Washington has Grand Bargain fever, again. Thanks to the sequestration, Republican government-shrinking mania and Barack Obama’s apparently sincere desire to get some sort of huge long-term debt deal done, the Grand Bargain is looking more possible than at any point since the heady days of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.
For some reason, the options for dealing with sequestration — a self-inflicted made-up austerity crisis — are being purposefully and pointlessly limited to a) spending cuts, either those in sequestration or different ones, or b) spending cuts and tax increases. “Let’s just not do this, everyone” is rarely presented as a viable option. Instead, the single best end result, according to lots of pundits, Democrats and even Republicans, is tthe Mythical Grand Bargain.
This is awful news, for most people. A “grand bargain” is not going to be good. But after Barack Obama had fancy dinners with some Republicans last week, everyone is again hopeful. The president is hopeful. John Boehner is hopeful. David Gergen is probably hopeful. They can all taste the Bargain. Ooh, it’ll be so great when we get that Bargain!
The Grand Bargain is revered, among the Sunday Show set, as a goal essentially for its own sake. Its Grandness is its point. The thought of the parties coming together, agreeing on a mutually unpleasant compromise involving great political “sacrifice” (symbolic sacrifice for the politicians, likely eventual actual sacrifice for the constituents), warms the cockles of the Beltway Establishmentarian’s heart. If liberals and conservatives can’t stand the deal, all the better, even if one or both sides have perfectly valid reasons for blanching. The Bargain must, by necessity, reduce the deficit by “reining in entitlements.” “Entitlements” means Social Security and Medicare, two very popular and successful programs designed to keep retired people alive. Social Security and Medicare “reforms” that make both programs less generous are among the least popular policy proposals in America today, but both parties — at least, the leaders of both parties — support them (rhetorically). Cutting these programs is probably the single highest priority of the tiny centrist elite, and it has been for years, excepting the usual run-ups to our various wars. Part of the elaborate theater of Performing Seriousness in Washington is claiming that “everyone agrees” that the cuts are urgent and necessary, while also bemoaning that no politicians are “brave” enough to support them.
As hundreds of thousands of people braved sub-freezing temperatures in Washington, D.C., on Friday to join the anti-abortion protest March for Life, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took the opportunity to reiterate his commitment to banning abortion in America for good.
Addressing the crowd at the National Mall via video broadcast, Boehner said it’s time for anti-abortion activisits to “commit ourselves to doing everything we can to protect the sanctity of life.” Step one, he said, is making permanent the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape or incest.
“For the new Congress, that means bringing together a bipartisan pro-life majority and getting to work,” Boehner said. “In accordance with the will of the people, we will again work to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, formally codifying the Hyde Amendment.”
Boehner said he will make it a national priority to “help make abortion a relic of the past.”
“Let that be one of our most fundamental goals this year,” he said.
Second only to gerrymandering the EV. Who says the GOP isn’t a party with big ideas?
The interwebs are outraged! Outraged I tell ya! I’m not sure how I missed this juicy, scandalous, page 1 piece of raw political red meat, but apparently the First Lady (sporting her banging new bangs) was caught on video rolling her eyes after listening to a comment from the Ohio Republican congressman.
Monday’s post-inaugural luncheon was a case study in body language—and nearly all of the physical evidence centered on House Speaker John Boehner. One interaction in particular already became an Internet meme: Michelle Obama rolling her eyes after listening to a comment from the Ohio Republican congressman.
If you’re a regular reader of The Dish, you know that Sully has long been an outspoken critic of the Republican Party, and those who deign to call themselves “conservative.” Well the events of the past 24 hours have convinced him that it’s over for the GOP:
Those of us who have warned for years about this disturbing trend toward ever more extreme measures - backing torture, pre-emptive un-budgeted wars, out-of-control spending followed, like a frantic mood swing, by anti-spending absolutism of the most insane variety in a steep recession, vicious hostility to illegal immigrants, contempt for gay couples, hostility even to contraception, let alone a middle ground on abortion … well, you know it all by now.
But the current constitutional and economic vandalism removes any shred of doubt that this party and its lucrative media bubble is in any way conservative. They aren’t. They’re ideological zealots, indifferent to the consequences of their actions, contemptuous of the very to-and-fro essential for the American system to work, gerry-mandering to thwart the popular will, filibustering in a way that all but wrecks the core mechanics of American democracy, and now willing to acquiesce to the biggest tax increase imaginable because they cannot even accept Obama’s compromise from his clear campaign promise to raise rates for those earning over $250,000 to $400,000 a year.
Enough. This faction and its unhinged fanaticism has no place in any advanced democracy. They must be broken. But the current irony is that no one has managed to expose their extremism more clearly than their own Speaker. His career is over. As is the current Republican party. We need a new governing coalition in the House - Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible.
At least seven nude protesters stormed House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office in the Longworth House Office Building on Tuesday, according to reports from Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo and others who were there. The group was protesting cuts to HIV/AIDS funding that is possible as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
I love civil disobedience that causes enough outrage to get your/the media’s attention, but leaves no lasting damage.
Misleading Atlantic Wire Piece Accuses Boehner of Saying ‘Out Loud He Hopes’ Blacks, Latinos Don’t Vote
Misleading Atlantic Wire Piece Accuses Boehner of Saying ‘Out Loud He Hopes’ Blacks, Latinos Don’t Vote
by Noah Rothman | 5:03 pm, August 27th, 2012
On Monday, The Atlantic Wire’s Elspeth Reeve published a dramatically misleading piece that spun a response by House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) to a question about the economy into the unwitting exposure of his outright racism. The headline of Reeve’s post reads ‘Boehner Says Out Loud He Hopes Blacks and Latinos ‘Won’t Show Up’ This Election,’ and the body of the piece backs up this assertion. But the quote in question reveals no such sentiment by Boehner.
Boehner’s offending quote was made when he took questions during a Christian Science Monitor luncheon in Tampa on Monday. Boehner was asked about several demographic groups – notably, women, African Americans and Latinos — that polls have suggested are going to turn out to vote against his party in November unless the dynamics of the presidential race change.
Boehner replied that the state of the economy is likely to keep many of those voters from casting their ballots for President Barack Obama. He said that those voters were just as likely to stay home on Election Day as they were to vote against the GOP:
‘This election is about economics,’ Boehner said. ‘These groups have been hit the hardest. They may not show up and vote for our candidate but I’d suggest to you they won’t show up and vote for the president either.’
John Boehner, the leading Republican in Congress, has chastised his colleague Michele Bachmann over allegations she made linking a key aide of Hillary Clinton to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Boehner said on Thursday that the comments - made in a letter from Bachmann to the state department and Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison - about the family of Huma Abedin were “pretty dangerous”.
He joins John McCain in rebuking Bachmann over claims that Abedin’s father, mother and brother were connected to the Islamist group.
In her letter, Bachmann questioned how, given her ‘family connections’, Abedin had been given security clearance. Bachmann, citing foreign news reports, suggested that Abedin’s relatives were known to be connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives or organisations.
This was especially worrying as Abedin’s position “affords her routine access to the secretary and policy-making”, Bachmann added.
In the letter, Bachmann wondered how Abedin was not disqualified for a US security clearance “given what we know from the international media about Abedin’s documented family connections with the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.”
Speaking on Thursday, Boehner said: “From everything I do know of [Abedin], she has a sterling character, and I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous”. He added that he did not know Abedin personally.
In a desperate attempt to force Keystone XL, three Senators are threatening access to a vital economic and national security safeguard, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Republican Congressional leaders have failed to force President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. But that’s not stopping them from trying over and over again, taking hostages in the process.
This week, several senators took a different hostage: our emergency oil supply. On February 13, Senators David Vitter (R-LA), John Hoevan (R-ND), and Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced the Strategic Petroleum Supplies Act, S. 2100 that would prevent President Obama from selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve unless Keystone is approved:
the Administration shall not authorize a sale of petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve… until the date on which all permits necessary … for the Keystone XL pipeline project application filed on September 19, 2008 (including amendments) have been issued.
In other words, unless the president approves Keystone, he cannot sell our emergency oil — even if Iran causes an oil supply disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, a hurricane or other disaster disables oil production or refining facilities, or any other type of event causes gasoline prices to soar above $4 per gallon. If any of these events happen, middle class Americans would pay significantly higher gasoline pump prices, giving billions of dollars more to big oil companies that made record profits last year.
Additionally, this bill threatens our national security because it would give Iran more incentive to cause an oil supply disruption knowing that the U.S. could not legally access its 695 million barrels of oil reserves.
These hostage taking senators would argue that the Keystone XL pipeline – like the SPR — is vital to provide oil for Americans. However, that is false. It is likely that a large portion of the tar sands oil sent to Texas refineries will be for export, and would not be sold in the U.S.
The Senate is trying to force a pipeline route through Nebraska that is not yet identified, let alone evaluated to determine whether its impact on air and water quality. Because much of the tar sands oil refined in the U.S. would go overseas, Americans would bear the environmental risks while other nations get the oil.
I don’t know about others, but I don’t think it’s hyperbole in the least to label Hoevan, Lugar, and Diaper Dave Vitter’s repulsive stunt as treason. Selling out America’s security to appease Keystone transnational oil conglomerates, many of which John Boehner invests in.
The fact this isn’t a crime is a crime in itself!