No doubt you have already heard the news: Boehner and the Republicans have surrendered. For once, the other side has gone on a caving expedition.
I honestly don't think that Boehner wanted this excursion into madness. He was forced into it by the teabaggers. Right now, a lot of dazed and shaken people are asking a fundamental question: Just what is
the Tea Party? Are they or are they not "true conservatives"?
says that the baggers are the only true conservatives, and that the GOP is now "irrelevant" because they've thrown away the Tea Party
. Meanwhile, Republican Charles Boustany (of LA) says that the Tea Partiers are neither Republicans nor true conservatives
. Sean Hannity wants to form an official third party
for true conservatives, and he wants Sarah Palin to be that party's candidate for a senatorial seat. And Carl Bernstein
-- remember him?-- said that the baggers are a cancer similar to the segregationist Dems of the pre-LBJ era.
(Actually, the word "similar" doesn't apply. We're dealing with the offspring of the same people.)
The Tea Party's popularity has dipped
, as one might have expected, but the number is still at 30 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable, with the biggest drop in favorability among moderate Republicans. (Also see here
.) Basically, this is the same degree of popularity/unpopularity Dubya had to deal with in the last couple of years of his presidency.
Here's an interesting question: Although the poll numbers are similar, can we say that the TPers and the hard-core W supporters are the same people? I suspect that the teabagger battallions include a lot of people who never really bought into the whole neo-con we're-an-empire-now
Interestingly, there's evidence that the GOP overall is less popular than the Tea Party
-- 28 percent favorability vs. 30 percent.
They never change.
In Texas, the Lieutenant Governor has called for Obama's impeachment over -- I kid you not -- Benghazi
. You'd think that on this
day of all days, the GOP leaders would have gotten the word out: "Ixnay on the azy-cray."
Sadly, those people have forgotten how
to adopt a veneer of sanity, which means that the ultra-conservatives will continue to seem nuttier than a Snickers bar. I say we should encourage that sort of behavior.
Polls suggest that the shutdown fallout could lead to a stronger Dem majority
in the Senate. I wouldn't mind a filibuster-proof majority, although I would rather just have done with the filibuster altogether.
Oh, and I can't help mentioning one additional bit of cuteness. Mitch McConnell used the shutdown fight to sneak in added funding
for a Kentucky project he liked. That's what I love about Republicans -- they never let their hatred of government stop them for asking for pork.
The next fight:
Joan Walsh of Salon has argued that Dems in Congress should take this opportunity to get active:
When Social Security needs “fixing,” we should lift the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. The chained CPI is a cut and shouldn’t be a first offer, but a last resort.
Likewise, President Obama took a tax rate hike off the table this month in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood; Congressional Democratic leaders should put it back on the table immediately.
Bravo to both ideas. But I do not expect to see the Dems attempt to do the right thing on either score.
The baggers are already ramping up the propaganda, trying to convince the world that Obama has been a massive spendthrift. In fact, the deficit has fallen dramatically
, from ten percent of GDP to two percent.
Even more startling are these charts
on the Brad Blog, which prove that, spending-wise, Obama has been far more conservative than Reagan and Bush were.
Also see the charts here
, including this oft-ignored bit of good news:
One fact which hasn't changed over the last six months is this: the Affordable Care Act will shrink, not expand, the U.S. national debt. Nevertheless, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan responded to the CBO's latest report by warning, "We must provide relief to the families we serve. We should start by delaying Obamacare and paying down the debt to help grow the economy." But despite the mythmaking of John Boehner, Paul Ryan and their GOP allies, CBO has consistently concluded that the Affordable Care Act will reduce, not increase, the debt over the next decade...
I made that same point repeatedly in those little videos that appeared in this blog during the 2012 debates. Look, I'm not a big fan of Obamacare; I strongly advocated that we go to a single-payer system. But the current plan will save money
. That's a fact. A lot of people believe otherwise, because a lot of people would rather get their information from Rush and Fox News instead of the Congressional Budget Office.
Seriously, don't you think that everyone's favorite corporate mascot should be (as I suggested in the preceding post) the new symbol for Congress?
Just look at him. He's perfect for the job. He's a fat white guy with a bland, inane look on his face. He's held in place by big red clown shoes. Theoretically, those tiny blue wings could help him take flight -- but I suspect that those wings are actually non-functional.
If you don't recall the name of the guy who represents you, you needn't look it up. His name is Congressman Fukuppy.