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Republicans Against Reality

August 4, 2013
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Last week House Republicans voted for the 40th time to repeal Obamacare. Like the previous 39 votes, this action will have no effect whatsoever. But it was a stand-in for what Republicans really want to do: repeal reality, and the laws of arithmetic in particular. The sad truth is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about policy substance. I may believe that Republicans have their priorities all wrong, but that’s not the issue here. Instead, I’m talking about their apparent inability to accept very basic reality constraints, like the fact that you can’t cut overall spending without cutting spending on particular programs, or the fact that voting to repeal legislation doesn’t change the law when the other party controls the Senate and the White House.

Am I exaggerating? Consider what went down in Congress last week.

First, House leaders had to cancel planned voting on a transportation bill, because not enough representatives were willing to vote for the bill’s steep spending cuts. Now, just a few months ago House Republicans approved an extreme austerity budget, mandating severe overall cuts in federal spending — and each specific bill will have to involve large cuts in order to meet that target. But it turned out that a significant number of representatives, while willing to vote for huge spending cuts as long as there weren’t any specifics, balked at the details. Don’t cut you, don’t cut me, cut that fellow behind the tree.

Then House leaders announced plans to hold a vote cutting spending on food stamps in half — a demand that is likely to sink the already struggling effort to agree with the Senate on a farm bill.

Then they held the pointless vote on Obamacare, apparently just to make themselves feel better. (It’s curious how comforting they find the idea of denying health care to millions of Americans.) And then they went home for recess, even though the end of the fiscal year is looming and hardly any of the legislation needed to run the federal government has passed.

In other words, Republicans, confronted with the responsibilities of governing, essentially threw a tantrum, then ran off to sulk.

How did the G.O.P. get to this point? On budget issues, the proximate source of the party’s troubles lies in the decision to turn the formulation of fiscal policy over to a con man. Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has always been a magic-asterisk kind of guy — someone who makes big claims about having a plan to slash deficits but refuses to spell out any of the all-important details. Back in 2011 the Congressional Budget Office, in evaluating one of Mr. Ryan’s plans, came close to open sarcasm; it described the extreme spending cuts Mr. Ryan was assuming, then remarked, tersely, “No proposals were specified that would generate that path.”

What’s happening now is that the G.O.P. is trying to convert Mr. Ryan’s big talk into actual legislation — and is finding, unsurprisingly, that it can’t be done. Yet Republicans aren’t willing to face up to that reality. Instead, they’re just running away.

When it comes to fiscal policy, then, Republicans have fallen victim to their own con game. And I would argue that something similar explains how the party lost its way, not just on fiscal policy, but on everything.

Think of it this way: For a long time the Republican establishment got its way by playing a con game with the party’s base. Voters would be mobilized as soldiers in an ideological crusade, fired up by warnings that liberals were going to turn the country over to gay married terrorists, not to mention taking your hard-earned dollars and giving them to Those People. Then, once the election was over, the establishment would get on with its real priorities — deregulation and lower taxes on the wealthy.

At this point, however, the establishment has lost control. Meanwhile, base voters actually believe the stories they were told — for example, that the government is spending vast sums on things that are a complete waste or at any rate don’t do anything for people like them. (Don’t let the government get its hands on Medicare!) And the party establishment can’t get the base to accept fiscal or political reality without, in effect, admitting to those base voters that they were lied to.

The result is what we see now in the House: a party that, as I said, seems unable to participate in even the most basic processes of governing.

What makes this frightening is that Republicans do, in fact, have a majority in the House, so America can’t be governed at all unless a sufficient number of those House Republicans are willing to face reality. And that quorum of reasonable Republicans may not exist.

source

Filed under Krugman GOP delusions

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Activate the Mechanism!: To protect poor Americans from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to...

abaldwin360:

Paul Ryan, outlining his latest budget proposal in the House TV studio Tuesday morning, said the policies of the Republican presidential nominees “perfectly jibe” with his plan, which slashes the safety net to pay for tax cuts mostly for wealthy Americans.

“Do you wholeheartedly believe they will accept your budget?” NBC’s Luke Russert called from the audience.

“Absolutely,” the House Budget Committee chairman replied without hesitation. “I’m confident.”

Makes perfect sense, in a way. Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, is on record as saying, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” And Ryan has just written a budget that supports Romney’s boast.

Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health-care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.” Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers.

Taken together, Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according toCitizens for Tax Justice.

read more

Read the rest of this article, this rhetoric amazes me. It’s like he thinks (or wants his supporters to think) that he is doing some kind of “moral duty” by taking safety nets away from poor Americans.

I’m at a loss to comprehend what these people really think, when they say things like this. Do they truly believe that cutting taxes for the rich while reducing help for the poor will make things better? Or are they basically trash talking themselves higher up the ‘conservative’ mountain? Or maybe they’re just trying to grab as much money as possible for their friends and to hell with anyone else. But to be so blatant about is is almost psychopathic in nature.

(via sarahlee310)

Filed under politics GOP budget Paul Ryan Republicans federal budget

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Tea Party senators unveil five-year plan to balance the budget

pantslessprogressive:

No chance it’ll pass, but you should know about it anyway. Some of the highlights, from The Hill:

  • Aims to cut $11 trillion and achieve a $111 billion surplus in FY 2017
  • Changes to Medicare: ” The lawmakers said they would turn Medicare into a premium support plan that would give seniors the same healthcare plan as members of Congress. They say this would save an estimated $1 trillion over 10 years.”
  • Alter Social Security by increasing the retirement age and indexing benefits based on individual incomes
  • Medicaid, SCHIP, food stamps and child nutrition programs would be funded through block grants
  • Cut discretionary spending to FY 2008 levels
  • No national defense spending cuts
  • Freeze foreign aid spending at $5 billion/year
  • Eliminate the Department of Commerce, Education, HUD and Energy
  • Privatize the TSA
  • Repeal the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform
  • Establish 17 percent flat tax for individuals and corporations

Read more.

(Source: pantslessprogressive, via sarahlee310)

Filed under Republicans Tea Party GOP Federal Budget

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So far, according to exit polls posted on CNN.com, whites have cast at least 90 percent of the votes in every Republican primary except Florida (83 percent) and Arizona (89 percent). In every other state except Michigan (92 percent) and Nevada (90 percent) whites have comprised at least 94 percent of the GOP vote this year. That includes Georgia (94), Virginia (94), Ohio (96), Oklahoma (96), Tennessee (97), South Carolina (98), Massachusetts (98), Iowa (99), New Hampshire (99), and Vermont (99).
Ron Brownstein, on white voters dominating the GOP primaries. (via theatlantic)

(via sarahlee310)

Filed under Politics Race GOP 2012 elections primary

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I think it’s unfortunate they try to corner him and make it look like he knows nothing else. My husband is brilliant. He knows so much about, you know like I said, national security, jobs, the economy. You know, every aspect of this race, any issue out there he’s brilliant and I think that’s unfortunate that they try to do that… corner him and make it look like he doesn’t know anything else. As a wife and mother, an educated woman it frustrates me.

Karen Santorum, wife of Republican front-runner, Rick Santorum. (CBS)

Rick Santorum has made his campaign about his extreme views on social issues. Pointing the finger at the media doesn’t change that.

(via kileyrae)

(via inothernews)

Filed under rick santorum republicans gop politics 2012

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Sadly the propaganda campaign launched in the 1960s has taken root. The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.

Republican presidential candidate RICK SANTORUM, writing in his 2005 book It Takes A Family, essentially saying that women have no role in the workplace.

They’re just good for heterosexual sex, making babies and cleaning up the house, right, Rick?

Amazingly, about half of half of the country is nonetheless prepared to vote for this spiteful dick.

(via the New York Times)

(Source: inothernews)

Filed under 2012 gop politics republicans rick santorum news

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(Rick Santorum’s) loss in Michigan raises the possibility that he has hit a ceiling with Republican primary voters; he may even have damaged himself with some by a string of controversial comments, particularly his assertion that President Obama is a “snob” for advocating that every American have access to a college education.

Even some high-profile Republicans who have stayed neutral in the race noted that going to college had long been part of the American dream.

In some speeches, Mr. Santorum has portrayed an America in decline. He has been panned by some conservative pundits.

In a column this month in The New York Post, John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary Magazine, called Mr. Santorum a “sourpuss.”

“The former Pennsylvania senator looks like he swallowed a lemon — and he acts like America is the lemon he swallowed,” he wrote. “There is no way that a man who expresses such a dark view of the American national character can win the presidency.”

The New York Times, “In Ohio, Santorum Tries to Widen Message While Keeping Base Excited” (via inothernews)

Filed under republicans conservatives gop politics 2012 rick santorum

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This is far from over.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a guy with a lengthy record of competent, even heroic, management in the public and private sectors, is still struggling to get decisive separation from a pack of much weaker candidates. He’ll hobble into the Super Tuesday contests with wins here in Michigan and in Arizona, but without the kind of momentum that suggests he’s close to putting the others out of reach.

It has been bizarre, and troubling, to watch.

Bizarre, in particular, here in Michigan, where Romney’s considerable credentials and native-son status should have made him a heavy favorite. Instead, he was forced into the same position he has found himself in every other contest — clumsily competing to out-conservative another candidate.

It is troubling because that dynamic in the GOP race, playing out over and over again, is whittling the party’s base to the narrowest of interests and minds, alienating broad swaths of both independent voters and a significant portion of more mainstream or moderate card-carrying Republicans.

STEPHEN HENDERSON, “Michigan Victory Can’t Mask Romney’s Troubles,” in the Detroit Free Press (via inothernews)

Filed under mitt romney republicans gop conservatives politics 2012 news

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Romney: I have friends who own NASCAR teams

cognitivedissonance:

He’s trying hard to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, isn’t he?

Mitt Romney went to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race Sunday for what should have been a chance to show he’s one of the guys. Instead, in casual conversation with an Associated Press reporter at the Florida track, he reminded people once again that he is not exactly a regular Joe.

Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

Democrats and liberals quickly ridiculed the remark on Twitter. “I don’t know people who fish but I know people who own yachts,” tweeted Brad Woodhouse, communications director of the Democratic National Committee. Ari Melber, a writer for the liberal Nation magazine who apparently was watching the Oscars, tweeted: “Do I like movies? Well I have some friends who own movie companies.”

No, really. Is he just fucking with us at this point? I imagine you make so much money that eventually, you run out of things on which to spend said money. So troll-rific presidential run?

Filed under Mitt Romney He's not serious Politics President 2012 Election 2012 GOP Republican Republicans government

76 notes &

Mitt Romney could lose his home state of Michigan. He keeps shooting himself in the foot! He wrote an op-ed in the Detroit newspaper reminding them that he opposed the automobile bailout — and then he kicked off his Wisconsin ‘Fuck Cheese’ tour.
BILL MAHER, Real Time (via inothernews)

Filed under mitt romney politics gop republicans 2012