Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Dynamics of Failure

I have a very visually oriented mind, so I often see things abstract things kind of diagrammatically, or by means of metaphors that my experience with science and technology provides for me. When I look at the situation in Washington, it’s almost like looking at a chessboard, especially with the Constitution’s rules about what parts of the government can make what moves. I think if folks on the right could see things the way I do, they might have avoided critical mistakes over the last few years.

The most important rules are these:

  1. The Senate and the President must concur with any bill for it to pass and become law, including laws concerning the budget.
  2. Only the House can start the budget process rolling.
  3. Any majority divided against itself cannot function as a majority, even if it has some kind of formal control beyond mere votes.
  4. A majority in the house can consist of any mixture of members, regardless of party, that amounts to more than half.

When I started my first draft, the passage was uncertain, but now it's come through, and it's basically happened exactly as the rules above would require it to.

What the Republicans were trying to do was use the specter of a default to force Democrats to agree to something they typically would not. The trouble was, Republicans would never be able to back far enough away from the consequences of this to kill the Democrats politically for failing to back down, and not themselves.

The Tea Party was willing to pull the trigger, and many of its members likely are raging at allowing the necessary members to pass the bill ending the standoff. But in the scheme of things, the Tea Party created the necessary conditions for its own failure.

Their current thought seems to be that somehow, this would have worked if Republicans had remained united.

But would Democrats really have conceded? After 2012? After seeing how little good faith the Republicans showed with the Sequester?

Republicans took it up to the brink this time. Are the Tea Partiers saying here that taking things over into default would help the party? I don't think so. Whatever their fantasies are, it would probably end no better than the way the Republicans stood up for the free market in 2008.

I think it's time to stop imagining these representatives as mere agents in an arbitrary negotiation, because that's badly misleading. For this country to work as a nation (and this is a point the Framers were particularly keen on) It has to be able to do certain things. It's funny that Tea Party Republicans focus so strongly on how badly endebted we are, as they praise the framers, because the framers dealt with and took out a great deal of debt themselves in the process of putting this country together.

One reason Alexander Hamilton, one of the key authors of the Federalist Papers, is on our ten dollar bill is that he helped set up the treasury in the first place, and figure out the way to manage our debts over the long term. Since that time, nobody's dared to push us as far towards default as the Tea Party Republicans have.

For good reason. few others want to be the first people to trash that full faith and credit, which helps keep our debts manageable, and our policy as a nation flexible. Bad things happen in the world, ranging from hurricanes to wars to financial disaster. More than just the issues we can anticipate, we have to deal with the matters we can't possibly see coming months or years ahead of time.

The Debt Limit, in part, was a response to such uncertainty. Not so much to set a hardtop to the amount of debt America could take out, but to set a blanket amount under which the treasury would be free to deal with our finances as they came in. Setting one number to do this was easier for the WWI government that wrote it into law than authorizing the necessary debt on each and every bill.

The whole point of it, though, is to keep the nation's spending financed, dealt with. It's not an option for a country like ours. Our economy, the stability of our currency, the low cost of our borrowing, and our dollar and treasury bond's role as a international reserve currency and benchmark of reliability, all depend on the fact that there have been no real failures to pay back our creditors. It doesn't matter what you think about the funding mechanism, one way or another, we're supposed to keep that straight.

Maybe the strain of being such an example of stability and dependability is getting to some on the right, but for some strange reason, Tea Party Republicans think that they can get away with endangering this, and expect all the other Republicans to take this risk with them. But Republicans don't merely have to worry about Tea Party voters. They have to worry about all the voters who find the potential turmoil frightening.

The government shutdown is little more sympathetic. Big or small, people want their government to be open for business. The Fact Republicans tried to give people the runaround on what was opened and closed, the fact that they tried to highlight the closures as something the Democrats were doing to poor old WWII veterans just demonstrates how politically radioactive that dysfunction was.

Most Americans aren't electing glorified pundits to preach, prattle and pontificate in the Chambers of Congress, they're electing leaders, with the purpose of seeing that the nation's needs are seen to. When the duties aren't met, the public disgust can be pretty strong.

Republicans didn't really have a choice, but to let those who could end the stalemate. They couldn't force the Democrats to make concessions, and time simply was up. They didn't want to invite another disaster onto the GOP on the eve of an election year.

The Tea Party's rigidity actually doesn't serve it's constituents well. With the Senate and the White House in Democratic Party hands, there was never going to be a miracle victory. Even the First debt ceiling negotiations, the Republicans were at a loss to get their ideal, and that was when they were at their strongest. Later negotiations went just as badly. The Democrats were never going to give up the shop entirely, and as majority in one chamber, there wasn't much Republicans could do to change that.

The result was each deal had to be passed by a composite majority, in many cases (including this one) the majority of the majority was Democrats. By standing firm in every case, they impressed their voters, but forced other Republicans in the Caucus to fill in the gaps in order to pass anything at all (which given the Tea Party penchant for holding necessary legislation hostage often had to be done.)

The natural effect of this is that legislation had to be of the sort that you could get those necessary Democrats to pass. Think about that for a second. If anybody's to blame for the power that the Democrats have in the House, it's the Tea Party Caucus, because without their refusal to participate in the process of negotiation, pleasing them becomes a much more distant priority. If you can't please the Tea Party with any deal short of their perfect one, and you can't pass the perfect deal through the Senate, much less past President Obama, then you were going to inevitably be forced to help pass a Democrat-favoring deal, because all other potential paths to passage have been ruled out!

It doesn't get better for the Tea Party as it moves to try and get rid of those it sees as spineless, only worse. The larger the Tea Party Caucus is, the more votes have to come from Democrats to pass things.

Other Republicans are noticing what's happening here, the uniformly bad outcomes for the Republicans. As they watch the poll numbers get dragged down, and the chambers of commerce begin to shy away, as the elections get lost and the Tea Party comes to represent dysfunction almost as a mascot, the Republicans suffer as a party. The Tea Partiers want to do away with those who aren't true believers. but given all the disasters, Business interests and establishment Republicans are hitting right back. As the failures mount, those other sides of the Republican Party will be emboldened to fight back.

Result? Probably not pretty for Republican morale. There's a difference between demanding unity and getting it, between shooting for the moon and slamming into the Earth. My sense is, the Tea Party's failure to acknowledge how the situations have turned against them is a big part of why they've failed like this.

Really, though, what could be expected? The point of the Tea Party, in my opinion, was high-speed recovery for the Republican majority in Congress. The insular, uncompromising nature of the movement meant that they could swat aside the entangling alliances with Democrats who had taken the high ground, and simply stampede over the more cautious Democrats. It's focus on Obamacare gave it an internal boogeyman to strike fear of failure and contempt for compromise on account of.

Unfortunately, that insularity made it to where Tea Partiers were neither that good at dealing with their own colleagues or the Democrats in anything but a confrontational, oppositionally defiant mode, and led to it obsessing both over Obama and his signature healthcare legislation, rather than switching gears from all that rigamarole to a more subtle, day-to-day strategy. The nature of these poorly integrated Republicans also makes it difficult for them to get the hints the situation is trying to give them, namely that the Democrats are being made more disciplined, more tenacious, more hard-nosed by these repeated hostage dramas, and others are losing faith in them as worthy leaders in Congress.

Easy come, easy go. In the rush to get back into power, Republicans are taking steps that will likely end up landing them in the wilderness either in this election, or the next.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2013 12:25 PM
Comment #372878
One reason Alexander Hamilton, one of the key authors of the Federalist Papers, is on our hundred dollar bill is that he helped set up the treasury in the first place, and figure out the way to manage our debts over the long term. Since that time, nobody’s dared to push us as far towards default as the Tea Party Republicans have.

Hamilton was a monarchist, I’m always surprised that he is idolized by any American these days, but his views do fall well in line with the modern Democratic Party.

But, the last line is interesting considering that we *HAVE* defaulted in the past…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 17, 2013 3:58 PM
Comment #372881

BTW, if you want to hear a good podcast about Hamilton as he was seen by Jefferson, I would recommend listening to The Jefferson Hour episode 1042 - Hamiltonian or Jeffersonian. It is a great podcast done as an interview with Jefferson looking back on his life and career and his views. He explains many of the fundamental issues of the time…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 17, 2013 4:07 PM
Comment #372888

He’s also one of the big salesman for the Constitution, writing 51 out of the 85 essays. Given their place in helping to explain and promote the Constitution, I’d be surprised if he wasn’t idolized.

As for the article, it’s somewhat informative, but it’s worth noting that the three most relevant defaults listed there, the Greenback default of 1862, the Liberty Bond default of 1934, and the Momentary Default of 1979 are all associated with substantial costs. The Greenbacks had 20-40% interest after the default, if I read it right, the Liberty Bond default cost hundreds of billions of dollars of investor money in today’s dollars, and the Momentary Default? It had significant costs associated with it, even though it wasn’t deliberate.

(Oh, the liberty bond thing is somewhat controversial, as the issue was whether the bonds could be cashed for gold, which was illegal for Americans to hold privately at that point)

(by the way, I actually blogged about the momentary default)

Royal Flush-
I don’t think I’ve been unclear on what will happen to personal insults.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2013 4:48 PM
Comment #372890


He was also decidedly Republican. It is a very interesting history lesson to understand that at one point the Democratic Party was decidedly Jeffersonian while the Republicans were decidedly Hamiltonian, and when that changed, when the Democrats switched to being Hamiltonian as well, that is when the ideals of what this country was founded upon became doomed. The real liberals are still Jeffersonian and are marginalized at the hands of the neo-conservatives and the neo-liberals (progressives).

But what you don’t realize is that even Hamilton would be appalled at where this country has gone, deciding to base the country on the very ideals of taxation with representation, one of the main issues we revolted with Britain about.

Yes, the Constitution was created to give more power to the federal government than was given to it by the Articles of Confederation. But it was not created to give UNLIMITED power to the federal government because they were very wary of what that would mean, making us much more like the parliamentary government of the country it had just broken ties with a decade before. That was the purpose of the 9th and 10th amendments.

You know, the ones that we all have to ignore to support the way our current government operates.

I understand that you don’t really care about all of that, you just want a government that works efficiently and effectively no matter how it does it or who it tramples individually to achieve that. So to you, as long as the trains run on time, government is functioning properly…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 17, 2013 4:58 PM
Comment #372892

Dauugherty writes; “But in the scheme of things, the Tea Party created the necessary conditions for its own failure.”

Since the Tea Party is but the conservative wing of the R party I don’t understand how you can call what happened a failure of the Tea Party.

The Liberal wing of the D party is the entire D party. So, when they failed to diminish our second Amendment rights with anti-gun legislation for example, the entire party and the president failed.

When the D party and the president failed to overturn sequestration, the entire D party failed.

The D party attracts ever more liberal nominees to run for national office white the R party attracts ever more conservatives. We can afford to stymy liberals with our minority for now, as our national base grows with each election. At the state and local level D’s are at a gross disadvantage.

By depriving the D’s of ever expanding government we deprive the them of their most important election tool…gifts of more money for their special groups of captive votes. With less money for special interests; those interests will have less incentive to vote for D’s, or even vote at all.

Conservative ideology and constitutional values are what drives our political action and does not rely upon some politician to bribe us with money for our vote. We vote what we believe. D’s vote what lines their pockets with the property of others.

We have reduced government spending with sequestration and we have prevented many of the tax increases desired by D’s.

The Tea Party has existed for a brief period of time and is ascendent while the stagnant D party has been espousing its failed ideas for decades and is descendent. We are fresh while they are stale.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 17, 2013 5:45 PM
Comment #372893

Some call the Tea Party a failure. Really? A movement not ten years in existence bought the entire D party, controlling both the senate and presidency, nearly to its knees. Given a little more time, we will throw ever more of those tyrants out of office and take this country back to fiscal and budgetary sanity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 17, 2013 5:53 PM
Comment #372894


I understand that you don’t really care about all of that, you just want a government that works efficiently and effectively no matter how it does it or who it tramples individually to achieve that. So to you, as long as the trains run on time, government is functioning properly…

If that’s what you understand, then you have misunderstood. I speak of function on a number of levels: what it’s meant to do, how it does it, and what are the actual results. I want the best goals, the best means to attain them, and the best results. That the outcome, the means, and the intentions be as conscientious as possible is part of my design ethic.

That’s part of what ticks me off about the shutdown and other things. However good their intentions are, their methods are disastrous, counterproductive.

Your misunderstanding is founded on a caricature of a caricature. Most of us are good people, and we want good things, just like you. Different ideas on what leads to the public good doesn’t constitute evil on our part.

Now you can spin around what the political beliefs of the framers were, but in my view, there’s a lot of contextualizing to do, a lot to keep in mind about what was different about people and civilizations in that time.

For one thing, the Hamiltonians you talk about sound like the Federalists! But aren’t the Framers mainly the Federalists? And the critics of the New Constitutions the Democrats? Ah, but then Madison becomes a Democrat! But what were the Democrats like in those days? Good question.

If we’re seriously focused on being Constitutionalists, there’s a degree to which we’re not big on Jeffersonian ideals, because his were in opposition to that Constitution, that strengthening of the central government!

Of course, politics mutates, evolves as time goes on, and I would argue that was part and parcel of what the Constitution did, and was meant to do. As for interpretation, I’m not sure the Framers expected everybody to be looking into their writings like oracles forever, nor worshiping as libertarian icons. Certainly not that, because the libertarians of the time, the anti-federalists hated the centralization found in the document.

Then comes the question of what that means for what we should do. The thing I would point out is that the politicians of that age were doing something radical with the Republic they put together. They would ultimately defy the tradition of establishing a church, as they had already defied the monarchical and parliamentary structures of Europe. They let the government have the power to be effective, but then looped around and put constraints on that power that must have seemed odd to the nations of the old world.

The cartoon some people make of our founding period just annoys me. They didn’t all agree. A basic course on what the Framers did would reveal multiple debates, and not everybody tended towards your idea of limited government. Folks try and hijack it as some sort of inspirational myth, but really, the remarkable thing about what they did was how the compromises and everything turned out, in most cases to be a blessing, because the things they were trying to balance against each other had a stabilizing effect. I think one reason we have a remarkably free nation is the Bill of Rights. The Framers didn’t realize how important it would be, thought they were superfluous.

I’m tired of seeing people claim it as their own and trying to beat others over the head with it. Partly it’s that nobody short of the Supreme Court has the authority to make their opinion binding. More importantly, though, I think that one of the most important results of the way our Constitution functioned was that it provided the room for a robust array of opinions in our society. I think that’s saved our bacon many times.

But you would reduce that, because you believe you got it right. You even appeal to the framers, as if that privileges your point of view.

You can do what you want, think what you want, but I’d warn you about something: that Constitution you love? It will make it very, very difficult for you to force others to agree, so however much you believe, you have to persuade others to join their voice to yours. You can’t demand it. You can’t demand agreement.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2013 5:54 PM
Comment #372896

Republicans ARE spineless.
IF this country has any hope, liberals will win the next few elections with solid majorities, triple the size of government, jack taxes waaaaaaay up and “fix” the 2nd Amendment.

Posted by: kctim at October 17, 2013 6:00 PM
Comment #372898

Royal Flush-
What will be left of the Tea Party in ten years? They won just one election, and hit the jackpot. So have many other factions like them. Splinter groups litter American history.

The election after that? The Republicans were rolled back.

Yes, the Tea party can stalemate us. What else is it doing? What else can it do? They’re just as easily stalemated by us, and we suffer no political downside for it.

They tried to destroy Obamacare. Did they succeed? No. In fact, the GOP got nothing it hadn’t already bargained for. In exchange, there’s a nation that’s really tired with the obstructionists, the folks causing dysfunction. Even the business leaders are sick and tired of that, and contrary to the illusions of some to the contrary, the Tea Partiers aren’t going to get anywhere if the money men abandon them.

I think the Tea Party is surviving on borrowed time, at least as the power it’s been for the last few years. You talk about them as throwing tyrants out, but the coercive methods that Tea Partiers employ hardly make them seem like wise and prudent leaders. As far as bringing fiscal and budgetary sanity back, the GOP’s wasted tens of billions of dollars getting us back to the deal they already had, and have undermined millions of jobs in the process of pushing their sequestration agenda.

They came into office saying they would do better than the Obama Administration on jobs. In the wake of all their activity, Job growth has slowed.

I would call that a failure. Question is, does the Tea Party have any real idea what failure actually is? They’re so busy convincing themselves that every outcome is great for their cause that they don’t seem to register how thin patience has worn for them all around.

They won power too fast, on false prentenses. Consequentially, they haven’t grown into it. Contrast what Nancy Pelosi was able to do with her majority, as oppose to what Boehner has done.

Where do conservatives get these ideas of what Democrats want. I almost never look at it and say, “oh, I saw Chuck Schumer propose this.” If your best picture of what the other party thinks or does comes from pundits on your side, then little will match reality.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2013 6:32 PM
Comment #372900

Daughertty asks; “What will be left of the Tea Party in ten years?”

I don’t know. I do know that conservatives will be around in even larger numbers. One could have easily asked at the time, what will be left of the American revolution in ten years. The revolution, like conservatives of today, was fought by people with principles and not for selfish motives of greed and power over individuals.

We are growing stronger ever year while the D’s struggle with their failed ideology of group rights over individual rights. To win the nomination for president the D candidate will have to run left of Hillary and bama. That should attract ever fewer moderates. And, the D party traditional support groups of blacks and the poor are not seeing much benefit of voting for them with nothing in return but more disappointment. Sixty years of liberalism has not lifted their boats, but merely made them more dependent.

The chips that liberals are making in our constitution have fallen into the eyes of many making them blind to our founding principles of freedom and independence. A vast majority of Americans still cherish our basic values and will not easily be bought with a few pieces of liberal silver.

Daughrty writes; “They tried to destroy Obamacare. Did they succeed? No. In fact, the GOP got nothing it hadn’t already bargained for.”

Once again he confuses conservatives with the entire R party. We intend to weed out the liberals in the R party and replace them with patriots. As your party becomes more liberal, we become ever stronger. Please…continue with your liberal tyranny.

Daughertyy writes; “Contrast what Nancy Pelosi was able to do with her majority, as oppose to what Boehner has done.”

During pelosi’s term as speaker, from Jan 2007 to Jan 2011 she had a majority of senate votes to back her up. DUH!

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 17, 2013 7:06 PM
Comment #372903

Royal Flush-
You got nothing. You can wax poetic about what you might one day achieve, and how utterly wonderful it is that you have all these perfectly pure political beliefs, but in then end, all you’ve managed to do is further isolate the far right of your party.

That, more than anything else, has allowed Obama to time and again draw the necessary Republicans to his House Democrat numbers in order to get things done, because the truth of things is, all these sort of “nuclear” threats that Republicans use only promise mutually assured destruction, and most of the Republican House members know that. You can’t win with these tactics because few others are willing to allow you to pull the trigger. That’s why those lousy so and so’s intervene. It’s not that suddenly, a bunch of Lincoln Chaffees showed up. No, it’s that you’ve succeeded in putting plenty of Republicans in Centrist districts in a hell of a place. If you’re lucky, enough of them will survive the next election for you to keep your majority. If not, then by dividing your party with your unwillingness to compromise, you’ll have succeeded in breaking the party in a way Democrats could not. One way or another, I think you’re going to see a number of Republicans lose their jobs in the next year. I don’t think that will get better if you succeed in having another shutdown or threat of a default, nor if you don’t have one.

Your people seem to found their sense of their political success not on results, but on who they succeed in ticking off, or flicking off for that matter.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2013 7:30 PM
Comment #372904

“You got nothing.”

Please tell us about any other political movement less than ten years in existence that had the entire D party, and much of the R establishment, scrambling for over two weeks. The Tea Party has nowhere near the numbers the D’s have and yet they tremble with the though of our ever growing conservative movement and the power we have already attained.

Go ahead and make all your grandiose predictions about 2014. I really don’t give a shit.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 17, 2013 7:58 PM
Comment #372906

Royal Flush-
Yeah, maintaining a consistent position and saying no to ransom demands from the start sounds like scrambling to me. Who knows, maybe next time, if there is a next time, your side will succeed in costing Americans a million jobs, and you can congratulate on making the American people scramble once again to find new work!

If you saw the polling on this, you basically succeeded in making people want to fire Congress, and nothing changed about opposition to this tactic.

I’m finding it very difficult to believe that you think you won anything. The GOP is not better liked. The Tea Party is not better liked. People are not more satisfied with Congress than before. The President kept a consistent position, and your people ultimately could not push the button to nuke the economy, and with good reason. You’ve picked a situation in which you can’t kill the hostage, because the hostage is the American economy, and people wouldn’t forgive the Republicans for a deliberate sabotage of that.

You’ve picked a terrible position, played a game whose only virtue is that it doesn’t require you to compromise, or to acknowledge that Tea Party policies need more than just better publicity- they need a time machine to find the people who would go for them. I mean, was that debacle with Todd Akin not enough to make you reconsider going after birth control again?

With this kind of Obliviousness, you’re not doing yourselves favors for 2014. I won’t make any grand predictions, but I will say that you will come into the next elections paying the price for this fiasco, one way or another.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2013 9:14 PM
Comment #372909
With this kind of Obliviousness, you’re not doing yourselves favors for 2014. I won’t make any grand predictions, but I will say that you will come into the next elections paying the price for this fiasco, one way or another.

No we won’t.

1. First of all, the voter’s memories don’t last any longer than the latest crisis.

2. Secondly, in 3 months we go through all this again.

3. Thirdly, a big deal has been made about the faults of obamacare and thanks to Obama, the individuals will be seeing the price of this fiasco and the loss of Ins, doctors, and benefits.

4. Fourthly, the conservative Tea party movement will increase and not decrease; this is the reason there is such great fear of the TP by R’s and D’s.

5. Fifthly, Obama is so arrogant, he will force democrats to vote on issues such as gun control, amnesty, and raising taxes next year; which will make the American people angry.

6. And sixthly, the NSA, Benghazi, and IRS issues are not gone and forgotten.

That’s not to mention that there are still obamacare cases to be brought before the SCOTUS. Which, by some chance Justice Roberts may just figure that his unconstitutional acts have split the country and bankrupt our economy. A reversal is always possible, however unlikely.

Posted by: Political Hostage at October 17, 2013 9:35 PM
Comment #372910

A quote by Brit Hume on the Tea Party:

“Veteran political observers on both the left and right are still trying to figure out what the House Tea Party caucus and its Senate pied piper Ted Cruz were thinking when they insisted on using the threat of a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare.

“It was a hopeless strategy that has not only failed in its stated goal, but helped send the Republican Party to its lowest favorability ratings ever.

“In conventional terms, it seems inexplicable, but Senator Cruz and his adherents do not view things in conventional terms. They look back over the past half-century, including the supposedly golden era of Ronald Reagan, and see the uninterrupted forward march of the American left. Entitlement spending never stopped growing. The regulatory state continued to expand. The national debt grew and grew and finally in the Obama years, exploded. They see an American population becoming unrecognizable from the free and self-reliant people they thought they knew. And they see the Republican Party as having utterly failed to stop the drift toward an unfree nation supervised by an overweening and bloated bureaucracy. They are not interested in Republican policies that merely slow the growth of this leviathan. They want to stop it and reverse it. And they want to show their supporters they’ll try anything to bring that about.

“And if some of those things turn out to be reckless and doomed, well so be it.”

Sometimes you just have to take a breath and look at things through the eye of logic, forsaking the shrill demagoguery of the left. If the American people ever really understand the ideology of the Tea Party, we will see an even greater sweep toward them.

Posted by: Political Hostage at October 17, 2013 10:05 PM
Comment #372918

Political Hostage-
I think you’ve missed something here. You say people forget, and yes they do. If you give them the chance. If you repeat a tactic over and over again, people remember. So, if you say, “people will forget,” and then say “in three months, we do this all over again!” Then you have a bit of a problem. If you need people to forget, common sense tells you, don’t remind them!

Yet that is exactly what you plan to do. And about what? Website glitches aren’t going to measure up to the gulags and death panels your people were hyping. Even if Obamacare turns out to be faulty, it’s faults will likely tend to be prosaic, if current developments are any guide.

As to your fourth point, what makes you and Royal Flush believe such a wave is in the offing? Your ratings have gone down, and your general favorables/unfavorables in the latest pew poll are 30-49. That’s right, you’re about thirteen points down from his average.

As far as the Brit Hume quote goes, I think he was trying to say you live in a bit of a bubble, seeing everything through a lens of alternate history.

You ask most Democrats, and they won’t tell you these last thirties years were a triumph for liberalism. But why do you folks have to believe this? To justify going further. To justify not going back, in spite of the facts that it was your policies, ultimately, that screwed up. To in fact blame the whole thing on somebody else, so that the same approach can be used again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2013 11:53 PM
Comment #372920

Let me put things another way: The Republican position was a self-inflicted lose-lose situation. Be responsible for an economic collapse, or capitulate. So long as Obama did not provide a third option, that was their plight.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 18, 2013 12:01 AM
Comment #372924

When Obama, Reid et al said “we will not negotiate” that is arrogance and your party will reap what it sows. No predictions just read em and weep.
I believe a trend is showing that SD could not understand. It is around American Constitutional principles that is beyond the lefts comprehension.
MSNBC is what the representative side of the left has to offer, Maddow, Schultz, O’Donnell and the star of All In. Then the lesser candidates that can’t spit out a true sentence if that had to. What is going to be interesting is in the weeks to come the shrill voices of that network when things will happen that they just don’t understand or comprehend. I might get a little giddy or their response.

Posted by: tom humes at October 18, 2013 3:22 AM
Comment #372926


“One reason Alexander Hamilton, one of the key authors of the Federalist Papers, is on our hundred dollar bill”

I thought Benjamin Franklin was on the 100 dollar bill.

Posted by: dbs at October 18, 2013 5:01 AM
Comment #372929

tom humes-
Arrogance? No, common sense. When police deal with hostage takers, they require the release of hostages for anything given in return. We are going to negotiate, but without this leverage imposed beyond what our numbers in the House and Senate can yield. We’ll do this with our equal chambers of Congress, not with one chamber holding the other chambers hostage.

My mistake, he’s on the ten! (I’ll fix it later)

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 18, 2013 8:57 AM
Comment #372930
We are going to negotiate

I’ll believe it when I see it. Interesting that you know what the Democrat Leadership and administration is going to do or not do…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 18, 2013 9:16 AM
Comment #372931


“Where do conservatives get these ideas of what Democrats want.”

From the actual actions of liberals themselves. Your desire for things like government healthcare, strict regulation and control of private business, redistribution of wealth, and changing the 2nd Amendment, are the reality, not “pundit” talking points.
IF that is not what you want, why do you support them?

Posted by: kctim at October 18, 2013 9:21 AM
Comment #372933

I wish I could rewrite history like Stephen Daugherty and the Democratics do. Stephen Daugherty says Hamilton is on the 100$ bill and when his mistake is brought to light by dbs:

(I’ll fix it later)

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 18, 2013 8:57 AM

When he “fixes” it no one will be the wiser. dbs’ comment will be a misunderstood remark believed to come oout of left field. That is if Stephen Daugherty doesn’t “fix” that comment as well.

That is small potatoes, though. I bring it up only to shed light on how Democratics operate, lie, misquote, fabricate, rewrite, hide their shortcomings, paint themselves as holier than thou, and the MSM enables this behavior.

For instance, when the shutdown was over the media framed the headline such as this:

“Done deal: Obama signs debt bill into law”

Never mind Obama sat on the sidelines and had very little to do with this deal. If the tables were turned and a Republican President and Senate were held up by a Democratic house the headline would read:

“Done deal: House passes debt bill into law”

Both would be true, but it would be a win for Democratics in either case. Words mean something.

I did a little research into a statement Stephen Daugherty made concerning the individual mandate. He said:

“Obamacare. Listen to all the Republicans say about it. They say it’s a threat to freedom. How? They don’t typically say. They say the mandate and everything is socialistic, despite the fact that this wasn’t even the left’s preferred policy, despite the fact that it came from the decidedly anti-socialistic Heritage foundation. So on and so forth.”
Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 7, 2013 11:38 AM

Stephen Daugherty is a victim of his own side’s echo chamber.
Column: Don’t blame Heritage for ObamaCare mandate

Jonathan Alter wrote recently in The Washington Post. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the same claim, asserting that Republican support of a mandate “has its roots in a proposal by the conservative Heritage Foundation.” Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and others have made similar claims.
To succumb to the leftist echo chamber is not hard considering the one-sided nature of the leftist MSM. Echo chamber. All you echo chamber have to do echo chamber is repeat echo chamber it enough echo chamber and people will echo chamber start echo chamber to echo chamber believe echo chamber it.

Don’t believe what is said by the MSM and the left. The Democratics have proved time and time again to be liars and hypocrites. The tea party is doing the job the MSM and the RINO’s won’t.

I say it’s about time someone stands up against the inevitable destruction of the American way of life we used to know. The opponents of ACA may have not succeeded but they have done something the D.C. establishment wasn’t about to do. They drew attention to the fact that there is opposition to the law and to the leftist march toward complete government control. That is something the MSM, either party, or the Supreme Court fail to do.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 18, 2013 11:56 AM
Comment #372934

Tea Party agenda:

Set unachievable goals? Check, in the form of repealing Obamacare, because 41 previous attempts and an election simply weren’t enough to draw attention to their opposition to the law.

Change House rules on October 1st so Democrats cannot stop a shutdown? Check.

Load the House Rules Committee with a majority of Tea Party representatives, so no proposals and no negotiations could be made that did not meet their demands? Check.

Use tactics like shutting down the government, then threatening the economy over the debt ceiling, even though most Americans find such tactics despicable and reprehensible, regardless of the cause? Check.

Choose a tactic like shutting down the government which is inherently unsustainable, and doomed to failure? Check.

Pretend defaulting on the debt would not be so bad, especially if the default took the form of shutting down most of the government, in spite of virtually every economic expert in the world warning of catastrophe? Check.

Cost the country at least $24 billion, put 800,000 workers on furlough and without paychecks for two weeks, lose an estimated 900,000 jobs, and shave at least .25% off GDP, if not more? Check.

Drive down the poll numbers for the Republican Party AND the Tea Party to all-time lows? Check. And that takes some doing, by the way.

Be viewed with deep disgust by virtually every person on the planet, both foreign and domestic, and even more so by anyone involved with business and economics? Check.

Watch the leader of the shutdown, Senator Cruz, become familiar to an additional 18% of the population, and be disliked by 16% of those? Check.

Watch the stock market rally 500 points in three days when the Tea Party agenda is defeated? Check.

Declare success! Argue everything and everyone- the establishment GOP, Democrats, business, economists, the Supreme Court, the MSM, and pollsters- are involved in a conspiracy to make the Tea Party look bad.

Rinse and repeat.

Destroy the Republican Party, and then hand the House of Representatives to the Democrats in 2014- a feat seen as unimaginable and unachievable just last month? Working on it, and making good progress.

Posted by: phx8 at October 18, 2013 2:02 PM
Comment #372936

I wish I could get layed off for two weeks and then get paid for those two weeks when I went back to work! Anyone crying about not receiving a paycheck, here’s a hankey. Who knows, you may get paid twice!

I wish I could get billions of dollars in pork by caving in on principles. I’d be a two-faced hypocrite and take it for all it’s worth, too! So much for a clean bill, eh? It’s only someone else’s money.

I wish I could always be right, even when I’m wrong. All I have to do is chastize someone for criticizing me and they would cower and apologize. Let’s add huberous to the list.

Yea, it would be great to be the man behind the curtain. The Great And Powerful Democratic!

But, I’m not a liar, or a hypocrite, or suffering from a superiority complex. I’m just the guy paying the bills.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 18, 2013 2:57 PM
Comment #372937

Today, Senator Cruz blocked the nominee for the FCC. Cruz complained will block the nominee until he pledges not to require more disclosures from the sponsors of political ads.

Just in case anyone is not clear: Bad guys shut down the government, threaten to destroy the world economy unless their demands are met, and try to hide the source of their money.

Posted by: phx8 at October 18, 2013 3:14 PM
Comment #372938

If he’s such a bad guy throw him in jail. What law has he broken, phx8? Your side is always crying free speech and privacy and choice! Where is your compassion and tolerance when someone has an opinion you disagree with?

I would like you to say right now that the Democratics were wrong to treat Bork and Thomas the way they did when they were nominated.

Let’s hear it, phx8! Apologize for those political circus stunts.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 18, 2013 3:21 PM
Comment #372939

Can the democrat party, almost entirely liberal, continue its stampede towards more liberal excess and still maintain significant numbers of votes from independents to win elections?

Moderates make up the largest block of voters and don’t appear to be in love with, or part of, the “special interest groups” that the dems continue to reward with borrowed revenues.

The next nominee for president of the dem party will be left of Clinton and bama. What big promises can he/she make to lure independents to vote for the party? The lemmings like Daugherty and phx8 will vote for Satan if he declares himself to be a dem. Or is Satan now a women in the new theology?

Can the dem nominee for prez promise anything that may keep independents from deserting the party in droves? By 2016 the full and awful affects of obamacare will be felt by those paying for the health care of others. More executive orders, bordering on unconstitutional, will be proclaimed by our tyrant-in-chief, more harmful regulations will be enforced by the many unelected bureaucrats, and the painful realization of a failed presidency will be in full flower.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 18, 2013 3:52 PM
Comment #372940

Why don’t the Democratics realize the people who can’t afford the food they put in their mouths are also going to demand their free healthcare when this thing gets going?

There won’t be enough people to pay the bills when 41 million people can’t afford healthcare. Expecially when those 41 million people think it will be free and they will demand everything the Democratics promised them.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 18, 2013 3:59 PM
Comment #372941

It’s actually up to almost 48 million people who can’t afford food, let alone health insurance.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 18, 2013 4:09 PM
Comment #372947

Perhaps you do not know the backstory behind Bork.

“On October 20, 1973, Solicitor General Bork was instrumental in the “Saturday Night Massacre”, U.S. President Richard Nixon’s firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, following Cox’s request for tapes of his Oval Office conversations. Nixon initially ordered U.S. Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Cox. Richardson resigned rather than carry out the order. Richardson’s top deputy, Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, also considered the order “fundamentally wrong”[15] and also resigned, making Bork the Acting Attorney General. When Nixon reiterated his order, Bork complied and fired Cox, an act later found to be illegal…

In his posthumously published memoirs, Bork stated that following the firings, Nixon promised him the next seat on the Supreme Court. Nixon was unable to carry out the promise after his resignation, but Bork was eventually nominated for the Supreme Court in 1987.”

Bork deserved much, much worse treatment. He was a terrible example of an American, a bad guy if ever there was one.

Posted by: phx8 at October 18, 2013 4:52 PM
Comment #372955

Weary Willie-
It’s in the comments. I could have just changed the fact, erased his comment, never left mine, and it would be completely erased.

You seem just fine with rewriting the English language, given that Democrat is the proper noun form of Democratic. The slight inherent in that misuse of the language, the allegation that I rewrite history serve a sort of social dominance purpose.

I don’t delete comments to delete arguments, by the way. I delete for the sake of keeping this kind of pernicious, character based argument out of things, if for no other reason than people don’t come to this site to have you, or anybody else critique them as people.

That is small potatoes, though. I bring it up only to shed light on how Democratics operate, lie, misquote, fabricate, rewrite, hide their shortcomings, paint themselves as holier than thou, and the MSM enables this behavior.

I think you forgot obfuscate, inveigle, and BS. :-)

I assume that you look at yourself as being better than all that, correct? That is a tendency for people in general you know. Rare is the person who thinks worse of themselves than somebody else. That’s one reason that personal attack arguments are so worthless for fruitful political debate, so fertile a ground for feedback loops of personal ugliness. We can, in any political forum, make everything about getting our boot on the neck of the other fellow, but what does that profit anybody?

The merits of the argument are the better ground for real discussion.

Take, for example, this argument about who should get that final credit. You think it’s media bias that Obama’s signature is seen as the key act. You complain that it’s just as important that the house passed it.

Well, the House passes a lot of things. It passed a CR where Obamacare was defunded/delayed/abolished. Where are those provisions now? The House, by itself, does not pass binding legislation. It requires the cooperation of the Senate. The Senate refused to cooperate in destroying the ACA. It required the President’s signature. The President promised to veto it.

The President insisted that the old bargain be honored, that he would not concede anything for the passage of a debt ceiling extension or the re-opening of the government. Given his power to sink any legislation that did so, the fact that the bill came to him in the form it does owes much to the positions he took and the consistency and strength with which he took them.

But the final point would be this, and I think there’s no subjectivity about it: given the Constitutional process, that bill wasn’t law until he signed it. Before, the bill could not save our nation from default, nor re-open the government. His signature wasn’t merely important for his own sake, but for the sake of finally, formally ending the crisis.

As far as the Heritage foundation goes, The argument would be more persuasive, as Ezra Klein puts it, if the Heritage foundation hadn’t endorsed Romneycare, which isn’t much different from Obamacare, not three years before.

Don’t believe what is said by the MSM and the left. The Democratics have proved time and time again to be liars and hypocrites. The tea party is doing the job the MSM and the RINO’s won’t.

This is what gets you into trouble. You think you have some special source of truth lined up, when actually, you’ve just been captured into a feedback loop meant to keep folks voting for Republicans

As for paying the bills? I’ve found that to be considerably more difficult when I don’t have real money, and however reassuring it is to get back pay, I wouldn’t want to be missing paychecks in the first place.

As for Cruz? The guy’s abusing his power. Guy’s currently revising his disclosures in response to a report that he’s entangled with some Caribbean finance companies. Also, are you aware of how long your hero’s been working in Washington? Trouble is, there are too many magic words people can say about themselves that lead you to take them at face value.

Royal Flush-
The funny thing is, self-identified liberals make up about forty percent of Democrats, along with about 40 who call themselves moderates. Republicans have about as many moderates as Democrats have Conservatives in their ranks.

As for the rest of your comment? You can call Democrats Lemmings, but we didn’t just stampede the party off a cliff for the sake of intimidating the opposition, only to fail utterly to achieve any different of an income.

I’ve noticed this change since the Shutdown/Debt Ceiling fight ended, this sort of “you’ll see attitude” If the plan is to repeat this debacle, then the question is, what will make it turn out differently than it already has, and, most importantly, just how will you ensure that a Congress of free citizens can’t vote to end that confrontation?

If you guys were more open to the rest of the world, you wouldn’t be in this situation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 18, 2013 5:24 PM
Comment #372957

I am quite comfortable in my conservative clothing Daugherty. A single win or loss does not win the war. Neither liberal or conservative won anything of substance in this showdown.

Conservative politicians voted their conscious as long as possible. Liberal politicians now have more national debt to add to their shame.

I don’t pretend to know what will happen when we need to raise the debt ceiling again. I do know that with liberals in charge, debt ceiling increases will continue with nauseating regularity. We could easily reach a national debt of over $20 Trillion by the end of bama’s term.

The next D nominee for president will have to promise ever more spending to keep the special interest groups in their pockets and afford them a reason to bother to vote. These special interest groups are a single issue voter. Unless they are promised freebies, they stay home.

So, what will that nominee promise in new spending as he/she surely must? Unless that nominee promises huge tax increases, or more debt, from where is the money coming to pay for the freebies?

More taxes, more spending…will that attract more moderates?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 18, 2013 5:53 PM
Comment #372960

I can’t believe I’m about to say this…but…The following few sentences that President Obama gave a day after the House signed the bill to end the government shutdown may be the most egregious statement that I’ve ever heard from a sitting president.

“And now that the government has reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, educate our kids, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That’s why we’re here. That should be our focus.”

Did the President of the United States of America just condescendingly tell all citizens that only HIS idea of free speech is credible? The above emphasis is mine.

Obama WAS a “professional activist!”

The arrogance and the thin-skin that he has shown over the last 5-plus years have now been confirmed! Wow! His whole BEING is based on professional activism in the name of politics, name recognition and conceit.

Who is he or any citizen to censor another group or groups?

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at October 18, 2013 6:38 PM
Comment #372962

Royal Flush-
Oh, I assure you, I’m quite comfortable being what I am. But you know, I like to be on the right side of things, and I like to win from that position.

The last time Republicans really tried a debt ceiling showdown, we negotiated an end, and as a result, were hit with austerity that’s now cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. This time? It cost us nothing to stop this. You couldn’t force anything out of us, despite an appalling amount of effort, an appalling political cost.

I mean, your shutdown/default fight was politically suicidal enough that it had the US Chamber of Commerce joining forces with the AFL-CIO to call for the end of this standoff.

As for the Debt ceiling?

Approaching the debt by way of the debt ceiling is like using a brick wall instead of a braking system to stop your car. It’s really only there to deal with what we’ve spent that we haven’t paid for.

I keep on emphasizing taking the fiscal picture on by three points of control: policy about spending, policy about taxation, and policy about the economy. Republicans term it a spending problem, but funnily enough, it wasn’t just spending that changed during the Bush Administration, but revenue and taxation as well. I know, because I’ve looked at primary sources, not just listened to politicians who keep on talking about rising deficits when the deficits are actually in decline.

What Democrats are looking for is a general program of economic improvement. If necessary that might mean new spending, new taxes, but, contrary to your campaign rhetoric, the idea is not to explode the government, but make it work to improve the economy. Economic improvement, all others policies held equal, creates deficit reduction.

The combination of getting our fiscal house in order, and getting the economy back into shape is what made Clinton popular. People like me think those are the improvements to seek out.

This talk about freebies, this constant theatre of the absurd where you speak for what we actually want, and get it badly wrong, is just there to scare people into agreeing with you, when they might otherwise be inclined to seek out the opportunities we’re actually talking about.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 18, 2013 7:15 PM
Comment #372967

Royal Flush,
Just to reinforce the point, moderates are not the same as independents. Moderates are in between liberals and conservatives. They represent the swing votes in elections. Independents are people who do not identify as either Democrats or Republicans. It used to be that the numbers of Democrats and Republicans was roughly the same. Today, when pollsters take opinions, they look at an electorate of roughly 43% Democrats and 31% Republicans. The drop-off in Republicans now call themselves Independents.

Listen carefully when people like Limbaugh or Hannity claim the Independents are breaking in favor of Republicans. It means very little, and they are trying to mislead their audience. Sometimes they will add that the problem with 2012 was not with Independents, but the lack of the base turning out to vote.

This is a highly misleading version of events. The swing votes that matter are moderates, NOT Independents. The conservative base turned out for Romney. There just aren’t enough of the base to win a national election anymore. This is the whole point of discussions of demographics. This is why the Senate put together an immigration bill. The GOP desperately needs the latino vote. The GOP base is shrinking. The latino vote is growing.

The upcoming election in Virginia gives an excellent insight into another aspect of demographics. In VA, polls show women favoring the Democrats 70 - 30. The Democratic candidate for governor has an 8 point lead. The GOP must win in states like VA in order to put together enough votes to win the White House in 2016, but without addressing the demographic problem- the unpopularity among women, blacks, latinos, gays, Asians, and others- it is almost impossible to compete.

Anyway, careful about the difference between moderates and independents. If you hear someone talking about how well the GOP is doing with independents, they are probably just trying to blow smoke…

Posted by: phx8 at October 19, 2013 12:45 AM
Comment #372969

Daugherty writes; “I know, because I’ve looked at primary sources, not just listened to politicians who keep on talking about rising deficits when the deficits are actually in decline.”

The day following the debt ceiling cap being lifted and the government reopening another $368 Billion was added to the deficit. Decline…my ass.

Daugherty writes; “This talk about freebies, this constant theatre of the absurd…”

In times gone by we used to think of “freebies” as something of value received with nothing of value having been paid. I know…that’s an old fashioned way of looking at things compared to you modern liberals. Change the meaning of words and one can create new thinking.

I invite my liberal friends to show us all the wonderful lasting things we have today in our society to show for the $17.2 Trillion we have in debt. Do we have the world’s best infrastructure, the world’s best educational platform, the world’s best anything?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 19, 2013 2:30 PM
Comment #372985

Royal Flush-
The deficit is growing smaller. It’s also a much smaller percent of GDP, both because the economy is doing better and the objective deficit’s lower. We are below a trillion dollars a year.

If Americans had stuck with us, they’d have more jobs than they have now. Republicans got so scared of a debt crisis years down the line, that they’ve hit the panic button on austerity. The word panic is a good one to describe it, as it tends to mean mindless fear, as opposed to the kind of mindful concern which might lead you to notice that all the other places that tried to correct their fiscal imbalance while in the grips of a recession failed.

Fiscal systems depend on economic systems.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 19, 2013 10:02 PM
Comment #373016

If “panic” is the word of the day for conservative Republicans, the “crisis” is the word of the day for liberal Democrats.

cri·sis noun \ˈkrī-səs\

: a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention

Full Definition of CRISIS:


a : the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever

b : a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function

c : an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life


: the decisive moment (as in a literary plot)


a : an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome

b : a situation that has reached a critical phase

Nothing more needs to be said…

Posted by: Political Hostage at October 21, 2013 9:09 PM
Comment #373017

If “panic” is the word of the day for conservative Republicans, the “crisis” is the word of the day for liberal Democrats.

cri·sis noun \ˈkrī-səs\

: a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention

Full Definition of CRISIS:


a : the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever

b : a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function

c : an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life


: the decisive moment (as in a literary plot)


a : an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome

b : a situation that has reached a critical phase

Nothing more needs to be said…

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Comment #375136

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