31 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Someone needs to give the Cons in Congress a good, sharp slap across the face. Isn't that what's typically done to calm hysterical screaming ninnies? Or do they just need their noses shoved deep in some reality? I myself believe they need some quiet time in a padded room while the anti-psychotic medication kicks in, but maybe some tough love by governors in their own party could snap them out of their delusions and make them functioning members of society again:
Congressional Republicans oppose the Obama administration's economic stimulus package. Media Republicans oppose the Obama administration's economic stimulus package. But then there are those other Republicans who actually have to govern during this economic crisis.

Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama's spending priorities.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state's share of the package.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist worked the phones last week with members of his state's congressional delegation, including House Republicans. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, the Republican vice chairman of the National Governors Association, planned to be in Washington on Monday to urge the Senate to approve the plan.

"As the executive of a state experiencing budget challenges, Gov. Douglas has a different perspective on the situation than congressional Republicans," said Douglas' deputy chief of staff, Dennise Casey.

You don't say. States facing unprecedented budget crunches and mounting healthcare, education, and transportation costs support the idea of a federal rescue package. Who knew?

Funny how that tax-cuts mantra and the "whatever Dems want, we don't want" approach to governance get less and less attractive the more one has to deal with the actual consequences of such decisions. If the Cons in Congress were reduced to eating nothing but Spam and off-brand elbow macaroni whenever their states suffered a budget shortfall, I think we'd be seeing a little less obstruction.

Then again, maybe not. After all, that would probably feed right in to their delusions of heroism:
Michael Steele addressed the House Republican Retreat today, his first interaction with the Congressional GOP since he was election RNC chairman yesterday. Steele praised the caucus for voting against the economic stimulus package: "I thought it was very important to send a signal, and you sent it loudly, very clearly, that this party, the leadership of this caucus, would stand first and foremost with the American people. You made it very clear that in order to grow through this recession that you not redistribute the wealth of the people of this nation."
Someone may want to remind Chairman Steele that Con fantasies about what the American people want are what caused the Cons to lose the last two elections. The American people don't want Cons standing with them. It's rather like having the doctor who amputated the wrong limb loudly proclaiming he won't give up on your case until the proper amputation is done, and insisting on performing your next surgery after you've fired him and hired a new surgeon.

And you know what else? That "redistribution" of wealth is more of a reclamation, and starts to look damned attractive when faced with numbers like this:

Bloomberg reports that, according to recently released IRS data, “the average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million.” Much of their income came from capital gains resulting from the Bush tax cuts:

The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9 percent was due largely to ex-President George W. Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15 percent in 2003.


The Wonk Room has noted how “the conservative approach of putting big corporations and the very wealthy ahead of the middle class has failed to create prosperity that can be shared by all Americans.”
Something tells me it's high time for a little wealth redistribution. There's something very wrong with people who make that much money contributing so little tax revenue to our country, and then bitching about how poor they feel.

And there's something extremely wrong with Wall Street execs screaming for ginormous government handouts calling the taxpayers who fund their extravagance socialists:
On Wall Street these days, being denied bonuses when you've lost money for your clients and shareholders (now taxpayers, of course) is ... socialism:
“I think President Obama painted everyone with a broad stroke,” said Brian McCaffrey, 55, a Wall Street lawyer who was on his way to see a client. “The way we pay our taxes is bonuses. The only way that we’ll get any of our bailout money back is from taxes on bonuses. I think bonuses should be looked at on a case by case basis, or you turn into a socialist.”
Listen, you stupid fuckwits: you and your Con friends in Washington dumped the economy in the shitter. Now you're asking for taxpayer money to get you out. And guess what? The easiest way to get the bailout money back is not to give bonuses to dumbfucks who think they earn multi-million dollar bonuses even when they bankrupted their companies. In fact, how about a paycut, instead? Just like the people who are now suffering for your stupidity:
All over the country, workers are being told that they can't have bonuses or raises, that they have to cut back their hours, that they are being laid off. The waiters at my favorite brewpub, who have been there for a decade or more, are all being reduced to part time (so that none of them have to be completely laid off) and their tips are off by 60%. The idea that the people who caused all this should get bonuses at the taxpayers expense because they are such valuable employees is ludicrous. That these people who work forsuch massively failed enterprises should be rewarded by the taxpayers for their failure is beyond reason. I can't fathom why they haven't all been fired.
Neither can I. But they seem to have the same attitude the Cons do, which is that they are the creme de la creme and the country can't survive without them. They're so tone-deaf it's astounding. My jaw aches from the dropping it's been doing.

And just when I think that the Cons couldn't possibly be any more obstructionist and stupid, I read something like this:

At this point there are an estimated 6.5 million families still relying on unconverted televisions, and a waiting list for coupons [for converter boxes]. The Obama administration has asked for more time to straighten things out, and the Senate voted unanimously to postpone the deadline for four months. This shows that legislators of good will (Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas) can work in a bipartisan manner when the issue at hand is every American’s God-given right to television reception.

Then the bill moved to the House, where quick action required permission of a two-thirds majority. For once, the Republicans got a chance to make their presence felt, and they instantly sprang into action and refused to allow anybody to do anything. This shows you why Nancy Pelosi always seems a little irritable.

How could the Republicans not be worried about this? A disproportionate number of the endangered TV viewers are senior citizens. Bill O’Reilly’s entire audience is in danger!
Forfuckssake. They're even knee-jerking something so simple as delaying the transition from analog to digital so that people who don't have converters yet can get them.

No wonder Nate Silver thinks the Cons are in a death-spiral:
Most fundamentally of all, the McCain campaign radically overestimated the importance of appealing to the base. House Republicans may be replicating their mistake. Self-described conservative Republicans represent only about 20 percent of the population. This base is not necessarily becoming smaller; it's still alive and kicking. What is true, however, is that the (1) base has never been sufficient to form a winning electoral coalition, and (2) that there are fewer and fewer non-base (e.g. moderates, libertarian Republicans, Republican leaning-independents). As these moderates have fled the GOP, the party's electoral fortunes have tanked. But simultaneously, they have had less and less influence on the Republican message.

Thus the Republicans, arguably, are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base -- but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself.


Perhaps the House Republicans voted against delaying the digital TV changeover because they don't want Americans to see the carnage.
You know what? I think Nate's wrong about that last bit. You see, to speculate that the Cons are blocking a sensible delay in the analog-to-digital transition because they're trying to keep as many Americans as possible from realizing what a raving bunch of fucktards they've become would require some kind of reason. I have seen no evidence of reason coming from the Cons in the House lately. And if this is emblematic of their thinking, there's no hope that they'll start thinking like normal, intelligent human beings:
Former Bush White House chief of staff Andrew Card complained to right-wing talk-show host Michael Medved that President Obama is insufficiently respectful of the presidency. Apparently, one demonstrates respect for the presidency by their choice of attire:

"...I found that Ronald Reagan and both President Bushes treated the Oval Office with tremendous respect. They treated the Office of the Presidency with tremendous respect. And some of that respect was reflected in how they expected people to behave, how they expected them to dress when they walked into the symbol of freedom for the world, the Oval Office. And yes, I'm disappointed to see the casual, laissez faire, short sleeves, no shirt and tie, no jacket, kind of locker room experience that seems to be taking place in this White House and the Oval Office."

"Locker-room experience." Card wasn't kidding.

I think there are two general angles to this. The first is that Obama isn't especially concerned about the formality of one's clothing. He was photographed at his desk wearing a shirt and tie, and some of the political establishment gasped because he was seen sans jacket. (Obama, a Hawaii native, reportedly prefers a warm office. David Axelrod said, "You could grow orchids in there.") Suits are common on weekdays, but the president issued an informal edict for "business casual" on weekends. That, apparently, means slacks and a buttoned-down shirt.

Traditionalists may not approve of Obama's easy-going style, but we're a long way from a "laissez faire locker-room experience." A frat house it isn't.

The other thing to consider here is exactly how one "respects" the presidency. For Card and others who served with Bush, it's about choice of clothing. For those who serve with Obama, it's about honoring institutional limits and the rule of law.

These fuckwits are incredible. What the fuck can you do with a group of people who think appearance matters more than substance? That "thinking" is so fucking shallow that if it was represented by a pool, you wouldn't even be able to get the bottoms of your feet damp in it.

The fact that 20% of the American public is stupid enough to identify with these dumbshits is a travesty.


Woozle said...

"You made it very clear that in order to grow through this recession that you not redistribute the wealth of the people of this nation."

That's... pure art, in its twistyness.

I mean, right! How DARE the government give American taxpayers back any of their money! ...or something.

That's one's almost as good as the one I made up for GWB, before the Iraq invasion: "We must be prepared to sacrifice many of the freedoms our forefathers fought and died for!"

I need to start collecting twisty Republicanisms.

Woozle said...

P.S. The main theme of my unfinished Elitist Bastardry piece is the idea that we should stop giving Republicans the benefit of the doubt, stop assuming that somewhere under all that muck lies some kind of rationality which can be reasoned with.

It has become plain that they are not sincere negotiators in the marketplace of ideas. They are, rather, victims of a memetic infection which tells them that it is more important for the group's beliefs to be protected and promoted than it is for those beliefs to be sensible. This thinking is at the core of a great deal of what's wrong with America and the world, and it's time we started tackling it as a problem instead of hoping that maybe this time the locusts will listen to reason when we ask them nicely not to eat our crops. Locusts and Republicans are both driven to destroy, and we need to start thinking of them as a hostile force against which we need to defend our institutions and hard-won knowledge.

I'm tired of wasting my time proving conservatives wrong when it doesn't affect what they believe in the slightest (and they have no sane arguments to offer which should convince anyone of their viewpoint), and I think it's time for a change of strategy.

This isn't to say that there should be any kind of retribution, just that we should be unhesitant about saying "No" (with a good solid smack), taking their little hands off the controls, and not listening to their socially-engineered protestations of "unfairness".

We also need to research the virus itself in order to find a cure, so we can maybe, one day, have a sane civilization for a change.

Anonymous said...

Another one of Dana's LONG posts, with far too much to reply too. These people really are stupid aren't they.
"Not giving bonuses is socialism" Err, no, not rewarding failure sounds like capitalism to me.
"We use the bonuses to pay our taxes". Surely the tax is on the pay- why don't you use that. It was a conversation I had many times as a tax collector- why didn't you make provision to pay, instead of spending it.

Blocking the delay in Digital switchover!?! as Les at SEB would say W.T.F? Gotta love how the Reps whine about 'bi-partisanship' when ever Obama doesn't do their bidding. Perhaps they should re-read his speech, and re-consider if the line about offering an open hand if they unclench their fists could be applied anywhere close to home.

Cujo359 said...

Short version of all this: They ruined the economy, threw millions of us out of work and lost two wars, and yet they're bitching about how the new President dresses.

There aren't words to describe how perverse that is.