The Art of the Deal

There’s an interesting but telling sentence in Mort Kondracke’s column considering whether President Obama will make a deal with Republicans on spending. Here it is:

Republicans impeached Clinton, and still he reached deals with them to balance the budget and enact welfare reform.

I think this is a mis-stating of the sequence of events. A more accurate formulation would be “Bill Clinton reached deals with Republicans to balance the budget and enact welfare reform but they impeached him anyway.” That formulation might go some way towards explaining the zero-sum approach that President Obama has taken towards negotiations during his presidency.

Nonetheless, I agree with the general thrust of the piece:

Certainly, the political gridlock of his first term was not all his fault. But he’s the president, and by every historical standard of negotiating leadership in partisan times — Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton — he falls short.

President Obama will get what he wants or we’re going over the cliff.

56 comments… add one
  • michael reynolds

    I think that’s utter nonsense.

    The GOP wants to eliminate deductions: will not name a single one.

    The GOP wants cuts to entitlements: will not name a single specific.

    The GOP restates its insistence that the Bush cuts be made permanent despite the fact that we just had an election on that matter, and despite the fact that 6 in 10 Americans polled believe Mr. Obama has a mandate to raise taxes on the top 2%.

    But it’s Obama’s fault. Baloney.

  • michael reynolds

    The polling:

    And significant majorities believe Obama holds a clear mandate from the election on issues related to this subject:

    -68 percent say he has a mandate on cutting taxes for families earning less than $250,000 per year.

    -65 percent say he has a mandate on reducing the deficit by both increasing taxes on the wealthy and reducing federal spending.

    -And 59 percent say he has a mandate on eliminating the Bush-era tax cuts for household income over $250,000 a year.

    Your earlier statement that Obama does not have a mandate is clearly wrong. If the people believe he has a mandate, he has a mandate. That’s what makes a mandate a mandate.

    http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/12/15870087-nbcwsj-poll-public-wants-compromise-to-avoid-fiscal-cliff?lite

  • I think you’re misreading what I’m saying. As I’ve said persistently, I have no attachment to the present tax rates. I opposed them when the Republicans enacted them a decade ago. I opposed them when Democrats re-authorized them two years ago. I oppose them now.

    The complete extent of what I am saying is that President Obama is sticking to his guns on his insistence on increasing taxes on the top income earners and I see few signs that he’s willing to cut a deal on spending cuts. That’s it.

  • As to my being wrong, it happens all of the time. Probably because I express an opinion, as based in facts as I can make it, but imperfect. As my annual predictions suggest, I’ve been right considerably more frequently than I’ve been wrong.

    Here’s the poll you’ve referenced. Essentially, it reproduces the election results, not entirely surprising since so little time has passed.

    I think you’re misinterpreting the mandate/no mandate questions. Here they are

    Cutting taxes for working families earning less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars per year

    Reducing the federal deficit by both increasing taxes on the wealthy and reducing federal spending

    Eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those with higher incomes over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars per year

    Moving forward and implementing the healthcare law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court sometimes referred to as Obamacare

    There certainly isn’t a consensus about any of them but there are two that are reasonably close, the first and second with 68% and 65%, respectively agreeing that the president has a mandate to do those things. On the other two I’d say it was just a majority. By comparison nearly 3/4s of Americans said that President Bush had a mandate to fight terrorism in 2004. That’s not a defense since I disagreed with practically everything that George W. Bush did. It’s just a basis of comparison.

    The problem is that nobody, the president included, is proposing either of those things. The president isn’t proposing lowering taxes on individuals earning less than $250,000 (he’s proposing leaving them where they are). He isn’t proposing cutting the deficit by a combination of tax increases and spending cuts since his tax increases are just about the same size as his proposed spending increases.

    But, once again, I’m not blaming everything on the president. I don’t think he’s just an innocent bystander, either.

  • michael reynolds

    Obama’s doing what he 1) Told the voters he’d do, and 2) They elected him to do, and 3) Apparently still want him to do by even larger margins. The Republicans are the great fans of cuts and when we ask them what it is they want to cut, we get nothing. Boehner has not named a single cut. Nor has Boehner named a single exemption he’d cancel. All he has done so far is restate his loyalty to Grover Norquist, despite the fact that his own voters want him to compromise and in fact he has no choice in the end.

    Now, I understand why Boehner wouldn’t name any cuts, because polling also shows that by hefty margins the voters don’t really want cuts in anything worth cutting. Republicans talk a good game on cuts until you get to actually naming something other than foreign aid and some mythical “Waste, fraud and abuse.” And I certainly understand why he’s scared to be any more specific about exemptions — because we all know what the exemptions are, and we all know what the polling would tell us.

    Obama has named 1.4 in taxes – down by 200 billion – and IIRC suggested 400 billion off Medicare. Boehner has thus far offered bupkis. So this is not a case of both sides do it, this is the GOP refusing to back up its own rhetoric with specifics. It’s of a piece with majority leader McConnell filibustering his own bill on debt ceiling. To put it plainly: Republicans are full of shit. They talk a good game, they love to rile up the base, and when it comes to specifics they hide in the bushes.

    And they are being intransigent in a battle they literally cannot win, unless by “win” we mean raise taxes on working people and the middle class.

  • PD Shaw

    I’ll have to watch this Lincoln movie that apparently is giving rise to his reputation as a great negotiator. Lincoln’s policy preferences (Union, limit slavery, Clay’s economic plans, and free soil) were the policy preferences of a majority of Congress once the South pulled out. His negotiations were between people with similar objectives, but differences in means and tactics. Some of his most stormy controversies were of institutional prerogatives; he wouldn’t compromise executive supremacy on matters of war, including slavery.

    It appears that Obama’s highest priority is increasing marginal rates on the rich and the highest priority of the Republicans in the House is not to increase marginal rates. Nineteen House Democrats are on record as opposing any marginal tax rate increases, at least until the economy recovers. I don’t think Lincoln had any similar opposition, and very likely would have gravitated towards the House Democratic position.

  • jan

    When polling is done about taxing the ‘rich,’ it’s nothing more than a NIMBY poll, as no one considers themselves as part of that narrow-gauged ‘rich’ 1-2% faction. Consequently, when a majority are in favor of this, it is the same as saying, “Go get the other guy’s money!” Sweet!

    However, even the decidedly rich people, who publicly support the taxing-the-rich’ concept, are doing everything they can to help shelter the truly rich people’s assets. Warren Buffet just bought over a billion dollars from an unnamed investor to help him avoid extra taxation in the coming year. Google, as stated the other day, has almost 10 billion dollars stashed in Bermuda halving it’s tax liabilities. Today, it’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, is labeling this move as good capitalism. If this were a republican entity I think he and others would call it greedy capitalism and tax evasion (much like they incessantly labeled Romney’s overseas accounts, which were not, ironically, in tax evasive accounts). Go figure the double and hypocritical standard that is being applied more and more by the left, in smearing the right while deflecting, dismissing or re-naming their own attempts to shelter their own money.

    Furthermore, while the social progressives love to tout how many people are behind taxing the rich, there are other public measurements out there saying that: 1) the majority believe that government is broken (Fox poll coming out today); 2) the majority of people don’t think that taxing the rich will solve the deficit problems; 3) the majority of people think that whatever money is collected from the rich will go for more spending than addressing the deficit; 4) the majority of people think that the debt/deficit problems need spending cuts too, in order to bring the deficit genuinely down.

    Even the cuts the dems are proposing are disingenuous, as many are related to cutting back on proposed increases — that’s a ‘cut’ in their government jargon that defines terms.

    The Republicans are the great fans of cuts and when we ask them what it is they want to cut, we get nothing.

    Neither party is being specific as to what they want to cut. Obama has vaguely cited medicare in his cuts. But, both parties are reticent in directly naming areas to cut, as there would probably be a public outcry demonizing that cut.

    Obama has named 1.4 in taxes – down by 200 billion – and IIRC suggested 400 billion off Medicare.

    Like the budget that Obama frivolously proposed earlier, which didn’t garner a single vote from either side of the aisle, this 1.4 figure is projected to not even pass Senate mustard, let alone the House.

    Again, this is a NIMBY society. Every area that could be pared down is railed against as sacrosanct by the special interest group who is a recipient of that benefit — whether it’s a farming subsidy, health or retirement benefits, welfare, food stamps, ad infinitum ….

  • I think you’re misreading what I’m saying.

    No kidding. But facts and Michael are not very compatible.

    I think you’re misinterpreting the mandate/no mandate questions. Here they are

    Again, no kidding. You didn’t get the numbers on those questions,

    Cutting taxes for working families earning less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars per year: 68%

    Reducing the federal deficit by both increasing taxes on the wealthy and reducing federal spending: 65%

    Eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those with higher incomes over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars per year: 59%

    Moving forward and implementing the healthcare law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court sometimes referred to as Obamacare: 53%

    The idea of not making spending cuts as part of the “people’s will” is not supported by the poll you link to Michael.

    In fact, later on in the poll we get this question:

    Would you be willing to accept cuts to an important federal government program you care about or an increase in federal taxes in order to reach an agreement between Republicans and Democrats to deal with the fiscal cliff?

    Yes: 67%
    No: 24%
    Not sure: 9%

    There is also this question:

    And, which one of these, if any, would cause you the most concern (RANDOMIZE) – increase in tax rates, spending cuts to military programs, or spending cuts to domestic programs or would none of these cause you concern?

    RESPONSES RANKED BY HIGHEST PERCENTAGE
    Increase in tax rates: 21%
    Spending cuts to military programs: 13%
    Spending cuts to domestic programs: 11%
    None would cause concern: 4%
    All equally (VOL): 5%
    Not sure: 1%

    Granted that is about the mandated cuts assuming we go over the “cliff”. But note the ranking by the “voters”. Tax increases are the biggest concern. Spending cuts to domestic programs is third.

    You claim that this poll supports your position Michael but when I look at the actual numbers it is clear that either you didn’t read the poll or you are being misleading about it.

    We have some very serious problems from a fiscal stand point that go beyond just this fiscal cliff. I’ll list them:

    1. Medicare,
    2. Social Security,
    3. Public employee pension programs at the state level.

    All told these programs in the near term (say 10 to 20 years) have a price tag in the trillions of dollars.

    We need to reform both the spending side and the tax side. I know you love the partisan bullshit, but that stuff is a hindrance to our solving these problems.

    No for my prediction: Michael is going to go nuts about teachers and Obama being black and somehow my rage against him is fueled by racism and a “house negro” attitude.

    Don’t disappoint Michael.

  • jan

    While Obama supporters always boost about his efforts to ‘compromise,’ this is certainly not the observation of the other half of the country. Instead of sitting down with members of Congress, every day if need be, Obama struts around more like a DC community organizer than a POTUS, going to the people and expounding a one-sided argument, as he pounds on the opposition party. This is a tactic to get his way, and is not solution-oriented in reaching a mutual compromisse with his Congressional peers.

    And, while Obama did win the election, he only won 51% of the hearts and minds of the people who actually voted, versus 48% who voted for the other guy with the other vision. He would be wise to look over to Egypt, where Morsi also won 51% of the vote to his opponent’s 48%, and the streets are now filled with revolt because the ‘mandate’ he saw in his own election was apparently not accepted by an almost equal number of people who didn’t vote for him.

    This was a fragile win by Obama, dealing with fragile economic times. He should get off his prompous perch and engage with all the ideas out there, instead of standing on some kind of non-existant mandate.

  • Neither party is being specific as to what they want to cut. Obama has vaguely cited medicare in his cuts. But, both parties are reticent in directly naming areas to cut, as there would probably be a public outcry demonizing that cut.

    Right. Both sides would attack the other that makes any specific proposal on cuts. Obama says, “Lets cut X by n%,” and the Republicans would run with that. The Republicans say, “Lets cut Y by m%,” and the Democrats run with that. It is very much like the prisoner’s dilemma in but in this case it the choices are:

    Propose Cuts/Don’t Propose Cuts

    If you propose cuts and the other side does not, then you are hurt. If you both propose cuts you might be hurt, but not nearly as much (you could even have a small positive payoff here). If you both don’t propose cuts you aren’t hurt at all (or have the largest positive payoff). Politically. However, from an economic policy viewpoint it is possibly the worst outcome of the game.

  • jan

    Steve Verdon

    An excellent response to Michael.

    I think I second Drew’s comment about voting for you for President, as you are able to succinctly cut a significant portion of the partisan bs out of the fiscal cliff equation

  • This was a fragile win by Obama, dealing with fragile economic times.

    Yes, and historic. Obama won, but did so with even less margin than his first win. My understanding is that this makes his win “historic” in that a sitting President, when he wins, usually wins by a margin larger than his first win.

    Citing Jane’s Law would seem appropriate:

    “The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.”

    Obama is smug and arrogant and the Republicans are insane. This is not ideal at a time like this.

    But I have to go clean my room now. Right Michael?

  • As an example of the proposing cuts problem here are two examples.

    1. Bush proposed reforms to Social Security. The Democrats responded with a cartoon of Bush pushing a little old lady off a cliff in a wheel chair.

    2. Obama proposes limitations on Medicare and the Republicans went bonkers with signs about the government keeping their hands off Medicare (talk about cognitive dissonance).

    Neither side showed even the slightest interest in considering if the proposed policies were reasonable or proposing a counter proposal. They presented and attack opportunity and in both cases the non-proposing side went with attack.

  • By God, Sunoco finally came through.

  • jan

    Citing Jane’s Law would seem appropriate:

    “The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.”

    Obama is smug and arrogant and the Republicans are insane. This is not ideal at a time like this.

    Steve Verdon,

    That is so apropos and brilliantly descriptive of the temperament and consequential behavior of the two parties! I never heard of this Jane’s Law, but will now never forget it.

    So what do you do? Give one party, the dems, a chiropractic attitude adjustment, and the other party, the republicans, Prozac?

  • Sometimes insanity is the only way to puncture smug.

  • TastyBits

    I believe that proposing budget or deduction cuts could be done without catastrophic consequences. The biggest obstacles are philosophical consistency and intellectual honesty. The usual choices are all my way or all the other guy’s way, but a solution is not to create a compromise everybody hates. I think that the polls show that a well thought out and reasoned proposal would be acceptable to many people.

    The old people I know do not want to bankrupt their children and grandchildren, but they do not want Social Security and Medicare slashed. They would accept reasonable reforms. The biggest problem today is that because of the economy many need those programs. The zero interest policy has destroyed their retirement funds. I know older folks who have gone back to work or have not stopped working because of this.

    Sen. Coburn seems to be able to come up with a lot of reasonable solutions, and they include tax increases and spending cuts. The problem is that there are special interests for each of the items. It also does not further anybody’s political interests.

  • michael reynolds

    The idea of not making spending cuts as part of the “people’s will” is not supported by the poll you link to Michael.

    Yeah, not what I said. I said we know well why Boehner has zero suggestions on cuts. Because as we both know the American people take SS and Medicare off the table. A majority of Republicans oppose cuts in Medicare, let alone Democrats. The American people do not have a clue about the budget or where the money goes. They think it goes to foreign aid and welfare.

    What am I willing to cut? I’d means-test SS, ditto Medicare. These are transfer programs (however much we disguise that) and it’s absurd and wrong to move money from a working man’s pockets into the pockets of a rich man. I don’t pay taxes so the asshole in the brown Mercedes who cut me off the other day (he knows who he is) can collect government largesse. I pay it so that working people can have a decent quality of life.

    I’d also cut defense. We have no large-scale threat.

    Those are the big three. I’m happy to reduce spending on all three, granting that we should do it slowly. And I’m sure I’d agree to some cuts in discretionary.

    In terms of revenue I voted to raise my taxes. I’d raise the contribution limit on payroll taxes — if that was still necessary after means-testing benefits. I’d cap mortgage deductions and probably phase them out entirely. I’d tighten up on the charitable deduction. Sorry, but I don’t think the ballet is a charity, and I don’t think most of what churches do is a charity. If you’re feeding the homeless, great. If you’re paying your pastor, no.

    So, sorry to disappoint you, Steve, but I have always been a moderate on these things. Unlike you I do not believe that the government is violence or that taxation is slavery. I’m not your counterpart — you’re an extremist and I’m not.

    None of which alters my continued contempt for right-wing racism and nativism and anti-intellectualism and sheer bloody-minded stupidity — half of Republicans do not believe our president was born in this country, and yet believe the world is 6000 years old and imagine they are being watched by angels — and the effect of all that on our politics.

  • Drew

    “The GOP wants to eliminate deductions: will not name a single one.”

    People should note that President Obama claimed in 2011 that deduction elimination could raise twice what Republicans are claiming.

    Now if I was a cynic (snicker) I’d say Obama is simply playing politics on this issue. And since I don’t think Reynolds is pathetically stupid, I can only assume his commentary is dishonest.

  • michael reynolds

    Drew:

    I missed the part where you, or your candidate, (to refresh your memory, his name was Romney), or your party’s leader, Mr. Boehner, named the deductions you’d eliminate.

    Also missed the part where I denied that eliminating deductions would raise money.

    In fact, I assume there’s going to be some of that since raising rates on the top 2% doesn’t appear to make the nut. But as a simple matter of fairness, wouldn’t the party that campaigned on eliminating deductions want to finally take this opportunity to name some? I mean, since Mr. Romney just kept forgetting?

    Come on Mr. Speaker, man up: name some cuts (we have) and name some revenue (we have.)

  • Unlike you I do not believe that the government is violence or that taxation is slavery.

    Not my fault you are blind to the nature of government. The only thing that separates government from any other organization that it can legal use force against its citizens…even when unprovoked.

    As to the rest of your post, it is amazing that you have to be such a giant f*cking asshole when commenting. If you go back and dredge up my old post at OTB regarding the various cuts and tax proposals using the Simpson-Bowles report you’d probably find considerable agreement there. Or to quote Dave’s comment on my suggestions for cuts and taxes “surprisingly middle of the road” (going from memory, but that was the gist of it IIRC).

    As for Obama’s failure…yes he is a failure. As is Boehner and all the rest. It is their job to tell people that, “Hey, we have a problem with regards to spending and taxes. We can’t keep going the way we have been going. Everybody is going to have shoulder some degree of burden. Yeah it isn’t nice, but well this is where we are.” The go on and propose some spending cuts. But neither side can resist the opportunity to run attacks based on said proposals. As such we are stuck in a situation where no spending cuts are proposed and the “can” is going to be kicked to the road again…until it can’t be kicked anymore.

    At that point…Dave’s fears of hyperinflation or a currency crisis may very well materialize. But to be clear, we’ll get there because both the Oval Office and Congress are populated with venal nebbishes.

  • Nope, you ain’t pretty, SteveV, even if you are smart.

  • Drew

    Great Moments in complete hypocricy: Warren Buffet

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/berkshire-buyback-idUSL1E8NCITK20121212?feedType=RSS&feedName=rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews&rpc=22

    Michael

    I’ll take that as a complete and total capitulation that Obama belongs in Warren Buffet’s Hypocricy Hall of Fame. An alternative would be the Nancy Pelosi Great Idiots/Liars Society – We have to pass the bill so we can see what its says. Obama: I know I said we could easily do it without rate increases, and with deduction elimination…………..but that was yesterday, and I have buffoons who will conveniently forget and cover for me despite how foolish it makes them look.

  • michael reynolds

    Steve:

    We can’t keep going the way we have been going. Everybody is going to have shoulder some degree of burden. Yeah it isn’t nice, but well this is where we are.

    Obama has told people that we will 1) Have to raise revenue and 2) Make some cuts. Which means he’s telling roughly twice as much truth as the Republicans. I’d raise more revenue and make more cuts than he would (or my party would) because it offends me to shove my interest payments off on my kids. It offends me that they will be paying my debts rather than making their own discrete decisions on government priorities. I think that’s immoral, in addition to being unsustainable.

    But here is why this is mostly on the GOP. We have a two party system. The Democrats are supposed to be the bleeding hearts looking out for widows and orphans. The mommy party. Right? The Republicans are supposed to be the responsible, head-shaking, “how are you going to pay for that?” green eyeshade party. The daddy party. Right?

    Unfortunately, daddy is a reckless drunk. Mom is still mom, but dad has lost his fucking mind. Mom is now the responsible one relatively speaking. You can’t have symbiosis, or whatever you want to call this co-dependent relationship, when one side is behaving more or less as it always has, and the other side is off at a birther meeting with Donald Trump ranting about more aircraft carriers and cutting taxes because the apocalypse is coming.

    We are trying harder than the Republicans are to balance the budget. Now, you don’t like the way we’re doing it? Fine. But we’re at least making some effort. We are the ones saying, “This family needs to make more money and tighten its belt.” Our opposite numbers are saying, “Let’s make less money and we’ll make it up by cutting back on magic fairy dust.”

    How are we supposed to negotiate the difficult details of government with people who will not even admit the president is an American? How do you negotiate with lunatics? These are people who outsourced their brains to Grover Norquist. We believe in science, they believe in Jesus on a dinosaur. We believe in Nate Silver, they believe in magical thinking. You may think we’re mushy and too generous and whatever, but we are part of reality. And they have checked out of reality. Republicans aren’t just failing in their task as “daddy party,” they are failing in their jobs as “people living in the 21st century.”

    As a person who pays an ass-load of taxes I would love to pay less. That would be fun. I would love to not hang my head in shame when I pass my government debts onto my kids. I have always wanted to focus government on defense and on maintaining a decent life for all American citizens, offering support when that support was necessary. But as a moderate Democrat, as a fairly rare Democrat who would be happy to means test SS and medicare, I have to tell you I have given up trying to be reasonable with Republicans. These are not the Republicans I grew up with. I am tired of us having to drag these retarded embarrassments around like so much dead weight and tired of having to talk to the mentally unbalanced. Screw ’em, they’re idiots.

  • michael reynolds

    Drew:

    Mitt the Magic Millionaire had seven years to run for president and came up with ORCA. Explain.

  • Drew

    Jane’s Addiction is more entertaining.

    Michael

    You little evader, you.

  • Drew, you do have to admit that some of them are jerks of the worst kind.

  • Hell, my husband was a registered Democrat, but he voted Republican.

    He ran for city judge a long time ago.

  • Your Romney and your Golden Boy VP plainly cain’t cut it.

  • steve

    First principles. I still believe in old fashioned fiscal responsibility, i.e. we should balance our budgets. I remain fairly agnostic about the size of government. If people have to pay for the government they have, I think we will reach an equilibrium that represents what most people really want. We have not been paying for our government, so we probably have more than most people want if they had to pay.

    Since our founding, we have always had a faction that wants more govt intervention, and one that wants less. Today, that would mean, respectively, Democrats and Republicans. The size of government should match up with the revenues needed to pay for it. That means the party which favors less government should push for lower taxes. The party that wants more govt pushes for more taxes. We have a party that pushes for more taxes and more govt, the Dems. What we are missing is a party that pushes for smaller govt and less taxes.

    The GOP needs to fill that role. They talk about it, but will not act on it. TBH, it has been brilliant electoral politics. Everyone loves tax cuts. No one likes spending cuts. Since the GOP does not, and will not, recommend spending cuts, ok Big Bird, NPR and foreign aid aside, they remain politically viable. In order for our politics to work, I dont see how we cannot have the GOP be the party that advocates for spending cuts.

    Steve

  • Problem is Mom isn’t a reasonable parent either Michael. Seriously….Obama has doubled down on every Bush policy. I’ve noted this in the past.

    1. Afghanistan? Bush+
    2. GM/Chrysler bailout? Bush+
    3. Tax cuts? Bush+
    4. Stimulus? Bush+

    I could see your analogy if the Democrats had a better track record. But to take the previous Republicans playbook and add on health care “reform” and say, “Now that is reasonable,” is laughable to me.

    How are we supposed to negotiate the difficult details of government with people who will not even admit the president is an American? How do you negotiate with lunatics?

    Yes, I hear you. But as neither a Republican nor a Democrat it wasn’t that long ago when the “other side” was calling the President ChimpyMcHitlerBush and going on and on about his time in the Texas Air National Guard.

    I’ll reiterate again. I don’t think Obama is not a citizen. I don’t care about his skin color (well okay, it is nice that a black man has become President, but I don’t think that makes his policies special).

    We believe in science, they believe in Jesus on a dinosaur.

    Yeah I know. But I also know lots of liberal/Democrats are crazy about things like genetically modified foods, nuclear power, and I’m not sure if the anti-vaccine crowd is mostly liberal/Democrat or right/Republican….my guess is it is the former, but I could be wrong. What about your typical PETA person? Right? Left?

    You may think we’re mushy and too generous and whatever, but we are part of reality.

    Anti-vaccers, anti-gm-food and PETA people are all more than a bit out of touch, IMO. I don’t think you should be getting on this high horse without looking at some of the people in your tent. Hell, even Obama believes he has an invisible friend that he sometimes talks too (he calls him Jesus and/or God).

    I know it is fun to slag on the other side, and I get 2x the fun as I can slag on both. But frankly I’m not sure about some of your claims.

  • Not to mention that the recent iteration just can’t seem to keep their hands out of somebody’s panties.

  • Lets not even get into that organic/live local nonsense….you have some pretty mushy headed types on your side Michael.

  • Obama the anti-vaccer

    “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.”
    –Barack Obama, Pennsylvania Rally, April 21, 2008.

    You were saying something about reality and science Michael?

    Just so you know there is not one shred of evidence linking vaccines to autism. In fact, the one study that started this has not only been retracted by the journal the published it, the main author has been charged with academic fraud.

  • I should add the researcher, Andrew Wakefield, was not only charged with fraud, but was found guilty of that and also engaging in behavior that was unethical and irresponsible towards his patient, developmentally disabled children, and was struck of the British Medical Register (i.e. his doctor’s license was removed and he can no longer practice medicine).

    Yet there is Obama spouting that nonsense.

  • Autism is full of Charlatanism.

  • Cousin L, the mother of the Downs child, has a new challenge, a grandchild with autism on her second husband’s side. She’s up to it.

  • After her daughter died at 19, she worked with a local organization that handled disabilities for five years.

  • Tough woman.

  • So back off, snotwad Republicans. We’ll eat you alive.

  • michael reynolds

    Steve:

    The key difference is this: We have nuts. They are nuts. I’ll grant you vaccine nuts and PETA nuts (I live in Marin County, home office of spiritual healers,) and assorted others. But in a recent poll 50% of Republicans believe this election was stolen. By Acorn. The election stolen by an organization that no longer exists.

    Do we pass legislation outlawing vaccination? No. Do they pass legislation requiring vaginal ultrasounds? Yes. If your kids go to a public school and learn science, it will be because Democrats stopped Republicans from teaching mythology instead.

    You want the acid test of reality? Read Democratic reactions to the first debate. Obama got his ass kicked. And what did Democrats say? That he got his ass kicked. I was on a Jet Blue flight between SF and Boston — probably a pretty Democratic crowd and you know what? Everyone was watching the debate on TV and saying Obama got his ass kicked. The next day I was at an event of booksellers in RI — a notably Democratic crowd. And we were topping each other in describing the degree of ass-kicking that occurred. Because reality still matters to us. On election night who was shocked by results we’d all seen coming for months? Not us, them. Because we live in reality and they don’t.

    And that’s why we are getting nothing done and going nowhere in negotiating with Republicans on budget issues.

  • TastyBits

    1. Afghanistan? Bush+
    2. GM/Chrysler bailout? Bush+
    3. Tax cuts? Bush+
    4. Stimulus? Bush+

    5. Protecting Wall Street Scumbags? Bush ++
    6. Ensuring Wall Street bonuses? Bush ++

  • “Do you understand.”

  • That’s my favorite phrase.

  • It’s not even a question.

  • Deal with it.

  • I’m contemplating a Ruger.

  • But none of you will be shot, so far.

  • “Annie, Get Your Gun”

  • Isn’t that fun, avuncular Dave?

  • The Revelation ain’t so terrifying after all, is it?

  • KILL THAT COMMA.

  • I really have to get those boxes of satsumas out tomorrow. Damn Sunoco.

  • Thank you for your patience.

  • But in a recent poll 50% of Republicans believe this election was stolen.

    How many Democrats thought Bush stole the 2000 election?

    Do we pass legislation outlawing vaccination? No. Do they pass legislation requiring vaginal ultrasounds? Yes. If your kids go to a public school and learn science, it will be because Democrats stopped Republicans from teaching mythology instead.

    As to passing legislation? Not that I’m aware of, but there is this. And the anti-GM Food groups are legislatively active (<a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1722"example, see this too).

    Really you keep saying something that Republicans do, that the Crazy Left doesn’t do and 3 minutes of googling tells me….nope the Crazy Left does it too.

    Really, stop pretending your group is better. That is the first step towards bigotry.

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