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A Few Grafs That Explain Why America Hates Vacuous Political Reporting

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As you may have heard, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives today passed a bill that would take health insurance away from more than 20 million people and make health insurance that many people have worse in order to pay for a massive upper-class tax cut. I’m sure CNN’s political editor-at-large has a vital contribution to make about this literally life-or-death policy issue!

When House Republicans secured their 216th “yes” on the American Health Care Act Thursday, Democrats immediately began taunting their across-the-aisle rivals.
“Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye,” Democrats sang at Republicans. A few Democrats even waved goodbye.
The implication was obvious: Democrats believed many Republicans had just cost themselves their political careers by voting for an overhaul of Obamacare.
And the DC political class wonders why people hate them.

I understand that Democrats not only didn’t like the way this bill was passed — without any estimates on what it might cost or how many people might lose coverage as a result — but also believed the policies contained in it would leave the country and its people considerably worse off.
That is a worthy conversation to have. But, that’s not what Democrats were doing. Instead, they were jeering and mocking their colleagues.

What matters is not whether Democrats are right, but whether they expressed their opposition to a bill everybody hates because it’s grotesquely immoral with enough decorum. OK. Even more laughable is the idea that health care policy is a conversation that Cillizza will ever want to have. Indeed, an even better time to have this conversation would have been before the election, which like so many of his colleagues but even more that most Cillizza spent endlessly wanking over a non-issue nobody including himself cares about if it doesn’t involve Hillary Clinton. This utter failure to inform the public makes his pieties about “giving the public the chance, every two years, to render their judgment on who has more of the right in the argument is the backbone of our political system” especially risible.

But if only House Democrats could emulate the Civilitude and Seriousity of Paul Ryan, who was positively giddy as he went to send 30,000 lucky duckies a year to their own personal death panels, before kissing the ring of an inept authoritarian and hitting a nice kegger to celebrate. Now that will totally facilitate the bipartisanship that the American public craves!

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  • Murc

    But, that’s not what Democrats were doing. Instead, they were jeering and mocking their colleagues.

    They were not. This did not happen.

    They were jeering and mocking their enemies. Not their colleagues.

    • This is correct. It’s not merely Democrats’ enemies, either. It’s the whole country’s enemies. This should be made absolutely clear. Congressional Republicans’ agenda is to kill thousands of their own citizens for the sake of a fucking tax cut. I don’t know why they should be regarded as anything less of an enemy to the country than Osama bin Laden was, or for that matter than Stalin was to his own people. At this point, the difference is only a matter of degree rather than kind.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        Congressional Republicans’ agenda is to kill thousands of their own citizens for the sake of a fucking tax cut.

        You’d be hard pressed to identify any tax cut in American history that didn’t leave a pile of bodies in its wake.

    • StillWithHer

      “They were jeering and mocking their enemies

      You wish

      • humanoid.panda

        Fuck off, you idiot.

      • Yes, sinister Democrats collaborated with Republicans in secret by unanimously voting to preserve ACA 60+ times.

        LGM needs a better class of troll.

      • Harkov311

        Yeah, that unanimous opposition to repealing the ACA was just pretend. We know this because reasons...and magic.

        • rea

          So, in other words, the Democrats voted unanimously to preserve the Heritage Foundation's plan 60+ times?

          • StillWithHer

            They voted unanimously to preserve Barack Obama’s plan 60+ times

            • Justin Runia

              Ah yes, that POS plan that only reduced personal bankruptcies by half since it’s introduction, not to mention the actual quality of life improvement of regular access to non-emergency medicine, delivered to mere millions of people who never had it before. What a horrible, horrible plan, conceived by Known Neoliberal Barack Obama.

    • wengler

      So many Americans are terrified of ISIS, when their killers are a million times more likely to be the grinning psychopaths said Americans pull the lever for every two years.

      • mongolia

        yeah, but isis* is brown or black, and the guys they vote for are white, so clearly it’s just an accident that the white guys they vote for who campaign on getting rid of their health care to fund a giant tax cut for the rich end up getting rid of their health care to fund a giant tax cut for the rich

        * – people from the caucasus and balkan regions are brown, right?

    • Taters

      It was my understanding yesterday afternoon that Republicans were doing the singing, saying ‘bye bye’ to ACA. Guess that changed overnight. Republicans rolled-in cases of beer. So somberly appropriate!

  • Cordonazo

    I have no use for Chris Cillizza, and I have no doubt that he gave no thought to anything of substance here.

    At the same time, I do find it galling that this behavior was reported. If only because the “Ha! Now in 2-4 years we can fix this and win!” overshadows what should still be a pretty horrifying point that this vote (accompanied by the non-zero chance that the Senate could approve this in some form) would lead to people dying. It’s not funny, and it shouldn’t be treated as such.

    • JustRuss

      Yeah. I can’t blame Democrats for giving a Fuck You to their “colleagues”, but something in a much more somber vien would have been appropriate. Still, fuck Clizza for scolding Democrats for not having a “discussion” about a bill that Republicans literally rammed through Congress, unread, in a couple days.

      • That song has been in circulation as a political protest song for literally decades. The 1993 event that the House Dems were invoking is one instance (maybe the first?) but it’s been a song used by protest crowds over and over again for quite awhile. I think it’s kind of goofy, but it’s goofy with precedent, like those stupid seersucker suits they wear sometimes.

        • Cordonazo

          The problem is that it’s also a song used at sporting events and WWE shows and every corny sitcom scenario in which it could be used. While it may have once been a protest song, it now sounds childish.

          • efgoldman

            While it may have once been a protest song, it now sounds childish.

            Translation: Yer prooootesting rrroooonnnnng!!
            (Said in as whiny a way possible)

      • econoclast

        I totally disagree. I’m calling my Congressional office first thing in the morning to tell his staffers that they better start looking for new jobs. They don’t care they are helping to kill a bunch of people. They need to know there will be political consequences.

    • Origami Isopod

      Your concern is noted.

      (Seriously, Rethugs need to be jeered 24/7. Soros should hire personal jeering squads for each and every one of those fuckers, to follow them around yelling insults from the moment they leave their homes to the moment they return.)

      • Mellano

        Yep. Every Republican in Congress needs to spend the next 21 months thinking, “Oh F–k, I just voted to kick myself out of office,” including the 20 cowards who said Nay but support this leadership.

        And every voter who’s even possibly reachable needs to be aware that this is a war.

        Everywhere they go. Jeering and chanting. Follow them like a banshee.

      • SatanicPanic

        What else would they understand? They should have it rubbed in their face that this is an unpopular bill. I don’t care how it’s done. If it works maybe they do something smarter next time, like vote no.

  • enlightenedbum

    I continue to believe the Golgafrinchams had the right idea: build an ark colony ship, tell all the useless people like Cilizza that they’re brave colonists with the future of the species on their backs, and then launch it a random direction and forget about them.

    Douglas Adams’ theory that those useless people were our ancestors seems pretty accurate today.

    • I am wholly on board with the construction of the B Ark as long as we exclude telephone sanitisers. Learn from history, people!

    • NonyNony

      I don’t like using the B Ark metaphor like this. The folks on the B Ark were people who didn’t perceptively do anything useful and were perceived as intellectually mediocre at best. The leaders and scientists were supposedly on Ark A, and the proles who did “useful stuff” were on Ark C.

      But it turns out that after they folks on Ark B were sent off to their exile for the “crime” of being middling people, the whole of Golgafrinchen civilization was wiped out specifically by something that some of the folks on the B Ark were employed to do but was seen as “useless”. Suggesting that perhaps the “elites” of Golgafrinchen society were perhaps just as stupid and short-sighted with their biases, bigotry, snobbery and “thinking that they know better than everyone else when they really don’t” as our own elites tend to be.

      (Of course the whole thing is a setup for the joke that everyone on our planet is descended from the “mediocre and useless” folk of Ark B as well. So there are layers.)

      • Kathleen

        Just put Opinion Page columnists except for Krugman and Blow and political so called journalists from New York Slimes on that bad boy and there would be no. second guessing.

        • PunditusMaximus

          Sigh, yeah, let’s throw out the multilayered aspect of the joke and make it not funny.

  • I’m honestly not sure the language necessary to adequately condemn Cillizza and other ‘reporters’ like him exists in English yet. The same goes for the shitgibbon, obviously, but we wouldn’t have the latter without the former. What a vile piece of shit Cillizza is.

    • efgoldman

      I’m honestly not sure the language necessary to adequately condemn Cillizza and other ‘reporters’ like him exists in English yet.

      Oh, it exists, but no newspaper, dead tree or web site, would publish it.

      • postmodulator

        The language necessary is so bad that even the Internet instinctively rejects it. Watch what happens when I type that Chris Cilizza

        , and then he

        probably covered in apple butter.

    • Kathleen

      To paraphrase the Bard, he’s a noxious congregation of vapors.

    • PunditusMaximus

      “Quisling” is fine.

    • Bruce B.

      I am still mostly on posting hiatus, but I had to weigh in: you write this as if there hasn’t been William S. Burroughs, or Warren Ellis, or Dorothy Parker.

      :)

  • Brett

    before kissing the ring of an inept authoritarian and hitting a nice kegger to celebrate.

    That’s what makes this Cilizza whining especially risible. The Republicans played Rocky music and followed up the successful vote with a goddamn kegger to celebrate the passing of a bill that would devastate health care access, and he has the nerve to wring his hands about the Democrats briefly taunting their counterparts in song?

    Who is this being sold to? What is Cilizza’s audience appeal?

    • Phil Perspective

      Who is this being sold to? What is Cilizza’s audience appeal?

      He obviously gives Jeff Bezos, and the other elites, the warm and fuzzies. Why do you think people like hin continue to fail upward. Their whole purpose is to keep America dumb and clueless.

      • humanoid.panda

        Who is this being sold to? What is Cilizza’s audience appeal?

        As I understand it, his blog was a very high traffic producer for the Post (albeit more due to the people he hired than him). People, to cite Nick Cave, are just ain’t no good.

      • efgoldman

        He obviously gives Jeff Bezos, and the other elites, the warm and fuzzies.

        He’s no longer at WaPo. Last I heard, Bezos doesn’t own any part of CNN

        • mds

          Yeah, but Phil’s point is that the WaPo is playing the same game even without Cillizza. I mean, look at the “most read from The Washington Post” e-mail Amazon sent me this morning:

          Every Republican who voted for this abomination must be held accountable

          … Okay, bad example. But if you scroll down a tad,

          Late-night hosts blast Republican health-care bill: ‘Those ramifications are disastrous’

          Trump has a dangerous disability

          Congressional health-care bill ‘defunds’ Planned Parenthood

          Aha! Notice the quotation marks around “defunds”? Finally, an article with GOP spin.

          … Well, okay, the actual article doesn’t equivocate about the impact on Planned Parenthood. But at least it’s something.

          What is in the Republican health-care bill? Questions and answers on preexisting conditions, Medicaid and more.

          This is not the health-care bill that Trump promised

          Trump praises Australia’s universal health-care system: ‘You have better health care than we do’

          Did Republicans just wave bye-bye to their House majority?

          In Phil’s defense, I skipped over a number of articles unrelated to Trump or GOPdon’tCare. It’s possible at least one of them was warm and fuzzy about Cillizza.

          • Warren Terra

            By the way, that first one (“Every Republican who voted for this abomination must be held accountable”) I read, and it’s good – though even it is I think missing some items from its butcher’s bill of what harm this bill would do. I’ve seen a bunch of articles that list five or six awful effects of this bill, and I think none of the articles managed to to be comprehensive. The bill is just that bad.

            • Mellano

              It’s a strong post, and I’m glad Waldman doesn’t equivocate. But the first paragraph is just as damning as Cilizza’s nonsense:

              Here at the Plum Line, we write a lot about the mechanics of politics — the processes of governing, the interplay of political forces, the back-and-forth between citizens and lawmakers, and so on. We do that because it’s interesting and because it winds up affecting all our lives. But there are moments when you have to set aside the mechanics and focus intently on the substance of what government does — or in this case, what government is trying to do.

              Really, dude? Moments? You work for the one of the most powerful and widely-read news organizations in the country, now owned by a kazillionnaire who has no spending constraints in any real sense.

              What on God’s green earth is stopping you from “setting aside the mechanics and focus[ing] intently on the substance of what government does”?

              • Warren Terra

                He didn’t say “here at the Washington Post” he said “here at the Plum Line”. As in, he thinks this is the remit of his particular blog, not that it’s the only and highest calling in political journalism. I don’t even read his blog regularly and so don’t know whether he ignores policy, but you’re ungenerously misreading that paragraph.

                • Mellano

                  I hear you, but I really don’t think It’s ungenerous. Maybe I was directing it too personally a Waldman, when he’s just reflecting a symptom of the disease in the OP.

                  There’s a huge presumption in the press that insider baseball coverage is worth doing. Why else does the Post even have the Plum Line in the first place? Each decision to cover the mechanics of D.C. can be justified at an individual level. But every journalistic institution has made the same decision to emphasize gossip coverage, and we wind up having writers prefacing their substantive columns with nods to the importance of real-world outcomes after the gerrymandered House of Representatives votes to strip health care from tens of millions of misinformed Americans. Fuck that. They should apologize before every column and every post that’s primarily horse race, not the other way around.

    • Gareth

      The Republicans played Rocky music and followed up the successful vote with a goddamn kegger to celebrate the passing of a bill that would devastate health care access,

      Do they know who won the fight in Rocky?

      • mds

        The black dude, but the outcome was really close.

        • Gareth

          Rocky didn’t technically win, but he was very enthusiastic about the progress he did make. So I guess the music is appropriate.

      • N__B

        Natasha Fatale?

      • Schadenboner

        The drink-serving robot?

      • ScottK

        In this timeline, Boris and Natasha.

    • Kathleen

      “Lliberals” who feel they have a morral obligation to listen to and weigh “both sides”, using same tone ad the exasperated, world weary tone NPR “news” caster uses when describing the petty sqabbles of partisan politicos
      translation Democrats

    • Kathleen

      “Lliberals” who feel they have a morral obligation to listen to and weigh “both sides”, using same t exasperated, world weary tone NPR “news” caster uses when describing the petty sqabbles of partisan politicos
      translation Democrats

  • Cillizza lacks either the intelligence or the moral fiber to comment on this situation. He should find a beat more apropos to his God-given talents — perhaps reviewing the latest season of The Bachelor.

    • Adam.379

      If we lived in anything approaching a meritocracy he’d be lucky to get an internship at Urinal Cake Monthly.

      • searcher

        If we lived in a meritocracy, would The Bachelor be more or less interesting?

        • BigHank53

          If we actually lived in a meritocracy, wouldn’t nearly everyone have better things to do with their time than watch The Bachelor?

          • N__B

            That question reveals a deep and unwarranted optimism about humanity.

        • NonyNony

          About the same. The existence of meritocracy says nothing about the general population’s taste in television.

          Perhaps people would talk about their love of the Bachelor less out of fear of being seen as low class. But then again the only people I know who talk about loving “The Bachelor” are people who watch it to mock it MST3K style.

  • catbirdman

    The Dems sadly lacked the comity and humility — THE HUMANITY — to cordially tilt a red solo cup of Bud Light, a la Ronnie and Tip, and drink a toast to the Republican legislators who’d bested them, fair and square, in the spirited quest to see which set of electeds could most faithfully and effectively serve the interest of the American People.

    • Karen24

      Exactly.

  • AMK

    “fake news” seems appropriate here.

    In a way, this shit is far more insidious than Fox or Brietbart. That segment of the electorate is gone anyway, but lots of the lower-info, low-ideology “both sides do it-ers” would be strong Ds if they were not constantly fed The Narrative.

    • Harkov311

      Possibly.

      I do wonder, though, how much of an issues-free dilletant one has to be to base their vote around who’s being the most gracious to whom. Rather than, say, on what policies and laws a party favors.

      • Davis X. Machina

        I do wonder, though, how much of an issues-free dilletant one has to be to base their vote around who’s being the most gracious to whom

        The personal is political, you know...

      • BeckySharp

        This is shore-up-the-narrative storytelling. It’s saying to the people who were already voting Republican and watching Fox, “See, they really are as terrible as we keep telling you they are!” And then those Republican Fox-watchers will remember later how mean and snobbish those elitist Democrats were to the good heartlanders who were just trying to fix Obamacare.

        • efgoldman

          then those Republican Fox-watchers will remember later how mean and snobbish those elitist Democrats were

          It’s not like they would ever pull the (D) lever, anyway.

        • ColBatGuano

          But it also affects those low info “everyone in government is bad” voters who may not be Fox viewers.

    • CP

      In a way, this shit is far more insidious than Fox or Brietbart. That segment of the electorate is gone anyway, but lots of the lower-info, low-ideology “both sides do it-ers” would be strong Ds if they were not constantly fed The Narrative.

      Yep.

      There’s a huge asymmetry, because the “right-wing” half of the media landscape will never be anything but an arm of the GOP (or, at this point, a driver of it), while the “mainstream” half of it is full of equivocation and both-sides bullshit.

      People who listen to the former believe every word, while people who listen to the latter, in many cases, *think* of themselves as savvy and cynical and not being taken in – but the simple fact that those two mentalities are what dominates the news means far more of it penetrates into their perceptions, by osmosis if nothing else, than they realize.

      • Davis X. Machina

        while people who listen to the latter, in many cases, *think* of themselves as savvy and cynical and not being taken in

        Irony will kill a republic just as dead as tyranny.

  • heckblazer

    Hey, guess what song House Republicans sang to Democrats in 1993 when the Clinton tax bill passed?

  • PunditusMaximus

    Didn’t the Repubs throw a kegger in the Rose Garden to celebrate?

    • They did, yes. In conclusion, both sides do it, but Democrats are worse.

      • PunditusMaximus

        Maybe we can hire their party planner in our next Administration.

        • humanoid.panda

          It is my authoritarian hatred of anything to the left of me that drives me to ask: when will this troll POS be banned finally?

          • CP

            Join me, Humanoid Luke, and we can rule this galaxy as Authoritarian Haters Of Everything To The Left Of Us.

            (Seriously, tho. So much “this.”)

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              Here is a half-serious petition to have humanoid.panda or Murc as a new LGM frontpager.

              • postmodulator

                I’d cosign that. Murc especially.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Why not both?

                  Also: What happened to Drexciya?

                • Murc

                  I miss Drexciya.

                  I didn’t particularly like her. In fact I thought that, like, 20% of what she posted was batshit insane. But she always made me think, and I don’t mean that in the shallow way it is usually used; her posts, even ones I disagreed with, generally had me sitting around for hours turning them over in my head.

                  I learned from her and I am grateful. She made excellent use of the long-form comment.

                  If I had to pick someone to come back and/or get promoted, tho, it would be Bijan Parsia. I loved that guy.

                  Or to magically get Dave Brockington and djw to post like three times as much as they do, that’d also be great.

                  More seriously, I’m unqualified to blog here. My principle credentials as a commentator are “has opinions, a big mouth, an equally big vocabulary, and a love of parenthetical asides that borders on the obscene.”

                  Everyone on the masthead either has actual formal expertise in their fields of endeavor, or at the very least brings in valuable alternate perspectives. I have neither of those going for me.

                • I definitely miss Drex and Bijan. Also Abbey. There are a few others I’m probably not remembering right now as well.

                • Rob in CT

                  and a love of parenthetical asides

                  Ah, of course. We really are long lost cousins or something.

              • CP

                If either of them run on a Tough On Trolls platform, they have my vote.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Purity troll uses “we” and “our” as if he were a Democrat…

          • humanoid.panda

            Purity troll implies that he cares about policy. This guy is a troll, pure and simple. If this was a blog about modern fishing techniques, he’d be going on and on about how modern fishing techniques are not like the good old days.

            • efgoldman

              Purity troll implies that he cares about policy. This guy is a troll, pure and simple.

              Without scrolling down, I bet he slags Obama for being a seekrit Republiklown within three subthreads.
              Trolls are bad, but one note predictable trolls are the worst.

            • Murc

              I once again note, by referencing the man’s own words: PM explicitly and cheerfully admits he isn’t here to argue in good faith. He’s here to deliberately lie to and enrage us. For our own good, of course. To “crack our shells.”

              I don’t know how that comment didn’t get him banned. It is basically a statement of disruption and ill intent.

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                Given NuMoarBalticBilge’s behavior on the “Lame Theory” thread, this is a particulary sick irony.

            • PunditusMaximus

              You’re right! My hatred of the hiring of Republican daddies has absolutely nothing to do with the policy motivations or results of those endlessly repeated disastrous decisions.

              That’s a completely defensible and reasonable interpretation of what I’m saying and in no way projects a “Cult of St. Obama” vibe.

              • efgoldman

                :::DING:::
                You owe me a dollar

            • Davis X. Machina

              If this was a blog about modern fishing techniques, he’d be going on and on about how modern fishing techniques are not like the good old days.

              TBF, he does go on and on about pie. At least for me.

              • Redwood Rhiadra

                I really, really wish the pie filter worked for me.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  PM’s been banned, but not SWH.

  • The Great God Pan

    His smug, dumb-looking face makes me physically angry.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      he and Milbank look like they are ready for headfirst dives into the woodchipper

  • Cordonazo

    On a side note, Cillizza is a regular co-host on the Tony Kornheiser Show (now podcast). On a show that rarely goes deep on issues, when they throw to Cillizza to provide insight on a political topic, he is unable to provide anything of substance. Howard Fineman, another frequent co-host, at least seems to have a basic knowledge and understanding of the world he covers, while Cillizza lacks any thought whatsoever.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      And look where it’s gotten him!

  • PunditusMaximus

    Cillizza is the kind of person I would hire to cater to the kind of person who buys things based on the ads I see on CNN.

  • Nathan Goldwag

    I adapted an old Irish song to try and express the rage I feel for Paul Ryan today. I believe ‘Cillizza’ would also fit the rhyme scheme decently as well.

    “Bad luck to you, [Ryan], bad luck may you never shun
    May the widow’s curse melt you like snow in the noonday sun
    Cries of the orphans, their murmurs you cannot screen
    For the loss of their fathers who [died of cancers unscreened]”

    In the faint hope that there might actually be a Just and Loving God, I have been repeating this mantra all day.

    • njorl

      I’d go the whole Nell Flaherty’s drake on him.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    I’m keeping a detailed account of all those who have played an active role in pushing America to the edge of the abyss, for (if and) when the revolution comes. Never fucking forget.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      We need a DeFarge app for our smartphones.

  • CS Clark

    As laughable as Cillizza’s take is, I’m not sure it beats those who think the singing is evidence that the Democrats could have stopped it passing with proper opposition but Didn’t. Even. Try.

    • humanoid.panda

      Wait till they pass the bill in reconcilliation and Twitter lefties explode because Wall Street Chuck Schumer failed to filibuster.

      • PunditusMaximus

        Wait, we can pass health care reform in reconciliation and/or defeat the filibuster in some other way?

        STOP THE PRESSES

        • njorl

          All you need is an unscrupulous parliamentarian.

        • Duvall

          You can if your only “reform” goal is cutting taxes on the rich.

    • efgoldman

      the Democrats could have stopped it passing with proper opposition but Didn’t. Even. Try.

      Nancy Pelosi never even unlocked the vault full of green lanterns in the basement

  • Warren Terra

    It really is a shame that Cillizza was forced against his will and without any knowledge, experience, or friends with knowledge or experience to report and comment on politics for CNN. Maybe if he had years of experience watching politics as an interested observer, let alone reporting on politics in a professional capacity, he would have understood the historical reference being made by the Democrats as they waved goodbye yesterday – or, failing to recognize the significance, he could have asked someone. Sadly he has none of those aptitudes or abilities, and is forced to press on and manfully attempt to cover American politics hampered by their lack, bolstered only by a massive paycheck and a still larger ego.

    For anyone who isn’t aware – like Cillizza, apparently, and of course his readers and viewers – in 1993 Bill Clinton had a hard fight to get an important bill through the House. In his case it was a budget that involved significant tax increases on the wealthy. This budget was of course being shredded on Talk Radio as the worst blow against freedom in recorded history, and any Democratic Representative in a swing district knew their only hope of surviving the 1994 midterms was to loudly vote against it. So, when Marjorie Margolies came forward to cast the deciding vote and get the budget passed in the House, she knew the price – and so did the Republicans, who sang and waved goodbye to her as she did so. And the Democrats, who’d held the House uninterrupted for almost 40 years and scarcely interrupted for over 60, have rarely held the House in the dozen Congresses since then.

    This context, available to any person remotely knowledgeable about American politics or to anyone having the wit to ask such a person, was immediately available to Cillizza, even as the House Republicans went off to an unprecedented kegger on the South Lawn of the White House for a bill that still might never become law. And, if you wanted to talk about the Democrats singing “goodbye”, this context was critically important! But if Cillizza knew it, or knew anyone that did, his viewers and readers were none the wiser.

    TL;DR Cillizza is at best flagrantly incompetent, and that’s a far kinder interpretation than my actual impression.

    • Davis X. Machina

      So, when Marjorie Margolies came forward to cast the deciding vote and get the budget passed in the House, she knew the price

      Wait, don’t we hate Chelsea Clinton somehow, because of Marjorie Margolies?

      Wheels within wheels, man.

      • rea

        I was not aware that Marjorie Margolies was a Clinton-in-law. Of course, back in ’93, Chelsea was 13, and not yet married to the congressperson’s then-16-year old son.

        • Warren Terra

          … that you know of.

          • efgoldman

            … that you know of.

            It was an arranged marriage, to facilitate Chelsea's presidential runs in '24, '28, '32, '36....

  • wengler

    My biggest fear is that the way this bill was passed was so procedurally bankrupt that the enabling powers they will choose to give Trump will fly through.

    If Republicans do get blown out of the water in 18 months time, the lame duck session will likely be an exercise in creating a dictatorship to withstand investigation.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      IOW, NC was a lab experiment.

  • A saying I often see on Twitter comes to mind: God grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man.

    There is absolutely nothing that is outstanding about C.C. except possibly his ego. I assume he’s hired to appeal to the plain, pasty, mentally flaccid goober demographic.

    • humanoid.panda

      A saying I often see on Twitter comes to mind: God grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man.

      This is obviously off topic, but can’t we talk a bit about the “mediocre white man” formulation? To, me, one of the great evils of modern American life is the cult of meritocracy, the idea that if you are a talent with your own brand, you are simply a cost unit for your employer, and if you are, there is no limit to the riches you ought to acquire. So, yeah, I get where the “mediocre white man” thing comes from, but in the end, it ends up reifying the idea that what we really need is exceptionally talented brown people to take their place in our meritocratic order.

      Well, no. We need a world in which mediocrity is not a curse.

      • jpgray

        I always took the point of the phrase to be that an unexamined self confidence is often the affect for promotion, regardless of talent, bringing advancement to the bad, the mediocre, and the talented alike.

        A confidence out of all proportion to talent brings promotion to the Cillizzas of the world – mediocrity is emphatically not a curse for them. So, people of all races and talent levels might fairly wish for that kind of mediocre white guy confidence, right?

      • So, yeah, I get where the “mediocre white man” thing comes from

        This statement is not supported by the words around it.

        • Origami Isopod

          +1

        • PunditusMaximus

          +1

        • Shantanu Saha

          +3/5

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        as far as mediocrity in general I think you’ve got it backwards- the problem is that mediocrity is the freaking *goal* these days, not a curse

        as far as the “having the confidence of a mediocre white man” formulation- christ, Cillizza’s built a small fortune- and actively made the world a worse place- on nothing more than that, people *should* resent it working for him and others like him

      • efgoldman

        what we really need is exceptionally talented brown people

        Or women.
        And yes, we do.

        We need a world in which mediocrity is not a curse.

        I give you one-time senator Roman Hruska of Nebraska, speaking about Tricksie Dicksie Nixsie’ SCOTUS nominee Harold Carswell

        Speaking during March 1970 in favor of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Senator Roman L. Hruska of Nebraska said:

        So what if he is mediocre? There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they? We can’t have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters and stuff like that there.

        Shockingly, the speech failed to persuade Senator Hruska’s colleagues, and the nominee withdrew.

        That’s what we want in congress? I certainly don’t.

        • humanoid.panda

          I don’t know who that nominee was, but I’d betcha he was better than Neil Gorsuch (Columbia BA, Harvard JD, Oxford PhD, a brilliant jurist accoring to his peers- and a carbuncle on the hindparts of humanity).

          Look: all I am saying here is that while the mediocre white men captures the nature of white privilege, it also reinforces the culture in which Malcolm Gladwell and his Outliers are a fucking Bible to our elites. As for me, I am for all a world in which, for instance, unions are strong enough to enforce some mediocrity on superstars who want to work 80 hours a day and eat what they kill.

          • rea

            He was not–Carswell was openly racist and sexist, not to mention being the kind of social conservative that gets convicted for battery of an undercover police officer he solicited in a public men’s room.

    • Kathleen

      I want that last sentence to ghost write my memoirs, This is response to Shakezula

  • jpgray

    Huh.

    NEW YORK — Seconds after praising his party’s efforts to pass a new health-care bill that estimates said would leave millions uninsured, President Trump praised Australia’s government-funded universal heath-care system.

    “We have a failing health care — I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do,” a tuxedo-clad Trump said at a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Manhattan on Thursday.

  • cleek

    When House Republicans secured their 216th “yes” on the American Health Care Act Thursday, Democrats immediately began taunting their across-the-aisle rivals.

    how many Democrats?
    who were they?
    how long did they ‘taunt’?

    was it two staffers ? three ?

    do these Democrats represent every other Democrat? if so, who gave them that authority?

    • Warren Terra

      This is all moot. It doesn’t matter if it was the entire House Democratic caucus, in unison, choreographed, in matching spangly outfits. However many Democrats did it, whoever they were, it can only be understood in context of the Republicans doing the same thing in 1993, on another close and controversial vote, but on a bill that didn’t promise to kills tens of thousands and immiserate tens of millions. Presenting that context is vastly more important than quantifying the singers.

      • CS Clark

        Nevertheless, questions have been raised and it could cast a shadow.

        • efgoldman

          Nevertheless, questions have been raised and it could cast a shadow.

          And a week from now, it will be totally down the memory hole.

          I stopped watching cable “news” years ago; is there any way to email somebody, or a tweety, or something that might get to him or the fuckheads who hired/enabled him.

      • N__B

        It doesn’t matter if it was the entire House Democratic caucus, in unison, choreographed, in matching spangly outfits.

        I thought I was the only one who liked Iron Man 2.

  • kped

    As I mentioned in the last thread, this was Taibbi’s only take on the day as well (he’s a strong progressive voice we should listen to for sure!).

    But even still…neither of these is the dumbest take of the day. In a now deleted tweet (thankfully Gary Legum screenshotted it), Rania Khalkek said this:

    Where the fuck were the democrats to prevent this?

    https://twitter.com/GaryLegum/status/860326855282479104

    I mean…Rania “Jill Stein get my vote, Hillary scares me more than Donald Trump” Khalek doesn’t seem to understand math, or the US system. It really is hard to be this dumb.

    • efgoldman

      It really is hard to be this dumb.

      Apparently not as difficult as it should be.

      • SatanicPanic

        Or as painful

    • ThresherK

      Rania “Jill Stein get my vote, Hillary scares me more than Donald Trump” Khalek

      I hear a lot of names in this space I don’t recognize, and Khalek’s is one. That said, you’ve told me everything I need to know about them.

      • Shantanu Saha

        Khalek is at the Intercept, which means that she’s being paid by Russian money to trash Democrats 24/7.

  • Karen24

    I want more of what the Dems did here — ridicule and express disgust. The Republicans lost any claim to respect when they elected an ignorant and boorish game show host in hock to the Russian mob. Time we told ’em that.

    • efgoldman

      The Republicans lost any claim to respect when they elected an ignorant and boorish game show host in hock to the Russian mob.

      Long before that; 1994 is the backwards limit, or maybe 1980.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        “Thank you very much, my fellow American, for leaving me out of this. AROOOOOOOOO!!!”

        – R.M. Nixon

        • efgoldman

          “Thank you very much, my fellow American, for leaving me out of this. AROOOOOOOOO!!!”

          Both houses of congress were completely controlled by Democrats.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            That didn’t account for Nixon’s two victories. I’m hazy on the first one but the second on was a real drubbing.

            • That could just be explained by McGovern being unusually out of sync with the American electorate at the time, though. IIRC, he was an unusual candidate and was considered far more liberal than the mainstream Democratic Party.

  • Denverite

    I still can’t believe that the Republicans served Bud Light at the kegger. It’s like if you went out to lunch with Kim Jong Un and he ordered baby, or Donald Trump and he ordered a ribeye well done with a side of ketchup. It’s too on the nose. They had to be trolling America, right?

    • Origami Isopod

      It’s not trolling. That’s yet another aspect of who they are.

    • efgoldman

      It’s too on the nose. They had to be trolling America, right?

      I expect some staffer or a congresscritter is buds [sorry!] with a local distributor and got it for free.
      Not that I would expect any better if they actually chose. These people eat ham sandwiches on Wonder bread with mayo.

    • Murc

      It wasn’t trolling; it was signalling.

      Leaving aside the fact that a bunch of people in Congress, Democrats or Republicans, are probably in the age cohort that drinks and enjoys the basic American beers (Bud, Miller, etc.) even if they weren’t, they would want to signal that they’re those kinds of people.

      • Rob in CT

        I don't always drink beer when I vote to strip 20+ million of my fellow citizens of their health insurance, but when I do, I drink Bud Light. Stay thirsty, my friends.

        • Davis X. Machina
      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        I was at a pub is Scotland drinking something local they had on tap, don’t remember the name. I saw some Scotsmen drinking, to my horror, Bud Light from cans. Then I realized that we were all drinking “foreign” beer.

      • gratuitous

        What I want to know, and I’m shocked that Cillizza’s penetrating analysis didn’t touch on this, is who paid for the beer that those slackers were imbibing Thursday afternoon? Did the taxpayers foot the bill for that Republican bacchanale in the middle of a work day?

        Will Chris Cillizza get to the bottom of this?

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Wouldn’t a Coors product signal even harder? (Just based on the family’s past political horseshit and racism; I’ve not kept up with it in the past 20 years but I assume nothing’s changed.)

      • Denverite

        Nah. Coors is basically the light beer that normal people drink in the West. Ditto Miller Lite and the Midwest. Bud Light is the selzer water with half a shot of vodka and four ground up Sweettarts dropped in that they drink in the South and in bro culture.

        • Davis X. Machina

          In college people drank “Blight” — half Bush, half Bud Light. The name was better than the beverage….

        • cleek

          Bud Light is the best selling beer in the country. it outsells Coors light by 2:1, and Coors by 16:1.

          • muddy

            Picking up cans by the roadside for the deposit, it’s my observation that Bud Light is the most common by a long shot. I guess the market share could account for it. Or it could be that the people who choose it are more likely to also make the poor choices of drink driving, littering and foregoing the deposit money.

            Well, thanks to them anyway, every 20 cans is a lottery ticket for me. This is my sole funding mechanism for lottery tickets and the blue cans are a good 80% of what I get.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              ’round here Busch Light is the default beer at parties and the dominant brand of empty the kids throw in the ditch. My aunt once found a twelve-pack that was half full of unopened cans along the road- she was quite pleased with *that* find

              • muddy

                That’s a winning ticket.

  • ChrisS

    The Fox News brigade were worried about non-existent death panels under the ACA. Under Trumpcare, the GOP felt that death panels were actually a pretty good idea, but too expensive to implement, so now it’s just a credit check.

  • 1940’s French Cillizza would have been first to write puff pieces about the new Vichy government.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      And an Afro-Caribbean-Canadian scribe would welcome these efficient Germans who could make the trains run on time.

  • Mellano

    That’s strange, I read the whole article and didn’t see him criticize the Republican leadership for replacing CBO scoring and political deliberation with the theme from Rocky and Mel Gibson’s fantasy about William Wallace.

    • Colin Day

      They can take our health care, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!

      • Mellano

        They may take our lives, but …

      • efgoldman

        They can take our health care, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!

        Sorry, Medicaid will no longer pay for drawing and quartering

  • Gwen

    Meanwhile, Conor Friedersdorf, bemoaning all the losery losers:

    http://trib.al/PcpOWRy

    • L2P

      FFS. Hilary just won the popular vote by millions of votes. That doesn’t even pass the concern-troll level.

    • PunditusMaximus

      “constructive criticism” hee

    • ColBatGuano

      He quotes both Andrew Sullivan and Freddie to make his case. I’m convinced.

  • ASV

    I sometimes feel my social network might be too politically homogeneous, and then something like this happens and I learn that I know a lot of totebagging motherfuckers who find this to be Very Problematic.

    • Murc

      Christ, I know?

      Elsenet, I referred to the Republican caucus as having voted to murder thousands of people. I am now hip-deep in a debate with people who are very upset, and seemingly genuinely so, about my use of this turn of phrase regardless of whether or not it is accurate.

      • L2P

        Right? “Accusing people of intending the obvious consequences of their actions is unfair and not part of civil debate.” FFS.

        (I’m also sick of “Well, he said something falce, but it’s not a lie unless it was INTENTIONALLY false, so you’re ruining sane and civil discourse by calling it a lie.”)

      • PunditusMaximus

        Just tell them you were using my kind of rhetoric!

  • randy khan

    Sadly, it’s not just Villagers who misunderstand the intent of this particular stunt (a word I’m using admiringly, to be clear) – I’ve seen a bunch of people who were against the bill who don’t seem to get that it was aimed at the Republicans in the House, even after an explanation of the history.

  • DamnYankees

    It’s worth noting the amazingly low bar that is being applied to the GOP here. Trump ran on being a dealmaker. This was his whole thing – someone who can cut amazing deals.

    Normally, when you brag about having a certain quality, it raises expectations. But the opposite has happened – people are now praising Trump’s dealmaking, and giving him a win, for the *simplest part of the job* – squeaking a bill through a chamber of Congress his party fully controls with zero opposition votes.

    Was anyone praising Obama as a master dealmaker for managing to get the Democratic House to pass things? Much less the Senate? In fact the exact opposite happened. Obama was *lambasted* as a terrible negotiator, not only on the merits by the left wing of his party, but by all “centrist” types and right for his “failure of leadership” in failing to get a single Republican vote.

    The pathetic way the media treats the GOP as dumb children and the Democrats as responsibly adults isn’t on the top 10 list of pathetic things about this bill. But it shouldn’t be forgotten.

    • PunditusMaximus

      It’s also the fact that the white people who run the media are super racist, so gaslighting less-racist people is a priority.

    • Murc

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in the eyes of many, the Democrats have agency. The GOP has none. GOP is gonna GOP, whatcha gonna do.

    • CP

      *I* certainly praise him as master dealmaker: given that he was working with that fractious and temperamental coalition that was so well described by Will Rogers, and with a topic that people have been trying to pass through Congress since the days of Teddy fucking Roosevelt, I thought it was a stupendous achievement. (Though the credit goes to other people as well, especially Nancy Pelosi).

      But I know what you mean.

      • DamnYankees

        When you said you praise “him”, I thought you meant Trump at first and was very confused. :)

        • efgoldman

          I thought you meant Trump at first

          Antecedents are important

  • I suppose it’s been there on the masthead for years, but today—just now, in fact—I happened to see the Washington Post’s motto for the first time: Democracy Dies in Darkness.

    Guys, you should be taking that as a warning, not as a mission statement.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      Cillizza’s been out of WaPo for a while tho

      • He left the Post on March 15, 2017. I guess 7 weeks is “a while”.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      nah, they just started running that after trump was elected. An idea that just maybe could have occurred to them a lot sooner than it did

    • randy khan

      They actually added it relatively recently, definitely after the election, but maybe as recently as earlier this year.

    • Warren Terra

      The WaPo deserves calumny for the many years they employed Cillizza, but the rest of their politics coverage for the last year was probably the best in the country, including the work that got Fahrenthold the Pulitzer. And Cillizza’s gone now.

      The NYT on the other hand has a politics desk that’s been actively trying to damage the country, consistently and in an escalating manner, since at least WhiteWater.

  • mnuba

    Cilizza today: “akshually, LIBS, there WERE women at the White House Repeal Kegger so THERE, both sides lie!”

    • Warren Terra

      The famous photograph has ~30 men and one woman (maybe another for whom only the top of a head can be seen – on average, the shorter height might suggest it’s a woman). Without bothering to do any statistics, this is probably consistent with the Republican House delegation, which is 9% women (and I think all White or Anglo-looking Latino?). But they could have put some of the women in the front row. Heck, they could have given pride of place to the one dude whose blazer wasn’t navy blue.

      • Warren Terra

        (looking at Cillizza’s pointless article, the Republican House Caucus contains two Black members, so only a bit over 99% White).

  • Hondo
    • Rob in CT

      And if the Democratic Party can’t reduce these idiots to smoking ash through the stunning visuals that greeted this atrocious vote, then goddamn the Democratic Party, too.

      Yaknow, I certainly hope we reduce them to smoking ash, metaphorically speaking, and generally agree with Pierce. But this is yet another example of putting everything on the Democratic Party. How about if the VOTERS (including, very much so, those eligible and perfectly able to vote but who typically can’t be arsed) don’t burn down the GOP and salt the ashes, then goddamn the voters?

  • Bruce Vail

    I’m all okay with bashing Chris Cillizza at every opportunity.

    I’d note, however, that the total package of Trumpcare reporting at WashPo has been quite good, and shouldn’t be confused with Cillizza’s off-the-cuff commentary at CNN.

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