This gets it right:
But the nature of his anti-war stance is fundamentally different from that of liberal opposition to any given war. The tipoff is in his opposition to foreign aid, and his anti-United Nations position: he’s anti-war because the rest of the world just isn’t worth it. His is not the pacifism of the anti-war movement but the nativist isolationism of the America-Firsters; Paul is “to the left of Obama” the way Lindbergh was to the left of Roosevelt. (That may be true in a fairly literal sense, although I wouldn’t trust anything from Big Government without further corroboration.)
Similarly, Paul’s positions on civil liberties issues aren’t actually about civil liberties as we understand them; they’re about his opposition to Federal authority. (An opposition that is somewhat conditional, it should be noted.) For example, in talking about the death penalty, he makes clear that he opposes it only at the Federal level. His opposition to thePATRIOT Act, the War on Drugs, and domestic surveillance come from the same root as his opposition to the Civil Rights Act. He has no real objection to states violating the rights of their citizens; it’s only a problem if the Feds do it.
I find that a lot of people misunderstand Paul by trying to put him onto the standard, left-right spectrum. This fails because Paul is definitely off the spectrum–his point of view comes from a very non-mainstream set of assumptions and values, and while there is some overlap of his positions on both the left and the right, this does not make him “of” either one. I can understand the temptation to try to read one’s own point of view onto the positions in which one sympathizes with Paul’s, but it must be resisted. Andrew Sullivan in particular appears to have done exactly this, which was pretty much what he did with Paul Ryan earlier this year. This is different from accepting that the man’s worldview is pretty twisted but saying that he may be useful nonetheless in helping change public opinion in certain ways. Which is my position at this point in time, I think.
A sad story from my home state:
Legislative data show that business interests wielded strong influence despite a Capitol dominated by Democrats in the Legislature and governor’s office. Business lobbyists defeated bills that would have cut tax breaks, required employers to give workers unpaid bereavement leave and prolonged the foreclosure process.
In the current economy, “all legislators are more sensitive to the argument that something would be a job killer or harmful for investment or expansion,” said Dorothy Rothrock, a lobbyist for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, which represents major businesses around the state. “That’s made it easier for us to stop or amend bills to make them less hostile or burdensome.”
I find it amazing that Democrats both here and nationally have let themselves get snookered by this. Business groups have keenly leveraged a demand-weak economy into a narrative that, unless they get everything they want, no new jobs will be created. This is not a credible theory, to put it mildly. And yet Democrats seem eager to stand down on all sorts of important measures. “Make them less hostile.” Yeah, because Democrats get up every day and ask, hey, how can I menace businesses today?
Again: new regulations have little to nothing to do with the jobs crisis, and what businesses often mean by a “hostile” regulatory environment is one that doesn’t let them do whatever they want. California is invariably described in this way, but the simple fact is that there aren’t limits on how many businesses can exist, how big they can get, how much they can hire and fire, and so on. California’s government doesn’t routinely break up businesses they don’t like. Where is this famed “hostility” we hear so much about? Having, say, environmental regulations doesn’t imply a hostility to business, merely a concern for the environment, and it’s nuts to imply that is the motivation. There is little actual hostility to capitalism in American political life, there are only some people who think their needs ought to be weighed against those of, you know, the public, and those who don’t. Frankly, I’m tired of the idea that the former group is “hostile” to business, it’s junior high-level relationship manipulation stuff, you know, the whole, “if you love me then you’ll stop spending time with those friends of yours who don’t like me.” Have a little self-respect, I say! My guess is that these pro-business folks know better than what they’re saying. It’s a testament to Republican pundits and their paymasters that they’ve injected this narrative into the conversation, but it’s safely ignored by thinking people.
(h/t Political Animal)
The National Labor Relations Board announced on Wednesday that it had adopted new rules that would speed up unionization elections, its last major policy decision before it drops to two members and can no longer make new decisions. It approved the rules in a 2-to-1 vote. The labor board said the new rules, which have been in the works for months, would reduce unnecessary delays and litigation, especially in the 10 percent of cases when employers file formal challenges to unionization votes, a move that often delays such votes by a month or more. The new rules are scheduled to take effect on April 30.
The debt-ceiling debate was a mess, and it probably did real damage to the economy. Some of the deals that Obama offered Boehner — which would have taken the Bush tax cuts off the table, and raised the Medicare eligibility age — would have dragged federal budget policy far to the right. But Boehner didn’t take those deals. And, in the end, the debt ceiling was lifted in return for $900 billion in discretionary spending cuts and the establishment of the trigger-backed supercommittee — a deal that ended up dragging federal budget policy far, far to the left.
The key here was that the supercommittee failed. That left two major events on the budgetary horizon: the spending trigger, which cuts $1 trillion from the budget, half of which comes from the Pentagon, and none of which comes from Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare beneficiaries, or assorted other programs for low-income Americans; and the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which would raise taxes by almost $4 trillion. Both events are scheduled to happen simultaneously and automatically on January 1, 2013 — a dual-trigger nightmare for the GOP. And taken together, they are far to the left of anything that Democrats have suggested over the past year [...]
Finally, there was the scheduled expiration of the payroll tax cut and the expanded unemployment insurance benefits. On Thursday, Democrats and Republicans agreed to extend both for two months — and the expectation is that, after another ugly round of negotiations, they’ll both be extended through the rest of 2012. If that holds true, then in the 2010 tax deal, Democrats got about $4 of stimulus for every $1 of upper-income tax cuts, rather than, as it seemed at the time, $2 in stimulus for every $1 in upper-income tax cuts.
So, in 2011, there was no government shutdown, no default on the debt, and no contractionary spending cuts passed for this year or next year. In addition, 2010’s stimulus measures were extended into the beginning of 2012, and unless Congress and the White House come to an alternative deficit-reduction solution over the next year, the dual triggers will go off and we’ll see a deficit “deal” consisting of a bit less than $4 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts — and half of those spending cuts will fall on the Pentagon.
This may not be how the White House hoped the year would close out. They wanted a big deficit deal with the Republicans, and a more collegial, compromise-filled relationship. But the reality is, they begin 2012 with vastly more policy leverage than they had in 2011. And at this point, what does Boehner have to show for the brinkmanship of the last year, save for the discretionary spending cuts from the debt deal?
Funny how things work out, isn’t it? Republicans managed to stumble into a much worse (for them) status quo because of their inflexibility. Funny thing is, I suspect most Republicans are perfectly fine with endless CONFLICT that costs them tactically. After all, FOX News doesn’t tell them about what they lost.
There’s no question that a stalemate is dangerous for Democrats. For starters, it would hurt the economy, and in an election year that hurts the president no matter whose fault it is. What’s more, voters tend to blame presidents for gridlock whether it’s their fault or not. After all, once Republicans make a counterproposal (and they have: a conference committee to work out a one-year deal before the end of the year), they can plausibly argue that it’s the other side that’s not willing to deal. Both sides are keenly aware of both of these dynamics, and they definitely point in the direction of Democrats caving yet again.
But that’s exactly why I suspect Democrats won’t cave. At some point, whether it’s strictly rational or not, you simply have to let the other side know that you can’t be pushed around forever. And this is about the best chance Dems have had to send this message in a while. Nothing is going to get shut down if they hold out, the nation’s credit won’t be wrecked, and even if takes until January to make a deal it won’t have much effect on the economy. What’s more, House Republicans have shown weakness by making sure the Senate’s two-month deal is still on the table. If they’d voted it down, it would have been like ripping the steering wheel off the car, but they carefully made sure not to do this. And to make things even worse for Republicans, they’re plainly losing the PR battle over this. Even the Wall Street Journal isn’t on their side, and even Mitch McConnell is pretty disgusted over being double-crossed once again by the lunatics in the House GOP caucus.
It would be overly simplistic to state this as being the reason for Obama’s poll resurgence–better economic data probably has more to do with it. But it’s certainly less dispiriting coming from the White House than Plan B/NDAA/EPA smog rules, that’s for sure. As Drum says, standing tall on this one makes sense. It doesn’t hurt that House Republicans have no real argument for abrogating the deal–not wanting Obama to talk about it in the State Of The Union is dumber than dumb, since hardly anyone watches those anyway.
I’m very hesitant to start envisioning a 2012 campaign waged amidst a visibly improving economy–green shoots have been falsely spotted so many times that I just don’t dare to hope for it. But my guess is that even modest improvement would really scuttle Republicans’ chances, heightening some fierce, existing divisions that Republicans have unwittingly fostered. An abrasive, Tea Party-style fusillade would be an incredibly poor fit for that sort of electoral environment, something of which Republican elites seem quite aware of, hence their support of Mitt Romney. But they’re not just going to stop having a Tea Party because Mitt Romney says so. There are some very real divisions there that could be exploited, Nixon ’72-style. After all, that’s basically what the current fight is about now, an intra-Republican debate that everyone else views with bored contempt. Nobody cares about that kind of stuff.
Also, under those circumstances you have to figure that Boehner’s majority is completely fucked (and might be regardless). Something to give me a little hope for the future, at least.
Americans Elect, the self-proclaimed independent option for 2012, has been making progress on meeting ballot qualifications in several states, most recently California. Now, obviously, they aren’t going to win my state. Obama could drop 20% and still win the state. But it’s worth remembering that this lavishly funded group is just really freaking odd in every way. They have gotten $20 million–from whom, we don’t know. This is to put together some ticket for a third-party option in 2012. What kind of option? We don’t know. Why would anyone give money for that cause? Unclear. One has to assume the donors were given some information on what their money was going toward. Otherwise, why do it? I’m of the opinion that rich people generally aren’t much smarter than the rest of us, but I don’t think anybody’s that dumb. This is why I figure this is a “Draft Bloomberg” movement. The amount of money raised for such nebulous goals makes no sense, unless you figure that the people donating know exactly what they’re paying for. And the one guy who could credibly rustle up that kind of money, who would be taken seriously by the media, and who would absolutely run the sort of technocratic, wealth-friendly moderate approach that the money men would like–that’s Bloomberg. Gotta be. People dislike partisanship, but they’re not going to spend any money on it. But they might spend money on a Bloomberg candidacy. Dumb but plausible.
I find the entire thing insidious, actually. If Bloomberg wants to run, he should just say so and run already. Otherwise, he should not do it like before. Bloomberg simply has no broad appeal and little charisma, and while he might make Obama try a bit harder for centrist votes, and perhaps play spoiler in Florida (maybe?), that outcome seems like an utter waste of $20 million, a sum that could be put to much better uses than (I’m guessing) hedge fund managers trying to vent their anger about Obama. Right?
- Political Analytical – Insight and Analysis on Politics and Reason: Mike’s Blog Round Up
- Library Grape: What the Crippity-Crap?
- I Want My Mommy!: /* */ /* */ Francis Sedgemore – journalist and science writerCrooked Timber — Out of...
- Balloon Juice: Career opportunities
- Library Grape: It's Shit Like This....
- Time To Think Like A Republican, NJ Democrats
- The Cuteness and the Bear
- Cute Animal Battle III - Mr. Winkle
- More Evil Done in the Name of Health Insurance
- Daniels Speech Verdict
- Small Town Government Clears Huge Hurdles Put Up By Broadband Oligopolies
- Worldwide Approval of U.S. Leadership Skyrockets
- It Is Absolutely Time To Israelify Our Airports
- Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader's Wife Gets A Layoff Notice
- Morning Music Party - The Avett Brothers
- April 2013 (22)
- March 2013 (56)
- February 2013 (42)
- January 2013 (71)
- December 2012 (67)
- November 2012 (40)
- October 2012 (44)
- September 2012 (35)
- August 2012 (39)
- July 2012 (36)
- June 2012 (35)
- May 2012 (42)
- April 2012 (42)
- March 2012 (64)
- February 2012 (71)
- January 2012 (67)
- December 2011 (57)
- November 2011 (72)
- October 2011 (63)
- September 2011 (55)
- August 2011 (53)
- July 2011 (44)
- June 2011 (71)
- May 2011 (91)
- April 2011 (101)
- March 2011 (104)
- February 2011 (96)
- January 2011 (71)
- December 2010 (73)
- November 2010 (59)
- October 2010 (80)
- September 2010 (64)
- August 2010 (39)
- July 2010 (46)
- June 2010 (27)
- May 2010 (54)
- April 2010 (34)
- March 2010 (38)
- February 2010 (47)
- January 2010 (62)
- December 2009 (57)
- November 2009 (72)
- October 2009 (76)
- September 2009 (50)
- August 2009 (85)
- July 2009 (56)
- June 2009 (141)
- May 2009 (103)
- April 2009 (113)
- March 2009 (66)
- February 2009 (43)
- January 2009 (87)
- December 2008 (18)
Wine Labels2012 Election 2012 Elections Abortion Barack Obama Bullshit Bush Christianity Congress Conservatives Democrats Economy Fail Foreign Policy Fox News Gay Marriage Hatred Health Care Ignorance Insanity Iran Law LGBT Issues Libertarianism Lies Media Mitt Romney Music Paul Ryan Policy Polls Quotes Racism Rebuttals Recession Republicans Right Wing Sarah Palin Scandal Stupidity Teabaggers Torture Truth Video War Crimes War on Terror