House Republicans Bucking Party Hierarchy

Immigration is the key issue on Capitol Hill right now and Senators and Representatives alike are heavily mired in the details of the legislation. While many on cable news and elsewhere are focusing on the scandals of the AP, IRS, and other notable problems of the current Administration, Congress is making plans for new immigration measures. In both the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats are debating on what to do next and much infighting is enveloping at least one of the parties in question. Republicans in the House are bucking the leadership of John Boehner (R-OH) and challenging his assertions on immigration.

Speaker Boehner is facing scrutiny in his own party for moving forward with a bill that many Republicans in the House do not support. As a result, several Republican House members are moving forward with a call to invoke the Haskert Rule. The Haskert Rule would poll all Republicans in conference and would kill a bill that did not have majority support. With John Boehner having promised that there would be a bill presented to the President by the waning days of this year, the Speaker is none too happy with the challenges.

The backroom and now public intra-Party Politics are making everyone in the House a bit on edge. To a proposal that would invoke the Haskert Rule and be presented to Boehner, names are being added and removed nearly daily. Challenging the leadership is not without political risk, and those involved in politics long enough understand the potential consequences. No leader, no matter what Party, wants the challenges from below and Boehner is beginning to express this. Insiders assert that pressuring the Speaker of the House too much on the issue could make him send the legislation forward for a vote, in which other Republicans feel would have amnesty included thus, potentially attractive to Democrats as well.

Time will tell where the Boehner supported legislation ends up and whether Republicans in the House will carry through with their attempt at the Haskert Rule. The intra-Party tension, however, is palpable and could have ramifications politically for years to come, whether or not the public sees it or not.

Posted by KatynG at June 14, 2013 3:27 PM
Comment #367330

In a stunning affirmation of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, the moderate candidate has won the presidency of Iran, crushing the conservative clerics by a 3:1 margin. The winner, Hassan Rouhani, is the same one that ran four years ago, in an election that sparked riots over concerns the conservative clerics stole the election. Now, we have seen American foreign policy goals supported in a manner that underlies our commitment to democracy and self-determination, without having to invade or bomb, and without the loss of a single American soldier.

In addition, the looming conflict between Sunni and Shia Islam has been postponed. The Shias, consisting of Hezbollah, the Syrian government, and the Iraqi Shias, are far more likely to become amenable to a negotiated outcome to the Syrian civil war now that the moderates have taken control in Iran. To be sure, a lot remains to be resolved- the internal Iranian conflict between conservatives and moderates- and a resolution to the Syrian conflict which does not result in extremist fundamentalism- but the trend is going in the right direction.

Speaking of conservatives and religious fundamentalists… Boehner lost effective control of his caucus a long time ago. We’ve seen conservative Republicans in the House vote to repeal Obamacare at least 37 times. We’ve seen multiple votes to defund ACORN. (ACORN ceased to exist three years ago, but that is what conservatives do these days). We’ve seen a sustained legislative assault against Women’s issues continue; in addition to the Personhood amendment put up by House conservatives earlier this year, we have GOP Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn saying women don’t want equal pay, because that would get Washington involved:

And of course, yet another abortion bill to take choice out of the hands of a woman and her doctor, and place it in the hands of old white Republican men in Washington, who apparently know better.

The current Republican Congress is one of the most ineffective in history, as measure by the number of bills passed. It has resorted to letting the Senate pass legislation, and if the bill is important enough, having the same remaining third of the House GOP join democrats in the practical business of governing the country, while the radical right, conservatives, Tea Party, gun nuts, and religious fundamentalists continue to dwell in an ideological bubble removed from contact with reality.

Posted by: phx8 at June 15, 2013 4:50 PM
Comment #367331

Someone needs to teach phx9 how to read. Talk about off topic. What a marooon!!! Oh yeah…..and it is all about Obama’s policies that had an influence in Iran’s politics????? I’ll say it again….what a marooon!!!!

Posted by: JWL at June 15, 2013 6:36 PM
Comment #367332

Back on topic. Throw John Boehner out on his ass. What a waste. This guy is an old school party republican like McCain. Worthless. Strip the speakership from him and force McCain to join the dems where he belongs. We need some no nonsense leadership like Trey Gowdy that tells it like it is and doesn’t take shit from anyone. That guy could be a damn good president from what I’ve seen so far.

Posted by: JWL at June 15, 2013 6:42 PM
Comment #367335

I’ve written about the Hastert Rule before. The breakdown in the Hastert rule earlier this year was instrumental in allowing Congress to function slightly better in 2013 than it did in the previous two years. If the Hastert Rule comes back, then gridlock in Congress is guaranteed.

Posted by: Warren Porter at June 15, 2013 7:27 PM
Comment #367338

The Republican’s problem is essentially that they are only a majority by the good graces of the Tea Party. They encouraged and pushed the Far Right of the party in an effort to get a quick and dirty movement going, to push back against a party knocked back on its heels by the problems and dilemmas of governing during one of this nation’s most crisis-ridden periods.

They succeeded, and quicker than anybody on my side expected.

Only trouble is, the Republicans put a lot of stock in political strategies that basically run on party discipline, and any long-term Democratic Presence in any of the essential law-making institutions in the government means that things can’t run simply by absolute Republican Party discipline. If you don’t have the Senate, even if you can filibuster the hell out of anything the Democrats put forward, your fantasy proposals won’t win.

And these new Republicans are not up to being told that they’re not going to get exactly and precisely what they wanted. In fact, I think if you dig deep into the psychology of the Republican groups, what you’ll find is an odd mix of those who kind of set themselves in a rigid mindset in order to support Bush against all the brickbats and the Republicans who were kept in a Pressure cooker where they had to support Bush despite the fact that he was governing as a “compassionate conservative”

These are people who don’t want to be told no. And the Republican’s majority depends on a caucus of just those sorts of people, and since they’ve been elected, they’ve almost universally failed to support the rest of the GOP in even very favorable compromises.

If the Republicans had waited, they could have organically developed a majority that had more flexibility. Instead, though, they end up with a Frankenstein Monster of a caucus of political hardliners who rest their reputation on not being tractable.

The Tea Partiers have a President and a Senate from another party to deal with. Any grade schooler could tell you that when that happens, the natural political result is that the two parties have to work out their differences. Republicans don’t want to do that anymore. But they can’t move legislation. So they’ve chosen not to do their jobs. If something gets passed, it’s practically a miracle, and all too often, at least for Republicans with any kind of common sense, it’s happened at the expense of their having to ask for our help to pass legislation through the House.

Tell me, what kind of political strategy do we have here where Republicans use the leverage of having one house of Congress in order to improve the pull that the Democrats have on legislation? Because that’s the net effect of the Republican Tea Party Caucus being too stubborn to work with their fellow Republicans, or with Democrats on the other side of the aisle in order to achieve the kind of concensus needed to pass laws, much less influence the eventual consensus.

The Republicans are putting on a great show of being true, blue conservatives, but they’re doing so at the expense of the kind of legislative activity that actually leaves its mark. Worse yet, the Democratic Party that might come back will be one that is utterly sick of having the Republicans try to hamstring and obstruct them.

So here’s the key question: what good is it to have politicians who ape your talking points and tell you what you want to hear when their legislative market on the American lawbooks will be dwarfed by the Democrats who came before them?

If I were them, I would have used the leverage I had to encourage the more Conservative Democrats of the senate to adulterate the Liberal legislation, and then I would reward them with bipartisan votes. I would keep doing this until I was driving Democrats up the wall, and dividing them between those who like seeing things get done, and those who represent the more proactive, less compromising branch of the party.

Instead, the Republicans have set Democrats on the defensive, reduced the ranks of conservatives in the Democratic Party, by both attrition in elections, and by the fact that most of them are finding themselves useless in the age of the abused filibuster. Without Republicans to barter and deal with, they’re withering on the vine, and if they’re not replaced with Republicans, they’re replaced with Democrats less willing to deal.

The dynamics of this situation don’t run in the Republican’s favor. They’re putting themselves between the scissor blades here, and making it easier for Democrats to just cut them off.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2013 12:15 AM
Comment #367340


The Republican’s problem is …

What is the Democratic problem? How can they behave in a more cooperative way and/or hive off a few Republicans, as you suggest Republicans do with Democrats?

Posted by: CJ at June 16, 2013 8:33 AM
Comment #367342

The Democratic Party’s problem?

Politically, it’s not half as ruthless as the Republicans. The heads of many of the Senators, including Harry Reid, and many of the representatives, are still stuck in minority party mode. They’re somewhat compromised by the special interests, and not as responsive to what the people want as they should be. Harry Reid should have clamped down on the filibuster, but didn’t, and if it weren’t for the fact that the Republicans decided to pit him against Ms. Second Amendment Remedy, he might have lost his job as Senator, let alone his job as Majority leader.

Demographically, we still have a generation of Americans who have been suckered into believe that their federal government has real power over moral and religious issues, and who vote for that rather than based on more rational financial interests. They’re still able to push the racial resentment. Folks aren’t still pushing the Welfare Queen button on account of substance. It’s a failing strategy, but that’s more to say that it’s in the process of becoming obsolete, not to say that it doesn’t still work somewhat with Working Class Americans.

Public Relations wise, Democrats are wasting some prime opportunities to stir up people against the Republicans, to bash them sill over the filibusters. They let themselves be made to look like their division, their failure to completely cohere was at fault, which they could have easily pushed back against with the argument that they had gotten the votes to pass on an up and down vote.

I’m not typically a person to volunteer my misgivings about my own groups to those outside it. But don’t take that to mean that I don’t have my eye on those things. My believe is not that Democrats are perfect, and Republicans are just completely terrible. No, it’s more like “Democrats are somewhat dysfunctional, and Republicans are almost completely so” It’s not perfect vs. imperfect, it’s imperfect vs. much worse.

We all have our abstract ideological structures which we go along with to elevate support for our causes. But like any kind of agreed upon logic, it can be somewhat artificial, lacking in its mapping to reality. If we’re wise, we know when to let go of that structure and play it more by ear. Unfortunately for the GOP, you’re not allowed to play it by ear anymore, everything has to be done a certain way according to a certain set of rules and dogmas. Democrats have something of a problem with that, too, but there’s more room for dissenting views, and the synchronicity between the hardliners in the public and the politicians isn’t quite as tight.

What Republicans need is room to adapt, but you’ve read what many of the Republicans here complain about when I tell them they need to change their approach. Adapting means giving in. Adapting means sacrificing your principles. Adapting is losing.

The way I see it, the Republicans were the majority for the longest time, and they were used to basically being able to push their ideology and get it rubberstamped. Who would want to come down from that? It’s gotten worse since Republicans lost both houses in 2006, since a lack of responsibility for actual governing tends to get people’s imaginations going about what they’d want to be able to do if they ever got back in. Without the constraints of the need to keep both houses of Congress in their hands, defend the Presidency, the Tea Party and other groups have simply indulged wishful thinking, symbolic legislation. Getting the house back without getting them the Senate with it only has made the situation more unkind to them: they can introduce legislation, but not get their fantasy items passed.

The long and the short of both positions, Democrat and Republican, is that you have one side that has a great deal of power, but whose people aren’t entirely in sync with their voters, and another side with too little power for it’s tastes, but with voters who are not exactly patient with the fact that they were only able to elect enough of their representatives to take one house. I believe the Republicans have the bigger problem. Democrats are learning to be more proactive. Humiliations and embarrassments are teaching those who keep trying to hang back. Republicans? They’re learning to be dogmatists even the face of a complete inability to force that dogma on everybody.

Folks like this author are talking about the Hastert Rule, but that only really matters because Republicans can’t get a critical part of their caucus to actually cooperate with them on getting favorable deals. As one half of Congress, and critical component, they have plenty of leverage, thought not absolute leverage. The issue is, they’re so set on having things their way that they won’t even consider the compromises that our constitution requires of them to get passage. They don’t get that nobody gets to express their principles absolutely in a government like ours, a representative democratic republic.

They’re running up against a feature, not a bug in the constitution, and they’re failing to build the kind of consensus that would allow them to have real influence on policy, despite the Democrat’s power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2013 12:23 PM
Comment #367343


RE”who vote for that rather than based on more rational financial interests.”

Indeed, I am one of those stupid old people who believes that doing what is right and voting that way is more important than my personal financial interests. If people like us die out, who is going to provide direction and stuff for people like you?

Re racial resentment - I believe in judging people by the content of their characters, not the color of their skins. I suppose this is also old fashioned, but I don’t propose to change.

Re Republican rule - Republicans controlled the House only for 14 of the last fifty three years (since 1960). They controlled the Senate even less. Democrats had the presidency for 26 years, so far. I know you think Republican are able to gull Democrats, who are evidently easily fooled, but it is hard to blame the party that has more often been in the minority for the problems of today.

Until 1994, I never knew, in my whole life up until then, a time when Republicans controlled the House. Conventional wisdom told us they never would.

Anyway, I believe that we should try to do what we think is right for our country and not only what we think will make us more money. So I hope that many Americans continue to vote for what they think is good for the country and not only for their financial interests.

Has it become a Republican only idea to ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country?

Posted by: CJ at June 16, 2013 1:27 PM
Comment #367356

Oh, stuff. Where would I be without the Baby Boomer generation for when I wanted stuff. Oh, woe is me. Woe. Woe.

Better stop that, I’m sounding like a fifties recording artist.

Seriously, though, this isn’t about handouts. That’s just a button they push. They don’t tend to threaten those people’s Medicare and Social Security benefits, now do they? Those are, to be quite blunt about it, the biggest social welfare expenditures we got. But since the people who got them pay for them their whole lives with taxes, they don’t see it as a handout.

No, we’re talking financial interests more in ordinary people being able to invest without risks being involved that would drain their life savings whether or not they did things right. We’re talking about protection from predatory lenders and mortgage servicers. We’re talking having a financial system that isn’t built upon dismantling the employment prospects of people here, at least not encouraging it beyond what the market would call for.

We’re talking about rules of the road. But people have been told that if the folks up top can’t make as much money as possible, they won’t prosper. Your problem is that however well you have the elder generation convinced, people like me know from personal experience that our parents were made to pay the costs while others reaped the benefits. We’ve seen them deal with the mortgage companies, with employers who could abuse their trust and betray their loyalty. We’ve seen how they operate. Your generation is just cruising on a wishful-thinking and fear driven fantasy.

Re: Racial resentment. I don’t recall singling you out. Interesting that you jump to defend yourself. You can apologize and rationalize however you want, but your folks have played on those resentments. It’s a matter of the historical record. You can pretend that your party never did anything wrong, or you can recognize that your party has a history that’s essentially flipped the loyalty that Republicans once could expect from African Americans, and exchanged it for that of White Southerners.

It’s not like you all agreed to this. You were only told what to think after the fact, fed the rationalizations first, so people could reassure themselves that it had nothing to do with that other subject.

Of course, you end up defining down deviancy when it comes to racism, so you end up with situations like those Republican officials’ kids tweeting those racist things. They probably don’t even think they’re being racist, just “realistic”. In fact, that’s how a lot of it used to be justified.

And it’s what worries me about folks going around trying to undo all the protections and reforms, claiming, as they did with the Stock market and so many other things that people would essentially be good, and lapse into good behavior by default.

As for Republican Rule?

First, do you think I’m poorly informed? Because if I have my facts straight, Republicans controlled the Senate from 1981 to 1987, while at the same time controlling the White House. They of course controlled the White House from 1981 to 1993, and then took it back in 2001. They controlled both Houses of Congress for six years under Clinton, and six years under Bush, and Bush Controlled the White House from 2001 to 2009. There was also a great deal of unofficial drift towards the right among Democrats, particularly among Clinton’s group.

Do Republicans deserve the blame for everything ever done? No. But your ideas powered the movement of politics, and now it powers the attempt to freeze things in place, to stop Democrats from changing policies. I’d say the people who did their best to create a policy and now do their best to preserve it deserve “credit” for the results.

You sold millions of people on the idea that they could prosper if their bosses and their socioeconomic betters did. Things didn’t work out that way, but who wants to admit they were wrong?

As for that last part? Awful convenient how some Republicans, who claim policy that even Reagan implemented was socialist, try to ride on JFK’s coat tails.

Truth of the matter on social issues is that most of them, constitutionally, are none of the government’s business, and should stay that way. It’s a neat little game, really. Even if you fail, or are rebuffed, you can claim you were fighting for what was good and right. Except in most of these cases, it should be the individuals out there who decide these matters of conscience for themselves.

Finally, let me ask what should be an obvious question: what would JFK, who was advocating for public service in that speech, think of a modern GOP that relentlessly attacks government, which attacks public servants, attacks what they do? You try and act like you’re more the natural heirs of Kennedy and others of his time, but in reality, your party’s main objective is to tear down what Kennedy, his predecessors, and his successor built.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2013 5:31 PM
Comment #367358


I think that your attitude indicates an important difference between us. I am certain that I add value to what I do and that I am compensated fairly for that. I don’t feel cheated by others, nor do I cheat others.

I see my job as a responsibility. I do not own it. It is not given to me. I keep it as long as I can do it better than others available.

You see a job as something given you or created for you, a type of entitlement. When you see others filling jobs you want, it is like someone holding property.

If you want the job, it is your responsibility to strive to be worthy of the trust. You are entitled to nothing.

Re “ordinary people being able to invest without risks” There is nothing in this life w/o risks. But ordinary people can indeed invest wisely and many have. If you are dumb or unlucky, you may lose. But if you invested prudently, even over the last turbulent decade, you are okay today, unless you were extraordinarily unlucky.

Re race - I always simply point out that most conservatives these days agree with MLK that we should judge by the content of character, not color of skin. Most liberals today disagree and demand racial preferences and set-asides.

Re government - I disagree with conservative attacks on government service. I would point out, however, that behavior is different. Conservatives are likely to serve their country more often than liberals in military and as volunteers.

I would also point out that government has simply become bloated. I would love to restore its virtues. We used to have a more efficient government than we do today. We used to be able to build big things. All this happened when government was smaller.

Re Kennedy - Kennedy was president before the big bloat set in during the great society. I only wish we had government the size we had back then.

Posted by: CJ at June 16, 2013 6:05 PM
Comment #367361

While TEA Party conservatives are pissed off at House Speaker John Boehner for being a moderate, the Democrats are beside themselves with disbelief that Barack Obama is fumbling his way through his second term as President. So distraught are some Democrats that Stephen Daugherty invokes the name “Bush” once every other word and phx8 believes Iranians were so inspired by Barack Obama’s “commitment to democracy and self-determination” to vote for a moderate over conservative clerics in their presidential election. Maybe Iranians thought Obama would send in his drones to kill innocent Muslim women and children if they didn’t vote against their conservative clerics? phx8 alluding to a similarity between American conservatives and Muslim religious fundamentalists in Iran is apt. Just the other day I heard the TEA Party suggest we drop a nuclear bomb over Israel and stone women to death for showing too much skin. After the 2014 midterm elections, I’m afraid Stephen will only be able to press the “B”, “U”, “S” and “H” keys on his keyboard and phx8 will believe Obama actually deserved to win his Nobel Peace Prize.

How can someone who’s such a good campaigner and gives such good speeches be so lousy at his job? After scandals involving the IRS targeting conservative groups, Department of Justice’s efforts to disrupt the press from their sources and the NSA spying on American citizens, it’s almost as if the President doesn’t have experience in governing and would rather hit the campaign trail again than lead a nation through a crisis in Americans’ trust of their government to respect their privacy and protect individual liberties. The summit in California with the Chinese President Xi Jinping was surely about relations between China, North Korea and the United States and not a campaign stop. As a president who will never be elected to an office again, Obama would surely not plan a summit with the leader of the nation with fastest growing economy and largest military in the world to make a campaign stop would he?

I will be shocked if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are to Democrats what John McCain and Mitt Romney are to Republicans. They’re moderates. Moderates are not welcomed in the Democratic and Republican parties today. I guarantee you that Hillary will not win the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. During the Democratic primaries, a young liberal rock star with a funny sounding name that no one has ever heard of before, who just loves to rub elbows with liberal celebrities and hit the campaign trail to stand in front of adoring fans, is going to come along with another promise of “hope and change” and sweep the rug out from under Hillary’s feet with a new cool and fresh cult of personality. While the wording of the promise won’t be “hope and change” again (that’s soooo 2008!), it will be the same old campaign to convince Americans to give up our privacy and individual liberties so that Big Brother can take care of us, wrapped up in minimalistic language to make all of that lost liberty sound cool and fresh to low information voters. Who doesn’t want to be cool and fresh? George Orwell’s 1984 is soooo 2016!

You see, no matter how cool and fresh Hillary tries to look with her shades and new Twitter account, she’s too old and “establishment” compared to the next young “outsider” with an Ivy League liberal education who is well versed in all the new technological fads. Twitter? Please, that’s soooo 2008! While the Democrat’s next liberal rock star will have no experience in governing and no experience with foreign policy, none of that will matter to Democrats. The next liberal rock star will have a best-selling autobiography and book about his or her visionary dream for a “New America.” Liberal celebrities will endorse the liberal rock star for his or her “vision” and encourage their fans to vote for him or her as well. Democrats care what celebrities think because they sound so smart in movies and television. Surely the presidency is just like The West Wing on NBC.

Because white Democrats are so overwhelmed with guilt about how racist and bigoted the Democratic Party was during Jim Crow, white male candidates will be given a 25 percent handicap during the primaries. Besides, after the Obama reelection campaign strategy to demagogue Mitt Romney for being an “old white man” that was out-of-touch with minorities and women, it will be hard to sell an old white man to the Democratic Party’s base after that campaign strategy snafu. John F. Kennedy wouldn’t stand a chance of winning the nomination for the Democratic Party today. The dream for freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred and for all Americans to “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” was soooo 1963! What can we expect from the party of Jim Crow?

So let us look forward to the 2016 presidential election where experience in governing, experience in foreign policy, respect for our privacy and protection of our individual liberties are not requirements for the next liberal rock star who will no doubt win the Democratic Party’s nomination. Maybe the Democrats will just see which candidate generates the most “buzz” on Facebook and Twitter and pick their nominee that way?

Posted by: Joseph at June 16, 2013 7:19 PM
Comment #367362

Pardon me for saying the word “Bush” in a thread. Saying the ‘B-word’ is considered unfair in any political discussion, I suppose. Poor thing. Did you vote for him twice? A lot of conservatives did just that. Bush #41 was so bad, he had to give his endorsement of Romney while ducking into an elevator. No one talked about him during the election, and he stayed out of sight during the GOP convention. So much for the most conservative president in modern history.

Re IRS scandal. I posted it before, but if you need to see it, I can post it again. The testimony transcript shows a conservative Republican instituted the search for IRS Tea Parties because he needed to identify applicants for tax-free status, and that was an easy way to do. There was no connection with the White House, and nothing that was not already identified by the IRS IG. Do you need me to re-post it? Because the IRS ‘scandal’ is dead in the water, just like Fast and Furious and just like Benghazi Conspiracy Theory. Too bad. So sad. I warned you about Issa.

Prepare to be shocked. Hillary Clinton will win the nomination and the election, and she will win big. Generally speaking, she is more of a hawk on foreign policy than Obama, but leans farther left on social policy. By the time her second term is over, the Supreme Court will consist of nothing but liberals. Enjoy!

The best part is that Republicans will not see this coming. They need to change, but the 2014 midterm will conceal the need. Thanks to the Senate math, gerrymandering, and the nature of midterm voter turnout during a the second term of a president, the GOP is virtually assured of keeping the House and picking up a few Senate seats. But Senate math and the nature of voter turnout during a presidential election, combined with a very popular Democratic candidate, will push the GOP close to extinction. Polls are very, very early, of course, but they show Hillary very competitive with potential GOP candidates in Kentucky Texas. A tsunami is coming. I’m loving every second of this!

You have no idea what just happened in Iran, do you. That’s ok. Most people do not. But that was huge.

Posted by: phx8 at June 16, 2013 9:56 PM
Comment #367363


Nobody knows what will happen in Iraq. We are all happy that a moderate was elected and hope there are changes. I have been predicting improvements in Iraq for more than ten years. Eventually I will be right. I did tell you all - over and over - that Bush would not invade Iraq and I was right about that.

Re Iraq now, if you credit Obama with this result it is like crediting the rooster with the sunrise. Actually more absurd, since at least the rooster crows a bit before the sun comes up and so appears connected.

It is interesting, however, how you can even consider crediting Obama with something he did not do, while absolving him of blame for things scandals that are logically within the purview of the president.

Re liberals in power - people can vote as they wish, but they cannot change how things are in the real world. All successful countries are relying more on market forces. That old state crap is so 1969. Obama learned this lesson, which is why some people are now claiming he is not liberal enough. Hilary, should she win, would get a similar education, as her husband did. The future belongs to markets. Leaders can go along and work with the system, or try to fight it an be dragged along, but the destination is the same.

Of course, it is way early to speculate, but I don’t think Hilary will win. She is too shop worn. It is time for some new players on both sides.

Posted by: CJ at June 16, 2013 10:42 PM
Comment #367364

The success of a moderate Iranian in the elections most certainly reflects the success of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Most conservatives wanted the US to do much more four years ago. The US resisted the temptation to openly intervene; instead, we relied on sanctions and internationally isolating the Iranian regime. Now, a moderate- the same one from four years ago- won a democratic election in a landslide.

The hardliners are still there. The Revolutionary Guard is still there. But the people we wanted to see win, won. Our foreign policy re Iran succeeded. It doesn’t get much better.

Hillary Clinton will run, she will win, and she will win big. It’s going to be a wipe out. The GOP knows- they know- they need to change. But they can’t. They just can’t help themselves. They pandered to the worse in their base, they pursued obstructionism, they rejected compromise, and the best part of all- THE BEST- is that the outcome of 2014 will encourage conservatives to keep doing precisely what they are doing right now. The GOP War on Women is worse than ever. Have you seen or heard some of the initiatives at the state level? Wild stuff. Meanwhile, the language on immigration continues to contain an underlying level of hatred towards latinos, and latinos know it. The GOP continues to oppose rights for the LGBT community. They know they should change, but they can’t. Blacks vote with near unanimity against them. The Southern Strategy used to work, but now that it is time to change, they can’t. They just can’t.

These are great days to be a liberal, and they are going to get even better. I am so enjoying it!

Posted by: phx8 at June 16, 2013 11:15 PM
Comment #367366

Whatever makes your feel better phx8. I vote for libertarians and did not like Bush. I don’t like Obama for the same reasons I did not like Bush. How’s that sit in your black & white two party world view?

I hope you’re enjoying George W. Obama’s fourth term.

Posted by: Joseph at June 17, 2013 12:28 AM
Comment #367367

Republicans have yet to run a conservative candidate. Bush, McCain and Romney were moderates. It will be interesting to see if the Republicans nominate a conservative for once. I’d like to see Rand Paul win the nomination. Having a libertarian leaning conservative scares the living daylights out of Democrats. Democrats want moderates to run against them. Democrats need moderates to run against them because the more conservatives that stay home on election day, the better. A stubborn and unrelenting message against government intrusion in our lives is far too deadly for the Democrats. Democrats fear another Reagen to convince Americans to distrust the government. All Bush, McCain and Romney did was give a message that government intrusion in our lives will be better under Republicans. In other words, Bush, McCain and Romney tried to out Democrat the Democrats.

Obama is a gift to the GOP and to libertarians. No President in recent history has done more to build distrust in government than Barack Obama. His marks the most secretive and shady presidency since Nixon. Now the only thing left for Republicans is to nominate a conservative rather than a moderate to take advantage of the swing in public opinion to distrust the government.

Without trust in government, Democrats will have a very hard time in 2014 and 2016.

Posted by: Joseph at June 17, 2013 12:42 AM
Comment #367368

I see a balance to be struck where you feel morality justifies some sort of one sided arrangement where the elite are free simply to act as they see fit, and the rest of us are morally obliged to fit our lives and our interests to theirs.

Also, I like to do good work. It pains me to be unable to solve a problem. I believe a person should do their best to be worthy of trust, to work hard. But if you ask that of somebody, if you ask their best, then you shouldn’t play with their lives in order to enrich yourself. You should respect, even if the government isn’t there to force you to do so, what they have to sacrifice, what they have to go through to do good work for you.

I see way too many demands on people’s time, on people’s loyalty, on people’s private lives made by people who don’t see the moral harm of never letting people have any serious vacation, or family life away from the office, or whatever else. You shouldn’t have to give your soul to the company to advance, and if those are the people you seek out to be your top people, should it be surprising when folks like that loot the company or ride it into the ground?

As for investing without risks? I’m afraid I didn’t say that. I’m afraid I specifically talked about risks that manifested themselves whether people did things right or not.

Do you not recall the whole “****ty deal” controversy with Goldman Sachs? If your broker deliberately sells you on crap in order to make themselves money, then we’re not even talking about risks as in “Jump in the ocean and watch out for the occasional shark”. We’re talking about “Jump in the shark tank, and the potential for these sharks to lose profits will cause them to behave”.

The markets are reaching points where it’s not safe to make a deal with anybody, if you’re not a multimillion or billion dollar corporation that can inflict a plague of lawyers on them.

Part of the whole problem of the previous crisis was that many retirement and pension funds, many charity funds, many regular, individual investors who basically were looking for low risk, low return investments were instead stuck with what were in reality high risk assets.

The very system that was supposed to tell people how much risk they were taking broke down.

You suggest the market as the cure to the problems that the market itself is providing the disease for. It isn’t even a matter of luck. People are being deliberately targeted for endebting, deliberately targeted to be robbed of their profit. Individual investors are being fleeced by the very people they’re depending upon to represent their interests as clients.

This isn’t merely risk, as in oh, crap, this company lost a critical account to another, so its stock took a beating. This is risk as in “oh crap, my broker’s deliberately sold me stuff that was riskier than hell, when what I was looking for was moderate investments, due to my responsibilities.” This is risk as in “oh crap, by broker knew this was going to lose me money, but he sold it to me anyways.” This is risk as in “We’re going to take depositor’s money and invest it heavily in speculative assets we are not even sure ourselves the true worth of.”

But your conservative politics won’t even let you recognize that this is the kind of risk that went on. Instead, you simply blame the government for pushing an increase in how many people could get houses. Never mind the statistics for who lost on their bets on mortgagees, and who didn’t, never mind the fact that these banks likely lobbied for both the increase and the freedom to use derivatives as they pleased.

As for content of character, I get a lot of people talking about the content of my character, only they seem to know squat about that actual character. And no, Liberals do not disagree with MLK. It is not racism to correct an imbalance that has been carved into the stone of economic results. It is not racism to believe that if people are given enough of a chance, they’ll take it, and do just as well as anybody else, if not better. Our idea of race is about giving people the chance to succeed, not simply declaring a rule change, and ignoring the fact that this only changes things in a nominal manner.

You can declare all people free and equal, as Thora Birch’s Empress did in that Dungeons and Dragons movie a while back, but in real life, racism and class contempt don’t just go away, and the poverty and underachievement that years of second class treatment inspire don’t just go away either. There were consequences for what our forebears did, and its time we dealt with them, rather than pretending mere words are enough to redress the balance.

As for what you claim about government. I don’t see your people trying to do anything like public works. I don’t see them shrinking government just to bring back the can do spirit of what we once did with it. The Reduction of government has become an end in itself.

You say it’s become bloated. Well, all the places where you’d puncture the bloat seem penny-ante, compared to where you won’t. You know what I’m talking about.

It’s a game. The deeper meaning you try to read into their behavior is just a joke.

Speaking of which…

It’s funny how you don’t dispute that Bush started a policy, but rather get all huffy about the fact that I continue to blame Republicans for the policies they not only implemented, but kept and have fought to protect.

I will keep on talking about Bush for as long as you choose to behave like the world started the day Obama got into office. It’s one thing to talk about responsibility in the abstract, or as a matter of current authority, it’s another to ignore major legislation and legislative strategies to aid in your purposeful oblivion on the facts.

You speak in glowing generalities about your love of equality, but to what end? To try and claim that the Party that no longer really represents the South is the party of Jim Crow? I mean, really, if we follow the logic of your charge through, you’re accusing most blacks and most latinos, and most women of essentially hating Romney because he is white.

Reverse racism, right? Never mind that the fellow was bad enough simply for being a man who raided companies and left their finances in the lurch to make himself money. His most damaging comment was the 47% comment, where he lumped in many different groups as freeloaders. It didn’t make him any more popular to try and exploit Benghazi.

I’m sorry we have charismatic candidates. That seems to offend you. We need to be stiff as wooden plates, right? Oh, we can’t even do that, because then you’d bash us for our candidate’s lack of Charisma.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 17, 2013 12:54 AM
Comment #367372

You’re right they weren’t conservative. Conservative is further to the left than where the Republicans are today. At least if we define Conservatism as careful, as observant, as the preservation rather than destruction of the supporting pillars of American society.

Republicans have been so long in trying to destroy Democrats and Liberals as a political force in America, in trying to roll back their policies, that they no longer really act with any other purpose.

When I was a kid, the Republican Party was capable of reading the writing on the wall, on things like pollution and financial misdeeds on Wall Street. Now? Now they hope that Democrats take all the blame, but that they can nonetheless sneak policy back to be being like it was.

But the result of the old policy are what put the pressure on to change things, and people will still want change, still hope for change, even if you beat Obama into the ground once and for all.

You cannot say no to the American people for too long without one day having them say no to you. You either deal with things (granted, deal with them in your own way, of course) or you suffer the consequences. You cannot win on fomenting hatred against us. Sooner or later, people will realize hatred of us and our policies is all you’re good for, that the policies you implement are what keep us falling behind.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 17, 2013 8:44 AM
Comment #367378


It depends on what you mean by “elite.” I think we can all agree that people should not enjoy special legal or social rights simply because of their wealth. This has NOT been an American tradition. We Americans have usually judged people by what they can do, not who their father was. Of course the two blend together and there are advantages.

But if you are talking about an elite of ability, I think you have no case. I am elite in that I am better educated, talented and more able than average. I have come to accept that this gives me special rights and responsibilities. I try not to abuse the rights, but I do take seriously the responsibilities and I do not believe that everyone’s opinion is equal to mine in the areas of my expertise. I understand that some people have superior abilities in their areas. In those I am not elite and they are. Of course, you never can tell when somebody will be right or wrong in a particular case. That is why we have flexibility. The “elite” is a lot less secure than you think and it is the free market that tends to upset elites. In places where government is strong, elites can persist much longer.

I never play with people’s lives to enrich myself. MOST elites do not do this. But I understand that it might seem that way to the losers. For example, I make money on investments. I don’t cheat anybody and I don’t have any insider knowledge. Frankly, I cannot understand people who cannot make money in investments. I started to invest when I was working part time at McDonald’s. You don’t need to be rich when you start out. Many people cannot understand this. They think there is something secret or dishonest. I know you just have to pay attention and be reasonably intelligent.

Re your broker selling you crap – don’t buy it. Trust be verify. I don’t condone dishonest dealing, but you need to be responsible for yourself. In my experience, people get ripped off when they are too greedy. They want to beat the market and fall for the pitch that they can.

“The markets are reaching points where it’s not safe to make a deal with anybody, if you’re not a multimillion or billion dollar corporation that can inflict a plague of lawyers on them.”

This is just not true about investments. An intelligent ordinary guy can do just fine. You are right the lawyers are a plague and we could use reform of torts and class action. These lawyers could ruin and honest man. But it is the lawyers, not the investments that could get you. Your people tend to like and protect these lawyers.

Re “The very system that was supposed to tell people how much risk they were taking broke down.” You are right, but not for the reasons you suppose. We had a general problem with misapprehension of risk and correlation. Shit like this happens. You cannot legislate it away. A good basic book somebody like you is “Signal and Noise” by Nate Silver. He is a Democrat, BTW. After you read it you may understand a bit more about risk.

RE “There were consequences for what our forebears did” – My forbearers were serfs of the Russian Czar when America had slaves. Many my relatives were enslaved by Nazis and communists in the last century. In this country, my grandfather immigrated and never really fit in (like today’s Hispanics). My father and mother were HS dropouts. I made it good this generation with intelligence, luck and hard work. I want to extend those benefits to all, but I certainly bear no generational guilt to anyone else. We were the oppressed, not the oppressors. We were the Hispanics of those days and the Hispanics will be like us in future.

Your Irish ancestors have similar stories, I suppose. You know in South Carolina during slavery they hired the Irish to work in the cane fields, where there were lots of snakes and dangers. The slaves were too valuable; Irish could be replaced.

Posted by: CJ at June 17, 2013 6:38 PM
Comment #369347

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