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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L-R) leads fellow Republicans, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), onstage for a news conference about their proposed deficit-cutting plan, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington,
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, right, threatens a government shut down (but not default): 'I think it is possible that we would shut down the government'
Politico's Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Jake Sherman drive the morning™:
House Republicans are seriously entertaining dramatic steps, including default or shutting down the government, to force President Barack Obama to finally cut spending by the end of March.
Okay, before we even get to the Republicans, you've got to love the way that sentence ends: "President Barack Obama to finally cut spending by the end of March." There's just one little problem with it: President Barack Obama just so happens to be the very same guy who signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 into law. And he's also the same guy who signed the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill into law. Together, those two measures account for $1.8 trillion in spending cuts. If you add in the increased taxes on income over $450,000, we've done $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction.

So President Obama hasn't merely cut spending, he's cut it significantly. And overall, he's gotten more than halfway towards the $4 trillion target outlined by his deficit commission. Personally, I think he's focused way too much on the deficit, but that's neither here nor there. The key point here is that any article that purports to be about the budget battles really ought to at least make an effort to stay grounded in reality. And saying that President Obama hasn't cut spending is the exact opposite of that.

Amusingly, VandeHei, Allen, and Sherman actually contradict their lede later on in their article, pointing out that $1.2 trillion in spending cuts from the sequester are already on the books:

The conventional wisdom is that Obama and Congress will ultimately work out a grand spending compromise that raises the debt limit, keeps funding the government and changes the $1.2 trillion in automatic “sequestration” spending cuts set to kick in on March 1.
Well that must be great news, because when the article began, Republicans were waiting for President Obama to "finally cut spending." But now, about ten paragraphs later, he's already signed $1.2 trillion in cuts into law. It does point out that he wants to replace some of those cuts with revenue increases, which is a fair point, but he's not talking about replacing all of them. In any case, Republicans don't need to do anything dramatic to let them start taking effect: they just need to do nothing.

The article parrots Boehner's spin that Republicans are prepared to accept the sequester as-is, but doesn't point out that defense hawks in his conference are already calling his bluff. But in either case, the sequester is already baked in. The spending levels have already been cut. If the question is whether or not Republicans will insist on additional cuts, the sequester is irrelevant.

That brings us to what this article was supposed to be about: the twin questions of whether Republicans will force default by refusing to raise the debt limit and whether they will shut down the government by refusing to pass appropriations bills when funding expires on March 27.

On that front, the article actually does include some interesting speculation, making the case that Boehner may try to escape the debt limit trap he's set for himself by focusing House GOP attention on the prospect of a government shut down fight instead of default. Adding weight to the theory is a quote from House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers explicitly threatening a government shut down—but not default. The article also includes background reporting indicating that even if that gambit fails, Boehner won't force default, suggesting that he will once again break the Hastert rule, under which he would only allow votes on legislation supported by a majority of Republicans.

But even though the article is provocative and does have some useful information, it begins and ends with the thesis that President Obama has refused to cut spending or take steps to reduce the deficit. In so doing, it pretends that the lunatic Republicans that Boehner is so desperately trying to reign in are actually grounded in reality. For better or worse, that thesis is throughly false—and there's 2.4 trillion reasons why.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It isn't Obama's job to cut spend (28+ / 0-)

    Congress controls the budget.  IT's Congress's job.  

    Anyone who knew anything about politics and the constitution would know that.

    unless they were trying to sell ads, I guess

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:32:24 AM PST

    •  Come on, all Obama has to do is use his super (7+ / 0-)

      secret super dictator powers to slash the budget. Just like he can unilaterally get rid of the 2nd amendment and guns.

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:42:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They can try, and the President can veto. That's (0+ / 0-)

      why he has to lead more, and propose budget options that can pass both houses of Congress and get signed into law.

      Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

      by SpamNunn on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:05:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, the President must guess what will pass ... (5+ / 0-)

        ... the GOP-controlled House, for starters. And propose that. And cudgel Senate Democrats (and maybe some Republicans over there, too) into accepting whatever ultimately gets through the GOP-controlled House. And that, you suggest, constitutes Presidential leadership?

        Nonsense!

        Congress got us here. Congress can get us out. Then together, the executive and legislative branches can move along with the nation's business.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:15:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that just will not happen (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lippythelion69

          congress is going to take us on a crazy train.

          Republicans are penny wise and pound foolish.

          by Krush on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:21:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  When is the last time he met with the leadership (0+ / 0-)

          of both houses and said, "listen, this is what I think we should do, and I would sign off on this" and then try to hammer out a "Grand Bargain"?  When is the last time the Senate passed a budget?  

          He has a lot more say than you give him credit for.  

          Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

          by SpamNunn on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:29:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, he has "say". You're buying the GOP line... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Richard Mcdonough

            ... that he won't talk to us.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:14:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  See the President's press conference. There's... (0+ / 0-)

              ... the offer. And it's a realistic and adult approach, that also (directly, and uncharacteristically for the President, I believe) alludes to the politics of the situation.

              Namely, that a significant part of the House GOP seems bent on defying Obama and the Democrats, cock sure of the rightness of their views and wilfully overlooking how the debt accumulated, with tax cuts and unpaid for two big unpaid for wars, exacerbated by stubbornly continued economic doldrums and reduced income tax revenues. Those are the facts of the matter.

              Some say that this is just blaming Bush & Co. Note that I am not blaming, I'm stating how we got here and I'm refusing to blame a President who was not part of how those problems got traction. Nevertheless, we're stuck with this mess and we need a cooperative way out.

              Failing that, responsibility for the debt ceiling debacle - and it is clearly that - will rest where it belongs, with Congress, and we all will suffer for it.

              2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

              by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:52:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  He has a say, but it isn't his job (0+ / 0-)

            It is utterly irresponsible of Boehner to criticize Obama for not coming up with a budget to Boehner's liking.  that's like a director blaming the movie critics for his not making a better movie

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:31:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  That is more or less impossible (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vote4Obamain2012, Krush, Matt Z

        The House will not pass anything short of a total decimation of the government and its ability to do anything.

      •  This GOP will threaten to collapse the economy (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TKO333, DSPS owl, lippythelion69, Matt Z

        if Obama so much as proposes to spend a dollar on an extra can of soda.

        Why would they ever choose to not use this ultimate political weapon? Every time Obama comes to Congress and asks for money--even to perform routine government functions--they could use the threat of default to extort concessions from the Democrats. They'd be fucking stupid to allow anything to pass without first getting their pound of flesh. Or ten.

        And why would they ever allow a permanent end to this crisis? That would be like voluntarily giving up Tolkien's One Ring. No one is going to do it, that kind of power is just too tempting.

        It's legislation by terrorist threat, is what it is. We haven't seen the likes of it since just before the Civil War.

        There is no way for Obama to resolve this crisis by making concessions. The only way is to force the GOP to back down.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:30:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ugh... (0+ / 0-)

        You're right if you're talking about legislation that Obama wants (e.g. a stimulus package).  But it seems that Boehner wants to cut spending, and so it's his job to shepherd a bill through the House and send it to the Senate.  The Senate hacks it to bits and a conference committee hashes out the differences.  Obama's only role is to make it clear when he'll use his veto.  The House can ignore this, but the conference committee shouldn't.

        For Obama to "lead" on this issue would be pushing on a rope, a fool's errand.

        Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

        by godwhataklutz on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:47:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, and FDR was a caretaker. (0+ / 0-)

      Ditto TR, LBJ, and others.

      There are these interesting concepts such as:

      1. Leadership,
      2. The veto,
      3. Implementation

      That's not to excuse or minimize Congress.  A President certainly is at the mercy of Congress to do its job, but he's a long way from being just another observer.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:37:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  considering how often politico is dead wrong (7+ / 0-)


    I have to ask a silly question: why does anyone quote Politico here on DKOS.  It's a reality based community.  Why not just go directly to WorldNutDaily or the NY Daily News?

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:33:02 AM PST

  •  And I have noticed on MSNBC, except for the (6+ / 0-)

    evening hosts, love Politico and they quote them frequently and hang on every word they say.  

    And I think it got worse after the authors of Game Change are mentioned at Awards shows like the Golden Globes last night when the TV movie version of their book won so many awards .  

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:34:24 AM PST

    •  Not only does Chuck Todd have his own (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, NCJan, Matt Z

      news show on MSNBC in the mornings, right after Joe Scarborough, but Mike Allen is a frequent guest on Joe and other news shows off and on during the day (presumably when Allen can take time away from his busy schedule of listening to Republican talking points and Political gossip).

      Apparently it's not necessary to understand anything about economics or what's actually happening with the budget - or any sense of logic - to be a journalist these days, as long as you can take accurate notes in order to report what politicians are saying.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:09:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Hang on every word" is pretty strong. (0+ / 0-)

      Politico represents one view, and they do have some "insider" access and - spin aside - acute judgment about political processes, whether right or wrong. (I usually think it's wrong, too.)

      After all, MSNBC fills four prime-time evening hours of liberal-to-Progressive coverage and commentary. It needs people who do what Politico people do to riff with and against.

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:22:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  By "reign" do you mean he's desperately (4+ / 0-)

    trying to be king of the lunatics?

    In so doing, it pretends that the lunatic Republicans that Boehner is so desperately trying to reign in are actually grounded in reality.
    in that case "reign over" rather than "reign in" might be better grammatically.

    or do you mean "rein" as in "reindeer" ?

    Either way works, I suppose.

  •  Politico=Fox for the college educated. (12+ / 0-)

    Same lies with a better label.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:38:20 AM PST

  •  Lunatic Marsha Blackburn was on MSNBC telling (10+ / 0-)

    of all the "waste, abuse, & fraud" in our overblown gov't.....

    I think she could help the matter, and save us having to pay her salary----and resign!!

    What an idiot!!

  •  Bottom Lin is - (6+ / 0-)

    Simply Republicans want to get rid of Social Security & Medicare and give all that money for more tax cuts for the Rich and Corporations

  •  We won't default (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, caseynm

    They'll go to the 11th hour, possible "default" for a few hours, then Boehner will pass something out of the House with more Dems voting for it than Republicans. Just like the fiscal cliff sham.

    I do think there is a very real chance they will shut the government down though. It will depend on how it polls though.

  •  So you're going to shut down the government? (3+ / 0-)

    And how will we know when you've done this? How will we tell? Oh wait, you don't do anything anyway. More might actually get done.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:40:18 AM PST

    •  You'll know (4+ / 0-)

      when social security checks stop getting posted, when you can't file your taxes (so no refunds), when medicare reimbursements stop being sent to doctors, when national parks are shuttered, when contractors start furloughing employees because they don't have any hours to bill to contracts with stop work orders.

      •  And you can't get a passport (0+ / 0-)

        So much for that trip you've been planning for months....

        "Historically, the most terrible things--war, genocide and slavery--have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience." --Howard Zinn

        by NCJan on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:59:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A friend of mine works at the Library of Congress (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Vote4Obamain2012

      and she loses work when the government shuts down.

      It'd be nice if we really couldn't tell, but the government shutting down does have real consequences.

      •  For those who think the govt does nothing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vote4Obamain2012

        http://www.ice.gov/...

        One hundred twenty-three victims of child sexual exploitation were identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents during an international operation aimed at rescuing victims and targeting individuals who own, trade and produce images of child pornography. Of that number, 44 children were directly rescued from their abusers and 79 were identified as either being exploited by others outside of their home or are now adults who were victimized as children.
        In the event of a government shut down, efforts like this would be scaled back in a major way, or possibly stopped altogether, if it was deemed non-mission critical.
    •  The Republicans' version of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoJoe, DSPS owl

      shutting down the government amounts to a line-item veto by congress of their own bills.  They will pass spending bills, then refuse to appropriate the money to pay some of them.  That way they can pick and choose which agencies, programs and contracts to fund - at least those on the discretionary side of the budget.  Cry, the beloved country.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:53:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yet why do people here (9+ / 0-)

    always assume reporters to be incompetent and clueless? What they actually are are paid shills who are being compensated to "catapult the propaganda." Why don't we just say that outright?

    •  Although it's perfectly reasonable to say (0+ / 0-)

      that Mrs. Alan Greenspan (aka Andrea Mitchell) is catapulting propaganda, Occam's razor compels the conclusion that she's just incompetent and clueless.

      We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

      by NoMoJoe on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:17:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cathy McMorris Rodgers (6+ / 0-)

    Threatening government shutdown is as about  as laughable as Sarah Palin promising coherency. To be honest, I'm surprised that Boehner's pie faced woman prop backdrop is capable of speech at all.

  •  those "serious" people are (5+ / 0-)

    a) moderate right leaners who pretend toward neutrality

    b) lazy analysts who substitute pretending there are two equal sides for actually making judgements, god forbid actually doing research rather than listening to rumors and soundbites

    c) most of all don't want to piss off the wrong people and not get including on the b list

    d) all of the above

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:45:29 AM PST

  •  Ms. Rogers is my Congressional Rep., and believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012

    me when I say my Represzentative did not and is not being held accountable by the people here for whom she represents. For the first time in awhile she had a talented and capable Dem. that ran against her this past season. For some reason he was way to slooow out of the gate which allowed her to win again, sadly.

  •  gee, and to think this is just the beginning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, DSPS owl

    of serious people talking about serious issues.

    i think it's time to turn off the TV box until this is over.
    i don't think i can take it. :-/

    I prefer pie on a plate, sometimes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    by dear occupant on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:46:12 AM PST

  •  Why would they report differently (3+ / 0-)

    when the Admin and Surrogates continue to talk exlusively about tax cuts...

    How much does anyone want to bet that revenue and stimulus are barely discussed in the President's speech today?

    We need to discuss the folks that are driving the agenda...not the media or Republicans...

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:46:42 AM PST

  •  "Debt ceiling" theatre. GOP has no leverage. (4+ / 0-)

    But it will probably cost us dearly.

    Per The Automatic Earth

    There is no debt ceiling issue simply because the GOP, even if it would want to show its muscle by drawing the country into that fight, has no such muscle. At present, they're just a bunch of unguided missiles looking so desperately for a target they forget to launch in the first place. While the Democrats are the outer layer of a slick bank machine built to always and on every transaction give back less than you and everyone else put in. A quasi-perpetual money maker that they’ll keep running as long and as far as they can. The golden egg at last.

    The only thing you can really be sure of is that the debt ceiling non-crisis will be averted with measures that will cost you dearly. The fear of the debt ceiling that has been instilled in you will be used to further strengthen the grip of the financial industry on society at large. The adagium is to never let a good crisis go to waste, and if there is no crisis, you create one.

    •  indeed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midwesterner

      in 2011 when Congress met to deal with the debt ceiling crisis, they spawned the sequestered cuts (the so-called "fiscal cliff").

      The last-minute deal to avert the sequestered cuts included an agreement to revisit the debt ceiling in a couple months.

      Each time they meet to supposedly deal with the crisis, they end up creating another opportunity for Republican hostage-taking a few months down the road, or spawning another new crisis. But never do they actually agree to permanently end any of the crises.

      The goal is to force the Democrats to repeatedly barter away a little bit in order to avert economic breakdown, until eventually they have nothing left to barter away except SS and Medicare.

      That's Obama's goal. It's why he explicitly refuses to take executive action to prevent a default despite the public pleas of Congressional leaders. He will accept no other outcome other than a Democratic agreement to slash the New Deal programs. That is why he keeps thumping the deficit reduction pulpit and saying they need to do more each time they come to a deal. Because they haven't agreed to cut what he wants to cut yet.

      We know there’s a path forward.  Last year, I signed into law $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction.  This week’s action further reduces the deficit by $737 billion, making it one of the largest deficit reduction bills passed by Congress in over a decade.  And I’m willing to do more.
      The Republicans aren't dumb enough to cause a government shutdown or to default. The money men behind the GOP will never let them do the latter. But they do serve as a useful boogeyman to force the Democrats into supporting austerity.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:12:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Somehow The Outrage Over Spending (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012

    didn't defeat Obama in November. Didn't give the GOP the Senate. And in total votes, the GOP didn't get a majority in the House. The phone calls to GOP reps will let theme know this not Tea Party nation. The elections somehow didn't give them a clue.

  •  That's not possible, Jed. (0+ / 0-)
    Personally, I think he's focused way too much on the deficit.
    You could tax the 1% at 90% and not make a pimple on the ass of the deficit.  It has to be a balanced approach, and everyone has to feel the pain, or it will never get done.

    I am sick and tired of the magical thinking that goes on in Washington.   There is no miracle cure, no trillion dollar coin, no more progressive tax rate that will solve the debt unless we spend less and reform our entitlement programs.  

    It all has to be on the table.   The President knows it, too.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:01:24 AM PST

  •  default will never happen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lippythelion69

    Wall street will not allow it and Obama knows that. In fact if the republicans ever allowed default I would guess some of the big GOP money may switch sides.
    They could shut the govt down but that is a loser for them. Obama should just say I am not going to even consider cuts until you stop acting like children and threatening our economy.

  •  Vanderhei & Co. are operating under delusion... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012

    that there is anyone sane in the republican Party.  

    Because the reality of the hijacking of the republican party by a powerful combination of extremist right-wing politicians and their extremist right-wing billionaire backers, there are very few--if any--current republicans willing or able to step away from the extremism.  

    Yet, the reporters seem to be living in the past, a past where there were actually some people in the republican party who were willing to put Country before Party.  

    The reporters are attempting to create a reality that doesn't exist:  They treat the lunatics as if they were sane.  They present right-wing political propaganda as truth, without verification or challenge.  They report bizarre and destructive political maneuvering as credible behavior.  

    The reporters are either incompetent, or they are delusional themselves.  Or some combination of both, with a lot of wishful thinking--pretending that the current dysfunctional government is somehow actually capable of functioning normally, when the reality is that too much power is in the hands of many very unstable, corrupted individuals.

  •  I am so sick of these asshole Republicans playing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012

    games; and failing to do their job......absolutely disgusting!!!

    2014 can't come soon enough!!!  Turn them out!!

  •  Republicans have their daddies... (0+ / 0-)

    ...so do reporters on the Hill... Don't expect neither to take a stand of decency and/or go with the truth...

  •  Empty calories (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012

    There is a large minority of Republicans who hate government so much that they would like to shut it down just because it's Monday.  I don't think this is a majority of Republicans, because they still see it as a tool to achieve their right wing goals.  

    Without government, who will enforce restrictions on abortion?  Who will carry out the war on drugs?  Who will stop non-white people at the borders?  How will many large corporations manage without their welfare (the poor dears)?

    I don't like everything government does, but politics is compromise and sometimes we get something we don't want so that we can have things we do want.  We are working on the "more perfect union" thing.

    So the Speaker's talk of government shutdown is candy for the Republicans who hate government.  Nothing more.  If it is more, and the extreme anti-government types have taken over the GOP caucus, we are in for a bit of a ride.

  •  's what i think: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Berkshires, Vote4Obamain2012
    The key point here is that any article that purports to be about the budget battles really ought to at least make an effort to stay grounded in reality.

    Republicans are penny wise and pound foolish.

    by Krush on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:13:33 AM PST

  •  To paraphrase (probably) Thomas Jefferson (0+ / 0-)

    "The media you watch is the media you deserve."
    The Republicans are stuck with Fox (owned by Murdoch, who owns 20% of Rotana).  A network dedicated to the promotion of the ideal that Money is right and give the owners more of it.  Constantly promoting a message of the day calibrated to keep them in power.
    Meanwhile, the Democrats are stuck with trying to sound rational and everytime someone on the left says something, Murdoch's minions magically transform the statement to a proof of why we're socialists and blah-blech-blah.  The depth of the problems we have are not ameanable to simple sound bites and too many people don't have the experience, education and patience to listen to the whole story.
    The reality is, both sides have some core truths.  The repubs are justifiably concerned about the debt (not that they really want to do anything about it, see W's tax cuts for himself and the fellow wealthy).  The Democrats finally have a man whom I believe is a true believer in social justice and a society for all, but is a pragmatist: "Gotta pay for it, and we can't pay for it all." But he is also stuck with the fatal flaw of the Southern bias in the electoral college.  
    No solutions here, just acknowledgement that we're in deep doo doo and gotta keep on plugging.

    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 Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:26:37 AM PST

  •  Ummm... a little misdirection re spending cuts. (0+ / 0-)

    Counting the sequesters as spending cuts is pretty misleading when the topic at hand is how to avoid the sequesters.

    Those are conditional cuts -- not actual cuts yet.

    Having said that, I am warming to the idea that the administration should embrace the sequester as the most effective way to hit at defense spending.  Defense contracts have been handed out in a way to maximize Congressional support, and anything short of a meat cleaver seems unlikely to make a difference.

    That's not to say the sequester would not be painful -- domestic programs would feel the axe as well, but Socieal Security is spared, and Medicare is barely touched ( a 2% cut cojmparied to 8-10% for other programs).

    In a game of Sequester Chicken, I'm not sure who would blink first -- or if anyone would blink at all -- but the negotiating would instantly change. The administration would have to scramble like hell to minimize the temporary pain caused by the cuts, but Republicans' bargaining chips would be hit harder.  Maybe not the same degree of pain as benefits to individuals -- but some.  That defense spending does generate some jobs and jobs=voters and angry voters = pain.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:34:58 AM PST

  •  What Obama wants (0+ / 0-)

    When they start the sentence that way, it makes no difference what Obama does,

    What Obama wants

    Totally the most hateful, racist, ignorant theory ever.  There is nothing more racist than that and they know it.  What Obama wants never has to meet up with what Obama does because, we know what Obama wants.

    God help us all.

    Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

    by 88kathy on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:42:49 AM PST

  •  Obama, by law, has to obey Congress (0+ / 0-)

    Tricky Dick Nixon tried to not spend what Congress authorized, and the passed a law forcing the President to spend what is authorized.  Now, 35 years later, the Conservatives have forgotten about those laws?  The Conservatives?  Don't they fight to preserve the status quo?  Or are they fighting to just keep having Caucasian presidents ?
    The previous President (Caucasian) got around Congress's intent by issuing 'Signing Statements" that indicated whether he deigned to follow the law or not, and the Caucasian Congress stood still for those shenanigans.  But now, everything Congress fails to do becomes Obama's fault.
    It's time for the media to stop paying attention to the republicans altogether.

  •  How abt not paying Congress critters till they act (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lippythelion69

    to raise the debt ceiling.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:21:10 AM PST

  •  Every President presents a budget every year! (0+ / 0-)

    2013 budget here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    2012 budget here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    2011 budget here: http://infousa.state.gov/...

    [go look up the rest of them for yourself]

    Congress can vote for it, or they can vote for something else.

    What is the issue?  They have the President's budget.  What else do they want him to do? Read it to them like a bedtime story??

    "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." -- Patrick Henry November 6, 2012 MA-4 I am voting for my friends Barry, Liz and Joe (Obama, Warren and Kennedy)

    by BornDuringWWII on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:37:14 AM PST

  •  A sound bite, or a phrase, or a microphone (0+ / 0-)

    ..wielded by a propagandist can be a powerful thing in shaping perceptions. Especially if he's preaching to the choir.

    The Aggressively Ignorant Caucus is getting aggressively ignorant again.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:08:39 AM PST

  •  Charlie Pierce is brilliant (0+ / 0-)

    and becoming the most astute and entertaining political commentator! His title for the Politico posting is:

    Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity

    Read more: Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/...

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