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June 6, 2011 8:05 AM   Subscribe

"When a Nobel Prize Isn't Enough." With a sharply-worded rebuke of the congressional GOP, Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond has announced he is withdrawing as a candidate for the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors due to GOP obstructionism. Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, a leading critic of Diamond's appointment, welcomes the announcement and raises a predictable call for a candidate "capable of garnering bipartisan support in the Senate."
posted by saulgoodman (86 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Axe-grindy editorializing is axe-grindy
posted by DWRoelands at 8:10 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Elect Rand Paul to abolish the Federal Reserve and you won't have problems like this.
posted by Trurl at 8:13 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought impoverished proles like me could access a few New York Times articles every month. I haven't visited their site in a while but they still won't let me read that article. Am I doing it wrong?
posted by fuq at 8:13 AM on June 6, 2011



I thought impoverished proles like me could access a few New York Times articles every month. I haven't visited their site in a while but they still won't let me read that article. Am I doing it wrong?


Clear out your cookies.
posted by Tsuga at 8:15 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Such a fucking joke. I mean at least Shelby could attempt a little intellectual honesty. Its ok to say the rationale has more to do with his views rather than a question of his expertise.
posted by JPD at 8:16 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


but they still won't let me read that article
In Google Chrome, hit Control-Shift-N, paste in the article URL, read as many as you like.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:16 AM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Axe-grindy editorializing is axe-grindy

When facing historical unemployment levels and fiscal challenges don't we want input from people who are close to the action, axe-grindy or otherwise?

He can be both a sour grape and a helpful informant on the subject.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:16 AM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Richard Shelby's top 5 benefactors by industry (via Opensecrets.org)

Securities & Investment
Insurance
Lawyers/Law Firms
Real Estate
Finance/Credit Companies


Shelby has received over 2 million dollars from these industries since 2005.

I want to restate my call for ALL politicians to have to wear patches on their suits - similar to Nascar drivers - for each corporate donation they receive - the larger the amount, the larger the patch. This way we can know exactly where their loyalties lie when they speak in front of Congress.
posted by any major dude at 8:20 AM on June 6, 2011 [150 favorites]


Damn. I had hopes that we might get someone on our side onto the Fed's board. But no, it's been decreed by the minority that the majority must accept only people working for the ultra wealthy on the Fed.

What I want to know is why the hell we have this setup where a tiny minority gets to dictate to the vast majority, and how long they think they can keep that shit up before the majority does something drastic?
posted by sotonohito at 8:20 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I see Shelby in the grocery store from time to time, if you want me to pass on a personalized message (that won't get me arrested).
posted by procrastination at 8:22 AM on June 6, 2011


Skilled analytical thinking should not be drowned out by mistaken, ideologically driven views that more is always better or less is always better.

Unfortunately, out society is apparently culturally incapable of permitting political decisions which are anything but this.

It's kind of ironic; the Republicans have utterly glommed onto the progressive principle whereby political decisions are inherently moral propositions, but their moral universe exists entirely within the question of how little everyone who isn't incredibly wealthy should be allowed to have.
posted by clockzero at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


With a sharply-worded rebuke of the congressional GOP...

"I got your rebuke right here."
-- the GOP
posted by mondo dentro at 8:27 AM on June 6, 2011


Diamond completely misunderstands Shelby's objections. Shelby doesn't actually care whether labor policy is linked to monetary policy or what the Fed's role should be in managing financial crises. Shelby is a politician, and his objections are purely political. I don't know whether Shelby wants to block Diamond simply to hamper Obama or whether Shelby (and Shelby's campaign contributors) disagree with Diamond's economics, but both are ultimately political and Shelby's stated objections are just a smokescreen.

By attempting to rebut Shelby's objections, Diamond simply plays into the narrative, making the argument a disagreement about his qualifications. This is exactly what the Republicans want. Most people aren't in a position to judge the credentials of a high level expert like Diamond, so it's very difficult to get people to care about the issue. But if an obviously qualified appointee were blocked for blatantly political reasons, well, that's different. The Republican framing deflects attention from the real issue.

For another example, see the Sotomayor confirmation with all of its undue attention to her remarks about empathy. The Republicans didn't care about whether empathy was a desirable trait in a judge. What they cared about was tying up Democratic resources and scoring a political victory if they could manage to convince Sotomayor or Obama to withdraw her nomination.

Diamond evidently does not understand politics. Perhaps it's for the best that he withdrew.
posted by jedicus at 8:28 AM on June 6, 2011 [25 favorites]


GOP obstructionism is only half of the problem. There's also Democratic defeatism.

If Diamond hadn't given up on the basis of "we can't get anything done this way," there wouldn't be this new opportunity for the Republicans to git'r done their way, which is a million times worse than a stalemate.

Quit quitting, quitters!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


"capable of garnering bipartisan support in the Senate."
No such candidate exists. What this statement really means is "Do precisely what we demand, or else nothing will get done at all."
posted by 1adam12 at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


Diamond evidently does not understand politics. Perhaps it's for the best that he withdrew.


Actually that should make him a better candidate for the fed board, which is designed to be de-politicized.

(I can't believe that Diamond doesn't realize its politics, I just think he has weirdly decided to take this sort of strange high road on the issue - thinking his logic will de-legitimize Shelby even more. I think the reality is that Shelby's constituencies don't give a fuck either way)
posted by JPD at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


"I want to restate my call for ALL politicians to have to wear patches on their suits - similar to Nascar drivers - for each corporate donation they receive - the larger the amount, the larger the patch. This way we can know exactly where their loyalties lie when they speak in front of Congress."
posted by any major dude at 8:20 AM

The movie "Idiocracy" was not intended as a blueprint to the future.
posted by lothar at 8:38 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Coding a browser plugin that implements any major dude's idea on web pages seems like it would be trivial*. A small dB with the names of each member of Congress, and some code to auto link the name to a popup via Open Secrets every time it appears online.

*Trivial for a real programmer. I might be able to get it working in a couple of months. I suspect a real programmer could bang it out in a few evenings.
posted by COD at 8:41 AM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Quit quitting, quitters!

Quitters gotta quit.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:42 AM on June 6, 2011


This is why liberals come off as weak. Grow a goddamn backbone and fight for your beliefs.
posted by Renoroc at 8:45 AM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Politicians are weird sorts of people and the last people in the world who should be making decisions.
posted by fuq at 8:46 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a pussy. He's quitting cuz he can't stand a little heat from the GOP? The way to fix shit is to get in there and fight, not to take your ball and go home. SACK UP!
posted by spicynuts at 8:48 AM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, I don't think the existing political structure of the US will structurally allow the Republican Party, or any ur-fascist to be defeated. The efficacy of manipulating public will with fear, hatred and the immediacy of action trumping careful scholarly consideration, devaluing of academics and research combined with our two-party multimedia electoral system means that current republican tactics are pretty much ironclad. It's not a matter of sticking in the fight because the fight against ur-fascists can't be won in the American Political system. He might as well go home because he isn't even going to be dealt into the game.
posted by fuq at 8:52 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]



This is why liberals come off as weak.

I think you meant this is why the are weak.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:52 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Woah wait are y'all people saying that liberals need to use violence and violent rhetoric?
posted by fuq at 8:54 AM on June 6, 2011


It's not a matter of sticking in the fight because the fight against ur-fascists can't be won in the American Political system. He might as well go home because he isn't even going to be dealt into the game.

No. If nothing is getting done, nothing bad is getting done. That's half the battle!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:55 AM on June 6, 2011


The problem is that the Republicans have a Plan; they want to kill the government and let the rich do as they please. Everything they do is in furtherance of that plan. They have a strategy and they stick to it.

Until the Democrats come up with a Plan and find a way to articulate it, and then actually stand up for it, they're doomed.
posted by ged at 8:56 AM on June 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, I guess let me clarify that he should go home from trying to be Fed Chairman and playing games with the politicians and try to effect systemic change and reforms through avenues that actually have some chane of success. He tried four times I wouldn't expect him to keep attempting something that didn't work.
posted by fuq at 8:57 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Woah wait are y'all people saying that liberals need to use violence and violent rhetoric?

No, we're just saying to the Democrats®, "Get confidence, stupid!"
posted by Sys Rq at 8:58 AM on June 6, 2011


Trivial for a real programmer. I might be able to get it working in a couple of months. I suspect a real programmer could bang it out in a few evenings.
posted by COD at 11:41 AM on June 6 [+] [!]


COD, The world would owe you a great debt if you created such a thing. In the wake of the Citizen's United case it makes it even more important to know who's buying off which politicians and how much they paid. I know the jacket idea is a pipe dream but it would be really great if we could get non-corporate journalists and possibly tv stations like Current TV and Al-Jazeera to create a scroll along the bottom of the television detailing each politician's biggest donors depending on the topic. In the same vein as NBC has announcing their parent company is GE when reporting on them why shouldn't politicians have to announce how much money they received from an industry before they grandstand on their behalf?
posted by any major dude at 9:05 AM on June 6, 2011


GOP obstructionism is only half of the problem. There's also Democratic defeatism.

Democratic defeatism isn't "part" of it. They literally agreed to give Republicans the power to do this.

The "Gang of 14" was a deal struck by the then-majority Senate GOP to "respect the traditions of the Senate" by not going nuclear, and in exchange Democrats would allow judicial nominations to go for a vote.

Then they lied. They lied, just last week. They pulled the Stevie-Wonder-Could-See-That-Loophole Card, said Goodwin Liu was a "extraordinary exception" and filibustered him. Democrats did nothing. They didn't even address what a total piece of hypocritical bullshit this was.

So let's recap: Republicans gave Democrats a deal to let Republican judicial nominees go through, then told Democrats to go fuck themselves. They will be punished for this by absolutely not a goddamn thing and everyone knows this. And so here we are a week later wondering why this happened? Why it has in fact happened a record number of times for this administration?

Well the usual suspects are about to come in here and explain how this is part of the grand scheme and here's an origami-level-contorted analysis of a policy paper to explain how this is actually the most Successful Presidency Ever!!1! and by the way this is actually all my fault for mentioning this, so I guess I don't know what else to say. If Democrats had remotely a sliver of a desire to actually fix this, they would. But they don't. So.... enjoy the hundreds of vacancies they're setting up for President Romney, guys. Alright, back to clapping harder.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:09 AM on June 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


The problem is that the Republicans have a Plan; they want to kill the government and let the rich do as they please. Everything they do is in furtherance of that plan. They have a strategy and they stick to it.

The Dems have a plan. They want to increase the govt but also let the rich do as they please. These are conflicting desires. At the same time they want to pretend that they care about things like people. The Repubs don't even bother pretending.
posted by spicynuts at 9:10 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Coding a browser plugin that implements any major dude's idea on web pages seems like it would be trivial*. A small dB with the names of each member of Congress, and some code to auto link the name to a popup via Open Secrets every time it appears online.

*Trivial for a real programmer. I might be able to get it working in a couple of months. I suspect a real programmer could bang it out in a few evenings.

The ever-amazing Sunlight Foundation basically does this with Poligraft.

Here are a few paragraphs from the article, which leads you right to Shelby's contributions profile.
posted by soma lkzx at 9:10 AM on June 6, 2011 [9 favorites]




When a Nobel Prize isn't Enough

BTW, the "Nobel Prize" in Economics is more properly the The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel and was created in 1968. It has nothing to do with the original endowment by Alfred Nobel in 1896. Since 2006 it's been given out by the real Nobel Committee (the Sveriges Riksbank gives the them a stipend for administering it as well as continuing to fund the prize), but otherwise it's pretty much like astrologers giving one of their own number a "Nobel Prize" in Astrology. Descendent Peter Nobel has spoken out about this a few times too.

On preview, jinx, willie11. Though my links are different.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:22 AM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


"The Dems have a plan. They want to increase the govt but also let the rich do as they please. These are conflicting desires. At the same time they want to pretend that they care about things like people. The Repubs don't even bother pretending."

First off, they don't have a plan. What you're describing is what ends up happening, but that's obviously not the plan of the Democrats in power or the Democratic Party.

This should be the plan:

1. We believe people should be able to live their own lives and make their own decisions. This means that we believe in reproductive choice, the ability to start a business, the ability to get an education, and the ability to choose our government.

2. We believe that government is intended to be for the benefit of all. This means that it should take care of things like old people, sick people, infrastructure, regulation of business, and impose fair taxation.

3. We believe in responsibility. The government should not run a deficit in good economic times and should pay its bills. Deficit spending is important when the economy sucks, but good economic times are not an excuse to cut taxes. We believe that those that benefit most from being part of this society owe a debt and should be taxed in a fair manner.

That's it. Government is important. It serves a purpose. Tell people why it's important and make sure you don't wuss out.

When the Republicans attack you you need to stand up for what you believe in. Stop wussing out. Stop letting them run the conversation. Give us something that we can get behind.
posted by ged at 9:23 AM on June 6, 2011 [48 favorites]


Changing the cultural goal posts: This year's Nobel Prize just doesn't mean as much as your grandpa's Nobel Prize. I assume we'll be retroactively defrocking the Libertarian favorite Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, too?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:24 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


God damn, ged. That's perfect. Simple.
posted by notsnot at 9:25 AM on June 6, 2011


I assume we'll be retroactively defrocking the Libertarian favorite Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, too?

You mean claiming he didn't win it? He did win it. It's just a question of what he won, and whether it's honestly named. I don't see anyone claiming it's more or less genuine depending on who the winner; I just posted that because of the popular (and deliberately created) misconception implied in the post title. OTOH nobody's claiming that the real Nobels are exactly infallible either; c.f. Tom Leher's famous observation about satire and the Peace prize going to Kissinger.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:32 AM on June 6, 2011




I don't mean this to be snarky, but honestly, why would anyone believe that the Democrats, who are ostensibly as clever and familiar with the political world as Republicans and thus should be able to get things done, have any substantive difference in terms of their priorities? Do you really think that the Dems want a totally different country but just can't get it together for some eternally elusive reason?

If we're guided by hermeneutic parsimony, it seems perfectly clear that the Republicans and the Dems are on the same side, and it's not the side that most Americans are on. If the Dems really want to do the things that democractially-affiliated American citizens want, then why the fuck don't they?
posted by clockzero at 9:33 AM on June 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


OTOH nobody's claiming that the real Nobels are exactly infallible either; c.f. Tom Leher's famous observation about satire and the Peace prize going to Kissinger.

You know who else won a Nobel Peace Prize.....?
posted by chavenet at 9:35 AM on June 6, 2011


Go ahead. Give up. Move to Canada while you're at it.

This is why you're losing.

You've got to fight back. Harder and nobler. No, it's not easy. But when you back down, you let down all of the voiceless people who stand behind you.
posted by Eideteker at 9:36 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


soma lkzx: " The ever-amazing Sunlight Foundation basically does this with Poligraft."

Damn, that's neat. You should FPP that.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:36 AM on June 6, 2011


Quick correction to the article:

"But we should all worry about how distorted the confirmation process has become, and how little understanding of monetary policy anything there is among some of those responsible for its Congressional oversight."
posted by bitmage at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2011


Put another way: it's a commonly-held liberal perception that conservative voters' interests are not well-served by their elected representatives' apparent priorities. It's not uncommon to hear well-meaning liberal folks agonizing over the apparent inability of conservative voters to see this. And yet, with Democratic officials, liberal voters seem equally unable to connect the lack of initiative to true priorities.
posted by clockzero at 9:44 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Diamond evidently does not understand politics. Perhaps it's for the best that he withdrew.

Yeah, you had me until that last sentence. That's silly.
posted by mediareport at 9:44 AM on June 6, 2011


But when you back down, you let down all of the voiceless people who stand behind you.

Vanguardism?!
posted by fuq at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2011


The problem is that the Republicans have a Plan; they want to kill the government and let the rich do as they please.

Do you really believe this? Really?
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:53 AM on June 6, 2011


Do you really think that the Dems want a totally different country but just can't get it together for some eternally elusive reason?

Democratic blogger Digby puzzles until her puzzler is sore over these kinds of things.

... I accept that there will be some faithless Dems who will cross over and give Bush his "bipartisan" cover. ... But I never in a million years thought that we would re-run 2004 again, and the prospect of having to watch our candidates do verbal gymnastics explaining why they didn't vote for the one thing that could have ended the war --- de-funding --- is almost incomprehensible. Every single day the Republicans are on television trash talking the Dems, saying, "if you are so against this war why won't you use the power o' the purse!" Here we have an opportunity for the presidential candidates to take a free shot and shut down this line of argument right now --- and they aren't jumping at the chance. ... Maybe I don't understand politics. But I would swear that this war and the president who insists on escalating it are extremely unpopular and that anyone who wants to lead the nation would be looking for ways to win a majority of votes.
posted by Trurl at 9:53 AM on June 6, 2011


"The problem is that the Republicans have a Plan; they want to kill the government and let the rich do as they please.

Do you really believe this? Really?"

Yes. Yes I do.
posted by ged at 9:54 AM on June 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


COD: "Coding a browser plugin that implements any major dude's idea on web pages seems like it would be trivial*. A small dB with the names of each member of Congress, and some code to auto link the name to a popup via Open Secrets every time it appears online.

*Trivial for a real programmer. I might be able to get it working in a couple of months. I suspect a real programmer could bang it out in a few evenings.
"

You could prolly make a greasemonkey script to do such a thing. (and by you, I mean, like you say "a real programmer" which, I, also, am not)
posted by symbioid at 9:56 AM on June 6, 2011


Do you really believe this? Really?
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:53 PM on June 6 [+] [!]



My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub. - Grover Norquist
posted by any major dude at 9:57 AM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


What a pussy. He's quitting cuz he can't stand a little heat from the GOP? The way to fix shit is to get in there and fight, not to take your ball and go home. SACK UP!

It's not really the nominees job to beat his head agianst a wall. The Repubs have made it clear that they'll block his nomination.

It's up to the Obama Administration, and Congressional Dems, to push his nomination through, if they really want it.
posted by orthogonality at 9:59 AM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Do you really believe this? Really?

Can't speak for the original commenter. But I do. In my experience, Republicans look at the government exclusively as a tool to be used to advance their personal ambitions and the financial interests of the businesses and industries they represent. Period. Every appointment is a political investment with an expected, redeemable value in the future, and every decision is directly or indirectly motivated either by a personal financial stake or out of personal spite. Recent generations of Republican pols have been consummate, highly-effective opportunists--but they aren't looking for opportunities to rally popular support for or to improve the scope and functioning of the government.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:02 AM on June 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


"It's up to the Obama Administration, and Congressional Dems, to push his nomination through, if they really want it."

This. This is exactly right.

The Democrats need to work together, because right now each nominee ends up having to defend themselves against the Republican Noise Machine.

On a larger level, that also means that Democrats need to start standing up for each other. Is Fox attacking a Democratic senator unfairly? Then it's the job of each and every elected Democrat to stand up for them on the Sunday shows, and on every media outlet they can find. Present a united front and stop letting the Republicans kick your ass every week.
posted by ged at 10:05 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The trouble with the dems is that if people have to choose between those who act --even act horribly-- and those who seem congenitally incapable of taking any action without asking everyone around them first, and then STILL not taking action, people will go with those who have a vision, no matter how awful that vision may be. Dems are mired in worrying about offending or not being inclusive when they should be worried about getting shit done no matter who it pisses off. Repubs have no such cross to bear.
posted by umberto at 10:06 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know who put it really well? H.P. Lovecraft:

"How can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical 'American heritage'…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead."

As true today as in 1936.
posted by ged at 10:07 AM on June 6, 2011 [34 favorites]


In Google Chrome, hit Control-Shift-N, paste in the article URL, read as many as you like.
Yup. Or you can just press 'stop' in your browser before the page finishes loading.
Diamond evidently does not understand politics. Perhaps it's for the best that he withdrew.
Or, more likely, he's pretending to misunderstand, and just wants to get it "on the record" why he wasn't nominated.
No such candidate exists. What this statement really means is "Do precisely what we demand, or else nothing will get done at all."
Not true. All Obama has to do is nominate a republican or hard-core conservative and republicans will vote for him, and also, demorats will vote for him in order to make sure the president gets a "win"

Also, this blog post from fellow nobel lauriate Paul Krugman sums up a lot of what's wrong with the curring thinking in DC, and how Obama played along and now, politically, is fucked. He hoped the economy wouldn't recover on it's own, and apparently got scared by the political backlash over stimulus so he didn't do it. The result: A shitty economy and now more stimulus is long off the table. Of course, I suppose Obama could just suck it up and say we need more stimulus now, but I doubt he would do that.

---

Anyway, Obama should have just given everyone he wanted nominated recess appointments as soon as possible. His first term is over half empty, and he hasn't gotten a lot of nominees in place.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Democrats need to work together, because right now each nominee ends up having to defend themselves against the Republican Noise Machine.

You're assuming that the most powerful millionaire Democrats in Congress actually want someone like Diamond on the Fed board. I think that's a generous assumption.
posted by mediareport at 10:15 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mediareport - I'm saying that Democrats need to stand up for each other, and standing up for nominees is part of that. If they can't manage to defend someone they're nominating then they need to nominate someone else.
posted by ged at 10:16 AM on June 6, 2011


"The problem is that the Republicans have a Plan; they want to kill the government and let the rich do as they please."

Do you really believe this? Really?

House Republicans are specifically questioning if letting the entire American economy collapse would be good for them in the 2012 election.

Maybe it's time you start explaining how you're not believing this. Do you really think these people aren't contemplating how easy it would be to blame the President for defaulting on the national debt?

"I hope he fails."
-Rush Limbaugh, January 21, 2009
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:17 AM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


"The problem is that the Republicans have a Plan; they want to kill the government and let the rich do as they please.

Do you really believe this? Really?"


I honestly don't want to be that cynical but I, personally, am having a very hard time reconciling the behavior of the Republican leadership with the stated concerns about deficit spending. The behavior of
  • decrying the very real issue of spending more than we bring in
  • kneecapping expenditures that could improve the economy - the only real way to cope with our deficit, since growing our way out of it is significantly more possible than cutting our way out of it
  • and then continuing deficit spending on OTHER things
makes it hard not to be cynical.

The cognitive dissonance is so extreme that it's hard NOT to think that there's a real effort to spend into a catastrophe such that outright killing almost all social spending is the only way to cope. I really don't want to believe that anyone would be that short-sighted. I honestly think the majority of people enter politics out of a desire to really accomplish something.

But at some point it becomes almost impossible not to wonder if there's not a sizable percentage who believe the inevitable result is the only way to get the cuts & social change they want. Is it possible that there are people who would eschew small fixes to social security/medicare/medicaid so that the inevitable kaboom lets them kill it? I'm coming more and more to think it may be true.

I still resist the grand republican conspiracy theory, though. Some party member are this bloodless but not all. I think there's still legitimate, principled players. The problem is whether it's a meaningless distinction when those folks are willing to play along with the shenanigans.
posted by phearlez at 10:17 AM on June 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


I see Shelby in the grocery store from time to time, if you want me to pass on a personalized message (that won't get me arrested).

That'd be easy enough - just don't get caught.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:18 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm saying that Democrats need to stand up for each other, and standing up for nominees is part of that.

And I'm saying that "Democrats" includes many kinds of people, and unfortunately, the Democrats in the Senate are mostly the kind of people who are more comfortable protecting the profits of big banks than they are helping the unemployed poor. Good luck getting them to stand together for anyone other than Bank of America.
posted by mediareport at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


mediareport - I think you're right, and I think if that's the case then they need to nominate someone they can defend.
posted by ged at 10:22 AM on June 6, 2011


Obama needs to use the bully pulpit. He needs to take these issues to the public and call these fuckers out for the two-faced whores they are.

I know some people say he can't do that because he has to work with Congress again. But guess what? No, he doesn't. He's a whole 'nother branch of government. The Democrats have to work with the Republicans, but the Prez doesn't. The Democrats in Congress are his proxy, though - and he needs to go to bat for them.

It's waaaaaay past the time for decorum. Grow a pair, already. Go down swinging instead of wheedling and capitulating.

The really sad thing is the public would have more respect for them if they drew a line a fought. Why they don't get that is a mystery to me.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


He needs to call out the blue dog obstructionists, too.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:26 AM on June 6, 2011


XQUZYPHYR: " "I hope he fails.""

You know, I don't like Rush either, but hoping the guy who wants to do stuff you don't agree with isn't successful at doing the stuff you don't agree with is pretty much par for the course. In a season full of "second amendment solutions," this was actually pretty tame rhetoric, and Rush has said and done other stuff that's way, way worse.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:28 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Democrats have to work with the Republicans, but the Prez doesn't. The Democrats in Congress are his proxy, though - and he needs to go to bat for them.

Again, many of "the Democrats in Congress" are part of the right-wing, pro-corporate bank anti-poor people problem. And many of us see Obama as part of that problem, too. Just look at what he's focused on over his first couple of years - his much-hyped mortgage relief program for the people screwed at the bottom is a toothless failure but profits at bailed-out banks and investment firms are sky high. That's what Obama has done. Why should we believe it's not what he wanted?
posted by mediareport at 11:01 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


ged--you nailed it, and you reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from The West Wing about those of us who are stuck calling ourselves "Democrats," not because the Democratic Party represents us, but because we're not "Republicans":
I'm tired of working for candidates who make me think that I should be embarrassed to believe what I believe! I'm tired of getting them elected! We all need some therapy, because somebody came along and said, "'Liberal' means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we're gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn't have to go to work if they don't want to!" And instead of saying, "Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave It To Beaver trip back to the Fifties," we cowered in the corner and said, "Please. Don't. Hurt. Me."

No more. I really don't care who's right, who's wrong. We're both right. We're both wrong. Let's have two parties, huh? What do you say?
posted by tzikeh at 11:18 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


tzikeh, exactly. I've never forgotten that speech. I take that tone with a teabagger I work with when he calls Obama a socialist. I say "I'm a socialist and I can tell you right now Obama is anything but one".
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:23 AM on June 6, 2011


"It's not really the nominees job to beat his head agianst a wall. The Repubs have made it clear that they'll block his nomination.

It's up to the Obama Administration, and Congressional Dems, to push his nomination through, if they really want it."


Oh, I agree. I was actually referring to the collective "you," 2nd person plural. Democrats/Liberals/Progressives/whatever they're calling themselves now.

I'm not a Democrat, personally, but in the absence of a semi-viable third party or the time to organize one from the grassroots myself, I have to throw in with the lesser evil. But it would be a whole hell of a lot nicer if I felt like TPTB were helping me help them push the car the GOP drove into the ditch back onto the road.

(Democrats: "Don't give them back the keys." Me: "I don't really think either of you is in a fit state to drive." And yet, if I try to drive, I'll end up getting arrested. Stupid anti-treason laws. I just wanted a little coup, just a little one.)
posted by Eideteker at 11:49 AM on June 6, 2011


I see Shelby in the grocery store from time to time, if you want me to pass on a personalized message (that won't get me arrested).

Ask him where he got that flying silver ball that buries whirling blades into its target's forehead. I gotta get me one of those.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:01 PM on June 6, 2011


Obama needs to use the bully pulpit. He needs to take these issues to the public and call these fuckers out for the two-faced whores they are..

I think you are making the mistake here of believing that Obama and the GOP are really on different sides. Because every one of his appointments to the Fed plus many others (check out his Agricultural Department appointee) say otherwise.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:11 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Capable of garnering bipartisan support in the Senate" means "Will do whatever we tell them to do so we can get Obama out of office" to Republicans. The only motivation for bipartisanship-compromise to achieve a result that benefits all-is considered either surrender or disloyalty to the party now. There are few true moderates left, and their numbers get smaller every election.

As long as Republicans consider Democrats not the opposing party but The Enemy Which Must Be Destroyed, and the federal government a corrupt, evil entity, you'll never see compromise. Because how do you compromise when you're in a Holy War?
posted by Not The Stig at 12:14 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The movie "Idiocracy" was not intended as a blueprint to the future.

I'm starting to suspect time-travelling documentary makers. Only they were too simple to explain it clearly to studio execs, who assumed it was a minor social commentary hiding as a comedy.
posted by LD Feral at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2011


> The way to fix shit is to get in there and fight, not to take your ball and go home. SACK UP!

posted by spicynuts at 8:48 AM on June 6


Eponywhatsis
posted by mmrtnt at 12:33 PM on June 6, 2011


> A small dB with the names of each member of Congress, and some code to auto link the name to a popup via Open Secrets every time it appears online.

How I see this being done:

A string of tiny logos behind each politician's name as it appears in print in the browser - mousing over the logos pops up tooltips with the amount and year of donations.

This is a Greasemonkey script waiting to happen.
posted by mmrtnt at 12:39 PM on June 6, 2011


I'm starting to suspect time-travelling documentary makers.

The truth is always so banal :) In fact, Idiocracy was a horridly dumbed down rip off Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" without ever crediting Kornbluth. The Kornbluth story is a classic. The Mike Drudge movie is a piece of crap.

posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:14 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Mike Drudge movie is a piece of crap.

Judge. Mike Judge. You know, the Beavis & Butt-head guy? Mike Judge and Matt Drudge are two very different people.

Also, "The Marching Morons" was itself a ripoff of Just Imagine with the roles inverted.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:29 PM on June 6, 2011


Bipartisan support is what you look for in a bra or boxer briefs not in a technocrat.
posted by srboisvert at 2:49 PM on June 6, 2011


Hmm. OpenSecrets even has an API. This might actually not be that hard. I think it might be time to dive into Greasemonkey. (Alternately, if anyone is getting started on this already, I'd love to help.)
posted by CrystalDave at 3:16 PM on June 6, 2011


Coding a browser plugin that implements any major dude's idea on web pages seems like it would be trivial*. A small dB with the names of each member of Congress, and some code to auto link the name to a popup via Open Secrets every time it appears online.

Even better idea: Build a live-video plugin that dynamically superimposes the corporate contributors' logos over politicians' faces, a la The Laughing Man. Only a politician free from corporate money would visually register as an actual human being.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:51 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


In that vein:
Yesterday, Sunlight Labs officially launching Inbox Influence, the latest addition to its suite of political influence tools. Inbox Influence is a browser extension that adds political influence data to your Gmail messages. With Inbox Influence installed, you'll see information on the sender of each email, the company from which it's sent, and any politician, company, union or political action committee mentioned in the body of the email. The information is added unobtrusively and nearly instantaneously, and includes campaign contributions, fundraisers and lobbying activity. You can use it to add context to news alerts, political mailers and corporate emails, or just to see who your friends donated to in the last election. We hope that the tool will be of interest to journalists, activists and anyone interested in seeing the political activity of the people and organizations they communicate with.
posted by phearlez at 8:25 AM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]




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