Tough choice on two good posts on House Leader John Boehner’s(R-OH) latest attempt at fiscal extortion. There is Steve Benen’s Boehner puts a price tag on his ransom note,
It’s worth noting that the Speaker’s ransom note now has a price tag — albeit, an unrealistic price tag — but no additional details. Boehner doesn’t know where the $2 trillion in cuts should come from or over what kind of timeframe. He just knows that he’s picked an arbitrary number and expects Democrats to figure out a way to meet his demands.
The ambiguity is not an accident, and it’s not just the result of a lazy House Speaker who isn’t proficient enough with policy details to do the work himself. Rather, Boehner can’t get more specific without committing to massive reductions in Medicare and Social Security — there’s almost certainly no other way to find those kinds of savings, given the Speaker’s parameters — which he doesn’t want to put on paper.
If there was a pictionary for entry for pantywaist conservatives, a multitude of conservatives comes to mind – Rush Draft Dodger Limbaugh, Dick Deferment Cheney, Sarah Palin and certainly Boehner would do. Pantywaist extortionist Boehner, along with every other Republican that was in the House during the Bush era, voted to rise the debt ceiling 7 times. He and Republican recently voted for the Ryan Plan to gut Medicare and simultaneously rise the deficit $6 trillion dollars over the next ten years. So deficits did not matter when they were in charge of all three branches of government and their current deficit peacockery is not about deficits it is about who gets to spend the money and how to spend it. Much of the Ryan/Boehner/Republican added debt would not be to save education, Medicare, Medicaid or our struggling infrastructure – it would be to give corporate America – already floating in trillions in profits – yet another tax cut. Then there is Jonathan Chait’s John Boehner’s Double Bluff
On top of that, the demand itself is a bluff. Boehner says he wants to cut trillions, which would have to entail cutting Social Security and Medicare. Boehner does not want to cut Social Security and Medicare. Oh, sure, he wants them to be cut. But he does not want to be the one who cuts them. He wants a bipartisan agreement in which President Obama provides him with cover to cut Medicare. He does not want to trade revenue increases for these cuts, which means Obama won’t accept them. But he’s hoping the threat of a shutdown can force Obama to accede to a deal he doesn’t like.
It seems to me that Obama’s play here is clear: He needs to ask Boehner to spell out his demands. What’s the exact bill that Boehner demands as a condition for not crippling the U.S. economy? If he wants to make demands, he needs to write out those demands.
I don’t think Boehner will do it. Boehner got through the government shutdown by cutting billions, not trillions, which allowed him to focus on small-bore programs and programs that only benefit the poor or vulnerable. But if he wants to cut trillions, then he faces real political peril.
Boehner is your typical modern conservative – he does have the gull to manipulate your brothers and sisters to their deaths in Iraq, but carry through on a threat to toss the nation into an economic abyss. He and his brethren don’t have that kind of nerve. He doesn’t even have the nerve to write his own budget. He and his tea smoking sycophants are cowered down behind President Obama, hoping to use him as a shield. They need the political cover so when they go to their next town hall meetings they can say they didn’t cut the grandparents or that disabled kids’ medical care, Obama did. A trillion or two, where is that going to come from – the US Department of Education, always a favorite target of wing-nuts has a budget in 2011 of about $70 billion. The US Department of Defense, the single largest part of federal expenditures has a 2011 budget of about $1.4 trillion. So Boehner and the tea nuts could do away with the DOE and DOD and still not reach two trillion in cuts.
This column by Eliot Spitzer is one of the reasons not to fall into the trap of becoming discouraged. Republicans took a well deserved trouncing in 2008. There was nothing in terms of good governance they had not either bungled and buried in their mendacity. Sure there was lots of whining, world record whining that still goes on, but they are also fired up. War Against the Weak – The brutal Republican campaign to eliminate the collective rights of individuals and increase the collective rights of corporations.
Is there less recourse for the little people? Click to expand image. Is there less recourse now for the little people?Three recent Republican efforts, each one critical to the conservative agenda:
1) the attempt by Republican governors to eliminate the right of public employees to bargain collectively;
2) the attempt to eliminate the consumer protection bureau created in the Dodd-Frank financial services reform law—probably the most important part of the law for ordinary investors;
3) the recent 5-4* Supreme Court decision to limit the right to “class-arbitration” in many circumstances—taking away the collective power of those whose injuries are too small to be effectively remedied individually yet who, together, might be able to stand up to much stronger institutions.
The unifying theme is an assault on the weak. The power of individuals, each of us feeble in isolation, to act collectively and hence stand up to the powerful is being eviscerated. Those who already begin behind are finding the few legal protections afforded them under attack. A critical element of the Republican agenda has become increasing the legal power of those who already have power, and diminishing the power of the weak.
The focus on eliminating public-sector collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin and elsewhere—even after workers had agreed to all the financial concessions sought—makes clear the fundamental reallocation of power being sought. If we are upset at the outcome of an election, we don’t take away the right to vote of those who defeated us; or limit their speech. If a trial results in an outcome we are not satisfied with, we don’t eliminate the capacity of the opposing the party to call witnesses. So why the rush to alter the rights of the workers? Why not focus on the failure of elected officials to negotiate more effectively or elect leaders who will do so?
Being enthused has little to do with fighting the creeping wave of rights being undermined. The conservative agenda just be fought because it is the American thing to do. It is what Jefferson, Hamilton and Tom Paine would do. If that kind of motivation doesn’t work, fight these pin striped charlatans just to be a pain in their ass.
Kind of strange that I have read civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald and the far Right’s National Review both claim that President Obama’s national security policies are about the same. About the same is still not exactly the same. It was the important differences that lead to finding and killing Bin Laden, A tale of two presidents: Bush, Obama and Osama bin Laden
This historic moment is political. All historic moments are political. History is political, and the only people who now claim otherwise do so purely for political reasons. Even the desperation to deceive the public into believing the lie that the Bush administration’s immoral, inhuman, and illegal torture regime helped make this successful raid possible is purely impurely political. Dick Cheney wants credit for this success because Dick Cheney doesn’t want anyone to remember that his astonshing failures made this raid necessary. Every time Dick Cheney appears on television, it becomes necessary to revisit the historic facts. Every time any Republican or right-wing apologist or oblivious media hack repeats the lie that Republicans are competent, much less superior to Democrats, at protecting national security, it becomes necessary to revisit the historic facts: If not for the Bush administration’s unprecedented failure at national security, the unprecedented terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, would not have succeeded.
If Cheney wants some kind of credit I’m sad to say that he deserves credit for being one of the most, if not the most treasonous Vice President in US history.