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Old 08-01-2011, 07:25 PM   #106
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Interesting and thought-provoking post. I have seen surveys suggesting the US electorate is much less right wing than the politicians that seem to represent them. This leads me to ask, are these problems you've identified the fault of a corporatist takover of the political system, rather than the electorate?
It's no secret that American politicians are beholden to the corporate interests and lobbyists who afford them the opportunity to be where they are, so I have no doubt that this is in fact the case. It's part of the frustrating aspect of a lack of serious campaign-finance reform. I'm willing to bet that, to a certain extent, if politicians were truly beholden to the people rather than to those fattening their (re-)election coffers, American politics would look different than they do.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #107
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So, they've got a deal. Tea Partiers voted no. Liberal Dems voted no. More moderate Dems and Republicans voted yes. However, the masterstroke was having Gabrielle Giffords cast a yes vote. Who ever orchestrated that deserves the PR Medal of Honor. Now all people are going to be talking about is averting the crisis and the amazing comeback of Representative Giffords.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:42 PM   #108
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can't find the youtube video yet

I am sure it will be available soon.

Someone should post it.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:31 PM   #109
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‪Gabrielle Giffords Returns to Vote‬‏ - YouTube
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:26 PM   #110
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The Tea Party's historic level of stupidity can't be ignored, but it should be far, far, far more forcefully condemned and mocked. It shouldn't be accommodated and legitimised. I know their base will never understand that, because they are the stupid, but they're never going to come around to anything intelligent and reasonable anyway, so let 'em go.
Quite right, because what better exemplifies "intelligent and reasonable" than the political culture in Washington D.C. and our fiscal policy prior to the Tea Partiers crashing the party this year?
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They all - elected and base - can and should be completely discredited and marginalised, no?
No, they ran on, and were elected to do, just what they did.

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Republicans need to grow a pair, and Obama needs to recognise when it's a good time to be all calm and reasonable, and when he needs to be all Clinton drinking from the well of Cheney or something.
Look up triangulation and Clinton.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:45 PM   #111
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Editor's note: David Frum writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002, he is the author of six books, including "Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again," and is the editor of FrumForum.

(CNN) -- I'm a Republican. Always have been. I believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation and limited government. But as I look back at the weeks of rancor leading up to Sunday night's last-minute budget deal, I see some things I don't believe in:

Forcing the United States to the verge of default.

Shrugging off the needs and concerns of millions of unemployed.

Protecting every single loophole, giveaway and boondoggle in the tax code as a matter of fundamental conservative principle.

Massive government budget cuts in the midst of the worst recession since World War II.

I am not alone.

Only about one-third of Republicans agree that cutting government spending should be the country's top priority. Only about one-quarter of Republicans insist the budget be balanced without any tax increases.

Yet that one-third and that one-quarter have come to dominate my party. That one-third and that one-quarter forced a debt standoff that could have ended in default and a second Great Recession. That one-third and that one-quarter have effectively written the "no new taxes pledge" into national law.

There was another way. There still is.

Give me a hammer and a church-house door, and I'd post these theses for modern Republicans:

1) Unemployment is a more urgent problem than debt.

The U.S. can borrow money for 10 years at less than 3%. It can borrow money for two years at less than one-half a percent. Yes, the burden of debt is worrying. Yet lenders seem undaunted by those worries.

Meanwhile, more than 14 million Americans are out of work, more than 6 million for longer than six months. The United States has not seen so many people out of work for so long since the 1930s.

2) The deficit is a symptom of America's economic problems, not a cause.

When the economy slumps, government revenues decline and government spending surges.

Federal revenues have collapsed since 2007, down from more than 18% of national income to a little more than 14%. To put that in perspective: That's the equivalent of losing enough revenue to support the entire defense budget.

Federal spending has jumped to pay for unemployment insurance, food stamps and Medicaid benefits.

Fix the economy first, and the deficit will improve on its own.

Cut the deficit first, and the economy will get even sicker.

3) The time to cut is after the economy recovers.

Businesses are hoarding cash. Consumers are repaying debt. State and local governments are slashing jobs. (Since 2009, the number of Americans working for government has shrunk by half a million, the biggest reduction in civilian government employment since the Great Depression.) Right now, there's only one big customer out there: the federal government. How does it help anybody if the feds suddenly stop buying things and paying people?

4) The place to cut is health care, not assistance to the unemployed and poor.

The United States provides less assistance to the unemployed and the poor than almost any other democracy. It spends 60% more per person on health care than almost any other democracy -- and gets worse results. The problem is not that Americans use too much medicine. People in other countries use more. The problem is that Americans pay too much for the medicine they use. Go where the money is, cut where the waste is grossest.

5) We can collect more revenue without raising tax rates.

Republicans stand for low taxes to encourage people to work, save and invest. But how would it discourage work if we reduced the mortgage-interest deduction again? Did it hurt the economy when we reduced the maximum eligible loan to $1 million back in 1986? Do Canadians and Brits -- who lack the deduction -- work less hard than Americans?

Why are state and local taxes deductible from federally taxable income? Wouldn't higher taxes on energy encourage conservation? Who decided to allow inflation to corrode federal alcohol taxes by 80% over the past 50 years?

6) Passion does not substitute for judgment.

Republicans and conservatives have worked themselves into a frenzy of rage and contempt for President Barack Obama. House Speaker John Boehner's post-deal PowerPoint for Republican House members was actually labeled "Two Step Approach to Hold President Obama Accountable" (PDF) -- as if the supreme goal of policy in this time of economic hardship were to fix the blame for all problems on the president ( ISN'T IT? ~ me ). This exercise in finger-pointing satisfies the emotions of the Republican base. It does not accurately explain the causes of the crisis or offer plausible remedies.

7) You can't save the system by destroying the system.

In their passion, Republicans convinced themselves that the constitutional republic and the free-enterprise system were threatened as never before. Their response? To threaten to blow up the free-enterprise system and wreck the republic unless they gained their point.

Republicans have become so gripped by pessimism and panic that they feel they have nothing to lose by rushing into a catastrophe now. But there is a lot to lose, and in these past weeks America nearly lost it. Let's hope that as America steps back from the brink, Republicans remember that it's their job to protect the system, not to smash the system in hopes of building something better from the ruins.

That's how student radicals think -- not conservatives.



The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Frum.
This Frum guy. . .can we get him to start posting on FYM regularly?

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i blame the American people, quite honestly.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:00 PM   #112
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Krugman eviscerates Obama:


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The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.
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And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction — and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts.
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It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.
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In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/op...ling.html?_r=1
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:08 PM   #113
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No, they ran on, and were elected to do, just what they did.
.

You're right. Parts of the GOP base were able to knock out many mainstream Republicans in the 2010 primaries, they did so fair and square. These people were send to DC with a Know-Nothing agenda and a nostalgia for the late 19th century.

Better start teaching your grandkids Chinese as we're on our way to being a third-rate power as the Chinese continue to invest in the future and the other 75% of America is kept down by people who think Bill Gates needs a tax cut.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:12 PM   #114
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It's no secret that American politicians are beholden to the corporate interests and lobbyists who afford them the opportunity to be where they are, so I have no doubt that this is in fact the case. It's part of the frustrating aspect of a lack of serious campaign-finance reform. I'm willing to bet that, to a certain extent, if politicians were truly beholden to the people rather than to those fattening their (re-)election coffers, American politics would look different than they do.


I'd say pOliticians are beholden to the people motivated/insane enough to vote in primaries in non-presidential years.

This is the people at work. The people in this country would rather drive the country off a cliff than have the wealthiest pay more in taxes.

It's colossaly stupid, as is the focus on debt and not jobs, but it is democracy.

We get the government we deserve.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:16 PM   #115
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Quite right, because what better exemplifies "intelligent and reasonable" than the political culture in Washington D.C. and our fiscal policy prior to the Tea Partiers crashing the party this year? .

So, tell me again, oh pious Peter of intelligent and reasonable fiscal policy, why did you vote for GWB?
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:00 PM   #116
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So no tax increases for the wealthiest (and cuts for the poorest) is going to lead to job creation, right? Not to them pocketing more for themselves and just creating more wealth for themselves?

Just like many companies are not creating jobs so that the CEO's and upper management can pocket more for themselves. I think Obama could give them every tax break in existence and they would still do that. Stay lean, get rid of older more expensive employees and keep crying about taxes.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:11 PM   #117
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If we don't want to be governed by tea partiers, we're going to have to send a message simple enough for congress to understand and vote in primaries and general elections.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:16 PM   #118
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Washington Post

Posted at 03:02 PM ET, 08/01/2011

Budget talks in a word: ‘Ridiculous,’ ‘disgusting’ and ‘stupid’ top poll
By Jon Cohen

Americans give overwhelmingly negative reviews to the fierce budget debate that has transfixed Washington over the past few weeks, and large numbers now think less favorably about the country’s political leaders, according to a new poll by the Washington Post and the Pew Research Center.

Asked for single-word characterizations of the budget negotiations, the top words in the poll — conducted in the days before an apparent deal was struck — were “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and “stupid.” Overall, nearly three-quarters of Americans offered a negative word; just 2 percent had anything nice to say.

“Ridiculous” was the most frequently mentioned word among Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. It was also No. 1 in an April poll about the just-averted government shutdown. In the new poll, the top 27 words are negative ones, with “frustrating,” “poor,” “terrible,” “disappointing,“ “childish,” “messy” and “joke” rounding out the top 10.

Summing up their views over the past few weeks, 37 percent in the new poll say they now see President Obama less favorably, about double the number (18 percent) seeing him in a more positive light. A sizable 44 percent say their opinions have not changed one way or the other, but the negative tilt may hurt the president, who is already at or near career lows in Post-ABC News and Pew polls.

For House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the split is even worse, with about three times as many saying their opinion of him has deteriorated rather than improved over the past few weeks (34 percent less favorable; 11 percent more so).

But one group where Boehner appears to have scored well is among those who agree with the tea party political movement: A majority of Republicans — 54 percent — who side with the tea party say they now see the speaker more positively. Despite major rifts within the GOP, Boehner’s success appealing to tea party Republicans has not come at the expense of others, as 61 percent of other Republicans say their opinion of the speaker hasn’t changed over the past few weeks.

On the other side of the aisle, the fiercest intra-party criticism of Obama has been from liberals, but in the new poll, moderate and conservative Democrats are three times as likely as are liberal Democrats to say their opinion of Obama has deteriorated over the past few weeks. Just 7 percent of liberal Democrats say so; most, 55 percent, say their opinions are unchanged, and 37 percent say they are now more favorable.

To the extent that both sides were trying to appeal to political independents, the past few weeks appear to have had little positive effect. Just 13 percent of independents say they now view Obama more favorably (38 percent say less); fewer, only 7 percent, now see Boehner in a more positive light.

Nor has the spotlight in the past few weeks helped Congress: Nearly one in five independents say they think less of both congressional Democrats and Republicans as a result of the budget negotiations. Not a single one of the independents interviewed now thinks more highly of both sides.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:16 PM   #119
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So, tell me again, oh pious Peter of intelligent and reasonable fiscal policy, why did you vote for GWB?
Because the other options were Gore and Kerry.

But yes, after the madness of doubling the size of government in 10 years, a 14 trillion dollar debt and looking at 70 trillion more in unfunded liabilities... some of see the Tea Party as quite sane.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:04 PM   #120
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Because the other options were Gore and Kerry.

But yes, after the madness of doubling the size of government in 10 years, a 14 trillion dollar debt and looking at 70 trillion more in unfunded liabilities... some of see the Tea Party as quite sane.
And where are the posts where you complained about Bush's big spending?

Never mind. . ..how about refuting David Frum's article. I'd be interested in that.
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