Yesterday we say Republicans ranging from the editorial writers of The Wall Street Journal to Karl Rove condemn the refusal by John Boehner to hold a vote on the temporary payroll tax extension which was passed by the Senate with strong bipartisan support. The Tea Party faction of the House had pulled the House Republican Caucus to such an extreme position that few other Republicans would go along. The final straw came today when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on the House to pass the temporary extension. Boehner backed down and passage now looks imminent.
Now we can look forward to February when the battle is fought all over again, but at least there will not be a tax increase in January and Medicare will be able to fully pay claims.
The lowering of the nation’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s is the latest evidence of how reckless Republican economic policies are harming the country. S&P directly referred to the uncertainty in the political process (created by Republicans who prevented an agreement on raising the debt limit until the last minute) as well as the difficulty in resolving the deficit crisis because “the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”
Republicans, who created the deficit crisis, and who have an excellent history of winning the spin wars in recent years due to their expertise in distorting the facts and their domination of the news media, immediately began to distort the report in their favor. The White House has responded:
Over the past weeks and months the President repeatedly called for substantial deficit reduction through both long-term entitlement changes and revenues through tax reform, with additional measures to spark jobs and strengthen our recovery,” press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
“That is why the President pushed for a grand bargain that would include all of these elements and require compromise and cooperation from all sides.”
Rather than Obama, who is now the target of more fallacious attacks from the right, Matthew Yglesias sees John Boehner as the big loser here:
The person who looks bad here, in my view, is John Boehner. President Obama wanted to do a “grand bargain.” The Gang of Six Senators wanted to do a “grand bargain.” And it looked for a moment like Speaker Boehner was going to be part of a grand bargain. But ultimately he decided that he didn’t want to sign a deal that would fracture his caucus, so the grand bargain talks fell apart. And yet the little bargain that did eventually pass the House ultimately couldn’t pass with Republican votes alone. So what did Boehner really achieve? If he was ultimately destined to strike a deal with the White House that needed Democratic votes to pass the House, why not go for the grand bargain? According to Boehner “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the white House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.” How happy is he now?
Far more people than John Boehner will be big losers here if the facts get out over the propaganda from the right wing noise machine. Besides Boehner, the big losers here include the Republicans who voted for the massive increase in the deficit under George Bush, listening to claims that “deficits don’t matter,” while opposing Obama’s plans to rescue the economy. The losers also include the extremists, including the Tea Party supporters, who played hostage with the economy and made default a real possibility, precipitating the reduction on the credit rating. Unfortunately this turned out to be a hostage crisis where the right wingers killed the hostage.
In perhaps one of the most brazen demonstrations of incompetence and lack of concern for one’s nation from a government leader we have ever seen, John Boehner has devoted the last few days to pass a bill which had zero chance of becoming law, as opposed to seriously working to prevent a crisis next week. Boehner got his bill passed and, as expected, the Senate voted it down. The Senate has also been searching for a deal which could pass:
Senate Democratic and Republican leaders are having intense discussions to come up with a bipartisan solution for raising the debt ceiling.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that he needs ideas from Republicans sometime Friday if Congress is to meet the Aug. 2 deadline.
A Senate GOP leadership aide said the two sides have until early Sunday morning to reach an agreement.
The two sides are discussing trigger mechanisms that could be used to build bipartisan support. Such triggers would force Congress to carry out another round of deficit reduction before the 2012 election.
At the moment, it is difficult to see them reaching an agreement, but perhaps Republicans will be more willing to compromise when we get down to the last minute. The failure of Boehner’s bill might at least serve the purpose of allowing them to argue that they had no choice but to accept a compromise Senate bill to prevent economic catastrophe. On the one hand, one would think that country club Republicans aren’t anxious to see their investments wiped out. On the other hand, the Tea Party members who have been pressuring Boehner don’t show any signs of ever facing reality.
After the National Enquirer turned out to be right about John Edwards (more on that story here), I am far more likely to take them seriously when they publish accusations about other politicians having affairs. Their latest target is John Boehner, raising the question as to whether he will have the shortest speakership ever.
The story involves accusations of Boehner sleeping with lobbyist Lisbeth Lyons along with congressional press secretary Leigh LaMora. Perhaps a few Republicans will question Boehner’s relationship with a lobbyist (assuming the story is true) but in the past scandals involving Republicans from John McCain to Newt Gingrich have quickly gone down the memory hole and have been forgotten.
I’ve often pointed out that the Tea Party defends a version of the Constitution which exists only in their heads, and certainly not the one supported by the Founding Fathers. During the American Revolution the revolutionaries were the liberals while today’s conservatives would be the Tories. After the Revolution the Tea Party would not have supported the Constitution. Their position is far closer to that of the Anti-Federalists who supported the Articles of Confederation. Thatdocument established a weak federal government which was much closer to the ideas of the Tea Party. The Constitution was written due to the failure of a government established upon the ideas now held by many in the Tea Party.
Bill Maher made a similar argument last night, telling teabaggers that the Founding Fathers would have hated their guts. The video is above via Mediaite. The full text follows:
And finally, New Rule, now that they’ve finished reading the Constitution out loud, the teabaggers must call out that group of elitist liberals whose values are so antithetical to theirs. I’m talking, of course, about the Founding Fathers, who the teabaggers believe are just like them, but aren’t. One is a group of exclusively white men who live in a bygone century, have bad teeth, and think of blacks as 3/5s of a person. And the other are the Founding Fathers!
Now I want you teabaggers out there to understand one thing. While you idolize the Founding Fathers and dress up like them and smell like them, I think it’s pretty clear that the Founding Fathers would’ve hated your guts. And what’s more, you would’ve hated them! They were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris, and thought the Bible was mostly bullshit. And yet, here is a popular painting in wingnut America.
Yes, that’s Jesus with the Founding Fathers behind him, presenting the Constitution to America. Either that, or it’s a settlement offer for that boy after he sued the rectory.
Super-religious guy Glenn Beck likes to play dress-up as Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine, an atheist who said churches were “human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind”. John Adams said, “this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it”.* Which is not to say the Founders didn’t have a moral code. Of course they did. They just didn’t get it from the Bible. Well, except for the part about it’s cool to own slaves. It’s in there, folks, I didn’t make it up.
The Founders disagreed amongst themselves about that, and most issues. But the one thing they never argued about was that political power must stay in the hands of the smartest people, and out of the hands of the dumbest loudmouths slowing down the checkout line at Home Depot.
And yet, Sarah Palin once said of Obama, “we need a Commander-in-Chief, not a professor of law standing at a lectern”. How gay is that! Well, I hate to break it to you, but:
They were not the common man of their day. Ben Franklin studied scientific phenomena like lightning and the aurora borealis, and were he alive today, he could probably explain to Bill O’Reilly why the tides go in and out.
James Madison was fluent in Greek and Latin, and could translate Virgil and Cicero. John Boehner can’t translate Fareed Zakaria. And Thomas Jefferson was an astronomer and a physicist who founded the University of Virginia, played the violin, and spoke six languages. Or as Palin would say, “all of them”.
The text came from a Daily Kos diary by BruinKid who also added the links in the transcript. His diary also includes additional background information, including calling out Maher for quoting John Adams out of context.