Patterico's Pontifications

1/6/2015

Amash, Brat Will Vote Against Boehner; UPDATE: Boehner Wins

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 am



My man Justin Amash of Michigan has announced on his Facebook page that he will vote against John Boehner for Speaker of the House:

Republicans have a historic opportunity in this Congress. We can pass significant legislation and push President Obama to the bargaining table for the first time in his presidency. We can uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law. We can expand liberty and economic freedom for all Americans.

Our success is not assured. To accomplish our goals, we need sound strategy, crisp messaging, and a commitment to running the House as a deliberative body in which all its diverse voices are heard. Committees must be given enough time to do their work. Rank-and-file members must have sufficient time to read and debate legislation that can profoundly affect the lives of our constituents.

We have been told much over the last few years about opening up the House’s legislative process and returning to regular order. Yet time and again, it seems that Congress governs by crisis and raw partisanship.

Our party and our country are different than they were a generation ago. Americans at home have learned from the policy mistakes our Congress has made over the last few decades. It’s not clear that the men and women in congressional leadership have done the same. To appeal to more Americans and better reflect today’s Republicans, we need modern leaders who respect the diversity of ideas within the House of Representatives.

Speaker Boehner has been the leader of our party in the House for eight years. We have welcomed at least three large waves of new representatives during that time. Republican conference rules limit chairmen to six years in their offices to promote fresh thinking and new priorities. We should apply those same principles to all our party’s leaders.

The speaker of the House has one of the most challenging jobs in government. Speaker Boehner has given his best to our conference, and I thank him for his service. But it’s time for Republicans to change our leadership. This afternoon, I will vote for a new speaker.

Dave Brat has also said he will vote against Boehner.

Amash’s announcement is not a huge surprise. He voted against Boehner in 2013 after being stripped of a top committee assignment, which he believed happened because he had not voted in the approved establishment manner. Brat’s announcement is pleasing, as it shows that, like Amash, he will not kowtow to the establishment powers that be, simply to get choice committee assignments.

Most news organizations, however (see ABC News as one example) believe Boehner is safe. If they’re right, the election of the Speaker can be seen as a microcosm of what is happening on a policy level. You can elect a few people with a passion to change things, but when the system is set up to reward More of the Same, you are likely to get More of the Same. Expressing displeasure with individuals is fine and can’t hurt, but until we replace human elected officials with a more rarefied species that does not respond to basic incentives, the same incentives will tend to produce the same results. More systematic changes are necessary for real change to occur.

But hey, guys, feel free to surprise me today.

UPDATE: No surprises. Boehner won.

277 Responses to “Amash, Brat Will Vote Against Boehner; UPDATE: Boehner Wins”

  1. ok so that makes two votes against

    this is good

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  2. I agree that there is no sense in organizing something that caters to our “worse angels” and some structures are better than others.
    And while wanting to change structures and working to do so may be of great benefit, in the meantime, and even after such improved structures are put into place, there will always be a need for individuals to exercise virtue and “do what’s right”.
    I think the idea that a structure will solve the problem is a utopian delusion when it comes from a conservative or libertarian just as much as when it comes from a progressive.

    We have been able to accomplish many different tasks in manipulating our physical environment through science and technology, so much so that we think everything can be solved by the correct “scientific” approach.
    Any effort to control the human heart/mind/will will be cursed by the reality that it will be some select group of humans who decide what to impose on everybody else, and to think there will ever be a group worthy of such a responsibility is unreasonable.

    As a society we rejected years ago the idea (if it was ever held by a majority) that character formation was more important than technical ability. We demonstrated this by our morally empty approach to public education and highlighted it when people overwhelmingly supported (and still support) President Clinton.

    The reality is that there may not be enough people of character to rise to the occasion at any given time, with painful consequences.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  3. I hope we get a new Speaker. Actually, I want to see the Speakership rotate amongst a number of House members to share the burden of a vital but unattractive job. May six month stints.

    ParisParamus (af3337)

  4. I think that authority vested in any one individual is an anachronistic throwback to feudalism. All authority, whether in government or industry, should be in workers’ committees organized by the workers themselves with no individual having primacy over any other. That would include the military and the police. All decisions should be made by committee consensus ratified by the workers’ consensus. It is the only just system.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. More systematic changes are necessary for real change to occur.

    I disagree.

    The problem is not the system, or even the politicians. It’s the constituents. The politicians are only a reflection of the people.

    The problem is that the people want conflicting things. They want low taxes, but they also want benefits. They want cheap gas, but they also succumb to environmentalist scare-mongering. It’s no wonder that politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths.

    If enough people truly believed in the free market and limited government, our country would be fine.

    norcal (b8f701)

  6. The effort really should be about running the House the way the Speaker pledged to when first elected and hasn’t. Return to regular order. Stop forcing last minute closed-door leadership negotiated omnibus deals. I suspect what these guys are doing by publicly rebelling against Boehner is less about taking the gavel out of his hand and more about martyring themselves if he moves too aggresively against them. I’m sure they regret they have but one cushy committee assignment to give for their country and hours of TV time to gain. Meanwhile maybe there will hopefully be enough pushback by the base to nudge leadership closer to regular order.

    crazy (cde091)

  7. I hope we get a new Speaker. Actually, I want to see the Speakership rotate amongst a number of House members to share the burden of a vital but unattractive job. May six month stints.

    When everyone has responsibility, nobody does.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  8. “When the system is set up to reward More of the Same, you are likely to get More of the Same. Expressing displeasure with individuals is fine and can’t hurt, but until we replace human elected officials with a more rarefied species that does not respond to basic incentives, the same incentives will tend to produce the same results. More systematic changes are necessary for real change to occur.”

    – Patterico

    I agree 100%. It’s very interesting and exciting (to me, anyway) that an increasing number of people are arriving at that conclusion, and that they are coming from a bunch of different starting points. It gives me hope, frankly.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  9. Maybe an agreement about the power of incentives (and disincentives) to shape human behavior could be one of the main points of agreement between Left and Right that makes systematic changes possible.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  10. Crazy@6 –you are not so crazy. Well said. I think this is a shot across the bow rather than a shot into the bow. I’m glad these guys (and hopefully a few others to strengthen the point) are willing to take a stand and I agree with you that it has both pluses and minuses for them which I am sure they have carefully evaluated.

    elissa (9fe17d)

  11. We could replace congressman with with machines and program in the key portions of the platforms of the platforms on which they campaigned to remove any human element from their decisions and any impulses to compromise in their decision making.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  12. Leviticus-
    That is real easy. Offer a lot of money as incentive, and a gun to the head as disincentive.
    As long as we have nk “not in charge but in charge” of the committee who decides what the money goes for and who gets shot, we’ll be fine…
    Well, I think I’ll be fine, anyway, at least for awhile.

    I think if one of the Koch brothers ran for president based on a promise that he would sign no bill into law until everyone with a HS education reading level had a chance to read it, he would win on that alone.
    And there would be political will in Congress to impeach him if he did not keep his promise to keep him to it.
    I’m available as a campaign consultant.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  13. daley, maybe keep humans as congressmen, but have that program control an electric shock device in their seats, and they get strapped and locked in before each vote.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  14. There is the idea to limit the number of words that could be in one bill. (more and it would havew to be split)

    Of course, you wouldn’t want bills that said, change “this word” to “that word” in paragraph X over here.

    Sammy Finkelman (6b5229)

  15. Since when did the idea of controlling politicians through incentives become some wacky idea? You wanna talk about Originalism? That’s about as Original an idea as you’re gonna find.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  16. MD in Philly – Or we could arrange to place a “Curmudgeon Chorus” of people like mg and DNF in the gallery, much like Code Pink, to harangue wayward members, except I don’t think those guys like anybody or anything.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  17. ==Expressing displeasure with individuals is fine and can’t hurt, but until we replace human elected officials with a more rarefied species that does not respond to basic incentives, the same incentives will tend to produce the same results. More systematic changes are necessary for real change to occur.==

    =Maybe an agreement about the power of incentives (and disincentives) to shape human behavior could be one of the main points of agreement between Left and Right that makes systematic changes possible.=

    I find the yearning for pristine clean politics, and rarefied men and women in government service, and improved systems that can “incentivize” human behavior to be adorable. Try reading some history. Not just American, but world history. Our Constitution IS the better system. Preserving and reinforcing it should be the primary and clear goal. Not trying to change or “shape” human nature or make still more piecemeal and unconstitutional systemic changes to our government and political operations. In my humble opinion.

    elissa (9fe17d)

  18. The primary premise of our Constitution is that we cannot rely on the better angels of human nature to produce good political results.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  19. The price of oil has fallen below $50 a barrel, and now the stock market is dropping, at east temporarily. You would think this would be a net gain.

    But there may be more sellers right now, and possible buyers may think stocks are a bit overpriced.

    Also there’s the paradoxica effect where any economic gain, causes fears of the fed raising interest rates – although it shouldn’t, because this would cause an overall price drop, and tthey don’t want deflation.

    Sammy Finkelman (6b5229)

  20. In politics, nothing happens overnight. As recently as the 2012 election, Republicans who should know better dismissed Gingrich’s criticisms of the party elite as the ranting of an old kook. Not anymore. Clearly, Republican voters have figured this out, as evidenced by the stunning rejection of Boehner and the status quo found in the recent EMC Research poll. And the Republican political class, itself, is figuring this out as well. They are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their power. Surprisingly, the relatively large number of House Republicans who now appear to be poised to vote against Boehner suggests that there is a move away from politics as usual by those most responsible for politics as usual.

    It is great news that Yoho and Gohmert are standing up to the elite and, thereby, forcing fellow Republicans to make a very public choice on who they support for the Speakership. Both men are clearly willing to sacrifice their own political clout in an attempt to reign in the House leadership. That is true leadership. John Boehner will probably hold the day today, but there is every reason to believe this will be a pyrrhic victory. In less than two years, those pro-Boehner votes will provide valuable political fodder to grassroot conservative candidates running against elitist incumbents.

    At this point, it is hard to argue that the tide isn’t rising.

    ThOR (a52560)

  21. reward More of the Same, you are likely to get More of the Same.

    A lot of what’s behind that — regrettable or otherwise — is the way non-political and instead purely social factors influence the way people interact with one another. In that regards, I’m reminded of a dyed-in-the-wool liberal I know who has mentioned to me in the past that he voted for Reagan and remains rather easygoing, even complimentary, about America’s 40th president. The power of personality and the ability to schmooze and be charming (eg, one of the reportedly key strengths of disreputable — yet supposedly lovable [gag] — Bill Clinton) can create odd bedfellows all over the place.

    Mark (c160ec)

  22. The names of people running for Speaker are being placed in nomination. The speech for Boehner was like a Presidential nominating speech — flowery and over-the-top — and it was followed by a speech for Pelosi. Then came brief speeches for Ted Yoho, Louis Gohmert, and Daniel Webster.

    The only systemic way to stop this kind of self-adulation and self-promotion is term limits. There are no incentives to keep people, let alone politicians, from putting themselves first.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  23. Leviticus-
    (Yes, I know everyone, we’re going over old ground and I will say this once and stop).
    The premise of our Constitution being that we cannot rely on our better angels meant they did what they could to design a system taking that into account. One has to start off with the assumption that they did what they could do. To suggest more/better incentives means you have to show that you can make proposals better than the ones already there.
    I think having one’s career and life ruined is a pretty good incentive to not do something, but apparently that wasn’t good enough incentive for Wilson and the police (all 6 of them) involved in the Garner case (assuming they shouldn’t have done what they did, which I don’t).

    What our Constitution does not account for, as John Adams said himself, is a people so devoid of virtue on the whole that they can no longer keep one another in check, that “close to everybody” is corrupt.
    When that happens, doom follows, either by internal tyranny or fall to an invader, or a combo of both.
    Jeremiah describes it well, when he ran through the streets all he saw was evil. Then he said to himself, “But these are only the poor, uneducated, unsophisticated; so will go to the halls of wealth and power…”
    but there he saw the same thing.
    Among children in the street saying F-you to passers-by to the highest officials of the land giving obscene gestures while on the podium.
    It did not end well, at least not for that generation.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  24. They are voting now. You can listen to it here if you want.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  25. Marsha Blackburn voted for Boehner so it sounds like this GOP revolt isn’t going anywhere. She was one of the ones who had to switch to make it happen.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  26. Clawson of Florida voted for Senator Rand Paul.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  27. “I find the yearning for pristine clean politics, and rarefied men and women in government service, and improved systems that can “incentivize” human behavior to be adorable.”

    – elissa

    Who said anything about yearning for pristine politics or rarefied men/women in government service? Improved systems of incentives are intended to take the place of that yearning, to acknowledge its impossibility.

    Again, that was the exact decision made by the Framers in crafting the Constitution. If the incentives and disincentives they built into the Constitution are no longer effective, the Constitution will not be effective.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  28. Someone else voted for Colin Powell. This is like a joke to them.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  29. “As recently as the 2012 election, Republicans who should know better dismissed Gingrich’s criticisms of the party elite as the ranting of an old kook.”

    ThOR – You are going to have to provide specifics to jog my memory, but criticism of the party elite by a member of the party elite and somebody who makes ads with Nancy Pelosi did seem pretty kooky. Also the criticisms of capitalism itself were a little wackadoodle, but YMMV.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  30. if the GOPe is dead set on re-electing Boner, they might as well put Pelousy in the office instead, since both of them seem dead set on giving Obola everything he wants on a fing platter.

    redc1c4 (269d8e)

  31. “Who said anything about yearning for pristine politics or rarefied men/women in government service?”

    Leviticus – I take that as the logical extension of your comments. No stretch there.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  32. Mia Love voted for Boehner

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  33. Martha McSally voted for Boehner. So did McClintock

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  34. Love had said this weekend that she was going to vote for him.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  35. People in Love and McSally’s districts probably won’t care much but they got a lot of money from Teas outside their districts and this might not happen again.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  36. Team rino – once again a disappointment.
    They laugh at dreamers like me. Oh well…

    mg (31009b)

  37. McClintock, who is California’s finest, explained himself: He believed that this should have been taken care of in November.

    By taking the fight to the House floor, McClintock says, the conservative opponents of Boehner risk letting House Democrats have a voice in who runs the House. Boehner’s critics think that the Republican conference could keep voting until they pick a leader who could get 218 Republican votes.

    McClintock disagrees. The far more likely scenario is that 218 people cannot agree on a speaker,” he said. Having shattered the precedent that the House Republicans are bound by the decision of the House conference on this issue, that then gives license to 29 of the most morally flexible members of the conference to go to Nancy Pelosi and say, ‘hey, let’s work a deal for a truly bipartisan, post-partisan House.’”

    The California lawmaker said that his state’s assembly went through just such a fight in 1994. “The strategy that they are pursung is much more likely to result in a more liberal speaker not a more conservative speaker,” he said.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  38. If we want to entertain different incentives, this seems to be an appropriate place for mine.
    Everyone elected to the House and Senate has to survive a vote of confidence relatively soon after taking office, perhaps 6 months later. If they don’t survive it, another election is held 6 months later,
    it would make the Loves and McSallys and everyone else remember more clearly who elected them and what they were elected to do.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  39. I agree that things like that are worth considering and discussing.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  40. MD, no. There needs to be finality in elections. Two years is quick enough. This is a republic, not a democracy and representatives should be able to vote according the the vastly superior information available to them rather than having to react to every ankle-biting activist. Why give the Sharptons of the world more power?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  41. 39,

    Heh. Who do think would object most strenuously to this “incentive”?

    Dana (8e74ce)

  42. Love is a 5 letter word
    MONEY

    mg (31009b)

  43. Someone else voted for Colin Powell. This is like a joke to them.
    DRJ (a83b8b) — 1/6/2015 @ 9:57 am

    Not necessarily. The Speaker must get a majority of all members present. A plurality is not enough. As long as they don’t vote for Pelosi, there’s no prejudice. And the message is sent.

    nk (dbc370)

  44. Anyway, Boehner wins.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  45. Someone else voted for Colin Powell. This is like a joke to them.

    I was hoping they’d vote in Mitt Romney, then impeach & convict Obama and Biden and get this country back where it should be.

    But ’twas not to be.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  46. MD, thank you, but were I asked I believe I could serve best as the committee’s secretary. I could handle the agenda, the minutes of the meetings, the correspondence, the publishing and promulgation of the committee’s decisions and directives, tedious little chores like that. I don’t believe in titles but, if the committee approved of course, I would not think Comrade Secretary-General purely for purposes of reference would be inappropriate.

    nk (dbc370)

  47. Gowdy… Gowdy…

    Matador (f1112e)

  48. The rino party has lost touch.
    Good Riddance.
    I can’t wait for President Webb.

    mg (31009b)

  49. “President Obama will not sign Keystone XL bill if it passes Congress, his press secretary says.” — CNN

    Of course, he doesn’t have to SIGN it for it to become law.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  50. Team rino, I mean team wet-back showed how much they really hate the voting public.

    mg (31009b)

  51. Well, it’s done. I suggest we stop behaving like Democrats and judge them on what they actually do these next two years, not what we think they’ll do.

    And again, for those of you who didn’t vote for Romney, this is the world you made.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  52. i’ve been putting off changing my voter registration to “Independent”…

    looks like today is the day.

    phu*k the GOPe.

    redc1c4 (34e91b)

  53. And again, for those of you who didn’t vote for Romney, this is the world you made.

    because who would want to admit that Mittens did everything he could to throw the election?

    redc1c4 (34e91b)

  54. So in this amazing 6 month “vote of confidence” scenario of all the recently elected representatives and one third of the senators how would it work and who’d be doing the confidence voting? The original people who elected the person, or the whole country, or the people who contributed money because they thought they knew what they were getting even if they didn’t live in the state or district? Let’s not overlook the cost of multiple elections (possibly three in two years) not to mention the utter despair by the populace who cannot stand another minute of political advertising once the regular elections are over and dread the next cycle of on-air punishment .

    I must step away from the blog now to clear my head. I love you, MD, but I think you may have seriously lost your mind.

    elissa (9fe17d)

  55. Mittens -vs- Crowley

    Crowley hit mitty-boy with a sucker punch and he was done.

    mg (31009b)

  56. The problem isn’t a congress that won’t cut spending, or a president who won’t cut taxes. The problem is an American public with a bottomless sense of entitlement to federal money.

    P.J. O’Rourke

    Regardless of who is Speaker, the Congress cannot take people where they don’t want to go.

    norcal (b8f701)

  57. 28. DRJ (a83b8b) — 1/6/2015 @ 9:57 am

    Someone else voted for Colin Powell. This is like a joke to them.

    This sort of thing – voting for stray people – happens, or used to happen, at political conventions, especially votes for Vice President.

    In 1972, 2 votes were cast for Roger Mudd for Vice President at the Democratic convention.

    This happens when the result is a foregone conclusion, the person acasting the vote doesn’t really like voting for the all but certain winner, the person casing the vote doesn’t particularly like whatever candidates are being put forth as the alternative or there is no other particular candidate, and somebody wants to indicate they like someone.

    Sammy Finkelman (6b5229)

  58. PowerLine notes it is more than 12 votes against Boehner in 2012, and the most against a speaker since 1923.
    Whether that means something or not, IDK.

    Elissa, very simple, the people in the represented district get to confirm their choice (an up or down yes vote to confirm, no alternative candidate until a confidence vote is lost). Unless someone maintains a stash of cash to campaign against someone it should be a relatively low overhead venture confirming what the “grass roots really want”.
    I know it would never go over, but I see it as one way to cut down on politicians promising one thing and then doing something else. A senator especially has years for people to forget how many campaign promises were immediately broken, and even 2 years is long enough to forget a turnabout immediately after an election. After there for 2 or 6 years someone generally has to be really bad to provoke a primary before reelection.

    Perhaps a more realistic approach would be to pick out the two or three worst offenders of immediate disappointment and do a specific recall with national support. Heck, if the Dems can do it in Wisconsin generally in the minority, a ticked-off majority should be able to do it.
    Of the repub state officials that lost their recall votes in Wisconsin, afaik 1 was a good guy who had been elected in a swing/dem majority district and the others were people in the midst of some degree of legitimate scandal (happy to be corrected if that is wrong).

    The idea, and I’m open to suggestions, is to make elected officials more accountable to the people who voted for them, and not to those who financed them at the expense of those who actually elected them.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  59. elissa (9fe17d) — 1/6/2015 @ 10:55 am

    I love you, too, doc, but I’m with elissa on his one. I understand and appreciate the thought you put into your reply to elissa, but my mind’s-eye glazed over during the details. so I find elissa’s assessment of the limits of voter’s appetite/tolerance for politics vey pursuasive.

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  60. I wish there were more parties, team R and team D are useless.

    JD (86a5eb)

  61. JD, I was just thinking about that (a third party) and it is my opinion that “we” Independants will be of little use in the formation of a third party unless it means the certain death of one or the other party.

    mg, be prepared to be treated as a non-being by those with a political affiliation (present company excluded, of course!), especially by those of your former affiliation. But hey, you will be able to say that “I was Independant when Imdependant wasn’t cool.”

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  62. 59. MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/6/2015 @ 11:51 am

    PowerLine notes it is more than 12 votes against Boehner in 2012, and the most against a speaker since 1923.

    By members of his own party, I presume.

    Boehner actually had amore narrow victory in 2013.

    Perhaps a more realistic approach would be to pick out the two or three worst offenders of immediate disappointment and do a specific recall with national support. Heck, if the Dems can do it in Wisconsin generally in the minority, a ticked-off majority should be able to do it.

    There are no recalls for Congress.

    Recalls exist only in certain states for state offices.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  63. I have a dem congressman, so I’m not directly involved.
    But if there was anybody elected suggesting we needed new leadership or transparency and a return to regular order (I think it’s called) so things are read before they are voted on,
    and that person voted for Boehner
    I would send a donation to the recall effort ASAP or faster.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  64. Thanks (sort of) for that info, Sammy.
    Disgusting is what it is.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  65. I’ve always been unenrolled, felipe. And living in Massachusetts, I’ve been a non being for some time.

    mg (31009b)

  66. this is crap

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  67. John Boehner is the Captain Binghamton of this rudderless house of cowards.

    mg (31009b)

  68. Although theer are no recalsl, sometimes events impel a member of Congress to resign, like Michael grimm did yesterday after pleading guilty to keeping two sets of books with his restaurant. (House rules only say he shouldn’t vote if he faces a senetence of more than ayear in jail or something like that. There is, of course the threat of expulsion, which requires a 2.3 majority. House Speaker John Boehhner persuaded him to resign.

    The leading candidate to suceed him is the Staten Island District Attorney who led the investigation taht did not indict anyone for the death of Eric Garner.

    He is all but assured of the nomination for the special election that Governor Andrew Cuommo must soon set a date for.

    There are no primaries in New York in special elections like this – the candidate is selected by party officials, although, of course, people can run as independents..

    If he gets elected, as is likely, I wonder if Al Sharpton or Democratic party officials have any ideas about how to make hay out of that.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  69. Meanwhile, in Tobruk Libya (the only place the Libyan Parliament can safelly meet)

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/05/libyan-lawmakers-convening-far-from-warring-militias-elect-judge-as-new/

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  70. anyone who wants to keep politicians in check should read Lone Star Planet

    if only.

    redc1c4 (b340a6)

  71. Boehner’s re-election as Speaker just may cost the GOP the White House in 2016. Win the battle and lose the war. The Stupid Party squandering opportunity doing what it does best. LOSE!

    ropelight (ef7142)

  72. Kevin M:

    52.Well, it’s done. I suggest we stop behaving like Democrats and judge them on what they actually do these next two years, not what we think they’ll do.

    I’m surprised to read this name-calling, but I think I’ll judge them by what they’ve already said and done.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  73. AP–On doctor´s orders, injuries have forced the Senate´s top Democrat to skip the opening day of the new Congress. Sen. Harry Reid suffered broken ribs and facial bones last week when an exercise band broke at his home in Nevada. He also suffered a concussion, an injury that his office had not previously disclosed. Reid, 75, will be the minority leader in the new Senate, since Republicans now have the majority. Reid tweeted a photo of him meeting with fellow Democratic leaders on Tuesday at his apartment in Washington. He sported a bandage over his blackened right eye.
    “He’s pretty banged up,” Durbin said. “Imagine going through the windshield of a car what your face might look like. The right side of his face is pretty badly beaten with a lot of broken bones and bruising and discoloration and then add three or four broken ribs to it.”

    Durbin said Reid “was stretching these straps and one broke and tossed him like a slingshot against built-in cabinets. He crashed into them with his face and side of his body. Lots of blood.”

    Somehow, I still just don’t think we’re getting the full story here.

    elissa (7b73cd)

  74. Boehner using Pelosi tactics to punish conservatives.
    And he gets reelected.
    House of non representatives.

    mg (31009b)

  75. No chance we are getting the full story, Elissa.

    JD (6d366c)

  76. “I wish there were more parties, team R and team D are useless.”

    – JD

    Yup. Bingo.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  77. The original people who elected the person, or the whole country, or the people who contributed money

    The only people sure to vote are the ones who hate their guts.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  78. Reid is 75 years old and appears very frail, but only 5-10% of people in his age group are frail. I wonder if he has an underlying medical condition that makes him prone to frailty and bone breaks.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  79. I wish there were more parties, team R and team D are useless.

    There are at least 3 more national parties: Libertarian, Green and Constitution. Problem is that they are so stuck on Principle that they aren’t interested in appealing to anyone but the righteous.

    Any party that is so interested will tend to approach the center. I guess there is some room for a center-libertarian party and a center-totalitarian party alongside the center-left and center-right parties, but neither of those seems to be in the offing.

    The GOP has never BEEN a conservative party and probably never will be. The system usually thwarts all but incremental change, and only rarely do you have an FDR, Reagan or Obama* able to make wholesale changes and have them stick.

    ——-
    * some doubt as to whether Obama’s changes will stick

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  80. I don’t understand this demand for structural change. America has experienced partisan politics throughout its history — we’ve even fought wars over some of our disagreements — and, in more recent times, I suspect many liberals felt like giving up during the Reagan years. It isn’t the structure that will magically fix things, it’s people caring and then deciding to get involved and change things.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  81. I think I’ll judge them by what they’ve already said and done.

    You’ve seen what they’ve done without any real power. Now they have some. Different situation, different behavior, I hope. If they keep caving, I’ll be coming over to your side, too. Just not yet. I try not to blame people for my fanciful speculations.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  82. John Boehner is the Captain Binghamton of this rudderless house of cowards.

    Only if Ted Cruz is McHale.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  83. We may not be getting the full story, but ropes and bands and such snapping under pressure can be dangerous. People have lost fingers and even arms in tug-of-war if a rope breaks. I imagine if one is pushing or pulling something with significant force and all of a sudden the opposing force becomes zero a nasty accident could indeed result.
    I have no more respect for Reid than most of the people here, but stranger things have happened…

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  84. OT: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-06/caught-camera-albuquerque-police-officer-shot-numerous-times-survives

    Fortunately or unfortunately, take your pick, the die is cast and cannot be retrieved.

    DNF (d60700)

  85. Well, if politics involves communicating and building support, Boehner has failed to communicate why he did an imitation of Pelosi and forced a vote on a CR favored by the Dems without giving adequate time for review.
    Assuming for a moment he had a real good reason for doing so, it would have been nice for him to make his case.
    I’m afraid there is not much confidence that he is setting up a grand sting that all of the Republican faithful will be pleased with.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  86. “I’m surprised to read this name-calling, but I think I’ll judge them by what they’ve already said and done.”

    DRJ – Thank you for posting the clip. I found absolutely nothing Boehner said in it untrue. He took flaming arrows from the right for ending the government shutdown which people admitted they never really expected to achieve a repeal of Obamacare. He did not name names in the clip, but if people shooting arrows at Boehner are too sensitive to take return fire they are in the wrong business.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  87. If only we had Thera-Bands when I was a kid. We had to make our slingshots from inner tubes. Thera-Band strips, depending on the color, can be stronger than surgical tubing and they don’t give you wrist slap the way surgical tubing does.

    nk (dbc370)

  88. MD- while you may well be correct, I can’t imagine Hairy Reed generating the types of forces you described and doubt I could generate that type of force @ 200 lbs and fit, neither of which applies to that clown.

    JD (6d366c)

  89. The inventor of Thera-Bands knew about you, nk, and waited until you had passed the age.

    But much more seriously, it’s a great thing that the Albuquerque cop survived, and a great video to illustrate the potential of every police interaction with a member of the public. I am sorely tempted to begin listing things the officer did to provoke the incident, but I won’t. I will say though, that the officer, approaching the car as if he was just stopping an otherwise law abiding citizen who ran a red light or something, made it a point not to escalate the situation by approaching the car with his gun holstered.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  90. Agreed, JD.
    I just know there are enough things to criticize Reid for that speculation is not needed.
    But I think you are correct.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  91. daleyrocks,

    You agree with Beldar, and that puts you both in good company. But I think Boehner lied when he said the Tea Party groups opposed the deal before they even knew what was in it … just like Cong. Stutzman claims Boehner lied to get his vote on the debt deal. It’s politics so I’m not complaining, but I’m not falling for it either.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  92. DRJ #74 – Kevin M #84 – unless we want to turn into Democrats/Progressives where the words used are what matters and the actions taken do not matter, the year-before quarterbacking doesn’t help anyone that I know of …

    As a capitalist anarchist who likes the ideas in Lone Star Planet (yet recognises that they are not practical), all this back-biting about how Boehner isn’t sufficiently pure strikes me as being encouraged by Democrats/Progressives who are otherwise sitting back and enjoying their popcorn …

    So far, we have not seen any Bills being proposed by this 114th Congress – and *that* is what will matter, the *actual* Bills … we have not given the new House and new Senate *any* time to get started undoing the damage of the past 6 years …

    Since I doubt that any of us are actually two-year-olds, how about we let them get going on what they are going to do, and criticise or compliment them on what they *actually* do that can meaningfully reverse the idiocies of the past six years ?

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  93. 73. ropelight (ef7142) — 1/6/2015 @ 1:36 pm

    Boehner’s re-election as Speaker just may cost the GOP the White House in 2016. Win the battle and lose the war. The Stupid Party squandering opportunity doing what it does best. LOSE!

    I read that what the “establishment” is thinking is that they could lose the election if the scare people about what kind of legislation you could get with both a Republican and a Republican Congress, so they will try tnot pass anything that could scare voters off.

    Sammy Finkelman (6b5229)

  94. daleyrocks and DRJ (and Beldar) – the last part of Beldar’s comment is worth quoting here …

    “What the out-of-joint conservatives are really angry about, I’d submit, is the continuing consequences of the 2012 election. Boycotting and staying home is only going to make that failure more likely to recur.

    In the words of Ben Franklin during the aftermath of the first Tea Party: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.””

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  95. “You agree with Beldar, and that puts you both in good company.”

    DRJ – This is not the first time you have brought up Boehner’s criticism of “some groups,” so obviously it’s sore point with you.

    My position is that criticism is not a one way street. Many Tea Party supporters get the vapors when any criticism is directed their way, although that is not what I’m suggesting in this case, but there is certainly no rule in politics preventing even a Speaker responding to what he believes is unfair criticism.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  96. Mr M wrote:

    I was hoping they’d vote in Mitt Romney, then impeach & convict Obama and Biden and get this country back where it should be.

    But ’twas not to be.

    At the plant, the typical response to stuff like that is, “The drug test lady will be here tomorrow.” :)

    The Dana laughing out loud (1b79fa)

  97. 85 Re; Harry Reid accident.

    The New York Times reported, or the Associated Press did, that it was piece of exercise equipment and Harry Reid’s staff said it might have been damaged in his move from Searchlight, Nevada to Henderson, Nevada.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/01/02/us/politics/ap-us-reid-accident.html

    The accident happened when an elastic exercise band broke, striking Reid in the face and causing him to fall, said spokesman Adam Jentleson. Reid struck some equipment as he fell, breaking multiple bones near his right eye.

    As he hit the floor, he broke several ribs, Jentleson said.

    Tests found no internal bleeding, Jentleson said, and his vision should not be affected. ..

    …Jentleson said Reid is likely to have severe facial bruises

    This particular article doesn’t seem to have it about the move.

    The article then describes previous accidents in recent years:

    In May 2011, Reid dislocated a shoulder and suffered a contusion above his left eye when he slipped after an early morning run in the rain. He fell when he leaned against a parked car.

    In October 2012, Reid suffered rib and hip contusions in a chain-reaction car crash.

    He’s probably really banged up now. And many years ago he was a boxer.

    Sammy Finkelman (6b5229)

  98. Harry Reid post up now.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  99. I’ll try not to get the vapors around you in the future, daleyrocks, but I do get annoyed watching Boehner whine and lie:

    The more aggressive posture comes two months after a politically damaging government shutdown that senior Republicans blamed on pressure from Tea Party-aligned members.

    Conservative Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) pushed back against Boehner’s comments at an event shortly after the GOP meeting.

    “If anyone thinks that I am bought and paid for by Heritage Action … they are sadly mistaken,” Labrador said. He said the outside groups were acting on leaks that turned out to be true.

    Rep. Steve Scalise (La.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, declined to take sides in the dispute.

    “Everyone acknowledges John Boehner’s job as Speaker is very difficult, but the role of outside groups is still important,” he said in an interview. “Their mission is a lot different than ours. A lot of times, we’re all working in the same direction. Sometimes we’re not, but they’ve got a role to play, and I respect that.”

    In a separate development on Wednesday, the conservative Republican Study Committee fired its longtime executive director, Paul Teller, over revelations that he had leaked private member communications to outside groups.

    In other words, a conservative member of the RSC leaked info to Tea Party groups about what Boehner and Ryan planned to do. The Tea Party groups objected, and Boehner responded by saying they objected without knowing the details — even though they did.

    Boehner tried to make Tea Party groups look bad by lying about what happened, and then he fired the guy who leaked (as he has every right to do), but he doesn’t get to lie just because he doesn’t like the “bitter, clingers” who oppose him and Obama.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  100. Plus, he’s an orange liar. That’s the worst kind.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  101. Oh, heck. I wasn’t going to say this but I can’t stop myself. The vapors? Did you really say that to me? How old are you?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  102. Mr M wrote:

    I wish there were more parties, team R and team D are useless.

    There are at least 3 more national parties: Libertarian, Green and Constitution. Problem is that they are so stuck on Principle that they aren’t interested in appealing to anyone but the righteous.

    Isn’t that what’s being expressed on this very thread?

    John Boehner pushed through legislation to keep the government open. He kind of learned the hard way, in that he was a member of Congress in 1995, when the Republican-controlled Congress passed a couple of different budgets, only to have President Clinton veto them, and it was still the Republicans who got blamed for the government shutdowns! In politics, it’s not who is responsible, but who is held responsible that counts.

    So, what did he do this time? He got “cromnibus” through, which funds the government through the end of the fiscal year, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which runs out of money in February. With the GOP controlling both Houses, they can defund amnesty, and if President Obama vetoes it, he’ll shut down ICE and the TSA and several other things, but there won’t be “Closed” signs on the national parks, highway funding will still be there, and most of the government will still be open. Airlines might have to shut down, though the President could use military police to replace TSA security personnel, but it won’t shut down travel during Christmas season, as not funding DHS period would have done. What was done was actually pretty smart.

    Congress could, of course, pass legislation which just funded TSA, and see if President Obama vetoed that! The Democrats’ wealthy supporters would be majorly dispissed!

    Any party that is so interested will tend to approach the center. I guess there is some room for a center-libertarian party and a center-totalitarian party alongside the center-left and center-right parties, but neither of those seems to be in the offing.

    Because we have single-member districts instead of proportional representation, the Constitution itself has a bias toward a two-party system: the winner has to get a plurality of all of the votes cast — a majority in some states — and third parties rarely even come in second. There really is no room for a third party unless one of the two major parties is actually dying, and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are anywhere close to death.

    The political scientist Dana (1b79fa)

  103. “Oh, heck. I wasn’t going to say this but I can’t stop myself. The vapors? Did you really say that to me? How old are you?”

    DRJ – I did say I was not suggesting it in this case. :)

    You and I both took the same positions on this in 2013. We are consistent.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  104. “I don’t understand this demand for structural change. America has experienced partisan politics throughout its history — we’ve even fought wars over some of our disagreements — and, in more recent times, I suspect many liberals felt like giving up during the Reagan years. It isn’t the structure that will magically fix things, it’s people caring and then deciding to get involved and change things.”

    – DRJ

    I understand your point that partisan politics are difficult to transcend, and I am not necessarily interested in transcending them. Given the distinct lack of changes to the American political structure since the Founding (with the 17th Amendment being arguably the greatest of the lot) I am a little surprised at your statement that “it isn’t the structure that will magically fix things.” How can we know, if we never give it a shot?

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  105. “In other words, a conservative member of the RSC leaked info to Tea Party groups about what Boehner and Ryan planned to do. The Tea Party groups objected, and Boehner responded by saying they objected without knowing the details — even though they did.”

    DRJ – I disagree. It doesn’t matter what gets leaked to outside groups by the RSG, until the deal gets publicly announced, the deal is not final. Boehner’s criticism was 100% spot on. Plus his criticism of the member who said we never expected to achieve repeal anyway was spot on.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  106. Mr M wrote:

    There are at least 3 more national parties: Libertarian, Green and Constitution. Problem is that they are so stuck on Principle that they aren’t interested in appealing to anyone but the righteous.

    Well, that’s just it: the TEA Party are, for the most part, the libertarian Republicans. The Libertarian Party actually had a chance for a bit of relevance, had it agreed with its natural libertarian Republican supporters and said, “You know what? Let’s work with the TEA Party, and get things done within the GOP.” Ron Paul had demonstrated, years ago, that the only way a Libetarian was going to get elected was by winning a Republican primary.

    But the Libertarian Party was too stubborn and too stupid. Henry Clay once said that he’d rather be right than be president . . . and he never became President. That’s how the Libertarians think, and they’ll have the same results.

    And now it’s time for Ole Miss vs UK!

    The realistic Dana (1b79fa)

  107. “There are at least 3 more national parties: Libertarian, Green and Constitution. Problem is that they are so stuck on Principle that they aren’t interested in appealing to anyone but the righteous.”

    – Kevin M

    That may be one problem, but another big problem is that people don’t vote for those three “national parties” because they deeply suspect (with good reason) that they will be throwing their vote away. And this is a problem that persists even when people find the Libertarian/Green/Constitution party platforms far more appealing than the D/R platforms!

    Wasted vote effects are a massive structural problem with our system, because they pose a massive hurdle to people actually voting their true preferences. If the power of voting is the power to communicate with representatives, than interference with true-preference voting screws up that communication, and honestly promotes miscommunication.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  108. We know because we understand capitalism will still be the basic system of the American economy, government, etc., and it will undermine significant changes that are inconsistent with capitalism.

    I’ve suggested term limits, something I think is worth trying, but I don’t consider that a significant structural change. When you say structural change, I think of something much bigger and more significant. I’m not going to agree to significant changes in theory.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  109. There was a shooting at the El Paso VA this afternoon. The El Paso Times reports one doctor was shot and the shooter killed himself.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  110. “We know because we understand capitalism will still be the basic system of the American economy, government, etc., and it will undermine significant changes that are inconsistent with capitalism.”

    – DRJ

    If that is true, then what is there to worry about? Any structural change consistent with capitalism will be effective; any structural change inconsistent with capitalism will not be effective. Or are you saying (alternatively) that some structural changes may be significant enough to adversely affect the basic capitalist nature of the American government?

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  111. daleyrocks and DRJ–heh, that whole thread from 2013 was both a trip down memory lane and yet, also as current as today. I spent some time reviewing Beldar’s and other comments, but the string of comments approx. #77-94 in particular had, I thought, a real been there done that quality to them in relation to today. Speaker Boehner was being called “a RINO” and “a traitor” and also viewed by some as a very bad boy if he fights back or defends himself. And yes, I was (as is so often the case) rolling my eyes. :)

    elissa (7b73cd)

  112. sorry for bad italics there.

    elissa (7b73cd)

  113. Daley – you mean there were even more bshine the scenes deals beyond what was leaked?

    JD (86a5eb)

  114. Behind

    JD (86a5eb)

  115. Did, or did not, Boehner rush through a CR that:
    1) House members did not have a chance to read before voting on
    2) Was made unnecessarily for the entire fiscal year
    3) Was made in conjunction with a lame duck Democrat Senate??

    The American public put in a republican majority Senate, presumably because they did not like what a dem controlled senate was doing,
    so why go ahead and let that Dem controlled senate dictate the next 9 months or so unnecessarily?
    it was argued before that it was “let’s just get this out of the way and we’ll deal with the next year’s budget” isn’t that like deja vu al over again??

    And what about picking a battle over amnesty focused on the department of Homeland Security?
    The early line in Vegas on who out-maneuvers who in the PR war over that has odds so far in favor of Obama that betting has been closed. At this point I think the repubs could pass something, Obama vetoes it, we’re hit with a terrorist attack, and the repubs will get the blame, not Obama for vetoing it.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  116. There are more parties! Green… RCP… Libertarian… Robot Overlord Party…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  117. I think a self-financed run by a Koch brother for the Fed-Up Party would get far more votes than Anderson and Perot put together, with the platform I described previously.

    That would likely result in another D win, though.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  118. Boehner tried to make Tea Party groups look bad by lying about what happened,

    It must be what’s behind Boehner’s notorious teary-eyed spells that influence his way of looking at things. Simply put, if he weren’t such a squish-squish, he’d at least totally sympathize with fiscal conservatives, from the Tea Party or otherwise, and instead blame the squish-squish of the people surveyed by pollsters like Gallup regarding the government shutdown.

    When I see the misery currently sweeping over a country like Venezuela, and know that many of those suffering the most were the same ones who rallied behind extremists like Hugo Chavez and his successor, then hear about people in such societies wanting to assign blame for who’s greatly responsible, I suggest they need to look in the mirror. While that country is an extreme example, it, at the same time, isn’t vastly different from the lessons of a Detroit, Michigan or an electorate that, because it’s too squishy-squishy (particularly in the context of the ideological spectrum in 2015 and not, say, 1955), emboldens the worst aspects of politics in the US Capitol.

    Mark (c160ec)

  119. 116
    Equally appropriate would be a typo intended to refer to bovine digestive residues.

    kishnevi (294553)

  120. Boehner and his smart little posse of white supremacists are the heart and soul of the Republican party anymore

    you’re either with them or you’re against them you see

    happyfeet (831175)

  121. ==Expressing displeasure with individuals is fine and can’t hurt, but until we replace human elected officials with a more rarefied species that does not respond to basic incentives, the same incentives will tend to produce the same results. More systematic changes are necessary for real change to occur.==

    =Maybe an agreement about the power of incentives (and disincentives) to shape human behavior could be one of the main points of agreement between Left and Right that makes systematic changes possible.=

    I find the yearning for pristine clean politics, and rarefied men and women in government service, and improved systems that can “incentivize” human behavior to be adorable. Try reading some history. Not just American, but world history. Our Constitution IS the better system. Preserving and reinforcing it should be the primary and clear goal. Not trying to change or “shape” human nature or make still more piecemeal and unconstitutional systemic changes to our government and political operations. In my humble opinion.

    Agreed: the Constitution is the better system. But, elissa, since you quoted me as well as Leviticus there, may I ask: did you mean to be saying (or implying) that I was suggesting unconstitutional systemic changes?

    Because, of course, I suggest no such thing.

    Frankly, I don’t know what I am suggesting, precisely (although see below for one idea). But I have Thomas Sowell’s constrained/unconstrained dichotomy in mind when I consider issues like this. Namely: when I hear people suggest that we simply need better politicians in office, my kneejerk instinct is to say you’re damn right — because, after all, if we had a Congress full of Justin Amashes and Ted Cruzes, we’d be in great, great shape. But then I think of Sowell, and I wonder: is it realistic to say the solution is better politicians? Is even getting a critical mass of Amashes and Cruzes in power realistic?

    Part of me says: it has to be. It certainly can’t hurt and it’s certainly worth working for. And, given that I frankly don’t know what structural changes I would suggest, I don’t have a better idea.

    But, given that human nature is what it is, there is a part of me that says we have to restructure incentives somehow.

    In this vein, I have to object to elissa’s statement, endorsed by daleyrocks, to this effect:

    I find the yearning for pristine clean politics, and rarefied men and women in government service, and improved systems that can “incentivize” human behavior to be adorable.

    Maybe I’m being unclear, but the first two parts of that are most certainly *not* what Leviticus and I were saying. Nor, daley, is it in any way a fair reading of anything we said. I think Leviticus and I have a joint feeling — a feeling that is classic “constrained” philosophy — that we are unlikely to get a) pristine politics or b) rarefied men and women in government service, therefore we need c) better incentives, which will not cause human behavior to be “adorable” but rather which will take human behavior as we find it, and incentivize it to do things that will benefit society.

    You won’t find left and right agreeing on the incentives, because I want to incentivize politicians to reduce the size of government (you know, the Constitutional framework that elissa seems to think I want to do away with). Somehow I don’t think that’s what the left has in mind.

    One mechanism that might actually work, if we could put it in place, would be Glenn Reynolds’s idea of a House of Congress devoted to repealing laws. There, politicians would get credit for repealing stuff rather than passing it. That’s the kind of incentive I like.

    As for DRJ’s advocacy of term limits, I’d like to hear more from her on it. I read a book by George Will on that idea years ago and was a big proponent for a while. I have soured on them as of late because they don’t seem to do squat in California.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  122. 108 I am not sure the Tea Party can be really defined as libertarian. They are more Constitutionalists and social conservatives, and too prone to social conservatism, strong military, hawkish foreign policy, and support of local authority to fit comfortably with many libertarians. It would be an alliance of convenience, and end sooner rather than later.
    Think of it this way. If, in 2016, the choice for GOP nominee turned out to be Romney and a younger clone of Ron Paul, you might support the RP clone. But how comfortable would you be in doing so? And remember that RP is closer to the mainstream in several respects than many Libertarians.

    kishnevi (3719b7)

  123. Again, that was the exact decision made by the Framers in crafting the Constitution. If the incentives and disincentives they built into the Constitution are no longer effective, the Constitution will not be effective.

    Leviticus (f9a067) — 1/6/2015 @ 9:56 am

    I’m not aware of any “incentives” in the Constitution.

    Gerald A (d65c67)

  124. Here in Florida, we have term limits. There are two basic results. First, people who should stay are forced out. Second, legislators often focus on moving on to the next bigger office (such as Member of Congress) instead of doing the job they have now. Cynically stated, they focus on maximizing current revenues over maintaining a steady long-term revenue flow. I think (this is more speculative on my part) it increases the influence of lobbyists, bureaucrats and party officials…the non elected fringes of our political system.

    kishnevi (a5d1b9)

  125. an entrenched cabal of insipid uninspiring whorish business-as-usual white boys are like child pornography

    you know it when you see it

    it’s simple as that really

    the Republican party does not represent America in any meaningful way

    it’s time we shoved a spiky hillary up this sad lil country’s butt and called it a day

    happyfeet (831175)

  126. Patterico,

    I don’t have any particular love for term limits but I’d like to try them, because I don’t think they’d do much harm if they don’t work. I’m conservative, so I worry more about the harm that can come from change than about transforming our system. We can live without perfect but we may not be able to live with transformative change, and I think Obama is proof of that.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  127. I’m not aware of any “incentives” in the Constitution.

    I won’t speak for Leviticus, but speaking for myself, I contend that any government has certain incentives and disincentives built into its very structure. For example, if the Constitution says presidents are limited to two terms, that incentivizes different behavior than if they were limited to one term, or (conversely) if there were no limits at all.

    Lifetime “good behavior” tenure for federal judges creates a different incentive structure.

    Checks and balances create incentives for one branch to behave a certain way — e.g. Presidents are incentivized to nominate judges that the Senate will approve, due to the requirement that the Senate confirm judicial appointments.

    And so on.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  128. kishnevi,

    That’s interesting. Who should stay in political office? To me, that implies that some politicians are too good to lose. Wouldn’t that apply to Presidents, too?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  129. I don’t like seeing politicians become entrenched. I’m open to other ways to keep that from happening, but I can’t think of any.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  130. because I want to incentivize politicians to reduce the size of government

    But look at how such a long overdue, practical concept like that is flailed by opinion polls that indicate too much of the electorate deems Republicans — when budget showdowns are occurring — as not accommodating enough to our IRS-ized federal government. Plenty of politicians, naturally and particularly from the left, are fully aware of that and think and respond accordingly.

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

    As for DRJ’s advocacy of term limits, I’d like to hear more from her on it. I read a book by George Will on that idea years ago and was a big proponent for a while. I have soured on them as of late because they don’t seem to do squat in California.

    That’s because the ideological predilections of a populace (at least in fairly free, non-totalitarian nations) pretty much trumps everything and anything else.

    Mark (c160ec)

  131. Patterico,

    I don’t have any particular love for term limits but I’d like to try them, because I don’t think they’d do much harm if they don’t work. I’m conservative, so I worry more about the harm that can come from change than about transforming our system. We can live without perfect but we may not be able to live with transformative change, and I think Obama is proof of that.

    The portions of my “constrained/unconstrained” quiz where I answered on the “unconstrained” side tended to be questions addressing respect for tradition. I have to say that a) I am not typically that respectful of tradition for tradition’s sake, but b) Sowell’s dichotomy made me wonder whether I should rethink this, as he makes a good logical argument for why traditions should matter.

    I share some of your worry about change but I know you share my worry about the direction we’re headed.

    Anyway, it’s useful to me to discuss these things with smart people and I am not wedded to any one approach. I’m too aware of the limits of my knowledge to be unwilling to consider other people’s thoughts.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  132. FWIW, my opinion of the Tea Party, and what I would put forth as my battle cry:
    1) read it before you vote on it, Sen. Specter or anyone else, what frickin’ argument can you use to oppose that
    2) I can’t keep spending money I don’t have, and sense you’re spending my money, you can’t keep spending money you don’t have, either

    If one can show my the error of my ways in those two propositions, please do so.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  133. Sorry to be brief on Sowell’s discussion,
    but the main reason to default to tradition IMO is if something has been working for hundreds or thousands of years, having passed through the experience of the most brilliant of the ages,
    maybe you ought to have a bit of humility and some very good reasons before you change something.

    I’m not against change at all costs, but before I mess with the engine under the hood of my car I need to consider the effort, resources, and time put in by people, at least some of whom knew what they were doing, before I plunge in with the idea that I can make it better.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  134. Sorry to be brief on Sowell’s discussion,
    but the main reason to default to tradition IMO is if something has been working for hundreds or thousands of years, having passed through the experience of the most brilliant of the ages,
    maybe you ought to have a bit of humility and some very good reasons before you change something.

    Yup. Of course, tradition sometimes has to give way (as it did with slavery) and the key is knowing when that is.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  135. Like MD, I also would like a law that requires each member of Congress to certify they’ve read the bills they vote on. I know most of them will lie, but I’d still like to have it. Alternatively, maybe we could get them to take a Norquist-style “promise to read the bill” pledge.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  136. we need c) better incentives, which will not cause human behavior to be “adorable” but rather which will take human behavior as we find it, and incentivize it to do things that will benefit society.

    This would seem to be key. Not a structural change, but figuring out a way to work with an already known quantity: basic human behavior prone to greed, selfishness and corruption.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  137. Remove the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and bring down its numbers to one Chief Justice and two Associate Justices. Restrict the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts to statutes enacted by the Congress. Let the Congress and the President be the judges of the Constitutionality of any federal law; and likewise the Constitutionality of any state law expressed in statutes enacted under the relevant enabling clauses.

    Shorten the election season. All primaries in September, the general election in November. Ask me why.

    Make it illegal for paid lobbyists to have any connection to political money donors. You can give money or you can hire a lobbyist but not do both. Make it illegal for a legislator to participate in any matter which affects a pecuniary interest of a political donor.

    For a start.

    nk (dbc370)

  138. as far as reforms go – in future, at minimum, leadership elections need to be conducted with secret ballots going forward i think

    happyfeet (831175)

  139. This would seem to be key. Not a structural change, but figuring out a way to work with an already known quantity: basic human behavior prone to greed, selfishness and corruption.

    Maybe we are all operating off different definitions of “structural.”

    But under virtually any definition, a “House of Repeal” would be a structural change — and I can’t think of a good reason not to be foursquare in favor of that idea.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  140. I’m not as worried about the dangers of tradition. We are a nation of revolutionaries and entrepreneurs. Our instincts are to change things that need fixing and to try to make them right, which is part of the reason England and America ended slavery. Change is a part of life and it may be necessary here — especially after all the change Obama has wrought — but I’d like to try to undo some of his policies before I decide to transform our system.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  141. Re: the House of Repeal, I would be in favor of sunset legislation for federal government organizations and most of the statutes.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  142. BTW, I don’t view sunset legislation as structural. I see it as procedural.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  143. I think any system politicians come up with will be abused by politicians.

    JD (6d366c)

  144. It is the nature of those that enter into politics.

    JD (6d366c)

  145. kishnivi wrote:

    I am not sure the Tea Party can be really defined as libertarian. They are more Constitutionalists and social conservatives, and too prone to social conservatism, strong military, hawkish foreign policy, and support of local authority to fit comfortably with many libertarians. It would be an alliance of convenience, and end sooner rather than later.

    The TEA Partiers were primarily deficit hawks economically, and libertarians over the health care bill. Many of them were comfortable with the conservative social issues, while others really didn’t give two hoots about same-sex “marriage.”

    But in any party which makes a majority in a two-party system, there will be marriages of convenience; the Democrats have them just as much as does the GOP.

    The very realistic Dana (1b79fa)

  146. And, most importantly, the University of Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 89-86, in overtime, in their closest game of the season. I’m certain that the neighbors heard me yelling at the television.

    The University of Kentucky alumnus Dana (1b79fa)

  147. ==may I ask: did you mean to be saying (or implying) that I was suggesting unconstitutional systemic changes?==

    Geez, No????. But since you and Leviticus both used the vague words “systemic changes” without being very specific I decided to link them in my comment to try to make the point I wanted to make. The point I hoped to make is that “the system” – the Constitution- was already put in place. Is already in place. Perhaps not as firmly and solidly as it once was. I think we need to focus on it and to the extent that our country has wavered from it we need to return to the simplicity of that system, not make new, or more, or additional systemic changes (which no one seems to be able to define) to deal with what we have become. Attempting to fix perceived political and social “problems” with “incentives” and structural changes to the government branches and political process is what has got us in trouble. (Unelected czars, powerful agencies such as EPA and NSA) Attempting to make human beings– whether politicians, reporters, judges, or voters “better people” through “incentives” makes me laugh at its naivete. But here’s an idea. Let’s fix our schools and teach some civics and history and economics.

    == Constitutional framework that elissa seems to think I want to do away with). == Not fair. Please re-read my comment. I did not say that or imply that, Patterico, especially since you admit you are not even sure what you meant. I believe there have been some unconstitutional incursions over the years and several of them very recently under the Obama presidency. I think those things need to be addressed.

    elissa (7b73cd)

  148. redc1c4 (b340a6) — 1/6/2015 @ 1:20 pm

    Red, I am a native-born Texan and could not resist reading that book.

    “Keep a government poor and weak and it’s your servant; let it get rich and powerful and it’s your master. We don’t want any masters here on New Texas.”

    One great line.

    felipe (56556d)

  149. The University of Kentucky alumnus Dana,

    Lots of yelling here too, from the family brainwashed by Mrs. P who grew up in Kentucky. Even I was cheering, because a) why not? and b) who wants “Ole Miss” to win?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  150. Our esteemed host wrote:

    Namely: when I hear people suggest that we simply need better politicians in office, my kneejerk instinct is to say you’re damn right — because, after all, if we had a Congress full of Justin Amashes and Ted Cruzes, we’d be in great, great shape. But then I think of Sowell, and I wonder: is it realistic to say the solution is better politicians? Is even getting a critical mass of Amashes and Cruzes in power realistic?

    Plato was addressing this issue almost 2400 years ago, and his “solution” was that the philosophers, being the most educated and intelligent men, should quite naturally be the rulers, the philosopher-kings if you will, with the next most important class, the soldiers, around to enforce the rule of the philosopher kings. William F Buckley noted somewhat wryly that this wasn’t such a good idea, with his comment that he’d rather be governed by the first fifty names in the phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. (Mr Buckley being a Yale man, I can understand his formulation.)

    The philosopher Dana (1b79fa)

  151. elissa,

    To me, returning to the vision of the Constitution is the goal. The question is, how do we get there with our current big-government incentive structure which seems to cause even Republicans (who pay lip service to small government) to vote for big government far too often?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  152. From where in the Bluegrass State does the long-suffering Mrs P hail? I grew up in Mt Sterling, a small town about 35 miles east of Lexington.

    The Dana from Kentucky (1b79fa)

  153. Plato was addressing this issue almost 2400 years ago, and his “solution” was that the philosophers, being the most educated and intelligent men, should quite naturally be the rulers, the philosopher-kings if you will, with the next most important class, the soldiers, around to enforce the rule of the philosopher kings. William F Buckley noted somewhat wryly that this wasn’t such a good idea, with his comment that he’d rather be governed by the first fifty names in the phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. (Mr Buckley being a Yale man, I can understand his formulation.)

    Yup. Actually, if you go back and watch the Sowell video on “A Conflict of Visions” that Simon Jester gave us (embedded in my post here) you’ll see that Plato is held up as an example of the unconstrained vision (certainly his vision was an elitist and I think totalitarian vision) and Buckley’s quote was cited as an example of the unconstrained vision.

    If y’all want me to shut up about this constrained/unconstrained dichotomy, I can, I guess. It’s so meaningful to me, though, and I’m not done blogging about it. But not now. We just got back into town and our house is a wreck. These comments are distracting me from a mess of unpacking and tidying up.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  154. The problem is that we have allowed the federal government to do too much that ought to be the responsibility of state and local governments. Shutting down the federal government wouldn’t be quite as big a deal if the federal government wasn’t so fornicating big!

    The Federalist Dana (1b79fa)

  155. From where in the Bluegrass State does the long-suffering Mrs P hail? I grew up in Mt Sterling, a small town about 35 miles east of Lexington.

    She went to school in Frankfort, and lived many places in Lexington.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  156. Well, my Mrs P is calling me to bed, and if it’s a choice between yakking with y’all or going to bed with my darling bride . . . .

    The very married Dana (1b79fa)

  157. Dana…then perhaps the GOP is currently a marriage of inconvenience between Establishment and Tea Party? And in need of marriage counseling before divorce hits?

    I must admit that most of the TPers I know seem to be at least comfortable with social conservatism and aggressive foreign policy, if not downright supportive.

    And how much opposition to Obamacare was guided by desire to return to status quo ante, and not the true libertarian view which would call for intense deregulation and possibly elimubate Medicare and Medicaid?

    the still fundamentally libertarian kishnevi (a5d1b9)

  158. I’m not familiar with Southern sports. Was this horse shoe tossing or a watermelon seed spitting contest?

    nk (dbc370)

  159. With the GOP controlling both Houses, they can defund amnesty, and if President Obama vetoes it, he’ll shut down ICE and the TSA and several other things

    Pretty sure the Secret Service is part of DHS these days. Just saying.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  160. 134
    1. Agree.
    2. There is a limit on that. If strictly enforced, there would be no mortgages, and all real estate would be bought solely cash on the barrel head. (OTOH, we would have had no 2008 meltdown.)

    kishnevi (3719b7)

  161. Horse spitting contest.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  162. “If y’all want me to shut up about this constrained/unconstrained dichotomy, I can, I guess. It’s so meaningful to me, though, and I’m not done blogging about it.”

    – Patterico

    I think it’s extremely valuable, as a terminology that cuts across the Left/Right dichotomy. That dichotomy has become way, way too dominant and embedded, to the point (I think) of impeding productive discourse. So, terminologies and frames of reference that ignore the Left/Right dichotomy, at least temporarily, are very valuable to the end of productive discourse.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  163. That may be one problem, but another big problem is that people don’t vote for those three “national parties” because they deeply suspect (with good reason) that they will be throwing their vote away.

    But sometimes they do.

    There was, very briefly, a seemingly credible national centrist party: the 1992 Reform (Perot) movement. Until Perot displayed instability (he quit the race, then rejoined it) it was possible he would win: he led some polls that year.

    In the end he got 19% of the vote, which scared the living bejeezus out of the D&R bunch. They balanced the budget (Perot’s central demand) in short order.

    I voted for Perot. I do not regret that vote even though Bush would have been a better choice and we would have been spared the Clintons. Why? Because the vote was EFFECTIVE. The goal was achieved, and getting the budget balanced was more important. I will also point out that the guy who eventually busted the balanced budget was W, not Bill.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  164. It would have been interesting to see the TEA Party run a credible candidate in 2012. If they had organized as a party and not as a donation-collecting pressure group they probably could have made it work. But now it’s too late.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  165. Did the poor Shrub do anything right? No Child Left Behind; McCain-Feingold; DHS; Iraq; Gitmo; cuddling up to Putin; budget deficit; Roberts; Obama 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  166. You forgot Medicare Part D.
    But for all his faults, W. had one major positive.

    He was not AlGore.

    kishnevi (3719b7)

  167. A constant source of amusement are allusions cast in the general direction I happen to occupy– nose disjoint, disoriented with vapors–from pooh, pooh quarters, those of the itinerant mover and shaker class.

    Shortly after Halloween I had the pleasure of an escort by a delightful woman of a certain age, a county deputy sheriff in one of two squads covering 5000 square miles that AM.

    You dipsh*ts have no grasp whatever that the thin line between civilization and the wasteland is one of human cooperative volition alone and two weeks of its absence.

    DNF (d60700)

  168. Patterico (9c670f) — 1/6/2015 @ 6:06 pm

    True there are limits in the constitution. Any limit almost by definition affects behavior, so you could call that an “incentive”, but that isn’t really the idea behind those limits. The idea of limits is limits.

    I was astounded watching a documentary of how Hitler obtained absolute power. The elected officials passed a law giving it to him, when he was not even the highest official in the government. He became the de facto dictator when Hindenburg was still nominally in charge. There was nothing in their constitution prohibiting such a thing. After that of course the situation was irreversible. There is no (legitimate) way in our constitution to do that. Is that about “incentives”? Of course not.

    Gerald A (d65c67)

  169. Let me take something I’ve been saying for years on this site and rephrase it in terms of incentives and the constrained/unconstrained spectrum, as an example of the kind of “structural changes” I’m talking about:

    Single-member districts are a key structural feature of the American political system. This feature very reliably produces two party systems, in the US and elsewhere (so reliably that the correlation is treated as a “law” of political science).

    Two party systems promote stability of governing coalitions (like the House Republicans under Boehner); however, two-party systems also produce significant “wasted vote effects” that heavily disincentivize support for third parties (like Libertarians). Proportional Representation systems, for instance, sacrifice stability of governing coalitions by doing away with two-party systems and their attendant “wasted vote effects,” and in so doing incentivize support for third parties.

    Here (I think) is where the “constrained/unconstrained” piece comes in: the use of elections as an accountability mechanism is an incentive-based approach to the representative dynamic (and is the approach taken by the Framers, who agreed that the better angels of human nature could not be relied on to produce the responsiveness of representatives to their constituents). With that mechanism in mind, in the zero-sum world of voting, a disincentive for voters to support third parties is simultaneously a disincentive for representatives to ascertain or adhere closely to the views of the people that voted for them (or, on the flip side, an incentive for representatives to pursue their own interests over the interests of their constituents where necessary). The unconstrained school of thought says that the way to overcome this problem is to train and/or empower more noble, public-minded representatives. The constrained school of thought says that the way to overcome this problem is to shift the incentive calculus under which these representatives are operating.

    Coming from this constrained point of view, I believe that a key structural feature of our political system – single-member districts – creates a disincentive for representatives to adhere closely to the views of their constituents. I believe a change to that structural feature – a shift to PR – would create an equal and opposite incentive for representatives to adhere closely to the views of their constituents.

    Insofar as I view that to be a Good Thing, I support a shift to a PR system, by way of Sowell’s constrained approach.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  170. DNF–if you’d like to be understood, then pretend you are addressing third graders and rewrite comment 169 accordingly please. If you prefer to be mysterious and inscrutable then please just ignore my suggestion.

    elissa (7b73cd)

  171. I do not begrudge the discussion on constrained vs unconstrained at all,
    but I have not had/devoted the time and thinking work you and some others have had, so my comments are limited and of limited value.

    kishnevi (3719b7) — 1/6/2015 @ 7:16 pm
    I agree with your point, but I think we also agree that there is a difference between a mortgage on a house for someone who has employment, is a good credit risk, and there is a tangible asset of value, and an ever increasing public debt where those responsible for servicing the debt haven’t been born yet and there is nothing at all resembling tangible assets that could be liquidated to fulfill an obligation. A mortgage is a way of financing a lasting investment. The government equivalent might be public works projects that will generate revenue, be it hydroelectric dams, interstate highway systems paid for by tolls or gasoline taxes(user fees). But a lot of the public debt is more like loading up on credit cards for living expenses this month that you really can’t sustain, and try to keep ahead by transferring over to a new card every 6 months to avoid higher interest rates, eventually one can’t keep up.
    That’s my analysis, as far as it goes. The government equivalent of “taking out mortgages” and resorting to “limited use of credit cards for emergencies” is fine; an ever increasing total balance on rotating credit cards to try to sustain the unsustainable is not, and that saeems to be where we’ve been for awhile now.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  172. 172. As you wish, dear lady.

    DNF (d60700)

  173. He said people matter.

    nk (dbc370)

  174. “But sometimes they do.”

    – Kevin M

    I know, and it’s a fascinating Prisoner’s dilemma: if one person rejects wasted vote logic and votes true preference, but everyone else accepts wasted vote logic, the person who rejected wasted vote logic ends up wasting a vote.

    If everyone rejects wasted vote logic and votes true preference, no one wastes a vote. But, as a Prisoner’s dilemma, no one knows the choice that the others are making.

    Still, the possibility of everyone rejecting wasted vote logic simultaneously is a nice dream to have. It’s the only reason I continue to vote for third parties. So far, I have wasted my vote continuously.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  175. So, to clarify, while there is PR of a state in a sense, you are saying that districts in a state should allow more than 1 representative, but that each citizen gets one vote, so, for example, if some district had 3 representatives and each citizen only had one vote, you would likely get 1 dem, 1 repub, and 1 other or a 2nd dem or repub.
    Is that what you mean?

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  176. Your argument for proportional representation assumes that America needs a more responsive government because we need to do something, and instead we have Congressional gridlock. I think gridlock is a good thing, unless it’s a law or policy that gains widespread support — in which case Congress will act and there won’t be gridlock.

    The problem we’re experiencing now is that we have a President who is willing to act unilaterally and doesn’t feel constrained by Congress, the courts, or the Constitution. How would proportional representation stop that from happening?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  177. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    There are days that I am sure the politicians are trying to make me feel old.

    htom (4ca1fa)

  178. I think what DNF was alluding to is that it is a big wide world out there with people scattered all about, and what makes it work is the degree to which all of those people are willing to play by the rules on their own initiative,
    and there are not enough people on patrol to force them to behave if they don’t want to,
    but I could be missing the point entirely and projecting there.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  179. DRJ@178–you make very good points and I agree with you.

    elissa (10f567)

  180. On the subject of choke points: An extreme example is that of the cheetah. A species of big cat, which in fact exhibits no genetic diversity. Over the past few million years, a period frequented by arid ice ages, the species has repeatedly flirted with extinction, it’s global population reduced to a handful of breeding pairs.

    Winner take all.

    DNF (d60700)

  181. Also, proportional representation is based on giving minority voters a voice. That works if there’s only one issue being debated — say immigration — where the majority/establishment wants amnesty and the minority/tea party doesn’t. But there aren’t single-issue representatives, are there? There are many issues and who can say what will end up as law when the elected representatives will certainly claim they have a mandate to do … whatever they want.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  182. Thank you, elissa.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  183. “So, to clarify, while there is PR of a state in a sense, you are saying that districts in a state should allow more than 1 representative, but that each citizen gets one vote, so, for example, if some district had 3 representatives and each citizen only had one vote, you would likely get 1 dem, 1 repub, and 1 other or a 2nd dem or repub.
    Is that what you mean?”

    – MD in Philly

    That’s one way of doing it, with its own ups and downs. I believe that’s how Nebraska does it, at either the Congressional level or the State legislative level.

    I’m talking about that principle at a larger scale, is all. The PR systems I’m talking about would say, for instance: “there are no longer geographic districts within the states. By population, Texas gets 30 seats in the House of Representatives. 30 percent of the votes cast in Texas were for the Democratic Party, so the Democrats get 9 Texas seats in the Houe. 36 percent of the votes cast in Texas were for the Republican Party, so the Republicans get 11 Texas seats in the House. 10 percent of the votes cast in Texas were for the Tea Party, so the Tea Party gets 3 Texas seats in the House. 7 percent of the votes cast in Texas were for the Larry McMurtry is F-in Awesome Party, so the LMFA Party gets 2 seats in the House.” And so forth.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  184. Congressional districts that would not be so egregiously gerryrigged or gerrymandered by the state legislatures to assure racial seats for Blacks or Latinos or to create districts with peak Dem or Rep constituents would be good for America I think. Some of the districts are so oddly shaped as to be comical in order to achieve the desired results. I’d like to see a computer used to blindly allocate straight line districts based on current census population and little else. I believe that would help get rid of “lifer” pols and keep the current elected official on their toes since it’d never be a safe seat for them as neighborhoods ebb and flow and populations age and move and fortunes rise and fall. I think there would also be the likelihood of better, smarter, more responsive and less extreme representatives if they knew they had to please a broader cross section of the voting public.

    elissa (10f567)

  185. “Your argument for proportional representation assumes that America needs a more responsive government because we need to do something, and instead we have Congressional gridlock. I think gridlock is a good thing, unless it’s a law or policy that gains widespread support — in which case Congress will act and there won’t be gridlock.

    The problem we’re experiencing now is that we have a President who is willing to act unilaterally and doesn’t feel constrained by Congress, the courts, or the Constitution. How would proportional representation stop that from happening?”

    – DRJ

    I think gridlock can be a good thing, if it truly reflects the will of the electorate. But I do not believe that the gridlock we are currently experiencing reflects the will of the electorate, as complete dissatisfaction of the electorate with Congress indicates (79% disapproval rating, by the RCP average). If everybody is dissatisfied with Congress in its current form, why does Congress retain its current form?

    Do you think that Congress is not (at least) part of the problem?

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  186. elissa,

    PR does wonders for the elimination of gerrymandering. You can’t gerrymander something that doesn’t exist.

    It’s actually one of the primary draws of PR systems, for me.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  187. I think the President is the problem, not Congress.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  188. I think it’s a mistake to govern by polls, as is evident by your assumption that Congressional disapproval means people want a more active Congress. Most people may disapprove of Congress and some probably do want Congress to do more, but some also want it to do less. You don’t know what those percentages are but they make a big difference when it comes to the solution. Your solution will mean a more active Congress because its members will have an incentive to compromise. The last thing I want is more Congressional compromises.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  189. I think having no geographic congressional districts is a no-go, Leviticus. If there is a military installation or a harbor or a mine or acres of farmland or timberland (just as a few examples) don’t you see that those are geographic and not necessarily partisan issues that need shepherding and representation?

    elissa (10f567)

  190. I think all of the concerns that you (elissa) and DRJ are expressing are valid and important concerns. It would be a massive structural change to shift to a PR system, no doubt about it, and there’s always the possibility that it wouldn’t end well.

    That said, it would be really nice to see more than two viable political parties in America before I die. I find it very very strange that a country as politically complex as this one is represented by only two viable political parties.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  191. I didn’t mean for that last comment to sound melodramatic. I just meant that I don’t think another viable third party will arise within the confines of a single-member district system in my lifetime.

    Leviticus (c1d138)

  192. We are entering an existential choke point, a tight space in which the difficulties in simply surviving will multiply for some years and which will be generally acknowledged circa 2017.

    Think of it as the civil war, profound economic depression and global conflagration all prevailing concurrently.

    Entire distributed groups of common interest will be decimated and absorbed, bodies of settled law will be sh*tcanned, nations will be Balkanized.

    Against such certainties brainstorming the future can appear a vanity.

    DNF (d60700)

  193. Patterico,

    I like Thomas Sowell and his constrained/unconstrained theory is interesting, but I confess it’s not speaking to me the way it speaks to you. To my simple mind, he’s saying some people favor change and he calls them unconstrained, while others prefer tradition and he calls them constrained. This is generalizing but let’s say Leviticus is unconstrained and DRJ is constrained, but how far does that get us?

    Even if I don’t support change, there are things I do want to change — at the right time, place, etc. And Leviticus may want to change most things, but I suspect there are some things he wouldn’t want to change — for instance, once the states or the Supreme Court have adopted SSM, I doubt he would favor changing it back to eliminate SSM if it produces some unpleasant side effects. So the devil is in the details, and I’m not clear how Sowell’s theory speaks to that.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  194. I find it very very strange that a country as politically complex as this one is represented by only two viable political parties.

    Perhaps you’re limited by your preoccupation with national politics. The views, policies and politicians across this country are diverse — from the mayors of the smallest communities to the governors of the largest states. A Democratic mayor in a small Midwestern town is very different from Barack Obama, and a Republican governor in a Southern state doesn’t have much in common with Mitt Romney.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  195. What’s amazing is we find ways to bridge those gaps and come up with viable political agendas for voters to choose from. At least we did, until recently. Now most voters want “none of the above,” and I blame Obama and his racist, lying, unconstitutional actions. He’s disheartened Americans just as surely as Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, which pales in comparison.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  196. At least the Democrats stood up to Nixon. Up to now, Republicans have been afraid of being called racist and they attack anyone who tries to stand up to Obama.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  197. The lack of approval for Congress means a lot of things. For many Congress has not been conservative enough, for others it has not been liberal enough, for some Congress has not acted on their favorite issue appropriately.
    A little like asking what percentage of the population approves of a given activity of a president, those who disagree may want the pres to do more and others do less about issue “x”.
    Anyone know what the highest approval rating for Congress was, and what were the conditions then? (i.e., a Congress the same as the president passing everything, a Congress different than the press and balancing everything, etc.)

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  198. I think it started before Obama. I would put it at the Dem entrenchment in defending Bill Clinton. At that point party power for the dems became the bottom line, and they could either pull it off or they had such bad candidates (Gore, Kerry) that they couldn’t. The 2010 and 2014 elections show that a whole lot of people really don’t like what they get when the Dems dominate everything.
    It escalated with Bushitler and even more with Obama and his race-baiting.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  199. Team rino sucks

    mg (31009b)

  200. Gallup has Congressional approval ratings from 1974 to the present, and they were highest in 2001 when the Republicans controlled the House. (Control of the Senate was split.) Congressional approval was also low in 1979 (President Carter) and 1992 (President George HW Bush), years when the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  201. The highest Congressional approval rating since 1974 was 56% in 2001.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  202. i want “none of the above” plus one of those new “flat white” thingers from starbucks

    but it’s business as usual in boehner’s failmerica

    and button up your coat it’s stupid cold

    happyfeet (831175)

  203. If you were closer happyfeet, I would bring you some oak to burn.

    mg (31009b)

  204. thanks! i just have these radiator thingies though

    they go clang clang clang all night and I’m still getting used to them

    last night was a pretty good night’s sleep though

    but I think I might get me a white noise machine

    happyfeet (831175)

  205. Hot water heat is healthy heat.

    mg (31009b)

  206. on an up note, this looks like bad news for John Thune’s gas tax

    The new scoring approach would only be required for major legislation in which the budgetary effects of legislation – meaning an increase or decrease in revenue, spending or deficits – are at least 0.25% of the size of the economy.

    Had the rule been in effect last year, the threshold would have been $43B.

    happyfeet (831175)

  207. The still fundamentally libertarian kishnevi wrote:

    perhaps the GOP is currently a marriage of inconvenience between Establishment and Tea Party? And in need of marriage counseling before divorce hits?

    That’s exactly right: no matter what we’d like, TEA Partiers are nowhere close to a majority in this country; no group is.

    And the Democrats have their own divisions; if you can stand to read the liberal blogs, you’ll see them, between the so-called progressives and the more traditional liberals. They can come together over some of the social issues, but are badly split between those Democrats who understand at least something about economics — no liberal understands much about economics, or they wouldn’t be liberals anymore — and the wild-eyed socialists. They didn’t get more done when the Democrats held huge majorities in both Houses of Congress during President Obama’s first two years because they had their internal splits; we got the abortion called Obysmalcare, without the so-called public option, and did not wind up with single-payer, because of those divisions.

    The marriage counseling Dana (f6a568)

  208. In the Third Book of Moses, it was written:

    Coming from this constrained point of view, I believe that a key structural feature of our political system – single-member districts – creates a disincentive for representatives to adhere closely to the views of their constituents. I believe a change to that structural feature – a shift to PR – would create an equal and opposite incentive for representatives to adhere closely to the views of their constituents.

    That’s what the Israelis have, and it has led to the necessity, in almost every government, to the formation of coalitions, in which a few of the minor parties with one or two seats gets power beyond that justified by their support from the voters, just to maintain 61 votes in the Knesset. Piss off one far right or far left kook party over some piece of trivial legislation, and the coalition is sundered and the government falls; it’s just not a good system.

    The internationalist Dana (f6a568)

  209. Thanks, DRJ.
    In the brief period of unity immediately after 9/11, the Congress had a majority favorable, hint, hint, and it was when Congress was “pro-America as we know it”*, more hints.

    *That phrase doesn’t include things like persistent racism, corruption, etc., it just means an improved and not fundamentally transformed America.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  210. Do you want to face the truth? Can you handle the truth?

    The reason the system established by the Founders worked initially was because
    1. Women did not vote;
    2. Men who did not meet a certain property qualification did not vote;
    3. Most men did not live long enough to get old.

    It was a system designed for an electorate of young, virile, relatively successful men. Is that the electorate we have now?

    Do you want to bring back the America that fought the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Indian Wars? Repeal the 19th and 24th Amendments. I don’t know what we can do about the old people. Take away the franchise, sure, but at what age? That’s a tough one.

    nk (dbc370)

  211. elissa wrote:

    Congressional districts that would not be so egregiously gerryrigged or gerrymandered by the state legislatures to assure racial seats for Blacks or Latinos or to create districts with peak Dem or Rep constituents would be good for America I think. Some of the districts are so oddly shaped as to be comical in order to achieve the desired results. I’d like to see a computer used to blindly allocate straight line districts based on current census population and little else.

    Racial gerrymandering works only because the population has already self-gerrymandered. As much as the Voting Rights Act envisions majority-minority districts as a good thing, they can only be created, despite some of the odd shapes used, when you have minority populations self-congregating in smaller areas. Real integration in housing patterns, something that we supposedly said we wanted, but has been demonstrated by public choice not to be wanted, would be the end of gerrymandering.

    The statistician Dana (f6a568)

  212. Our Windy City barrister left out one point: Blacks could not vote.

    Now, if you are suggesting a return to the franchise restrictions of only allowing white male property owners to vote, heck yeah, I’d support that!

    The white male property-owning Dana (f6a568)

  213. It occurs to me that the Kentucky basketball discussion is an apt comparison to our political discussion. Like the federal government, the NCAA is a monopoly that can write and enforce its own rules. Both attract people with big personalities, like Calipari and Boehner and Obama, and they all desperately want to win. Some of whom will do anything to win, e.g., the North Carolina academic scandal, but abuses happen to some degree in every political office and NCAA institution.

    Is the answer structural change? I don’t know but it seems to me that the more likely way to curb abuses in monopolies like these is by increasing transparency and encouraging whistleblowers. It’s not a coincidence that Obama has done all he can to undermine both, so perhaps we should add to the discussion ways to undo Obama’s actions that discourage these features.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  214. Plus, Calipari reminds me of Obama. Enough said.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  215. 213.
    Indeed. And we got…the Patriot Act.

    kishnevi (294553)

  216. Politico:

    Still, Boehner ultimately emerged victorious and gave a teary-eyed speech in which he urged his members: “Let us rejoice and be glad.”

    I’m sure Boehner is, for the most part, a nice guy but he needs to quit crying like a baby. This is embarrassing.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  217. Boehner’s super-sweet except for his unbridled lust for power for power’s sake and his insistence on making a place at the leadership table for the white supremacy wing of the Republican party

    and also his enthusiastic and unsleeping pursuit of vengeance against those who commit slights lesser men wouldn’t deign to notice

    plus his penchant for locking future Congresses into ridiculous and ruinous cromnibi

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  218. Yeah, I knows youse weak-kneed sisters think me an alarmist.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/fastft/257212/syriza-set-decisive-victory-report

    I’m jess giving you a heads up, road kill.

    DNF (d60700)

  219. There’s some really bad stuff out of Paris this morning. See Drudge and elsewhere.

    elissa (1c7328)

  220. 212. I’ll buy that.

    What many dreamer’s here long for is equilibrium.

    GLWT.

    DNF (d60700)

  221. I heard at 8 am that something had happened in France, but didn’t know what and thought it was maybe something else.

    This is actually very bad news, especially people being picked out by name (why didn’t they not answer to their names? Probably they didn’t know an attack was in progress.) and the cartoonists getting killed.

    This was very professional. Asking for names (or telling the assassins to get the person to confirm his identity) is a sign of professionalism, and probably indicates an alliance between terrorist groups and others.

    Sammy Finkelman (6b5229)

  222. “That’s what the Israelis have, and it has led to the necessity, in almost every government, to the formation of coalitions, in which a few of the minor parties with one or two seats gets power beyond that justified by their support from the voters, just to maintain 61 votes in the Knesset. Piss off one far right or far left kook party over some piece of trivial legislation, and the coalition is sundered and the government falls; it’s just not a good system.”

    – The internationalist Dana

    I think the formation of coalitions and the necessity of working with small parties is a feature, not a bug. Israel’s circumstances – surrounded by enemies, and constant war – make it something of an anomaly, and a difficult apple to compare to oranges of the US and Europe. Germany (until recently, anyway) used a modified PR system as well – the Landeliste system – which (basically) requires that half of the Bundestag be elected by pure PR, half by retained geographic districts.

    That’s really the system I would like to see most in the US, because it would retain a large measure of the geographic relation that elissa and others have emphasized as important while simultaneously allowing new, third-party voices to have a seat at the table.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  223. No person held to bondage or servitude could vote. Neerdowells come in all colors. The point is to abolish the welfare state. Take the power away from people who want government to be daddy.

    nk (9faaca)

  224. “Nor, daley, is it in any way a fair reading of anything we said. I think Leviticus and I have a joint feeling — a feeling that is classic “constrained” philosophy — that we are unlikely to get a) pristine politics or b) rarefied men and women in government service, therefore we need c) better incentives, which will not cause human behavior to be “adorable” but rather which will take human behavior as we find it, and incentivize it to do things that will benefit society.”

    Patterico @123 – In an attempt to disagree or claim I am mischaracterizing what you said, you are effectively affirming my observation, which Leviticus reinforces in #171:

    The unconstrained school of thought says that the way to overcome this problem is to train and/or empower more noble, public-minded representatives. The constrained school of thought says that the way to overcome this problem is to shift the incentive calculus under which these representatives are operating.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  225. “Daley – you mean there were even more bshine the scenes deals beyond what was leaked?”

    JD – My point is do we know exactly what was leaked? Was the actual legislation shared with the RSC or summary terms? Boehner said the outside groups had not seen the actual bill. Had they? Had members of the RSC (approx. 2/3 of Republicans) seen the actual bill? Leadership has a history of making changes until and even after a bill is introduced on the floor. Absent more evidence, I don’t think you can convict Boehner of lying based on the words he used.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  226. I think we need to pray more for some insiders to have a come to the real Jesus moment and stand up and be honest.
    Nathan did it to David,
    Daniel did it Nebuchadnezzar,
    John did it to Pilate,
    yeah, it didn’t work out so well for John in the short term, that’s why it is not done so often.
    But that would be a big step in addressing many problems.
    Jarrett of Tarsus
    that would be really wild.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  227. One item I find interesting is that in spite of all the carping about the RINO/Establishment/Ineffective House leadership is that real per capita discretionary government spending has actually declined since Republicans retook the House in 2010.

    Powerline has a post illustrating the work of Veronique de Rugy on the subject:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/12/per-capita-federal-spending-shows-40-year-trends.php

    I find a lot of the criticism of Boehner to be more a reflection of frustration with Obama and Reid more than fault finding with what Boehner has actually done. Boehner and other Democrats/RINOs never pushed immigration amnesty through the House that had so many people hyperventilating. Most other disagreements were over strategy and tactics and 2015 is a new ball game.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  228. the first inning sucks ass

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  229. DRJ wrote:

    Plus, Calipari reminds me of Obama. Enough said.

    May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your home, your carpets, and your body hair!

    The University of Kentucky alumnus Dana (f6a568)

  230. UK Dana,

    How many Final Four appearances does Calipari have to lose before you question his ethics? He has a very good W-L record but an outstanding Final-Four-erased record.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  231. daleyrocks,

    If that’s your standard, then I think you should cut Obama some slack. After all, Obama could be as ignorant as he claims, too.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  232. In the Third Book of Moses it was written:

    I think the formation of coalitions and the necessity of working with small parties is a feature, not a bug.

    Giving power in excess of their voting support to the out-and-out socialists, the Greens and the Communists, is a horrible idea; the same would be true of Klansmen.

    We are glad that the grown-ups have taken control of the Congress; proportional representation would give more power to the adolescents on both the left and the right. You are romanticizing the kook movements as having some sort of merit; single-member districts marginalize the marginal minds, and that’s a good thing.

    And I’d argue that it’s a necessary thing, in a country where we honor and support freedom of speech; if we allowed kooks to have some actual voice, we’d have to start locking them up. With the single-member district, the voters cast the kooks by the wayside, so there’s no need to throw them in jail or the loony bin.

    The adult Dana (f6a568)

  233. DRJ: The University has taken the step of getting NCAA approval on eligibility, as was demonstrated by the Enis Kantor signing. Mr Kantor was a 7 foot recruit from Turkey, but had apparently received some appearance money for something. UK heard about he questions, and deferred to the NCAA before allowing him to play. Eventually — and it took too long — the NCAA said that there were too many questions, and ruled Mr Kantor ineligible. UK suffered no sanctions for this because Mr Kantor was not allowed to play until the eligibility issue was cleared up.

    Eight NCAA titles so far, under five separate coaches, and it’s looking good for number nine this year! :)

    The UK fan Dana (f6a568)

  234. “Single-member districts marginalize the marginal minds, and that’s a good thing.”

    – The adult Dana

    They marginalize the marginal minds as a byproduct of marginalizing all minds that aren’t centrist. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  235. “If that’s your standard, then I think you should cut Obama some slack. After all, Obama could be as ignorant as he claims, too.”

    DRJ – I’m not sure what standard you are talking about. I care about whether statements are true. You made a few claims either distorting Boehner’s words or without offering proof as far as I can see. If you have more information, I’d like to see it.

    From #93:

    But I think Boehner lied when he said the Tea Party groups opposed the deal before they even knew what was in it … just like Cong. Stutzman claims Boehner lied to get his vote on the debt deal. It’s politics so I’m not complaining, but I’m not falling for it either.

    Boehner’s actual words were “before they even saw the bill,” which is a major difference. At this point I don’t know what was leaked to outside groups and you have not provided evidence supporting your claim Boehner was lying. The director of RSC was fired for unauthorized sharing of information with outside groups, but with respect to the 2013 budget deal is there information about what he shared?

    From #101:

    In other words, a conservative member of the RSC leaked info to Tea Party groups about what Boehner and Ryan planned to do. The Tea Party groups objected, and Boehner responded by saying they objected without knowing the details — even though they did.

    Boehner tried to make Tea Party groups look bad by lying about what happened, and then he fired the guy who leaked (as he has every right to do), but he doesn’t get to lie just because he doesn’t like the “bitter, clingers” who oppose him and Obama.

    A four page summary of the Ryan-Murray budget deal was released with the announcement that a deal had been reached on 12/10/13.

    http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bba2013summary.pdf

    I have no reason to believe a full bill was written and distributed to the RSC and shared with outside groups before a deal was reached with Patti Murray. I rate Boehner’s statement as true.

    In terms of making people look bad, I guess that is one way to characterize being on the receiving end of criticism, which was what these outside groups had been doing to Boehner all year.

    Here is the letter put out by the Conservative Action Project indicating disapproval of the budget deal:

    http://www.cwfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Conservative-Action-Project-Budget-Coalition-Letter.pdf

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  236. Was what was leaked not reflected in the actual bill? Hanging your hat on “they didn’t see the actual final bill” seems to be an exercise in splitting a split hair.

    JD (b870df)

  237. well what about that the deal was reached with Patty Murray, no good could come of this.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  238. For those who rebelled yesterday:

    “We had a situation yesterday where we had to constitute the Rules Committee but because of some of the activities on the floor, two of our members weren’t put back on the committee immediately,” Boehner said. “I have not had a chance to talk to them, I have not had a chance to talk to our members. But this morning I told the members the same thing I’m saying here. We’re going to have a family conversation, which we had this morning about bringing our team together.

    “And I expect those conversations over the next couple of days will continue and we’ll come to a decision about how we’re going to move forward,” he added.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  239. In the Third Book of Moses it was written:

    “Single-member districts marginalize the marginal minds, and that’s a good thing.”

    – The adult Dana

    They marginalize the marginal minds as a byproduct of marginalizing all minds that aren’t centrist. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    What it means is that the non-centrists have to do is sell their ideas to other people; wise ideas can be sold, but kook ones cannot. I’m very much a performance-based thinker: if, in the end, you can’t sell your ideas to the voters, then your ideas weren’t wise enough for the society and culture in which you were trying to sell it.

    Right now, we have the TEA Partiers on the right and the Elizabeth Warren liberals on the left, both trying to sell their ideas to the more centrist establishments of their parties. If the TEA Party cannot sell its ideas to the majority of Republican voters, then their ideas aren’t good enough! If the “progressives” who are whining about center-left Democrats like Tom Carper and Chuck Schumer and, yes, Hillary Clinton, cannot sell their ideas to Democratic voters in the primaries, then their ideas aren’t good enough.

    Unless, of course, we go to the philosopher-king concept of Plato, on which our host and I briefly touched about a hundred comments ago, but, thing about that is, those philosopher-kings could just as easily be “progressives” as conservatives. In fact, given the left’s view that they simply know better what is good for all of us than us commoners, any philosopher-kings would be much more likely to be from the left than the right.

    The reasonable Dana (f6a568)

  240. The much better-looking Dana noted that the Speaker was playing hardball with the dissenters. If we want Mr Boehner to play hardball with President Obama, we shouldn’t expect him to be soft and squishy with his own caucus. It simply remains to be seen if he will play hardball with the President.

    You know what they say: if you are going to try to kill the King, you had better succeed!

    The baseball fan Dana (f6a568)

  241. History lesson. When some romanticize over third parties I note few ever mention the Populists or People’s Party of the 1890’s. During many years of that decade much of the country was in the midst and gloom and joblessness of a great depression. Civil War vets and widows were dying in the streets. Immigrants were pouring into our shores, monetary policy (separated into gold men and silver men and bimetalists) was at a flash point, the agrarians and workers were at war with the nativist elitist plutocrats—well, you can kind of get the drift, I suppose.

    The Populist Party was a kind of strange alliance of Grangers, Greenbackers, Knights of Labor, Prohibitionists, and “reformers” of many stripes. Here is what delegates to the Populist Party convention in Omaha cheered at in 1892: It is the preamble to their platform which declared that the nation was “on the verge of moral, political, and material ruin,” that corruption dominated the ballot box and the bench, that labor was impoverished and “degenerating into European conditions”, and that government injustice was breeding two great classes–tramps and millionaires. The fact that many Americans who had been placidly voting for either Democrats or Republicans for years could roar approval at such a public indictment of American life was shocking. James Weaver, the People’s Party presidential candidate in 1892 won more than a million votes.

    After the contentious election of 1896, though, the Populist Party as a national force pretty much went to pot and the alliances crumbled via infighting. The Democratic and Republican parties survived. Nonetheless, Populist ideas survived into the new century. The 16th amendment was ratified. Progressive Republican Theodore Roosevelt resurrected many Populist planks and re-cast them in new forms as he tentatively expanded federal regulations of business corporations. The Progressive Party, which Roosevelt headed in the “Bull Moose campaign” of 1912, also echoed many People’s Party concerns. By constitutional amendment, direct election of U.S. Senators became law in 1912. Other Populist planks–particularly those calling for aid to farmers and employment on public works in time of depression–became reality during the 1930s, under the New Deal administrations of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt.

    Here’s a link to some contemporary quotes about the Populist Party.

    http://projects.vassar.edu/1896/populists.html

    elissa (1c7328)

  242. he’s not a king he’s just an orange lame-ass from ohio who epitomizes business as usual

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  243. i hate business as usual and i strongly suspect that business as usual is very very inimical to the future of me and you and this whole sad little country

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  244. “If the TEA Party cannot sell its ideas to the majority of Republican voters, then their ideas aren’t good enough! If the “progressives” who are whining about center-left Democrats like Tom Carper and Chuck Schumer and, yes, Hillary Clinton, cannot sell their ideas to Democratic voters in the primaries, then their ideas aren’t good enough.”

    – The reasonable Dana

    The problem is that the success of ideas is measured in electoral victories, and the electoral calculus is skewed by a strong disincentive to support third parties at all. Elections are rigged in favor of the two parties by an inescapable psychological phenomenon, not because the quality of Democratic or Republican ideas.

    How many people here preferred a third party candidate to Mitt Romney, but voted for Romney in a primary nonetheless? Was that because Mitt Romney’s ideas were better?

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  245. Business as usual is wonderful, if you’re one of those that live on the interest on your dividends.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  246. Mr Feet wrote:

    he’s not a king he’s just an orange lame-ass from ohio who epitomizes business as usual

    Well, his orange lame-ass just won re-election as Speaker of the House, despite some conservative opposition. It seems that the new Republican members were unwilling to replace him.

    The TEA Partiers put up what they believed to be strong primary challengers to Senators Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran; while Mr Cochran’s challenger came close, winning a plurality but not a majority in the primary, forcing a runoff, he fell short. The idea that somehow Senator Cochran would be punished by the voters of Mississippi in the general election never happened, as Senator Cochran won easily.

    Senator McConnell’s challenger was very well financed — though not as well as the new Majority Leader, but he was trounced in the primary. There was a bit of noise about staying home or even voting for the wholly inept Alison Grimes in the general election, but Mr McConnell trounced Mrs Grimes so thoroughly that he carried some eastern Kentucky counties that he had never carried before, even when facing only token opposition.

    That’s the only measuring stick that I see as valid: did you win? In the movie Top Gun, the fighter school commander said it best:

    Gentlemen, this school is about combat; there are no points for second place.

    The coldly realistic Dana (f6a568)

  247. Leviticus, we know you prefer a multi-party democracy with proportional representation.
    We just haven’t seen any evidence that such a system can provide a stable government, or society –
    or preserve Freedom & Liberty.
    But then, the French and Greeks have only limited experience at this, don’t they – and don’t even get me started on the Italians.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  248. Politics ain’t bean-bag.
    It’s more like a street fight, where the controlling rule is:
    Don’t lose!

    askeptic (efcf22)

  249. In the Third Book of Moses it was written:

    The problem is that the success of ideas is measured in electoral victories, and the electoral calculus is skewed by a strong disincentive to support third parties at all. Elections are rigged in favor of the two parties by an inescapable psychological phenomenon, not because the quality of Democratic or Republican ideas.

    Apparently enough voters have been satisfied enough that no third party movement has met with any success for over 150 years.

    How many people here preferred a third party candidate to Mitt Romney, but voted for Romney in a primary nonetheless? Was that because Mitt Romney’s ideas were better?

    Yes. Mr Romney’s ideas were better because they enabled him to win the Republican nomination. He had plenty of challengers in the primaries, and they all fell by the wayside, mostly due to self-immolation.

    In the general election, Mr Romney’s ideas, even though I saw them as the better ones, were not so seen by a majority of the voters. I can console myself somewhat by saying that, well, the voters were stupid, but President Obama’s ideas about how to win the election were clearly the better ones.

    If you don’t win, you’re done. Mitt Romney sold his ideas about how to win the election to the Republican primary voters, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann did not. Win or go home. Then Mr Romney failed to sell his ideas about how to win the election to a majority of the voters. Win or go home.

    The very coldly realistic Dana (f6a568)

  250. “Was what was leaked not reflected in the actual bill? Hanging your hat on “they didn’t see the actual final bill” seems to be an exercise in splitting a split hair.”

    JD – What are you hanging your hat on to prove that Boehner was lying? Do you also believe that it is unfair, mean and naughty to criticize the Tea Party and that people who do should be ostracized from polite society?

    I am asking for evidence of what, if anything, was leaked. After my earlier comments I did some more searching. The budget deal was announced in a press conference at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 10. Heritage is one of the groups to whom the director of the RSC supposedly regularly leaked (Ed Fuelner connection?) and they closely followed budget developments. Unless they subsequently purged their website, they had nothing up indicating they had received preannouncement
    information, but Robert Bluey had a post up about the announcement on the 10th. My best guess is that Boehner in the clip DRJ linked was reacted to the release by the Conservative Action Project put out before the deal announcement on the 10th which does not indicate a whole lot of specific knowledge on the part of the writers. Interestingly, I found reference to Heritage Action for America opposing the deal a day before it was announced in a WaPo story describing the agreement.

    I also misspoke about Boehner’s words, he said “final agreement” not final bill.”

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  251. Mittens tried only hard enough to win the nomination, with major support from the MFM & the GOPe.

    then he did ALAP during the presidential campaign, because he didn’t want to win, nor does the GOPe: they’re quite happy where they are, getting rich in the Beltway, and they all gives less than a damn about the country or it’s residents.

    they’re gearing up to do the same thing in 2016, which is why they are pushing Jeb.

    redc1c4 (cf3b04)

  252. “If you don’t win, you’re done. Mitt Romney sold his ideas about how to win the election to the Republican primary voters, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann did not. Win or go home. Then Mr Romney failed to sell his ideas about how to win the election to a majority of the voters. Win or go home.”

    – The very coldly realistic Dana

    I actually have quite a bit of respect for that position (not that you need my approval, obviously). I come close to it myself, often – but only as a justification to withdraw from political engagement altogether. I’m not interested in associating myself with the Democratic or Republican parties anymore. If their victories are self-validating, fine – but I’ll withdraw. In keeping with the implications of some of DNF’s comments, I’d prefer to rely on smaller communities of friends and neighbors at this point anyway.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  253. haven’t had a dream in a long time

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  254. ==Mittens tried only hard enough to win the nomination, then he did ALAP during the presidential campaign, because he didn’t want to win (Redc)==

    Can you explain your views on what specifically you think he gained by wanting to win- and ultimately winning- the nomination, and then suddenly “not” wanting to win the presidency while putting his family through the media wringer–(in essence throwing the game)? He’s not a beltway guy, nor did he get rich in or because of the beltway as far as I know. I simply do not get your logic on this.

    elissa (1c7328)

  255. redc1c4 wrote:

    then he did ALAP during the presidential campaign, because he didn’t want to win, nor does the GOPe: they’re quite happy where they are, getting rich in the Beltway, and they all gives less than a damn about the country or it’s residents.

    Mr Romney was already a very wealthy man; he didn’t need to run for President to get richer.

    Nor do I accept the strange notion of people entering in very public combat and being satisfied with losing; these were all competitive, successful people before, and people don’t get to be successful by being satisfied with losing. They might not have run the best campaign in your eyes — and I don’t think that Mr Romney did, either, but, in the end, I don’t believe he ever really had a chance, due to the nature of the Obama voters — but I guarantee you that they weren’t playing to finish second.

    they’re gearing up to do the same thing in 2016, which is why they are pushing Jeb.

    One of the things that bugs me is the conspiracy-thinking of some good Republicans, who are convinced that there is some sort of “they” out there, planning to lose. Just because not every Republican believes everything that you do does not mean that “they” somehow want to lose; it means that “they” believe differently than you do.

    As for Jeb Bush, well, it’s a free country, and he can run if he chooses; whether he wins the nomination is up to the Republican primary voters. If the primary voters choose him, then he was right all along in his decision to run; if the voters choose someone else, well too bad, so sad, must suck to have run and lost. Mr Bush is not my favored candidate, but, then again, I don’t have a favored candidate yet.

    But there’s at least one thing about electing Mr Bush that brings a smile to my face: it would make the leftists absolutely apoplectic! :)

    (If I could just pick a President now, it would be Rick Perry or Scott Walker, conservative Republican governors who have actually run something before. Barack Hussein Obama has very much proved that the Presidency is not an entry-level executive job.)

    The extremely realistic Dana (f6a568)

  256. And he confirms that the Senate is not a very good learning tool on how to be an executive, backstopping history on why so few men have been elected president while sitting in the Senate, and even fewer having a successful Presidency.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  257. Which is why I’m not thrilled about Ted Cruz. It’d be pretty sad if Hillary Clinton was the candidate with more executive experience, four lame years as Secretary of State, in the 2016 election.

    The sadly realistic Dana (f6a568)

  258. Obama proves the rule, not the exception – since he’s not one.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  259. 259.haven’t had a dream in a long time
    happyfeet (a037ad) — 1/7/2015 @ 11:56 am

    If that is true, you may have obstructive sleep apnea or some other disorder that is affecting your normal sleep architecture.
    Not a medical opinion, been there did that.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  260. it’s a smiths song mr. dr.

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  261. Well then, maybe Mr. or Mrs. Smith has a sleeping disorder, along with a movie and apparently songs as well.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  262. perhaps

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  263. MD,

    I’ve always been curious: what if one dreams in living color Every Single Night and part of that person’s brain is still “awake” and critiquing the dream as it unfolds, as if it were a movie?

    Dana (8e74ce)

  264. Beyond me, Dana.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  265. The attacks on Mia Love in the comments section of this article are despicable. THe article is benign but the majority of the comments are just sick. The name calling anger makes many of the commenters look absolutely insane. When will any politician be good enough for these people?

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/01/07/mia-love-defends-vote-for-boehner-as-speaker/

    elissa (1c7328)

  266. name-calling was a yesterday thing

    today we look ahead to a forbidding future

    a future of despair

    a future of decline

    a future of darkness and pestilence and shortages of household staples

    and plus I’m a get one of the italian beef thingers on the way home tonight

    i’m just not cooking this week

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  267. daleyrocks,

    It’s fine with me if you want to believe the budget deal leak had nothing to do with Boehner firing its “longtime executive director, Paul Teller, over revelations that he had leaked private member communications to outside groups.” Maybe it was a coincidence that it happened Wednesday, December 11, 2013 — the day after the budget deal was announced and the same day Boehner had his melt-down attacking the Tea Party organizations.

    But you can’t claim the details of the budget deal hadn’t been leaked because Business Insider listed unnamed “Congressional aides” as the source for its December 4, 2013, article listing the details:

    •Discretionary spending (which includes most spending aside from interest and entitlement programs) in the budget accord will likely be capped somewhere between $990 billion and $1 trillion — higher than the $967 billion level that many Republicans currently support, but lower than the $1.058 trillion in the Democratic budget plan.

    The higher spending levels — from a slight rollback of the cuts in sequestration — would be offset by other spending cuts and non-tax revenue increases, which include a number of different possibilities. Some of those include airline passenger fees and changes to the federal retirement program.

    •Aides said that the deal does not include an extension of long-term unemployment benefits, the expiration of which threatens to affect 1.3 million people at the end of the year.

    •It also does not include any extension of the debt ceiling, the suspension of which ends on Feb. 7. The Treasury can use so-called “extraordinary measures” to extend the “drop-dead” date to March or April.

    How does that compare to the actual deal? From my first link:

    The mini-bargain — the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013″ — sets discretionary spending levels a little above $1 trillion for the next two years, while repealing and replacing some cuts of sequestration. In fiscal year 2014, spending is set at $1.012 trillion, which sits about halfway between the proposed levels of the House and Senate budgets. Current law under sequestration calls for caps of $967 billion.

    The legislation provides $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, which is split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. This is offset by targeted spending cuts and non-tax revenues that total $85 billion. Ryan and Murray said that the deal reduces the deficit between $20 and $23 billion.

    Murray said that the deal includes an additional $6 billion in revenue from additional federal worker pension contributions. Military employees take the same hit in the deal.

    In addition, there was no extension of unemployment benefits and it did not raise the debt ceiling. In other words, the December 4, 2013, article was accurate. Several days later, the conservative organizations expressed displeasure with the deal, and two days later Boehner said the groups opposed the deal/agreement before they even knew what was in it.

    Face it, everyone in Washington knew what was in it because it had been leaked by aides to the media. And Boehner lied to score points against the Tea Party — the beginning of his crusade to discredit Republicans that don’t toe his line. He’s free to do that because that’s the nature of politics, and I’m free to call him on it.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  268. I messed up my link. Here is the link to the Business Insider article dated December 4, 2013.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  269. Well Done, DRJ!

    askeptic (efcf22)

  270. The extremely realistic Dana (f6a568) — 1/7/2015 @ 12:12 pm

    Barack Hussein Obama has very much proved that the Presidency is not an entry-level executive job.

    Didn’t Richard Nixon prove that, maybe?

    And a lot of what happened was because he was such a poor executive.

    But maybe it depends on the person, except some people are particularly bad at assembling information, supervision and delegation. There are certain things not to delegate.

    Sammy Finkelman (6b5229)


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