Saturday, December 19, 2015

Someone I Can Work With

This sums up the sentiment of President Obama regarding Paul Ryan on the new, huge, Omnibus bill Ryan crafted, and the President signed yesterday.

"President Barack Obama had kind words for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) over the negotiations of the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, which he signed Friday before departing for two weeks."

“I think that Speaker Ryan deserves a role in that, I will say in his interactions with me, he has been professional he has reached out to tell me what he can do and what he cannot do,” Obama said Friday during his year-end press conference."

This was something Boehner was never able to do. His word with the President was never good because of his own weakness.

"I think it’s a good working relationship. We recognize that we disagree on a whole bunch of other stuff and have fundamentally different visions for where we want to move the country,” Obama continued.

Obama called the bill, “A good win.”

"Obama added regarding Ryan, “I think he is respectful of the process and respectful of how legislation works. So kudos to him as well as all the leaders and appropriators who are involved in this process.”

See this is the difference between being part of the loyal opposition party as Ryan is trying to be and the Boehner years where it was about being the Party of No and opposing anything the President wanted to do-even if you agreed with it.

That was not bright at all. If the GOP had been willing to bend just a little with Obama in the first few years, they, ironically, would be in a much better place ideologically. In 2011, the President really was ready to consider things like tax reform-lowering the corporate rate-and even chained CPI for Social Security or raising the retirement age for Medicare.

They are the ones who killed this. They could have had some sort of entitlement reform and lower corporate tax rates if they had just agreed to a small tax increase for the rich in 2011. They just said now like they always did.

So what happened? Not surprisingly when they kept saying 'My way or the highway' they got the highway. No entitlement reform, now tax reform and taxes were raised on the rich anyway.

More irony-while the Dems were prepared to accept just ending the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $1 million dollars per year, in 2013 the tax cut ended for those making as little as $450,000 per year. Well played.

I'm glad they didn't agree, that they couldn't take yes for an answer. I never wanted entitlement reform or lowering the corporate tax rate. What this ironically did was push the Overton Window to the Left.

Compromise now means something very different than it did in 2011.

Rush Limbaugh is apoplectic about the deal. He says 'Disband the GOP.'

"If Donald Trump didn’t exist and if the Republican Party actually does want to win someday, they’d have to invent him,” Limbaugh said. “It’s just mind-boggling when you figure out everything that has been granted Obama. All the money, the tax increases, the Cadillac plans in Obamacare. All kinds of punitive things in Obamacare, delayed yet again so that people will not be made aware of the pain and suffering Obamacare’s gonna cause.”

It's amazing how much Rush and I agree on these days. Disband the GOP, indeed.

"How old-fashioned logrolling produced Congress' massive budget deal. There was no showdown this time between GOP leaders and the right. But Democrats still exploited the GOP's ideological rift."

Read more:

Which was another argument I've made recently-there is a lot of good to be said for old-fashioned logrolling. A big part of they dysfunction of the GOP Congress going back to 2010 was the elimination of earmarks, etc. Ironically, by doing that Boehner cut himself off at the knee


  1. Mike, imagine that Paul Ryan gets in the GOP presidential race next week with full backing of establishment figures. What would be your reaction?

  2. Well that would give Trump and Cruz an even better shot. Ryan is public enemy number one on the Right right now

    1. OK, assume Ryan is put forward at a brokered convention, and ends up the nominee. How would you feel about that?

    2. I don't think they would dare put Ryan forward the way the base feels about him right now. LOL.

      But just because I think he's been a big improvement as Speaker doesn't mean I'd want him President.

      He's being a realist and realizing that he doesn't have the votes to do what he and other Republicans want.

      Now if he were in the White House with a GOP Congress in both Houses there'd be no natural limit on what the GOP could do.

      Remember Ryan is the architect of the plan to block grant Medicare to the states.

      At least Trump doesn't want to do that.

      A President Ryan would also be the end of Obamacare-it's less clear that President Trump would do that.

      President Ryan would cement the SJC in an even more conservative direction than it is now for the next 30 years-it's been conservative for the last 30 years.

      So two things:

      1. The GOP couldn't get away with nominating him as this would surely lead to either a third party or huge block staying hiome.

      2. I voted against Ryan with Romney in 2012 and this wouldn't be a hard choice this time either.

      Look at it this way. I don't believe in candidate centered politics for the most part. To me what matters is the party.

      Ideally, it's be better if we had a Parliamentary system like the UK where we would vote for the party rather than a specific candidate.

      So my worst case scenario is the Republican party, full stop. Because at the end of the day they all want to gut a woman's right to choose, crackdown on immigration, cut taxes drastically on the rich and in effect raise them on the poor-even if in the form of cutting social spending.

      They all want to gut ACA and privatize Medicare. They all believe as Jeb does that Medicare is a ponzi scheme.

      This in a nutshell is why I say I prefer Trump. He's not a Republican. On the Democrat side it's why I don't like Bernie-he's not a Democrat.

    3. I think it's very unclear what Trump is, except pro-Trump. The evidence so far indicates that he has no hesitation to lie, even in outrageous ways. Also, he doesn't seem to care about the consequences of his words or actions: if what he says gets a few more Americans killed (so that it looks bad for Obama), then that looks good for Trump, and thus is a thing he'd gladly engage in.

      So you're right: what ends up being good for Trump is unclear ahead of time. There's no telling what he'll do to aggrandize himself. Some of it may temporarily overlap a conservative policy and some of it may temporarily overlap a liberal agenda.

      But you used the concept on immigration that uncertainty is actually crueler than a certain policy. By the same logic, isn't uncertainty about what Trump will do even more "cruel" just because it's uncertain?

    4. Not next to GOP policies which are as cruel as they get. As for lying look at the lies that Marco Rubio tells.

      Now you're more bent out of shape over Trump's because they are in your mind more outrageous. though I insist the Clinton conspiracies where just as outrageous and the GOP pushed them for years with the participation of the Beltway press.

      Yes, the cheering Muslims thing is outrageous but is it more outrageous than Whitewater? Yet the press played along.

      But the other side of it is that if Rubio's lies are less outrageous-ie, less wildly implausible that makes them more rather than less dangerous as they are much more likely to be believed.

      When you look at a woman's right to choose-again this is my priority, I don't know how passionately you feel about this either way-to me Rubio's position is fairly certain and chilling. He is against exemptions for rape and incest.

      Trump is basically prochoice but is now pretending to be prolife-but has the typical exceptions.

      You look at what Rick Snyder did to Detroit or Jeb did to Florida and it's so certainly awful that any Trumpian uncertainty here is an improvement.

      I know there are a number of things he doesn't follow them on. He doesn't think SS is a ponzi scheme or that that you can rip up the Iran deal on day one.

      And if you look at my piece on Rubio my whole point is that nobody is more vague than he is.

      So, once again, I would take Trump in a heart beat and it wouldn't be a tough choice.

  3. BTW, I saw my half siblings & my dad today. Here's a few interesting tidbits:

    1. My half-brother's ex wife was there (as always). She volunteered to me that she's a Republican, but if Trump is the nominee, she won't vote at all.

    2. My half-sister who worked for the city of San Bernardino 15 years ago did not know any of the victims, but the son of a friend of hers was shot at by one of the terrorists during the shootout with police that happened later on. He was uninjured.

    3. I asked my dad about FDR having advanced notice of Pearl Harbor. He said he had that suspicion because in 1940 he was living at a YMCA in Cincinnati, and they had guest lecturers there. A guy from the State Department gave one of these lectures and told them that there was a high probability of the Japanese attacking our forces in the Pacific. Plus they had radar in Hawaii by 12/7/1941. So it seemed odd to him that more than a year before the attack he heard about the strong likelihood of such an event from a government official. Not a real crazy sounding "conspiracy" I guess. Lol.

    1. I mean no doubt FDR lied in the 1940 campaign about 'keeping our boys out of foreign wars'-he knew that was a promise he'd have to break.

      But then in the case of George W. Bush you had lots of the Neocons including Condi Rice on the record prior to 9/11 saying that 'What we really need is a Pearl Harbor like event'-to basically get the country out of its anti intervention mood.

      So in both cases there is all kinds of supporting evidence if you want to believe. LOL

  4. Let me leave you with this one thought.. It's better not to focus so much on outliers like Trunp. The real concern is the overall Overton Window.

  5. Right now it's as if Jeb is reasonable for just banning Muslim refugees rather than all Muslim immigrants. That's' where this hyperfocus on Trump gets us.