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View Diary: Biden gives Republicans one last chance to avoid 'fiscal cliff' (330 comments)

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  •  So explain why the exemption went from 400 to (16+ / 0-)

    450,000 and below.  I thought we campaigned and won on 250,000.  Also Mario's tweet from yesterday.  Ezra and Krugman are all over it. Can't wait for the debt ceiling.

    •  Obama won 51 to 47. (8+ / 0-)

      And a GOP House was voted in by that same electorate, a very conservative GOP House. So this notion that the American people spoke with one voice is just not true. We are a divided country, and Obama's approach recognizes this simple reality.

      •  Not really. (35+ / 0-)

        The GOP only kept the House due to gerrymandering. More votes were cast for Democratic candidates than for GOP ones. The country isn't as divided as you'd like us to think.

        Oh for crying out loud!

        by 4mygirls on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 07:11:12 AM PST

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        •  Gerrymandering is a political process. (7+ / 0-)

          It is enabled because in enough states, the people elected a GOP legislature and governor, so they get pro-GOP gerrymandering. But the roots of it are at the same polling places we're talking about.

          •  The roots include big dirty money (6+ / 0-)

            The billionaires weren't able to buy much at the national level in the 2012 elections, but the gerrymandering got done at the state level, by folks elected in 2010.  Money carried more weight in 2010, and at the state level.

            We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

            by david78209 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:07:35 AM PST

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          •  How does that build on your prior statemet (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timothy J

            First you made a numerical point. Lost that argument.

            Then you switch to a political one. Or rather I should say a legal  one since the House being turned into a place where you can so lose the popular vote and still win based on gerrymandering raises issues of one man, one vote.

            States do not have a carte blanche right under one man one vote to do whatever they want despite the fact thab both parties are currently ignoring this reality.

          •  it's tied in to the census (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4mygirls

            and "we" dems have done the same thing.

            democrats need to do a better job at the state and local level and people need to understand elections matter even on off year elections. the democratic party can help here too but at some point, voters have responsibility to educate themselves and engage.

            mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

            by wewantthetruth on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:42:11 AM PST

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            •  Why blame the people? (0+ / 0-)

              The people are doing all they can do - vote.  The parties are the ones who have constructed these terrible districts (and you rightly point out that both sides have done so).  

              The parties both benefit from tight control of an electoral process, despite having no constitutional authority to do so.  They're not about to give up something that empowers themselves.  

              For example, in Georgia in 2012, about 2.1 million people voted for Romney, and 1.8 million voted for Obama, about a 53/46 split.  Meanwhile, of 14 seats that Georgia has in the US House, only 5 went to Democrats, or 36%.  If the Tea Party hadn't pushed a terrible candidate to one of those races, they could have pushed that number down to 4 of 14, about 29%.   You can't pin that on voters - they don't draw the district lines, they don't vote on the district lines that are drawn, and "How I would draw district lines" is not exactly a hot-button campaign issue.  

        •  The Repubs (12+ / 0-)

          represent right wing districts, so that is who they answer to, not the country as a whole, but I have a hard time believing even in those districts their constituents care about 250 vs 500 k. It is not going to affect them - they earn much less for the most part. But they're doing what their funders want, most of whom probably aren't even in the district.

        •  Wouldda, couldda, shouldda has zero application. (7+ / 0-)

          They kept the House and that is all the power, even idiotically directed power, to ensure TP/GOP obstructionists will be alive and well at least through 2014.

          Civics 100, not even 101, is that unless people speak in all elections, in every race, with a strong voice pockets of obstructionists power will remain in a system such as ours. The fact enough retrograde or ignorant people spoke, and enough on our side couldn't be bothered to vote in the last mid terms put into state legislative power gerrymander crazed TP/GOP types. Then enough of their side voted for these same types in those neat little safe districts to ensure we have die hard obstructionists at least through 2014 in the House.

          How the "American people spoke" in the one moment that counted in 2010 and 2012 in those CDs outweighs all the meaningless, hot air opinion polls and number citing about where they actually stand.

          Yeah, elections, every damn one of them, have consequences! Only one moment counts. That is when the American people speak casting a vote.

          Everything else is hot air and opinion. Regrets are just regrets since federal elected officials cannot be recalled. A moment of inattention or laziness lasts two years for the House, four for a president and six for the Senate. Our opinions, once they are safe in office, are effectively meaningless unless they choose to respect them. Right now, due to those safe districts, GOP office holders are way more afraid of primary challenges from TP and wingnuts than the "American people"!

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:05:00 AM PST

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          •  excellent post (0+ / 0-)

            one of the best I have seen on all of this. I have been pushing this argument for years.

            people (when they do vote) vote against their own economic interests. sure all the right wing propaganda does not help but at some point personal responsibility kicks in. in today's social media society it is very easy to educate oneself on fact.

            I agree inattention and laziness are the root of it all.

            mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

            by wewantthetruth on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:46:17 AM PST

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            •  It isn't just the right wind involved in this. (0+ / 0-)

              I have to admit that I get much like a bear with a toothache backed in a cave when I see people on this site or hear some self declared "progressive" or "liberal" or "Democrat" declaring that because of (select any reason, including "both candidates are bad, disappointment, past betrayals, anything) they will sit out an election. That because this election isn't really important, just some piddly little statehouse district special, they don't have time. I get the same when I see people here claiming some statistic, such as Obama's margin or how the total national Congressional vote tilted Democratic, without any practical effect of putting some person into or out of office.

              Except in the few seconds when we actually cast a vote—hoping it makes a difference even if only to end short the aspirations of a Ken Cuccinelli who got his start in a little special on one August day with—everything else is sound and fury signifying nothing.

              Wouldda, couldda, shouldda! If 1,849 more of the Fairfax "blue" voters, in a pool of 111,135 registered in that 37th Senate district, had turned out that summer day in 2002 a rather infamous "Kook" would probably never have made the state and possibly national stage. Every vote in every election has consequences, sometimes well beyond the immediate horizon, such as an election before the reapportionment for the next decade.

              There are times that cave bear in me wants the satisfying crunch of foolish skulls in his teeth!

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:42:25 AM PST

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        •  4 million votes out of 130 million cast (0+ / 0-)

          is about 4%. 51-47%.

          one can argue Dumbya claimed a mandate with less votes to make a case that this election was a mandate but it most certainly is a divided country.

          mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

          by wewantthetruth on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:39:38 AM PST

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      •  specifically.. (11+ / 0-)

        House dems got 1m+ more popular votes than the Rs.

        •  That's a silly stat, as you and every (6+ / 0-)

          other amateur political junkie knows. The number of people voting for the candidate(s) in any particular House election is largely a function of the seat's competitiveness. Simply adding up votes means little. In each election that mattered, the only important outcome is who won. And the majority of the time, it was the Republican. We are a divided country, there's no denying that.

        •  That's meaningless (5+ / 0-)

          we don't have a nationwide vote for the House.  We have 435 separate elections.  And the vote count in each election is a function of who is running.  You can't take those 435 separate elections and pretend they were a single nationwide vote on candidates who weren't running nationwide.  

          •  Did the House D's (0+ / 0-)

            ..running this year get 1m+ votes than the House R's or not?

            •  Of course they did. But that tells us (0+ / 0-)

              nothing about what "the people wanted" with respect to the House.  We don't have a national election where people chose "Republicans control the House" or "Democrats control the House."  We have 435 separate elections, and the vote and turnout in each of those elections depends on the candidates running on those elections.   In a district like LA-02, where is was a forgone conclusion that the Democrat was going to win, some Republicans might have voted for him, or not voted at all in that race.  Same goes in reverse for LA-02.  And, some voters cross their party lines depending on the individual candidate.  Here in Louisiana, Mary Landrieu comes to mind.  In a very very red state, she twice defeated Republican candidates.  That's because the voters like HER and HER positions (and because she is not opposed by buisness groups like LABI), not because they are "voting Democratic."  If anything, here in very very red Louisiana, the "D" behind her name brings down her vote totals.  

              You can cite the accurate numbers , but I have no idea WHY anybody would be citing those numbers.  I certainly hope nobody cites them as some indication that the election results are somehow invalid or illegitimate.  (That's no better than Republicans who say the same thing about election results that they don't like.)  It's just silly -- and a rejection of our Constitutional system, frankly -- to pretend that those numbers tell you anything about what the people "wanted" with respect to control of the House.  

              The only thing that Constitutionally tells you what the people "said" with respect to the House are the results of those 435 separate elections.  

              •  your analogy doesnt make sense (0+ / 0-)

                The house and senate are viewed as a singular entity respectively. The presidency headlined by an individual. By your analogy, a D in a solid red state might not have voted for Obama simply because it wouldn't make a difference in the electoral votes for that state. You can choose to dismiss House votes but they are still significant and show the majority vote count.

      •  We are a gerrymandered country.....the states have (12+ / 0-)

        manipulated the districts so that we really don't have a voice.  

      •  But Obama holds all the cards in this negotiation (10+ / 0-)

        regardless of the vote tally.  The Repubs are in a can't win position and what Obama is doing - once again - is helping them win.  That makes sense if the opposition actually is a serious one, but it's been clear since Obam's stimulus bill legislation that they are not serious.

        As to hurting lots of people by holding out - i.e., taking a stand - on his position, Obama would do those people more good in the slightly longer and much longer term by helping improve the economy and by weakening the Repub party.  But then, as for the latter, he wouldn't have anyone to pre-capitulate to and he might actually have to do what he says he would do.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 07:27:15 AM PST

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        •  give him a call (0+ / 0-)

          I am sure he could use your advice.

          yes, this is sarcasm.

          mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

          by wewantthetruth on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:48:18 AM PST

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        •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

          How has Obama "pre-capitulate"[d] in the current negotiations? As I remember it, he made an initial proposal that was a bit more progressive than what he campaigned on. Do you think he should have not proposed anything until after January 1st? Having made the offer, should he have declared negotiations finished?

      •  N0 - a conservative House was NOT voted (4+ / 0-)

        in by that same margin.  Republicans in the House received fewer votes total than Democrats did - it's all in the gerrymandering.

        I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

        by bobdevo on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:03:09 AM PST

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      •  Funny I don't (5+ / 0-)

        recall other presdents, like GWB and Reagan being oh so considerate of the losing side.

        No, GWB had a mandate and all kinds of political capital; Reagan had Congress quaking in their boots.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:03:12 AM PST

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        •  yeah and Dumbya (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          v2aggie2

          did a helluva a job with that "mandate" didn't he?

          not sure reagan had congress shaking in his boots. he had to work with Tip O'Neil to get things done and quite sure Tip was never quaking in his boots. you have evidence to support otherwise, I would be happy to reconsider.

          mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

          by wewantthetruth on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:50:18 AM PST

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          •  You don't think Dumbya was effective at getting (0+ / 0-)

            RW leg passed?

            You don't think Regan was effective at the same thing?

            You think they both were ineffective at doing what their side wanted done?

            Look at the last 30 years and the current state of the middle class, I'd say they were both damned effective...and their deeds are still reaping benefits for the 1% today.

      •  You are wrong (5+ / 0-)

        Of course Obama won the popular vote in the house as well. It is the partisan redistricting by Republicans that delivered the house against the will of the American People to the GOP. See, OH, PA, VA were all clearly won by Obama but they are sending 70, 75% of all representatives as Republicans to Congress. How can that be? This is a complete failure of our democracy. The house has no mandate at all. It is fake because all democratic votes were shuffled into few democratic seats so that despite a total majority of democratic votes there are more Republican seats in the house. Total democracy fail. Unconstitutional. I would demand new elections in states where the number of seats for one party is in strong contrast to the popular vote. Yes, this includes a few democratic states, but partisan redistricting has to stop.

      •  And Reagan won 59 to 41% in 1984... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wewantthetruth, coffeetalk

        ...and still was willing to compromise with the Democratic controlled House to get things done.

        Yes, the Democratic success this time at the presidential level and in Senate does give Democrats more leverage to get things done -- but it doesn't eliminate the need to compromise with the Republicans who control the House (even if that control is largely an artifact of gerrymandering).

        The struggle is in determining what are core principles that should be adhered to, and where there's some flexibility.  Personally, I don't mind too much if the break point for eliminating the Bush tax cuts for earned income is raised significantly, as long as it goes away for the highest earners.  To me, the underlying principle is restoring some progressivity to our tax code, and the exact break point is a negotiating point.  More important is what is happening regarding tax rates for unearned income -- and the reports that I've seen on that subject appear to be a somewhat mixed bag, with the Democrats holding firm at $250k, but apparently agreeing to let the dividend rate go to 20% instead of 39.6%.  Still, I'm glad to see that they seem to be holding firm on capital gains.

        More distressing is that the reports that I read also suggested that Democrats were going to concede the Estate Tax issue to the Republicans, giving them a 35% rate above $5 million.  

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:48:15 AM PST

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    •  That's a lot of fiscal capitulation (13+ / 0-)

      Biden and the WH certainly gave up a lot, if this is true.

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 07:43:21 AM PST

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    •  The majority of people support 250K! (7+ / 0-)

      The majority of people equally support the government honoring their social contracts, paying their bills, paying Medicare and Social Security. The Republicans want to steal benefits, break contracts to pay their debt then they need to tell the public and the banks this. This is their bailout of banks, little recession, unfunded Bush tax cuts, unfunded military insanity, and unfunded prescription drug give-away in the debt.

      This all comes down to trying to dump the GOP's mess on the Democratic Party. Hell no and hell no to this talk of default. The president has the power to sever all of this mess. He has the 14 Amendment and he has the statutory power of the treasury and he can tell the GOP to stuff their default limit. The public will cheer him for honoring the social contracts of the safety net and the government's contracts.

      •  actually, no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell

        The 14th amendment doesn't give the President authority to issue new debt. Nothing in the Constitution gives him that power.

        •  actually the 14th amendment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vacantlook

          provides the president with the constitutional power to pay the debt already incurred which is what the debt limit is actually about.

          Congress (in some cases long ago authorized and spent the money. the Constitution allows the president to act action to protect the financial interests of the United States according to a lot of Constitutional scholars.

          I am hoping he goes this route if the House GOP tries to default again.

          mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

          by wewantthetruth on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:54:25 AM PST

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          •  no, the debt limit (0+ / 0-)

            is about issuing new debt.

          •  The President disagrees with you. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            splintersawry

            The President believes the Constitution does not give him that authority.

            Q    Okay.  And secondly, can we quickly revisit the debt ceiling question?  You were asked yesterday about whether the President would invoke executive power and the 14th Amendment.  Can you say that --

            MR. CARNEY:  And Peter, with lightning speed, dug up a quote that I thought would take at least a few hours to find.  (Laughter.)  Let me --

            Q    Have you found another one?  (Laughter.)  

            Q    Can you say that the President has ruled that out as an option, or can you say whether there are discussions or studies underway?

            MR. CARNEY:  Let me give you your answer.  I can say that this administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the President the power to ignore the debt ceiling -- period.

        •  actually, yes - you misconstrued what mikeVA said (0+ / 0-)

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