positive ones and ultimately breaking the law. There leaders were prosecuted and went to jail under the Bush administration.

So how did they get away with it for so long? The answer lies in their very creative (aka illegal) Accounting practices. One reason that this was able to happen was the result of some earlier regulation in the Accounting industry. In the 1970’s, the FTC fearing that the then Big 12 would shut out other possible competition, it required the industry to allow advertising and compete aggressively for clients. Also, legal standards shifted that allowed the auditors to be sued by investors who lost money because as a result of questionable auditing procedures based not on the fact that they relied on the auditing data to make their decisions but simply on the stock price to be an accurate reflection of that data.

Seemed like reasonable regulation at the time. It would open the marketspace for accounting firms and make them more accountable to the investors who relied on their work. However, the result of this was that the auditing firms to minimize their risks of lawsuits and lower their costs, asked their governing board to develop very stringent guidelines as to what an audit must cover. These stringent standards were implemented and allowed the auditors to take a very mechanical approach to their jobs. Additionally, since the firms were now competing ever more aggressively, the partners in the firms were responsible to bring in new business by establishing good relationships with the very people they were supposed to be watching. Not a recipie for aggressive audit findings.

Bringing this back to Enron, because the audits were now very mechanical, the internal accountants knew how to cook the books so that they were technically accurate but completely non-transparent and hide illegal and poor business decisions. This is the great thing about regulations, once I know them, I can game them.

See http://www-personal.umich.edu/~kathrynd/JEP.FallofEnron.pdf for more information.

As a result of the Enron scandal, the most sweeping reform and regulation of the Accounting industry (SOX) was passed by a Republican legislature and signed by Bush. Was he cleaning up a Democratic mess? Probably not.

I’m not denying that Republicans made some very bad judgement calls in the last decade. Katrina, Iraq, and Afghanistan were all madly mismanaged. There is no doubt that the Obama administration has major messes to clean up there.

However, when you bang the drum that deregulation is a Republican mess, you are ignoring the facts. The bigger problem though is that you are setting up a false choice of regulation preventing problems and deregulation causing them. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Did it move to far to the deregulation side in the 90’s? Probably. But we need to keep in mind that at it’s heart, the goal of deregulation is not to make things easier for existing businesses. They know how to play the games under the existing legislation. It is precisely the opposite. The goal is to lower the cost of entry to the marketplace and to lower costs to consumers.

You also said, “Where are the Republicans making compromises? At best, we have only two, and they won’t let a public option be part of the bill. Literally speaking, 95% of the other Republicans are unwilling to make any deals whatsoever.”

I didn’t think that I was suggesting that they were making any compromises at all. If you got that out of my post, I clearly made a typo. My position is that they are doing no such thing. They are holding the line exactly the way that their constituents want them to, and I daresay they are doing exactly what you would want your party to operate if they were in the minority and the opposition was proposing legislation that they believe to be harmful or misguided.

You also said, “you can’t say things went completely well under your folk’s leadership, because they didn’t. But you can’t also admit that your party bears the bulk of the responsibility for what happened, because then you must agree that the fall from grace is deserved…”

I’m actually not suggesting anything of the sort. Read up a few paragraphs, the Republican’s deserved to fall from grace. They mismanaged key things that the Executive branch is supposed to do. I didn’t vote for McCain by the way because of that.

All I’m asking for is that you display a bit of intellectual honesty when dealing with topics like Enron, deregulation, and the financial markets. We didn’t get here because of the shady practices of the Republicans. We got to Enron because they broke the law and took advantage of accounting regulations to hide it. We got to the stock market crash because both parties with gusto chased the tail of the dragon of deregulation. Why? because it worked. It was on the back of deregulation that the American economy expanded for the 40 years since Vietnam.

I ask for the intellectual honest not only out of a sense of fairplay that I think you should exhibit in a debating forum. I ask for it because I think that should your Party seek to outright reverse all of these actions, we will roll back a number advantages that deregulation has given the economy over the past 40 years. It is not about right or wrong but about moderation. Something that you have shown a propensity for in the past, but you seem to have lost all of it in the most recent years in your zeal to advocate and remonstrate.

Posted by: Rob at December 16, 2009 10:55 PM
Comment #292759

David,

You said, “Rob, your conjecture about the secret thoughts of Republicans and their election chances clearly is WRONG! Republicans are working diligently to bring Obama’s approval down, in order to lower the hurdle for a Republican president in 2012. One doesn’t need a secret magic aromatic to get this out of Republican strategists and RNC Chair Steele.

Granted, there is no chance of Republican majorities taking over Congress in the next couple elections. But, diminishing the potential filibuster proof majority of Democrats in the Senate is, without question, a major objective of the GOP in 2010.”

Overstated, perhaps, but not wrong. There is not doubt that the Republican party is trying to do something. But I think if you asked them in that magic room whether they thought it would work, you would get at best a shrug.

The reality is that the Republican Party has lost the support of all but there staunchest base. If there is one thing that I agree with Stephen on out of all of this, it is that they will not regain the moderates until they reshape both their platform and their actions.

They can maintain their base with staunch opposition. However, they can’t build a broader coalition with it. For the Republican’s to regain any since of self, it will likely take an Obama, Clinton, or Reagan like performer to recapture the imagination of the moderates in what a more conservative view of government will do. That figure won’t really have any resonance until the Democrats go to far the other way either. If recent history is indication, it takes several years to forget the lessons of hubris and begin thinking that since I keep getting elected, I must get to do anything I want without consequences.

In the meantime though, the Republican base is strong enough in some localities and/ or they have enough representatives left that hold sway with a broader base that they will likely hold on to their existing seats give or take a few. They may even pick the traditional first term, mid-term bounce. But I will predict now that absent a huge mistake or scandal in the Democratic ranks, it will be below historical averages.

Posted by: Rob at December 16, 2009 11:07 PM
Comment #292766

Rob,

The problem with your analysis of Enron is not that Democrats did not share in the stupidity of a deregulatory free-for-all, but in not understanding the influence of the Republican party in Texas politics long before the national rise in the Republican party. Enron played hard and long on those political connections. Phil Gramm, Tom Delay, and George Bush all played important roles in advancing Enron and in getting political support from Enron.

Posted by: gergle at December 17, 2009 12:21 AM
Comment #292770

Evidence of what? Gramm’s wife was on Enron’s board. Kenny-boy (GWB’s nickname for the family friend and CEO) was a close associate of Bush.

What is it you are looking for? The obvious?

Geez, if you simply read the papers, you’d know this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43219-2004Jul11.html

Posted by: gergle at December 17, 2009 2:51 AM
Comment #292780
Stephen, I watched your clip. Thune says that the “many” of the benefits don’t start getting paid out for another 1,479 days (.10) and Frankin says that the “large majority” of the benefits kick in on day one (3:21).”

Which one are you saying is the fact?

Thune presented things in rather more absolute terms when he complained about what the provisions of the bill would do. He was just trying to weasel out from under his mistake here.

Kirk-

Proposed savings are generated by changes in payments to virtually all types of Medicare providers.

Out of how much? You quote numbers over five years. So, divide everything by five.

That’s twenty-five billion a year from hospitals. How much do hospitals get a year from Medicare?

17 billion a year divided by five is just a littl over 3.6 billion. How much do they recieve a year?

11.5 billion over five years from home healthcare systems? 2.3 billion a year. How much do they get a year now?

Hospice providers is easy. One billion a year. How much do they get a year now?

It’s a trick meant to impress people with scary numbers. I know this trick. Complain about one trillion over ten years rather than one hundred billion a year.

Another trick: talk about how expensive the Democrat’s proposal is, but neglect the fact that we’ve actually carved the savings out to pay for it, doing the fiscal right thing. This is what I mean by lies. Untruths. You don’t check them because Republicans trust what other Republicans say.

On medicaid, let’s rember that the estimates from the CBO are ten year estimates, so a forty billion dollar cost is four billion a year.

Divided among fifty states. Meaning the average bill will be 80 million dollars a year. If the economy makes even modest recovery, I’m sure states with billion dollar budgets can afford that.

I’m not the only one who think that the voters did something foolish. All you have to do is look at the polls to see that voters are realizing themselves that they did something foolish. Without the benefit of an election to give a formal mandate? It was an election that gave Republicans 40 seats in the Senate. It was an election that gave them the votes along with at least one Democrat vote to prevent a massive, budget busting take over of one sixth of the economy on top of a deficit that has already tripled with liberal spending.

If you really did have sympathy for the majority, why didn’t your folks abandon the strategy of obstruction this year?

Don’t feed me all these after-the-fact rationalizations. Don’t lie to me. Your party was filibustering us, blocking us when it was Bush running the record deficits. You folks voted almost unanimously, if not completely so, against the first round of bailouts in the House, which was part of the reason why the markets sank even further, and your party failed to regain power in the election that followed.

As I noted before, you folks started this campaign of obstruction, and the rhetorical excess to justify it long before there was popular support.

You say that you were given a mandate by keeping forty seats. First, that’s wrong. You were given a minority of 41, and lost it by your efforts to purify the party of Specter. That’s the only reason we have sixty. But more importantly, this is supposed to be a majority rules Congress, and no other Congressional minority has taken the steps that this one has to so utterly frustrate the mandate of the majority. None. The previous record for filibuster threats by a Congress belongs, in a tie, to the 1998-2000 and the 2000-2002 senate minorities. 58 apiece. Not even close to triple digits. Your folks, in the 109th Congress, almost doubled that record and sent it in the triple digits, and from what I hear, are set to break that record this session.

You folks made yourself into a minority with your policies, then into an even bigger minority by sticking with them.

And you claim a mandate to simply gum up the works? What sick variation of Democracy must you be thinking about, where a drop in your numbers is a mandate to do even more to get in the way of the majority?

Why can’t the Republican Party take a hint?

Rob-
Look, If you want to say that there’s blame to spread, there is. But this was the gospel your party was preaching, to all who would listen, and those that did not agree were forced out as heretics. It became the norm to measure whether an environmental protection was enacted by asking whether it would hurt somebody’s bottom line. It became the norm to loosen regulations.

But it’s not merely the willingness to deregulate and regulate in an industry friendly manner, it’s the refusal to do much of anything else. Same thing with taxes, same thing with Diplomacy, same thing with so many other policies. There aren’t moderated positions in the Republican party anymore. The ideology is carried out to the exception of practical policy, to the exception of real compromise.

Maybe deregulation, on a limited basis, created some positive results. But we must also account for the effects of the reduction in poverty caused by the Great Society programs, and the rise of computer, communication, and materials technology. Cheap energy also helped.

But we should not gloss over several of the economic downturns that resulted from failures in the market- preventable failures whose causes can be traced to weaknesses in that market’s ability to regulate itself.

I think we expose ourselves to great losses when we look at a CEO, and forget that he works not in the public’s interests, but his companies, or failing that, his own. All too often, the folks who claim to follow Adam Smith forget that he said that people don’t tend to do services for each other out of altruism. And yet they expect people who are constantly laying people off at profitable companies that can afford to hire more people to hire more people when they get a tax cut. That, or the politicians saying that know full well that this isn’t the way the world works, they just know that Americans would not support such a thing if they didn’t think their interests would be looked to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 17, 2009 9:19 AM
Comment #292783

It’s funny that the R’s are pulling out all the stops to kill a healthcare bill.

Because I believe the bill will sink - not save - the democrats.

All the new mandates to treat the very ill are going to cost - and that cost is going to be sucked from the young and healthy. They aren’t going to like it. The poor and uninsured are either not voting or are already voting democratic. The republicans don’t even know what a gift they are being offered.

Posted by: Schwamp at December 17, 2009 1:39 PM
Comment #292790

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “The big problem is, your party is too chicken**** to let us pass legislation to be judged on its merits.”

That is a very interesting and revealing statement. Is that what good governance is all about….playing chicken…see who blinks first.

Obviously Mr. Daugherty discounts a thorough discussion of issues in favor of playing “showdown”. This isn’t monopoly money they are playing with…it’s hard earned wages by every working American that is being threatened. At the rate this congress is spending money our dollars could soon be about as worthless as monopoly money.

Mr. Daugherty has lots of demeaning things to say about a former VP candidate of his party. I wonder if he voted for Mr. Lieberman. And…his former party chairman, Mr. Dean, is simply “wrong”.

The big tent of Mr. Daugherty’s party doesn’t seem to include many prominent Dems any more. If they don’t agree with the liberal philosophy just throw them away.

All the polling quotes I read talk about D vs R. The real gains in the polls, and the predominate political view now belongs to conservatives. No surprise here. This has always been a conservative country.

The libs in the Senate are anxious to get a bill…any bill, passed before the Christmas recess as they know their members are going to get their ears blasted by their constituents when they go home just like they did in the last recess.

And Mr. Daugherty calls R’s and conservatives “chicken”. Cluck that. Liberals want to gut the goose to get that last golden egg.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 17, 2009 5:15 PM
Comment #292821

Royal Flush-

That is a very interesting and revealing statement. Is that what good governance is all about….playing chicken…see who blinks first.

No, I believe I used the adjective “chicken****” to describe the party, meaning lacking in courage and dignity. Playing chicken has nothing to do with it, and any reliable examination of my writings would reveal that I’m a person who has much contempt for playing games with politics, rather than employing as a means to useful ends.

Obviously Mr. Daugherty discounts a thorough discussion of issues in favor of playing “showdown”.

Actually, my expressed wish is for the Republicans to cut this **** out. I want the issues discussed. But right now the Republicans don’t discuss issues. They discuss impossible cariactures of the issues which essentially cast Democrats as mustache twirling, cackling villains.

In fact, the point of my post is that the Republicans mythologize about themselves endlessly, but often fail to examine or discuss the issues in a vibrant, robust debate among themselves.

The object, it seems, is to say what one has to say to make sure nobody agrees with the Democrats or the liberals. That, even if it means saying something stupid, or disagreeing with something they ought not to be disputing.

This isn’t monopoly money they are playing with…it’s hard earned wages by every working American that is being threatened. At the rate this congress is spending money our dollars could soon be about as worthless as monopoly money.

Where these your concerns when you supported Bush tax cuts he had no plans to pay for?

Perhaps your plan is to repeat such words long enough to help people ignore the measure Obama takes, especially on Healthcare, to keep things deficit neutral.

Mr. Daugherty has lots of demeaning things to say about a former VP candidate of his party. I wonder if he voted for Mr. Lieberman. And…his former party chairman, Mr. Dean, is simply “wrong”.

The big tent of Mr. Daugherty’s party doesn’t seem to include many prominent Dems any more. If they don’t agree with the liberal philosophy just throw them away.

I did vote for Lieberman, when he was on the ticket with Gore. I certainly liked him better back then.

Here’s the thing: he can have a different opinion on things, and vote against policies he doesn’t like, but aiding and abetting a campaign both meant to hurt the Party’s electoral chances, and to stifle the party’s agenda as a whole seems to fall at least a little bit beyond the definition of a “big-tent party.”

You folks primaried Specter for that, and I BET you have WONDERFUL, GREAT reasons for that. But still, for a party that glories in kicking out the impure, carping about our housecleaning stretches credibility. I would say that your people are excessive about the matter, though, given your need to appeal to the center.

The Republicans want the country without its center. That’s been their downfall, and will be their downfall for as long as they keep it up.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2009 2:45 PM
Comment #292824

Rob-
Even if, according to your strict definition, the Republicans were not good deregulators, they certainly did a lot to discourage further regulation, and create an atmosphere toxic to government reining in the excesses of business.

I have not said, and will not say that my party is without sin on the matter. But you can at least get a Democrat to openly admit that a lack of regulation and enforcement is at fault here.

The crisis is not a Republican invention. I think they may have genuinely believed that it would never come to this. But how does this make the Republican’s blind ideological approach any better? It’s the blindness that concerns me most, the relentlessly defensive denial that their policies lead to disaster. How can we heal and prevent further crisises with the other party committed to the same errors?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2009 3:10 PM
Comment #380593

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