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I Still Can’t Understand Why Nobody Wants the Speaker Job

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john-boehner

The House Freedom Caucus seems nice:

Yesterday, Politico published the House Freedom Caucus “questionnaire” which it described as pushing for “House rule changes.” The document does do that. But it also does a lot more. It seeks substantive commitments from the next speaker that would effectively send the entire country into a tailspin.

For example, the document seeks a commitment from the next speaker to tie any increase in the debt ceiling to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

[…]

The government will run out of money on December 11. Unless additional funding is approved before that date, the government will shut down.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to not funding the government at all unless President Obama (and Senate Democrats) agree to defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and a host of other priorities. This is essentially the Ted Cruz strategy which prompted at 16-day shutdown in 2013. This would now be enshrined as the official policy of the Speaker Of The House.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to oppose any “omnibus” bill that would keep the government running. Rather, funding for each aspect of government could only be approved by separate bills. This would allow the Republicans to attempt to finance certain favored aspects of government (the military), while shuttering ones they view as largely unnecessary (education, health).

I don’t think much of Paul Ryan, but I do think he’s smart enough to stay away from this job.

I know that this Green Lanternism is not unique to the right per se.   There are people on the left who thought that Congress could have unilaterally ended the Iraq War in 2007 or that the Democratic minority in the Senate could have serially rejected Bush’s Supreme Court nominees.  There are also people on the left who believe that had Obama demanded single payer Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson would have had no choice but to vote for a Medicare buy-in.   But 1)these are generally obscure People on the Internet Somewhere, not the core of the Democratic caucus in Congress, and 2)they at least support the use of completely irrational tactics to advance desirable ends.   The Freeance Caucus’s reason for being is to threaten to destroy the country unless the president agrees to destroy the country.  (And destroy the country not just in the eyes of Democrats but in the eyes of most Republican voters.)

The lesson, as always, is that Both Sides Do It.  Just ask Ron Fournier:

Which brings me back to the para­dox. Most voters and non­voters are dis­con­nec­ted from both parties be­cause the two-party sys­tem is in­creas­ingly loud, angry, mean, po­lar­iz­ing, selfish, vacu­ous, and soul­less. In­side the duo­poly, Trump is everything that base voters hate about the oth­er party.

So why the ap­peal? Maybe it’s be­cause Trump is the best of worst—an ex­ag­ger­ated re­flec­tion of what’s wrong with a sys­tem that val­ues celebrity and cel­eb­rates in­ci­vil­ity. He’s a ca­ri­ca­ture. A car­toon.

Very profound. It’s hard to imagine two public figures more similar than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And remember when the Democrats couldn’t find anyone willing to be Speaker in 2007 because a majority of the Democratic caucus threatened to shut down the government and default on the national debt unless Bush agreed to nationalize the means of production and appoint Mumia as Attorney General and Bob Avakian as Secretary of the Treasury? I’m not sure how we can ever escape the symmetrical problems of our two-party duopoly.

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  • postmodulator

    Democratic minority in the Senate could have serially rejected Bush’s Supreme Court nominees.

    I’m not certain that they couldn’t have, although they would have paid a political price with the chattering classes. Do you think that the Republican response would have been to eliminate the filibuster for nominees? Plausible.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Do you think that the Republican response would have been to eliminate the filibuster for nominees?

      Yes. And if they didn’t, of course, then Obama wouldn’t be able to get anyone confirmed either.

      • postmodulator

        Not exactly parallel, as Obama never had to have that fight while the GOP was a minority in the Senate. If Scalia has the massive heart attack he’s been working on for decades sometime later today, I think they’ll just stall and let the country live with an eight-member court for a year and a half.

        • Scott Lemieux

          as Obama never had to have that fight while the GOP was a minority in the Senate.

          What?

          • postmodulator

            How the fuck did I manage to blank on Sotomayor and Kagan both? Just ignore me.

            • Manny Kant

              Worth noting that the last time the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court justice appointed by a president of a party that did not control the Senate was 1991. It’s been almost a quarter century!

              Looking at the post-war era, justices confirmed by Democratic Senates with Republican presidents: Harlan, Brennan, Whittaker, Stewart, Burger, Blackmun, Rehnquist, Powell, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas

              Justices confirmed by Republican Senates with Democratic Presidents: none

              Justices confirmed by Democratic Senates with Democratic Presidents: Burton, Vinson, Clark, Minton, White, Goldberg, Fortas, Marshall, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan

              Justices confirmed by Republican Senates with Republican presidents: Warren, O’Connor, Scalia, Roberts, Alito

              • Cassiodorus

                Based on some quick research, it appears the last Democratic nominee confirmed by a Republican Senate was Peckham in 1895.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  And if a Democratic president agreed to appoint someone who agreed with Peckham’s opinion in Lochner, she could get a nominee confirmed by a Republican Senate in 2017!

      • Well yes but the difference here is that Senate Dems were thinking rationally. The House conservatives aren’t really guilty of Green Lanternism — the House Republicans do have the constitutional and practical power to defund the parts of government they don’t like. No doubt they would pay an awful political price but these people are true believers. I can’t personally rule out that they would actually do it.

        • Scott Lemieux

          No they can’t. They can shut down the government, but they can’t selectively defund without Obama’s signature.

          • They can pass spending bills that only fund, say, the military, or State at whatever reduced level they want, or HHS minus whatever discretionary programs they want to eliminate or reduce. Can Obama veto a bill that funds the DoD, thereby shutting down the U.S. military? I don’t think so.

            • Scott Lemieux

              If it doesn’t fund anything else? Of course.

            • liberalrob

              He can veto any bill he wants to veto. There’s nothing in the Constitution saying he can’t. Whether he would veto such a bill is a different question.

              • efgoldman

                Whether he would veto such a bill is a different question.

                Since he’s very much in don’t give a shit mode now, he probably would.
                I don’t see any possibility that he enables the whackaloons.

    • Anon21

      Do you think that the Republican response would have been to eliminate the filibuster for nominees? Plausible.

      More than plausible: it is certain that had Senate Democrats done that, the filibuster would have ended immediately. And justifiably so. One of the perks of winning a presidential election is that you get to appoint Justices of the Supreme Court, and a Senate minority, or even a Senate majority, should not unilaterally destroy that power. (That doesn’t mean the Senate should never reject a Supreme Court nominee, but it does mean that “He’s a Republican” or “She’s a Democrat” is not a sufficient reason to reject a qualified nominee.)

      • Denverite

        In fairness, I think the more likely scenario is a Democratic own goal whereby they agree not to continue the filibuster in exchange for the Republicans keeping it around (to be exclusively used when there is a Democrat in office, natch).

        • NonyNony

          Okay, now I feel like I’ve fallen into an alternate dimension. Because I’m pretty sure that this:

          they agree not to continue the filibuster in exchange for the Republicans keeping it around

          happened on Bush’s watch. It was a whole spectacle where a “bi-partisan” group of Senators got together and the Dems in the group said they wouldn’t use the filibuster as long as the Republicans promised to not use the “nuclear option” to get rid of the filibuster.

          And yeah, that happened in this universe. They were called the “Gang of 14“.

          The seven Democrats agreed that they would vote for cloture on some of the current filibustered judicial nominees and any future filibustered nominees (except in “extraordinary circumstances,” as defined by each individual Senator). In return, the seven Republicans agreed they would not vote to carry out the “nuclear option.” As the Republicans held a five-vote Senate majority (55-45) in the 109th Congress, this agreement meant that there would be 62 votes for cloture in the specified cases, ending those filibusters, and only 48 votes for the “nuclear option”, which would be defeated.

          It really was stupid – the choice was to either filibuster and let the Republicans have a bunch of bad judges by getting rid of one of the most undemocratic and retrograde rules in the Congress that has been used to stop progressive change more often than not, or to agree not to filibuster and let the Republicans have a bunch of bad judges for free.

          • Denverite

            My joke was too subtle apparently.

            • NonyNony

              I feel much better now.

              Because the joke you had there? I’ve literally had this discussion with 3 other people recently who don’t remember that this happened or that the Dems backed down on it.

              I really was starting to feel like a refugee from a parallel universe…

              • random

                This made me want to bang my head into the wall repeatedly when the media was lambasting the Democrats for nuking the judicial filibuster.

                They had an agreement with the GOP when the GOP was in power, they abided by the agreement throughout the rest of Bush’s administration, and the GOP promptly broke the agreement the second the Democrats held the White House.

                Somehow the media that had previously celebrated the bipartisan awesome-sauce of the Gang of 14 just totally forgot about it the minute a Democrat was in the White House. Not a big surprise really.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  What’s amazing is that many Republicans consider the Gang of 14, in which they got nominees like Janice Rogers Brown confirmed in exchange for almost nothing, a massive sellout by McCain et al.

          • Thrax

            They did get two of the worst nominees spiked in the deal (William Myers and Henry Saad), but only two, and others sailed through. (Though I’d also point out that some other nominees, following the deal, were blocked through the end of the 2005-2006 Congress, and they probably would have been confirmed absent the deal. Let’s see–William Haynes, Terrence Boyle, and Michael Wallace.) I wouldn’t call it, on balance, a win, but they didn’t get absolutely nothing out of it.

  • Warren Terra

    The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to not funding the government at all unless President Obama (and Senate Democrats) agree to defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and a host of other priorities.

    I happen to have a partial list of those other mandatory priorities right here:
    1) Obama to wear a propeller beanie at all times.
    2) No Sharia.
    3) More Guns.
    4) Really, no Sharia.
    5) Biden is no longer allowed long trousers.

    • Keaaukane

      I don’t think they are opposed to Sharia law. They just want their own version.

      • brewmn

        Well, they don’t call it Sharia law. They call it “religious liberty.”

    • Number 5 is dangerous. If Biden is packing, everyone will know.

      • catclub

        Alright on Sharia, but what about my Sharona?

  • D.N. Nation

    Maybe it’s be­cause Trump is the best of worst—an ex­ag­ger­ated re­flec­tion of what’s wrong with a sys­tem that val­ues celebrity and cel­eb­rates in­ci­vil­ity. He’s a ca­ri­ca­ture. A car­toon.

    Hahahaha. This is like reading a wet fart.

    Trump is popular with some people because they’re racist, sexist, stupid assholes. Full stop, Lil’ Ron.

    • brewmn

      It seems the fact that Trump chose to ran as a Republican, and all his support comes from the Republican wing of the Republican Party, is lost on Mr. Fournier.

      • efgoldman

        It seems the fact that Trump chose to ran as a Republican, and all his support comes from the Republican wing of the Republican Party, is lost on Mr. Fournier.

        Pretty much everything not mythical is lost on Fournier.
        He can think whatever he wants. The real stupidity is that a leading media outlet gives him real estate to spew those thoughts.

    • Pat

      Shout out to Claire McCaskell for hammering Morning Joe on his treatment of Hillary Clinton, given the giant “pretzels” (as she called it) that the Republicans twist themselves into.

      More Democrats in power need to criticize the press for being morons.

  • MacK

    Political fundamentalists, right and left, are simply prone to the Nirvana Fallacy

    NIRVANA FALLACY
    (also known as: perfect solution fallacy, perfectionist fallacy)

    Description: Comparing a realistic solution with an idealized one, and dismissing or even discounting the realistic solution as a result of comparing to a “perfect world” or impossible standard. Ignoring the fact that improvements are often good enough reason.

    Logical Form:

    X is what we have.
    Y is the perfect situation.
    Therefore, X is not good enough.

    Example #1:

    What’s the point of making drinking illegal under the age of 21? Kids still manage to get alcohol.
    Explanation: The goal in setting a minimum age for drinking is to deter underage drinking, not abolish it completely. Suggesting the law is fruitless based on its failure to abolish underage drinking completely, is fallacious.

    Example #2:

    What’s the point of living? We’re all going to die anyway.
    Explanation: There is an implication that the goal of life is not dying. While that is certainly a worthwhile goal, many would argue that it is a bit empty on its own, creating this fallacy where one does not really exist.

    Exception: Striving for perfection is not the same as the nirvana fallacy. Having a goal of perfection or near perfection, and working towards that goal, is admirable. However, giving up on the goal because perfection is not attained, despite major improvements being attained, is fallacious.

    Tip: Sometimes good enough is really good enough.

    Not that I agree with the 21 drinking age.

    • And here I thought the Nirvana Fallacy was Gen Xers thinking music peaked in 1993 and everything is downhill since.

      • Denverite

        I actually saw Nirvana in 1993. Cobain was so strung out he had to sit for about half the show.

        It was at an arena where a minor league hockey team played. The audience tore up the flooring and started a mosh pit on the ice. Novoselic made a joke about “grunge kids on ice.”

        • Phil Perspective

          Where was this? I also saw them that year at a minor league hockey rink. The kids in the pit took to throwing mason jars of pee on the stage. Weird, I know. Cobain told them to cut that crap out or else he’d give them a 2 hour version of Arc(Meaning this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_%28Neil_Young_%26_Crazy_Horse_album%29)

          • Denverite

            Different ice rink apparently.

      • Malaclypse

        Speaking as a Gen Xer, that’s just silly. It should be obvious to all that music peaked in 1979 when Joy Division released Unknown Pleasures. How can this even be subject to debate?

        • postmodulator

          Let me guess: you were a senior in high school in 1979?

          An otherwise-not-observant friend of mine says that everyone thinks the best year ever for music was their last year of high school. I was class of 1992, so just that year we had Nevermind, Loveless, Bandwagonesque, Copper Blue…

          There’s apparently even some neurological basis for it. It’s harder to acquire new tastes after a certain age or something, your brain calcifies.

          • Pat

            By age 25 most of the myelin is in place, which means that the circuits are pretty well set. You can get tinkering of the networks, which lets you do cool stuff like learn a new city map when you’re a lot older.

            That sort of thing happens in the hippocampus, where there’s new generation of neurons throughout life. Whether they contribute to the generation of maps is still controversial, I think.

            Oops. That was way OT.

            • matt w

              That’s never OT!

              I feel like I developed most of my musical tastes after age 25, but that’s because I got into jazz in a massive way at age 24 and now for one reason or another I usually prefer to listen to music without singing.

          • Hogan

            Class of ’74 and oh dear God no. Not even close.

            • Malaclypse

              Not even close.

              You have not been this wrong since you pitched cell phone service from a provider with only three towers.

              • Hogan

                I meant that music for me did not peak in the a(n)nus horribilis of 1974. But by all means keep pushing your Second Age avian technology.

                • your Second Age avian technology.

                  I, for one, would happily use a pterosaur-power phone system.

          • Malaclypse

            Nope. Graduated in 1984. However, supporting your theory, I did consider throwing out Zen Arcade as a peak (also 1990’s Cult of the Basement by the Jazz Butcher, which does not support your theory, as well as Surfer Rosa by the Pixies).

            • postmodulator

              Zen Arcade is the best album ever. I think we can all come together on that point.

              • Malaclypse

                Certainly the best album of the decade.

                • Barry Freed

                  That would be Double Nickels on the Dime or possibly Atomizer.

                • Zen Arcade wasn’t even the best punk double LP released that year, but it sure is great regardless.

                • matt w

                  Mekons Honky Tonkin’ (even my fellow Mekons fanatics do not agree with my choice of this particular Mekons album). Or It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, really.

                • The Temporary Name

                  even my fellow Mekons fanatics

                  Count ’em!

                • snarkout

                  Points to Mr. Freed, having had this argument with people literally yesterday and taken the pro-Minutemen side. (I myself might go with “Throb Throb” or maybe my college-era-soundtrack’s “I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One”.)

                • joe from Lowell

                  Gotta have Disintegration in the conversation.

                • Ahuitzotl

                  I cant tell you how happy I am, I’ve never even heard of any of these people

          • Murc

            If Mal had been a senior in high school in 1979 he would be a boomer, not an Xer. 1962 is way to early to be an Xer; the most generous window I’ve ever seenstops at 1965.

            It’s possible Mal was some sort of Doogie Howser style genius, tho, graduating HS at age 10.

            … no. No, it isn’t.

            • postmodulator

              Oh no, I’ve seen much more generous windows than that. Douglas Coupland’s own formulation was “people born after 1960.”

              • Barry Freed

                That would be my take. I see it as a cultural thing. Basically if you were too young to remember the JFK assassination* you’re an X-er.

                *And I was born a few years after that.

                • skate

                  Born in ’63 here. I do not consider myself either a Boomer or an X-er.

                  And the music of 1980-81 was a mixed bag. There was one song in particular that I think was probably the senior prom theme at half the high schools in the country, and I still want to vomit the rare instances that I happen to hear it.

                • ColBatGuano

                  I don’t know, I was born in 1959 and the only thing I remember about the JFK assassination is that his funeral cancelled my morning cartoons. And I’m pretty sure I qualify as a boomer.

                  Apologies to all generations that followed.

              • Linnaeus

                Strauss and Howe (with necessary caveats) date GenX as 1961-1981. I would shift it to a couple of years later on both ends, but YMMV.

                • Becker

                  The uselessness of generational cohorts is that they smush together people on opposite generational ends who really have few cultural touchstones in common. Obama and Hillary Clinton are both, technically, boomers, but they’re clearly very different, attitudinally and culturally. Obama, born in ’61, really is more of an early X-er (went to college in the 80s). The Clintons, born to parents who lived through depression and war, are practically the epitome of their generation.

                • erick

                  Yeah, I think the official cut off is 1964. But I’ve always thought that made the boomer generation way too big, as an early gen Xer (born 66) I figure someone who graduated from high school in the late 70s has more in common with me than they do with someone who graduated in the late 60s/ early 70s

                • Linnaeus

                  The uselessness of generational cohorts is that they smush together people on opposite generational ends who really have few cultural touchstones in common.

                  Yes, which is why I tend to be skeptical of a lot of generational theory, at least as it’s usually written for the general reader.

                • Richard Gadsden

                  The uselessness of generational cohorts is that they smush together people on opposite generational ends who really have few cultural touchstones in common.

                  This.

                  Cohortal theory – the idea that people born in a year or in a few years around have common experiences – has a great deal to be said for it.

                  But generational theory tries to stretch that too far; if you were out screaming at Beatlemania in 1963, then you don’t have that much in common with someone who was screaming in 1963 because they hadn’t yet learned to make any other vocalisations, yet someone thinks you’re both Boomers.

                  Sometimes, there are bright experiential lines on age; for instance, between people who were old enough to see combat in WWII and people who weren’t. Most of the other lines are ones with quite a lot of shades of grey on age (“did you worry about being drafted for Vietnam?”; “what music did you listen to in your teens/early twenties?”; “Do you remember the JFK assassination, the moon landings, Watergate, the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11?”) and on personal histories.

                  It’s obvious to me that Obama, born 1961, has more in common with someone born in 1967 than with someone born in 1947 – yet 1967 makes that person an Xer, but 1947 and 1961 are both Boomers. That’s just silly.

              • djw

                I seem to recall typical gen-X windows starting between 60 and 65.

                • Murc

                  If you were in your thirties in 1990, I think you’re flat-out too old to be an Xer.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Nah. You’re 20 in 1980.

                  Were those all Boomers at the Dead Kennedys and Misfits shows?

                • Richard Gadsden

                  Really, there should be another group for people too young for the sixties but too old to be Xers.

          • kg

            Class of 1990 but I have to hand it to you on Copper Blue. I can still listen to that once a week.

            • Malaclypse

              While Copper Blue is great, it is no Workbook.

              • postmodulator

                Boy, that’s a real toughie. To me that’s up there with Hamlet is no King Lear.

                • Malaclypse

                  Beauty and Ruin is pretty great as well. With the arguable exception of David Thomas, I think Mould is clearly the best of the remaining, aging punks.

                • postmodulator

                  No argument here. Hell, I still listen to Modulate.

                • Barry Freed

                  Little argument from me here too, though I rate David Thomas higher. (Wish I was still stateside just to catch the reformed Rocket From the Tombs reunion gigs.)

                • Malaclypse

                  (Wish I was still stateside just to catch the reformed Rocket From the Tombs reunion gigs.)

                  Got my tickets to the Boston show yesterday.

                  I also considered making Ray Gun Suitcase the peak. And one of my favorite concert moments was when Thomas, touring for that album, decided that the people in the back of the hall had not shown enough appreciation for an encore, and got offstage to do a solo accordion version of “Montana” for those of us he felt had earned it.

                  Also, the Pere Ubu Protocols are a thing of wonder to read.

                • hen wen

                  Dunno, I’m a fan of the Evens, so I’m including MacKaye in that list

                • Tagula

                  RFTT reunion?

                  Pffft. NO CHEETAH, NO PEACE.

                  (Saw them at TTs for Rocket Redux, and they were great!)

                • Malaclypse

                  TTs

                  I feel like that needs an obligatory “of blessed memory” or some other such honorific.

              • Scott Lemieux

                While Copper Blue is great, it is no Workbook.

                I must very strenuously object.

          • joe from Lowell

            …Psalm 69, Check Your Head, Dirt…

          • Bruce B.

            I don’t – I think that the pop and rock of 1985, when I started college, was significantly better than its counterpart in 1983, when I finished high school. (I had a year off to continue recovering from health problems that had hit me hard.) For that matter, this last decade has been really darned good for the sort of rock-oriented synth stuff I so often groove to.

            :)

          • efgoldman

            An otherwise-not-observant friend of mine says that everyone thinks the best year ever for music was their last year of high school.

            Not me. I graduated in 1963. No-one had even heard of the Beatles, the Stones, the Dead…..

            • The Temporary Name
            • Richard Gadsden

              Sexual intercourse began
              In nineteen sixty-three
              (which was rather late for me) –
              Between the end of the Chatterley ban
              And the Beatles’ first LP.

              Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You, She Loves You as singles
              Please Please Me and With the Beatles as albums.

              Stones first single was 1963, but they were still pretty obscure until ’64.

              Three Beach Boys albums in 1963.

              And, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was 1963.

              Also, Martha and the Vandellas at number one. Not a bad year.

          • Jordan

            An otherwise-not-observant friend of mine says that everyone thinks the best year ever for music was their last year of high school.

            God no. 2001? Damn. Although if you count Stankonia, I’ll allow that that album was awesome.

          • patrick II

            Class of 1966, which makes me pretty old, but we had some great music. Revolver, Pet Sounds, Blonde on Blonde, Aftermath. Fresh Cream, Buffalo Springfield.

        • Barry Freed

          Mal is of course completely correct here.

          (Edit: And no, I was not a senior in HS in 1979, I’m younger than that. Loveless is great though, but it’s no Unknown Pleasures).

        • Richard Hershberger

          J. S. (“Big Daddy”) Bach. C.P.E. was pretty good, but not as good as Big Daddy. It has been a continuous downhill slide from there.

      • tsam

        I thought it was that Courtney murdered Curt and got away with it. I suppose they both fit under the same umbrella of stupid.

      • Linnaeus

        Funny thing is, I didn’t like Nirvana at all when they were active. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s or so that I changed my opinion and decided that they were actually pretty good.

        • I didn’t like them at all at the time.

          Still not a huge fan or anything.

          • random

            Someone left a copy of the tape in my car the day after it came out. I listened to it about 20 times over the next 2 days and then never, ever wanted to hear it ever again. Their songs are kind of like that.

            Of course, they blew up right after that and you couldn’t escape hearing them for the next year.

      • DrDick

        Everybody knows that music has all been downhill since 1969.

        • Really, it’s never recovered from the death of Jim Morrison….

          • Lee Rudolph

            Come On, Baby, We Lit the Fire!

  • howard

    has ron fournier ever had an intelligent opinion? about anything?

    • Steve LaBonne

      If somebody paid him to have an intelligent opinion, he’d have one (somebody else’s of course, he’s not smart enough to think of one himself.)

    • random

      For me, Ron Fournier is the single most worthless journalist currently working today.

      A while back someone posted a list of the top 10 biggest hacks working in journalism and it was funny and for the most part spot-on, but was ultimately invalid because Fournier was not on it nor was he in the #1 slot.

      • Funkhauser

        Alex Pareene, at Salon

      • Ahuitzotl

        such fierce competition, though, even if you exclude the rightwing nutjob arena

  • Alex.S

    Paul Ryan is officially out. Again. – “Chairman Ryan appreciates the support he’s getting from his colleagues but is still not running for Speaker.”

    But that’s ok, it’s now time for Speaker Discharge Petition.

    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/256504-ex-im-backers-move-to-force-vote

    A group of House Republicans announced Friday they have the support necessary to force a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, roiling conservatives within their own party during a heated leadership race.

    GOP Reps. Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Chris Collins (N.Y.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) filed a rarely used procedural tactic known as a discharge petition early Friday morning that would compel a vote on Fincher’s five-year reauthorization of the bank, whose Congressional charter lapsed June 30.

    Aides said that Fincher secured 41 Republican signatures and that House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has guaranteed virtually all of the Democratic caucus will sign on.

    • brugroffil

      please please please let this be the beginning of the fracturing of the Republican party

      • random

        If they didn’t have a gun pointed at the entire country these events would be good wholesome fun for the entire family.

    • NonyNony

      OMG – I forgot about Speaker Discharge Petitions.

      I have no idea how the House rules work – would it be possible for people to file Speaker Discharge Petitions if there is no Speaker? As in – if the House can’t get its act together to actually put a Speaker into his seat, could the House be entirely run by a coalition of 41 Republicans and the Democrats purely by filing Discharge petitions?

      (I wonder because while I can’t see 41 or so business-friendly Republicans joining with Democrats to elect a Speaker together without them also announcing that they’re not going to stand for re-election, I could see them signing on to multiple Discharge Petitions to get business done and being able to defend that as “doing their jobs during a political crisis” during their next re-election campaign).

      • STH

        As I understand it, Boehner stays speaker if they can’t decide on a new one. So they can’t be without a speaker, for better or worse.

        • Hogan

          He stays Speaker until his resignation kicks in. The Thirteenth Amendment appears to bar him from serving thereafter.

        • Richard Gadsden

          If someone had standing, they could sue the persons claiming to be the House of Representatives on the grounds that, by failing to choose a Speaker, they shall have failed to be a House of Representatives, ie applying modus tollens to Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 of the Constitution.

          They wouldn’t win, but it would be amusing.

    • ChrisS

      Ryan doesn’t want to be 3rd in the line of succession, but only No. 1 or 2.

  • Funkhauser

    As scary and destructive as this could turn out to be, I have to say as a political scientist I’m intrigued by these Members’ willingness to test (and overrun) the informal institutions of the House.

    The interesting issue at play, of course, are the median votes of GOP members that could vote with the Democrats to preserve government funding and raise the debt ceiling in a “clean bill.” It’s worthwhile for any reporters reading to investigate whether the non-Freedom Caucus Republican members can and will break with the absolutists to keep the government funded, either under Boehner in his long exit, or when push comes to shove.

    • postmodulator

      As a non-political scientist (and also idiot, see above) it’s been eye-opening to me to see how much of our political system was just based on norms and how a refusal to follow those norms can be as useful as a superpower.

      • Barry_D

        Somebody said this during the Dubya Debacle, that he hadn’t realized how many things which he thought were rules were actually just customs.

        • postmodulator

          It might not have been me you heard it from, but yes, the attorney-firing scandal was one of the big wake-up calls there.

        • catclub

          Cheney knew.

          • postmodulator

            ITYM “Fourthbranch.”

            Taibbi’s own formulation, about the 2000s-era GOP House regime, was that they had gamed out the American political system then made plans to attack it at all its weak points.

        • Bruce B.

          I’ve said that a bunch. From the Brooks Brothers Riot on, it’s been a continuing education into how much power norms have most of the time, and just how far resolute shamelessness can take you.

      • medrawt

        To tie this into another hobbyhorse of this blog

        GAME OF THRONES / ASOIAF SPOILERS (through Book/Season 3, and sort of Book/Season 5)

        It ought to make interesting consideration for the group of readers/viewers who think Tywin’s orchestration of the Red Wedding was the sort of thing that just WORKS, when you set aside the strictures of silly tradition and notions of honor, like those dumb Starks are beholden to, and just get the job done. Indeed, Tywin arguably saved lives that would’ve been lost had the war against Robb been prolonged!

        Except for the part where massively violating the social norms that allow for cooperation and trust – and especially that allow for cooperation and trust between the types of people with the wherewithal to fight wars – turns out to have pretty serious consequences for the political health of the country. (Which, unsuprisingly, has been more clearly demonstrated in the books than in the show.)

        • postmodulator

          Eh, Westeros was so crazily dysfunctional anyway. I think that’s more a case of Tywin noticing, correctly, that the social norms aren’t actually present. You’ve got three kings dying violently inside of what, fifteen years, a six-year-old current king no one actually takes seriously, and everyone’s going to die in a famine in the next book.

          • medrawt

            But they are. The idea that ones guests are inviolate (which is also a foundational principle routinely made explicit in Near Eastern and European history and texts, and perhaps in other traditions as well) is an important social principle which nobody violates except at the Red Wedding, and basically the entire continent is horrified by it. (And it’s enormously undermining the ability of the Freys to govern the territory which is now supposedly theirs, and has ruined the ability of anybody named Lannister to try and fairly bargain, because they will not be trusted, which is why Brynden Blackfish refuses a reasonable peace offering from Jaime and makes his escape.)

            That the current generations of Westerosi have the misfortune to be living through “interesting times” doesn’t mean that the bedrock principles of how their society operates have been thrown up in the air. As Mr. Attewell would be happy to explain, Robert’s Rebellion (e.g.) was politically viable because the Mad King himself had massively broached the social contract with his lords.

            • Lee Rudolph

              The idea that ones guests are inviolate (which is also a foundational principle routinely made explicit in Near Eastern and European history and texts, and perhaps in other traditions as well) is an important social principle which nobody violates except at the Red Wedding

              and, in (Near Eastern? anyway, in) European mythology and texts, e.g., [SPOILER] the massacre of Penelope’s suitors and at least a couple more similar massacres (one involving Centaurs and Lapiths, as I recall).

              • postmodulator

                See also the Massacre at Glencoe. Of course, that actually has had long-term ramifications. Pete Campbell couldn’t even get his kid into a good school!

              • Scott P.

                The Lapiths fought their guests, the Centaurs, only after the Centaurs went on a drunken rampage (the norms of guest-hospitality working both ways).

                The suitors of Penelope, also, are abusing the guest-privilege, not least by plotting to kill Odysseus’ son, Telemachus.

              • matt w

                See also the third of the fourth areas of the Ninth Circle of Hell in the Inferno–the last one where anyone can talk. Fra Alberigo’s bad figs is the one I remember best. Of course, judging by the rest of the Inferno Florence was a pretty messed up place at the time.

                • Ahuitzotl

                  Florence was, in fact, spectactularly horrible at that time, and for a good long time thereafter.

            • Murc

              The thing is, Medrawt, that a lot of people in Westeros have, historically, gotten away with flagrantly violating their oaths and guest right and the social order hasn’t crumbled.

              Brynden Rivers, Hand of the King and Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (not at the same time) killed one of the Blackfyre Pretenders by extending hospitality to him and then openly murdering him when he accepted. House Greyiron ruled the Iron Isles for over a millenium by butchering their competitors at a holy Kingsmoot. The Dornish killed one of the Lords Tyrell during the occupation post-Young Dragon and paid no price at all for it. Etc.

              • postmodulator

                Yeah, weren’t Walder Frey’s lands pretty well ungovernable before? You know, with the civil war and the complete breakdown in rule of law that followed.

              • medrawt

                I’m admittedly not great at pre-ASOIAF Westerosi history, but isn’t the event you describe the reason WHY Bloodraven was sent to the Wall? i.e., he was arrested and punished and the choices were death or the Night’s Watch.

                My point isn’t that one violation of an important social norm destroys society. It’s that there’s typically a cost, to society and/or the perpetrator, and the more frequent and/or egregious the violation, the greater that cost is. Congress acting wonky once might be a problem, but it’s not a PROBLEM; Congress behaving bizarrely for eight years is a PROBLEM.

                (Tywin orchestrating the murder of Robb Stark via some patsies he promises to elevate to higher political power is a problem; the consequences of Tywin making deals like that which he either doesn’t intend or have the wherewithal to keep while being an utter catastrophe of a father who couldn’t recognize his own failure to mold any of his children into a suitable heir, has turned out to be a PROBLEM.)

                • postmodulator

                  To be even more nit-picky, Tywin did raise one suitable heir, but couldn’t tell because that heir was the short, ugly one.

                • medrawt

                  Tyrion is a self-loathing drunk who despises his family and murdered his father. That with better parenting he could have been otherwise is the indictment of Tywin, who should also have bothered to educate Cersei and see her as something other than a saleable broodmare, and … well, I’m not 100% sure offhand what Tywin did wrong with Jaime (other than passively allow him and Cersei to develop their corrosive relationship), but it was probably something.

                  After everything Tywin did to glorify the Lannisters, he has a grandson on the throne whose family ties to the Lannisters will at least for the time being be seen as awkward, the Lannisters have been supplanted as the power behind the throne by the Tyrells, the political alliances he forged look shaky, his family name is synonymous with treachery, and the bulk of the fighting age men from his lands are dead.

                • postmodulator

                  Tyrion was all of that, but also a competent Hand of the King. The father he killed was actively framing him for murder. As to the self-loathing drunk point, I’m in a glass house on that one.

                • Manny Kant

                  He wasn’t a self-loathing, father murdering drunk until after his father, you know, framed him for regicide.

                • witlesschum

                  You’re correct, Bloodraven got sent to the Wall by the king whose succession he’d just supported, because it was seen as such a serious breach of custom. To be fair, though, it was sort of the last straw with Bloodraven, who’d been Had for awhile and was very unpopular.

      • John F

        and how a refusal to follow those norms can be as useful as a superpower.

        What also gets me is that the “freedom Caucus” types always seem to believe- or act as if they believe that their adversaries/opponents will always follow such norms, even as the Teapers are flouting them- yes many will- for a time- but eventually they will start flouting the prior norms in response as well – the import/export bank issue is one example, Reid partially ditching the appointments filibuster another.

  • Cassiodorus

    The desirability of the ends doesn’t matter here in some sense. Even if these ends were perfectly desirable, they’ll never be achieved in this fashion and people should question the sanity of anyone adopting this tactic.

  • Mudge

    Ryan, to this point, is behaving just like the modern Republican. He most probably has ambitions beyond the House and being Speaker is generally a dead end in a political career. Plus the House is ungovernable. If Ryan took the Speakership it would be a sacrifice by him for the good of the party. No ambitious Republican will ever sacrifice anything, they are egocentric and sociopathic…not even the society (or is it tribe) of House Republicans will, I predict, elicit a sacrifice from Ryan. The only way he’d take it is if he could convince himself it would further his ambitions. This could happen, Republicans can easily fool themselves.

    • Derelict

      If Ryan took the Speakership it would be a sacrifice by him for the good of the party.

      It would be a pointless sacrifice. The Teahadis control the primaries in far too many districts, and they extend that control each year. The influxes of cash coming from sources other than the RNC and its arms has rendered the Freedom Caucus insurgents utterly invulnerable–and thus utterly uncontrollable by party leadership.

      Ryan has already been tarred as “unacceptable” by a bunch of these Tea Party wankers. He understands that accepting the Speakership would dead-end his career, do nothing to unite the party, and ultimately end with him resigning in the face of a completely dysfunctional Congress and a caucus in complete open revolt against him.

      • Ahuitzotl

        The Teahadis control the primaries in far too many districts,

        I dont think they actually do, but they cultivate that story assiduously, so people think & believe it and act as if its true – so it comes to the same thing

  • tsam

    Which brings me back to the para­dox. Most voters and non­voters are dis­con­nec­ted from both parties be­cause the two-party sys­tem is in­creas­ingly loud, angry, mean, po­lar­iz­ing, selfish, vacu­ous, and soul­less. In­side the duo­poly, Trump is everything that base voters hate about the oth­er party.

    HOLY MOTHER OF MONKEY SHIT. U FECKIN WOT M8???

    Trump is everything simple, small minded fucking jerks love in a man. He’s the perfect projection of that white, fat, stupid, racist, misogynist, homophobic, military fellating, cop fellating, poor hating, victim blaming fucking loser who ruins everything and then calls his shitty behavior “just bein’ honest”.

    • postmodulator

      Yeah, I’m almost not opposed to his candidacy on those grounds. This country’s full of horrible people. Let them have the candidate who really will speak for them, so they can get what they deserve…good and hard, as Mencken said.

      • tsam

        If you mean what they deserve is losing in an epic landslide to OMFG A WOMAN then yes. Let ’em have it good and hard. Shove it up there and break of the goddamn handle.

        • Woodrowfan

          give it a few good twists first. then break off the handle.

        • I (obviously) want a Dem victory as much as the next person within a standard deviation of sanity. I’m still undecided about the primary – and NY is generally too late for my vote to matter – but I’ll happily support HRC or BS or even Tommy Carcetti Martin O’Malley over any of the clowns in the car.

          But…I wonder if a HRC victory will unleash a torrent of increased misogyny the way O’s election unleashed the racist id. That is not a reason to vote against her in either the primary or the general, but rather a worry that if, instead of laughing at the assholes the way your comment suggests (and the way I normally would) I’ll be spending more time horrified by worsening news.

          ETA: this comment needs more parenthetical statements.

          • postmodulator

            You’ll spend more time horrified by worsening news. We’re alone in the universe, there’s no morality, no justice, no comeuppance for malefactors. The strong do what they will and the weak endure what they must.

            You’re not catching me in a very good week.

          • NonyNony

            I wonder if a HRC victory will unleash a torrent of increased misogyny the way O’s election unleashed the racist id.

            I don’t. I’m certain it will. If it doesn’t I’ll be highly surprised.

            And note that this is independent of Clinton entirely. A [fill in Democrat] victory will unleash a torrent of hate directed at [fill in some characteristic of Democrat who just won] the way Obama’s election had them fly their racist freak flag.

          • tsam

            But…I wonder if a HRC victory will unleash a torrent of increased misogyny the way O’s election unleashed the racist id

            I’ll be spending more time horrified by worsening news.

            I’d just call this a foregone conclusion and get a set of brass knuckles to carry around with me.

            • Thanks to online machine/prototyping shops, you can make your own stainless-steel knuckles.

          • Bruce B.

            The thing is that the Republicans will unleash a torrent of hatred against whoever the Democratic nominee/winner is. (I have a small side bet that if Sanders were to win, we’d see more active overt antisemitism. Not that he’s Jewish, but because for certain sorts of people, ranting about socialists always becomes ranting about Jews.)

            • NonyNony

              Actually, I’m pretty sure Sanders is Jewish.

              Checking Wikipedia, it thinks he’s Jewish too.

              So, yeah – Sanders would bring out the antisemites with both barrels blazing.

          • efgoldman

            I wonder if a HRC victory will unleash a torrent of increased misogyny…

            I wonder if it will be hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

            • The Temporary Name

              That second thing…who knows?

          • Ahuitzotl

            Im sure it will – but that’s going to be true no matter who the Democratic President is. If it’s Sanders, antisemitism will rise sharply, if it’s O’Malley, machine politicians will get a bad name, and if it’s Webb, the nation will fall into an 8 year stupor.

  • Denverite

    I know the Speaker doesn’t have to be a member of Congress, but does he have to be an American? If not, I bet they could convince Netanyahu.

    • This is very funny and probably prescient.

      • postmodulator

        House GOP on Speaker Netanyahu’s election: “Look, we just decided to stop pretending.”

    • Cassiodorus

      Not to single you out, but is there any basis for this claim? I see it thrown around in the press that the Speaker doesn’t have to be a member of the House, but I don’t see anything in the text of the Constitution supporting that notion.

      • Denverite

        Nothing in the Constitution says s/he has to be. Article I, Section 2 just says the House will elect its own speaker. I guess there is an argument that implicit in that is “from its own ranks,” but I don’t think it’s a particularly good argument, and more importantly, that sort of requirement would be unenforceable because a court wouldn’t touch that issue with a ten foot pole.

        • Cassiodorus

          I agree that a court would be unlikely to touch it, but I disagree that it’s a weak argument. If one accepts your reading, none of the officers of either chamber have to be members of those chambers.

          • Denverite

            If one accepts your reading, none of the officers of either chamber have to be members of those chambers.

            So?

            • Cassiodorus

              The so is that it illustrates why the claim doesn’t make much sense.

              • Denverite

                Why should the officers have to be members?

                In any event, this is how it’s always been interpreted.

                http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/memberfaq.aspx

                • Cassiodorus

                  I see other officers actually refers to the sergeant at arms, not to posts like majority leader, etc. I would still maintain the Speaker needing to be a member is still the most rational reading of the text on light of precedent.

                • Denverite

                  You’re welcome to your opinion, but that’s never been the historical reading.

                • Denverite

                  OK, I just did some research, and I have to backtrack. You’re probably righter than I am. It is likely that the Framers assumed that the Speaker had to be a member (as is the case with respect to the Speaker of the House of Commons). Over the next couple of centuries, the view shifted to the prevailing notion that the Speaker doesn’t have to be a member, but it’s more likely than not that if a court ever did take that case, it would rule that s/he does.

                • Linnaeus

                  So here’s a question: if the House were to choose a Speaker who is not a member of the House, does person chosen then become a member by virtue of that selection? Would that conflict with the constitutional requirements for becoming a member of the House?

                • Denverite

                  Yes. A Non-Member Speaker also probably makes the presidential succession statute unconstitutional.

                • liberalrob

                  I was going to say I think anyone expected to hold an office that is in the line of Presidential succession would need to be eligible to be President…but then it occurred to me that they could simply be skipped in the line of succession if they were ineligible (say by not being a “natural-born American citizen”). So maybe that’s not an issue.

                  Arnold for Speaker?

          • Hogan

            Like the president of the Senate?

            • Cassiodorus

              Unlike the Speaker, the President of the Senate is expressly stated by the text to be a non-member except in event of a tie.

          • Manny Kant

            In fact, the Speaker and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate are the only officers of either chamber who have traditionally been members of their chamber. The President of the Senate is obviously never a Senator, and the Secretary and Sgt. at Arms of the Senate, and Clerk and Sgt. at Arms of the House, and whatever other officers, have never been members of either chamber.

            Majority Leaders, Minority leaders, and so forth, are not officers of their chamber.

            • Becker

              Isn’t there some constitutional theory that the Speaker and President pro tem are constitutionally ineligible to succeed to the presidency?

              • Matt McIrvin

                Huh, what’s the rationale?

                I think all the Constitution really says is that Congress will pass a law determining the succession beyond the Vice-President, and that anyone who succeeds to the office has to be eligible according to the normal rules.

                • Denverite

                  I’ve seen two. The first is that Article II defines succession in terms of “officers,” which wouldn’t include congressmen. The second is that for separation of powers purposes, the president has to be someone who was either elected in a national election, or appointed by the president (and confirmed by the Senate). The Speaker and President pro tem are neither. (Notably, under the second rationale for sure, and possibly the first, Article III judges could be in the line of succession.)

                • Matt McIrvin

                  Hmm. It’s interesting that the 25th Amendment doesn’t shed any further light on this.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  …Though the 25th’s provision for appointment of new Vice-Presidents did make the further steps in the succession line far less important barring some really tremendous catastrophe.

                  It’s kind of amazing that the Speaker of the House never actually became President before 1967. Had it not been for the 25th, I suppose it would have happened in 1974.

      • Patrick

        To go back to the customs and norms discussion above, is there anything specifically disallowing it?

        • Cassiodorus

          I view it as the only natural reading of Article I, Section 2. It takes quote a bit of straining to read it as allowing a non-member to serve as Speaker. I’d also point to the House of Commons as precedent.

          • NonyNony

            But again – we’re in an era of history where one party is actively refusing to follow traditional norms and customs and has instead chosen to finely parse everything for “what they can get away with”.

            I think the only thing stopping them from naming an outsider to Speaker of the House is that there are at least two people in the House who actually still want to do the job. (Webster and Chaffetz).

            FWIW – Newt Gingrich apparently offered to come in and act as interim Speaker yesterday. I have no idea if he was being serious.

            • Cassiodorus

              Sure, but at the point where we’re making that argument, what keeps Obama from announcing tomorrow that he’s running for a third term and that the election serves as a referendum on repealing the 22nd Amendment? The text of the Constitution doesn’t authorize it, but it doesn’t expressly prohibit it either.

              • Manny Kant

                Huh? Of course the text of the Constitution explicitly prohibits it. And, again, the text of the Constitution says that the House elects its speaker and other officers, and the other officers (the Clerk, the Sgt. at Arms, the Doorkeeper, etc.) have never been members of the House. I don’t see how the plain meaning of the constitutional text supports your reading at all.

                • Denverite

                  This is true. But the legal-historical analysis I’ve read indicates that the Framers probably would have thought that the membership requirement was implied.

              • notahack

                “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice” (Amendment 22)
                vs
                “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers” (Article 1)
                vs
                “The House of Representatives shall select a Member to be their Speaker and chuse all other Officers of the House” (Hypothetical)

                Granted, I think you’re right that the House is bound by norms and original intent to select one of their own to be Speaker, but I don’t see that as mandated by the text in the same way as the 22nd Amendment mandates it.

          • ScottK

            http://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Speaker-of-the-House/

            “the Speaker—who has always been (but is not required to be) a House Member”

            I agree that it’s vanishingly unlikely they’ll get someone from outside the House. When I was googling for this yesterday I came across some discussion of rules that implied that nobody had ever seriously considered the Speaker not being a member, but that was on a different machine so I don’t have the history here. (The idea was, IIRC, that since only a defined list of people are allowed into the House, a non-member Speaker would technically not be allowed on the floor.)

          • Manny Kant

            How so? It says “The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers.” The other officers have never been members of the House, so I’m not sure why it would be implied that the Speaker would have to be.

    • Hogan

      Or Putin.

      • Or a bucket of warm piss.

        • Richard Hershberger

          or the corpse of Ronald Reagan.

          • tsam

            Lotsa redundancy in this subthread. It’s like you’re all saying the same thing.

            • The Aristocrats!

    • D.N. Nation
  • …in­creas­ingly loud, angry, mean, po­lar­iz­ing, selfish, vacu­ous, and soul­less. But enough about me…

    Fxd

  • Boots Day

    And remember when the Democrats couldn’t find anyone willing to be Speaker in 2007 because a majority of the Democratic caucus threatened to shut down the government and default on the national debt unless Bush agreed to nationalize the means of production and appoint Mumia as Attorney General and Bob Avakian as Secretary of the Treasury?

    Shouldn’t this be “because a small, anonymous minority of the Democratic caucus threatened to shut down the government”? It’s my understanding that it’s just the 40 yahoos in the Freedom Caucus who are driving all this.

    • Cassiodorus

      Yes and no. On some level even the (comparatively) rational members of the caucus are responsible for failing to tell their colleagues to pound sand.

      • postmodulator

        Yeah, it’s 2015. If there was a point when I was willing to let someone say “don’t lump me in with those other Republicans,” it has passed.

        • tsam

          Especially when it’s become a bad cop/worse cop game, where the sane ones just shrug and say “well, we got these teabaggers up in here who won’t let us do any governing and Obama is a NI(Clang)!”

          ETA: *OSTENSIBLY SANE.

        • matt w

          #notallrepublicans

    • Murc

      It’s my understanding that it’s just the 40 yahoos in the Freedom Caucus who are driving all this.

      not entirely true.

      It’s the 40 yahoos, and their millions of yahoo supporters across the country who are filled with passionate intensity and are ready, willing, and able to primary the fuck out of traitors who vote with Democrats. They’ve demonstrated the capacity before. Motherfucking Bob Bennett wasn’t good enough for them!

      These people are everywhere. I’ve met them, and they’re engaged. I live in a blue state where even the local Republicans tend to be pretty moderate, actually moderate and not fake moderate, and those guys are still deeply scared of the teahadis because the right-of-centerish Chamber of Commerce types they view as their natural constituency are only passively engaged and the teahadis have made a determined push to be very actively engaged indeed.

      • Steve LaBonne

        What a different country this would be if there were that kind of energy on the left.

        • We’d have two groups of extremists stomping around roaring “RAAR SMASH” when they didn’t get their way, so … yes. Different is a word that applies.

          • As I’ve said before, the end of GoT will be a world populated only by dragons and zombies.

            • efgoldman

              the end of GoT will be a world populated only by dragons and zombies.

              I thought dragons were generally progressive.

          • Steve LaBonne

            I said that kind of energy, not that kind of insanity. ;)

  • Murc

    I know that this Green Lanternism is not unique to the right per se.

    Is it wrong that I am legitimately unsure this is Green Lanternism on their part?

    I mean, lets suppose the Republicans actually pull the trigger on this and stand firm, no compromise, no retreat. Government shutdown stretches into two, three, four months. Shit actually starts to for-real collapse. What are the odds that President Obama doesn’t blink in that situation, with real human suffering in the offing that his enemies are indifferent to but he is not?

    The scenario seems outlandish, but, and this might just be me being deeply cynical, just about all right-wing doomsday scenarios I’ve thought of during the past decade or so have seemed completely implausible right up until they happened.

    I’m probably just paranoid.

    Probably.

    • NonyNony

      It’s more likely that Obama tells the mint to come up with a trillion dollar platinum coin and lets the next president deal with the fallout than it is that he caves into the Freedum Caucus.

      Why not? What are they going to do – impeach him?

      (ETA – especially when the choice that they’re giving him is “destroy the country the way we want you to, or we’ll destroy it ourselves”. It isn’t like they’re offering up an honest bargain here – they just want it all burned to the ground. There’s no way any President is going to want that as his entire legacy, and there’s definitely no way that Obama is going to go along with it.)

      • Cassiodorus

        Thankfully, Obama has reached the point where I’m pretty confident he wouldn’t cave. I’m not so sure 2011 Obama would have held firm.

        • Becker

          I deeply wish it were possible for Give No Fucks Obama to travel back in time and lecture Hope and Change Obama. “These people hate you, and will not cooperate with you on anything. Stop thinking you can placate them, because they’ll accept nothing less than the repudiation of everything you believe. You’ve got two years, not eight, to get anything through Congress. Stop playing. Now.”

          • Steve LaBonne

            He got ACA and the biggest fiscal stimulus of any country other than China. I’d say he did very, very well with those 2 years.

            • Becker

              A stimulus that could have been larger and less tax-cut-centric if not for a vain attempt to secure Republican votes that never materialized (other than Specter, Snowe and Collins). Even a bill of the same size, but with more actual infrastructural spending in it, could have done a lot more good.

              In retrospect, it’s kind of incredible that he accomplished anything at all, given the opposition’s unprecedented rejection of his right to govern.

              I know that Hillary understands these people better than Obama did, and won’t fuck around if she wins.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                i don’t think it hurts to keep in mind a lot of the effort that went into Snowe, et al, was also intended to bring along a number of Democrats who wanted that kind of political cover

              • Steve LaBonne

                Baloney. The compromises in both the ACA and the stimulus were needed to get the support of conservadems. There were no unicorns on offer and even President Abraham Washington Jesus couldn’t have obtained one.

                • Manny Kant

                  Also, he needed those Republican votes on the stimulus to get past cloture – he didn’t have 60 votes otherwise.

              • Scott Lemieux

                A stimulus that could have been larger and less tax-cut-centric if not for a vain attempt to secure Republican votes that never materialized (other than Specter, Snowe and Collins). Even a bill of the same size, but with more actual infrastructural spending in it, could have done a lot more good.

                This is silly. ARRA actually needed Republican votes to pass. Making the stimulus more tax-cut heavy was their ask; it wasn’t “futile.”

      • postmodulator

        I haven’t been keeping track. Is the next bullshit arbitrary deadline a debt ceiling bullshit arbitrary deadline, or one of the other kind of bullshit arbitrary deadlines? Cause Obama can mint the coin, and then we just have to have the fight over budget resolutions instead.

        • Steve LaBonne

          The next bullshit is the debt ceiling bullshit, and +1 on the trillion dollar coin.

          • NonyNony

            To be fair, I don’t think that there will be a trillion dollar coin – I think this works out some other way. It’s just that if the only two choices are giving into the Freedum Caucus demands of gutting SS, Medicare, Medicaid, repealing Obamacare, etc. and minting the coin, he’s going to mint the coin. The man is not an idiot, and he has an ego the size of any other President’s ego. No president wants to be the guy that left the country lying in the ditch at the end of his term.

            And Obama especially is the guy who got elected to get us out of the ditch that the last guy drove us into. So he’s got extra reasons to tell them to go pound sand in this final year of his term in office.

            • Manny Kant

              The trillion dollar coin should play the same role that the threat that the King would create hundreds of new Liberal peers played in a couple of significant crises in British history. The threat of it should be sufficient to get enough not-insane Republicans to cave to obviate the need for it.

              • matt w

                How many not-insane Republicans is that? I think most of the Republicans who aren’t completely insane (the Yoho-Chaffetz “we should totally refuse to raise the ceiling types) would be happy for the crisis to get resolved by a bizarre maneuver by Obama that they could rail against.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Declare martial law and send them all to Gitmo.

    • Manny Kant

      But the Chamber of Commerce will not let the non-insane Republicans stand firm, because they don’t want the government to be shut down or the debt ceiling not raised.

      • efgoldman

        But the Chamber of Commerce will not let the non-insane Republicans stand firm, because they don’t want the government to be shut down or the debt ceiling not raised.

        Just like the C of C would never allow three unqualified, inexperienced nutbags to be the choice of over half the primary voters. Oh, wait.

    • BigHank53

      Government shutdown stretches into two, three, four months. Shit actually starts to for-real collapse.

      At some point the fucked-up government will start to have a non-negligible impact on the economy, and it’s going to be felt first by the people who depend on large amounts of money moving at high speed through the economy. At some point, the heads of Goldman Sachs, BoA, etc will make a phone call to the “Freedom Caucus” and tell them to cut the shit. The next call will be to whatever Blackwater is calling itself now, and most of the “Freedom Caucus” will wake up with .308 caliber holes in them. Why not? What’s the alternative?

    • wengler

      If that were to happen then Obama just starts issuing one executive order after another concerning the funding of government. It would be fundamentally unconstitutional of course, but if the Constitution frames a government that simply cannot or will not work, it will be necessarily violated from time to time.

  • Mike in DC

    The only human being who could preside as Speaker and keep them all in line would be Nancy Reagan. But she is too old and frail (and just wise enough to say no).

    • Murc

      I see what you did there.

    • matt w

      This is funny, but no way could Nancy Reagan keep them in line. She’d be seen as a RINO squish. Zombie Reagan himself would be seen as a RINO squish by this crowd.

      It’s like that story about the Lester Young imitator who came up to him and said “You’re not you, I’m you!”

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