mushroom clouds and smoking guns 139


A funny thing happened on the way to our Change – everything stayed the same except our new president.  The same tired rhetoric from both sides of the aisle from the same tired partisan warriors in the same shrill and paranoid self grandeur one would expect from lifelong mental patients.

The Right wants Tax Cuts and the Left wants Social Spending.  Anyone who seeks nuance in either stance is a “centrist” or a “traitor” or somehow an impediment to whichever side takes offense at their questions.  Sounds exactly like the “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists” nonsense we got out of Baby Bush.

Sounds like the parade of neocon talking heads who said we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

I am as concerned as everyone about the state of the nation.  I would love to pursue 21st Century solutions to our 21st Century challenges. Thing is, both sides are offering the same package of plans they have always offered.  They don’t sound like innovative fixes to long-standing structural weaknesses with American society.  Offering Tax Cuts or Huge Government Spending as being the only two possible solutions to our complex problems is just idiotic.

To hear “liberals” on this site calling all centrists and republicans evil traitors who must be destroyed if they don’t go along with this bill as is because BY GOD WE WON! is of more concern to me than this bill being delayed by a month.  This implies a decided inability for the left to take Barack’s lead on positioning our coming progressive renaissance.  That sort of stance will only ensure four or eight years of the same stagnant gridlock we have had these last 28 years.

Beyond sounding just like the neoconservative ghouls who have used such language to divide us, it also implies that the bungling clowns in Congress have somehow become infallible since January 20th.  That they can now craft a perfect bill to spend nearly a trillion dollars over the next few years in order to be on Barack’s desk by February 16th.  Barack setting such an unreasonable deadline for such an important piece of legislation is perhaps his biggest mistake to date given the fact that Congress is full of morons.  Not just minor league morons, but big league morons who bat a thousand at fucking things up and have for decades.

In the nearly 40 years that I have lived in America, I have seen these same people continue to make the same mistakes because they try the same thing over and over expecting different results.  These are the people we are supposed to trust with such a huge project? Obama knows how damaged Congress is right now and trusts them with such a task anyway? Come on Barack.  That doesn’t pass the common sense smell test.  This is too big of a project to impose artificial deadlines if we can take a little more time.

There is a saying the US Navy SEALs use:  Slow is Fast.

It means we should not rush into something and perhaps make the situation worse or not have the positive effects we need.  This is a lot of money to gamble on tired programs and rhetoric instead of innovative solutions.

Talk to me about doubling the non-profit sector from 300 billion to 600 billion.  That is both creative, nationwide and can be sold to democrats and republicans alike.  The Faith Based Neighborhoods program is another creative way to get money into the economy quickly for social programs without getting massive push-back from conservative Americans of both parties.  Let’s pay for huge energy grid revitalization projects or windmills in the Midwest or tidal generators on our coasts or subsidies for organic farmers or increased funding for the National Science Foundation to funnel into entrepreneurial efforts that can put people back to work tomorrow.

We need leadership on this from the top because Congress and our current party structures make it impossible to succeed without it.

I’ll admit they are all we have to work with until the Primary Elections of 2010.  I have no choice but the trust them a little bit.  OK.  Trust but verify.  Verification requires time and deliberation and transparency.  This is a great moment for Obama to launch a website for the recovery plan and gather feedback from people who know a heck of a lot more than the incestuous feeding ponds that the United States Congress has become in the  absence of voter participation.  I do not believe, sight unseen, that Congress has the ability to get this right without direct grassroots participation.

There is a better than even chance that the stuff they are trying to shove through Congress, despite whatever half-assed blog entry guessing at the specifics, won’t work in a million years or will have unintended consequences if it does.  There is a chance that this bill could fail to deliver results every bit as spectacularly as the TARP program did and for many of the same reasons.

Are we truly becoming the United States of Amnesia?

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139 thoughts on “mushroom clouds and smoking guns

  • YIKES!

    Recommend Jason!!!

    No will will recommend my 2 new posts but that’s because I made them. (Just like no one will laugh at my jokes because I made them.)

    At least you will get some readers.

    I hope you see the marijuana comment I made on my post for you.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Thanks, dude. I figured you would appreciate a message that calls both sides out for intellectual dishonesty.

      I wouldn’t be too worried about any one blog post not rising to the top. I have had plenty that never cracked the list. I did see the comment on the other thread, but it didn’t seem to need a reply, though I thought it was funny as well.

      Not sure why everyone’s shorts are so tight around here lately. Something about victory that kills the ability to laugh at one’s self. Perhaps it is something in the water? I have my suspicions but am not out to start some sort of generational fender-bender. I know just how stubborn people of a certain age can be.

      Now watch the flames that come from that last sentence, though I suspect much agreement, even from the people I am speaking of. I know my mom and dad are quick to make many of the same points. My next blog will be about the culture warriors of the Boomer generation and their inability to come in from the cold.

      • stillidealistic

        Jeez, Jason…give me break…you of all people should know better than to make sweeping generalizations like that (although you did say “can” be, not “are” so that mitigates a little.) 🙂 This old dog has learned a new trick or two, and you’ve been here to watch it!

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Which is why I said some Boomers, stilli, and not all. You have to admit that the most intractable of the “old dogs” seem very resistant to new tricks much of the time. There are fewer in my generation who see life that way and even less in the current generation of voters. We’ll fix it together, but not if we don’t see what is actually wrong and why. Plenty of Boomers have said they agree with my view on the situation.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I would say it due to increased “penis” size for having won a huge election and inaugurated the first black president. A certain liberal swagger is to be expected. I just hope to see it tempered with common sense and logic at some point if we are really going to change this country in a progressive and sustainable fashion.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I think Liberal and Conservative are fine as an initial designation. Add Progressive to either and we start to approach a political ideology that might actually deliver results for a modern society. Problems is, both parties stop at the same tired solutions instead of thinking holistically and in three dimensions.

          My mission to to create a new lexicon to enable logical political thinking and trumps ideological dogma.

          • *

            As both Party’s move away from each other, the Progressives need to fill in that gap between the two and make their presence know. And they need to have a message that people on either side will recognize and move towards. It’s an opportunity that could be lost if they don’t act quickly…2010 elections are only 13 months away. I’d be interested to see who the Progressive candidates are.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            The primaries hit us a lot sooner than 13 months. B. January 2010 is the first, less than four months from now. I am afraid that remains the crux of our problem. The general is still seen as the more important of the two elections.

  • destor23

    The plan that Obama is supporting has both spending and tax cuts in it. I don’t agree with every detail but it’s hard to deny that it doesn’t try both approaches. The Democrats aren’t being dogmatic here. In an $800 billion plus bill there between $275 and $300 billion in tax cuts. So I don’t see the point in the Republican opposition.

    Anyway, the way I hear it from people on Wall Street and in the investment world is that the important thing is that stimulus bills need to be at least 5% of GDP in order to be effective. GDP for 2009 is projected at $14 trillion. That might be an optimistic projection but it suggests the stimulus bill needs to be $700 billion and whether its all spending, all tax cuts or a combination of the two is less important than the size of it.

    If we get into a big horse trade here where we keep cutting spending and tax cuts in proportion we risk passing too small a package.

    That, more than the timeliness, is a big issue. If we pass a small stimulsu apckage, say $500 billion, it’ll fail. But $500 billion is still a big number and it’ll be tough to convince the American people to let the government go back to the well once more after spending $500 billion and not generating the desired effect. Not to mention convincing our lenders to give us another loan at that point, with the economy in even worse shape than it is now.

    It’s not the rush Jason, it’s the size. What we have is a package that has both spending and tax cuts. The Republican opposition is simply inexplicable to me. This bill is far friendlier to Republican sensibilities than most of what Democrats had to endure over the last 8 years.

    • OldenGoldenDecoy

      .

      Great timing. . .

      Thanks for dropping in Destor and breaking up the mutual admiration love fest between Junior and Senior above.

      ~OGD~

      • destor23

        Thanks OGD. But my take is that Jason agrees with pretty much everything I had to say. So far as Jason and YIKES go… Well, seems like Jason is the guy who is going to really bring YIKES into the community.

        And… it’s pretty of appropriate. YIKES is a hardcore leftist and refreshingly unrepentant about it. Jason is a hardcore lefty too — one who sees some subversive potential in joining the Republicans and trying to convince them to really embrace classical liberalism again.

        Policy wise, we’re all on the same page, I think. Basically. Or at least we’re in the same chapter. Jason and YIKES are provacateurs in the best sense of the word.

        But, back to the point… Obama’s plan should definitely please anyone looking for post-partisanship and the Republicans really don’t have a rhetorical leg to stand their opposition on.

        • OldenGoldenDecoy

          .

          Oh?

          Sure Destor, if you say so. When it comes to being as you say, “provocateurs in the best sense of the word” they sure seem to be one and the same.

          Oh … and you don’t see any turnip greens sticking out of my ears.

          ~OGD~

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Mostly right, D.

          I think it is less about being an agent provocateur as it is being an honest critic of the current republican party and hoping to inspire a little more historical and holistic view of a view of how “conservative” ideas should relate to politics.

          I am only “left’ because that is where most of the good solutions are found. What I would love to see if a progressive republican part that applies true conservative methodology and passion to a common American renaissance that finally prepares us to compete in the global economy that America’s reckless pursuit of capitalism helped to create.

          I think we are all pretty much the same and want the same things, we have just spent the last 40 years (or more) engaged in a cultural civil war that made it impossible to evolve. Sustainable change will never emerge from so contentious a place. We need to recover a sense of national purpose, right and left, then debate the proper way to get there independent of ideology.

          Don Quixote might recognize the dilemma I see in the American electorate.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          PS: Thanks for noticing that most grassroots conservatives can be inspired to “again” embrace a more classically liberal America that they lost somewhere in 1968.

      • stillidealistic

        The saying “politics makes strange bed-fellows” comes to mind. A more unlikely pair, I can’t imagine, but if Jason is able to help YIKES! find his place around here, it may worth the vomitousness (I can see why w made up words so often – it’s fun!)of the whole thing. ewwwww….

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Good points, Destor, and really are in keeping with my underlying premise.

      By rushing to implement a solution that is barely adequate, Obama miss an opportunity to go HUGE by taking his time and fully explaining the situation to the public.

      By using the same framing and the same tired liberal special interests as a vehicle for the stimulus, democrats (Obama) failed to excite the country to support their efforts. He could have painted a picture of Appola proportions and convinced Americans to support 2 trillion in spending over the course of his presidency to do big things that would transform the country.

      That failure resulted in a goonish response from Congressional republicans, as expected. It was all as choreographed as a Van Damme movie. We had time to do this right and both sides of the aisle are failing us because they are rushing to agree with something that is very likely going to be unsuccessful for numerous competing reasons.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • SleepinJeezus

        And so just how long do you suggest Congress should dither and debate and twist this upside down and back and wait for jason to actually suggest a plan instead of all the verbose commentary on how important it is to be bi-partisan and non-confrontational to therefore meet his ill-defined – but VERY profound! – ideal of “post-partisan” consensus politics that will replace two hundred plus years of two party oppositional politics before we finally determine that the bus has left the station and we have fallen into full-blown depression for lack of a goddammed stimulus bill?

        Seriously, jason, it often seems that you use the premise of political discussion and analysis to simply practice your English Comp skills. You do tend to wander indecisively, with result that we receive alot of platitudes (or nebulous strategic overviews) where the discussion instead requires action and tactical suggestions.

        There are times, after all, when one party or the other deserves criticism for being obstructionist or downright irresponsible. This time, it is the Republicans who have stepped over the line and they should be called out for it – regardless of the fact that it doesn’t comport with your non-confrontational political model.

        At its best, politics will always be a contact sport. And wishing it weren’t so does not create a new reality, but instead introduces one more reason to dither instead of taking action.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Check into periods and allow the audience to breath.

          You don’t read what I write which is why you fail to understand my positions on politics. America has FAILED to live up to its potential for 230 years because we refuse to change, not because it is the most effective way of practicing politics. Do you think the Founders would look at our inability to evolve past such petty hindrances as something we should be proud of?

          Wasn’t it your generation that fought to turn all that shit on its head? Kumbaya and all that? You have become what you hate. Too long spent staring into the abyss. Nietzsche warned us of that danger. The tactics you now employ won’t accomplish your stated goals no matter how anxiously you click your ruby red slippers together.

          Unless all you what is more partisan battles and cultural warfare that gets nothing long-lasting accomplished, then creating a dialogue that delivers more creative solutions than what I am hearing out of the democratic Congress is central to a successful effort. Politics is only a contact sport because we choose to make it so. By continuing to frame it as such, we lose any chance we have of changing that paradigm, thus actually achieving all those progressive things you preach about at such length.

          Plenty of people at TPM understand that VERY SIMPLE point. Since you reside in the minority on this opinion of my blogs and comments, perhaps the comprehension problems are yours? I am neither indecisive nor wandering. I have been very implicate in my suggestions on any number of thing.

          That your ideological blinders rise up and choke off critical thinking skills when you read me is neither my concern nor my fault. You are free to disagree as you will, but to pretend that I don’t offer concrete and consistent suggestions for both sides is ONCE AGAIN being intellectually dishonest.

          I have said MANY times that it is not about being bi-partisan and non confrontational. That is your framing. I am saying that liberals are failing to sell their ideas to a healthy portion of the electorate. It’s not some conspiracy. It is a failure to communicate with anyone BUT the choir.

          Quit trying to shove me in your ideological boxes.

          Liberals are failing to think big enough or as creatively as I would like given both our risks and our opportunities, our strengths and our weaknesses. Shoot for a 2.5 trillion dollar package and “settle” for a trillion and a half.

          Go big with new and innovative spending, not dumping more money into bottomless pits of unaccountable government programs that are broken in the best of times and are severely dysfunctional right now. We should be doubling down on our debt right because tip-toeing into the deep end of the pool is not just stupid, it is suicidal.

          Have Barack sell that vision every night to the American people on the big three news casts. Then idiot neoconservatives are left explaining how more tax cuts for rich people and special interests will deliver the agenda the president is talking about and they think sounds pretty good.

          Barack stopped being the leader of the democratic party and let Congress lead for a bit.

          THIS blog was about BOTH sides offering the same lame ideas and acting as if they are somehow profound. Kind of like many TPM bloggers. THIS blog was about Congress needing a year or more to plan something this huge and have it succeed, so Obama asking for it in less than month is being childish, just as he admonished us not to.

          Granted, we need to move quickly or be seen to be moving quickly, but to implement poorly thought-out or rushed solutions that may or may not bring the return on investment we need is just adding gasoline to a fire instead of putting it out. The choice isn’t an “either or” scenario. It isn’t “Do this in a month!” or “…dither and debate and twist this upside down…”

          Life is a little more complex than your broken record feedback suggests.

          How is it that you all of a sudden trust Congress to be that talented when I am sure you’ve been railing against those losers for years. They are still all the same losers. Now they are your losers, so apparently that is enough to turn them into geniuses. Forgive me I don’t have the same confidence.

          A little extra time GO HUGE and allow Barack to really sell this to the whole country will help us get everything done we need done in a way that is going to maximize our chances of long-term success. I think that is more important than ideological purity and giving the democratic leadership an “atta boy” for not even doing their job right.

          Come back to me when you have 21st Century solutions to our problems instead blowing the dust off the same old bills each session and calling it innovation.

          • SleepinJeezus

            “How is it that you all of a sudden trust Congress to be that talented when I am sure you’ve been railing against those losers for years. They are still all the same losers. Now they are your losers, so apparently that is enough to turn them into geniuses. Forgive me I don’t have the same confidence.”

            You of course get no argument from me that Congress is broke and has been for a considerable amount of time.

            But to call a “time-out” here with an insistence that we first fix Congress and then get this spending bill done perfectly takes us right back into my originally breathless paragraph sans periods.

            I and many like me have worked HARD for campaign finance reform for decades. I and many like me have also worked HARD to remove the revolving door between K Street and the Capitol.

            Now, you are just arrogant enough to insist that you can bring about a transformation to cure all the ills in Congress in a timely fashion sufficient to gain for us a perfect stimulus bill.

            But forgive me for noticing that I’ve seen nothing of the kind. Instead, all you offer is a denigration of all efforts made over the last 40 years to rehabilitate our electoral system. And then you offer nothing more substantial than an insistence that you could do it better if only given the chance.

            “Unless all you what is more partisan battles and cultural warfare that gets nothing long-lasting accomplished, then creating a dialogue that delivers more creative solutions than what I am hearing out of the democratic Congress is central to a successful effort.”

            Pardon me. Could you repeat that?

            There is nothing here, jason, just as there are so damn few actionable suggestions in most of your critiques of the political system. It’s all a lot of bluster, but no substance – kinda’ like a popcorn fart.

            We can’t afford your arrogance and your non-perpormance at the moment. There’s a depression looming that we’d better address as best we can.

            And even Obama shows signs he understands that too. I guess he just got tired of waiting for you to truly come up with a better plan and decided instead to step forward on his own.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You don’t quote the very sensible solutions I have advocated such as doubling support for non-profit efforts, trimming the defense budget by 50% and legalizing drugs, thus ending the war we’ve waged for nearly a century. All those savings could be immediately funneled into the economy as a whole given the location of old bases that could be retrofitted and upgraded for any number of uses from low income housing to massive retraining efforts.

            You think the same old, same old will keep us from crashing. You agree with one breath that Congress is broken while in the next advocating they are the perfect people to fix such a complex problem in so short a time. And you rail against my consistency? Campaign Finance reform is useless when only 16 percent show up for more primary elections. You are once again trying to fix the one thing the you perceive is wrong rather than what is actually wrong. Get more people to the polls to send incumbents home and we would start to see change.

            Not sure what your problem is, but I am no one’s “Yes man” when it comes to politics. Even a president I fully support and trust will modify his techniques accordingly. He has been nothing if not a very fast learner.

            Congress will not solve this. They were never the right way to solve this. Obama needed to go much bigger than he did, given the size of our problems. He allowed the democratic Congress to play games and provoked a very avoidable response from republicans.

            I am finding it hard to continue explaining things to you when they seem like obvious and common sense points to me as well as many others around here.

            Again, don’t you think that perhaps you aren’t tracking this correctly? It isn’t a difference of “never doing it” or “do it by next week” or “we all die!”

            Who said we need to spend nearly a trillion dollars in less than a month? Is it even possible to design a plan that is effective in so short a time period? Why shouldn’t we take two or three months to figure it out? Why the big rush? What’s with the rush? We can still dump money into those programs in a couple months if that is the best we can do, but why not explore bigger options instead of limiting our options.

            It’s no different from the crappy 700 billion we just wasted on TARP. Look how well rushing that shit went.

            I know. The truth hurts sometimes, but we need to demand better from Washington right now. This legislation is too important for dogmatic Pavlovian responses on behalf of voters. We’re the only checks and balances politicians respond to anymore.

          • SleepinJeezus

            If you think trimming the defense budget by 50% is doable within the time constraints of this lifetime, you are surely delusional. To even suggest that this could be done in time to bear impact on this recession is doubly so. And as much as I think the defense budget is abominably sinful, I would point out that cutting any government spending really isn’t the issue here. It is INCREASING government spending that is required.

            Methinks you have been on the other side for so long that you are actually beginning to talk Republican economics.

            And we should call a time out here so you can join the debate and direct the process in a more thoughtful and reasoned fashion? Hell, McCain and “Cracker” Graham already have your back.

            I think hillarym99 covered it quite well downthread from here when she quoted the Times piece (Grunwald?) cautioning that there is no objective reason to believe that granting Congress more time to deliberate among themselves and the lobbyists is somehow going to produce a substantially improved stimulus package.

            But dither on. It sure beats having to actually DO something instead of finding others to blame for your inaction.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Changing the priorities of how we spend money, which the executive branch is responsible for the vast majority, is not delusional. It is the only way we are going to fix the problem. Congress follows the president’s lead on budgets and the bully pulpit can push Congress.

            If you think throwing a bunch of money at programs that barely function in a perfect world as they are currently designed is the best solution we can come up with then you are clearly delusional. If you think acting like the whole world is going to end if this bill isn’t on Barack’s desk by the end of next week, then you are the one is who is delusional.

            Naive to boot.

            Don’t quote a single source to me as somehow being the new guru of Congressional process improvement. Don’t point to something that hasn’t been done since JFK or MLK as somehow being ineffective.

            You lost your ability to dream. Sad. You continue to offer ad hominem attacks instead of thoughtful commentary. Even sadder. Good luck with all that. You are on the quack list as well.

          • SleepinJeezus

            As I recall, eight years ago we had a budget surplus, and most of us were pretty comfortably confident that we had a job. Something was obviously getting done right.

            What went wrong?

            I’d say it was a whole lotta’ dithering by the Dems in Congress, hoping that they could defeat the GOP attack on our civil liberties and our treasury by being more non-partisan. This politically unique effort to be more Republican than the Republicans was pretty much the “new way” of DLC non-confrontational politics that you are promoting. (I know. You insist that I misunderstand you, but I insist in return that I only have the words you’ve wroitten to go by. If you wish to be better understood, then write what you mean. Otherwise, own your arguments rather than trying to avoid responsibility for spouting nonsense by declaring your words to be the new Oracle at Delphi that is just unattainable for us commoners.)

            “Let’s all just develop the new paradigm that will allow us to be Democrat and Republican Progressives together ruling from the middle and discussing how we are all going to find creative ways to arrive at a new place where everyone is happy and our children are all above average… blah! blah! Blah!”

            Last I looked, all it got us was an illegal war in Iraq and a budget busting boondoggle that makes this outrageously expensive stimulus package look like pocket change.

            As for being on the quack list, I am honored. At least I am in company of those who see through the fraudulent and baseless political “philosophy” you have invented as the next coming of Christ.

            And I think if you look carefully, my criticisms have been pretty carefully crafted to avoid the ad hominem. If you take offense to my firm criticism of your lack of consistency or common sense in your arguments, I think you probably should. They are, after all, pretty much THAT offensive to one looking for a rational discussion instead.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            That surplus was a mirage caused by the IT revolution and a tech stock bubble that had already burst, but not yet cascaded across the landscape. It was also about to be blown out of the water by an unconstitutional war (Thanks, Congress!) and the repeal of Glass Steagall.

            The DLC was just the latest version of democratic and republican collusion to all of our detriment. That doesn’t mean that finding a way for conservatives and liberals to work together at the grassroots and force Washington to play our tune is somehow a bad idea.

            You misunderstand my words because you are incapable of laying aside your pre-conceived notions of reality in favor of something new and untried. You want to apply the same ideological bludgeon that the right wing used while our situation requires a surgeon’s finesse and a more creative and progressive solution.

            We have never tried my suggested solution or my suggested framework, so I am not sure how you can say it led us to this place. Obama used my method to great affect in the primaries and the general. What has led us to this same shitty place is your insistence that partisan warfare is our natural state of being and will deliver better results than what we have had these last 40 years.

            Obama stopped playing his game now that he is in office and all of a sudden we are back in a partisan hell where nothing can change.

            When you call me a DLC stooge or a typical republican that is the very definition of ad hominem. When you castigate me as naive or claiming to be “the Oracle at Delphi” that is ad hominem. You don’t offer a single reason why my ideas won’t work, despite ample proof that they just elected the most progressive democrat in a generation.

            I haven’t invented a thing. I am merely articulating what I see as Obama’s call to arms in Audacity of Hope. Pretty much the polar opposite from you and the Quackers around TPM as well as the vast majority of people who blog here.

            In your world, being a loud and obnoxious “rebel” who never compromises their “values” is somehow paramount to divinity. Forgetting, of course, that our original rebels birthed the country as an expression of compromise.

            Your crowd sounds much more like Leftie Limbots than any would be likely to admit.

          • SleepinJeezus

            The basic reality that your insistence on this “third way” of post-partisan politics ignores is the fact that politics must, by definition, always be an oppositional “fight” (for want of a different term.)

            You seem to believe that consensus can occur at the grassroots level and then be passed along to Washington to be rubber-stamped by our collegial “representatives.” That defies reality, for it ignores the arena in which these options are considered and this final consensus actually occurs.

            What is “consensus,” after all, if not people arriving at a common approach to resolving a problem after considering all alternatives? The final consideration of these alternatives rightly occurs at the legislative level where our representatives choose from among the options. The grassroots can – and must! – be educated themselves and inform the representatives of their preferences. They must then hold these representatives accountable via the ballot box in accordance with how effectively they truly “represent” the voters interests. But the ultimate argument and negotiation toward consensus rightly occurs in our legislative chambers.

            I respectfully submit that the suggestion to somehow “democratize” the decision making process so it occurs at the street level is to invite anarchy. Sounds good and maybe like a whole lotta’ fun, perhaps, but it’s hardly been practiced in history to any good effect.

            And please, before jumping to the attack and accusing me of being blind to the proposal for this “new way” that you propose, consider that my response is a very reasoned consideration of the words you have put on “paper” here. I have nothing more to go on, after all, and sincerely wish to understand what it is that you are proposing that is yet to be made clear.

            SIDE NOTE: Due to changes at my place of employment, I begin today commuting to Milwaukee where I will spend my weeks working 12 hour days for five days before making the trip back home for a couple days off. For this reason, I suspect my involvement here will be somewhat sparse and sporadic, yet I will continue to monitor these blogs. I genuinely enjoy the discussion here, jason, although I strongly challenge many of your perspectives and your premises. Nevertheless, it is a clash of ideas we basically enjoy here rather than the juvenile attack/reposte that occurs among others elsewhere in these threads. The latter I can certainly do without, for it provides no sustenance whatsoever. But I’m always looking to enjoy a vigorous debate, and hope you understand that distinction I make here that says I look forward to our continuing discussion.

            Respectfully,
            Jeff

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I see where you are coming from. For me, it continues to be a variation on the theme: That’s never been done before and couldn’t possibly work.

            I reject that “reality” as being inherently self-defeating and not in keeping with the historical record. We have never, as an electorate, collectively held Washington accountable. The only time in modern memory (besides the last election) that the grassroots did anything was MLK’s efforts, which led to Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act.

            I am suggesting that many of you guys are forgetting your roots. That ALL substantive change starts at the grassroots. Obama’s election. Civil Rights. Suffrage. Emancipation. Hell, the Declaration of Independent wasn’t finally offered to England until Common Sense got the grassroots riled up enough to support it.

            I am saying that Congress is broken. That we can “democratize” the process by having Obama go big with his plan, sell it to the public and then have them force Congress to act. As it has always been.

            I think this effort is doomed to fail, like every other effort since I have been born, due to a lack of imagination and leadership and citizen involvement.

            PS: Good luck on the new gig. I hope to continue this discussion at whatever pace you are able with increasing levels of understanding and respect on both sides.

          • OldenGoldenDecoy

            .

            Yeah . . . SJ

            “It’s all a lot of bluster, but no substance – kinda’ like a popcorn fart.”

            I thank you and my old touring partner Tom Waits thanks you…

            ~OGD~

          • eds

            “Politics is only a contact sport because we choose to make it so.”

            uh, no. Reality dictates it. You perhaps confuse ‘politics’ with ‘political discussion’?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Reality dictates that nothing can change? That is a pretty odd statement given the fact that there is nothing constant in this world BUT change.

        • eds

          “Seriously, jason, it often seems that you use the premise of political discussion and analysis to simply practice your English Comp skills.”

          It often does!

          • Jason Everett Miller

            And you use TPM to live out your fantasy of being an English professor. Once again the kettle is throwing stones.

  • Cindy Etal

    Mitch McConnell was bleating about how taxpayers won’t tolerate a trillion dollar mistake as if we weren’t tolerating one already: Iraq.

    Washington politicians and media are oblivious to what’s happening in the real world. Jason, I’m interested in what you come up with here:

    My mission to to create a new lexicon to enable logical political thinking and trumps ideological dogma.

    There has to be an effective way to cut through the echo chamber. It’s deafening.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Thanks for the comment.

      You found what I think is the crux of our political division, though it might not be that way for much longer. We have a lot more Americans tuning in now. Rather than the tired old warriors from both sides who have been battling these last 40 years non-stop, we have fresh new faces with only a few years of paying attention and eager to seek another way forward.

      At least for me, I don’t feel many of the same hang-ups or prejudices, if only for that very selfish and self-serving reason that I haven’t been paying attention until 2004. For my little brother’s generation, they are getting involved because Barack asked them to in a way that no politician has. Kind of like Clinton’s Gen Xers in 1992 who he promptly ignored.

      I think America is in the very beginning of a generation transition that is very different than the last one, so I am realistic in my expectations of change and also optimistic that it is not only inevitable but just around the corner.

  • loki

    Uh, you might want to check out Obama’s speech in Williamsburg. Somebody in these pages delivered anything like that you’d be all over them for using tired politics-as-usual rhetoric. He mocked Republicans and their ideas. He called their ideas tired. And this was just this one speech.

    So… of the Republican party Obama said:

    “don’t come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis.”

    “we are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin.”

    “We can’t embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face”

    “So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? (Laughter and applause.) That’s the whole point. No, seriously. (Laughter.) ”

    “We can’t embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face”

    “Now, in fact, when we announced the bill, you remember — this is only about, what, two weeks ago? When we announced the framework — and we were complimented by Republicans, saying, boy, this is a balanced package, we’re pleasantly surprised. And suddenly, what was a balanced package needs to be put out of balance? Don’t buy those arguments.”

    Why does the President hate bi-partisanship?

    Oh and by the way… Obama himself, not too unlike some of those looney “liberals” you mock above, was sure to tell the Republicans sitting in front of him last week, just to be perfectly clear, “I won!” (although I am not sure he added, “So blow me!”)

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I watched his speech and I didn’t see mocking. It was a democratic retreat, so a certain amount of direct talk would be expected. Michael Steele isn’t exactly a honest broker for the RNC right now.

      By and large, Barack’s tone remains one of strength and no-nonsense honesty. He may be direct, but I have yet to see him be disrespectful.

      Obama’s words could just as easily be meant for his audience in Williamsburg as the ones online. The democratic Congress brought the same old tied tactics to implementing this bill and lost a lot of the momentum that Barack had built up. They helped turn a 71% approval into one in the mid 60s.

      They missed a chance to be bold and I suspect Obama doesn’t make the same mistake in trusting them to do a better job than they have historical proved capable.

      • loki

        I should have stipulated that I knew you didn’t see it the same way. For you that mocking tone was of course anything but mocking. But after all… you are true believer.

        • SleepinJeezus

          You’ve noticed the same old inconsistencies that I have?

          You are dead-on in your assessment that if anyone else in Washington had said these words they would have been strongly castigated for failing to follow Obama’s lead toward this new politics where everyone gets along and all our children are above average.

          Given the fact that these words actually came from Obama himself, it is no surprise that we instead get a torturous explanation of “what he really meant to say” or just who he was targeting with these comments. Frankly, it is insulting to Obama to suggest that he panders to specific groups with the choice of his rhetoric. I instead choose to think his comments were directed to us all, and I greatly welcomed them.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Yes, the words taken independent of context, both specific to the event and historical for the last month, could paint the picture that he is the same old, same old.

            Fortunately, we are smart enough to take context into account when judging a persons words. We know the new president has given Congressional republicans plenty of room to contribute substantively to this bill. That doesn’t make anyone a true believer. You are beginning to listen to the voices in your head again.

            I am baffled by the seeming intransigence to get very simple and straight-forward points. If Obama used the same rhetoric as many of the Partisan Warriors at TPM use, then I would agree with Loki’s point. As it is, I would say the man has been pretty composed and still playing to the rank and file republican at home.

            Some actions deserve some amount of derision.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Damned if I do and damned if I don’t. That is why it is impossible to debate with ideologues. I don’t begrudge Obama playing to his audience and his “mocking tone” was substantially more cordial than anything Michael Steele has said.

          • eds

            If you want to play the middle, be prepared for shit from both sides.

            Yes, Obama’s mockery was more nuanced than that of Rush type or maybe Steele (I haven’t caught enough of the latter to be sure).

          • Jason Everett Miller

            If shit is what both sides want for this country than I am happy to be in the middle. If neither side can practice the Golden Rule, then they are both against our success as a country.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            What does austerity have to do with the Golden Rule? I’ll lighten up just as soon as our country is fixed.

  • Zipperupus

    Thanks for this post. It breaks the monotony of macho posturing. My main beef with the stimulus is the same as yours: no new ideas. No matter the spending or tax cuts, the bill itself is conservative and stuck in a time warp. Neither side seems willing to make the leap of faith and inspire the better angels of our nature. Evrything went so partisan so quickly. The Dems are weak. The Reps are bullies. Obama’s not doing enough. Everyone seems so quick to revert to cliche.

    Then to top it all off, the blog-warriors that use fight and battle terms to define their politics are making me ill. If they want a winner take all leftie paradise, they can buy a certain little red book and follow the recipe… Or go out and actually, you know, FIGHT.

    We are going through the agonies of a Republic form of government. I personally love it, warts and all. And now we have the internet for news and research. Yes, the economy is fragmenting. The fallout will be terrible… But it is vital that we rebuild a more progressive incluaive empathetic and above all sustainable natiom from the rubble.

    But this whole culture/region war mentality has got to go. Armchair yenerals and guerillas have no clue. None.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Thanks, zipper. No apologies are necessary. Typos online are like the “Umms” and “Ahhs” of verbal communication.

      Glad to see my point didn’t go entirely unnoticed, though you rarely miss anything around here. I am starting to be pissed that we are going big enough. That between TARP and the stimulus and whatever follow-on spending comes in the omnibus budget, we could have totally re-engineered the way we do everything. We could have taken a fresh approach to the problem for once.

      No one is even coming close to that as a position. How is that even possible?

  • eds

    Aside: Trust but verify? Theories are not verified, they can be falsified. Read Popper.

    Quit yer whining, and do something useful, boy. Progressive is a different “dimension” than liberal or conservative. Let’s have more nuance and less vomit, please.

    What is more time going to get us, besides procrasti-nation-itis?

    Where are your detailed outlines of alternatives you believe in?

    Where is the cogent deconstruction of the notion of “stimulus” showing how spending is only spending?

    Where is the cost-benefit analysis?

    When you’re done attacking the messengers of the modern age, how about reading the message?

    • Jason Everett Miller

      It is not up to me to provide those things, it is up to Congress.

      Congress is telling us this is the best we can do. That if we don’t do it yesterday then the whole thing is coming down around our ears. (Which is crap and you know it.) They aren’t proving anything. They are saying, “Trust me.” Just like Bush did on so many thing that didn’t work either and wasted a bunch of time and money.

      You’re kind of a sycophant aren’t you? If you aren’t, why don’t you advocate a more measured and logical approach to the problem.

      Right. I know. You just like using provocative words like “Quit yer whining…” and “do something useful, boy” and “Let’s have more nuance and less vomit, please…”

      You are about as nuanced as am alcoholic on a three-day bender.

      • eds

        “It is not up to me to provide those things, it is up to Congress.”

        So much for political discourse in the private sector.

        “(Which is crap and you know it.)”

        I know your crap is your crap applied to your strawman notions.

        “You’re kind of a sycophant aren’t you? If you aren’t, why don’t you advocate a more measured and logical approach to the problem.”

        Look in the mirror. Your comment-and-question is itself illogical at best, and clearly fallacious. Stick with the topic. You claim to have alternative solutions. All I get is “spend more on non-profits”. Hello?

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Really? You didn’t get anything out of my comment other than that? Yes, you are proving yourself to be incapable of discussing things in a rational and reasonable manner. Quack is all you get too.

        • SleepinJeezus

          “Your comment-and-question is itself illogical at best, and clearly fallacious. Stick with the topic. You claim to have alternative solutions. All I get is “spend more on non-profits”. Hello?”

          You noticed that too, eds, eh?

          Push him again, and he’ll arrive at a fourth way, such as cutting the defense budget in half. (Which is what he came back at me with when his arguments were similarly challenged elsewhere.)

          Welcome to the quacks club. Although you and I have certainly disagreed over issues and perspectives in the past, I always felt you had something of substance in your arguments upon which to hang your hat. It’s interesting to now find ourselves in common company here as those guys who are just too dense to understand what jason’s words “really” mean.

          • eds

            Mind reading is a lost art?

            Call me slow but I start with the text as presented, then I consider the meaning space/covering it generates. Then I apply valuation strategies to plausible covering sets. Finally I renormalize objectively with a touch of subjective spontaneity and a progressively liberal disposition. Voila! Meaning has been evoked and refined.

            Something like that.

            Yes, Jason keeps proving positively that deep down, beneath the superficial eloquence of his verbiage, he’d rather troll than discuss substantive ideas like how non-profits are a better investment today… So I sometimes offer him a mirror of one kind or another (but not fun-house, usually).

            I don’t mind joining your “club”, esp. since I don’t seem to have a choice!! 🙂

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Finally I renormalize [sic] objectively with a touch of subjective spontaneity and a progressively liberal disposition. Voila! Meaning has been evoked and refined.

            This is why you will never understand anything you don’t already agree with. You think using big words somehow make you smarter or your points more profound. They just make you sound like a jack ass, braying to hear the sound of his own voice.

          • eds

            “This is why you will never understand anything you don’t already agree with.”

            Speaking for yourself again?

            If you read carefully, you would notice that my point is that I can maintain a number of understandings of most any “anything”.

            But yes, people do tend to fit data into pre-existing niches. That’s what prejudice and stereotype are mostly about, as well as having a chip on your shoulder, Jason.

            Did you have a problem reading what I wrote, or are you just speaking on behalf of your imaginary friends who cannot read well enough?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Again and again I response to your idiocy as if it might make a difference.

            I hesitate to use troll given the frequency with which it is used around here, but that is exactly what you are becoming. A troll. Albeit one that seems oddly focused on polluting my blogs and comments with esoteric compound-complex sentences that constantly misconstrue my points and mean nothing to anyone but himself and his Mom, but a troll nonetheless.

            Enjoy whatever last word you choose to leave on this thread. I will be going back to dissecting your posts for syntax and grammar now as that is obviously the only discussion you can handle.

            Oh yeah – Dick.

          • eds

            “Did you have a problem reading what I wrote, or are you just speaking on behalf of your imaginary friends who cannot read well enough?”

            Ahem.

  • Cindy Etal

    Bill Moyers’ interview with Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald Friday night revealed some illustrative and disturbing insights into why Washington keeps making the same mistakes over and over. I didn’t realize just how insular the media and politicians were.

    I don’t have the skill to provide the video, but hopefully here’s the link: Moyers

  • Hilarym99

    They don’t sound like innovative fixes to long-standing structural weaknesses with American society. Offering Tax Cuts or Huge Government Spending as being the only two possible solutions to our complex problems is just idiotic.

    So what is your third way?

    • Jason Everett Miller

      From the blog above:

      It means we should not rush into something and perhaps make the situation worse or not have the positive effects we need. This is a lot of money to gamble on tired programs and rhetoric instead of innovative solutions. Talk to me about doubling the non-profit sector from 300 billion to 600 billion. That is both creative, nationwide and can be sold to democrats and republicans alike. The Faith Based Neighborhoods program is another creative way to get money into the economy quickly for social programs without getting massive push-back from conservative Americans of both parties. Let’s pay for huge energy grid revitalization projects or windmills in the Midwest or tidal generators on our coasts or subsidies for organic farmers or increased funding for the National Science Foundation to funnel into entrepreneurial efforts that can put people back to work tomorrow.

      Innovative solutions that address long-term solutions. If conservatives don’t want a bunch of big new government programs that cost ten times what the average 501(c)3 budget, then liberals can work within the existing non-profit structure that “the other side” does support.

      Obama should have defined what we needed to move the nation forward, attached a realistic cost and then sold us on the return on investment. That is the way to change society. Congress is not that vehicle in America. Never has been.

      • eds

        “Obama should have defined what we needed to move the nation forward, attached a realistic cost and then sold us on the return on investment.”

        Obama has the bully pulpit, Congress has the real power. I might agree that Obama undersold the notion of recovery, I’m not sure. The fat lady has not yet sung (it’s a good thing Pelosi isn’t extra large sized…).

        I too would like to see serious cost-benefit analysis. I don’t want a sales pitch in the traditional sense of hype (‘all will be golden’ or ‘the sky is falling’). But I do believe Obama gave sufficient definition, gave a realistic up-front cost, and sold many. So it’s a little unclear what you’re trying to mean there.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Most experts have said it needs to be even bigger than currently envisioned. That is what Barack didn’t sell to the American people by way of letting Congress lead the show.

          The people can be used to direct Congress. A fact Bush used to our detriment and a something Obama should have used to make this bill actually large enough to accomplish the ends we seek.

          At the end of the day, no one has shown an ounce of proof that rushing such a huge bill through in less than a month is needed. Common sense will dictate that rushing something this big is usually a pretty good way to fail. We just saw TARP fail for the same reason.

          Not sure what is so hard to get about those very clear and obvious points.

          • bluemeanie

            Jason, if another month could deliver a better bill, I’d be all for it. But assuming the President rebuilt the House bill to his specifications, which he could do over the screaming objections of the Republican minority, it would be watered down again in conference. I don’t believe he has enough votes in the Senate to get what he wants.

            It isn’t enough. But unless all the economists I’ve been reading are wrong (admittedly a possibility), it will have a positive impact. The trick, as Bob Reich pointed out the other day, will be to keep spending once the economy shows positive movement. That’s why, if it were up to me, I’d announce a moon shot — a large-scale commitment to clean energy and environmental remediation. Call it a twenty-first century iteration of WWII.

            Yes, TARP phase 1 was done too quickly. But some action had to be taken to stabilize the financial sector. To me the problem was Paulson. He picked a number out of the air, figuring he’d figure out how to spend it after he got it.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            It is less about Congress at this point than Barack properly positioning what we need to do and then forcing Congress to comply. Congress is broken, so Obama needs to sell a vision to the American public and then let public opinion ensure the bill we craft will big enough and bold enough to meet our needs.

            I don’t think Congress, independent of being pushed by the bully pulpit, is capable of fixing this problem in a hundred years. The same economic geniuses who created this mess are now the ones telling us what is going to fix it? OK. I’ll bite, but I think it is you who linked to an opinion that we need a trillion and half or more of investment.

            That is the conversation we need to have, not what dusty liberal bills can be pulled out of the old Congressional record and cobbled together as if this is the democratic version of Council of Nicea.

            As far as TARP goes, The case could easily be made that doing nothing might have been as effective as spending 350 billion for bonuses and buy-outs with another 350 billion promised to diffuse ends. Of course it isn’t a complete disaster, but I can’t believe we keep spending hundreds of billions of dollars with less than a month of deliberations and think that is a sound process.

            We need a “moon shot” as you very rightly pointed out. Not another lukewarm half measure such as TARP. Half measures take twice as long and cost ten times as much.

          • bluemeanie

            Obama needs to sell a vision to the American public and then let public opinion ensure the bill we craft will big enough and bold enough to meet our needs.

            Obama is back on the road to do just that. My sense — one I have a feeling you share — is that he will be aiming to shore up support for what he has rather than selling his original plan. I’d prefer the latter but what I’m hoping for is something with enough teeth to do some good.

            Enjoyed the Nicea simile, by the way. I would have said “ossification.”

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Thanks and good points.

            Perhaps we are past the moment that Obama could have really gone big on this recovery plan. Maybe he will go bigger next time. Perhaps we will revisit this plan as it is implemented to ensure the speed didn’t compromise the quality we need.

            I still find it amusing that I am accused of being a “true believer” as I rail against orthodoxy from both parties. I happy to note that most TPM bloggers appear to be sincere in their efforts at dialogue rather than dogma.

            The ones that aren’t politically mature, despite their obviously advanced ages, stick out like sore thumbs.

          • SleepinJeezus

            “Perhaps we are past the moment that Obama could have really gone big on this recovery plan. Maybe he will go bigger next time. Perhaps we will revisit this plan as it is implemented to ensure the speed didn’t compromise the quality we need.”

            I would point out that this is exactly the points I and others have been making counter to your insistence that we need to trash these negotiations and actions in favor of a total retreat to embrace some kind of “third way” of negotiating political decisions. Until now, your response has been to soundly (and quite disrespectfully!) discount these suggestions as the rantings of an ideologic failed partisan who cannot understand that we are in some kind of a new era of post-partisan politics. This capitulation to bluemeanie sounds pretty much like a sensible – albeit frustrating – agreement to a case of “business as usual.” In fact, was it not Obama himself that mentioned the old chestnut to “not let the perfect be the enemy of the good” in this circumstance?

            In the words often quoted by a certain “true believer” at TPM, I suggest it is time to perhaps “Remove the plank from your own eye” before you propose “removing the speck from the eye of your brother.”

            And that’s ok. Apologies not required. I hope instead you begin seeing that having your words challenged is not always an “ad hominem attack.” Sometimes, jason, our arguments are just wrongly considered, and others here will call us on it.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You keep trying shove my suggestions into your “third way” framing and it doesn’t apply. No matter how many times you repeat it.

            Your “third way” and mine are two totally different concepts. You are speaking of Bill Clinton and the feckless democratic Congress while I am speaking of grassroots mobilization of millions of previously uninterested voters, including myself and just about everyone I know who woke up to our responsibilities over the past few years.

            No matter how many times you try to define me using your rather limited and prejudiced framing, I will push back with equal vigor. I will accept your apology now and we can move on to more fruitful discussion.

          • SleepinJeezus

            I’m not trying to shove your third way into any kind of pigeon hole, and so I wish you’d quit ducking the question asked by constantly insisting that it is so.

            “I am speaking of grassroots mobilization of millions of previously uninterested voters, including myself and just about everyone I know who woke up to our responsibilities over the past few years.”

            These are the words you offer by way of explanation of what you “mean” rather than what I “hear.”

            And so I’ll repeat the questions I consistently ask in response: “Just what the fuck are you talking about here? What does this look like? It all sounds pretty profound, to be sure. Congratulations on that! But how is this any different than anything in the real world as it exists today?”

            “No matter how many times you try to define me using your rather limited and prejudiced framing, I will push back with equal vigor.”

            Push back all you want – with vigor even.

            But it might be more productive if you instead read the question(s) presented and then responded to those. With vigor or not, even.

            “Just what the fuck are you talking about here? What does this look like? How is this any different than anything in the real world as it exists today?”

            These are legitimate questions in response to the proposed solutions you espouse. They deserve an answer.

            “I will accept your apology now and we can move on to more fruitful discussion.”

            That’s ok, jason. No apologies needed. A more fruitful discussion will occur when you learn to be less defensive and actually respond to legitimate challenges by responding directly to the questions asked. And in that regard, I suggest a little less profundity might be traded for a little more substance in the direct responses to the questions asked.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I have answered your questions in a million different ways using a million different analogies, all of which fall on deaf ears and an ideologically-blinded culture warrior who long-ago forgot where he came from.

            The change I describe looks a lot like the 1960s that you apparently slept through, though you talk a good game of being a long-time revolutionary. Oh, it is online now and not out in the streets, but the stirring is the same. The change I am speaking of looks like Barack Obama being elected president notwithstanding all the forces arrayed against him.

            The change that is bubbling up from the grassroots is apparently too subtle for you to see, so understanding my explanation of it are clearly beyond your powers of intellect. Such as they are. You represent the status quo now. You are “the man” you supposedly fought to bring down.

            You keep blaming me for not answering your inane and repetitive questions, yet it is you who refuse to actually read and comprehend the answers I have given. Over and over and over again, ad naseum.

            How does that irony feel?

          • bluemeanie

            Yeah, I don’t get the “true believer” thing. A shame, because the time you spend battling it would be much better spent on constructive dialogue.

            Krugman comes down pretty hard on Obama today. Many of the points he makes are yours.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Exactly! I am baffled by the amount of time I spend arguing semantics with people who I mostly agree with on the broad strokes.

          • eds

            Why do you argue semantics? I mean, since you seem frustrated that you end up doing it a lot… (“baffled”).

            You also argue strawmen which you create, does that frustrate you, too?

            And you deny attributions which were not made, so … ditto?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Because, dick, that is all you offer. Semantics and grammar errors in the place of intelligent thought or even a thought-provoking commentary. You’d rather provoke a less positive responses by using insulting language rather than have a useful political discussion. Just like most dicks are fond of doing.

          • eds

            “that is all you offer. ”

            Even if that were true (it’s not), that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Since you seldom follow suit, I guess you’re still determined to be the Jester.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            That’s true, I don’t and I didn’t until being repeatedly provoked. You and the duck should get a room.

          • eds

            TARP didn’t fail, and its imperfections while notable are minor. It’s use and execution were definitely below par, unless par is defined by a laissez-faire standard.

            Experts have been known to be wrong. If experts say something which violated common sense, watch out.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I never cited experts in my opinion. “Experts” crafted that TARP turd as well as the stimulus bill that appears just as lackluster. We can’t afford anymore “sub par” multi-billion dollar boondoggles if we want to fix our country. I’d prefer we be precise rather than speedy since we don’t have a lot more chances to get this right.

          • eds

            “Most experts have said” – Jester Jason in prior comment

            You did not quote experts, but you DID cite experts and you used “experts”. What’s your problem with “precision” here?

            I said: “If experts say something which violated common sense, watch out.”

            I think you’re sorta agreeing with me when you mention the TARP experts.

            “I’d prefer we be precise rather than speedy ”

            Fine. Be precise. What government payments to non-profits would be better than the current recovery bill, precisely?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You are the one saying that the bill is GREAT and PERFECT as is. No discussion is required. Just sign that MOFO NOW!

            So answer your own question, Dick. What huge governmental organization is better at spending money than non-profits who do ten times as much as government on shoe-string budgets?

            Semantics and splitting hairs doesn’t make you smart. Just makes you a Dick. Like the dicks we just got rid of. At least you’re in good company, huh, Dick?

          • eds

            Medicare is said to be hugely more efficient than private health care insurance systems.

            Get the rest of the trash out of your system quick.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            It may be said to be more efficient than the FOR PROFIT entities, which I would agree with as far as that goes, but wasn’t what I said.

            You again get the entire context wrong, which is unsurprising given your wafer-thin (though apparently vast) knowledge of All Things. First, Medicare only pays 80% of the billed amount. Second, it only covers a small portion of the 320 million Americans who would be on a single payer health care system should it become law. Medicare may not scale out to that size without massive adjustments.

            If Medicare is so wonderful, how come none of the other countries with single payer models used it as an example by which they should follow? It was first mentioned by Truman in 1945 and hasn’t really been updated all that much since it was signed into law 20 years later. Is this what passes for creative thinking in your world? Medicare for All?

            What about working within the existing paradigm by fixing what is wrong with it? A smarter solution is NON PROFIT health insurance and health care companies following a humane standard of delivering managed care focused on access to care and disease prevention instead of disease management and denial of care.

            That is what I mean by designing 21st Century solutions to meet 21st Century challenges and opportunities.

            “Medicare for All” becomes a useless anachronism in that world. A vestigial appendage from two generations past. Kind of like the unions once we have a working medical system and a living wage. Hell, I even think a national pension plan would deliver great return on investment. Safety nets were fine when American business mostly had your back.

            This is clearly not the case now, so new thinking is required. Something you don’t seem to like very much.

          • eds

            Non-profit, private sector, health care system?

            So are you thinking Catholic Charity hospitals and the like extended universally, or what? And is there a role for Government, or is this just a regulated free market of charity?

            “precise” doesn’t mean to be vague about your idea.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            “precise doesn’t mean to be vague about your idea.”

            Can’t you simply ask for clarification without being a dick, dick? Having a conversation doesn’t require insults as a means of asking questions.

            It would look more like the many non-profit hospitals such as Washington Hospital Center, which is part of the Medstar Health. We will require following a strict set of regulatory guidelines to issue insurance. This is a life or death industry, so profit motive over care is a criminal offense. If we regulate the profit out of health care insurance, either Medicare would have to expand or for profit insurance companies will have to become non-profits. Many will if we create an avenue for them to do so.

            Again, not terribly hard to come up with a dozen different ways to re-engineer our health care system to maximize our already existing opportunities and resources. Insurance as an idea isn’t evil. It’s not the idea of millions of “consumers” pooling their resources to get that kind of solution. We need government oversight and regulation to health care doesn’t become what it is now – the systematic killing of everyday Americans by big business special interests.

            The shareholder be damned on basic life necessities. The non-profit realm of business is a great place to manage many individual social necessities like child care or pension plans as well “commons” items such as energy and health care and education. I try not to be too specific, because we will define these things as we go and nothing I can come up with will even be a tenth as good as what we end up with if we are to be successful.

            Others apparently go on and on in different ways. Oops.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Actually, you always ask a questions like this:

            “That’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard, even if I could get through the numerous and sundry typos. Why not illuminate us, Mr. Wizard, as to what you propose to solve the problem?”

            You are actually a bigger dick than this when responding to what I write, but I try to be charitable where I can.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            PS: If you are going to comment on a comment of mine or quote it, then make it clear what you are quoting or reply to the actual comment, otherwise, you are just a being a dick, Dick.

            Since you finally made it clear, then I still disagree with your statement. Going halfway does us no good and if many economists believe we need to hit a certain level for any stimulus to be effective, that makes sense to me. If something “violated common sense” I would say so, but you saying so doesn’t make it true.

            Did you forget that your opinions aren’t what determines whether or not something is true? Most dicks don’t understand the distinction between their opinions and the truth.

          • eds

            “Be precise. What government payments to non-profits would be better than the current recovery bill, precisely?”

            Hello?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Why do you pretend to not understand very simple points?

            Food pantries, employment services, education and professional skills training programs, affordable housing assistance programs, affordable day care, credit counseling, community health organizations.

            For Profit efforts might include green energy research and implementation, tax credits for green investments to businesses or homes or communities, small business loans, education and training, infrastructure projects.

            The list is endless.

          • SleepinJeezus

            Am I mistaken, or are you talking about non-profit NGO’s that already gain the lion’s share of their funding from the government? According to most of what you list here, that would certainly seem to be the case.

            So much of what the government accomplishes in social services actually occurs through the funding of NGO’s and non-profits. I would therefore expect any stimulus funds that were directed to social programs would in fact be spent through these programs. That’s how government works already, fer chrissakes. There’s nothing at all new about that!

            “For Profit efforts might include green energy research and implementation, tax credits for green investments to businesses or homes or communities, small business loans, education and training, infrastructure projects.

            And this is precisely the kind of effort that Obama and even the Dems in Congress have included in the stimulus proposal.

            So how is any of this a revolutionary new idea? Or is this “brilliant new paradigm” just a diversion to take attention away from the fact that you have stretched yourself pretty thin in trying to create – on the fly, no less – a cockamamie “new paradigm” that really resembles the same old stuff when scrutinized closely.

            Oh, I know. I am stubbornly ignorant and am too blinded to see the brilliance of the wunderkind here who so readily disparages these old gaffers who have accomplished nothing for over forty years because they refuse to acknowledge just how brilliant is this whole new political philosophy.

            But, again, all I have to go on is the words you put on “paper” here. And in reading your words closely, I see nothing of substance that sets you apart from any other Madison Avenue hack who puts a “new and improved” label on the same old product and declares it to be of much greater value for the effort.

            Sorry, jason, but you’ll just have to forgive me if I fail to be astounded by the supposedly superior intellect that comes up with this nonsense. There really isn’t anything here, and I suspect even you know it by now. I give you credit for possessing at least THAT much intelligence.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            So says the brainiac who comes up with his own brilliant ideas and presents them in long and drawn-out soliloquies that offer zero information that is actually correct outside of his own narrow view of America and a lifetime of waging ideological battles.

            Like “NGOs” getting the “lion’s share” of the their funding from the government. Wrong.

            Non profits get the bulk of their funding from other non profits which get it through grants and donations and many sources OTHER than government sources, which is a piece of that pie but hardly the biggest or the most certain. Further, the process is even more diffuse than that as many non profits end up filling holes in their budgets with direct fund-raising efforts.

            The rest of your commentary remains the same old, same old. Lack of context and full of ad hominem sniping instead of honest dialogue.

            You accuse me of claiming some brilliance that I have never claimed and have in fact argued against at every turn. The only ones who present their ideas as if they were the Word of God around here are the ideological warriors such as yourself. Stuck in a feedback loop where republicans are all evil and any criticism or critique is cause for war.

            Ironic that I am the one accused of being a true believer.

            You’ll notice that it is Obama now getting specific about what the spending entails rather than letting the democratic faithful continue to position it as some non-specific “stimulus” plan that can easily be spun as special interest give-aways via huge new government programs that don’t even work most of the time and cost twice as much to deliver a tenth of the results as private counterparts in the NGO space normally take to meet the same challenges.

            Forgive me if I don’t take your continued inability to think critically and in three-dimensions as somehow being something I would hope to emulate. I know how badly all of you Video Professors around here want us to buy your product.

            Thanks, but I’ll pass.

      • Hilarym99

        Bear with me please on this – walk me through it, okay?

        t means we should not rush into something and perhaps make the situation worse or not have the positive effects we need. This is a lot of money to gamble on tired programs and rhetoric instead of innovative solutions. Talk to me about doubling the non-profit sector from 300 billion to 600 billion. That is both creative, nationwide and can be sold to democrats and republicans alike.

        How is this accomplished? I honestly have no idea. Tax cuts for nonprofit start-ups? Funding? Non-profits are private enterprises, right? So government intervention in the nonprofit sector is still likely to take the form of either spending or taxes no? What am I missing?

        The Faith Based Neighborhoods program is another creative way to get money into the economy quickly for social programs without getting massive push-back from conservative Americans of both parties.

        I don’t know much about this either, but I took a look at some of the information out there, and it’s again, hard for me to see how this has a large effect on the economy. The four priorities of the FBN are:
        *The Office’s top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.
        *It will be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.
        *The Office will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood.
        *Finally, beyond American shores this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.

        So, I actually think this is a good thing, but still don’t see that large an economic effect coming out of it. Again, what am I missing?

        Let’s pay for huge energy grid revitalization projects or windmills in the Midwest or tidal generators on our coasts or subsidies for organic farmers or increased funding for the National Science Foundation to funnel into entrepreneurial efforts that can put people back to work tomorrow.

        I’m with you on this. But it’s still government spending. Now, I’m planning on working my way through the compromise bill, so I’m not entirely sure what’s left in there, but it looks to me that a lot of the stuff that got cut was not that far off from what you’re suggesting here.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I am not saying we shouldn’t have government spending to meet this crisis. What I am saying is that if all the democratic leadership can come up with pigeon-holing billions of dollars into programs that don’t work right already, we can’t possibly be making things better.

          I am also convinced that Obama missed a chance to take a huge proposal with innovative thinking to the American public and then have them force Congress to act on delivering the progress he described. He missed that opportunity by leaving it up to the “Old Dogs” in Congress to take leadership on this plan, notwithstanding their complete lack of leadership on any other area for at least the last 30 years or so.

          Non-profits deliver critical social services all around the country and are largely supported by liberals and conservatives alike. Increased funding for them would stimulate the economy. Many Faith Based programs are of a similar nature and are supported by Christians of all political persuasions.

          I am willing to bet that much of the “compromises” made in Congress these last few weeks made a bad bill even worse. I suspect that between liberal and conservative orthodoxy, as practiced by our “representatives” in Congress, what we have now is a Frankenstein monster that will struggle to succeed.

          I would have preferred a lot more thought and a little less action here at the beginning. I have yet to be involved with a successful project that didn’t include a lengthy planning session before we started developing the actual solutions framework, much less started writing code.

          Barack should have known that Congress would fuck this up and planned accordingly.

          • Hilarym99

            I’m not disagreeing with you over the execution of the bill. I agree that Obama should have taken it straight to the people. What I’m trying to understand are your content-specific critiques. I also agree that nonprofits are most certainly important. What I’m asking is how you wanted to double their influence – which I assume would have to take the form of either tax cuts/incentives or additional funding in the form of government spending. I’m trying to reconcile your suggestions with this statement: “Offering Tax Cuts or Huge Government Spending as being the only two possible solutions to our complex problems is just idiotic,” and it seems to me that your critique is perhaps on what exactly they should be spending on, which still falls under one of those two solutions, but even more so with the execution of the planning of the bill in general. Am I wrong in that line of thinking?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Increased funding for private efforts is not the same thing as dumping billions into inefficient and government-run entities. I am saying that many people who object to spending money in government organizations may in fact support spending that same money in the private sector. I selected non-profits because they have been delivering the most bang for the buck of any public-supported enterprise I can think of.

            Tax cuts that are focused on very specific gains can be useful. The ones being offered by republicans seem knee-jerk and too broad-spectrum. Tax cuts of that nature have proved to be ineffective. Government spending as part of the bottomless pit that is our current local, state and federal government organizational dysfunction is just what we don’t need.

            Both parties are offering status quo solutions as a way of addressing our problems that were created by the status quo in the first place. I remain unimpressed by both caucuses.

  • Hilarym99

    Beyond sounding just like the neoconservative ghouls who have used such language to divide us, it also implies that the bungling clowns in Congress have somehow become infallible since January 20th. That they can now craft a perfect bill to spend nearly a trillion dollars over the next few years in order to be on Barack’s desk by February 16th. Barack setting such an unreasonable deadline for such an important piece of legislation is perhaps his biggest mistake to date given the fact that Congress is full of morons.

    To be honest, I’ve seen nothing on this site to suggest that anyone thinks Congress is infallible. Quite the opposite, plenty of criticism to go around, for both sides of the aisle.

    Michael Grunwald in his latest Time piece:

    Nothing in the historical record suggests that when Congress has more time to deliberate–and more time to confer with special-interest lobbyists and local-interest political advisers–it enacts fair tax policies, sustainable energy policies, wise infrastructure policies, responsible fiscal policies or any other policies tainted by long-term thinking or national-interest considerations. If Obama wants to push 21st century change through Capitol Hill, he needs to use this emergency.

    Surely you can understand why many people agree with this?

    • moat

      I agree with you. Time is of essence.

      The problem is not that Congress is filled with morons, it is the way both sides of the aisle are invested in the political game. Obama needs to upset the status quo at the very beginning or become defined by it.

      The harsh line of rejection taken by the McCain Republicans expresses their confidence that the latter will transpire.

      • wvbiker

        “Obama needs to upset the status quo at the very beginning or become defined by it.”

        I think this is the crux of what is happening. I believe Pres. Obama understands this too.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        I see him as upholding the status quo by applying artificial deadlines to a very important piece of legislation that has multiple strategic goals attached to it. He should have been willing to go much bigger, to drive Congress toward a bolder path and then sell it to the American people to shut up Congressional republicans.

        Politicians are first and foremost followers of whatever trend can be measured by a poll. Barack forgot how he won the election in the first place – by inspiring the grassroots to demand something different. He needed to get them to demand the same thing from Congress on both sides of the aisle.

        That is the opportunity I think he is missing.

        • moat

          I agree that it would be better if this piece of legislation was being brought forward with more deliberation. But doesn’t that dance require a partner? The Republicans are playing hardball and using their considerable resources to kill this thing before it gets started.
          We both framed our comments in terms of a window of opportunity. Maybe the matter is not about what is or is not the “status quo” but a question of resources. I hear what you are saying about grassroots but developing that has its own costs and dangers. It is not like the opposition is going to watch such a move from the sidelines.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I think Barack Obama could take a very ambitious and forward thinking agenda and sell it to the American public on the news every night. He has a huge propaganda machine just waiting to distribute his words hither and yon.

            Just him talking about so bold an initiative will help unfreeze the credit markets and buy us more time. We just need a little time to ensure this is done right.

            You are right that we can’t solve Congress overnight. It won’t happen but through massive voter interest over the next five or six election cycles. In the meantime, though, Barack is perfectly suited to go big with the recovery and launch us into the 21st Century. Even if it costs twice what Congress is talking now, our long term return could be more than enough to make it worth the investment.

            It has to be bold and big, because the same old, same old won’t be enough to inspire a nation, which is the only thing that will move Congress to do what we need.

          • moat

            I get the big. I get the bold. But I was asking for you to change gears for a moment and talk about the opposition.
            For thirty years, the Republicans have been showing up to the knife fights held by Democrats with guns. The populist energy you are talking about is not a given resource that one can tap into on demand. The Republicans just proved that you can go to the well only so many times. That exhaustion is not necessarily a mandate for an alternative. It is the hope that an alternative is possible.
            The propaganda machine you refer to barely got this Democrat President elected. If the economy hadn’t crashed when it did, he probably wouldn’t have been elected.
            The Bush administration didn’t so much advance a radical agenda as withdraw from policy formation as such. They just did things.
            So I like the way you frame the maximum possible change of our polity. But I would like it better if you showed in more detail how the forces arrayed against such a plan were supplied and positioned by people well accustomed to moving pieces on the board.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Things only change when you decide to use the given systems to try. What the democrats are doing isn’t working. It hasn’t worked to deliver massive progressive change since at the mid 60s. I am not inspired by Reid and Pelosi. They haven’t sold me. Or many of my friends. We want to be sold and they can’t close the deal. Perhaps it isn’t the electorate that is at fault here.

            All the experts agree we must go bigger and Barack relied on the democratic Congress to deliver the type of legislation that could motivate a nation to push Congress. The media play whatever the next big thing comes along. They will allow the new president all the air time he wants to paint a new national narrative. He was much more than “barely” elected. He is the first democratic in a generation to get mor than 50-percent. He captured republican, democratic and independent votes across the spectrum.

            Barack Obama pulling a Kennedy and setting the bar higher than could possibly reach is what was needed and what we didn’t get. Do you think we will see anything but obstruction and stagnation if we are unable to get past our partisan roadblocks? The only person positioned right now to lead the way out of that quagmire is Barack Obama. It will require him to paint a vision that both parties will be pushed to deliver by the voters watching at home.

            You are asking me to describe how we should change independent of a national conversation that is needed to design it. Obviously, a citizen should advocate for the best possible solutions and then hope what is enacted is somehow equal to our needs. Given the performance of the clowns in Congress as long as I have been alive, I am not all that confident they know what they are doing. It’s not about the republicans in Congress. It is about the republicans at home.

            Right voters have no reason to demand their representatives to do anything different from what they have already done.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      They are offering 20th Century projects as 21st Century change. Obama shoving that through doesn’t make any more sense than doing nothing. It could be worse than nothing for all the thought that has been put into it.

      There is a difference between being reckless and being deliberate. I disagree with the notion that more time won’t equal more positive results. Obama and the democratic Congress is being reckless. Just like Bush and the democratic Congress were reckless with the TARP legislation.

      A trillion here and a trillion there (not to mention another trillion in Iraq) and all of a sudden we are left wondering why we didn’t get anything for all that money.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      PS: Agreeing with the opinion of one New York Times writer doesn’t make it right. Plenty of smart people believe just the opposite including many on this site.

      • OldenGoldenDecoy

        .

        Oh sheesh . . .

        A blanket statement and personal opinion chock full of unadulterated horse-pucky . . .

        I expect nothing more, nor less…

        Come on … now give us a Quack!

        ~OGD~

        • Jason Everett Miller

          PS: You have zero intellectual integrity and have no desire to discuss things as an adult. You call yourself a “liberal” yet don’t practice the Golden Rule. All that means you only get “Quack” as a response from me from now on. So, deal with it or stop polluting my blogs and comments with your small-minded rhetoric.

          • OldenGoldenDecoy

            .

            Oh and . . .

            It’s kinda funny that I’d be referred to with any label by this blustery wind-bag. It’s all speculation to satisfy his narrow-minded labeling needs. The blustery one can’t live with out pigeon-holing anyone and everyone.

            Label label label label . . .

            ~OGD~

          • Jason Everett Miller

            That’s all the Quacking Hate Parade can do is work within the existing labels and their own narrow prejudices, so it is appropriate that I respond with the same. Maybe then you’ll actually understand what I am saying.

      • Hilarym99

        I quoted him b/c I had just read it and it made my point quickly. Of course plenty of smart people disagree. Just as many smart people agree. That’s par for the course. The question isn’t determined by majority rule, it’s who’s right. Which we’ll debate till the end of time.

        • SleepinJeezus

          And it was indeed a very relevant quote, hillary. As was your question regarding “What is this third way?”

          You ask the same questions I do, albeit in a far less confrontational way than I. (I tend to enjoy the rigorous back-and-forth of debate seasoned at times with a little sarcasm and hyperbole – both offered and received. My weakness, I know!)

          And like you -who asks these things in such a gracious fashion – I still await the answer.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          You have hit on what I consider to be the baseline for all of my political opinions. They always open for revision depending on the particular case being made.

  • eds

    “Reality dictates that nothing can change? That is a pretty odd statement given the fact that there is nothing constant in this world BUT change.”

    Your given is false. Even change changes.

    There is a reality in which nothing changes, but that’s not what I said or implied. So yes, your strawman is a pretty odd duck, Quacker. As an aside, there is another sense in which reality is always changing. You merely vomiting on my posts makes this process rather tedious, Jason.

    What I said is that Reality dictates that politics have a component of “hardball”, aka “contact sport”. You might call it “the law of the jungle” which is the substrate in/on which civilized behavior can emerge. Denying or ignoring this aspect of politics is folly.

    If you’re trying to play the role of Court Jester, … Good work Duuuude!!!

    Otherwise, shape up, boy.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Yes, because you are the arbiter of what is or isn’t erudite commentary at TPM.

      This is one more case of the real court jester tossing poo at the other court members as they lounge around talking about things he just doesn’t understand and can’t be bothered to learn. Nor do the other poo-flinging monkeys he hangs out with.

      TPM is a kingdom without a king, though I am sure all of you poo-flingers would love nothing better than to be recognized as such. Or at least a governing body. The Central Committee for Truth? I am sure there is some sort of Orwellian structure that will fit your perceptions of America.

      I am denying that your so-called “law of the jungle” is how real change happens nor is how society is transformed. Obama didn’t adhere to your “law” and he won handily against well-versed practitioners of the art. Gandhi didn’t follow your law and brought down an Empire. Nor did Martin Luther King, Jr. and see how far we have come these last 40 years since he death.

      How about some quotes about the nature of reality from people much smarter (though infinitely less certain) than you, boy:

      Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~Albert Einstein
      Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ~John Lennon
      An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. ~Mahatma Gandhi
      Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. ~John F. Kennedy
      If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

      • eds

        “you are the arbiter of what is or isn’t erudite commentary at TPM”

        No more than any other reader with good jense, Jester.

        In my case I do have a deep understanding, except where I ask questions to elicit information.

        “I am denying that your so-called “law of the jungle” is how real change happens nor is how society is transformed.”

        Feel free to deny your strawman as much as you like, Jester! Denying reality isn’t always merely delusional, and citing poor poetry is not compelling, except as vomit can be compelling.

        “This is one more case of the real court jester ”

        I take that as a self-referential confession, Jester Jason!

        • Jason Everett Miller

          More sublimation rather than intelligent commentary or even a pretense of objectivity. You are obviously a uncreative troll with a chip on his shoulder. No denial is going to make that fact any less true or any less obvious to most TPM readers. Why not just go away? I’ll leave your idiotic blogs and comments alone. You can do the same with mine. There. Problem solved.

          • eds

            Feel free to ignore my comments.

            You denied a strawman. I pointed that out so you’d know that your version is not at all what my point was, and you could go back to review if you weren’t just being rude and trollish. I would prefer not to talk down to you, to let you make the reasonable inference Jason, but you seem unwilling or unable to do so. So here’s the mini-lecture:

            The point about hardball and politics being a contact sport is that there is a reality out there which isn’t subject to wishful thinking or thinking nice thoughts. It’s not that mass violence such as war is necessary to political change (as Bush seems to have chosen), it’s that any view of politics which ignores reality (real strife) is limited at best and probably delusional, thus not really effective at achieving real world ends, whether of peace or growth etc.

            We can make nice over afternoon tea as we discuss politics, and even as we do politics to some extent (some kinds of diplomacy, for instance). But that’s not the full spectrum of the “sport”, and Obama knows this, or at least it is said that he does.

            I hope that’s enuf.