While policymakers “are attempting to punish people for being poor,” and “people are comforted by believing that they know that a person has to have done something wrong in order to be poor,”
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The events today in the Senate–namely, the Republican filibusters of nominees to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency and a D.C. Circuit seat, and threats to do so for the Fed Chair vote–prove once again that there’s literally no reason for Senate Democrats not to go nuclear right now on all appointments. In fact they do so beautifully. The basis of any defense of the filibuster is that eliminating it will improve the quality of debate. In both cases today, the arguments against the nominees were made were exceptionally poor. Mel Watt, the FHFA nominee was a politician, and thus a poor fit to run the FHFA. This doesn’t make a lick of sense, and the poverty of the argument is based more around Republicans wanting to keep an interim housing commissioner that has shut down numerous Administration plans to help the housing market. Patricia Millett was kept off the D.C. Circuit because Republicans don’t want to lose their clout there. Literally, that’s the argument. As if the president lacks the right to fill judicial vacancies.
Republicans have proven that they can’t be trusted to keep to their agreements, and they’ve also proven that they have nobody willing to buck the Heritage commissars’ rather poorly reasoned arguments. A lot of liberals–notably the current president–put a lot of stock in the power of reason to resolve disputes. But given the fig-leaf arguments used here, reason doesn’t stand a chance. Time to get out the heavy artillery.
Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that the launch and current operation of the federal health insurance exchange website is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad thing. Was it a case of bad management? Yes. Bad engineering? Yes. Should people be fired? Yes. Bad optics? Yes. The worst thing since Zombie Hitler taking over Jerusalem? No.
Jesus tapdancing chriiiiiist already. It’s a fucking website. Yes, a website. A fancy complicated thing that the government wouldn’t have even rolled out if this were 2003. (Remember forms? The DMV? The Social Security Office? The IRS phone line? Fax machines? Stamps to mail shit in?)
I think we’ve all come to realize that about 75% of the shit that Andrew Sullivan gets hysterical about is gonna end up being a huge nothingburger when looked on in retrospect. And, boy howdy, is he fucking hysterical right now:
The Obama team waited until the website roll-out to make their case – hoping, presumably, to capitalize on what they imagined would be a great online experience. Then came the mismanaged disaster…
If the federal government were a business, and the ACA were a new product, its stocks would be in the toilet right now. If Apple made an iPhone that experienced massive failures on the consumer end from the start, it would be withdrawn…
The president now needs to rise to this occasion or have his own singular policy choice, like Bush’s, become a synonym for government incompetence. Confess, Mr President. Americans forgive failures explained forthrightly. They rightly never forgive those who cannot plainly and clearly admit error and take responsibility.
Yes, CONFESS! Rend your garments and wail out upon the congregation how “Yes!! I have SINNED, Lord! Forgive me of my trespasses!!”
This is such a depressing example of how fucking shallow we’ve become and how utterly obsessed we are with optics uber alles.
Will enrollment in the new health insurance programs be impacted in the short term? Yes. Will Obama and the Democrats get egg on their face? Yes. Might we have to delay the individual mandate for a bit? Probably.
But, hey, NEWS FLASH! Websites get fixed. In the interim and for years to come, millions upon millions of people will have their lives transformed by finally being covered by affordable health insurance. These are people who will become free to start small businesses without being shackled to the sweet health plan they get by working at DepressedTech LLC… People living on the edge of medical bankruptcy who will have a better chance to not have their lives ruined for the foreseeable future by a sudden unexpected illness… People who won’t be tossed in the ditch once some crafty insurance adjuster ferrets out a preexisting condition… People who will remain alive because they didn’t avoid getting treated for a dangerous condition “because they just don’t have the money right now.”
Ferfuxake, nearly 10 million young adults have gotten health insurance over the past few years just by virtue of the fact that they’ve remained covered by their parents’ health plans.
I know a fuck-up is a really sexy, exciting thing to put on the news. Congressional Republicans haven’t stopped wetting themselves over the orgasmic opportunity to hold hearings to sternly find out the “Who, What, Where, When, and Why!” of this most catastrophic communist betrayal of these United States since
suggesting that our kids eat healthier foods, the President lying about quitting smoking, BENGHAZI!11!!!, Michelle Obama giving a mean look to the Statue of Liberty!!
If literally the worst actual, factual thing you’ve got to bitch about is a buggy website, then how’s about we all get a little fucking perspective, justifiably needle the President about it for a while and then take, like, a million long, deep breaths.
This is correct, but I’d go further than saying that Cruz is merely well within the mainstream of Republicans. I’d say that he’s the obvious, undisputed leader of Republicans. Admittedly, if his strategy is to win the GOP nomination in three years then he’s been doing a lousy job of setting himself up for it, since that’s one of those things that requires people to like you and that’s just not the case with Tailgunner Ted. But…he doesn’t need many people to like him to keep doing what he’s been doing, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to imagine a way for Republican establishmentarians to undermine him without tearing their entire edifice down.
The reason why Cruz is uniquely suited to this role is that he’s the logical conclusion of nearly all the trends the party has been encouraging over the past couple years. Cruz is an intense xenophobe, though he also checks off the “minority who really hates Barack Obama” box. His intellect is respected and his academic qualifications are sterling, and he uses them to make all manner of silly, sophistic arguments. In other words, he has book larnin’ but he’s not a scientist, man. He has no chink in his ideological armor and is fully on board with “soft” revolutionary techniques to drive the conservative agenda. All of this is stuff that the GOP has been pushing since before Cruz ever arrived, and Cruz is a product of his party and its environment, someone who has mastered what it takes to get FOX News to admire him, and who has no interest in convincing anyone else. It’s not surprising that many of the people who created this environment are horrified at what their ideas look like taken to their natural conclusion. But this is why Republicans will be completely unable to stop him: they hate him, but to defeat him would require undermining those trends and the GOP cannot do it. It would be like Big Brother not only declaring peace with both Eastasia and Oceania, but subsequently arguing for pacifism. It would require undermining too many pillars of the established order that it probably wouldn’t even be possible, wouldn’t be accepted by any level of the party. As we saw during the shutdown, many Republicans are entirely unwilling to give up on wildly unrealistic goals simply because they believe that they will be able to Green Lantern out a win. Cruz probably doesn’t believe that those wins are possible, so much as that seeming to fight for them is unlikely to hurt him personally.
Cruz seems like someone likely to self-implode on account of his ego, which is something that obviously could happen, and probably will eventually. But make no mistake about it, it’s his party for the time being.
Only 21 percent of Americans approve of the way the Congressional GOP is handling the federal budget, versus 77 percent who disapprove. Among independents: 20-78. Among moderates: 14-85. Among seniors: 18-79. Fewer than one in three regard the GOP favorably.
The low calibre of many United States legislators is a well-documented fact… A case in point concerns the article by [U.S. Senator] Mark Kirk in Monday’s Daily Telegraph arguing against concessions to Iran… Senator Kirk deserves to be dismissed as an ignoramus whose advice on tying one’s shoes should be treated with the utmost caution.
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