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U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to the press following his private meeting with United States U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice about the attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 27, 2012.   REUTERS/Jason Ree
Via Steve Benen, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is feeling his oats about cutting Social Security and Medicare:
“Round two’s coming,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). “And we’re going to have one hell of a contest about the direction and the vision of this country.”

Many Republicans believe they’ll have more leverage then than they do now because the debate over tax rates on the wealthy will be settled. [...]

Graham said he anticipates forcing Democrats to give in on a long list of the GOP’s top spending priorities in the new year: raising the eligibility age for Medicare, increasing premiums for its wealthier beneficiaries, and trimming Social Security benefits by using a new method to calculate inflation.

“I think if we insist on changes like that, we’ll get them,” he said.

First, congratulations to Sen. Graham on starting the New Year with a fresh burst of optimism that at long last the GOP will achieve its agenda of screwing the old people who vote for them. Huzzah!

That said, however, Graham is nuts if he actually believes Republicans have the leverage to force Democrats to accept those sorts of cuts. To be clear, I'm not saying those cuts aren't achievable—it's just they can't be achieved unless Democrats decide they want them as well.

That's because the debt limit doesn't give Republicans the leverage they think it does. President Obama has repeatedly said he will not negotiate over it. If Republicans take us into default, then they are going to own that mess. And after what we saw with the tax cliff, I doubt they really are prepared to own something as severe as default. But even if they are, we can't negotiate with economic terrorists.

Bottom line: If President Obama decides to back down from his pledge it won't be because he had no other choice. It will be because he decided to. He is in complete control of how much leverage Republicans have on the debt limit.

The debt limit isn't the only vehicle in which Graham could achieve his goals, however. There's also the debate over the sequester, the reemergence of a grand bargain, and the annual spending battles over discretionary funding. But, as with the debt limit, the GOP does not have any leverage to force Democrats to approve spending cuts they weren't already prepared to accept.

On the sequester, it's hard to imagine any Democrat trading away Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid in order to delay or reduce sequester spending cuts, especially on defense. But if they do, it will be because they wanted to—not because they were forced to.

On the grand bargain, as long as President Obama keeps his pledge to get as much in revenue as he gives up in spending cuts, there will not be a deal—because Republicans won't accept new tax increases. But again, even if Republicans do agree to new tax increases, Democrats won't be forced into anything. They'll be doing what they've said they want to do.

Finally, on the annual discretionary spending bills, if Republicans think they have leverage, then they think Democrats won't be eager to let them shut the government down over a demand to cut Social Security and Medicare. I guarantee that Democrats would love nothing more than to kick off the 2014 midterm elections with Republicans demanding Social Security and Medicare cuts—or else.

Once again, I'm not being pollyanna here. I'm not saying Democrats won't agree to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid cuts. In fact, they've repeatedly made it clear that they are very willing to do just that. But what I am saying is that there is no scenario under which Republicans have the political leverage to force Democrats to accept such cuts. Moreover, if the president and congressional Democrats keep their promise to only accept such cuts in exchange for tax increases, then there probably won't be any cuts at all because Republicans aren't going to increase taxes anytime soon. But if there are cuts, it won't be because Republicans gave Democrats no other choice: It will be because Democrats decided they wanted to make them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very true (22+ / 0-)

    We'll see what happens.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:33:03 PM PST

    •  Fix the Debit has lots of money. (6+ / 0-)

      I have listened over this past week from Ed Rendell, Joe Sestak and others, on how the Democrats will need to share in the pain. They both have talked up the chained CPI and raising the age requirement for Social Security and Medicare.

      I agree that democrats will have to make up their minds but money talks a BS walks. And Pete Peterson and the big CEO's have the money and can buy people just like they have with Rendell, he is the Co-Chairman of Fix the Debit.

      •  That's so sad... (4+ / 0-)

        What has happened to Democrats?  The majority of Americans have been shouldering the pain for coming on 40 years.  Why on earth are Democrats on Lindsay Graham's bandwagon?  So incredibly sad.

        The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.---FDR

        by masslib on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:38:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hope and pray (5+ / 0-)

        That the Democrats joining the Senate can stop these clowns.

        The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.---FDR

        by masslib on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:49:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The fiscal bluff is exactly that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fixxit, sfbob, Timothy J

        Who loses if we default?  The wealthy, that's who--people who own stocks and bonds. That  is who suffered last time, when the Dow fell by 1800 when hwe came close to default.  McConnell's Chinese in-laws won't allow a default this time any more than they did last time.  Is is all bluster and will end the same way as the fiscal cliff--with a majority of Dems voting to extend the debt limit and the GOP more fractured and despairing than it is today.  That's why it is the fiscal bluff.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:34:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes we will (23+ / 0-)

      I for one don't believe the president would let the nation default to make a political point against the Republicans, and I don't think they believe that either.  It's not who he is.  So unless he starts minting trillion-dollar platinum coins against the eventuality, I think his debt ceiling bravado is just one more line he's drawn in the sand which will vanish with the next incoming wave.  Hard to see how else he stands firm on the debt ceiling, with Republican crayzees who have already proven willing to go into default.  Where are all those CEO's Obama courted?  I don't see them bringing their Republican employees on the Hill to heel.

      Some Democrats are itching to bring chained-CPI or raising the Medicare age back onto the table.  Hell, Ed Rendell was advocating giving up both of them on MSNBC just today.  I'd be a lot more optimistic if I heard Democrats fighting for infrastructure jobs programs in a determined way, rather than just bringing them up as a bargaining chip to instantly cast away.  For every dollar of restored defense spending, let's demand a dollar of green infrastructure spending.  But I won't hold my breath waiting for the party to pick up that flag to march under.

      Republicans do have as much leverage as Democrats give them, Jed's right about that.  That's exactly what worries me.

      Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

      by Dallasdoc on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:55:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No negotiations on the debt ceiling (19+ / 0-)

        is the winning strategy, if the President is willing to stick with it.

        Just ignore this manufactured "crisis" completely, Presidential hands in Presidential ears, mouthing lalalalala.

        If he does that, he forces the 1% to rein in their teabagger dupes. What choice do they have? A default on the American debt hurts Wall street and the rest of the 1% most of all.

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:01:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  if there were to be a default (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, TomP, bwren, Matt Z, fixxit

        Obama would have nothing to do with it and Jed is right, after the right wingers folded on the supposed fiscal cliff, there is no way with less than two years before midterms and what is likely to be 70% voter opposition to changes to earned benefits, it would be political suicide to insist on them and push the US into default.

        the wingers can yell and scream all they want. they are talking to themselves. I don't see where they think they have leverage.

        relative to debt limit, threatening default violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution which was written during Reconstruction to prevent just the kind of hostage taking that the right is suggesting but of course you won't read/hear that from MSM.

        There again, Obama does not need to take any action. The wingers are capable of violating the Constitution all by themselves. I think the leverage is on the left.

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

        by wewantthetruth on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:06:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Stop hoping for 2014. They don't lose their power (0+ / 0-)

          for the next two years, and the government and the country has to survive those two years before 2014 makes any difference at all.

          As it is, they are boasting about how unless they are paid off,they will destroy both the US economy and credit and the world economy, and then close down the gummint with the non-resolution of the Continuing Resolution which they have bound us to by refusing to produce any budget for the last several years. No continuing resol, and the gummint shuts down. We don't know what they think will happen if and after they do that, because they don't care what will happen after they do that, save that the gummint will not be operating at all. What a wonderful time for CHina to invade.

          •  all due respect, (0+ / 0-)

            stop trying to suppress free thinking.

            you have your opinions and I have mine. you were a thoughtful discussion, try not starting it with "stop".

            have a wonderful day.

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

            by wewantthetruth on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:29:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  They better not. That's all I have to say about (0+ / 0-)

        that.  

      •  Jeff indeed lays it out starkly, succinctly (and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RainyDay

        somewhat surprisingly, given Jed's general inclination to view the performance of Obama and the Congressional Dems through the prism of a glass half full):

        I'm not saying Democrats won't agree to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid cuts.
        ...
        But if there are cuts, it won't be because Republicans gave Democrats no other choice: It will be because Democrats decided they wanted to make them.
        And with that simple statement of indisputable truth, Jed has foreshadowed the Great Debate that will be thrust upon the GOS on the heels of unnecessary cuts acceded to by the Dems (if indeed that's what comes to pass).

        That debate will be about the future mission of this site. I don't presume to speak for you, Dallasdoc, but I'm quite sure I'm not speaking solely for myself either. In my (our?) view, kossacks and our esteemed satanly leader will be forced to reevaluate how best we can advance the cause of protecting what remains of the New Deal and promote real reform in the governance of the nation.

        I hope the Dems, ultimately, don't capitulate. I hope the Great Debate at the GOS will not have to happen. (I hope I'll someday sprout wings and never again have to waste hours sitting in line, waiting to board the ferry from West Seattle to Vashon).

        Wear it proud. Wear it loud. Outlaw concealed carry. That gun hidden under your coat won't deter shit.

        by WisePiper on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:20:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I suppose what you say makes sense if you HATE O (0+ / 0-)

        already.

        One of the R problems they have not thought out is that the evil sequester will all by itself take care of the deficit problem for some time, in the ugliest possible way with the largest amount coming at this point out of defense, and zilch out of the big three. If deficit were their problem, this is automatic and will take that issue away sometime in March.

        And the problem of the debt ceiling is that the debt in question was incurred by Rs, including the off books 300B or so, not including inflation on it, and the tailout of effects in the dead and disabled of their unpaid for wars. And the proper analog, is that they have appropriated and spent all that money already, and what the debt ceiling does is not prevent that, but instead simply bar the gummint from paying the bills for debt incurred before O even became President. Which means all The Wall street gummint debt dealers/contributors to the Rs and those southern pork barrel military contractors contributors to Rs don't get paid either, under circumstances where they can't sue the gummint for payment either.

    •  One Party. Two Faces. (0+ / 0-)
      Operation Northwoods: The 9/11 You Never Knew
  •  Is there going to be (0+ / 0-)

    a Fiesta Bowl thread?
    Black Mamba already has struck!

  •  Precisely, and well said. (6+ / 0-)

    Oddly, this "cliff" deal seems to have razed the political cover for both parties to the ground. It reminds me of the call for filibuster reform, as one of the desired results is to marry officials to their political shenanigans.

    I don't think anyone in the oncoming fight is going to be able to hide, and by "anyone", I mean officeholders. Their financial backers, of course, will be all-but-invisible once again.

    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:37:49 PM PST

    •  That's Why It's Held 2 Years Before Any of Them (4+ / 0-)

      face voters.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:55:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that "coincidence" of timing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        midwesterner, Timothy J

        ...wasn't lost on me. It sounds like this is a good opportunity for us to send a message that there's such a thing as substantial immediate pushback. In late 2002-early 2003, when hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets before there were boots on the ground in Iraq, it limited Bush's options (not that he cared).

        If we could present anything remotely like that kind of pressure, we could send a strong message. OWS may have fallen apart, but it did have a positive effect.

        The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

        by lotusmaglite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:20:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  by the time of the vote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotusmaglite

      it's less than two years to midterms.....fight hasn't really started yet.

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

      by wewantthetruth on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:07:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But he has boyish charm. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2, tb mare

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:38:27 PM PST

  •  Obama should schedule a state visit to Kyrgyzstan (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, mightymouse, KayCeSF, sfbob

    or someplace and let those bozos suck it.

  •  What a mean-spirited little shit he is (13+ / 0-)

    A self-loathing closeted gay Republican who, instead of having the courage to vent his anger at its real source, his deeply homophobic and bigoted party and southern straight white male culture, takes it out on the poor, old and sick. Not to mention Arabs and Muslims, given that he's been one of the most consistent war cheerleaders over the past decade. The man is a loathsome coward.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:39:46 PM PST

  •  there's a difference between no cuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ball911

    and no chained CPI or age raise.

    I certainly don't think we should negoitate in the slightest about the debt ceiling and the sequester is the GOP's mess but eventually we're going to have to give the GOP something and I think we should seriously think about what we are willing to compromise on and what we're not willing to.

    •  We can give the Thugs part of the Defense cuts (5+ / 0-)

      back, in return for everything we want.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:49:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  what defense cuts??? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, AmericanAnt, sfbob, Timothy J

        Obama and Panetta have only suggested cutting projected increases to Defense through 2017.

        Eisenhower slashed the baseline Defense budget by 27% after the Korean War ended.

        Nixon reduced it by 29% after Vietnam

        Between Reagan, Bush Sr and Clinton, baseline Defense spending was cut by 35%

        Obama is only proposing reducing planned Defense spending increases, even after we exit Afghanistan, but the Defense budget still goes up.

        WTF?????

        Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

        by Keith930 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:17:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The cuts mandated by the sequester (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban, mightymouse, Pluto, Timothy J

          are still in place.

          I know, the Dems have no more interest in cutting Defense than the Thugs do. Mr. Obama in fact promised during the first debate that the military wouldn't be cut.

          The question is what the Dems could use to bargain with, not what they would use.

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:21:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Start with the sequester, and listen to the Rs (0+ / 0-)

            listen the the screams of their overly concentrated in red land defense contractors. The curse of the sequester for Rs is thatit was designed to give the requisite cuts half of which would be in the places the Rs hated most, and they will still do that. And letting them go forward and reduce deficit does not require an affirmative vote any more than the automatic fiscal cliff tax changes did.  

      •  I like how you think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD
    •  I don't get why eventually anything (5+ / 0-)

      has to be given up.

      sequestor is in place.

      default on debt limit is on wingers.

      the right owns the whole thing. on its own.

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

      by wewantthetruth on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:09:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you really okay with the sequestor? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, Pluto

        That is some cold, hard cutting without any real thought -- just across-the-board gutting which will mainly affect the very poor in this country.

        •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

          we need to cut spending but the sequestor is a nuclear weapon that is utterly indiscriminate

          •  The only reason we need to cut spending (0+ / 0-)

            is because of a manufactured crisis caused in part by our government's refusal to generate the revenue it actually needs to function and in part by corporate America not wishing to be inconvenienced by having to actually contribute to the running of the country it plunders.

        •  The sequestor is $120 billion in cuts in (0+ / 0-)

          ANTICIPATED spending out of a $3.6 TRILLION budget.
          It's not going to wreck the economy if we keep the sequestor.

        •  read the below (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          excellent diary based on facts.

          I am not cold hearted at all. I think there is a lot of talk not based on factual information and I choose to deal with information before letting my emotions get the best of me.

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

          by wewantthetruth on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:22:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  and to the point (0+ / 0-)

            I don't see the leverage that others see for the wingers.

            The House GOP is split and Boener had shown his willingness to bring a bill to the floor that breaks the hastert rule.

            Boener is done after this session and he has chance to secure a place in history beyond "the worst' speaker in the history of the House. I think Boener has it in him to do the right thing even if it means screwing the wingers.

            In the end , I think Cantor is the biggest loser.

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

            by wewantthetruth on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:26:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Just gave the GOP bush's tax cuts permanently for (0+ / 0-)

      all but those making over $500,000.00 a year.  Just gave them permanently lower estate and dividend tax rates than if we'd "gone over the cliff."  Just gave them  over $200 billion in subsidies for businesses like GS.  You really think we need to give them more?

      They will never default on US debt, that would destroy the dollar as the world's reserve currency and Wall St's wealth.

      •  But that is not what is really at stake: (0+ / 0-)
        They will never default on US debt, that would destroy the dollar as the world's reserve currency and Wall St's wealth.
        If they refuse to raise the debt limit (and I believe they are just crazy enough to do so), we will not default.  We will have to restructure our domestic spending and probably institute partial government shutdown/furloughs, etc.  But the Treasurer will continue to pay our debts.

        Am I wrong?

        •  You may be right. The larger question is how long (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splintersawry

          we allow ourselves to be held hostage by politicians, paying the ransom of destroying piece by piece New Deal safety net, labor, veteran benefit and education programs.  When do we draw a line and say "this far, no farther."  Never?  When does the Democratic Party stand up for its voting base (as opposed to its Wall St funding base)?  Never?  

          As far as shutting the govt down - when Newt Gingrich and the GOP did that to Clinton the GOP was clobbered in the next election and lost the House.

          •  look even in the GOP were sane (0+ / 0-)

            and yes they are not we'd still be at the same point. IE what do we absolutely want, what do we desire and what would be nice to have because with a divided congress eventually we're going to have to compromise at least a bit

          •  GOP didn't lose House in wake of gov't shutdown (0+ / 0-)

            Just saying, for the record...  the GOP lost some seats in '96 (post-shutdown) and '98 (post-impeachment), but they kept control of the House till '06.  But on the larger point, sure, there's no question they paid a heavy political price and solidified a reputation for ideological obstructionism that they still have today.

            "Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so." - Robert Ingersoll

            by dackmont on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:40:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  They didn't lose the House. (0+ / 0-)

            When the Dems won the House in 2006, it was the first time they held the House since the Repukes took it in 1994. Here's a little history from Wikipedia about what happened when the government shut down during the Clinton administration. It's amazing how similar the circumstances are to what's happening now. And maybe it's a sign for what may happen this time.

      •  I really don't wanna do this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, FiredUpInCA, PhilJD

        can we please just have an intelligent discussion, pretty please?

    •  Why compromise? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splintersawry

      What we saw during the fiscal cliff vote is that there are 85 House Republicans who aren't willing to wreck the economy.

      •  as I said (0+ / 0-)

        on the fiscal cliff it's more the GOP's problem to an extent as the military and business do not like it

        But down the road we're almost certainly going to have to and better to get ready for that now then be surprised by it when Obama or Reid or Pelosi start trying to make one

  •  It would be welcome to hear from the President (16+ / 0-)

    and the rest of Team D that the safety net is not on the table.

    Period.

    No stealth cuts like chained CPI that will shred SS in order to "save" it. No fucking cuts at all.

    Maybe a nice rousing speech in passionate defense of the historic achievements of the Democratic Party, ending in a crystal-clear promise there will never be cuts under Mr. Obama's watch.

    A guy can dream.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:40:27 PM PST

  •  Ya had your contest Lindsey, (3+ / 0-)

    and that was called the election.

  •  Graham says this: (9+ / 0-)
    “And we’re going to have one hell of a contest about the direction and the vision of this country.”
      He doesn't seem to get that his side's "vision" for this country is increasingly unpopular.

      If in fact it was popular, they'd gladly spell it out in all its glory, instead of trying to maneuver Democrats into doing the dirty work.

       Hey Lindsey, The Mad Tea Party is over.
        It's time to return to reality, or your party's ass will be kicked to the curb.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:44:23 PM PST

    •  by time of vote (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, elwior, Timothy J

      there will be 70% opposed to changes to earned benefits. let them suck on that. there will be a helluva contest and the House will be blue again.

      Shit, we need 17 seats? hell there are 12 republican seats in NY/NJ we could get............what the hell have they and the republican party done for their constituents. payback is a bitch.

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

      by wewantthetruth on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:11:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BTW, and pardon my French, but this guy is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizen dan, Matt Z

      one really dumb cock-sucking motherfucker.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:14:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "maneuver Democrats into doing their dirty work" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Timothy J

      I don't think our so-called "Democrats" mind it all that much. Can't be seen as being "partisan," dontchaknow?!

    •  Mouse Roars. Lindsey Screeches. Same thing. (2+ / 0-)

      Saddam Hussein threatened "the Mother of All Battles," too.  Look where HE ended up....

      I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

      by Liberal Panzer on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:38:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  One Hell of A Contest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      When it comes to the debt ceiling fight, I think there's a name for the GOP's vision: sabotage.  Their entire premise is that they will intentionally damage the credit and solvency of the US economy--this time with full knowledge of the damage caused the last.  They threaten to sabotage the financial machinery  of their employer, the US government.  What's funny is that the Cons have cast Obama as a villain intent on US destruction for years, but the basis of this "negotiation" tactic is that Obama cannot help but preserve the US.  From US Legal.com-

      "The following is an example of a state statute dealing with sabotage:

      "Criminal sabotage defined -- Penalty.

      (1) Whoever, with intent that his or her act shall, or with reason to believe that it may, injure, interfere with, interrupt, supplant, nullify, impair, or obstruct the owner's or operator's management, operation, or control of any agricultural, stockraising, lumbering, mining, quarrying, fishing, manufacturing, transportation, mercantile, or building enterprise, or any other public or private business or commercial enterprise, wherein any person is employed for wage, shall willfully damage or destroy, or attempt or threaten to damage or destroy, any property whatsoever, or shall unlawfully take or retain, or attempt or threaten unlawfully to take or retain, possession or control of any property, instrumentality, machine, mechanism, or appliance used in such business or enterprise, shall be guilty of criminal sabotage."

      Of course like with the Bush administration, if you get enough crooks together they just call it "government".

  •  And some Democrats clearly want those cuts (16+ / 0-)

    I just received a response from my Senator, Dianne Feinstein, to my email urging her not to support chained CPI.

    Thank you for writing to express your opposition to using the chained CPI to calculate cost of living increases for Social Security recipients.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

    As you know, switching to the chained CPI has reportedly been discussed in recent deficit reduction negotiations.  Social Security currently determines cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).  This index simply measures the increase in the price of a wide range of commonly purchased items.

    A chained CPI attempts to account for the ways in which individuals are able to find lower-cost substitutes for items that become more expensive in a given year.  As a result, a chained CPI grows more slowly than traditional CPI measures.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), using the chained CPI to calculate COLAs for Social Security beneficiaries would save the program $112 billion from 2012 to 2021.  Under current law, any savings from implementing a chained CPI would be required to remain in the Social Security Trust Fund and could not be used by the federal government for other purposes.

    I will fight to protect the viability of Social Security for the over tens of millions of Americans who depend on benefits from it.  It is the only source of income for more than twenty percent of senior citizens and more than half rely on it to stay out of poverty.  To ensure these Americans continue to receive needed Social Security benefits, we must confront the reality that Social Security is currently projected to become insolvent by 2036. We must take steps to restore the solvency of social security so that future generations can rely on the retirement security provided by the program.

    Please know that I appreciate your comments, and I will keep them in mind should this proposal or one similar come before the Senate for consideration in the future.

    Expect to hear that from Democrats as they line up to support chained CPI -- "We're protecting Social Security."

    "The NRA says 'guns don't kill people, people do.' But I think that the gun helps." -- Eddie Izzard

    by babaloo on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:47:41 PM PST

  •  The other points of leverage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2, Drunkard, mightymouse

    Like the sequester, mean that Obama's vow to not negotiate over the debt limit is entirely meaningless.

    Obama concedes XYZ and the sequester gets relaxed (and incidentally the debt ceiling is raised).

    But hey, the debt ceiling wasn't part of the deal!

    Somebody must be buying this act...

  •  I'm a glass-half-empty kind of guy by nature. I (8+ / 0-)

    admit that.  But more than that I'm someone who forms opinions based on data, facts and history.  And based on that, I just have to say:  OF COURSE Obama & Co. will cave and give away the farm on this next hostage negotiation.  The guy just held every card in the deck in the fiscal cliff go around, and got a so-so deal at best, in my opinion.  This next one, not so many cards.  Not for a guy like Obama who won't go all-in even when holding a royal straight flush.  The other thing is, I'm convinced the GOP is more than willing to "own" taking this country into default.  Or at the very least, they are more than willing to take it to 11:59pm before they would even think about flinching.  Obama's history is to flinch around 11:15pm at the latest.

  •  A word--or maybe 4 words: AARP! nt (4+ / 0-)

    Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

    by Mayfly on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:51:23 PM PST

  •  Line-Item Veto (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rennert, mwm341

        The money has already been appropriated for various programs. When the debt ceiling is reached, decisions will have to be made as to which bills are paid and which aren't, which employees are furloughed and which remain at work. Obviously, only the President can make those decisions, unless a law is passed specifying how to do it.  And any such law would be subject to filibuster and veto.

         When the debt limit is reached, the President will effectively have a line-item veto over expenditures he chooses not to prioritize.

  •  Popular Will Is The Best Leverage (5+ / 0-)

    It isn't there for Social Security and Medicare cuts. It sure isn't there for using hostage style negotiations to get there.  When I think of leverage I think of the see-saws as a kid. Terrible prank was to be on side at ground level and slowly slide off an then let go of the handle. You would watch your partner's side fly downward and slam into the ground. Think many older people's back problems stem from playground see-saws. Graham might think he's up high now.  It's a long way down.

  •  Lindsey Graham, and his "talking points" (0+ / 0-)

    When I see him on the Sunday talkling bobble-heads, I turn off the sound and go read an old book. There is no point to listening to such an archaic drooler. His time has passed.

  •  3 ways Obama can raise the debt ceiling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oxfdblue

    without the Congress.

    http://www.cnn.com/...

    1.  The trillion dollar platinum coin

    2.  Exploding option in which Federal reserve sells $2 trillion worth of property

    3.  14 amendment (constitutional option)

    Out of the 3 options the Trillion dollar platinum coin IMO is the most promising and the most legally sound.

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:00:37 PM PST

  •  We refuse to negotiate with terrorists... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2

    foreign or domestic. Just leave it at that. If it looks like they are going to "shoot the hostage", Obama should unilateraly raise the debt limit citing Section IV of the 14th amendment. They'll take it to SCOTUS, if they scuttle it the Court can shoulder as much blame for our default as the GOP economic terrorists.
    But, let them play it out, they'll own it. Come Jan '15, there won't be enough Repubs in Congress to field a base ball team.

  •  Lindsay's a funny one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, tb mare

    Air Force lawyer, South Carolina conservative, and confirmed bachelor. This posturing must be part of something that is indeed complicated.

  •  The Only Way (3+ / 0-)

     ....that President Obama can garner republican support is to send troops into Syria, attack Iran, and take back the recent tax rate increases to the wealthy. And then take the war costs off the official budget.

  •  I heard Lindsey on the Senate floor earlier (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, mwm341, FiredUpInCA

    this week.  Guess what his "one hell of a contest" for the vision of the country amounts to?

    He is requesting that President Obama send him detailed legislation which specifies cuts/reforms for entitlements so the country can have a serious conversation.

    Good luck with that!!  What utter cowards they are.  They huff and puff about serious conversations and needing to cut the debt/deficit.  Yet, when it is time to pony up, they run away and hide.

    And this, my friends, is why they have NO leverage with regards to the debt ceiling.  They will REFUSE to detail the cuts they want to entitlements.

    Boehner also just screwed himself even further by announcing that he will no longer meet with President Obama one-on-one.  That is great news for President Obama!!  Now all he has to do is sit back and wait for the House to draft legislation to cut Social Security and Medicare.  And wait...and wait...and wait.

    Remember that Boehner's rule is 1:1 ratio for cuts/debt limit increase.  So he will have to draft legislation for $1T in entitlement cuts!  All by himself!

  •  Republicans really think they'll win that argument (5+ / 0-)

    Graham's statement about "a hell of a contest about the direction and vision of this country" amazes me.  It reminds me of Paul Ryan, talking about his Medicare plan during the campaign, boasting "We want this debate, we need this debate, and we will win this debate."

    No, you won't.  You're going to get your ass kicked - you have gotten your ass kicked every time you were stupid enough to have this debate.

    I could understand George Bush thinking that his big Social Security bus tour in 2005 would work - he was breaking new ground.  Now, we've seen the Republicans go down in flames again and again when they went down this road.

    And Graham thinks the public is going to rally behind his "vision?"  What is wrong with these people?  Did they unskew some more polls, or what?

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:04:17 PM PST

    •  Their anger and resentment is blinding them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wewantthetruth

      to the folly of their argument.  It really is puzzling why they earnestly believe the country is in the mood for yet another big congressional battle.  They actually believe that is something working in their favor!!  

      Their rallying cry:

      Destroy the safety net or we will destroy the world economy.

      Yeah, that's the ticket...

  •  TURN SOUTH CAROLINA BLUE! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jdld

    Defeat both Jim DeMint's replacement and Lindsay Graham for re-election!  We can do it!

    •  Alabama and S. Carolina will never go blue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      I could see Ark, LA, even Georgia before South Carolina.  Never happen.

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:25:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Want a bet? (0+ / 0-)

        Oklahoma and Kansas are states that will never go blue.  There's some blue in South Carolina but nothing quite like in North Carolina.

        On the other hand, you want to talk about the reddest state in the U.S.?  Talk about Oklahoma.  Or Kansas.  

        Utah maybe but certain people say there are a lot of moderates in the state.

  •  And not a peep about "defense" spending. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2, mightymouse, tb mare

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:10:12 PM PST

    •  Or the "Intelligence Community." (0+ / 0-)

      No excesses here to cut (http://www.intelligence.gov/...):

      Seventeen Agencies and Organizations
      United Under One Goal

      The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) is a coalition of 17 agencies and organizations within the executive branch that work both independently and collaboratively to gather the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities. Our primary mission is to collect and convey the essential information the President and members of the policymaking, law enforcement, and military communities require to execute their appointed duties.

      The 17 IC member agencies are:

          Air Force Intelligence
          Army Intelligence
          Central Intelligence Agency
          Coast Guard Intelligence
          Defense Intelligence Agency
          Department of Energy
          Department of Homeland Security
          Department of State
          Department of the Treasury
          Drug Enforcement Administration
          Federal Bureau of Investigation
          Marine Corps Intelligence
          National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
          National Reconnaissance Office
          National Security Agency
          Navy Intelligence
          Office of the Director of National Intelligence

      Members of the IC collect and assess information regarding international terrorist and narcotic activities; other hostile activities by foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents; and foreign intelligence activities directed against the United States (U.S.). As needed, the President may also direct the IC to carry out special activities in order to protect U.S. security interests against foreign threats.

  •  I don't get it, Jed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2, mightymouse, Matt Z

    "If Republicans take us into default, then they are going to own that mess."

    So? Huh?

    Maybe they'll own it, but if the default makes things bad enough, they'll get what they want.

    The only question is, who's going to blink first?

    And the only answer is, whomever cares about the country more.

    Doesn't bode well for us.

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:15:20 PM PST

    •  I don't think President Obama has any choice. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GussieFN, Iberian, Matt Z, mwm341

      He CANNOT negotiate on the debt ceiling.  The last time he did that we got downgraded ANYWAY.  Just the spectacle of the negotiations was enough.

      He can just point to Moody's (or whatever agency) own statement which detailed the reason for the downgrade.  That alone is enough cover for a stance of NOT negotiating.

      And what would be the GOP response?  They are demanding a 1:1 ratio of cuts:debt limit increase.  So, for a $1 Trillion increase, they want $1T in cuts.  The House will have no choice but to draft legislation detailing those cuts.  And on TOP OF THAT, the sequester will be hitting at the same time.  That's another $1T in cuts.

      Hmmm..... How will they explain all that cutting to the American people.

      I think one of the smartest things of this last deal was only putting off the sequester for 2 months.  Let's just have one Big Ass Budget Battle once and for all.  Throw in the continuing resolution as well.

      •  Okay. So say he doesn't (0+ / 0-)

        negotiate. And we default. And things looks bad.

        And we continue to default. And things look worse.

        The Republicans will say that if Obama just does what they asked, by agreeing to a 1:1 cuts, which will fix the future and unearth magical Galtian ponies, we can fix this thing. Obama says that they can just fix this thing by fixing it, and he'll point to Moody's, whatever. They'll point to the Heritage Foundation.

        Really, both sides are being stubborn, don't you know. And he's the president! He should make this work. If we spiral into a depression, it's on his watch. Sure, he'll blame them, they'll blame him. Who knows?

        And we continue to default, and in a minute we're going to turn into SOmalia. Which of them cares? The Republicans _want- to live there.

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:28:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the House will draft legislation detailing (0+ / 0-)

          $1T in cuts.  Cuts to what?  I would love to see this legislation.  I think they will fold at the prospect of showing the American people who they really are.

          Look at all the negotiations between PBO and Boehner.  I have yet to see Boehner lay out specific cuts to entitlements.  Their catch phrase is that "the President must lead."  Hell, Lindsey even repeated it just this week.

          This is code for "We don't want to take the blame."  But now since Boehner has said he will no longer have one-on-ones with PBO, he has no choice but to draft his own legislation.

          What a tangled web we weave...

          •  Why would they draft legislation? (0+ / 0-)

            The president must lead, indeed. They can just say, "If the Dems are serious about stopping the default, they'll bring us legislation ..."

            Boehner has all kinds of options, instead going back to the president. It's not like he's afraid to lie. He could craft a bill that cuts six trillion dollars from Sesame Street.

            "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

            by GussieFN on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:45:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Remember, the President is not negotiating. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mwm341

              If he is not negotiating, he is not submitting any legislation for a debt limit increase.  It is the responsibility of the House to draft this legislation (constitutionally).

              And regarding Sesame Street, let's see Boehner do that.  The key is the onus will be on him, not on the President.  So, show the country what your vision is, Mr. Boehner.

              I don't think the country will like it.   Boehner KNOWS they won't like it.

          •  On the other hand, I just (0+ / 0-)

            read winerev below, and suddenly have hope!

            "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

            by GussieFN on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:47:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Stick to the Sequester! (8+ / 0-)

    According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities HERE what a LOT of people are forgetting (on these boards) or ignoring in DC (ALL of the GOP and most of the media) are the terms of the sequester agreed to in August of 2011.

    The $1.2 trillion whack in spending first of all is spread over TEN YEARS, MINUS the interest savings on debt that would NOT be incurred over those same 10 years, bringing the total down to right at $1 Trillion.

    Now, divide that by 10 years and that's $100billion/ year.

    Next, of the $100 Billion we are going to be screaming about for the next 60 days, 1/2 is to be from defense spending (which the GOP hates) and 1/2 from non-defense "discretionary" spending (which the Left is hyperventilating about already) BUT with an important proviso!

    According to the agreement that the White House sold out America for/dissed the FDR legacy for/confirmed his Caver-in-Chief-ness (choose one or add your own) the following programs are EXEMPT from these sequestration cuts:

    >Social Security. Period. Full Stop. (So by just sticking to the sequester language that BOTH McConnell and Boehner agreed to in August, 2011 AND their caucuses agreed to, we can refuse to even talk about Chained CPI since it is EXEMPT.)
    >Medicaid. If it says Medicaid its safe from the sequester. Period. Full Stop.
    > Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will bear on this, by the sequester AGREED TO, the GOP is NOT ALLOWED to propose cuts to let sick children get sicker or die, as much as they are itching to do so.
    > SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps). The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT propose cuts to let people go hungry or starve, as much as they are itching to do so.
    > Child nutrition programs. See SNAP, above.
    > Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT propose cuts to workers who are disabled, sick, or otherwise impaired who are drawing an SSI lifeline, as much as the GOP are itching to do so.
    > Refundable tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC and the CTC just got extended and renewed in the fiscal curb votes this week for 5 years...so obviously Obama has BLUNDERED by already locking that into place and not leaving here in the sequester, where the GOP has already AGREED to leave these alone.
    > Veteran's benefits. The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT propose cuts to the TROOPS who are retired, as much as the chicken hawk yellow dogs are itching to do so.
    > Federal retirements. The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT follow the Scotty Walker example from Wisconsin and propose cuts to pensions of people who worked in the federal government for decades while the GOP members were sucking at the teat of Ayn Rand and doing lines of coke with Grover Norquist. (Crazy threesome!)
    > Medicare can ONLY be cut by 2%, and ONLY in compensation paid to providers, NOT in benefits to recipients. The "doc fix" in the fiscal curb bill just passed may impact this, but obviously this is ANOTHER BLUNDER by Obama by agreeing to that fix that may take this provision out of the sequester.

           So all this means Obama/Shumer/Sanders/Pelosi/Reid/the Left can say, "We choose to honor the sequester limits since they make sense to cutting the long-term debt. You stinking bastards on the other side want to WELSH on the deal you made in August 2011. YOU were LYING then and we can assume you are LYING NOW. Your word means NOTHING.  
            "Nonetheless, as far as other NON-Defense cuts that total $50Billion in 2013, we propose whacking $4Billion right off the bat by ENDING all oil and Gas and coal and nuclear subsidies, since we believe they are no longer infant industries in need of help or protection from foreign competitors.
            "We propose ending $3bill./year in cotton subsidies, $3.5 Billion/yr. in sugar subsidies, another $3billion in wheat subsidies.
            "So far we are $15 billion cut and economic efficiency improved. Agriculture starts with "A" and we have 25 letters left to go......"

    Screaming? Oh yeah. Spending Cuts available? Piece of cake.

    Shalom.

    "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

    by WineRev on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:17:51 PM PST

  •  Very telling phrase in the diary : (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    "they wanted to"
    I don't know about you, but my confidence that the liberal/progressive ideal is getting a resurgence with this administration is "jello-ish".  This country has real fiscal issues that are not seemingly being dealt with, with the majority of the citizenry's best interests at heart.

    The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

    by Memory Corrupted on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:18:39 PM PST

  •  Great piece (0+ / 0-)
  •  How to make the GOP shut up: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mwm341

    Tell them that any negotiations --- any negotiations at all --- have the prerequisite price of Republicans agreeing to, and voting, for a permanent ban on all assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and "cop-killer" butllets.  That means legislated/fully-funded buybacks, legal confiscations for all items not sold back, termination of all future production/sale/ownership, and serious felony penalties for violations.  Otherwise we launch an all-out effort to establish really serious gun restrictions.  Germany, New Zealand, Kenya, and Japan are all really good examples of what we could do.

    It's time we did some hostage-taking

    I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

    by Liberal Panzer on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:30:46 PM PST

  •  Was this a sarcastic diary? (0+ / 0-)

    Obama said he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling? Oh, you mean like how he said he won't raise the $250k number? Or how about that he negotiated re the debt limit last time the GOP held it hostage.

    Bottom line, the gop's leverage is that everybody knows Obama will back down when push comes to shove.

  •  The smarmiest, most swarthy republicon I ever knew (0+ / 0-)

    Never trust this man, especially near your children.

    Listen to Netroots Radio or to our pods on Stitcher. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:02:21 PM PST

  •  What leverage does Obama have? (0+ / 0-)

    It seems the Republicans can just let the sequester go through.  They get automatic budget cuts and the Democrats can't stop it.

    So it seems that in two months the Republicans win.  Am I missing something?  

  •  Please proceed, Sen. Graham. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z
  •  Tax The Rich, End Corporate Welfare! (0+ / 0-)

    How To Raise Taxes: Think Eisenhower!!!

    Quoting J.J. Goldberg at forward.com:  

    [...] Eisenhower inherited a top marginal income tax rate of 92% from his predecessor Harry Truman when he entered the White House in 1953. He quickly lowered it to 91%, where it stayed until Lyndon Johnson lowered it again to 77% in 1964 and then 70% in 1965.  

    During his eight years in the White House, Eisenhower managed to reduce the federal deficit by 75% — down to a quarter of the size he inherited — while building the Interstate Highway System and launching America’s space program. GDP growth averaged 3% per year. Unemployment averaged just under 5.5%.  

    Reagan, entering office in 1981, inherited Johnson’s 70% top marginal income tax rate and immediately lowered it to 50%, then to 38.5% and finally to 28%. His theory was that high taxes stifle economic growth, while lowering taxes unleashes growth and creates jobs. It was a great national experiment, and the result was conclusive: It didn’t work. Growth averaged 3.4% per year during Reagan’s presidency, hardly better than Eisenhower’s, while unemployment averaged a shocking 7.43%, far worse than Eisenhower’s and hardly better than the much-maligned Obama record. [...]  

    So the next time you listen to a presidential debate, remember that nobody up there is taking the Democratic side. The debate we’re having today is between a robust Reaganism and a faint, timid echo of Eisenhower Republicanism. In fact, when you get down to it, the Democrats can’t even bring themselves to take Eisenhower’s side with any conviction. We’re all touting variations on a flimflam theory that’s been tried and proven a colossal failure.

    ——–

    How To Cut Spending: End Corporate Welfare!!!     

    As Rex Nutting of Marketwatch noted in his 12/18/2012 article “Why isn’t Obama demanding corporate welfare cuts?”, “$2.6 trillion could be saved [...] It’s possible to achieve all the budget savings we need for the next 10 years simply by cutting the fat out of discretionary spending programs and tax expenditures [removing all of the corporate welfare] without raising tax rates on the wealthy or cutting the safety net at all.”     

    Oil and gas companies, which are raking in record profits, certainly don’t need $4 billion a year in subsidies, and even the oil company CEOs admit they don’t need it!     

    Why are cuts to Social Security and Medicare even being discussed while literally billions in corporate welfare are constantly spilling out of the Treasury? 

    White House petition to End Corporate Welfare: http://wh.gov/...

  •  It's Obama's Baby (0+ / 0-)

    "Bottom line: If President Obama decides to back down from his pledge it won't be because he had no other choice. It will be because he decided to. He is in complete control of how much leverage Republicans have on the debt limit."

    And that is something that we all need to keep in mind.  The Republicans have absolutely NO SAY as to what Obama does in the debt-ceiling business.  It is his choice -- and his alone -- if he decides to cave yet again.

    I will be up front  with the fact that I will be VERY unhappy if someone is stupid enough to trash the Republicans because of a rational, deliberate choice that Barak Obama chooses to make.  Such a person will be the perfect personification of the Democratic symbolic animal, in my opinion.

  •  The President will fold (0+ / 0-)

    President Obama will  do what he does best: ante up, draw a king while holding ten, jack, queen ace, and then fold.

  •  Once upon a time... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mwm341

    as most fairy tales began, I believed Lindsey Graham was not too bad.  He seemed somewhat fair and decent in his votes.

    Then he went to the hard right and he became just another bigot and racist and obstructionist.  He became the old Confederacy, instead of the modern democratic Republic.

    He has been useless ever since, from my point of view.  I am sorry he lost his good, fair self.

  •  Have some faith in President Obama as a President. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:47:32 PM PST

  •  This fool (0+ / 0-)

    still doesn't know who won the election

    “The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    by Miss Pip on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:11:35 PM PST

  •  Will the Republicans explicitly say what they want (0+ / 0-)

    The GOP will lose if they say we want Social Security cut, we want Medicare cut.

    They tried very hard to get the Democrats to name the cuts in the most recent negotiations.  Demand their list.

  •  Graham and dems (0+ / 0-)

    Okay, find a way to charge more to the well off for SS, fine, but taking benefits away????No way.  Any dem who joins with the man from the closet in SC will be toast.  

  •  Remember: He doesn't want to reduce the deficit (0+ / 0-)

    He just wants to redirect nearly all revenue to the Pentagon.

  •  if Graham "negotiates" with Obama... (0+ / 0-)

    he'll get his way.

    What Republican doesn't?

    •  All of the Republicans that voted to raise taxes (0+ / 0-)
      if Graham "negotiates" with Obama...
      he'll get his way.

      What Republican doesn't?

      did not get their way. Twenty years of Republican anti-tax policy were reversed this week. That is a very big deal. The tax on the rich is identical to the Clinton rates, after being adjusted for inflation.

      When you combine that with WinRev's incredibly informative comment and link about the sequester, it's very clear that the Democrats and the President negotiated well and definitely have the upper hand.

      WineRev's comment.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

      by FiredUpInCA on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:02:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Dems hurt SS/Medicare, they won't be taking (0+ / 0-)

    back the House anytime soon.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:51:28 PM PST

  •  pride comes before the fall (0+ / 0-)

    i hope they try this. newt gingrich did and we saw how the voters responded: the gop lost seats. this is what will happen again. the gop are burying their own party and do not realize it because they are so arrogant and prideful.

  •  Here's the problem (0+ / 0-)
    There's also the debate over the sequester, the reemergence of a grand bargain, and the annual spending battles over discretionary funding.
    There is a proper time for Republicans to push their spending cut ideas, during annual appropriations negotiations.  The rest of these "deadlines" are simply Republican created crises because they can't win those normal battles.  They have to manufacture a crisis in order to reopen negotiations they already lost fair and square.  The Democrats need to start making the American people understand this.  The Dems aren't blameless, they keep agreeing to these stupid deadlines, but its not their agenda, its the Republicans.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:01:46 PM PST

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