18 March, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Poor Judd Gregg has his panties in a twist:

About two weeks ago, OMB Director Peter Orszag suggested the administration might pursue major healthcare and energy reforms through the budget reconciliation process. The point would be to make passage far easier -- Republicans can vote against reconciliation bills, but they can't filibuster them.

Apparently, this wasn't just a trial balloon.

Senior members of the Obama administration are pressing lawmakers to use a shortcut to drive the president's signature initiatives on health care and energy through Congress without Republican votes, a move that many lawmakers say would fly in the face of President Obama's pledge to restore bipartisanship to Washington.

Republicans are howling about the proposal to expand health coverage and tax greenhouse gas emissions without their input, warning that it could irrevocably damage relations with the new president.

"That would be the Chicago approach to governing: Strong-arm it through," said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who briefly considered joining the Obama administration as commerce secretary. "You're talking about the exact opposite of bipartisan. You're talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River."

Ponder that Gregg quote for a moment. If Obama doesn't let Republicans have the opportunity to block key pieces of the White House agenda, then Republicans and the president may not get along. As if the minority party has been playing a constructive role up until now.

I know it's an antiquated notion, but the administration is describing a system in which a bill receives majority support in the House, majority support in the Senate, and then becomes law with the president's signature. We've reached the point at which this very idea isn't just odd, some find it literally offensive, comparable to mob violence.

My goodness me. Americans didn't give the Cons a majority in Congress, and suddenly the idea of things being passed on a straight majority vote is just horrible. It never seems to have crossed Judd's mind that the Cons are a minority for a reason.

And, of course, his concern is rather recent. Let's jump into the wayback machine and see how he felt about the budget reconciliation process when Bush was in charge:

But The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn notes that Gregg wasn’t so opposed to pushing changes through budget reconciliation in 2005 when Republicans were in power:

Republican leaders indicated Tuesday that they plan to press the issue of drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a so-called budget reconciliation process, which cannot be subject to a Democratic filibuster–a tactic that has blocked the refuge’s development in the past. …

Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H. said it was reasonable to assume ANWR, as the refuge is commonly called, would be part of the budget measure.

“The president asked for it, and we’re trying to do what the president asked for,” Gregg said Tuesday after meeting privately with Republicans on his panel.

My goodness. What a shock. Simple majorities were a-ok when the Cons could swing a simple majority. Color me not fucking surprised at all.

Guess it's a little different when the concrete bootie's on the other foot, eh?

In other news, CNBC seems to be making a wee bit o' a mistake in its hiring choices:

Many conservatives have voiced outrage over some media figures making the transition from major news outlets to Obama administration service. I can't help but notice, though, that it's much more common to see people make the transition from the Bush administration to major news outlets.
[Yesterday], CNBC discussed a congressional proposal to create a systemic risk regulator for the financial industry. To analyze the feasibility and necessity of such a regulator, CNBC introduced one of its newest "contributors," Tony Fratto, who most recently served as former President Bush's Deputy Press Secretary. But rather than comment on the merits of the systemic risk regulatory plan, Fratto simply claimed that Congress is "dangerously" motivated to over regulate by a thirst for "vengeance" stemming from the current financial crisis.
Now, CNBC has come under fire lately for its coverage of the financial world, but if network executives hope that adding Fratto to the news team will improve matters, they're likely to be disappointed. Fratto, who's also served as Rick Santorum's communications director, has been wildly wrong on economic issues for quite some time.
Good one. You get your asses whupped by a comedian for being a bunch of inane dumbshits whose financial advice should be flushed down the nearest toilet, and what do you do to improve the situation? Put Tony "Regulation is Eeeviiilll!" Fratto on.

For fuck's sake, can they get any dumber? Don't answer that. I already know the answer is yes, and I don't want to know what they're going to do next.

Someone at work today asked me if I watched CNN. I don't. And here's one of the many reasons why:
Yesterday on his radio show, anti-immigrant crusader Lou Dobbs attacked St. Patrick’s day as a needless “ethnic holiday.” “How about an American day,” he proposed. He also wondered whether other groups, like Jews or Asians, had “ethnic holidays,” but he couldn’t think of any:
Is there a Jewish ethnic holiday? Is there one? No. Okay. … How about an Asian ethnic holiday? Is there one? You know, St. Jing-Tao-Wow?

Think Progress put together a helpful list of American holidays for Dobbs, but I'm afraid he's too far gone. They don't make buses short enough for fucktards like him.

Hopefully, he'll join the rabid right in a rapid slide into total irrelevance:

President Obama will nominate District Court Judge David Hamilton of Indiana for the 7th Circuit with the big picture in mind. Hamilton, widely considered a judicial moderate, was chosen in part because his confirmation should be easy. A White House official said this week, "We would like to put the history of the confirmation wars behind us." Support for Hamilton from Indiana's conservative Republican senator, Richard Lugar, helps make this far more likely.

The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody reports today, however, that the religious right is, naturally, outraged by the choice.

Maybe the Obama administration should have nominated George Hamilton instead of David F. Hamilton. The hollywood actor may have an easier time at confirmation.... The conservative judicial groups believe President Obama's first judicial pick is a hard left liberal. [...]

Part of the problem on Hamilton is that there is a lot of red meat topics here. When you rule on sensitive issues like abortion and separation of church and state it becomes a magnet for conservative groups to galvanize against you. Let's face it. If he had some liberal ruling on an anti-trust case the yawn factor would be huge. But people pay more attention on abortion rulings.

Stay tuned. This thing may get ugly.

It might get ugly, but I kind of doubt it. Religious right complaints make Hamilton's confirmation far less likely? Not if recent history is any guide.

Steve's right. The frothing fundies have pitched fits over McCain, Michael Steele, Hilda Solis, and David Ogden, and their score so far is a big fat fucking zero.

People like Dobbs and the rabid right are loud, granted. But in the end, this is a Shakespearean situation. Their sound and fury signifies... nothing.

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