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View Diary: Obama, Boehner meet on fiscal mess (222 comments)

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  •  Republicans are telling themselves the same thing (0+ / 0-)

    The argument that our political position will be stronger on January 2 comes down to the belief that Republicans simply will not take a short-term political hit in service of their long-term agenda. Which is, first of all, unbelievably naive: this is the GOP we're talking about, remember? But, even granting that, we forget that this isn't just a case of "Republicans lose" after the new year. Sequestration is designed to hurt both liberals and conservatives. We take solace in our beliefs that the costs will be worse for our enemies, and that they will have to cave first. By telling ourselves that, we steel ourselves to, in essence, refuse to think about compromise. We just need to wait them out.

    But the thing is, Republicans are telling themselves the exact same thing. And in doing so, they're convincing themselves that they don't need to think about compromise. And so it goes. Meanwhile, even if the "fiscal cliff" isn't as bad as some are making it out to be, it's going to hurt. Especially if we're wrong (and I think we are) and everyone is just as unwilling to work together in three weeks as they are today.

    We are playing chicken with the US economy. The people who are going to be most hurt by this are the people who can least afford it. If the Democratic Party can't at least try to act like the responsible ones here, all they've done is lower themselves to the GOP's level. And the responsible thing is to at least attempt to work towards a compromise. We don't have to (and shouldn't) cave on everything, and we can refuse to surrender on key points. If (as seems likely, given past experience) the GOP won't participate in good faith, well, at lesst we tried, and can reasonably pin the entirety of the blame on them. But if we're not at least willing to work with the party that still controls half of the legislative branch of the government, we're massively overplaying our hand and have no more right to run this country than John Boehner.

    •  I didn't know (0+ / 0-)

      the Koch Brothers commented on this site.

    •  The R's are wrong. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't really care what they are telling themselves. They proved last month that they don't have a very good grasp on reality. I'm sure they think all the polling that shows the people will blame them for the rise in their taxes are just all skewed.

      Dear dems: Do nothing. Is that really so hard?

      How many divisions does OWS have?

      by Diebold Hacker on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 12:23:19 PM PST

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      •  It doesn't matter that they're wrong (0+ / 0-)

        Again, this is the GOP, remember? Being sure of themselves wins over being factually correct every. Freaking. Time. They won't even look at public opinion polls until 2014, and there's absolutely no guarantee they'll listen to them then.

        So, yes, Republicans are wrong. Absolutely. So what? What matters is that they still wield significant power and authority. They control the House of Representatives, and will do so until 2015 at the earliest. They have a reduced majority, yes. Democrats are undeniably in the stronger position right now. But the sad reality is that if we don't get enough Republicans on board, this doesn't get resolved. Yes, tax rates go back to Clinton era norms, but we also embark on an austerity program that is unprecedented in the civilized world and likely take another hit to our credit rating that hurts our economy and does real damage to working people.

        That should be enough to emphasize the importance of responsible negotiations. Even if we both anticipate that the GOP will almost certainly refuse to act in good faith, and no acceptable solution will come from that attempt, refusing to try is an abrogation of our civic responsibility. And what makes this stubbornness all the more appalling is that we have apparently learned nothing from 40 years of a hard line neoconservative GOP. People still really think that you can successfully threaten Republicans with their own hypocrisy. Even if they take a short term political hit, they will stand by their ideology every time. Even if it ultimately comes down to posturing, Democrats should not emulate that zealotry.

        Being willing to talk is never a bad thing. Compromise isn't necessarily a dirty word. And the more we characterize Barack Obama's willingness to meet with John Boehner as a primo facie betrayal of progressive values, as if it means he's agreed to repeal Medicare in its entirety, the more damage we do to actual responsible, let alone progressive, governance.

        •  Bubba will not like paying higher taxes. (0+ / 0-)

          And when his taxes go up, he's going to be angry at his R congresscritters. They will feel the heat for this.

          If you can believe crazy things called facts and reality, the polling indicates that R's will take about twice as much heat as the D's when the curb is stepped off of.

          Finally, when has this ever been tried?

          we have apparently learned nothing from 40 years of a hard line neoconservative GOP. People still really think that you can successfully threaten Republicans with their own hypocrisy.
          The last example I can dredge up is when Clinton beat the crap out of Gingrich.

          Yes, I think we can indeed threaten the R's and win on this. If they dig in their heels, another 20 or 30 of them can go spend more time with their accountants after the midterms.

          How many divisions does OWS have?

          by Diebold Hacker on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:25:37 PM PST

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          •  It's not about who wins, politically. (0+ / 0-)

            Republican Congresspeople are going to have a hard time selling their opposition. But they don't even have to think about it until mid 2014, at the earliest, and there are lots of ways to spin it that don't sound nearly as awful to constituents as "the GOP raised taxes." Will it work? Personally, I doubt it, but what you or I think is totally immaterial. Republicans will go with it, or they'll find some other justification for continuing to stonewall. It's a central tenet in GOP ideology, it's going to take a lot to move them on this point, and just sitting back and expecting the threat of opinion polls to do the job for us is ludicrous. If that worked, we wouldn't still get the constant barrage of GOP-filled trial balloons concerning privatizing social security or Medicare. Heck, they'll probably just ignore the polls that don't agree with their preconceptions, as they did up through election night last month.

            So, yeah, maybe the Democrats "win," politically speaking. Pardon me if I don't leap for joy at that prospect. I'd rather the Democrats win elections than the Republicans, absolutely. But that's not why I vote Democratic in the first place. If the only goal is to one-up the GOP, then, yes, this is a workable strategy. But if the goal is to run the country responsibly (or attempt to as much as is possible in the face of an opposition party that has no interest in doing so), then it's wildly irresponsible. "Trying to solve the problem" trumps "blaming the other guy for not solving the problem" every time.

            We can quibble over what Obama's position in negotiations should be. There are certain things we should not be willing to trade in search of a resolution. If that means that we don't actually solve something, oh well. In that case, you wind up in the same position, but you at least made an attempt. If you can't score an actual solution, I'm fine with salvaging a political win over your opponent. But that's not what we should be aiming for.

            •  I would like to break their party. (0+ / 0-)

              This has that potential. Their party is fracturing, and in the long run, the demographics are slipping out from under them. America would be a better place if the R party was no more.

              Now, the "sensible", business arm of their party is in direct conflict with the "crazy" arm.

              So in the sense that this situation could drive an nice big wedge in there, it is all about scoring political points, and winning.

              I would gladly trade two years of national pain for a marginalized R party.

              We have the upper hand, and all we have to do is run out the clock. If we talk with Boney while that's happening, fine.

              How many divisions does OWS have?

              by Diebold Hacker on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:59:39 PM PST

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              •  Y'know, honestly, I respect that. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm just not really comfortable with it as a strategy. That's a pretty big gamble to make, and I'm not convinced that we have the right to force Americans through this kind of hardship for political goals. Even if I do agree that the country would be better off, in the end, with the (current) GOP humbled. But I can certainly see the appeal.

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