A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: fiscal cliff

Your Friday Pick-Me-Up: 2013 Has Been *Real* Bad For The GOP

by evanmcmurry

The surprising efficacy of a small cadre of conservatives in making the Chuck Hagel nomination process a supreme pain in the White House’s ass suggests that GOP obstinacy has not only not declined since their November ’12 whooping, but remained just as effective in grinding government to a halt. The next couple years are gonna suck, right?

Nah. The Hagel tantrum is just that—a tantrum, thrown primarily because nothing else is going the GOP’s way. Deveined Shrimp Rick Scott (R-Florida’s Wang) has caved on health care, a huge switch that provides cover for the few Republican governors yet to do so; the GOP didn’t get much in the fiscal cliff fiasco besides blame, and the looming sequestration nonsense, provided the Democrats hold strong, will likely end up with even more revenue; gun control is more possible than ever, as is immigration reform, both of which force the GOP into compromised positions; the minimum wage debate is not turf on which the GOP wants to fight, at all; and for all the noise, Hagel will almost certainly be approved on Wednesday, and while he will go into office weaker than a nominee should, chances are the most memorable part of this needless little battle will be the extent to which Republican news organizations and sitting Senators fell for an unintentional prank by an NY Daily News reporter.

Long story short: Republicans are 0-for-everything in 2013; delaying the Hagel vote ten days is their biggest victory.*

Now is usually when someone accuses me of scorecarding politics at the expense of focusing on “real people” or something.** But this all pertains to the Democrats’ ability to govern in the fashion for which they were elected. Rick Scott’s caving is the result of years of (political) fighting over Obamacare, but it will result in up to 1,000,000 Floridians gaining access to health care. The fiscal cliff and sequestration debates means more revenue, finally, after years of destructive austerity. And we kinda need a Defense Secretary, preferably one who doesn’t want to nuke Iran as a preliminary strike. If all that is “politics,” I’ll take it with seconds.

* One could count the watered-down filibuster reform as a GOP victory, but it only helps them if they remain in the minority, in which case it becomes something of a Pyrrhic victory.

** Anybody wanting to accuse me of focusing on national-level policy while ignoring state-level government, where the real crazy stuff happens, will have a point.

This BBC Image Of The Fiscal Cliff Made It All Worthwhile

by evanmcmurry

Is this Boehner? (via)

John Boehner Is The Saddest Man Alive

by evanmcmurry

The GOP’s opening salvo on the fiscal cliff negotiations* is so radical it wouldn’t even pass the House. The House Of Representatives. The one that set itself on fire in the summer of 2011, cost us our triple-A rating, etc., that one. Via Weigel:

The “balanced plan” is the Ryan budget, which can’t pass the Senate. The sequester replacement takes all the savings from defense and applies them to social programs. It lost 16 Republican votes when it passed the House in May, so not only is it doomed in the Senate, it probably couldn’t pass with the smaller House GOP majority taking office in six weeks.

Most likely, this is an indication that Boehner hasn’t figured out how to change his rhetoric to reflect the post-2012 election political landscape. Which is ironic, as he only went this far to the right because the 2010 tea party-infused election petrified him into his current position. Now he’s stuck repeating empty proposals his own chamber won’t endorse. This guy can’t win for losing.

* It’s not a cliff.

GOP Learns What Obama Was Saying While They Had Their Fingers In Their Ears

by evanmcmurry

One of the more oft heard complaints in the latter days of the campaign, from Democrat as well as Republican pundits and figures, was that Obama had presented no plan for his second administration, but was simply running an anti-Romney campaign and getting away with it. This was a neat way to obscure the fact that Romney had literally offered no proposals, as opposed to just not offering the sweeping type that was suddenly a requirement of Obama (never mind that the moment Obama did begin to talk like this, he was lampooned as having a savior-celebrity complex).

Anyhoo, here’s Greg Sargeant:

A key observation about the new White House offer from the Post reporting team: 

While the proposal seemed to startle Republicans, it contains little that would be unfamiliar to anyone following the president’s public statements.

Obama campaigned on much of this stuff, and won. It’s not surprising it’s in his opening bid.

It is if you were making TelePrompter jokes while he was talking. Republicans refused to listen to anything Obama said, then accused him of saying nothing, and are now shocked that all the stuff he was saying while they smirking has a fighting chance of becoming policy 32 days from now.

Unions Give Away All Leverage For Chance To Take Photo With Obama

by evanmcmurry

So the long-rumored cool-off between organized labor and the Obama Administration, which caused some unions to consider withholding their endorsement of the incumbent during the election, lasted eight days:

Labor union leaders emerged from talks with President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowing a side-by-side battle against Republicans to bring about higher taxes on the wealthy as part of an effort to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

“It was a very, very positive meeting,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters in the White House driveway after the meeting.

“The president, like we are, [is] committed to preserving the tax breaks for the middle class and making sure that rich people pay their fair share. He’s very, very committed to that, we are committed to that,” Trumka continued. “We are very, very committed to making sure that the middle class and workers don’t end up paying the tab for a party that we didn’t get to go to. And the president is committed to that as well.”

Granted, the AFL-CIO has always been the most toadying of the unions to presidential power, especially Democratic. But still. One might think that they’d want to preserve their leverage for at least 24 hours—until Obama finishes tomorrow’s meeting with the private jet crew, or perhaps until after a Treasury Secretary is named—so as not to pre-rubber stamp any compromise Obama makes. I mean, it’s not like labor helped him win or anything.