Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, October 5th, 2013.


What Did They Think Would Happen?

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Obama Administration

One of the most surreal reverberations of the government closure is that the Right is in a snit over the closure of war memorials. They’re dumbfounded that government stuff is actually closed.

John Cole wrote yesterday,

Reading report after report that wingnut congressmen and their stooge followers are all pissed off that parks are closed and that the government shutdown has actually shut down the government. What exactly did they think would happen?

The guiding principle of the GOP for decades has been to make government so small you could drown it in the bathtub. We’re not to the drowning part yet, but right now the Republicans are getting the next best thing, which is giving the American people a royal swirly with a shutdown. You’d think this would make them happy- it’s what they wanted, it’s what they fought for, it’s what bill after bill coming out of the house the past few weeks was designed to do, and yet, for some reason, they are pissed they got their way.

The government is shut down, people are suffering. That’s what you all wanted, right?

According to NBC News, yesterday a group of Vietnam vets found the way to the Vietnam Memorial on the Washington DC mall was blocked.

News4’s Mark Segraves said two U.S. Park Service Rangers manning the gate asked that the group respect the government’s shutdown but moved aside.

Segraves described the exchange as pleasant and respectful.

The veterans then moved the barricade and walked down to the wall to pay their respects. But a flood of tourists followed even though the memorial is closed to the general public.

“The consensus among the group of Vietnam veterans was we’re going to go anyway. We’ll go through the barricade,” North Carolina resident Reid Mendenhall said.

U.S. Park Police arrive to the scene, asked everyone to leave and put the barricade back into place.

In the fevered minds of one rightie blogger, the vets stormed the “barrycades,” and then the Park Police came to oppress everyone into order. The Weekly Standard headline is “NBC: Police Remove Vietnam War Veterans at Memorial Wall.”

The Right thinks that President Obama is closing war memorials just to be mean. It’s not like the government is closed or anything. Oh, wait …

What did they think would happen? Most of the park security and custodial staff were sent home. Do the baggers want days and days of trash to accumulate while John Boehner is out looking for his manhood? That could take some time. And if I were a terrorist, I might think this would be a swell time to set a bomb at the Lincoln Memorial, while the few Park Rangers on duty are busy trying to keep the tourists from trashing the monuments. (Note to NSA: I wouldn’t really do this. Honest.)

It’s like they can’t make a connection between action and consequences.

Yes, it’s a damn shame that people planned trips to see Washington, DC, and found so much stuff closed. I’m glad my offspring and I got our trip to Philadelphia in before this happened. But, y’know, that’s what happens when you shut down the government. Real people suffer real disappointments.

What did they think would happen?

Speaking of disappointments, someone I know managed to get admitted to a cancer treatment trial just before the closure. This trial is pretty much his last hope. He was really lucky, because he wasn’t supposed to start until after October 1, but someone else dropped out, so he got in. But I can’t help but think of the people who were counting on that trial to give them, or their loved ones, a chance to survive. And that’s been snatched away from them. And the wingnuts are whining about closed war memorials.

What the bleep did they think would happen?

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Down the GOP Rabbit Hole

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Obama Administration

From what I can tell the House baggers still think they can get cookies and candy if they keep holding their breath. Yesterday afternoon Robert Costas wrote at NRO:

It hasn’t been announced, and you won’t hear about it today, but the final volley of the fiscal impasse, at least for House Republicans, is already being brokered. And according to my top sources — both members and senior aides — it won’t end with a clean CR, or with a sprawling, 2011-style budget agreement. It’ll end with an offer — a relatively modest mid-October offer that concurrently connects a debt-limit extension, government funding, and a small, but strategically designed menu of conservative demands. …

… What I’m hearing: There will be a “mechanism” for revenue-neutral tax reform, ushered by Ryan and Michigan’s Dave Camp, that will encourage deeper congressional talks in the coming year. There will be entitlement-reform proposals, most likely chained CPI and means testing Medicare; there will also be some health-care provisions, such as a repeal of the medical-device tax, which has bipartisan support in both chambers.

To which Ed Kilgore responded,

You get the feeling Costa’s informants are really proud of themselves for being so very modest in their demands, albeit with some worry that it won’t be enough for the Tea Folk, some of whom would just as soon see a debt default anyway.

Nowhere in the piece, of course, is there any recognition that the president and Harry Reid might mean what they say in stating over and over again that they will not negotiate over a debt limit increase.

Meanwhile Ted Cruz, playing the role of Mad Hatter, said,

“The House began — it is the view of every Republican in this body, and indeed every Republican in the House, that Obamacare should be entirely and completely repealed. Nonetheless, the House started with a compromise of saying not repealing Obamacare but simply that it should be defunded.”

John Boehner is telling the baggers to hang tough, and that they are locked in an epic battle. Boehner is either the Dodo (who suggested a Caucus Race in which everyone just runs in a circle until they stop, without declaring a winner) or the Mock Turtle, who cries a lot.

Ezra Klein writes,

Here is a partial list of bipartisan budget negotiations we’ve had since 2010: The Simpson-Bowles Commission (which, people forget, was the legacy of a 2010 debt-ceiling increase). The Domenici-Rivlin commission. The Cantor-Biden talks. The Obama-Boehner debt-ceiling negotiations. The Gang of Six talks. The “Supercommittee.” The Obama-Boehner fiscal-cliff talks.

All these negotiations have one thing in common: They ultimately failed.

This is the baffling context for Speaker John Boehner’s interest in a conference committee (which, by the way, Republicans have been refusing on the budget for six months) or some kind of tax-reform commission. We have run this play before. We have run it again and again. We have run it using top congressional leaders and President Obama. We have run it using B-string congressional leaders and Vice President Biden. We have run it using retired politicians and wonks. We have run it using various non-leadership members of Congress. We have run it with fast-track authority, and with the threat of sequestration and with the danger of the debt-ceiling. It hasn’t worked.

In fact, it’s worked so poorly that, of late, Republicans have simply refused to be part of these negotiations. After the fiscal cliff, Boehner told his members he was done with backroom negotiations with the president. And Republicans have spent the past six months refusing to enter budget negotiations with Senate Democrats.

Dave Wiegel writes that Dems have been uncommonly tough.

The intransigence of Democrats, from Obama on down to red-state senators, has surprised the GOP. They honestly expected a few of the Democrats to crack—after all, four of them are running for re-election in states that voted for Mitt Romney. …

…Landrieu and Pryor never buckled. They voted with the rest of the party to amend or table every House bill. So did Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan. …

…Why do they stick with Majority Leader Harry Reid—why, when three of them could cast “safe” no votes and Reid could still beat the House bills? Democratic aides say that the red-staters are “scared straight” by the House GOP. They’re not getting the calls from home to defund Obamacare. Their home-state papers aren’t dogging them, either. They’re in no fear of losing an “optics” battle to John Boehner and company.

Neither are the House Democrats. Neither are progressive organizations—not even labor unions like the Teamsters and AFL-CIO, which loudly demanded changes in the law, got cited by Republicans as proof that the Democratic coalition was imploding, then started showing up on the Hill for solidarity marches with furloughed workers. … There’s a new, near-total refusal to compromise….

…“Dealing with terrorists has taught us some things,” said Washington Rep. Jim McDermott after voting no on one of Thursday’s GOP bills. “You can’t deal with ’em. This mess was created by the Republicans for one purpose, and they lost. People in my district are calling in for Obamacare—affordable health care—in large numbers. These guys have lost, and they can’t figure out how to admit it.” Why would House Democrats give away what the Supreme Court and the 2012 electorate didn’t? “You can’t say, OK, you get half of Obamacare—this isn’t a Solomonic decision,” McDermott said. “So we sit here until they figure out they fuckin’ lost.”

The GOP is frantically messaging that it’s really the Dems, not them, who are the “party of no.” Yeah, like that’ll work.

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