Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

And So It Begins Again – UPDATE x3

world explode

I realize I haven’t been around all that much, but life and OFA have been a distraction and keeping me busy. I’ve dropped in Kos more than a bit, but dropping in and out there is easier than here. Here, I actually have to spend sometime and give some thought to what writers are saying in their posts. Speaks well of Moosers.

OK onto the subject at hand. THE DEBT CEILING!!!!!! The world coming to end as we know it. Either because we actually default because the Republicans have painted themselves so far into a corner on tax increases that they no longer can escape. Or that “A Grand Bargain” is reached, but in that bargain Obama does the unthinkable and touches the third rail of Medicare and Social Security.

And so it begins the right the Tea Party base is in full rage mode over taxes. The left is full rage mode over entitlements. We have been here before. I’ll leave the Tea Party loons out the rest of this diary

The left is sure, nay convinced once again Obama is caving, giving away the farm instead of hanging tough and telling the Republicans to shove it! Once again the left is insisting that Obama is Republican lite. Sigh. How many times do we need to go down this road before people get a clue.

I seem to recall that during the budget talks to keep the government from shutting down last spring the same screams, moans and gnashing of teeth were heard. The same calls of progressive traitor and the same mantra of he caved, he caved. And then the numbers came out and people started to take a hard look at the hard numbers. And what do we find out? The Republicans got no where close to what they wanted and Obama got pretty much what he said he always wanted.

Now this time things are a bit different, the stakes a bit higher and the Republicans maybe a bit wiser – doubtful – but maybe.

There is a majority of Republicans in The House who have declared fealty to Norquist’s no tax pledge.  Eric Cantor is their leader not John Boehner. And will not sign onto any deal that includes tax hikes no matter how they are achieved.  The net result of this? Boehner needs Democrats to pass a deal in The House and a lot of them.

Now onto the Democrats. They have declared they will not sign onto a deal that does not include revenue increases, tax increases or touches Social Security or Medicare in a way that hurt beneficiaries. Nor will they come riding to John’s rescue unless he delivers a good chunk of Republicans who will vote yes to give the Dems some political cover and force the The Republicans to own tax increases thus breaking their pledges to The Tea Party and Norquist crowd.

So now onto President Obama and the negotiations and his supposed caving, selling out his base and the ideals of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Really?

Ponder this dear reader. Do you suppose that Obama is aware of all of the above. That he knows full well that the House will not pass tax increases and the Dems won’t vote for anything that doesn’t include them and hurts entitlement beneficiaries. Result there will be no “grand bargain.”

In the meantime Obama will get to honestly say he bent over backwards was willing to enrage his base, risk his re-election by slaughtering the Democratic sacred cow of entitlements to stave off economic disaster. The Republicans not so much.

Who looks bad in this scenario with the Independent voter and moderate Democrats. Who has to start back peddling furiously to save themselves from themselves?

However, by this time we are rapidly running out of time. Default is looming, the clock is ticking. So what happens?

The Republican leadership starts to panic. Their monied based is pounding their phones and sending lobbyist to Hill to berate them on how the fire is about to get out of control. They fear Obama will pull the trigger on the 14th Amendment option  of just ignoring them. He won’t, but they are starting to get nervous about it or why would Republicans in The Senate be trying to introduce a bill to take the option off the table? So in the end the Republicans are left with few choices, but to pass a clean debt ceiling bill or something that get’s them little of what they want.

Now could I be so far wrong as this diary should be read as a snark? Absolutely! However I just might not be.

Peace, love and anybody up for a game of 11 dimensional chess?


UPDATE: Boehner this AM at Capital Hill briefing

“While some think we can go past August 2nd, I frankly think it puts us in an awful lot of jeopardy, and puts our economy in jeopardy, risking even more jobs,”


“At the end of the day we’ve gotta have a bill that we can pass through the House,” Boehner said. “In all honesty I don’t think things have narrowed — I don’t think this problem has narrowed — at all in the last several days.”


Are we beginning to see the beginnings of a back peddle? Is he starting to hint that they are so far apart still that they may just have to pass a clean bill with a guarantee that deficit reduction negotiations will continue? We shall see.

Update 2 Well it appears the hair on fire rumors about COLA changes to Social Security may not have been a fact.

Rep. Barney Frank says Minority Leader Pelosi reassured House Democrats that the COLA change (which amounts to escalating cuts to Social Security over time) floated in the press will not happen.…

Update 3

Well it seems Lawrence O’Donell  has decided to steal my thinking.…

“What you are now witnessing is the most masterful rope-a-dope ever performed by a president against an opposition party in Congress. It began months ago… Joe Biden then lead negotiations with Senate Republicans about how to find a compromise position on the White House position of doing nothing but raising the debt ceiling and the Republicans position of cutting $4 trillion in spending while raising the debt ceiling. Biden and Senate Democrats then rope-a-doped the Republicans into weeks of discussions over trillions of dollars of spending cuts. And during that time, Democrats appeared to be increasingly willing to go along with trillions of dollars of spending cuts — possibly as much as three trillion. Then Biden and the President insisted that there be at least a trillion in tax revenue increases and Republican Eric Cantor fell for the Obama ultimatum and walked out of the talks doing exactly what the President wanted him to do because Cantor was thereby proving to the country once again that President Obama was willing to be much more flexible and reasonable in these negotiations and compromises with Republicans than Republicans were willing to be with the President. Specific policy issues aside, President Obama has already won the public contest of who appears to be more reasonable and he won that weeks ago.”


  1. HappyinVT

    still think the president caved on the budget because they stopped reading before the details were revealed.

    People are also freaking out about numbers~300 billion or whatever without knowing from where that money would be cut.

    I am a bit frustrated however about all the talk of the debt ceiling while unemployment is at 9.2.

  2. The screamers on the left have been pretty much batting zero with their predictions of gloom, doom, and cave-dwelling betrayal.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

  3. HappyinVT

    The president has said that he wants to deal with this long-term now not later.  Seems like Boehner’s in a tough spot.  Don’t feel sorry for him, though.

  4. DTOzone

    I hate our system of government. I honestly think when a party wins an election, they should be allowed to do what they want. Because only then can we really judge them.

    Divided government allows parties to blame the other side and causes endless stalemates.

    Republicans should be allowed to enact their Ryan plan and cut the shit out of Social Security, and they should present their policies to the people, who will either outright reject them or not.

    I’m sick of playing in hypothetical. On what they MIGHT do or how we to STOP them from doing X.

    Let them do it, let the people see what they’re able to do.

  5. spacemanspiff

    Ponder this dear reader. Do you suppose that Obama is aware of all of the above. That he knows full well that the House will not pass tax increases and the Dems won’t vote for anything that doesn’t include them and hurts entitlement beneficiaries. Result there will be no “grand bargain.”

    I don’t understand how internet commandos actually believe they are smarter than everybody else on every single thing.

    I have no idea what Obama is doing or why he is doing it (although what you think makes a lot of sense) but I’d rather wait and see before setting my hair on fire. Every single politician has to think strategy every single day. Every word, every move, every position is supposed to be well thought out and executed. The 11 dimensional chess jokes (which have to be the most overused line in WATB vocabulary)  are stupid because every single politician tries to play everybody else and if Obama is playing 11 dimensional chess than everybody else is too. It’s what politicians do. Some are better than others at the game of course which is how we get the leaders we have. But to pretend that the POTUS lucks out when he gets something done because he couldn’t possibly have a strategy is just plain ignorance.

    The ins and outs of anything an R or D is not known after the fact. Sometimes years after the fact. So how the hell can you predict something that hasn’t even happened and that you have no idea how it will turn out? The discourse on GOS has really gone down. I remember when the people leading the charge on issues were actually, you know, smart. There are 2 diarists/leaders in particular over there who you can tell are dumb as fucking rocks. Getting them on the wreck list and showering with praise speaks volumes about these frustrati movement. It’s a sad joke and I read them for shits and giggles.

  6. Strummerson

    and his position on the size of the stimulus ‘back in the day’ enhances his credibility.  My disappointments with Obama have to do with rhetoric.  I voted for him because I thought he could change the terms of the argument, like Reagan did.  Krugman’s piece this week points out that he has consistently embraced GOP terms, and his use of their rhetoric may indeed indicate that he shares many of their assumptions about how the economy functions.  The reason I compare it to the stimulus size fight isn’t because I think he could have gotten something along the lines of what Krugman, and to some extent Roubini and Steiglitz argued, it’s because if he had presented it in a way that accepted their terms and made the argument that this is the best we were able to get at this point and hope it proves sufficient, he would have a better defense now.  He presented it as a victory (every new pres. needs victories, especially in a time of crisis) and now is saddled with the accusation of failure.  He can’t easily say, “this is what concerned me and the data has born out the position of the Nobel laureate economists on whose council I rely.  We needed more then and we must do something now.  You didn’t accept the arguments of my advisers last time.  Now, we must.”  Same thing here.  I don’t expect him to be able to get what I want, or even to want what I want, but I want him to change the rhetoric, and along with it the assumptions.

    It should be interesting next year.  A dear friend of ours will be a member of his Council of Economic Advisers starting this fall.  Brilliant brilliant brilliant scholar (I’ve been blessed to know some pretty impressive intellectuals and haven’t met anyone who is smarter and harder working) with clear progressive commitments.  If she’s not too overworked, I might be able to get us some insight.  We are already planning a trip to DC while she’s there, because she’ll be able to set up a behind the scenes tour of the WH for the kids (and us).

  7. spacemanspiff

    I’ve already written and deleted a few comments after cracking myself up.

    Just know that Reagan, a pirate hat, and 3 tubes of lube were prominently featured in 1 of those jokes.

  8. HappyinVT

    Because if he’s not I have no clue what is going on.  I cannot imagine the president or vice president “gutting” entitlements and the president is a known bluffer so I’m going to go with O’Donnell and others in believing this is a grand scheme to show the Republicans in their true light.

  9. From massappeal:

    upyernoz, I see your point, and even agree partly.  For progressives who want to exert maximum leverage on President Obama, it’s important to recognize who we’re dealing with here:

    1 – Our first African-American president—which means there are 1001 constraints on his public behavior every day:  what he say, what he does, how he says and does it, the inflection in his voice, the expression on his face.  If you know what I’m talking about, I apologize for stating the obvious.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, your options are to 1) start to learn and understand or, 2) continue to be frustrated because you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

    2 – A former community organizer—which means he has a certain understanding about power (good), self-interest (healthy), negotiation (essential), compromise (ditto), allies and enemies (both temporary).  “Cold Anger” by Mary Beth Rogers is a good introduction to the kind of intellectual formation Obama was exposed to in the 1980s.  The better you understand that formation, the better you’ll understand him as a public figure. (Again, apologies if you already know this.)

    3 – A politician who has consistently placed himself in the center of the Democratic coalition so that he could be a party leader.  That’s what he did in the Illinois Senate, the US Senate, and what he’s done in the White House.  Best example:  Getting every Democratic Senator (from Ben Nelson to Bernie Sanders) to vote for cloture on the ACA.  

    Again, you don’t have to like it.  Just understand it.  Obama wants to be in the center of 60% of the electorate, so that he can win 80% of what progressives want.  Without that 60% (or something close to it), progressives get nothing.  With it, the most you get is 80%.  You never get 100%.  That’s the “world as it is” (another part of Obama’s intellectual formation, see #2 above).

    4 – A masterful political counterpuncher.  The political equivalent, dare I say, of Ali using the “rope-a-dope” to defeat Foreman in Kinshasa.  There’s a (sometimes fearsome) price to be paid for taking so many punches, but what you call “months of wasted time and putzing around” was the time in which Obama persistently drew out McConnell, Boehner, et al, got them to reveal what they “wanted”, and then finally—after they’d punched themselves out (so to speak)—counterattacked in the last 7-10 days, to the point where McConnell last night said, in effect, “no mas”.

    You don’t have to like Obama or his actions and decisions, but if you want to do something about them then it’s best to understand where the man is coming from and what he’s dealing with…particularly if you want to move him in a more progressive direction.

  10. jsfox

    Obama tells it like it is. This at the end of today’s meeting.

    “I have reached the point where I say enough,” Obama told the leaders, according to the account. “Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.”

  11. HappyinVT

    South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham conceded Wednesday that he and his fellow Republicans are now eating their own words as they try to convince the country they are working to stave off a federal default.

    “Our problem is we made a big deal about this for three months. How many Republicans have been on TV saying, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit.’ You know, Mitch [McConnell] says, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit unless we talk about Medicare.’ And I’ve said I’m not going to raise the debt limit until we do something about spending and entitlements.’ So we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves,” Graham told reporters after a GOP caucus lunch.

    “We shouldn’t have said that if we didn’t mean it.”…  

    Should have just raised the damn debt limit.

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