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The Tea Party Shutdown Movie

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Since January 5, 2011, for John Boehner (R-OH), his position as Speaker of the House has been just a title in words not in deed. The words are those of the 1789 US Constitution. The Speaker presides over the proceedings of the House and is the highest position in the House leadership. However, the deed is that Boehner does not demonstrate leadership of the majority party. The Tea Party wing that enabled the GOP to achieve its majority status has also rendered it factious. Once again it has compromised Boehner’s speakership by its handling of a Continuing Resolution to fund the government. Once again, oblivious to public opinion, House action threatens us with a government shutdown.

Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader CantorTea Party Republicans defied their leaders and brought down a bill to keep the government running after September 30 because it did not meet their demands to make deeper spending cuts. In the past, disaster relief rushed out of Congress with strong backing from both parties. Not this time. Instead, the House Republicans made it the focus of a political issue: offsetting the cost of funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with cuts elsewhere.

The bill failed. Boehner and his operatives cobbled together support for a slightly different but essentially similar bill. They brought some recalcitrant freshmen on board in video and photo opportunities with the old pros to recite sound bites, and then narrowly passed a stopgap bill two days later.

“We are now watching the Tea Party shutdown movie for the third time this year,” said Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) of the House not passing the CR. “The ending isn’t surprising,” Durbin said on MSNBC. “It isn’t even interesting anymore. They can’t get together the basic Republican votes on the House side to even pass the continuing resolution they agreed to just a few weeks ago, let alone some disaster aid for a country that’s been hard-hit by a lot of disasters.”

A Continuing Resolution is a temporary measure designed to buy time for negotiations to continue when the fiscal year ends. In the past, as with raising the debt ceiling, passing a stopgap was routine business. It becomes necessary when the House and Senate fail to agree on appropriations bills to fund government for a whole fiscal year, as is the case. Tea Party Republicans said they believed their party should push for deeper cuts at every turn. 50 of them signed a letter to Boehner calling for those deeper budget cuts and when those demands were not met, 48 of them voted against their own party’s bill.

So did Democrats, but for different reasons. Former Speaker of the House and nowMinority Leader Pelosi House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters that Democrats believed disaster funds were for emergencies and no offset spending cuts would be acceptable to her members. Asked whether there might be any offset that House Democrats would back, Pelosi said, “I think I answered that question: there has never been an offset for disaster assistance.”

Boehner and other House leaders had to rewrite the measure to appease Democrats and to appeal to the Tea Party wing of their own party. Democrats saw the amount of disaster assistance as inadequate and objected to the Republicans’ insistence on offsetting some of the cost with cuts elsewhere. They remained nearly united against the measure. So, Boehner cracked the proverbial whip with his members and the revised bill passed by seven votes to go to the Senate in time for the House to go on recess.

“The House bill is not an honest effort at compromise,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). “It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate.” Saying that he had hoped House Republicans would move toward the middle Reid said, “Instead, they moved even further toward the Tea Party.” The Senate voted 59 to 36 to table the House bill, which effectively killed it.

The funding for the federal government got wrapped up into the debate about FEMA funding and they became tied together. Speaker Boehner had assumed and hoped that the stopgap bill to keep government operating until November 18 would be a routine matter, as such resolutions usually are. Instead, the matter blew up and illustrated that his control of the House majority only exists on paper.

The government’s funding will run out Friday evening, September 30, if something is not passed by then. Of course both Democrats and Republicans have repeatedly said that they do not want a government shutdown and they do not want to have FEMA run out of funds. However, just how they are going to achieve that is anything but clear.

Majority Leader ReidSo House Republicans decided to blame the Senate and its Majority Leader Harry Reid for the impasse. Led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), they contend that the Senate is responsible for blocking desperately needed disaster dollars from flowing to FEMA.

“Harry Reid is now talking about perhaps bringing up a clean CR without disaster relief funding,” Cantor said, and that the House acted to provide the disaster relief. “If that happens, FEMA will run out of money, and it will be on Harry Reid’s shoulders because he won’t act,” Cantor said.

For the record, in October 2004, Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have “fully offset” the cost of that supplemental with “a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding” elsewhere. The 2004 emergency supplemental bill was proposed after five hurricanes hit the United States. Tropical Storm Gaston, that year, brought damage to Cantor’s home district of Richmond.

Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner shrugged off the defeat as the price of trying to get legislation through the democratic process. “I have no fear in allowing the House to work its will,” he said. “Does it make my life a little more difficult? Yes it does.” Boehner added, “There is no threat of a government shutdown. Let’s just get this out there.”

Are there philosophical differences within the Republican Party, as has been suggested in our media, particularly in the House of Representatives? If there are, that would require intelligence and thought such that would lend it to making compromises in the best interests of House member constituencies.  As the polls suggest, however, that does not appear to be the case. Instead, the differences are not philosophical but ideological. That relies on slogans and sound bites, scripts that are rehearsed and recited that require neither thought nor care. Unfortunately, such last minute play acting is making the audience weary of disagreement and threats.

The threat of a government shutdown proved to be just a threat back in April. Likewise, the threat of government default proved to be just a threat in August, but with collateral credit rating fallout. With this threat of a government shutdown, it should be of little wonder that Gallup’s Congressional Approval poll finds 15% of Americans approve of Congress and 82% do not. It is also clear that despite his efforts, the current Speaker of the House is only the leader of the majority of the majority party which has once again compromised his leadership. Boehner maybe acting as a leader, but he is actually just a part of the audience.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Your attempt to differentiate philosophy from ideology is problematic. What’s the real, functional difference? Ideology is the product of philosophy, and the philosophy of the Republican party is clearly changing, leaving behind big-government dinosaurs like Boehner.

    The fact is that the Democrats are the core of the problem here, and this is why their resounding defeat in 2010 will be followed by what will look like a bloodbath in 2012.

    The people have figured out what’s going on in the government. They’re tired of insider deals and crony capitalism and they are demanding change from both parties. The Republican leadership is getting hit hard, but only because they are in the way of going after the real enemy of the people, the Democrats.

    Pelosi and Reid should enjoy their ability to be obstructionists while the can. Their days are strictly numbered.

    Dave

  • jamminsue

    Dave, I am surprised.

    Ideology – “doctrines, opinions” and beliefs, which everyone has and few have examined. Further, an Ideologue is one who is deaf to any idea except one’s own and will not listen.

    Philosophy – “study of principles underlying conduct, thought, and nature of universe” Philo means wisdom in Greek. Wisdom does not solidify into ideology. Proverbs 8:30, which is wisdom speaking is “his darling and delight/playing in his presence continually.” That is not ideology.

    Plato said: “Opinion without knowledge is ugly” (Plato Republic VI 506c)

  • jamminsue

    Sorry, I forgot to put in references. The definitions in quote are from “Webster’s New World Dictionary” August 1995 ISBN 0671-51984-4 Wisdom Proverbs from “Oxford Study Bible” 1992 ISBN 978-0-19-529000-4 and Plato from “The Republic of Plato” Trans Allan Bloom 1968 ISBN 978-0-4-6506934-7

  • zingzing

    dave, you’re bonkers, and a sucker as well.

  • mills

    Your god is the beast

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mannheim’s (ultimate) definition of ideology:

    “…knowledge is distorted and ideological when it fails to take account of the new realities applying to a situation, and when it attempts to conceal them by thinking of them in categories which are inappropriate…” (p.340) , Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia.

    Why would anyone fail to take account of “the new realities,” let alone try to conceal them? The natural explanation is, they find “knowledge” so articulated useful to some other ends, and in the realm of politics, hold on power is one such end. Which is why what passes for political philosophy in the realm of practical, day-to-day politics has a strong ideological taint.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave, you’ve gone off the edge of the map. There be monsters there, big honking strawmen that you’ll have to move Heaven and earth to defeat!

  • c holland

    when the republicans denigrate government to the point of wanting it destroyed, it’s no surprise they can’t field serious candidates for government office. dave nalles’ inability to separate ideology from philosophy is a big part of the problem–ideologues can’t grasp that other people could differ with them philosophically, so anybody who disagrees with them is contrary, stupid and evil.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    “What will look like a bloodbath in 2012,” that Dave mentions, will be voter backlash towards the 112th Congress and its tarnished sterling accomplishment of nothing. The ideologues who continue to wave the cut-expense-and-no-tax-ever stick will likely be sent home. It happens that most of them are Republicans. The problem is that their uncompromising and dogmatic position is not what gets things done and voters are paying the price for electing them.

    Our media needs to keep this story churning. Words like “bloodbath” may fit the form but are wishful on Republicans’ part.

    Tommy

  • thomas mc

    The Tearrorist Party goal is the destruction of the United States of America.

  • jamminsue

    thomas, #10
    I don’t think the idea is to destroy the US, but to return it to 17xx, when there were NO rights except for a few land owning Christians, which Tea Party people believe themselves to be.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    “The Tea Party will runs its course,” Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) told me in an interview last week. Stark has been in Congress for 38 years and said that he has never seen things so contentious and non-productive. However, what its “course” is has yet to be seen.

    The impact of its rhetorical anger, with the catch phrase “take the country back,” I my opinion, seems to be in decline without its most influential spokesperson, Sarah Palin. Even Eric Cantor appears more to the Republican center than he did when he walked out of negotiations during the debt ceiling show. But, it is Tea Party contempt for process that will damage the GOP for a long time.

    Tommy

  • Cannonshop

    #8, which is exactly the position of Progressive demogogues. Or demogogues on any issue.

    Nalle’s comment number 1 is pretty much expected, as is the indignant and team-cheering reply of most of the Progressives posting after.

    It’s 2011, I don’t think anyone who stops to think about it seriously for more than a minute without inserting their own “Team Loyalty” can say, with any confidence whatsoever, what 2012’s elections (thirteen months away) are really going to do, who’s going to win which seats where, or even who’s going to make it to the final ballot stage after the primaries.

    Public opinion is mercurial at the ‘best’ (most easily predicted) of times.

    The only thing I CAN say, is that regardless of who wins or loses, if the winners keep trying the same things that failed to fix the problem under Bush (and Obama), those things will likely fail again-with deeper, nastier, less-recoverable results.

    The old, reliable models aren’t working, whether in politics, or the economy. It MAY be time to consider different approaches, different methods, even to consider that we might not be in a condition to run the same failed experiments over and over and over again, and to admit that the cheering was premature in 2009-the recession didn’t end, it just ticked, and kept on grinding, or that maybe it’s NOT okay to blame the last guy if the current guy can’t manage to do the job.

    Just sayin’…

  • Cannonshop

    Since I”m in a wordy mood tonight..

    digging through JFK’s speeches, I note that he didn’t do a lot of ass-covering, blamethrowing, or temper-tantrums. He wasn’t real popular while he was alive, but the thing that struck me, is that his charisma was more about doing than about complaining over the mess he inherited from Eisenhower, whom likewise didn’t do a lot of bitching about Truman’s policies harming his own.

    In all of Obama’s droning, there is a LOT of bitching, whining, moaning and blaming, but not much in the way of that steamrolling attitude of doing.

    fits with the times- these days are more about the Rush Limbaughs and Keith Olbermans of the world, than about the people who might actually have a plan beyond cheering their chosen team and treating national issues like Gladiatorial Sport, rather than something that impacts our lives in meaningful, often destructive ways.

    There’s always another “Them” to blame for misfortune, but what about US? are we not responsible for some our own difficulties anymore? Accountable for our own mistakes and misjudgements? Consider that the GOP leadership is scared to death of the TEA Parties, and it’s NOT because they’re spectacularly well organized, or asking for anything they haven’t been promised (repeatedly) for decades-often by BOTH parties.

    The debt-ceiling showdown wasn’t much of a showdown, in the end, the bill that got moved didn’t cut much, it didn’t even cut into the GROWTH of spending much, and it certainly will not DO much about the economic health of the country one way or the other.

    It was theatre, in the end, more meat for the gladiatorial pit, but no practical substance in dealing with either the Debt, or the slowdown in the economy.

  • Clavos

    The Tearrorist Party goal is the destruction of the United States of America.

    It isn’t, but it should be.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @14

    Listen to Obama in his “campaign mode.” Now he portrays himself as the warrior for jobs, after three years of inept administration on the domestic front. And his “new” show of enthusiasm. The man belongs on any street corner shouting from the rooftops than in any official position.

    It’s sickening! If the people will re-elect this phony, they’ll have only themselves to blame.

    Not that it matters much anymore. As Clavos hinted at in #15, we’re on a self-destruct course, Tearrorist Party or not.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To change the topic —

    A word from our sponsors would be more than welcome about the cyber attack that’s been on for three days now and counting! Just to let us, hoi poloi, know what’s going on.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    . . . on any street corner shouting from the rooftops. . . Block that metaphor!

    So, you don’t like Obama. Got it.

    Tommy

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I find his worked-up “enthusiasm” when in campaign mode obscene, especially the second time around.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If the BC geeks don’t do anything about this cyber attack, and soon, it’s about to put the entire site out of commission.

    It’s surely spreading.

  • REMF(MCH)

    “…this is why their resounding defeat in 2010 will be followed by what will look like a bloodbath in 2012.”

    Ooohh, another military metaphor…

  • Cannonshop

    #19 Roger, that’s rather uncharitable of you. Think on it this way-he’s shifted from ‘idled’ to “high function”-Obama’s resume makes clear he’s really only good AT campaigning, so his going INTO campaign mode might actually net some progress in terms of getting some kind of work actually DONE.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As I said, Cannon, the first time around was tolerable since he was still a “nobody.” But now that he’s a sitting president, whatever you or I may think of him personally, I find his barking from the podium not only repulsive — that’s neither here not there — but downright undignified and demeaning to the office.

    Imagine JFK stooping so low. Even GW had more class.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And he’s supposed to be a statesman!

  • Cannonshop

    #23 But what else would you expect? The guy was a failed community organizer, never passed a Bar Exam in spite of a Harvard Law Degree, made a mess of his term at the Annenberg project, worked part time as a “lecturer”, not a full Professor, has never drafted legislation as a legislator, (though to be fair, he did know how to say “Me Too” on a few pieces of law), carried a briefcase for a more experienced Senator during his (incomplete) tour in the U.S. Senate… I mean come on now, you didn’t take this guy seriously, did you? He’s a “Newsreader” who can make whatever is on the teleprompter in front of him sound intelligent, genuine, and sincere-and I’m told by both women, and a few gay friends, that he’s rather handsome.

    But it wasn’t his policy positions, or even his experience at making, shaping, or guiding policy that got him the job-he was selected in a manner similar to those ‘Reality/Talent’ gameshows, by basically the same audience.

    Substance didn’t get him in, and it won’t get him out.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The Dems did it with their “superdelegates” count. They were so against the Clinton machine, they wouldn’t tolerate Hillary in the Oval Office. Besides, their collective decision was symbolic, to go down into the history books. I’m certain that most of them by now suffer from buyer’s remorse.

    Even Cornel West, the radical intellectual from Harvard, is behind Ralph Nader’s proposal to draft an alternative candidate to run on the democratic ticket.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Congress has become like professional sports. Representatives and Senators are less people than they are corporate entities. The person becomes a franchise mediated by a law firm, accounting firm, marketing firm, management firm, advertising agency, corporate sponsors and volunteer agencies that represent them. It has a large structural pyramid that separates the elected individuals from their constituents.

    Tommy

  • jamminsue

    #27 – Tommy I think everyone can agree to that, we need a different political situation, more mainstram parties so that it is necessary to have coalitions. Which would mean no one would have a majority, they would have to work together. That means each party will have more oversight. Unfortunately, no third party has managed to have staying power.

  • Costello

    To continue your metaphor, if I may Tommy, as in sports those usually shouting the loudest are usually those who know the least about the matter at hand.

  • Arch Conservvative

    Yes maybe all of our so called representatives in Congress ought to be made to wear slick, shiny Nascar style jackets all the time with the logos of each and every one of the special interest groups (and we’re not just talking about corporations) that have bought and paid for them.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Republicans in Washington have “a habit of becoming curiously deaf to the voice of the people. They have a hard time hearing what the ordinary people of the country are saying. But they have no trouble at all hearing what Wall Street is saying. They are able to catch the slightest whisper from big business and the special interests.”
    Harry Truman, 1948, at a campaign stop in Denver

    Tommy

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Tommy, Truman’s astute observation applies equally to the vast majority of congressmembers of either party nowadays. The “us and them” mentality, in which the inhabitants of a workplace begin to perceive themselves as being in possession of privileged, esoteric knowledge while the denizens of the world outside cease to be real people and instead become some nebulous uncomprehending mob, can pervade any business; and Capitol Hill, with its quirky traditions, rules and procedures, seems particularly prone to this.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Exactly, I was going to say that, but what the hell.

    BTW, thanks, Dreadful, for straightening out the spam attack.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Quite an entertaining day yesterday, wasn’t it, Roger?

    No sooner had the first spam attack stopped than another one started up. This second one was particularly interesting because the spammer kept switching tactics in response to the time I was taking to delete. He/she/it kept at it until about 9 p.m. my time before finally getting bored and going off to pester some other website.

    Everything should have been swept up now though. Until the next time… :-)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    BTW, I like Archie’s suggestion in #30 and can’t think why the media aren’t lobbying strenuously for it already.

    Perhaps we could extend it to legislation: “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Brought to You By Our Friends at Kaiser Permanente”.

  • Cannonshop

    #35 maybe because if that were to happen, the ‘base’ in both parties would be traumatized by the realization that BOTH are taking the same money, from the same interests.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    I like Arch’s idea, #30, especially since John Boehner already has a Winston logo in one lung, Marlboro in another and carries a fat Camel wallet. Why not wear the logos (plural of logo)on his back? Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham have back space available, too.

    Tommy

  • zingzing

    i say archie doesn’t go far enough! tattoo that shit on their fuckin’ foreheads and when space runs out tattoo their fuckin’ asses! that way, politicians would have to think long and hard about their corporate sponsors and voters could see their leaders’ affiliation instantly. and we’d finally get to see boehner’s ass. and maybe a little of boehner’s namesake.

  • jamminsue

    #30 Arch,
    I do not usually agree with you, but you sure have a good idea there!

  • Cannonshop

    a fine sentiment, but it misses the point: they would not do it, if it did not work. The fault is not the donors, it is in ourselves-ourselves for letting advertising copy substitute for reasoned choices, for letting appeals to sentiment, authority, and bandwagon replace informed consent and informed dissent.

    Politicians take the money, because it works, and the money-men give it, because it works, and it works, because the American People Allow it to work.

    WE are the ones that consent to let our judgement be swayed by attack ads, by empty promises, and by pretty faces. WE are the ones that turned the choice of leadership into a perverted version of “Star Search” or “America’s Top Model”, WE are the ones that let us down, that allowed this to happen. It wasn’t the Government that made people WANT to buy shit they could not afford, the People demanded government help in buying shit they could not afford, and when the bills came due, We The People are the ones that can’t pay it.

    The Consumer Culture is not something imposed from without, it was chosen from within, the wars in the Middle East weren’t decided by secret cabals in smoky rooms, WE the People DEMANDED them, then could not bear to live with what we have wrought.

    Likewise for every bad policy from both sides of the political aisle-TARP because we permitted ourselves to be frightened, GM’s bailout because…frankly, because we WANT a car company, but we don’t want to buy the cars it makes. Same with Chrysler, same with Bear Stearns, the Mortgage mess, the present recession-these are the undesired outcomes of letting our hearts rule our heads, letting our fears rule our choices, and letting someone else offer us ‘Free Lunch’ and ‘Free Stuff’.

    We, the People, have done this to ourselves.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    Actually, it would be cheaper to tattoo Boehner than anyone else since the artist wouldn’t have to worry about using any orange ink….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    Two things –

    One, that’s why we – the Progressives – want ALL donations out of campaigns, for all campaigns to be publicly financed by the government. Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for this? Because then the politicians aren’t beholden to ANYone, not a corporation, nor a major donor, and they don’t spend over half their time in Congress raising money for reelection.

    But I forget – we Progressives are the really bad people who caused all the problems in the world.

    Two – We the people were all over attacking Afghanistan since the Taliban wouldn’t give up bin Laden directly to us…but we the people were LIED into the Iraq war by Bush. If you want to argue about it we can do that, but there is a wealth of evidence that Bush was informed that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and had little or nothing to do with al-Qaeda, but still he told us – while we were still hot about 9/11 – that Saddam was a-comin’ with WMD’s at his beck and call.

    The Iraq war was a classic case of military adventurism by a militaristic regime, Cannonshop – lay the blame where it belongs – on the Bush administration. you can’t lay the blame on those who supported the Iraq war, because they did not know the facts. All they had was the lies being fed to them by the Bush administration.

    And there’s many, many cases of wars in the past where the people were lied into supporting a war. I don’t have to tell you. You know what they were. And yes, Vietnam was one of them.

  • Cannonshop

    #42 Glenn, Iraq was just an extension of the first Gulf War-which never really ended, so which Bush are you talking about, First or Second? and what about the Democrat in-between that kept it going?

  • Cannonshop

    On your public financing pitch:

    Glenn…that just makes the pols more loyal to the boards, and creates a mandarin class in the Government that parcels out the money as THEY see fit. It’s the fox and the henhouse, Glenn, we already have a long running historical problem with Gerrymandering, it doesn’t solve the base problem in the slightest.

    The Fundamental problem isn’t the price of campaigns, nor is it money-those are THINGS. The problem is US-we the people, who let advertising copy make our minds up for us, that is the problem, and it is we the people that are the only real solution.

    Campaign financing reform is fiddling with the battery while the engine’s grinding itself to powder, because it’s not the money that’s the problem, it’s the people that money is being spent to influence that are the problem-it’s US, WE decide to let ad-men and television tell us what to do.

    Until we stop letting other people do our thinking for us, as a society, it doesn’t matter WHO pays for the elections, we’re all going to get bipartisanly screwed.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Meanwhile, we are all in for another Republican shutdown threat in just seven weeks, on November 18, when the temporary spending bill approved by the Senate on Monday runs out. Their next targets will likely be funding for the EPA with a side of nutrition programs for women and children.

    House leadership could easily have passed a full year’s spending resolution, but that’s not what their agenda is about. The Tea Party contingent wants to run the shutdown gambit as often as they can. The more fear and uncertainty they can generate, the better they figure their chances and retaking the country.

    At least we know where they are coming from.

    Tommy

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop #43 –

    The Iraq war “never ended” after Bush Sr. kicked them out of Kuwait???? I think there’s a whole lot of us who served in the years afterward, during the entire Clinton administration, who would disagree with that.

    FYI, Bush Sr. specifically said that he didn’t want to continue on to Baghdad because there was no viable exit strategy, so he ended it at the border. AFAIK Clinton didn’t touch Iraq proper. And it’s well known that within a week of taking his oath of office – almost eight months before 9/11 – Dubya held a cabinet discussion on going to war with Iraq.

    So how, exactly, did the Iraq war “never end” after Kuwait? Are you sure that this isn’t another symptom of conservative-mind syndrome? It shouldn’t be – Bush Sr. was the one who ended the first war. But then, Bush Sr. would be seen as a socialist and persona non grata among today’s “conservatives”.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Iraq was just an extension of the first Gulf War-which never really ended, so which Bush are you talking about, First or Second?

    Cannon, you know perfectly well which Bush he means. The First Gulf War only “never really ended” in the sense that it became a truce. The belligerents all still remained viable: they just assumed “we’ll agree to differ” positions and resumed snarling at and intermittent bombing of each other. Offically, the Korean War never ended either, but you really can’t call it an ongoing conflict in spite of the occasional sabre-rattling that goes on across the 38th parallel.

    It was GW who changed the game completely, without any substantial provocation.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop #44 –

    Until we stop letting other people do our thinking for us, as a society, it doesn’t matter WHO pays for the elections, we’re all going to get bipartisanly screwed.

    But what you’re not getting is that when corporations and the mega-rich (and even the unions) are not allowed to contribute funding, it is no longer the corporations, the mega-rich, or the unions who determine what positions the politicians are going to support.

    You know as well as I do that politicians support positions that get them reelected by the people, right? Right. But in order to advertise and finance their campaigns, the politicians MUST support whatever it is that the corporations, mega-rich, or unions want…and then they have to put these positions into words that are palatable by the people in order to gain votes.

    BUT if the corporations, mega-rich, and unions are taken OUT of the equation, then the politicians no longer have to do what these organizations want, but only what their actual constituents want.

    Thomas Jefferson stated plainly the danger of allowing corporations to have too much influence in government…and remember a certain RINO (in the context of the times, a Progressive in all but name) called Teddy Roosevelt who took on the robber barons. The Supreme Court ignored these with Citizens United…and as progressive as I certainly am, I’m fairly certain that we’re not only an oligarchy now but will remain one for a generation or more…and perhaps until America goes the way of Rome.

    And who was it that decided Citizens United? The five conservatives on the Supreme Court. But don’t forget, now – it’s us Progressives who are the REAL problem!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    remember a certain RINO (in the context of the times, a Progressive in all but name) called Teddy Roosevelt

    In name too, Glenn. Roosevelt ran for the presidency in 1912 as the Progressive Party candidate.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    true – I’d forgotten that – I only remembered that he had been a Republican and also a part of something called the Bull Moose party.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    There’ve been a number of different entities over the course of US history called the Progressive Party: the “Bull Moose” party was the nickname for Roosevelt’s incarnation of it.

    TR survived an assassination attempt in the early stages of his 1912 presidential bid thanks to a 50-page speech he’d stuffed into his jacket pocket, which slowed down the bullet enough that it didn’t penetrate any of his vital organs. In fact, he carried on and delivered the speech anyway, which isn’t something you can picture any of today’s sorry lot doing.

    When asked later if the injury might render him unable to cope with the strain of a presidential campaign, he famously declared, “I’m as fit as a bull moose!” – hence the nickname.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not to mention TR’s national parks legacy.

  • Cannonshop

    #46 Glenn, I sat in the desert, and friends of mine sat in ships offshore, and we held that country under seige for long after Bush 1 “declared victory”.

    We were “enforcing sanctions” while we watched the late Saddam Hussein gas thousands of people-admittedly his own-that Bush Sr. incited to rebel against him.

    For MOST of us, the war wasn’t really over, we kept wondering when we would be allowed to either LEAVE the theatre, or finish the bastard off-preferably before he got around to finishing off the folks WE incited to rebel against him.

    Anyone with multiple 179 1/2 day tours in the Gulf region, that war wasn’t ‘over’ even as far as the war in Korea (which is still going on, a cease-fire is not peace.)

    From the perspective of the guys who had to sit there and starve those people out, it wasn’t over, it was just a siege with a different name. Split political hairs all you want, when USN personnel are tossing refrigerators into the ocean to enforce ‘sanctions’, that’s not ‘peace’, when Army ADA personnel are sitting there wishing the choppers dropping Sarin would just ONCE deviate from their corridor into no-fly space, that is also not peace.

    I don’t know what you civilized types call it, but it is NOT peace, no matter how much the elected stuffed-shirt claims it is.

  • Cannonshop

    #48 instead of conflicting interests that might cancel one another out, you mean?

    I find it far less threatening to have teh power-mongers at one another’s throats, than forcing them to work together to screw the rest of us over.

    Think about how Military Procurement actually works-and how often Procurement officers get plum no-work-high-pay-jobs at the companies that seek contracts, and you’ll see the exact pattern your “Electoral Funding Board” will follow-instead of Unions, Super-Rich and Corps having to disclose exact numbers and money, you end up with a situation where the Mandarins take ‘delayed bribes’ to put candidates who’ll play ball in a favoured position-the only difference in your treatment, is how much LESS influence, in the end, constituents will actually have.

    Any time you create a new, centralized source of political power (and this would be SO centralized), you do two things:

    1. You attract the corrupt to it.

    2. It corrupts the people in the mechanism.

    Seriously, who mans this, who selects the decision-makers who distribute the funding in your Public Funding structure, who decides which candidates are ‘serious’ and deserve funds, and which are jokes? It won’t be the voters. Your treatment of a single symptom just makes the disease worse…and harder to treat.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    I was there, too, guy. What we were doing is what any nation does AFTER a war. FYI, after a war, no nation just picks up and leave. Read all the history you want, and you’ll find that almost without exception, wars end when combat operations end.

    Of course you’re entitled to your opinion – but I’m getting used to those who readily ignore science or education or history just so they can say something different from what us eeeeeevil liberals say.

    BTW – do you realize that – by your metric – WWII STILL isn’t over since we still have bases on our side of what used to be the Iron Curtain, since our bases are there to ostensibly ‘protect’ Western Europe?

    And you never did address the small matter of Bush Jr. calling a cabinet meeting during his very first week in office on going to war with Iraq. Of course that might raise some…uncomfortable questions for you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop #54 –

    That entire diatribe is your assumption – and that’s all it will ever be since you’re:

    (1) assuming that big business and the unions would somehow work together to ‘screw the rest of us over’. Your assumption is based on zero fact, zero history. What WOULD happen is that the unions would be significantly stronger because individual voters – when they’re not under the thumb of Big Business – tend to vote pro-union. The unions would love for America to have only publicly-financed politics!

    (2) complaining about “delayed bribes” – but they’re the norm RIGHT NOW…and since it’s the norm RIGHT NOW, exactly how is it going to get worse with only publicly-finance campaigns????

    FYI, my friend who just left Immigration was a District Adjudicating Officer – his skills and experience are worth a lot of money. But he’s not allowed to work in anything related to immigration for two years. This is the kind of system we need in place for ALL high-ranking government officials.

    But you’re afraid that there will be a revolving door between Congress and the lobbying industry. Problem is, Cannonshop, that revolving door is ALREADY THERE.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Civilian bureaucrats in charge of a professional military have been a conundrum ever since George Washington put on a uniform and became a General officer. Elected bureaucrats are what elections produce.

    Meanwhile, the next Republican government shutdown threat will be on November 18, when the new temporary spending bill runs out. When it does, the GOP will likely link funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and for nutrition programs for low-income women and children to the next stopgap measure. Call it déjà vu all over again.

    If they are successful in the 2012 election, the use of our military will suffer the fate of any other budget chip.

    Tommy

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Civilian bureaucrats in charge of a professional military have been a conundrum ever since George Washington put on a uniform and became a General officer.

    Yeah, but it wasn’t as much of an issue in Washington’s day, when the divide between civilian and soldier was not as stark as it is now. Washington, though at heart a country gentleman, knew soldiering and had spent a significant part of his life on military campaigns.

    That lack of distinction is why the Founding Fathers regarded a quickly mobilizable militia as crucial to national defence. For one thing it was a lot cheaper than a standing army and for another, its members could largely be relied upon to know how to fight already.

    Let’s also keep in mind that Washington wasn’t that far removed in history from the era in which rulers were soldiers, and personally led armies into battle.

  • Cannonshop

    #55 Not really, Glenn. The questions aren’t uncomfortable to me, I knew a lot of people who wanted to get rid of the monster we put in Iraq, just like we did in Panama, You may believe it or not at your leisure, but a LOT of people outside of the beltway considered leaving Hussein in power to be a truly bad idea.

    Some of those folks even belong to YOUR party. Some of them INSIDE the Beltway were telling Clinton that Saddam was making nasties he wasn’t supposed to have…

    But the Iraq war and the politics surrounding it are a sideshow issue here, Glenn. Let’s get back on topic-or rather, back on a topic that we can actually discuss without getting mutually abusive, shall we?

    Let’s address your points in post #56:

    1) They already do. Albeit not with any sort of willing show of it, and often without meaning to, but they already DO work (and contribute) together in the political arena against the rest of the people for their own advantage. I’m not talking so much about unions that actually represent the interests of their members, I’m talking about Union Leadership that uses the members as a lever and a food source. Recall, Glenn, I AM active in a Labor Union, and have worked as Union worker in more than one industry, and as a Union worker in several different places-from Laborer’s to Carpenter’s to Teamsters and now as an Aircraft Machinist. I have some experience WITHIN the world of Unions. Some represent the interests of their members, but others are basically just extensions of the Political Class-extensions that take members’ dues, and spend them on electing people who put those members out of work with Regulations and taxes generated as unintended consequences of stances held in unrelated (cosmetically) areas.

    But, per the Beck decision, the Union must obtain the conscious and willing consent of members before spending their money on an Election, so I don’t have a problem with that (though I do have a problem with ‘leaders’ who can’t see past the end of their nose and don’t recognize that a pol might talk a good game of supporting unions, but said pol will do everything otherwise to make sure there are no union jobs outside of government offices otherwise. At least a Republican won’t pretend to be your friend while plotting your trip to the Unemployment office.)

    I’ve worked in non-union shops where the owner was down under the house hanging duct with the rest of us and eating top-ramen while we took home more than he did, and Union shops where the steward/business rep went golfing with the owners and the site was an OSHA nightmare with rolling personnel changes, and I’ve worked in Union shops where the old guys didn’t do any work because the boss was frightened to demand it (that place didn’t last long after I left), and in union shops where things actually WORKED.

    A Union is a representation of the involvement of the members-good ones have involved, alert, and informed membership that will hold their leaders and representatives accountable, and bad ones are often led by demagogues and snake-oil merchants.

    But it’s a good model for what I’m trying to get across to you: It’s NOT THE MONEY.

    It’s the VOTERS.

    As long as the voters will fall for snake-oil and free stuff, we’re going to continue to have the problem we have, and no amount of ‘campaign finance reform’ is going to fix it.

    and you didn’t answer my question: Who chooses who gets to dole the money out? How are they to be chosen, and how are you going to keep them from becoming just-another-layer-of-corruption?

    It’s the fundamental flaw that you’re ignoring, the unintended and un-hoped-for negative outcome that, given other such boards, is inevitable. It will either end up being more power to the Party leaderships (thus making ANY chance of serious internal change and adaptation impossible), or it will be Mandarins from the Civil Service-whom will always end up being just as bad as the system you’re proposing to replace, only less vulnerable to legal consequence, and more buffered from practical consequence.

    I had a Campaign Reform fantasy too: Make it the law that in order to contribute, one must meet Residency Requirements in the district, State, or Country where one is spending the money, dependent on the level of the election. So, for instance, to influence elections in, say, Bremerton, for instance, Boeing would need an office in BREMERTON, same if Greenpeace, the UAW, NRA/ILA or somesuch wanted to contribute money in, say, Marysville Wa.-they’d need to have a 24 hour facility IN MARYSVILLE.

    Neat fantasy, huh? Can you find the weak spot, ’cause I found it…

    The weakness is the 1st Amendment and Supreme Court case law that treats political contributions as political speech, and thus protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

    Eliminating all access, as you propose, is limiting the political speech rights of individuals and non-individual entities, equally.

    A broader offense is still an offense, Glenn.

    Neither of our “reform fantasies” however, addresses the real problem-that problem being that in a media saturated culture where displaying education is socially reviled, the collective of the people have chosen to be what Trial Lawyers might call “Good Jury choices”-that is, easily manipulated by repetition and appeals to emotion, particularly those appeals crafted by social scientists in the employ of Advertising Agencies.

    Neither your fix, nor my fix, will actually fix the problem-Yours hides it from the public eye, mine simply changes the address.

    The REAL fix, is an aware Public that votes with their head, and that doesn’t seem all that likely to happen in a climate where we register everyone with a driver’s license, resident or not, then let them not show up to prove they’re alive, then let voters register their place of residence as the Elections office, and vote without having to prove they are…y’know, THEM.

    When people CARE about voting, they tend to spend it with great care, and seriousness, if they have to work for it, they’ll value it more than if they are simply given it-you have kids, how many things did you give them, as gifts, that lasted more than the time it took them to forget, vs. how many things did you make them EARN, and thus they treasured?

    People, in my limited experience, tend to work that way. As long as elections are frivolities, a circus, a sporting event, something unserious to the majority of voters, we’re going to get MORE GW Bush’s, and MORE Barack H. Obamas, and LESS Harry Trumans, John Kennedys, and Teddy Roosevelts.