Republicans wanted the shutdown all along, and Dems have already lost the negotiations

There’s a lot of posturing going on around the latest government shutdown / hostage standoff by the Republicans. As Howie Klein points out here, many vulnerable Republicans are telling their districts that they’re opposed to the shutdown — which the public strongly opposes — while voting Yes on the shutdown in Washington.

I’ll tell you what Dems are doing in a moment.

Look, this shutdown story is being told in a number of ways:

Both sides are at fault. (Also here.)
▪ It’s a Republican civil war.
▪ There’s no third choice.

Well, that’s wrong. There is a third choice and it’s this:

▪ The Republicans, all of them, have wanted a standoff like this since the 2012 election; they just couldn’t agree on how to stage it.

You read that right. They looked like they were dithering and dathering, lurching hither and yon, because they couldn’t agree on what to hold as the hostage and how to stage the battle. Would the hostage be Obamacare? The Ryan budget? The sequester cuts? Deeper cuts than that? Reinstate the Bush tax cuts?

Well, they finally settled, by fits and starts, on Repeal Obamacare Now, and here we are.

The Williamsburg Accord in January 2013 set the Republican strategy for Obama’s second term

You’ve probably never heard of the so-called “Williamsburg Accord” agreement that came out of the Republican retreat in early 2013. I’ll let Jonathan Chait tell the story, from an excellent New York magazine article (my emphasis and some reparagraphing everywhere):

In January, demoralized House Republicans retreated to Williamsburg, Virginia, to plot out their legislative strategy for President Obama’s second term. Conservatives were angry that their leaders had been unable to stop the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on high incomes, and sought assurances from their leaders that no further compromises would be forthcoming. The agreement that followed, which Republicans called “The Williamsburg Accord,” received obsessive coverage in the conservative media but scant attention in the mainstream press. …

But the decision House Republicans made in January has set the party on the course it has followed since. If you want to grasp why Republicans are careening toward a potential federal government shutdown, and possibly toward provoking a sovereign debt crisis after that, you need to understand that this is the inevitable product of a conscious party strategy. Just as Republicans responded to their 2008 defeat by moving farther right, they responded to the 2012 defeat by moving right yet again. Since they had begun from a position of total opposition to the entire Obama agenda, the newer rightward lurch took the form of trying to wrest concessions from Obama by provoking a series of crises.

The first element of the strategy is a kind of legislative strike. Initially, House Republicans decided to boycott all direct negotiations with President Obama, and then subsequently extended that boycott to negotiations with the Democratic Senate. (Senate Democrats have spent months pleading with House Republicans to negotiate with them, to no avail.) This kind of refusal to even enter negotiations is highly unusual. The way to make sense of it is that Republicans have planned since January to force Obama to accede to large chunks of the Republican agenda, without Republicans having to offer any policy concessions of their own.

This is take-no-prisoners politics to accomplish policy goals of radical conservative revolutionaries. Does it look familiar? Most likely you’ve been watching it most or all of your life.

What looks to the more astute like a “Republican civil war” is really this (Chait again):

Republicans have thrashed this way and that throughout the year. Republicans have fallen out, often sharply, over which hostages to ransom, with the most conservative ones favoring a government shutdown threat and the more pragmatic wing, oddly, endorsing a debt default threat. They have also struggled to define the terms of their ransom.

But they’re all in it, every one of them. Does this look like an “Obamacare” fight? At the core it’s not, though repealing Obamacare is a huge “want” for them all. Does it look like a “conscience clause” ban-contraception fight? At the heart it’s not, though overturning Griswold and getting rid of contraception (and any right of privacy for women) is a huge “want” for the whole of the radical-conservative party as well.

In reality, this is a “how do we impose our will on them” battle, with various factions fighting over which of their policy wants to put upfront. Do read the rest of Chait’s good piece. It’s an eye-opener.

What radical conservatives always do — demand total surrender or they bring down everything

Abraham Lincoln encountered that attitude, that approach, in dealing with the radical South, as he said in his famous Cooper Union speech:

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events. …

[W]hat will convince them [Southern slave owners]? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly – done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated – we must place ourselves avowedly with them.

All or nothing, or everyone dies. The same thing happened in 1879, remarkably, using a standoff over government funding as the chosen battleground:

Today’s shutdown crisis has an eerily familiar predecessor. It echoes America’s first battle over a government shutdown, which came not in the 20th century, but rather, shortly after the Civil War. In 1879, ex-Confederates in Congress [Southern Democrats, the radical conservatives of their day], desperate to turn the direction of the nation, refused to fund the government unless the Republican president promised to abandon his party and do things their way.

Republicans [at the time the party of Lincoln] then saw the situation for what it was. “If this is not revolution,” House Minority Leader James Garfield concluded, “which if persisted in will destroy the government, [then] I am wholly wrong in my conception of both the word and the thing.”

Garfield knew exactly what revolution meant. He had fought to protect his government from revolutionaries at the Battle of Shiloh, where more than 13,000 Union soldiers fell, and at Chickamauga, which took another 16,000. Only 14 years later, the very same men who had made war against the government on the battlefield were making war against it from their congressional seats. …

Having lost on the battlefields, [revolutionary Southern Democrats] would coerce the president to give in to them or they would starve the government to death. …

Though the policy issue was the use of federal troops to enforce the right of former slaves to vote, the tactic was a radical reversal of the Constitution itself — just what we’re seeing today:

[A]t issue was the very structure of American government.

[Republican] President Hayes and Minority leader Garfield recognized that if an extremist faction in Congress could force its will on the country by holding government finances hostage, it would erase the power of the president and destroy the basic structure of the American government’s separation of powers. Even moderate [non-Southern] Democrats, who didn’t particularly like the idea of troops enforcing black rights, agreed that the threat was truly revolutionary and menaced the Constitution.

If the extremists’ tactics worked, this would be only the first of their demands, and the country would fall, as one Democrat said, under “the absolute despotism of an irresponsible and unrestrained partisan majority” in Congress.

Hayes and Garfield didn’t give in (that was so then), and they ultimately won the standoff. But the constitutional question was never settled:

[T]he ultimate reluctance of ex-Confederates to force a constitutional crisis so soon after the Civil War meant that America never resolved the crucial question of what to do when a faction in Congress refuses to fund the government unless it gets its way.

And now they’re back.

How have Obama and House Democratic leaders responded?

You might think that Obama and the rest of the neoliberal leaders of his party have been standing firm. And that would be true in that they are refusing (so far) to cave to the demand to defund or repeal Obamacare. And they’ll probably stand firm on the other issues that aren’t primarily economic.

But as digby points out:

I think one of the major misunderstandings (willful, in many cases) of this budget mess is that it’s about Republicans just running around willy-nilly screaming “nonononono” like toddlers having a temper tantrum. I know it looks that way, but that’s not what’s happening. This is a strategy.

And one that’s winning. Ultimately this is about enacting the feed-the-rich, starve-the-poor Paul Ryan budget (h/t digby):

The Senate Continuing Resolution Is Already a Compromise

Senate CR proposal compared to the Ryan budget (source)

The Senate-passed measure to keep the government operating represents an enormous compromise by progressives to avoid a damaging government shutdown. The Democrat-controlled Senate agreed to temporary funding levels that are far closer to the Republican-controlled House budget plan than they are to the Senate’s own budget for fiscal year 2014. Moreover, this concession is only the latest of many such compromises over the past several years.

The Democrat-controlled Senate passed a continuing resolution, or CR—a temporary funding measure meant to keep the government operating—that would set the relevant funding levels at an annualized total of $986 billion. That’s about $70 billion less than what the Senate endorsed as part of its comprehensive budget plan back in April. But [even] that actually understates the extent of the compromise. …

Do read the rest. They’re agreeing to starve the government. They can’t agree on how much. Digby’s comment?

Last night Steny Hoyer shouted this on floor during one of the debates:

“This is not a negotiation — we’re taking their [the Republican budget] number, and we would hope that they could also take their number so we can keep the government open.”

You see? The Democrats already folded. Sequestration is now the ongoing law of the land and Paul Ryan’s budget wet dream is considered the “clean” continuing resolution.

And yet, they were not satisfied.

Sound familiar? Digby adds:

Video: Young Guns II, the return of the Ryan budget’s assault on MedicareWith the exception of some chump change from millionaires in the last round, the Democrats have been losing on policy every step of the way since these budget battles began, even as they seem to be winning the politics. What could be more telling than the fact that the numbers in Paul Ryan’s budget are now considered the starting point in any new negotiations to end the shutdown.

Who’s being played here?

I’ll resist answering that last question, and offer another. I know that the free-market, Catfood-for-Grannie Democrats are opposed to the Ryan budget — but how opposed? They’re both starving the government. It’s just that one will strangle it as well.

Are you ready for Social Security cuts or Catfood CPI or Medicare retirement age changes or Medicare means testing or any of the other wet-dream benefit cuts Obama and Boehner both want to be thrown in to this negotiation as well? Could happen.

The only thing preventing more strangle-the-government budget cuts is all-or-nothing Republican tactics

And that’s your bottom line. Whom do you want to root for? What do you want the outcome to be? A government shutdown that ends in fatal-to-many budget and health care cuts, or a government shutdown that ends in crippling-to-many (and fatal to some) benefit cuts?

Friends, you don’t have a friend in this fight, and Class War Kitteh knows it. Here’s her comment on that Ryan budget spoken about above:


And Braveheart can’t believe his ears:


But I can believe mine:

“This is not a negotiation — we’re taking their [budget] number.”

To take us back to the beginning, we don’t have a Lincoln on our side, standing firm on policy. We have free-trade benefit cutters like Barack Obama, Robert Rubin, Pete Peterson–endorsing Bill Clinton, and soon (perhaps) Clinton the Next, giving away most of the store instead of it all. Do you feel fortunate? Or paraphrasing digby, do you feel played?

Our personal brave new world. It has these people in it.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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111 Responses to “Republicans wanted the shutdown all along, and Dems have already lost the negotiations”

  1. ronbo says:

    Sixty: Democrats Plus Independent Bernie Sanders. How quickly do you “forget” other facts? It was only 72 working days; but, it was a BIG wasted opportunity resulting in Dems being routed in the election following their sitting on their hands.

    At any point, the Majority (Dems) could reverse the filibuster rule … something that the Repubs are CERTAIN to do if they ever take the Senate. Dems choose to be allow Repubs the upper hand.

  2. OH says:

    Totally? Have you checked all of your toes?

  3. OH says:

    Obama could whack the insurgents one time if he wasn’t constrained by the politeness of Americans towards the worthless rich.
    Just say you are willing to use the Constitutional option or the Platinum Coins!!
    Just say you are willing to do it!
    Say that any prioritization of payments will de-prioritize the worthless rich!
    Impersonation: Oh gee but oh I don’t know, that’s extreme, that’s been debunked, that isn’t practical.
    Is sabotage extreme? Is sabotage debunked? Is sabotage practical?
    Take this easy victory you fools!! You have fare more support from Americans than even the polls are saying. Even the people saying they are in favor of sabotage hope it stops!!

  4. OH says:

    Republicans are staging these secret meetings and then starting rumors that during the meeting they opposed the sabotage.
    If the Republicans were unhappy with the Republican Majority Leader in the House who is sabotaging America, they could do something, but – notice that they don’t?
    If the Republican Majority Leader said “Obamacare is good”, they would fire him in a second. People are talking about Kabuki but the only Kabuki is Republicans claiming they are against the sabotage, and Democrats claiming they won’t sell us out every step of the way from here to the 1800s.

  5. OH says:

    Democrats had 59 votes plus Joe Lieberman, it takes 60 to stop a filibuster.
    What would possess you to come up here and say the Democrats had a filibuster proof majority? Most of the filibusters were joined by one or more Democrats! The stimulus package had to be weak because Democrats joined the filibuster and there were many examples where Conservative Democrats joined the Republican filibuster.

  6. OH says:

    The Centrists Democrats have to pretend to want to win, and there are liberals who really want them to win. When a match like Obama vs. McCain comes up where their preferred side has no chance, they’re unhappy.
    Liberals who vote for the lesser of two evils are very reliable voters, almost as much as conservatives, far more than moderates. In 2010, Democrats lost because it was a non-presidential year when turnout is down. There was no evidence at all of liberals actually not voting in 2010, yet liberals were blamed for the loss and to this day 2010 is used against liberals by the Centrists to advocate for more selling out, which leads to more losing, which means more blaming liberals, and this is their favorite high.

  7. OH says:

    I admire your humanitarianism for caring about any innocent rich getting caught along with the guilty – I don’t.
    The rich create nothing, they invent nothing, they are outsourcing the next generation of American inventors, the world isn’t big enough for us and them both. They are worthless – they think they are important – but we do not need the rich for anything at all.

  8. OH says:

    When was the last time Ralph Nader did anything for the Green Party?

  9. karmanot says:

    Ultimately scholars will find Ralph Nader among the greatest patriots of American history.

  10. Jared says:

    Demanding gun control would get the Democrats in the Senate killed. The ACA is one thing, but backing gun advocates into a corner is a whole other ballgame.

  11. Indigo says:

    Thank you. Nancy Reagan kept that B movie actor husband of hers in the White House for 2 terms with her astrologer’s assistance. When it comes to divination, which is what the self-identified pundits are in fact doing, the traditional methods work fairly well.

  12. zorbear says:

    That makes a LOT more sense than what I’ve been hearing from the political pundits…

  13. Indigo says:

    Which goes a long ways towards supporting my intuition that this decade is likely to manifest desultory behavior a la House of Boehner in many realms from non-negotiable politics to breath-taking monopolistic practices out of Wall Street and a horrifying indifference to the environment. Pluto sits in Capricorn, sulking as you say, until March, 2023. That’s a long pout in an earth sign that highlights material concerns.

  14. zorbear says:

    Science or not, you just know that the demotion had to hurt Pluto’s feelings. There’s nothing worse to deal with than a sulking ex-planet…

  15. Indigo says:

    The “demotion” was astronomical (science), not astrological (divination). Pluto remains the mythological king of the underworld, the dark energy, and sometimes the Cosmic No. After all, science does not do divination nor does divination do modern science, a misunderstanding scientists often make because Spirit and myth are a realm science does not grasp.

  16. Butch1 says:

    Exactly. They’ve all sold out. Even Maddow and Hayes ignore the obvious.

  17. Ford Prefect says:

    No Head Start or meat/fish/poultry inspections, but this is too important to delay.

    Well, at least he understands his own priorities.

  18. ezpz says:

    And yet, with all the cuts, there’s this:

    Obama Quietly Okays Military Aid to Countries That Use Child Soldiers

    Overrides law banning such aid; critics charge ‘Obama becoming an expert at waiving human rights laws’

  19. zorbear says:


  20. Anonymous says:

    Oops, sorry. I was using # of kids as an indicator.

  21. Naja pallida says:

    Well, he does have a BA in economics, and once had a subscription to the National Review – so that’s his experience. He’s Catholic, not Mormon. And he has no credibility outside of right-wing crazy circles, and doesn’t want any. Like most of the Tealiban, he thinks his lack of credibility about his crazy ideas actually makes them more important than they are or ever will be.

  22. PeteWa says:


  23. Kim_Kaufman says:

    GP – Hate to sound bummed out but… I’m totally bummed out. :(

  24. Anonymous says:

    Nah. I didn’t hear him offer anything close to a non-solution. Or any concrete ideas, really. Just a constant stream of negativity.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen you trolling on various political sites. What, your “blog” isn’t getting enough hits? I guess no one gives a hoot about your opinion then.

  26. Anonymous says:

    What is Paul Ryan’s experience or credibility? Aside from being a brainless Mormon who can look passable in a suit, bred a few kids, and likes alt rock music.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Good God, are we dredging up the Romney tax plan again? The one where the definition of “small businesses” is changed to include 99% of businesses, which then get tax breaks? Americans never read the fine print – that’s how this business thrives in this country full of gullible stooges.

  28. Indigo says:

    Trolls. They’re under every bridge, you know. :-)

  29. BeccaM says:

    Yeah, it’s essentially the same as ALL CAPS for those who happen to know a little html code.

  30. ezpz says:

    Because our ‘so-called liberal media stations’ are corporate owned, and as such, they are part of the one percent, who will never ever be affected by these cuts. Not Rachel. Not Ed. Not a single one of them. In fact, It behooves them to spew lies of omission in order to keep the red team bad/ blue team good games alive,

  31. Butch1 says:

    Oh, I see . . . You have all the answers but, we, peons are too ignorant and stupid to understand them so you are not willing to share them, but you will occasionally come on down from on high to gloat and scold us as to how stupid we are and just how knowing and smart you are?

    I’m starting to get it now, BloggerDave. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
    Buh-Bye. . .

  32. mirror says:

    I sometimes ponder what ,specifically, the down votes are about for some comments. This is one of those comments.

  33. Butch1 says:

    They are accomplices in this. That can be the only answer.

  34. Bill_Perdue says:

    Elections will never be ‘won’ by the left. If the CIA organized the murders of hundreds of thousands of leftists and left centrists, including heads of state like Allende, Lumumba and Sukarno in places like Chile, Indonesia and the Congo for winning elections, what do you imagine they’d do here.

    Elections are an opening to organize and educate, but they will never end the rule of the rich.

  35. indep_in_la says:

    This is why I’m not a Dem any longer. The Dems are really Republican-lite. They’re rather schizophrenic in their behavior. One day they want to show that they care about people and the next they give away money to fat corporations. And Obama is more like Cybil with the number of different behaviors he’s displayed.

  36. karmanot says:

    You have probably guessed by now that I’m an Aries rising.

  37. karmanot says:

    You do that.

  38. Bill_Perdue says:

    People who vote for Democrats vote for their wars of aggression, their attacks on unions, entitlements and the Bill of Rights. If they didn’t agree with that they wouldn’t vote for Democrats.

  39. karmanot says:

    Sorry Davie, your BS doesn’t hold a dry spit compared to Gaius. You are out of your league.

  40. nicho says:

    What bullshit. You’ve offered nothing of substance here — just pointless carping.

  41. Bill_Perdue says:

    There isn’t on most questions except in the minds of those with illusions. Democrats are Republicans in drag. Obamacare is a fraud.

  42. Bill_Perdue says:

    Another excellent post, GP.

    The central political focus of our time remains the common program of both Democrats and Republicans – increased austerity, export of jobs, union busting, coddling polluters, wars of aggression and hamfisted attacks on the Bill of Rights.

    This is the period when all the gains of the First and Second American Revolutions are under attack, from gutting the Bill of Rights to a renewal of Jim Crow slavery disguised as enforcement of racist drug laws. It’s the period when the president can order indefinite detention and the racist murders of American citizens like Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Mohammed and Democrats stick their heads in the sand, ignoring it. It’s the period when all the gains of the union upsurge of the last century – Social Security and Medicare – are on the table, ready to gutted.

    The conclusions are inescapable – reform of capitalist societies is not going to happen. Capitalist society is in it’s death agonyand striking out like a cornered viper. Voting for the twin parties of capitalism or pretending that they have something to offer is suicidal for working people and that explains why voter registration and voting are more and more seen as follies.

    We need to abandon the Democrats and their Republican cousins, promote the growth of unions, create a Labor Party and other workers parties and aim towards the establishment of a workers government in a workers state.

  43. karmanot says:

    Excellent Gaius! The treasonous South staring Texas is in full swing to destroy the federal government and the Obozo cartel is just bumbling and fumbling, failing and flaying. Good god they make me sick.

  44. Moderator4 says:

    BloggerDave, you may make your points without using the bold font for your entire comment. Be warned.

  45. GarySFBCN says:

    I didn’t attack Bill. And I’ll post whatever I want until I am asked to do otherwise by the site owner or monitors.

  46. Andreas says:

    You would think they would not even go near a plan like that. Hell, the country knows who orchestrated this fiasco so all the Dems need to do is be there when the republicans finally cave. It is unfortunate but they cannot give in at all to these terrorists holding the country hostage.

  47. Moderator4 says:

    The bolding has been edited, karmanot. It hurts our eyes. ;)

  48. Ford Prefect says:

    So have the Democrats lost Digby? Rather looks like it to me.

    Hoyers’ remark is…um… remarkable. If leadership has already pre-negotiated roughly $300 Billion in fiscal whackage, one might think that newsworthy. How do the Dems propose to meet Ryan’s number and preserve PPACA funding? We know defense, intel and domestic security are off-limits, so where do Pelosi and Hoyer intend to slash away and still keep Obamacare whole? Is Reid on board with this wee “compromise” of theirs? The White House?

    We know where the GOP is coming from. So the Really Big Question is, “WTF do the Democrats think they’re doing and why do they think they don’t have to explain themselves?”

    I don’t see how this ends even remotely well. Hopefully someone can explain that to me, especially since Obama doesn’t leave the Imperium until 2017, which means we get at least three more years of this crap and more if Dem X (presumably Hillary) is installed in 2017. The Dems are making it entirely too difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt here.

  49. karmanot says:

    Lay off Bill Perdue and take your petty BS back over to JMG. Attacking regulars here doesn’t fly.

  50. karmanot says:

    TURN OFF the Bold troll.

  51. BeccaM says:

    And abuses the ‘strong/bold’ tag at the same time….

  52. Ford Prefect says:

    This much we do agree on:

    However, it is just as much his right to state them as it is mine to object to them…

  53. mirror says:

    He did propose solutions. One, supported by history, was for Obama and the Democrats to stand firm. He then predicted that our experience tells us Obama won’t do that, partly because he came into office explicitly wanting the to cut entitlements.

  54. mirror says:

    Name one area besides the (Republican plan) ACA where our Democratic party has not given ground steadily since 2008. Wow. They even had the Bush tax cuts expiring, and did NOTHING with it. Sheesh.

    [What’s with the bold? Is that like all-caps?]

  55. BloggerDave says:

    You are correct, and what’s more, feel free to ignore the word “non-solutions” above. To propose any would be to effectively change his world-view and predisposition…

  56. PeteWa says:

    you offer the exact same thing which you complain about.
    nicely done.

  57. BloggerDave says:

    These facts, loosely speaking, might be new to you but not to those of us who actively work to influence policy from the Left… These opinions are derived from partial facts to which GP adds his own brand of defeatist thinking… However, it is just as much his right to state them as it is mine to object to them…

  58. Butch1 says:

    If we are starting the compromise at the Ryan plan we are idiots. You can always count on the democrats for idiocy. “Snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.” That’s their motto and you can always count on them getting that right.

  59. Butch1 says:

    The end product is the same it is just how fast one gets there.

  60. Butch1 says:

    We could start removing many of the guilty rich in our own government who are responsible for this as a start and then their sponsors.

  61. Butch1 says:

    We really need to sharpen that blade; there are many people that need to be shortened by a head.

  62. Butch1 says:

    Why is it that our so-called liberal media stations can never see this and loudly yell this out for everyone to hear it and be warned about what is actually coming? Would they be fired for telling the truth for once in their lives?

  63. Ford Prefect says:

    Given the extent to which Democratic voters are grossly misinformed about their own House caucus, GP’s post is informative. Even edifying. That is quite useful.

    You, OTOH, think presenting facts is evidence of “negativity” and is therefore worse than presenting facts.

  64. GarySFBCN says:

    Let’s ask Bill Perdue or many other of the ‘they ARE all the same’ bots.

    Saying that the parties are not the same and that one is often a better choice than the other is not saying that either is a good choice.

    Unless you are on a blog.

  65. Indigo says:

    He is not liberal, he is a Jesuit.

  66. nicho says:

    Whatever gave you the idea that Francis was any kind of a liberal? The truth is that the College of Cardinals — as well as the various bishop posts — was packed with right-wing ideologues during the Wotyla/Ratzinger reign of terror. Anyone with any kind of liberal leanings was purged. To gain advancement in the church, it was necessary to sign an oath to pursue a radical right-wing agenda. Francis is a product of that.

  67. nicho says:

    What nonsense. It is not necessary to have a solution in order to point out a problem. That is a fallacy.

  68. BloggerDave says:

    Friends, you don’t have a friend in this fight..
    And finally we arrive at the perennial overarching theme of every one of your posts… It’s important to note that you do not propose alternative “friendships” other than your own nor do you propose any viable strategy… You are simply content to deliver a constant stream of negativity and non-solutions other than “look at this!” which you are apparently convinced motivates people… All evidence points to the contrary…

  69. Indigo says:

    I see the Dark of the Moon shines in your heart.

  70. ezpz says:

    Who here thinks Obama won’t really sell us out by the time this round is over?

    Fait accompli. It just hasn’t been made official yet.

    Jon Walker:

    Obama Is the Driving Force Behind Cutting Your Social Security


    In Obama’s ideal world old people would see their Social Security benefits cut. Even though the pension system is disappearing and the 401k system has proven to have significant issues, Obama still feels one of the biggest problems in the country he needs to address is the fact that old people have it too good.


    The single biggest driving force behind trying to cut your Social Security in Washington is President Obama. At every turn Obama has worked hard to keep the idea alive despite it is a horrible idea that is incredibly unpopular. This is not something Obama is being forced to accept, it is what he has been pushing for.

    And that’s from a liberal site:

  71. GoBlue says:

    If Pope Francis were a true liberal, he’d order Paul Ryan’s bishop to excommunicate him. Ryan worships Ayn Rand at least as much as he professes to love Jesus. No true Catholic can be a follower of Ayn Rand.

  72. Naja pallida says:

    If one were to bring ten of the wisest men in the world together and ask
    them what was the most stupid thing in existence, they would not be
    able to discover anything so stupid as astrology.” -David Hilbert

    Obviously he never anticipated the Tealiban.

  73. ronbo says:

    You saw their legislation the last time Dems had a filibuster proof Senate, House and Presidency…crickets. Then you saw how the Dems fixed the filibuster in the Senate.

    They work together. That’s how the 1% keep control.

    Vote Independent. Vote out Corporate stooges.

  74. Ford Prefect says:

    It’s conceivable they can save PPACA and make cuts elsewhere, which would give Obama the ability to have his cake and eat it too. If Steny has already accepted the Ryan number, then either they don’t care about Obamacare and are willing to take a haircut on it, or they’re going to cut elsewhere.

    Obama has always caved. He’ll do it this time too. He just needs to carve out Obamacare so he can claim he stood his ground. He can cave everywhere else and it will still play like he’s some kind of brave man in the media.

  75. nicho says:

    As long as he has Goofy to back him up.

  76. Naja pallida says:

    The Republicans primary demand this time is that he cripple his landmark piece of legislation. A law that has his name hung on it like an albatross. Any compromise on his part would be a spectacular failure of his Presidency. Republicans have forced him into a corner, and he has no where to go without looking like a complete craven.

    And they’re ready to do it all over again in a week or two with the debt ceiling.

  77. OH says:

    It isn’t kabuki, it is economic sabotage.

  78. MichaelS says:

    Well, I suppose i must concede that point — this only matters if the Dems want to win.

    But Centrist Dem or no, I would hold that they have a very strong interest in their own re-elections, and letting Repugs blame them for shutting down the government won’t help that. So, even if only for their own self-interest and self-preservation, they should take the fight to the Repugs anyway, and show they’ve got balls at least as big. I so wish I were sitting opposite these Dems in a negotiation… any negotiation…

  79. OH says:

    I voted for Obama, and hurray for him saying he won’t compromise, because he is at least being what is considered impolite to the Conservatives before he gives them everything they demand.
    But, he will compromise, he is delaying, he is faking out the liberals so we don’t pressure him – he loves Wall Street and that means he hates us.
    Who here thinks Obama won’t really sell us out by the time this round is over?

  80. ezpz says:

    Good one!

  81. OH says:

    The best way to stick it to the Democratic leadership is not to let them lose an election.

  82. OH says:

    Yes, and the Democrats should rightfully add a condition requiring all Republicans to report for hard labor to pay off their debt plus impossible interest.

  83. OH says:

    I think Obama will compromise again. Does anyone here think he won’t?
    He says he won’t compromise, but that is a delaying tactic, Obama hates us – Republicans may be troubling him but Obama loves Wall Street and we know what that means.

  84. OH says:

    So its both sides, and the Republicans aren’t united in attempting to sabotage the USA during wartime.

  85. OH says:

    Ralph Nader said there was a difference between Al Gore and George Bush, but that it was very very small, “a dimes difference” he said. Yet, while Al Gore was called a Chamberlain and a symp for opposing the disaster in Iraq when it was un-popular to do so, George Bush had known PNAC ties and people tried to tell you about those known PNAC ties.
    The Bush war agenda had been published in 1996, their intention to invade Iraq then Syria then Iran, and the 2nd Pearl Harbor, and a bunch of dry banal detached killing talk.

  86. OH says:

    There aren’t any and such fake ones as there are would not do that.

  87. OH says:

    Its the liberals that want the Democrats to fight, the centrists want the Democrats to compromise.
    Centrists prefer when Republicans win, they are in more of an inter-party struggle against liberals than caring whether the Democrats win an election. Centrist Republicans surely that outcome by definition. But Centrist Democrats want Republicans to win too, not only because they prefer Republican policies but the bonus is they get to blame the liberals and advance their inter-party struggle.
    On the Republican side, it’s the opposite, the Conservatives set the agenda and the Moderates get the blame.
    One Centrist Democrat is as bad as 100 Conservative Republicans.

  88. cole3244 says:

    if we had an electorate with at least a two digit IQ we might elect left of center pols rather than the rw stooges we elect now.

  89. ezpz says:

    Great piece, GP. Thanks for pointing out that Obama and the dems are NOT ‘folding’ or ‘caving’. Rather, this has been the agenda all along of *both* sides, which is the same side. What’s going on now is just kabuki for the pundits and the masses, designed to keep the myth of the two party system alive.

    Jane Hamsher also said it well:

    Can We Please Stop Pretending Obama is “Capitulating” on Social Security?

  90. OH says:

    Most of the bad stuff that happened in the French Revolution was after they stopped killing the worthless rich.

  91. OH says:

    The Green Party is okay now that they have nothing to do with Ralph Nader anymore.
    The next election is local elections, there is only one federal election that is for President.
    Local elections are based on what is happening locally, which is different in different areas.
    Hillary is running in 2016, that is 3 years away. You are quite early to be campaigning for an event that far off unless you place great importance on the outcome of that.

  92. Snaggletooth says:

    Are you serious? Wake up! The Dems aren’t trying to fix this. They don’t hit you because they love you.

  93. caphillprof says:

    Clearly we need a legislative rule or an executive order, that if the Congress fails to authorize a budget for a fiscal year, the previous fiscal year budget is repeated. It’s absurd that any government shuts down. Indeed, it would have been much better if it all were shutdown. Under the circumstances, if any of it is essential, it is all essential.

  94. Snaggletooth says:

    So, who are we running against the Dems and the Republicans next election? Greens, pirates or something new? I’m dead fucking serious. If we are gonna do something different it’s time to get serious and put the organization together, anything else is pointless bitching for the sake of bitching. So who are we voting for, who are we running, and what are we called? Anyone who says something about a third party being spoilers or we need Hillary is the enemy.

  95. zorbear says:

    Does Pluto’s position still matter (what with it being demoted and all)?

  96. caphillprof says:

    I think it’s past time for the French revolution.

  97. Joshua Kammerer says:

    The worst thing about the modern democratic party is how far to the right they have moved the political paradigm with this weakness.

  98. Joshua Kammerer says:

    Massive subsidies already exist for solar. There’s almost nothing for promoting energy efficiency.

  99. MichaelS says:

    fIt’s not too late for the Dems to fix this. They need to step up their game – now – and UP the ante. That sounds counter-intuitive to what a reasonable negotiation is, but these are not reasonable parties at the table. I’ve been a professional negotiator and used the same tactic to negotiate the successful sale of our company, also a $1M settlement from a major Wall St. investment bank, among other transactions.

    The Dems have already started saying it in jest when speaking about immigration reform — they should now put it on the table, in all seriousness. They should announce that the $986B budget figure they offered has a shelf life of exactly 24 hours. Then it’s back to $1,203B. Seriously. No wavering. Then, even the $1,203B offer would be given a shelf life of 24 hours, after which there’s no budget deal unless there’s *also* immediate agreement on a bill prohibiting any future extortion attempts by Congress to shut down government or refuse to raise the debt limit. (Operationally, the bill could be written so that in lieu of any successful budget, a one-year CR is automatically put into effect. The CR would be guaranteed not to be reduced for the year by any subsequent budget agreement except by 2/3 vote, so that federal agencies could at least budget for the year. Likewise, any refusal to raise the debt limit triggers an automatic increase, to fund ALL obligations of the government, including continuing operations in accordance with the budget or the CR.) This last offer would also carry just a 24-hour expiration date (including weekends, btw). It concentrates the mind.

    If the Repugs ignore this threat, the Dems need to make good and add a demand for complete immigration reform to the mix.

    Again, the Repugs are given 24 hours to consider, after which gun background checks get added to the mix. 24 hours only. By this time, and only then, if the Repugs want to sit and negotiate, the Dems agree to talk. They don’t give up a thing unless and until the Repugs back off – completely. (The Repugs will have no doubt added heir own wish list to the mix by now… and everyone can give up all the fluff and save face.)

    Naysayers will object to this, because we’re the adults in the room and need to remain so. Nonsense — We may be the adults, but we’ve got barbarians swinging axes at us and wearing suicide vests. We need to ACT and stop being the “mature adults”. The public blames the Repugs so far, but soon general frustration with the government closure will turn the public’s wrath against BOTH parties equally, and by then the Dems will look unreasonable if they don’t negotiate and give up something. The question is, do we give up something we don’t have anyway, or do we give up something of value that we do have?? (Social Security/chained CPI, anyone?…)

  100. dcinsider says:

    Great piece. Depressing, but great.

  101. Indigo says:

    I said it once below, I’ll say it again: this is the face of the coming decade.

  102. nicho says:

    Not in things that matter. No one ever said there were “no differences at all.” So your straw man fails. There are differences between Tide and Ivory Snow, but they are both owned by Procter and Gamble.

  103. Houndentenor says:

    There is a very simple solution of the moderate Republicans are serious about the interests of country and saving their own party. They go to Boehner together and threaten to bolt if he doesn’t put the Senate bill up for a vote. Until they do that, this is a stalemate.

  104. Reasor says:

    The Senate should add comprehensive gun control to their next offer. If the House won’t take that, come back with an offer that includes gun control and Medicare for all. If the House won’t take that, come back with gun control, Medicare for all, and massive tax incentives for home owners to get solar panels.

  105. GarySFBCN says:

    I thought there was no difference at all between the Democrats and Republicans.

  106. MyrddinWilt says:

    I don’t think the GOP members are monolithic though. This is a civil war inside the GOP as the Ryan faction attempts to take control and the establishment attempts to stop them. And neither side cares about the damage to the country.

    The CR may have less money than the Ryan budget but what is important is the difference in what gets cut. Ryan’s proposal was to phase out social security, medicaid and cut all non-military, non-corporate welfare spending in half, or less. Then the funds raised would go to increased corporate welfare and increased spending on militarism and increased tax cuts for the parasite class and the net was a big increase in the deficit.

  107. DGT says:

    Excellent points. This is just another example of Obama and the Democrats starting negotiations from a compromise position and then moving right to meet the Republicans halfway between the compromise and the GOP’s far right position.

    You could say the same thing about the ACA. It was itself a compromise — which, really, is why the GOP can’t come up with an alternative. It *is* their alternative. So rather than a debate between single-payer/Medicare for all and nothing, we start from the center-right with a corporate insurance industry plan.

    I don’t necessarily blame the Senate for passing a compromise resolution, because, after all, they were trying to negotiate. But now that the Republicans are in hostage-taking mode, maybe the Senate should move back to its original starting point and negotiate from there, even if they end up at the same place.

  108. keirmeister says:

    American “Acceptionalism”: This country is killing itself from the inside. Accept it.

  109. Outspoken1 says:

    You can’t negotiate with terrorists.

  110. ronbo says:

    Excellent piece. Democratic Voters are VERY different from what comes out of the “Democratic” leadership. If one side never compromises and the other side always compromises, then one side ALWAYS gets what they want.

    This is just a sad state of being for such a good populace. We have millions of brilliant individuals being led down the path of ruin by these anarchists. What’s worse, Democratic leadership refuse to stand up and do what they know is right and correct; they seem only compromise and NOT to lead.

    It’s not just on the shutdown… look at the environment. Look at tax/income inequality, voting fairness, extreme gerrymandering, etc…. Just about every important issue that needs clear thought and leadership, is multi-compromised into the exact wrong policy.

    If this congress were in the medical profession, they would compromise an appendectomy by beginning the proceedure with cutting off an arm.

  111. Indigo says:

    Astrologically, with Pluto in Capricorn until March of the year 2023, we can pretty much expect the kind of dark plotting and materialist fixations that the Right Wing Terrorist branch of the Teapublican Party is currently acting out to be the visible maelstrom of the coming decade. Here we are. It’s going to be a long, strange trip.

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