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teeter totter
Reading traditional media analysis of the Catfood Commission II is almost as depressing as the reality of the Catfood Commission II.

In their pathetic need to find "balance" in what is an inherently conservative framework, they end up with the tried and true false narrative of there actually being a "left" of center on the committee.

Let's just start with Politico, for the heck of it.

Politico tweet
Just ignoring the fact that all six Republican members, including the four singled out here, signed Grover Norquist's no taxes pledge—Sen. Jon Kyl? Really? Kyl? Who has already said that any cuts to defense would be unconstitutional, is a possible dealmaker? Right. Perhaps this tweet from Jonathon Martin wasn't intended as a factual statement. If the Republican leaders had intended to put someone on the committee who would be willing to make a deal, wouldn't they have found someone who had an actual history of making deals?

Maybe we try the paper of record for some less off the cuff analysis. Here's what the New York Times Robert Pear has to say.

If a deal is to be struck in the middle, it is likely to involve Mr. Portman, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and perhaps Senator Max Baucus of Montana, Congressional aides said.

Ah, the "middle." If Kerry and Baucus decide to capitulate to Portman's no taxes pledge, and maybe toss in raising the retirement age for Social Security and eligibility age for Medicare, they'll have met in the "middle." Can we just look seriously at the voting records of these men? Kerry and Baucus are the middle. They're already there. If they move in any direction toward Portman, it won't be "middle" in any realistic sense of the word. It'll be pretty solidly right.

Then there's this. Pat Toomey is reasonable because he said "he had voted to eliminate ethanol subsidies and added: 'If we tackle tax policy, and I hope we will, the goal should be to broaden the base and lower rates so we can create an environment that’s more conducive to economic growth. That will also generate more revenue. A stronger economy always does.'" Yes, the Club for Growth president is reasonable. I guess compared to the teabaggers, the Club for Growth is what passes for reasonable nowadays.

Finally, since I had to read it, I'll make you. The AP's Alan Fram.

"I'm nervous that the far left and the far right are in here, and I don't see them being the ones" likeliest to strike a compromise, said G. William Hoagland, a former top GOP Senate aide who now lobbies for Cigna Corp.

Patty Murray, Max Baucus and John Kerry are the far left. And he went to Cigna for the quote!

While Baucus, Portman and Upton are widely viewed as among the more pragmatic lawmakers picked for the panel, critics said it was hard to imagine them abandoning their parties on such a high-profile issue. Hensarling and Toomey are considered two of Congress' most conservative members and the least likely to budge on tax increases. Kerry is a liberal who seems unlikely to consent to benefit cuts, while Kyl, Murray and Hensarling are party leaders in their chambers.

Portman, Bush's budget director who engineered the Bush tax cuts when he was in Congress, voted for them. That was pragmatic for Bush, I guess. Baucus qualifies because he was willing to drop the single-most effective idea for actually bringing down the nation's health care costs in crafting the health insurance reform bill. That could be called politically pragmatic, but it sure didn't make much real pragmatic sense when it comes to policy. And, once again, that flaming liberal John Kerry. Sigh.

There was this, too, for a bit of a reality check for the NYT.

Toomey, the only member of the panel so far who voted against the bipartisan bill that established the debt-cutting committee, told reporters that while all big benefit programs should be considered for savings, "I'm not interested in some kind of big tax increase."

Let's leave it on a high note, with a completely gratuitous non sequitur from Alan Simpson. "'There's going to be wailing and gnashing of teeth,' said former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., who co-chaired a bipartisan deficit commission that recommended trillions of dollars in savings last year." Because what would a vacuous analysis of politics be without the razor-sharp wit of Alan Simpson?

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 09:24 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 09:24:57 AM PDT

  •  this reminds me of an old cartoon in a stat book (9+ / 0-)

    had a duck from a carnival game, where you shoot the target and win a prize.  On either side of the duck, there were gun blast patterns, and the duck smiled at the reader.  The caption read:

    On the average, the duck is dead.

    "Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. "

    by bubbanomics on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 09:31:44 AM PDT

  •  The 'Reasonable' Pat Toomey (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, DrJohnB, sodalis

    The Villagers have a new definition of 'reasonable' and 'compromise' when it comes to taxes. And I might say defense cuts:

    Toomey: 'If we tackle tax policy, and I hope we will, the goal should be to broaden the base and lower rates so we can create an environment that’s more conducive to economic growth. That will also generate more revenue."

    'Broaden the base' is operationally defined as eliminating middle class deductions so as to be able to 'lower rates' which in practice means cutting corporate taxes and taxes paid by the upper 2%. And this message runs all through the Republican tax message from Ryan on, their fall back position is to stick it to the middle class to protect the plutocracy. For example the first Ryan Roadmap (the one that came out in the last Congress) proposed to keep revenues steady while eliminating all taxes on dividends, interest, capital gains, and corporate income. That is he proposed to zero out the only forms of taxation your typical billionaire even pays. How did he keep this revenue neutral? Well a combination of Magic Beans and Supply Side, but simple arithmetic shows you can only make up the massive loss from the top 2% out of the bottom 98%. And this would be true even if Supply Side worked, under the Ryan Roadmap the wealthy just take a larger slice of any gains from productivity, extract tax revenue from what is left over and then leave the actual crumbs for workers.

    As to the military Villagers were all giddy at the willingness of B-S to consider defense cuts. Except that 85% of their proposed package of savings came right out of the pockets of active and retired military in the form of pay cuts and cost shifting on health care, and none of the other 15% actually tapped the real big acquisitions programs beloved of the Generals Admirals and Defense Contractors. That is once again the Pentagon gets its toys, Boeing, Raytheon and General Dynamics continue to get their profits, while the rank and file (who are nothing more than the working class and middle class when all is said and done) get the shaft.

    Which is how the Grand Bargain is shaping up:
    Yes to revenue increases! (But only if top rates are lowered in the process and so sticking it to the middle class)
    Yes to defense cuts! (But only if we continue to buy a replacement fleet of Ford Class Carriers and 3500 F-35s. We can just 'painlessly' take it out of soldiers and sailors pockets).

    Which of course will get reduced to "Republicans agree to compromise on tax increases and defense cuts" by the Village. Well the Devil is in the Details, or maybe in that Satan Sandwich Rep Cleaver warned us about.

    Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

    by Bruce Webb on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:27:09 AM PDT

  •  Camp (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Camp isn't ruling out tax increases.

  •  Ohferchrissakes! (6+ / 0-)

    That quote from the GOPer is batshit insane.

    Max Baucus, far leftist.

    That means John Kerry is Rosa Luxembourg.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:51:14 AM PDT

  •  Old Man Simpson. Instead of yelling at the kids (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to get off his lawn, he's shaking his fist at Social Security recipients.

    Umm, that's PRESIDENT Obama and SENATOR Franken, mr. o'reilly.

    by filby on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:53:42 AM PDT

  •  why is Kyle a "lame duck?" retiring? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I thought senators dont retire they just die in office?

    I just contributed $5.00 to support Colbert Super PAC! Help him today:

    by surfdog on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:54:27 AM PDT

    •  aye (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Kyl has said that he's hanging up his ratfucking shoes in 2012 to live off the graft that he's earned during his time serving the people (up for slaughter).  Mondo speculation on who runs for his seat, everyone from Gabby Giffords to Sheriff Joe Arpaio have been mentioned.

      I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused - Elvis Costello "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes"

      by piratedan on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:25:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How bout Chuckie Todd calling Upton (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, DrJohnB, freesia, joe from Lowell

    reasonable? Upton, Barton's enabler? The "we hate them golldarned energy saving communist lightbulbs and we want to apologize to BP and the EPA must die", Upton?

    •  Chuck Todd was such a great numbers analyst. (0+ / 0-)

      His reporting and commentary about polling and delegates during the 2008 election was absolutely first-rate.  In-depth, nuanced, informed about the context, able to put things in perspective and recognize its significance or lack thereof...

      and then he got promoted to newsbot, and he's just become the most fatuous, predictable spewer of conventional wisdom.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:44:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Still Screaming (0+ / 0-)

      You know, you shold listen to people who know what they are talking about.  I know Upton.  Chuck Todd is right.  See what happens.  Frankly, its the best we could do from the Republican leadership and it goes a long way toward balancing Bachus on our side.  Shut up and quit you're bitching about this because nothing's happened yet.

  •  TPM reported that Sherrod Brown (0+ / 0-)

    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

    by zonk on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:55:11 AM PDT

  •  It takes 7 for a Quorum (5+ / 0-)

    To move the committee's recommendations forward for afull vote in the House and Senate, it takes 7 ayes.

    What does that mean?  It means there are 6 intransigent Republicans on the committee, all of whom have signed Grover's no-tax pledge, and it will only take one Democrat voting with them out of some misplaced belief in bi-partisanship, or actual fiscal conservatism / idiocy (all eye on Baucus).

    So yeah. This committee was weighted in favor of republican from the start.

    You want balance?  Look to the millions of Americans trying to figure out how to balance the need to feed their kids with the need to pay their rent. There's your fucking balance.

  •  Well, our President asked for a balanced approach. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell

    Hoe much closer an analogy can you get than a teeter-totter?

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:56:00 AM PDT

    •  In this context, leaders lead... (0+ / 0-)

      and followers create committees.

      "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

      by VA6thDem on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 12:23:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Depressing nt (0+ / 0-)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:57:20 AM PDT

  •  Let's face it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the formula for writing political stories has gotten progressively simpler: add artificial balance and stir.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:58:25 AM PDT

  •  Really! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phil S 33
    And he went to Cigna for the quote!

    He can't make up his own bullshit?

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by shoeless on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:59:10 AM PDT

  •  There could be a deal on taxes, (0+ / 0-)

    if it takes the form of lowering rates while closing loopholes for a net boost in revenue.  There is zero chance the republicans would go along with just increasing marginal rates.  So, which deductions are we ok with closing?  

    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by Loge on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:59:17 AM PDT

  •  We are so screwed. How much are passports now? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Utter Stupidity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What in the world are we doing with this shitty committee anyway?  Cutting spending will cause the economy to retract.  Washington really wants to shrink the economy when its already unstable and on the verge of sinking back into recession?


    This is absolute nutbar stuff.

    The Dems should feel ashamed and humiliated that they are being forced to worsen the economy when things are already so bad for working people.

    Add to the outrage that it is profoundly anti-democratic.

    Fuck this shit.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:04:42 AM PDT

  •  I am elated by one thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sister Havana

    Ms. Pelosi made sure that there is diversity on this committee.  I started worrying that we were gonna see the same ole, same ole white-is-right kinda committee we see just far too often in D.C.  

    Thanks, Nancy.  And, a good choice it was...

    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:06:08 AM PDT

  •  Teabagger tax reform. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056, hester
    Toomey: 'If we tackle tax policy, and I hope we will, the goal should be to broaden the base and lower rates...

    Let's decode that.

    Broaden the base- make the working poor and the middle class pay more

    Lower rates- reduce taxes on the rich

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by shoeless on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:06:54 AM PDT

  •  precedent (0+ / 0-)

    Dems should be wary of anything including a ban on filibusters, they rarely use it, but if the economy tanks, we might need to slow the right wing express.  Funny how this works, when Rs are in the majority--filibusters are anti-democratic--deny up or down votes.  When Ds are in the majority, filibusters prevent extremism.  The media really reports it as this.

     Baucus and Kerry will side with the Rs to "save" the defense budget--and 41 good Dem senators will be unable to stop the results.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:07:54 AM PDT

  •  No deal. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Republicans won't budge, so Democrats need to stop worrying and learn to love the trigger.

    We'll meet again,
    Don't know where,
    Don't know when...

    Voting changes things. That's why they don't allow it.

    by happymisanthropy on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:08:26 AM PDT

  •  Rob Portman is dangerous (0+ / 0-)

    Because although he is a loon, he comes across as reasonable in this world of wackos like Rick Perry.
    Several years ago my business manager brought the asswipe to give a lecture at my workplace. When everyone else was herding over to the talk he asked hoew come I wasn't heading over. I told him that Portman's politics were shit and there is no way I would dignify the knob with my presence.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:11:45 AM PDT

  •  GOP Deal....'Gimme your money, your house,... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056, piratedan

    your first child.....and everything else ya got...and we'll call it square.'

  •  I've got an idea... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Let's about 40 of us get together & form a "Super Kos."

    Us "chosen 40" can bring our pet issues to the forefront while concurrently suppressing debate of the issues we don't care for.

    On the Kos Super 40 committee, in the name of fair & balanced, there will be 5 atheists, 5 Christians, 5 Jews, 5 Buddhists, 5 Wiccans, 5 Muslims, 5 Rastafarians,  & 5 from the category of indefinable riffraff.

    Such an evenly stacked 40 will, unlike now,  balance the scales in Daily Kos's behalf.

    Rule of thumb:  Any of the Kos Super Forty can delete any diary that is not to the KS40's  liking.

    Rule of thumb:  The Kos Super 40, as long as a consensus is met, can change the format & dymanic of Daily Kos (the website) on a whim.

    Rule of thumb:  If you question the integrity & authenticity of the Kos Super 40, you are automatically banned.

    The KS40 will "recruit" the top Daily Kos diarists to write glowing diaries that praise the KS40.

    Using the aforementioned religious criteria, somebody chosen by lottery can set up the Kos Super Forty.  Then Markos can bestow unfettered  anatomy as long as the KS40 agrees to cover & kiss  kos's ass when the need arises.

    If you don't think my idea about forming a Kos Super 40 is inherently democratic, then take it up with Barack Obama.  It's coming right out of his playbook.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 11:23:29 AM PDT

  •  I'll quote Einstein: The definition of insanity is (0+ / 0-)

    doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  This so-called "Super Congress" is the very definition of insanity.

  •  Baucus, Kerry and Murray are the middle (0+ / 0-)

    They all have supported defense spending in the past. Of course, they always support all forms of federal government spending (because they care), but those on the left do not support defense spending. So, the middle the traditional media is looking for is in the D-3 Senators. We have 6 votes for increased government spending not counting military spending (3 House D's and 3 Senate D's), but 9 votes for increased military spending (6 R's and 3 Senate D's), And, of course 6 votes against increased non-military spending from the R's. What we need is higher taxes and a jobs bills to hire more public sector union voters to go with ramped up federal spending of all types other than military spending. That will get this economy moving and the jobs bill will increase the coffers of progressive candidates.

  •  Once Again (0+ / 0-)

    As in every diary today on this subject, you ignore the fact that Upton is on the commission.  All you can say is that he signed the Norquist pledge.  You don't know him and you don't know anything about him.  

    Frankily, I do know him.  And frankly, short of the Maine twins, we couldn't have gotten a better Republican on the committee.  Upton is pragmatic and practical.  He has faced and won challenges from his right.  He is very like Tom Perillo, willing to lose his seat if what he does is right for the country.

    Not one single person on this web-site knows anything about any of the Republicans and yet you blather on.  You talk about the media searching for the middle.  Well, you're searching for another way to diss your party, diss your party leadership and whine.  Stop it.  Wait to see what happens.  It can hardly be even close to bad as it would be if the Senate was controlled by Republicans too.

    I perfer to wait and see what happens.  And I'm tired of all of you.

  •  Why don't we progressives put together a pledge (0+ / 0-)

    for Democratic officeholders to sign stating that they will never agree to any cuts, age of eligibility increases or decrease in COLAS for SS, Medicare or Medicaid?

    If they don't sign, we'll primary them.

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