Pax Americana 197


I am happy to note that President Barack Obama continues to concentrate his political message on the idea that the left and right halves of American society, embodied mostly by a dysfunctional and partisan Congress but also at the grassroots of both parties, must knit themselves into a more functional and sustainable whole.

This subtext was obvious in both in his opening remarks and Q & A with House republicans in Baltimore.  I believe this strategic vision and its recent tactical implementation will prove to be the lasting legacy of the Obama presidency.

The response was pretty much as I expected at the time as was the incompetent execution of Obama’s winning campaign strategy in the halls of Congress when it came to legislating in 2009.

I don’t even blame the representatives themselves as much as I blame We The People who can’t pay attention long enough to understand the precise nature of our various and sundry problems.  We don’t need more medications to address our gastrointestinal issues if we can finally understand that our physical bodies reflect the societal disease growing at the very foundation of our Republic.

We are Rome now.  Our indulgence in empire brought with it very high costs, both in lives and money and opportunity lost.

I still believe the president understands the essential nature of our dilemma.  He knows how precarious our nation remains even after his monumental achievement in 2008.  I am sure he understand how his caucus let him down as they failed to innovate in a way that made the republicans have no choice but to support the legislation under consideration.  I am sure he regrets letting our dysfunctional Congress take the lead on these matters.

Based on his last two public performances, I suspect the president will continue to advocate the strategic goal of liberals and conservatives and independents forging a lasting peace as a means of achieving sustainable progressive change.

IT'S EASY TO SHARE

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

197 thoughts on “Pax Americana

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Not to toot my own horn too loudly, but I have decent record so far on predicting how things have played out on various debates.

      I look forward to many more “I told you so!” moments to come. :O)

  • Libertine

    I really don’t get it jason. It is the fault of liberals/progressives that an accord with the political right wing couldn’t be reached? We compromised on single payer, we compromised on the public option how much more are we supposed to compromise? Just throw in the towel and say ‘the hell with it just do it the way the R’s want it done’? How can we on the left find accord with the right when all the right is interested in is having it all their way? You cannot meet halfway when the right’s feels that point is found in at their edge of the political spectrum. You can cast stones at us on the left but from where I sit we are not the problem. The other side who are unwilling to move one iota are. It seems like nothing has changed…the political center and right, as always, just demonizes the left. Can you blame us about having ‘tude right now?

    I’m sure you will go on and on about how the far left has somehow poisoned the discourse…but we’re not the ones jumping up and down, hyperventilating about communist death panels that will kill everyone’s granny.

    • MiddleClassBill

      True – you’re just hyperventilating whenever somebody mentions tax cuts. And rewriting history to say that tax cuts didn’t help spur job growth.

      • cmaukonen

        Depends on whose tax get’s cut. Middle class and lower yes..upper class and higher no. They just pocket the cash and split. Like they do now with any money they get.

        C

        • MiddleClassBill

          I agree – Libertine however thinks that the Bush tax cuts only went to the wealthy and didn’t create any jobs. He ignores the fact that the tax rate was lowered at ALL brackets, not just at the top. And he ignores the millions of jobs that were created in the 2nd half of ’03 and 2004 after the tax cuts were passed in mid-’03 in response the jobs we lost post-9/11 and during the 2002 recession.

      • Libertine

        What C said…

        Cuts for all people making under $250K and I am all for it. But would you be down with raising the size of the national debt required to make any tax cuts right now? I don’t believe you have answered that specific question each time I’ve asked.

        • MiddleClassBill

          I already did answer your question but you apparently ignored my answer. Same way that you ignored all the jobs that were created in late ’03 and 2004 after Bush cut taxes. You still say that Bush didn’t create any jobs?

          • brewmn61

            you are remarkably dishonest. this remonds me of our deficit discussion where you wanted to focus on one year (since you’re a fairly good regurgitator of rightwing spin, I’m guessing that 2006 was a good years deficits).

            I mean, are conservatives even trying to argue that Bush’s record on job growth was a good one? It’s beyond debate that Bush had the worst jobs record of any postwar president by far:

            http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/01/the-bushcheney-economy.html

            Now I’ll sit back and listen to you criticize Sullivan, or try to obfuscate what is as plain as day to non-hacks: Bush was the worst president for job growth since Herbert Hoover. Fact. End of story.

          • brewmn61

            And here are some quotes from the WaPo story that Sullivan linked to :

            “For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different.

            The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times…”

            “…There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.”

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/01/AR2010010101196_2.html

            Stop lying, Bill. Please. Just. Stop. Lying.

          • MiddleClassBill

            I’m not lying. I’m not saying that Bush created jobs over his entire period in office. Clearly we lost millions of jobs in ’07 and ’08 because of the financial/credit crisis. Libertine and I are discussing if the tax cuts in ’03 helped create jobs. If you don’t think the ’03 tax cuts helped create jobs please tell me why. But we created millions of jobs in late ’03/2004 after the tax cuts were passed in mid-’03.

            But if you think that the tax cuts are the reason why we lost so many jobs later on in the decade or that tax cuts were the cause of the financial meltdown, please tell me why.

          • brewmn61

            “But if you think that the tax cuts are the reason why we lost so many jobs later on in the decade or that tax cuts were the cause of the financial meltdown, please tell me why.”

            Nice try, you dishonest Republican shill. You’re the one making the argument that tax cuts always lead to job growth. I’ve never said that tax cuts were the reason we lost so many jobs, although I think decades of irresponsible deficit spending under Republicans is unhealthy for our economy overall.

            You’re a fundamentally dishonest person, Bill. There is no support in the historical recordfor the argument that tax cuts automatically lead to job growth. And no one here is making the opposite claim, that tax cuts cause job losses. If the narratives you are peddling weren’t so harmful, you wouldn’t even deserve a response.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Now you are putting words in my mouth. I did not say that tax cuts always lead to job growth. Never said that. Never used the word “automatic”. But if you think I did please show me where I did.

            I did say that the 2003 tax cuts had a positive impact on job growth in the 2nd half of ’03 and during 2004.

            Libertine made the claim that the Bush tax cuts didn’t creat any jobs. The job growth numbers from 2004 paint a different story.

          • brewmn61

            You first reference to tax cuts:

            “And rewriting history to say that tax cuts didn’t help spur job growth.”

            Libertine was not specifically referring to 2003, 2004 or any other year. So, if you were not making a general statement about tax cuts always leading to job growth, then your reply was poorly phrased.

            And what evidence do you have that Bush’s 2003 tax cuts were the proximate cause of any future job growth? Since we had had no job growth after the 2000-2001 recession, I think a much more likely reason for the (still anemic by historical standards, BTW) 2003-2004 job growth was that we were finally far enough past that recession for employers to start hiring again.

            Again, do you really want to defend George Bush’s record on employment? If so, then Herbert Hoover must have been your favorite president of the 20th Century.

            Why do you hate working and middle class people so much, Bill?

          • *

            It’s a matter of record…no job growth during Bu$h’s entire 8 year reign…

            Over the last eight years, job growth grew the least under President George W. Bush. That’s the lowest job growth since World War II. from 2001 through 2009, job gains grew only .28%.

            Even his Daddy did better! => George H. W. Bush (1989-93), 0.59%

            Go read this – Job Growth Where Bush Didn’t Want It
            url: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/09/business/09charts.html

            Only a fool would believe what you say.

          • *

            Pardon me, but 2001 to 2009 includes 2004. So phenomenal job growth in only one year in the article you cite (no percentages cited, of course) vs. overall job creation for Bu$h’s entire eight years of only 0.28%. Something doesn’t add up here.

            U.S. employers added a net 157,000 jobs in December, bringing the positions gained by the economy in 2004 to 2.2 million — its best showing since 1999, the government said Friday.

            Here’s where you seem to be getting your high water mark from. But further down there’s this …

            That the economy posted job gains at all in 2004 marked a distinct improvement over the preceding three years. Payroll employment slipped by 563,000 in 2002 and 61,000 in 2003 after plunging by almost 1.9 million in 2001.

            Roughly speaking, I’d say the job losses were approximately 2.5 million from 2001 to 2003. But here’s the real WTF moment with your citation…

            Still, last year’s job growth remained 1 million shy of 1999’s total of 3.2 million, and analysts pointed to several signs of weakness in the latest report.

            So it seems the numbers quoted in your citation are at best dubious. Even the people preparing it weren’t too positive they were accurate.

            Got any better supporting citations?

          • *

            By the way, whatever Bu$h did in 2003 only lasted about a year. Then everything slid back in the direction it was going before…downhill. So essentially, the tax cuts you’re so proud of was a one-time-good-deal that was strictly for show and tell which didn’t have any lasting effect or power to change course.

          • brewmn61

            In other words, you need to pick only the periods in time Bill wants you to pick. He tried this same bullshit with me on an argument about the actual cost of Bush’s tax cuts. I cited to Krugman’s estimate of their cost over time, and bill disputed Krugman’s analysis(!) by citing the deficit figure in 2006 from CBO chart.

            It’s like arguing with Sean Hannity. allegations completely without factual support (except for their essential “truthiness”), obfuscation when presented with actual facts, and “when did you stop beating your wife” questions as a last deperate resort.

            If we had mikes, he would cut them off.

          • MiddleClassBill

            It’s not cherry picking time periods. If you’re going to analyze the effectiveness of tax cuts implemented in 2003, you’re not going to look at the job data from ’07 or ’08. You’re going to look at the 2nd half of ’03 and all of ’04.

          • MiddleClassBill

            How is that cherry picking? If the tax cuts were implemented in ’03, wouldn’t you look at the rest of ’03 and ’04 to see what effect they had? I could have also cited the job growth in ’05 but figured that were a lot of other factors affecting the economy and the longer you look out the more 3rd party independent events play a role.

          • *

            You’re cherry picking your facts to suit you position. Makes you look foolish when all the facts taken as a whole show the exact opposite of what you’re saying.

          • MiddleClassBill

            How so? Which years would you look at to determine if the tax cuts in ’03 had a positive benefit to the economy?

          • MiddleClassBill

            why would you include all of the job losses from the credit crunch and housing crash? How are those job losses relevant to whether the tax cuts were effective in spurring job growth?

          • MiddleClassBill

            Not when you’re trying to assess if the tax cuts in ’03 helped turn around all the job losses in ’01 and ’02. It doesn’t make sense to argue that the tax cuts didn’t help create jobs because of what happened in ’08 and ’09.

          • *

            Second part of my answer is do you plan only one day at a time, never to look farther than 24 hours ahead? Because that’s what you are promoting by only looking at an 18 month period when the tax credits kicked in, pushed job creation way the hell up during that single period of a 8 year period in office. If those tax credits were really as good as you say, there should have been enough steam to keep rolling for more job creation in the following years. But it was nothing more than a weak stimulus gimmick for the business sector that petered out in a matter of months. Bu$h needed to keep making those stimulus booster shots to keep the economy on life support and people employed. But he didn’t so without the stimulus, there was no reason for the business sector to create more jobs. In fact, it was more cost effective to lay people off, which is exactly what happened. And then came the financial meltdown, housing bust and monster job losses which all added insult to injury.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Kept rolling for more years? Why? If you own a business and tax cuts will create an extra $100,000 of cash flow next year and you pay your workers $50,000 per year, you will hire two extra people. But it won’t cause you to hire another 2 people every year going forward. But that business hiring an 2 people is still a positive.

          • brewmn61

            First of all, you’re the one trying to hijack this argument into whether Bush’s 2003 tax cuts were responsible for job growth in 2004, and to completely ignore the fact that Bush’s overall program of tax cuts resulted in the worst job numbers in modern history.

            But even so, what evidence do you have that Bush’s 2003 tax cuts were the proximate cause of any future job growth? Since we had had no job growth after the 2000-2001 recession, I think a much more likely reason for the (still anemic by historical standards, BTW) 2003-2004 job growth was that we were finally far enough past that recession for employers to start hiring again.

            (and yes, this is a cut-and-paste from my comment upthread)

          • MiddleClassBill

            I’m not hijacking anything. Libertine claimed that the Bush tax cuts didn’t create any jobs and I believe the data supports a different viewpoint.

            You can say that it is a coincidence. But there was a very strong turnaround in both jobs and GDP right around the same time when the tax cuts were announced. Too many things all turned around at the same time.

          • brewmn61

            “You can say that it is a coincidence.’

            I’m not saying it’s a coincidence. I’m saying that there were other factors that were more likely to be the reason behind the puny job growth you’re touting as evidence that tax cuts are good for workers.

            I’m saying you’re general argument that tax cuts lead to job growth is completely unsupported by facts, and is a pernicious falsehood used to fool working class Americans into supporting the Republican agenda by rightwing liars like yourself. That, and I’m saying your increasingly desperate protestations make you look a George-Bush-fluffing fool.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Job growth and GDP and business investment all turned around close to the same time when the tax cuts were announced. Adding millions of jobs after we lost millions in 01/02/first-half ’03 isn’t a “puny” turnaround. The fact that things turned around to me says that the tax cuts worked.

            Again – you’re putting words into my mouth about a “general argument that tax cuts lead to job growth”. I am specifically talking about the turnaround we saw after the ’03 tax cuts. I am refuting Libertine’s comment that Bush’s tax cuts didn’t create any jobs.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Things slid downhill for reasons other than the tax cuts. The tax cuts helped create jobs in ’03 and ’04 after we had lost so many from the dot-com bubble burst, 9/11 and recession in ’02.

            Just because other bad things happened (like a housing/credit bubble) later on doesn’t mean that the tax cuts didn’t help the economy.

          • *

            In other words, what Bu$h did wasn’t sustainable. That’s like throwing gasoline on a fire. Makes one big frigging fireball, but goes out rather quickly and doesn’t make the fire any last longer.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Not sure I agree with your point about sustainability. The analogy would be if last year you took one vacation and you paid a 25% tax rate. Then this year (ie today) Congresses announces your 2010 tax rate will be 20%. You decide to take two vacations rather than one. Your tax rate stays at 20% going forward. You still take two vacations every year. You don’t take more and more vacations every year because of one tax cut. But you’re still better off.

          • *

            It more like a game of poker we’re playing instead of a vacation. The hand you’re dealt is for the long term. Consider Bu$h’s tax cuts as an ante to the pot. This game isn’t over until the bidding stops and that usually happens at the end of the term. By the way, Bu$h didn’t have a winning hand.

          • MiddleClassBill

            That’s silly. Let’s say Obama passes a jobs bill today and it creates a million jobs next year. I would say that’s a great success. And if in 2013 we hypothetically experience another recession for whatever reason and we start hemorrhaging millions of jobs, I would still say that his jobs bill was a success.

          • *

            And I would say he failed to follow thru with his jobs agenda and let other factors interfere with establishing a sound jobs environment that keeps overall taxes lower because the more people working means everyone pays less in taxes. Jobs are the key in reducing the individual tax burden, not tax cuts. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

          • MiddleClassBill

            That’s ridiculous. He failed to follow through because other things (out of his control) caused a recession and the loss of jobs?? C’mon

          • The Decider

            I should have done the big massive tax cuts ever year and not just in 2003 is what it says. If you think about it, how bad off would the country have been if I hadn’t done the tax cuts? It would’ve been awful, I tell you.

          • MiddleClassBill

            What exactly is dubious about the numbers? It is stating that we lost a ton of jobs from ’01 to ’03. Then the tax cuts came in during mid-’03 and we say net job gains during the 2nd half of ’03 and during ’04.

            The report isn’t suggesting that the numbers weren’t “accurate”. “Signs of weakness” doesn’t mean the numbers weren’t accurate. It means that the increases were still less than the losses from ’01 to ’03. But I never claimed that the tax cuts would 100% offset the prior years’ declines. But it seems logical that the tax cuts helped encourage businesses to hire again.

          • *

            The overall job gains from 2001 to 2009 were 0.28%. Cherry picking an 18 month window in the middle to show a single spike of activity isn’t realistic. It was more accidental in that it wasn’t sustainable because other unrelated factors that were allowed to dilute the forward progression.

          • MiddleClassBill

            How was it not sustainable? Why would you expect that one tax cut would cause job growth going forward forever? Did you not understand the example about taking an extra vacation?

          • *

            Because cutting taxes hasn’t anything to do with job creation. And you’re use of a vacation is nothing more than a red herring.

          • MiddleClassBill

            I know what it is but I don’t understand why you think my vacation example is a red herring. How is it not relevant?

          • Jon Wisby

            Were the tax cuts rescinded in 2004, i’m missing something here. If the tax cuts were still in place why didn’t job growth continue?

          • MiddleClassBill

            Cutting them will help encourage businesses to expand. If people think they’ll be paying less taxes in the future, then they will possibly look to expand their business by opening a new plant and/or hiring more people. They will hire more people than they did in the prior year.

            But keeping rates at that level going forward doesn’t mean that businesses will continue to expand each year after that by a greater amount.

            Here’s an analogy – suppose you took one vacation last year and your tax rate was 25%. Congress decides to cut your tax rate this year down to 20%. You take that extra cash and go on two vacations this year instead of one. If the tax rate stays at 20% in the future, you aren’t going to take 3 vacations next year and 4 the year after that. You’ll continue to take 2 vacations each year.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Very funny. But hopefully now you understand why a tax cut in ’03 will have a positive benefit in ’04 but you can’t expect it to continuously create more and more jobs year after year.

          • Libertine

            So they have reason to cut every single govt run program to the point that they’d have to be scrapped…if you keep on cutting revenues then programs cannot be funded. It is all a part of their “drown it in the bathtub” strategy.

          • brewmn61

            “Cutting them will help encourage businesses to expand. If people think they’ll be paying less taxes in the future, then they will possibly look to expand their business by opening a new plant and/or hiring more people. They will hire more people than they did in the prior year.”

            This, of course, is Republican orthodoxy with no support whatsoever in the historical record. For example, Bill Clinton RAISED taxes on top earners (presumably your business owners who drive this economy and are finely tuned to every fluctuation in their tax burden) and the economy boomed and millions of jobs were created. Under Bush, we had two major rounds of tax cuts and the worst job performance in modern history. If you go back to world War II, our periods of greatest job and wage growth were during periods when the top marginal tax rates were much higher than they are now.

            So why are Bush’s tax cuts in 2003 responsible for job growth, but at the same time his overall record of tax cuts is not related to the dreadful job growth statistics for the eight years of his presidency? You’re either a liar or you’re completely misinformed, Bill.

          • Libertine

            Great points brewmn…you and beetlejuice did a great job on this thread disassembling the specious claims by the right that Bush’s tax cuts actually created jobs. I cannot believe that with the economy in the state its in now that conservatives are trying to tout what the Bush administration did to the economy. It would be like a firefighter, after messing up a devastating house fire, saying “well we did save the foundation”.

          • brewmn61

            Thanks, L. We’ve got to defeat this “all taxes are bad” meme at some point. It is the single most destructive argument in our politics, and it has achieved the status of a holy writ.

          • *

            Explain this to me, Oh Great One. How can you cut taxes and increase deficit spending at the same time? Especially around the 2003/4 time frame when the surplus had already disappeared? How is that deficit going to be paid off unless people are paying taxes? And if you’re increasing the deficit, then one has to assume you must also increase the amount of taxes collected to offset those deficit increases?

          • brewmn61

            Back to your lies about the 2003 tax cuts. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

            “Myth 4: Even if economic growth and the job market were weak during the early stages of the recovery, the capital gains and dividend tax cuts turned the economy around in 2003…”

            Reality: The available evidence indicates that the capital gains and dividend tax cuts were not the cause of improvement in the economy in 2003…But they [tax-cut proponents] have produced no evidence to support their leap from correlation (the tax cuts coincided with improvement in the economy) to causation (the claim that the tax cuts caused the improvement). Furthermore, they have ignored evidence that indicates there was little or no causal connection.”

            [Chart missing].

            Notably, informed observers such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (then a Federal Reserve Board governor) were predicting improvement in the economy before the 2003 tax cuts were enacted. In addition, supporters of enacting these tax cuts, such as conservative economist Gary Becker, acknowledged at the time that, whatever the tax cuts’ long-run effects on economic growth, they would not boost the economy in the short term.

            Also striking is the fact that the expansion of the 1990s followed a pattern similar to the 2001-2007 expansion, especially with respect to investment growth (which the dividend and capital gains tax cuts were supposed to encourage). Investment was weak in the early 1990s and then began to improve about two years into the expansion. But in the 1990s, that improvement — which was greater than the improvement in the early 2000s — coincided with a tax increase (see Figure 3). If one accepts the notion that any economic change that follows a tax change must have been caused by the tax change, one would have to conclude that tax increases promote stronger investment growth than tax cuts. The more reasonable conclusion, of course, is that weak recoveries eventually tend to return to historical norms.

            Moreover, even growth since 2003 has been less than impressive. GDP, wage and salary, and employment growth have remained below average for a post-World War II recovery, while growth in non-residential investment has only matched the historical norm. (http://www.cbpp.org/7-10-07tax.htm)”

            http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=692

          • MiddleClassBill

            And I could post articles from conservative think tanks such as Heritage which would argue it differently. The main thrust of this article is that the ’01-’07 performance was “sub-par”. That’s certainly one opinion. But we were losing lots of jobs in ’01 and ’02 and then the jobs numbers rebounded post tax cuts getting enacted. So it didn’t rebound as strongly as other periods since WW2. That means that the tax cuts didn’t lead to new jobs?

            I like how it’s gospel if it comes from CBPP but if Heritage or AEI then it’s “lies”.

          • brewmn61

            Only a simpleton makes the argument that X happened after Y, therefore X is a result of Y. We even have a name for it: it’s called the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. You and the geniuses at the Heritage should look it up.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Was the tax cut the sole reason for the turnaround? Probably not. But when we had so many consecutive quarters of job losses and lower GDP growth and then a tax cut gets enacted and we have a similar number of quarters of job creaton and higher GDP growth, it seems to me that the tax cuts had something to do with the turnaround.

            http://taxesandgrowth.ncpa.org/news/are-the-bush-tax-cuts-working

            You say that there were other factors behind the job growth. Like what? What would have caused businesses to decide to stop laying people off and instead hire them?

          • brewmn61

            “What would have caused businesses to decide to stop laying people off and instead hire them”

            Uh, it’s called the business cycle, dumbass.

            Of course, in Bill’s world, all we need to do is reduce taxes to zero and we’ll have full employment, because the only incentive businesses respond to is whether their taxes are too high or too low. Why build a better mousetrap when you can lobby the government to reduce your taxes instead?

            And all this time, I thought savvy businesspeople saw an unmet need in the marketplace, and found ways to meet that need and proft at the same time. Silly me.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Oh, now since you can’t come up with any tangible events that caused the turnaround other than the generic “business cycle” you have to call me a dumbass. Nice.

            Ever think that maybe tax cuts affect the business cycle? No, of course not. You’re RIGHT. It MUST have been something else although you have no idea what that something else might have been. Hee hee hee.

            Businesses were given incentives to hire and we went from a period of losing jobs to a period of creating jobs. But that was just a coincidence. You really make me laugh.

          • *

            It was a quickie to make MiddleClass Bill and his friends think it was working. Nothing but eye-candy for the little children to get all gaa-gaa over.

          • Jon Wisby

            Did President Bush leave office in 2004. Seems it is only fair to consider his entire “job creating” tenure.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Your point is a fair one but we were having a specific debate over the merit of tax cuts. There were certainly a fair number of jobs lost due to the ’07/08 financial crisis as well as earlier in the decade during the recession post the dot-com bubble bursting and 9/11 happening.

          • brewmn61

            This is to your feeble rejoinder at 4:56, you pathetic sockpuppet for rightwing propagandists:

            “Notably, informed observers such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (then a Federal Reserve Board governor) were predicting improvement in the economy before the 2003 tax cuts were enacted. In addition, supporters of enacting these tax cuts, such as conservative economist Gary Becker, acknowledged at the time that, whatever the tax cuts’ long-run effects on economic growth, they would not boost the economy in the short term.”

            So, here you have two conservative economists on record stating that a recovery was on the horizon before the 2003 tax cuts, and that tax cuts don’t provide a short-term boost to the economy.

            I’ll let this argument stand on its own:

            “Also striking is the fact that the expansion of the 1990s followed a pattern similar to the 2001-2007 expansion, especially with respect to investment growth (which the dividend and capital gains tax cuts were supposed to encourage). Investment was weak in the early 1990s and then began to improve about two years into the expansion. But in the 1990s, that improvement — which was greater than the improvement in the early 2000s — coincided with a tax increase (see Figure 3). If one accepts the notion that any economic change that follows a tax change must have been caused by the tax change, one would have to conclude that tax increases promote stronger investment growth than tax cuts. The more reasonable conclusion, of course, is that weak recoveries eventually tend to return to historical norms.”

            You simply don’t have a leg to stand on in this debate. All you have left are your logical fallacies and your sputtering objections to being called a dumbass. Well, stupid is as stupid does. And you are doing the full stupid.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Wow, you have two economists saying that a recovery was on the horizon. And you have plenty of other economists saying that tax cuts helped the economy recover.

            Up until the tax cuts were passed in 2003, we were still losing jobs. So if the recovery was really “on the horizon” why were we still shedding jobs? Businesses don’t just wake up one day and say “Hey, let’s go out and hire people. That good ol’ business cycle is turning. I can just feel it so I’ll take a flyer” But they do respond when they’re offered tax incentives to expand.

          • brewmn61

            God, you’re tiresome. You just keep comin’ back with nothin.’

            We’re done here, Cool Hand.

          • MiddleClassBill

            I’m glad you’re done speaking in generalities. Over a million jobs added in the nine months after August 2003 and your best response is that the tax cuts just happened to coincide with the natural bottoming of the business cycle. Greater than expected revenues from corporate tax receipts in the 2003-2006 period. Good grief. Do you run a business?

          • brewmn61

            Well, it there’s one thing on which every one can agree, it’s that the W. years were great ones for jobs and ecnonmic growth.

            Christ, douchebag, even the Bushies don’t try to defend their record on these matters. What’s your excuse?

          • MiddleClassBill

            Sure they do. They highlight correctly all of the jobs that were created after the 2003 tax cuts were enacted. Maybe if you actually ran a business you would understand how companies respond to tax cuts.

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck.

          • MiddleClassBill

            There were over 2 million jobs created in 2004.

            http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/08/business/fi-jobs8

            I know, I know – you think it was just a “coincidence” that this job growth started right after the tax cuts were passed in 2003. Lots of other things were going on and the economy was already coming out of the recession. (Of course we were still shedding jobs on a net basis, but you don’t seem to care about that.) The business cycle just turned around on its own. Keep smoking whatever you’re smoking

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck.

          • MiddleClassBill

            I never claimed that Bush’s job record was a net positive from 2000 thru 2008. I did say that the 2003 tax cuts helped create millions of jobs in the 2nd half of ’03 and all of ’04. It also helped kick start GDP growth and business investment.

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck.

          • MiddleClassBill

            Sorry that you have a stutter. I never claimed that there was a net job growth during the two Bush terms. You brought that up. I have always just been talking about the positive job impact from the tax cuts.

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck.

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck.

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck.

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck

          • brewmn61

            No net jobs were created under Bush, despite his (and your) obsession with tax cuts, you stupid fuck.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Bill never claimed there was a net increase in jobs under Bush.

            Why introduce strawmen and then blow them down with a potty mouth for no reason?

            I don’t always agree with Bill, but he rarely uses the incendiary language you seem to prefer.

          • brewmn61

            The reason Bill gets flamed is because he is a fundamentally dishonest person. The question of whether tax cuts have a stimulative effect is pretty well-settled: under certain conditions, and in extreme cases (e.g., the Kennedy reduction in marginal rates in 1964), they might have a minor stimulative effect. He continues to argue that they do without providing any evidence in support of his position, and in spite of evidence presented that tends to disprove his claim (e.g., predictions for growth in 2003-2004 without tax cuts, instances where tax cuts failed to stimulate growth or where growth followed tax increases).

            I find insistence on the rightness of one’s argument by simply repeating post hoc fallacies and “because I said so” type statements far more insulting to the debate process than rough language. But the damage that tax cuts = economic growth, or tax cuts = greater tax revenues arguments, articles of faith amongst rightwing shills like Bill, is inimical to responsible governance. The argument needs to be knocked down every time it is raised.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You have willfully misconstrued Bill’s point to simply score points of your own.

            I find your whole performance on this blog with regards to MCB as fundamentally dishonest, which is why I find your charges of the same to be ironic at best.

            Overly aggressive defense of petty points is part and parcel of what ails our Republic.

          • brewmn61

            The argument that tax cuts result in economic growth is hardly a “petty point.” It is pernicious rightwing orthodoxy unsupported by the historical record.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Is that why the president is proposing tax cuts to spur job growth? You once again try to lay the blame at the feet of one party for a bipartisan problem.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Still waiting for the quote where I blamed anyone for the state we are in. This is an American problem, not a right or left problem.

      I blame the republican leadership every bit as much as the democratic leaders. I agree with the president’s statements at the republican retreat and think it will be a net gain for his party,

      The key is to think of NEW ways to design solutions that speak to both halves of the national character. Coordinated solutions that don’t require capitulation by either side.

      That you see the casting of aspersions where I see the painting of aspirations is why “liberals” still can’t effectively communicate their message.

      • Libertine

        Ummmmmm jason…so it is a problem with the left that the political right is in lock step orthodoxy of ‘no’. If ‘we’ communicated better the political right would magically stop their partisan political posturing?

        As far as the president goes he did show a lot of accommodation to the right at their retreat. He extended his hand, again, to them. He pointed out that his HCR, the one that they are now calling a nefarious communist plot to kill granny and destroy America, is almost the same plan they put forward when Clinton tried to enact HCR in the 90’s. I’d say Obama has consistently been trying to communicate, and work with, the right in good faith, I dare say much more good faith then he has shown to us on the political left. Actually on many levels, being on the left, I am discouraged by the president’s remarks at the R’s retreat. He again showed he is much more willing to work with the right than he is to work with us on the left. But as far as the political right goes, the ball is in their court yet again. Will they reach out their hand to the president or will they continue to stand there with their arms crossed refusing to budge?

        • Jason Everett Miller

          You still want to place blame rather than find solutions we can all agree on. You promote liberal orthodoxy over progress and accuse me of the crime.

          I think we can solve our problem with better solutions than have been offered by either the democratic Congress and republican caucus.

          I see nothing even close to innovation from either party, yet you act as if Pelosi and Company had offered some sort of manna.

          Reaching out requires an open hand and not a closed fist.

          • Libertine

            I didn’t ‘accuse’ you of anything jason. If I did I would have specifically said ‘you’ and not ‘the right’. Jason I find you to be a reasonable and rational person. If everybody was like you there would be far fewer problems in this country. But you always seem to take my critiques of the right as criticisms of you. They aren’t. I am just pointing out where we are at. And where we are at is obstruction of progress by the political right.

            I am always willing to listen, communicate and compromise. Yes, I do have more core convictions and I will never apologize about them. But again I, and people like me, compromised on single payer, and the public option…how much are we supposed to compromise to get this thing done? Just go along with the R’s plan?

            I agree there is a dysfunction about politics in America. But I still say the dysfunction is mainly caused by the right…who are uncompromising ideologues. Again, to be clear, not you per se, but the conservative movement generally speaking. So I was a little taken aback by the lecture being given here, on a liberal/politically left site, about needing to do more in terms of facilitating progress.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I’m sure you will go on and on about how the far left has somehow poisoned the discourse…but we’re not the ones jumping up and down, hyperventilating about communist death panels that will kill everyone’s granny.

            Sounds like an accusation to me, but perhaps I use a different definition than you do. Having said that, I appreciate the recognition that I try to be polite, even while my critics are often much less so.

            I never offered any plan as to what democrats should do, but I certainly never claimed the republicans were offering anything that liberals should just go along with as a matter of course.

            You speak of a history of compromise, but it is really compromise if those ideas had no chance of getting through the process in the first place? Single Payer was never realistic as written and the “public option” legislation was just as sloppily constructed.

            You would almost think the democrats had no intention of getting done through in the first place.

            You again seek to place blame – the country is divided, but it is all the republicans fault – rather than simply find solution. You call “the right” unrepentant ideologues using the same divisive language.

            Irony continues to be lost on political partisans of all stripes.

          • Libertine

            You speak of a history of compromise, but it is really compromise if those ideas had no chance of getting through the process in the first place? Single Payer was never realistic as written and the “public option” legislation was just as sloppily constructed.

            NICE!!! So what you are saying is that the far left and our ideas should be marginalized and written off, not counting as compromise since, according to you, they are unimplementable, then call on us to compromise more. And this blog entry is entitled ‘pax’? Yeah I guess the irony is lost on you too jason…

          • Jason Everett Miller

            That isn’t what I said at all. I said that it is unreasonable to set out a position that never had a chance of being successful as the starting point for compromise.

            Giving up something that was never possible to begin with based on the current state of our politics and the current distrust of government in general means you haven’t compromised anything.

            Compromise only happens when both parties feel like they have gained something in the bargain.

            A true compromise on single payer or the public option would have been to realize it was better had as part of the larger Medicare reform effort to come rather than trying to shove twenty pounds of shit into a five pound sock.

            All or nothing usually leads to nothing in this country.

          • brewmn61

            “This is an American problem, not a right or left problem.”

            Well, the problem may be all of ours, but most of our problems can be directly attributed to the rise of the Goldwater right who governed through divisive politics (e.g., “welfare queens”) and a free-lunch economic policy of tax cuts and increased spending (leading of course, to massive structural deficits).

            I know, I know, Democrats had a hand in all of our problems. But to pretend that the siren song of tax cuts and unlimited spending, particularly on an unprecedented military buildup in peacetime, was a responsible platform on which to win elections is to simply ignore our recent history. Until we have a Republican Party that agrees to govern responsibly, they must be blamed for the devastation they have wreaked on this country since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.

            The modern Republican Party must be kept from the levers of power by any means necessary, and if it means diminishing the Democrats’ small but meaningful role in the utterly irresponsible governance of this country beginning with Reagan, so be it.

          • *

            Here is an article I ran across yesterday about Reagan and Stockman….

            President Ronald Reagan’s budget director David Stockman coined the phrase “strategic deficit” to describe the usefulness of creating long-term budgetary shortfalls to undercut political support for governmental spending. As Stockman privately told Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1981, accruing large deficits “gives you an argument for cutting back programs that really weren’t desired and giving you an argument against establishing new programs you don’t really want.” Moreover, strategic deficits can enable opponents of public investments to sound compassionate — “We can’t steal from our children to pay for our short-term desires.”

            url: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=strategic_deficit_redux

            When Obama was in front of those House republicans, he was hit with the rising deficit was going to be a burden to our children in the future. Remember?

            The real problem democrats have is they don’t call the republicans out on this when they go off tangent. Every time a republican laments about the sky-rocketing deficit will be passed on to our children, they should be reminded they are the ones would increased the deficit so as to deny the government the ability to support needed services simply because the high deficit they ran up – hint…republicans are dead set against HCR if it runs the deficit up.

            I’m not talking about rubbing their noses in the shit they throw around. I’m suggesting they should firmly remind their fellow members they had a hand in creating the deficit we’re confronted with and never once thought about how it was going to be paid off. Now would be a good time to work together as a unified legislative body to correct the wrongs from the past so our children won’t have to inherit the costs of our follies.

            It’s in line with Obama’s direction he wants the Congress to move towards.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            LBJ was the first to promote a big-spending war with big-spending social programs and no notion of how to pay for either.

            I find this constant need to blame “the right” for all the country’s problems part and parcel of our continuing acrimony.

            It is also the exact opposite message the democratic president has offered and his supporters can’t seem to get.

            See my note about irony above.

          • brewmn61

            “LBJ was the first to promote a big-spending war with big-spending social programs and no notion of how to pay for either.”

            I’m not sure where you get this statement from, but the national debt declined from 55% of GDP when Kennedy took office to 39% when LBJ left. so the idea that LBJ was a predecessor to Reagan and Bush in that reagrd is a canard.

            I assume you’ll blame rising Medicare costs for many of our recent budgetary problems. But, again, who has been in unanimous opposition to reforms to our health insurance system, while declaring cuts to Medicare sancrosanct.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            The debt we incurred as a nation due to Cold War spending was run up under both democrats and republicans. The Military Industrial Complex is the baby of both parties as well.

            I’ll be happy to see your source for how our debt went down while our spending doubled and tripled under LBJ for both social spending and the Vietnam war. Sounds like more of that creative economics you accuse republicans of employing to make their points.

            Not sure why you continue to show a pathological inability to critique the democratic party for the part they played in the mess we find ourselves in, but that will not being a winning message for liberals moving forward.

          • brewmn61

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

            It also includes this little nugget: “By tenure, the largest increases in gross debt relative to GDP occurred under George H.W. Bush (+13.1%), George W. Bush (+18.1%), and Ronald Reagan (+20.5%).”

            Now, I wonder, can Jason tell us what those three presidents all have in common?

            But, in your patholigical desire to apportion blame equally between the major parties, it appears facts don’t matter to you. If you can’t understand that the tax cut + strong defense orthodoxy, a platform that Republicans proudly claim as their own and has now become the dominant paradigm of US Government to which Democrats also must pay lip service, then I don’t know why anyone should take your political analysis seriously.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Yes, because Wikipedia is the true objective source of truth. You continue to provide single-source quotes to back up your partisan spin of American history.

            The growth in spending at the federal level has been on an upward trajectory since the end of World War II under both parties. That is the fact of the matter no matter how many Wiki cites you offer.

            Both parties have spent us into the poor house over many decades, despite you wanting to heap the blame for that on republicans alone and somehow claim that the democratic party is the Shining Knight in our national tale.

            You claim to support Obama yet take zero guidance from him on how to position progressive policies in a way that doesn’t apportion blame and starts to force the GOP to play along by convincing grassroots conservatives first.

            As soon as you start assigning blame, relative or otherwise, the audience for your policies goes deaf.

          • brewmn61

            “You continue to provide single-source quotes to back up your partisan spin of American history.”

            And you provide nothing at all to back up yours. Are you honestly denying that budget deficits routinely and repreatedly exploded under Republican presidents?

            I’ve also been a politically aware adult for the last thirty years. You yourself admit that you came to political awareness only recently. So you apparently don’t remember Ronald Reagan’s thinly-veiled race-baiting campaigns, or Walter Mondale’s crushing defeat for daring to suggest that we have to rein in the explosion of debt during Reagan’s first term.

            You also apparently don’t remember President Bill Clinton, who adopted much of the Republican’s framing and much of their agenda, leading to the first budget surpluses in decades, incurring the bitter enmity of the left (this writer included), only to get impeached for legal (if arguably immoral) acts not connected to the performance of his offical duties by those very same Republicans.

            For anyone concerned about poor, middle-and-working class Americans, sensible economic and foreign policy, there really is only one choice on our contemporary political landscape. You can argue that Andrew Jackson was an asshole, and he was a Democrat, or Strom Thurmond was for segregation when he was a Democrat, but that’s not where we are today.

            One party may be weak and somewhat ineffectual in fighting back againt a complete corporate takeover of our government and the influence of the military-industrial complex. But the other party is completely devoted to furthering the corporatist agenda, and is actively engaged in the widening of economic inequality, the privation of the public sector, and a needlessly belligerent foreign policy.

            Those are the facts. They may not fit into your “Bull Moose 2.0” thought experiment, but that’s not the fault of the facts.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I find it ironic that you are such a staunch supporter of the president given your obvious disregard for his strategic communications preferences.

          • brewmn61

            I am a “staunch supporter” of Obama’s solely because I think he is the best advocate of my political preferences that can get elected in this seriously fucked-up country.

            Beyond that, I have little good to say about the man.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I will take your statements of support with a grain of salt then, because that is certainly not the tone and tenor I get from most of your comments.

          • brewmn61

            Well, I do find the single-minded obsession of many commenters with blaming Obama for all of the failures and shortcomings of our government to be inaccurate, unfair, and ultimately counterproductive.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            No argument. I have made the same statement myself around here.

            Obama has made some mistakes to be sure, but they were more learning curve stuff as far as I am concerned.

            Most of Congress has been in place for decades.

        • *

          odd isn’t it two people can watch the same discussion and come away with completely different perspectives?

          The way I saw it, Obama was showing the republicans encouragement in that he did read their work and did considered their value and when there was merit to their proposals, they were incorporated in the pending bill. He even went so far as to state that other proposals weren’t considered simply because their positions lacked verifiable merit the success they were claiming could actually be accomplished. He was critiquing their proposals based on the concept he is seeking for HCR. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. He presides over both party’s as President and it’s his job to offer critiques when necessary and sought. In short, he’s providing them direction. If they refuse to reconsider their approach, then they will reap the rewards of their decision.

          But we’ve only seen Act 1. I’m waiting for Act 2 – the democrats. I’m sure he’ll be ripping in to them as well on how they could be using their time and effort better by working with republicans than against them.

          President Obama has taken refuge in the middle ground between both party’s and is sending out a message he wants both to meet him in the middle. And if you go back and read the campaign literature and news stories, that’s were he was always talking from…the middle ground between both where common cause can be found and nurtured.

      • Ramona

        Oh, Jason, I really wanted to stay on your side with this one. And for most of your post, I’m with you all the way. But why this?

        That you see the casting of aspersions where I see the painting of aspirations is why “liberals” still can’t effectively communicate their message.

        Your argument was with someone other than me, yet you chose to wrap me and every other liberal on this board into your insult. I think you need to take your own advice.

        • Aunt Sam

          Gotta say Jason, I’m with Ramona on this! C’mon you need to put forth a mea culpa for this, what I’m sure was an unintended, faux paus!

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Sorry, Aunt Sam, but the fact of the matter is that “liberals” do have a messaging problem in this country today when it comes to getting some very common sense ideas implemented.

            You live in Alaska and would have an issue with that statement?

            I don’t think having such a thin skin about such a mild criticism helps much either. I think we all need to be a little less quick to take offense as we negotiate our way out of the stalemate.

            Barack has handled much more personal insults with much greater aplomb than many around here.

          • Ramona

            Jason, I’m far from thin-skinned. That wasn’t the point. When you’re talking about liberals and messaging, you’re forgetting the money factor. The Big Money is ruthless in their attempts to silence us and make us monsters to be feared. Couple that with the fact that most liberals are not rich elites, but rather are working class and losing fast. The money to spread our message just isn’t there.

            Our message is strong and heavily into repairing a broken country. Most of us would welcome a little help from the right. We preach a message that we’re all in this together, but it falls on deaf ears. We’re NOT all in this together. Not yet. So after your post advocating solidarity, I have to say, I was surprised to see you fall right back into the “us and them” pit. We just can’t afford to do that anymore.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            This reads like more excuses for why the liberal message isn’t getting through rather than solutions of how change the message and get past the impasse.

            I am on a mostly liberal website trying to explain why your party’s mostly common sense ideals aren’t being heard and supported by a huge chunk of the country. That might entail some criticism, which I try make constructive rather than destructive.

            I have talked many conservatives into supporting ideals that I consider very progressive indeed, if very different from the classic Big Government response the left usually advocates as the primary way to address social issues.

            Truly strong messages never fall on deaf ears. They make those ears perk up instead.

          • Ramona

            Really, Jason? Really strong messages NEVER fall on deaf ears? My god. Do you only listen to yourself?

          • clearthinker

            You’ve missed Jason’s point.

            Where are the clear set of *specific* goals that the left espouses?

            Example:

            Right-wing goal: shrink government.

            Where does the left stand on that?

            Right-wing goal: less taxes.

            Where does the left stand on that?

            Do you see why the left can’t break through their message?

            Describing how society should be is not a specific goal.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            If your message is falling on deaf ears, I would suggest that it isn’t a strong message. It is a weak message that is failing to connect with the intended audience.

            ALL CAPS OUTRAGE doesn’t move the conversation forward nor does it lend any sort of additional weight to an argument, though it does highlight my point rather succinctly.

          • The Decider

            YOU’RE A BLEEDING HEART LIBERAL!! YOU ARE BLEEDING OUT AT THE HEART AND NO BLOOD IS CIRCULATING IN YOUR BRAIN! How was that? Heh, heh!!

          • The Decider

            No one wants to hear that responsibility resides in the electorate. Perhaps the importance of public education in the early years of our republic argues that some were aware of this issue, but recall how Jimmy Carter flopped when he tried the Jeremiad strategy (malaise address).

            At least if we’re Rome, we get to wear the cool robes and capes and feed Democrats to the lions, right? Heh, heh!

          • clearthinker

            You aren’t playing consistently, Ramona.

            First you get upset with Jason using the word “liberal” as a classification, and then you use it to speak for that community as if you were elected it’s leader. (It’s a nice rhetorical trick to add authority to your words.)

            Either labels mean something or not. You need to pick a side on that and stick with it.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I was speaking specifically to Libertine, so I am not sure why you felt this comment was directed at you instead.

          I am a stanger in a strange land at TPM, so I am afraid that the clarity of message is not something that properly belongs on my plate.

          Namaste.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          PS: “Liberals” certainly do have an issue with messaging as their very common sense ideas have failed to connect with a large portion of the American public for more than a generation.

          Barack Obama was the first democratic president in my lifetime to garner a large chunk of the moderate republican and republican-leaning independent vote.

          A fact the democratic Congress (and our new president) promptly forgot as it headed into Legislation Bash 2009.

          • Libertine

            I know your post was in reply to Ramona, jason, but how can we effectively ‘communicate’ when conservatives continually misrepresent what we say to an often skeptical, and a sometimes borderline paranoid far right, American people who are afraid of the unknowns inherent in progress? We can try to reason until we are blue in the face but if the fears of the American people are being stoked by unreasonable people I am at a loss about what to do…

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Yet somehow Barack Obama still got elected in such an atmosphere by offering as much aplomb as his opponents offered more of the same.

            I will never agree that acting as crazy and unhinged as your political rivals have always acted is a net benefit to the nation.

            Effective communication is about finding the right messaging, more especially for those who don’t already agree with you.

          • Libertine

            Have we on the left been acting as crazy and unhinged as the the ones on the right jason? Is saying that all Americans should have access to affordable health care crazy? Is saying that Wall Street, and our investment banks, should never again be able to put our whole economy in jeopardy unhinged jason? I don’t think so but many Americans believe it is because of conservative politicians that call compassionate policies for the American people and judicious restraints being put on the financial markets a communist conspiracy to destroy America. I don’t see how you could ever compare the political left to the political right in terms of discourse…

          • clearthinker

            By the way, another example of your “being on the left”.

            Your first sentence includes yourself in that group.

            If you are on the left, you aren’t an independent.

            Well, maybe in your word-blended world, but not for the rest of us.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You continue to miss my point, almost willfully it seems.

            As crazy and unhunged as the right appears to your eyes, your rhetoric is equally unhinged and crazy to those on the right. That is the point I am trying to make.

            Continuing to complain that “the political left” isn’t as crazy as “the political right” is a message that only works with people who already agree with you.

            Politics is the art of changing the hearts and minds of those who don’t.

      • trblmkr

        ” I am sure he understand how his caucus let him down as they failed to innovate in a way that made the republicans have no choice but to support the legislation under consideration.”

        That sounds like you’re laying blame at the Democrats’ door.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I blame the democratic party for not using the Barack’s election as a way to unite the country around a common purpose.

          We went straight from Change You Can Believe In to the Partisan Two Step without missing a beat.

          • trblmkr

            I’d be very curious to read any similar lamentations of yours during the Denny Hastert “majority of the majority” era. Still some old linked comments out there?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Last I checked, Denny Hastert wasn’t even in Congress and the democratic caucus was a fairly lame opponent when he was majority leader.

            Since you are so busy jumping to conclusions and not responding to what I actually wrote, who did I support in the 2008 primary elections?

            Are you comfortable being a caricature?

          • trblmkr

            I know he isn’t in Congress. I’m asking you if you had the same complaints about not reaching out to the other side of the aisle when Hastert and co. were in charge. Please don’t pretend you don’t understand. And please resist your impulse to name-calling.
            Who among the GOP, in either house has proposed what you call health insurance regulation? I don’t seem to recall any such bill when the GOP had the WH for 8 years and both houses of Congress for 6.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You are assuming, wrongly, that I was republican during Bush’s time in office and during the time of the GOP’s long-running Contract on America.

            Further, you try to tie my opinions of today’s democrats to the misdeeds of yesterday’s republicans rather than simply commenting on my actual statements.

            This is what’s know as a strawman argument and is an intellectually dishonest way to debate. It is also a pretty good example of why a democratic majority can’t seem to get anything done.

          • trblmkr

            What does your past political affiliation matter? You seem to lament the inability or unwillingness on the part of Democrats to work with the opposition. I’m merely asking you if this is a longstanding issue with you.

            A straw man argument would be, for example, that JEM says that Obama is encouraging congressional democrats to ignore republicans (when you’re not doing any such thing) and then waste alot of time disproving that.

            That’s not what I’m doing at all, just looking for some consistency.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I only lament the democratic majority’s inability to fashion solutions a majority of the country can get behind. If the GOP were still in charge, I would likely hold the same opinion.

            I never said Obama was encouraging democrats to ignore republicans, so I am not sure why you find the need to interject yet another caricature of my words into the debate.

            Let’s stick to the subject at hand, which is my appreciation of Barack Obama’s strategy and tactics, even if his party is unlikely to follow his lead.

          • trblmkr

            Please read carefully, my middle paragraph was an imaginary example of what a ‘straw man’ argument would have been.

            Just because the Republican machine was successful with the destructive message game back during the summer recess doesn’t mean the ‘majority of Americans’ wouldn’t have been behind HCR. It’s easier to tear down than build up. Criticisms are simple, explanantions are usually lengthy. I think you are misinterpreting public confusion and ignorance with Democratic proposals with unpopularity. With enough ad money, anything can be made to seem scary.
            Case in point, when Bush was making his big push for ‘private retirement accounts’, it was easy for opponents to scare seniors with the ‘he wants to privatize Social Security’ line. Bush would respond with,”No, it’s a separate option(sound familiar?) account for those in a certain age bracket…..”. At that point people’s eyes would glaze over and he lost them on it.
            JEM, laudibly, you seem to think that the masses are about as engaged in these policy questions as you or I. We both know the sad truth.

            PS Use of the above Social Security example in no way reflects the opinion of trblmkr on that topic.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I have read all the democratic proposals since day one and have followed the evolution of the Frankenstein monster that made it through the Senate, so your strawman construction in defense of a charge offering strawmen arguments is more lost irony.

            The reason the democratic proposals don’t have more public support has less to do with disinformation campaigns and more to do with a lack of message clarity on behalf of the majority. It is funny that the only defense of the bills in question is a charge of conspiracy to befuddle the American public rather than a recitation of the legislation’s benefits.

            I think We The People are little more informed than you think, ably demostrated at least on my part via many blogs and comments on the subject as well as conversations I have with people beyond TPM which I bring back here. None of which you bother to cite, I notice, so again this becomes an ad hominem argument rather than a reasonable debate on the issues at hand.

          • trblmkr

            “The reason the democratic proposals don’t have more public support has less to do with disinformation campaigns and more to do with a lack of message clarity on behalf of the majority.”

            So, it looks like we’re actually close here except I blame the listener(the public) and you blame the speaker(the Democrats) for the message not getting across. Since we’ll never be able to quantify the effect of ‘death panel’ screamers at townhalls, etc. I’l guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

            “I think We The People are little more informed than you think, ably demostrated at least on my part via many blogs and comments on the subject as well as conversations I have with people beyond TPM which I bring back here.”

            The very fact that you care enough to blog or converse with others on these important topics puts you in a tiny minority. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority doesn’t have a clue about the issues and is therefore vulnerable to oversimplified misinformation. I was trying to be cordial and offer up an example of how Democrats have demonized in the past, but:

            “None of which you bother to cite, I notice, so again this becomes an ad hominem argument rather than a reasonable debate on the issues at hand.”

            I defy you to show where I have been ad hominem. You have called me an ‘asshole’ and a ‘caricature’. I have done nothing but engage in reasonable debate so I can only interpret this accusation as your wanting to discontinue. Let me know if I’m wrong.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I called you an asshole weeks ago, so perhaps you need to let things go.

            Chastising me as a “typical republican” and lecturing me on things I know at least as well as you do is in fact being a caricature of liberalism. It is also ad hominem, because it isn’t commenting on my thoughts but are instead meant to cast a shadow on my character.

            Guilt by association is the very definition of ad hominem and seems a standard tactic of yours.

          • trblmkr

            Typical Republican=asshole. Not in most people’s minds. I should let it go but you never apologized or retracted?

            If disagreeing and debating is now ‘lecturing’ then I’d say you and I have done about equal amounts of it.

            “Casting a shadow on your character”? When? I don’t even know your character. You ignore it when I try to show that both sides of the political divide have been guilty of demonizing or call your opinion ‘laudible’ yet insist that I am a strident caricature even now. I say that we should ‘agree to disagree’ on the messaging issue, no response except how you’ve been somehow slighted.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Mea culpa on calling you out on assole behavior at the very end of a long, protracted exchange that included all kinds of pokes and prods on your part trying to paint me with your broad-brush accusations about conservatives.

            And, yes, when someone is painted a trypical republican around here, “asshole” is the underlying meaning since many TPM dems blame all things wrong with the country on anyone who isn’t a liberal.

            You can continue to parse words and split every hair, but I am confident the able readers of my blog can tell the difference.

  • mm232

    Farcical, given that Eisenhower, whose image you use, would have laughed your silly ass right out of orbit. He stood against the military industrial complex, you know, the ones the far right as well as far left serve. Oh, your lot have a long way to fall, hope someone sells tickets to watch, as I’d buy one.

    • Libertine

      Meh. I would agree if you had said “the far right as well as the center…”. If the far left was in control I assure you that, while we do take very seriously the defense of our country, we would not stand for the militaristic imperialism that is our country right now. If this thread is about ‘communication’ I am going to communicate what the far left really believes in.

      • clearthinker

        For your info, Bolsheviks are just as dangerous as Nazis. And the atrocities are just as great.

        The far left is as full of crap as is the far right.

        Simple example: the environment. Driving a Prius doesn’t help much except a guilty conscious. Not driving at all is the real solution. Most liberals I know can’t handle that inconvenient truth. (And, in fact, many right wingers are more capable of taking care of themselves without the veneer of civilization that we take for granted.)

        In the meantime, that cheap energy you have is a result of the IMC paying off in far away lands. But, of course, the far left doesn’t want to know that connection. Iraq war aside, the military engagements of this country include Korea (President Truman presiding) and Vietnam (Presidents Kennedy — yes, JFK is responsible — and Johnson presiding.)

        The fallacy of the left is that want to pretend that only people like MLK are on the left.

        Go look up SJ Res 23 or HJ Res 64 on September 14, 2001 and see if Ted Kennedy or Henry Waxman, certainly both people on the left, didn’t vote for use of military force.

        Jason correctly points out that the problem is one of falling in love with your ideology.

        Both the far left and the far right suck. Want proof? Independents are still a healthy majority of the country.

        • Libertine

          Bolsheviks? On its lack of merits I am not going to even bother dignifying that with a comment.

          And just a point of clarification many people, like me, are indies too. Just because someone is an indie it doesn’t mean they are part of the mushy middle.

          • clearthinker

            As usual, you can’t handle the truth.

            I note you didn’t complain about the word Nazi. How could you? There is bloviated rhetoric on this site daily about how the GOP is fascist.

            The bottom line is that extremist views are seldom a solution to any problem and have always caused more harm than good. The far left is bereft of any real solutions as the far right.

            But then again, after telling us that you, and only you, can expound on the “far left” agenda, you now say you are “indie”.

            Why not pick an ideology and stick with it? Or you just be like Jason suggests and dump the notion of ideology altogether?

          • Libertine

            I have no idea how you can come off saying I am not an indie. When I turned 18 in 1980 I registered as an indie and have been one ever since. Nor do I feel my views are extreme. Back in the 70’s and before my views would have been called mainstream liberalism. But since Reagan’s first term the framing of politics in America has been pushed steadily to the right by the rightwing talking machine and the ‘fair and balanced’ fols at FAUX news…and we’ve ended up where we are at now with mainstream liberalism being called an ‘extreme’ ideology. Spare me the conservative political attempts at revisionism…

          • clearthinker

            Where do I get that? From your own words:

            If this thread is about ‘communication’ I am going to communicate what the far left really believes in.

            Your arguments have been that you and only you can talk in terms of the “far left”… so either you must be one, or your argument is disingenuous as others can also talk about the “far left”.

          • clearthinker

            PS We went from “far left” to “mainstream liberalism”. Nice jumping around, Libertine. I’m just trying to keep up with all the words you are throwing around. And it’s nice you picked up the FNC rant in there.

            Ever think you are knee-jerk reacting just as bad as a teabagger?

            Again, thanks for providing an example of exactly what Jason is addressing in this blog.

          • Libertine

            BTW…Nazis and fascists, as in the Fascist regime of Mussolini, are not one in the same. They were allies in WWII but Naziism was a sub set of the larger fascist ideology and does not represent the ideology on the whole. So I didn’t feel it merited comment.

          • clearthinker

            LOL! Well, as we know Bolshevik was a subset of communism. After all, there were no Bolsheviks in China.

            You aren’t responding because you are out of your depth.

            But I do expect to see you on the next dickday blog where he drones on and on with stupid epithets for the right.

            PS: If you were really in the middle, you wouldn’t have been upset with the comment to begin with.

          • Libertine

            No, I’m not responding because I am not a Bolshevik, nor part of the larger communist ideology (socialism is a different ideology ya know), so I don’t want to defend an ideology that I do not endorse or believe in.

          • Libertine

            You are such a tool. I do not believe in labels, they are a waste of time. So you slap a label on me, and expect me to defend that label. I will not reply to something which has nothing to do with what is being discussed here…which is how to move this whole progress thing forward in the face of republican obstructionism.

          • clearthinker

            You are a scoundrel.

            When you stop identifying yourself as “we on the left” and “I will speak for the far left”, then I’ll stop considering you on the left.

            You slap a label on yourself only to have, I suppose, buyer’s remorse.

            The real reason why you never responded is because it was revealed how your position was not consistent with your original comment.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Not sure how this comment has anything to do with what I wrote, but I suspect this is yet another instance of the very thing I lament most often around here – political partisans who engage their mouths well ahead of their brains.

  • acamus

    In theory, I agree with Obama’s approach to his role as president. In reality, however, it depends upon an engaged and educated populace, something that is lacking too often in this country. It was easy for the country to rally around the fight around someone like Hitler in WWII, to make the short term sacrifices to fight the good fight. But now we must rally for the good fight against poverty, racism, lack of health care, etc. which has no end in sight.

    Deep down too many people are looking for the dictator to make the trains run on time, and to do it without making any personal sacrifices.

    In sense, Obama is trying to move the body politic to a place where we all ask what can we do for our country. Is it possible? Maybe. I hold on to a slim hope, but most days I won’t my breath.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Very good points, ac, though I think we only have to look to our own history to find some answers. We have been known to rally ’round the flag given the proper motivation.

      Who better to be president at this time than someone who can tell us a new story that rings true to most American ears?

      The fly in that ointment is a Congress that refuses to budge short massive protests and a citizenry who refuses to vote no matter how important the cause.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        I can’t believe Boehner said that. I think this represents a massive opportunity that our president should immediately pursue with all due haste.

        Especially since Gates agrees that DoD budgets are unsustainable over the long term and need to be reimagined in light of our global challenges.

        Finding those spots that the right and left can agree on will certainly lead to outcomes we can all support. I am tired of waiting for my LBJ or FDR moment as an American.

        I want us to come together, but they say I am a dreamer around here most days.

        • Watt Childress

          Been pitching it on my blog. A few comments and recommends, but not much active interest.

          Too bad, because I believe this does represent a massive opportunity. I’ll keep pitching it.

  • *

    Very good, Jason!

    Would I be correct in saying Obama is stand astride the middle ground between both Party’s who are cowering at the extremes of the political landscape? I see Obama trying to argue with both sides, it’s difficult to legislate if you have your face in a corner.

    It was very enlightening to watch both the SOTU address and his discussion with the House republicans. He understands the essential nature of our dilemma because he’s attempting to break up the logjam that keeps both side from creating legislation both would be proud of. Each side should get some of what they want in the bill and accept that some things will get left on the cutting floor – not every thing from a cow is edible. That’s what compromise is all about.

    I liked the part in the meeting with the republican House members where he identified parts of their legislative proposals that were read, accepted and found a place in the pending bill. I was also pleased when he took the time to explain, or lecture as some who say, the representatives it takes more than just an idea or concept to win the day…it takes proof, as in verifiable numbers, that their ideas will really bear fruition and provide the service and savings.

    If the democrats extend an offer to him to address them, I he gives them the same lecture, ripe with examples where they could have gone the extra mile to encourage their republican counterparts to massage their inputs to be more fluid with the overall flow of the legislation in progress.

    I call myself a left of center Democrat, but know all too well Republicans do have some interesting concepts that can work well with a democrat agenda. This is were working both sides of an issue is mutually inclusive for the betterment of the public as well as the political arena.

    Let’s hope the logjam is really breaking up!

    • Jason Everett Miller

      If anyone can break the status quo via the power of the spoken word and attention to detail, it will be Barack Obama.

      Unless, of course, all his democratic critics are correct and he is just another tool of the system, in which case we are screwed so why worry.

      I am actually more concerned that we won’t get it together at the grassroots.

  • Obey

    “I am sure he understand[s] how his caucus let him down as they failed to innovate in a way that made the republicans have no choice but to support the legislation under consideration.”

    Jason, (1) In the case of HCR, are you thinking of ‘innovation’ on the messaging front or on the actual policy proposal? And (2) what concrete innovations on either level do you think would have ‘made the republicans have no choice but to support the legislation’?

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I think the messaging would have been easy based on the proper set of solutions. That democratic leaders trotted out the same tired big-goverment shit they have been pushing for years and shoved it all into a single, massive bill is where they went wrong.

      I believe health insurance reform would have been a perfect way to start the conversation as it effects the most people. I would have handled the uninsured by way of reforming Medicare, Medicaid and the rest of the government health care infrastructure and plans.

      That Congress took an entire year to come back to a strategy I outlined when Obama took office just goes to show the caliber of our representatives in Washington.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          That is basically what I was saying, but it is a little more fundamental than that.

          I think the right tactical implementation of the president’s bipartisan strategy would have been to find areas of agreement with the GOP – such as “entitlement reform” and health insurance regulation – and use that as a way to create an atmosphere of cooperation.

          Rather than creating a party bent on obstruction, I believe this would have led to a new paradigm after a couple of legislative victories where both sides feel like they have won.

          • Obey

            No big surprise, I guess, but I disagree on the possibility of finding Republican votes for decent legislation. The fact that even you see the current HCR bill as ‘big government shit’ really disabuses me of any illusions. Maybe banking regulation might have been an exception, if the dems had proposed something worthwhile.

            But, from a big picture perspective, I find it hard to expect anyone to ‘innovate’ their way to positive legislation in a system where you need 60 votes representing 65% of the population for anything to pass. Any democracy that operates by such a supermajority system is going to get gridlocked. But that’s just my opinion…

          • Jason Everett Miller

            If describing the current health care reform legislation as more big-government shit shuts down the conversation for you then I suppose we have nothing further to discuss.

  • San Fernando Curt

    Watching the Q&A on Friday, it occurred to me this may be the way to leverage the GOP logjam.
    Televising this session was the most decisive and strategically successful move Obama has made since his campaign. It publically put the Republicans on the spot; they seemed very much what they are, naysayers and obstructionists. On the other hand, Obama came off, in public not in a behind-the-scenes whisper campaign, as cordial yet formidable.

    • clearthinker

      There’s a big issue here:

      Most of the Dem caucus would not have been as good as Obama was.

      One of the biggest problems in the country is that the Dem old guard are still not giving Obama his due. But the fact is that Obama is pointing the way out of the current political mess.

      Pelosi is an exceedingly poor politician – regardless of her views and agenda. A House Speaker should *never* call a vote without knowing the numbers in advance (see Sept of 2008). And she should never go to the opposition and say “you aren’t needed.” She did exactly what Obama told the GOP not to do: paint yourself in a corner.

      The one word you will never hear from a good politician is “no”. But Pelosi said “no” to the GOP and they are rightfully upset by that. Had Pelosi been a good politician, she could have smiled and smiled and still have been the “villain”.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Have to agree with this assessment. Obama is swinging for the fences again, which should make the GOP very nervous.

      Or, just maybe, it makes them excited by the notion of getting back to America’s Halcyon days of civil rights legislation being based by majorities in both parties.

      We can bring it together given the right leadership in the Oval Office. I think the president is starting to better understand his role in things.

  • cmaukonen

    Republicans hate giving their money to anyone for any reason period. Everything else they say is just smoke. Lies and rationalization for this one truth.

    Republicans hate being told what to do, how to talk and how to behave by anyone for nay reason. Period. Whether it’s the government, some group or even their own mothers.

    As far as they are concerned laws exist for only one reason. To protect them from the two situations above.

    They do not see why they should ever have to pay their fair share of anything.

    Now who does this remind you of ?

    Can you say spoiled 2 year old child ?

    I knew you could boys and girls.

    C

    • clearthinker

      Totally stupid comment. Why not look at some of the GOP governor in California’s recent comments? You can’t paint all GOPers with a single brush. Unless you believe that you can make some comment about Nelson and Kennedy being part of the same party and therefore in lock step think.

      Again:

      All GOP are evil toadies. All Dems are wussy, bleeding hearts.

      There: I said it.

      Now can we move on?

      Oh, the irony of this blog!

      • OldenGoldenDecoy

        No orgasm this weekend . . . Eh?

        Try bicycling or a quick walk around the block, in the daylight. It’s good for stress relief.

        ~OGD~

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Not entirely sure how this rant deals to the reality of conservatives donating more to charity each year than liberals.

      Simple fact of the matter is that we are much more alike as Americans when compared to the rest of the world than any superficial differences that may arise due to party affiliation.

      As CT notes, this comment simply proves once again that piss-poor messaging at the grassroots continues to hamstring the Obama administration.