Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stop Attacking The Budget Deal

The moment the budget deal came out, large groups of conservatives started whining. Most were just poorly informed, but some are doing this intentionally because it gets them ratings or gets them noticed -- a recent crop has joined them because they don’t want to be on the wrong side of the crowds. So let me point out a few things:

1. Get Your Numbers Right: Let me state clearly a point that most of these pundit keep wanting to ignore -- this was not $38.5 billion in cuts, it was $78.5 billion in cuts. That means Boehner got 78.5% of the $100 billion sought, which is not bad given that he does not control the Senate or the White House.

2. 100% Is A Delusion: The idea that Boehner should have gotten everything is ridiculous. As someone who is accustomed to negotiating professionally, I can tell you that anyone who claims you can get everything you want in an adversarial negotiation has no idea what they are talking about. The amount you can get depends entirely on two factors: (1) how much the other side cares about a particular issue and (2) how desperate they are. The fact is, the Democrats weren’t desperate. Why? Because they are down and out and without momentum and without a way of regaining it. Their best chance is to introduce a wild card like a shutdown in the hopes of finding an issue that gives them respectability or hope the shutdown deprives the Republicans of momentum. Shutting down the government when the other side has nothing to lose is stupid because you can't win. Moreover, even if the Democrats did care, the closer you get to 100% the greater the resistance. By the time you get to 100%, the other side has nothing to lose by rejecting the deal and seeing how things play out.

3. Stop Ignoring The Riders: Look at the riders and you will see a tremendous amount of conservative influence won. Everything from forcing votes that will hang around Democratic necks to forcing Obama to keep Guantanamo Bay open to forcing the removal of the gray wolf from the endangered species list was included in this deal and represent clear conservative policy victories. So why do the pundits keep focusing only on the two big riders the Democrats never would have agreed to?

4. Stop The False Comparisons: This idea that more ($80 billion) was spent in two weeks than the cuts is a red herring. First, federal spending is not consistent week by week, thus you can easily find weeks where nothing gets spent. Does that mean the value of the budget deal depends on what week they sign it?

Secondly, this is false logic of the worst kind. A budget is a year-long endeavor and cuts are incremental. This criticism is like complaining that a dieter didn't stop eating until they’ve burned off all the calories they are trying to save throughout the year.

The complaint that the debt grew more than the cuts is similarly flawed. 88% of our budget is either defense spending or mandatory entitlement spending. Comparing the total spending cuts made to the remaining 12% against the debt caused by the 88% will naturally end up with the debt being greater because we haven’t touched entitlements yet. This is like complaining that someone who cuts their movie ticket budget in half hasn’t made any cuts because that amount is dwarfed by their spending on utilities.

5. Know What You’re Talking About: This idea that gimmicks were used seems to have sent people into hysterics, even though they had no idea what the gimmicks were. All budgets use “gimmicks.” That’s how you estimate anything that isn’t a precisely known amount, e.g. future tax revenues. Complaining about "gimmicks" without knowing what they are is irrational.

6. Stop Treating Spin As Fact: This idea that the cuts will only result in $300 million in savings is pure spin. It is a flat out distortion.

First, let me point out the irony that conservatives, who regularly attack CBO for blinding applying the assumptions it is given without ever asking if those assumptions are realistic, are suddenly accepting as true the spin placed on a CBO report.

Secondly, make no mistake, this is spin. If you look at the CBO report, it quite correctly notes that the 2011 budget will be reduced by $80 billion. The end. So how do we get to the $300 million figure? By making a false comparison. The $300 million number comes from comparing the actual spending after the budget deal against the amount spent in 2010. But that’s a false measure. When budgets are issued, they include automatic increases for each year. The 2010 budget was no different. Thus, had no budget deal taken place, the 2011 spending would have been $78.5 billion higher. To pretend that this somehow wouldn’t have happened and that therefore a comparison to the spending of 2010 is appropriate is factually wrong and entirely deceptive.

Further, this is where the supposed gimmick comes in. CBO is assuming that many of the spending cuts involve spending that isn’t likely to have happened based on the rate of spending so far during the year. In other words, based on what’s been spent so far, CBO thinks the agencies wouldn’t have needed this money anyway. Thus, the inclusion of these amounts as cuts in the budget deal is considered "a gimmick." But CBO knows this is false because agencies always spend their budgets. This is part of an ancient end-of-year ritual where agencies rush to spend everything they’ve been given so that their future budgets aren’t reduced. Also, large projects often get pushed off to the end of the year so the agency knows before it begins that there will be money available to complete the project in the following year. Thus, comparisons to the current rate of spending are a fraud.

7. Stop Aiding And Abetting The Democrats: Finally, this whole thing is really ticking me off. If people have a legitimate criticism then make it constructively. Don’t go throwing a temper tantrum and ignorantly attacking the Republicans. All these pundits are doing is helping the Democrats by making the Republicans seem fractured, disorganized and unsupported.

And let me point out a few facts about the pundits doing the attacking. First, most of these people rely on being loud and bombastic to get audiences. Outrage sells, whether it’s justified or not.

Secondly, the track record of these pundits is suspect at best. These are the same people who ran with every single anti-Republican rumor they heard over the last couple years. Many of these pundits are the same people who kept insisting the Republicans didn’t have the nerve to fight Obama/Pelosi even as they blocked most of the Democratic agenda in party-line votes and filibusters despite having NO power to block anything. These same pundits who now ignore the riders and the additional $40 billion in cuts and who have bought hook, line and sinker into the spin on the CBO report, are the same people who jumped on the Scott Brown for President bandwagon without having any clue what he stood for. They are the same people who jumped on the Christie bandwagon because of a youtube video, again without bothering to look into his RINO ways. These are the same people who jumped on Tea Party freshmen for a party that none of them attended, and a dozen other stupidities.

These arm-chair revolutionaries are Monday Morning Quarterbacks of the worst kind, because they are too lazy to do their research, they are front runners and bandwagoners, and because they know they are using false arguments and false logic to attack people they claim to support, all in an attempt to further their own careers.

It’s time we started asking them the hard questions, and tuning them out when they can’t answer.

39 comments:

Ed said...

I agree. I was always told that if you are going to criticize, offer constructive criticism. I'm not hearing much constructive criticism, just a lot of "they betrayed us" and "we need to get rid of them." I'm also hearing a lot of people complaining that they didn't get Obamacare defunded, but how could they? Does anything really think the Democrats are going to surrender that one? Not until we have a filibuster-proof majority.

Thanks for the rant!

AndrewPrice said...

Thank Ed. I'm actually getting a rather upset by this constant harping. These people have no sense of perspective and all they are doing is making the real fight that much harder because they're giving the Democrats hope that they can split the Republicans.

What's worse, these pundits should know better. They are offering neither support nor unbiased analysis. They are offering self-aggrandizement and self-interest under the guise of supposed useful criticism.

And you're right about defunding ObamaCare. That's the stupidest part about this -- this was just meant to shave some dollars off the budget, the real fight is up ahead. Yet people are acting like they were expecting this to be THE fight?! What's more, what in the world makes them think Obama should have laid down and let the Republicans walk all over him? What President has ever let his signature accomplishment go just because the other side wants them to?

Anonymous said...

Interesting post Andrew. I listen to Sean Hannity every afternoon on my way home from work and he is still talking about this not being a good deal. I usually enjoy listening to him, but this made me think of your previous article. So, I emailed the link for the article to him with a little note about how I hadn't heard it anywhere else and that I thought it was actually good for the Republicans. Now whether he or his staff will read your article is another matter, but I couldn't stand hearing the criticism any longer.

Hope you don't mind. :)

TJ

JG said...

You know I'm with you, Andrew. Legitimate criticism is fine, of course, but the level of hysteria this has gotten to is more like aiding and abetting the enemy.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, No, I don't mind. And I hope they do listen. The information is all there if they want to investigate. Unfortunately, it's just easier to criticize than it is to explain to people why the thing their hearing from everyone else isn't true.

And let me add, I can fully understand offering criticism when criticism is due. In fact, I've been very critical of Boehner at times. But we as conservatives really need to be careful to get our facts right. The deck is already stacked against conservatives with Democrats being will to say anything, whether it's true or false, and the media happily parroting the Democratic line. So we should be very careful about handing them more ammunition. Especially since all we are doing in the process is demoralizing and confusing our own side right at the time we need everyone to prepare to stand up for the real fight coming with the Ryan budget.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, Thanks! And it really has. The level of anger on this is amazing, especially as the Republicans have been doing such a good job so far (whatever you think of this deal).

At this point, it's well into full-on temper tantrum mode and it's becoming highly destructive as people begin to tune out what is going on because they either (1) have wrongly lost faith in the Republicans or (2) just don't want to hear this anymore. Neither of which are good since we will need the public well-engaged and motivated if we're going to overcome Democratic opposition on the 2012 budget.

Let me also add that I am always in favor of constructive criticism. If anyone thinks they have advice to add on how to do something better, then they should share it. But that is not what is being offered now. Instead, we're getting pure anger combined with criticisms that border on fantasy. That's not helpful and it doesn't reflect well on our side.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Great rant. And I couldn't agree with you more. They often say that politics is the art of compromise. There's truth to that, but the whole truth is that politics is the art of accomplishing the possible. I agree that the Republicans pre-Tea Party were starting to get on the right track, and afterwards are doing even better. But they control one-half of one of the three branches of government. There's also some truth to the concept that if the core constituencies of each party are very unhappy with a result, it's probably a pretty good deal. Better a decent deal than no deal at all.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Lawhawk! I think that's something people need to keep in mind. In fact, let me ask this: if Obama said you need to give up your beliefs, would you? Of course not. So what makes people think the Democrats were going to give up their beliefs even though they still control everything but the House?

The truth is that politics is a long term game. It's about getting little pieces here and there where ever you can, and taking big leaps when you get those rare chances. The idea that you can just threaten to shut down the government and get everything you want is just ridiculous, especially since the Democrats are hardly a responsible group who are going to worry about the effects of the shutdown -- they will instead try to spin it.

I'm not saying that I don't wish the deal hadn't included more, but it's fine for what it is and to turn this into the modern incarnation of evil on the planet and the ulimate betrayal of conservatism is childish and insane.

Finally, like I say, what really bothers me here are the pundits who should know better but are exploiting this to try to improve their viewership/readership.

Tennessee Jed said...

I figured we would see this post given what has been going on in the conservative media. Great job, Andrew!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed! Sorry to hear I'm predictable! I'll try to mix it up more in the future. ;-)


Seriously though, it had to be said. What's going on right now is not helping anything.

DUQ said...

I couldn't agree more. I have my own complaints with the Republicans and I've never been a fan of Boehner, but this is starting to sound like a witch hunt. I also think it's suspicious that so many of these talking heads were for the budget deal until they saw a bunch of angry people and now they're against it.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, was this written on my account? I'm feeling a little red-faced right now. (nervous grin)

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, That's called pandering and there's a lot of that going on. Several people came out clearly for the deal only to change their mind once they got criticism. I guess popularity trumps truth?

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, No, this is about the pundits and politicians who still today continue to pound this deal with false claims and faked outrage. This seems to have become an obsession with many of them. I think they're concerned that by not sounding sufficiently outraged at first, that their audience might think they are soft. Good grief.

Besides, if this was about you, I would have started with "Letter for T_Rav...." -- just kidding.

DUQ said...

T_Rav, What makes you think Andrew meant you? Have you been ranting against this deal? ;-)


Andrew, Any thoughts on Obama's "budget"?

T_Rav said...

Andrew, if it helps, some of the sites I was consulting yesterday were backing off this morning. So maybe people are starting to calm down.

Also, I notice that suddenly, since Obama's "speech" yesterday, the media is very concerned about the debt and the need to have a good budget. Very odd coincidence.

T_Rav said...

DUQ, no, I wasn't ranting. Panicking is more like it, and I needed Andrew's take on whether these claims were true.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I think Obama's budget was a joke. He's using a 12 year period, which is ridiculous. He's trying to pass off tax hikes as "spending cuts in the tax code." What an ass!

In fact, his budget looks a lot like "The People's Budget" -- the idiotic thing I wrote about yesterday.

If you want a great take on it, check out Paul Ryan's comments today and yesterday. He's done a great job ripping it all apart.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I'm glad to hear that. I am amazed that many of them are still talking about it when they should be focused on Obama's lame budget and Ryan's blasting of it!

Hopefully, they've realized that either they were wrong in the first place or that at least they should have shut the heck up and stopped trying to turn it into a crime against humanity. It never helps to attack your own side.


It's amazing isn't it, how budget cuts are for fools until a Democrats proposes them -- suddenly the MSM sees the value in them.

** rolls eyes **

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ & T_Rav, It wasn't T_Rav, it was mainly this talk radio guy I heard this morning who just couldn't stop talking about the need to get rid of Boehner because of this budget deal. He had all of his fact wrong and anyone who tried to tell him that got told that they were RINOs.

That guy, plus a bunch of articles at supposedly reputable place, and the whining way in which everyone seemed to blindly accept the CBO spin that set me off.

CrispyRice said...

Nice rant, Andrew. I agree that we should be focusing on Obama and the Democrats and not attacking the Republicans.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, DUQ, and anyone else, here are the two Ryan hits on what I will jokingly call Obama's plan:

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/04/13/paul-ryan-rips-obamas-speech-rather-than-building-bridges-hes-poisoning-wells

http://marklevinshow.com/Article.asp?id=2160890&spid=32364

The first is his initial rebuttal to The One, the second is his subsequent radio interview. He is seriously @#%$ed, as he should be.

DUQ said...

T_Rav, Andrew's take on these things is invaluable! I come here all the time to read it because he's always got a well informed and intelligent take on things.

DUQ said...

T-Rav, Thanks for the links! I'll look those up. Ryan really has become one of my favorites in the last couple years. He is easily my favorite Republican these days and he gives me hope for the future.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Thanks. I'm glad you agree. This has long been a problem with Republicans, that they fight with each other more than with the Democrats. The Democrats do it too, but are much better at hiding the fact.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Thanks for the links. Here they are:

Ryan at Hotair

Ryan at Levin.

Ryan impresses the heck out of me. And thought his well poisoning comment was brilliant because it really explained what Obama is doing by being so disingenuous about his budget.

Ryan really has become the hope of the party.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Thanks! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I didn't see your comment before I commented on T_Rav's comment, but I just said the same thing about Ryan becoming the hope of the party. He really is that inspirational! I wish we could clone him.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I'm pretty sure there would be no faster way to make Democrats suddenly oppose stem-cell research. :-)

By the way, one bad result that may have come out of all this--when the House voted on the budget today, 58 Republicans voted no. To ensure that it would still pass, the leadership had to reach out to Steny Hoyer to marshal enough Democratic yes votes. What, I wonder, did our side have to promise the Dems to get this done?

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Or just have Sarah Palin endorse stem cell research. That would pretty much put it on the liberal ban list! LOL!


On the vote, unfortunately, that's the kind of thing that happens when people start playing around. Let's hope it's nothing serious. And when whatever it is appears, let's hope these Republicans realize that the way this game is played (as the Democrats always have) is to ensure that the party has enough votes and then the rest can protest. To do it this way only leads to problems like you mention.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Andrew,

This is the best post I have seen thus far defending Boehner and Cantor, and what they managed to negotiate.

I disagree it's the best they coulda got, and they even had Obamas own words saying he would not pay the military...ergo, Obama considers the military nonessential.

That woulda helped the GOP tremendously had the democrats gambled on a shutdown and I was purty pissed off that the GOP leadership didn't trumpet Obamas obvious (in his own words) willingness to holds our military (fighting three wars now) hostage.

Besides not taking Obama's disdain of the military and pummeling him with it I think many conservatives are steamed for other reasons also:

1. Why in the world did the GOP leadership promis 100 billion in cuts and not even start there to begin with (It woulda made more sense to start higher, but be that as it may I can see the point to move on and concentrate on Ryans budget for 2012).

2. After breaking their first promise, the GOP settled for 60 billion in cuts, defunding NPR, PBS, the EPA (to stop it's unrepresentative seizure of power they ain't authorized to have), stop the net takover "neutrality" BS, and basically stop Obama's czars from making fiat regulations, which is anti-Constitutional and anti-liberty.

This was a big deal, and still is, but again, I can see your points as well.
It's just that the leadership of the GOP has done a poor to dismal job of communicating to their base, and it don't help when they make promises they either can't or won't keep.
It appears as if the old guard (big govt. lite) is still doing what they were doing before the Tea Party said "Stop it!"

Now, I sincerely hope the leadership will not give up the fight, and don't revert to their old ways, but I strongly urge them to be as upfront as possible from here on, and to seize golden opportunities when they come rather than make Obama look good (I know he doesn't look good to us, but that's the MSM's talking points right now: Obama got bipartisan support for this budget and saved the day! Ugh).

About the riders, I agree that's good, but I disagree about the Guantamino Bay staying open one.

Here's why: Obama promised his base he would close it immediately, then he changed it to one year. Yeah, now it's two years and counting.
He can't close it becayuse he can't find an alternative that won't cost a crapload of money we ain't got and that won't make him look bad (as if he needs any help in that regard).

Hell, Obama and holder even had to go back to military commissions for the terrorists, because the civilian trials would make him look really bad.

So why give him an out? Now Obama can say "I tried to get it closed down but the republican Congress wouldn't allow it. Remmember, I can give you change to bereave in! So let me be clear! This is unprecendented."

You know, when Obama has an albatross like that tightening around his neck the last thing we should do is give him a helping hand!
Damn! That really chaffs my hide!

Who's stupid idea was this to make that a rider? And why did Boehner go with it?
CONT....

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Going on...relunctantly...why didn't Boehner say this was 78 billion instead of 38, including the MSM?
I admit, I haven't read the thing yet, but if this is for real 78 bil., why go with saying 38?
Say it loud!
We cut 78 billion and those idiots thought it was 38 billion!

I was leary of the CBO as well. Especially since they have a history of fudging (ie lying) in favor of the proregressives.
It'll be interesting to see Heritige's take on the actual numbers, all broken down.

Hopefully, my little rant was constructive instead of reactionary. :^)
'Cause I concur wholeheartedly, we can't afford to be reactionary (and neither can the GOP leaders).

Hey, I ain't about to vote for a third party, and IMO, most of the reactionary conservatives are just letting off steam.
Still, it's always good advice to be constructive about it, and to consider the unreliable CBO source.
And to realize we ain't gonna solve all these problems with just one wave.

I don't think Boehner and Cantor are RINOS, but they ain't exactly Tea Party material either.
Hopefully, we will get better leadership.

I concur about Ryan...and West, of course!It's encouraging to know we got some outstanding up n' coming players entering the game.
Good thing too, 'cause our liberty hangs in the balance.

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Your criticisms are entirely constructive and appropriate, and I appreciate that. Most people are out there pounding away with facts that aren't true and using words like "betrayal" and the such.

Let me make a few observations in response.

First, I totally agree that the Republicans still have a message problem. They just aren't good at exploiting the other side's mistakes -- like the military funding thing. They (the politicians and pundits) should have been out there pounding the airwaves about "how dare Obama consider the military nonessential" and "how dare he decide that ___ gets paid when the military won't."

Second, Boehner also should have been clearer about the $78.5 billion figure. But then he also would have run run into the complaint that he mixing issues to make the $38.5 sound bigger -- so that's a bit of a double edged sword. But he should have pounded that home nevertheless.

Third, on why the didn't ask for more. This is the real problem with public negotiations -- they are carried out in public. In a normal negotiation, you keep your real goal secret as your negotiate. You then come in with an offer that is more or less higher than what you want and you work your way down and hopefully end up at your goal.

But this is done in public. So when the Republicans promised $100 billion in cuts, everyone knew right away what the goal was going to be. That's like telling the other side right away what your trying to get. At that point, there is no benefit to asking for more than your goal because everyone automatically reduces anything you say to that goal. In other words, if they had asked for $500 billion, the Democrats would have said, "no, we know it's $100 billion and we're not going to give you $100 billion." To not recognize that and to still make a demand above $100 billion would only make you look like you didn't grasp the reality of the situation.

That will always be a problem in these types of situations, whatever promise you make is something you will never fully achieve because the other side knows that's your goal.

(continued)

AndrewPrice said...

(continued)
In terms of why he didn't start with $100 billion, that I don't know. It's possible they did essentially start with $100 and then the Democrats countered with their first offer of $0. And then what we heard as the "first" Republican offer was the response to the $0. I'm not sure. It's also possible other dynamics were at play. Again, I wasn't there and I'm not sure. But I will concede that it sounds like he could have starter higher and stayed higher longer. Nevertheless, $78.5 out of $100 is not bad when you realize he really had no power here to force them to agree to anything.

Fourth, on Guantanamo Bay, I actually agree with you -- but then I don't really care if the place stays open or not. I see it as a political issue and I don't think the location actually matters. But a LOT of Republicans view this as a cherished goal and I can't fault Boehner for getting them what they want.

Fifth, on EPA, etc., I truly do not see the support within the public for defunding an entire agency. I know a lot of conservatives love to talk about that, just like they want to defund the Department of Education, but this is one of those issues that just turns off every moderate (and even a lot of conservatives) with whom I've spoken -- they just dismiss the idea out of hand. This is an issue that must be done much more cleverly that simply demanding it and threatening to shut down the government. This is going to have to be done piecemeal so that people don't freak out or see the demand as unreasonable. And that means laying a lot of behind-the-scenes groundwork.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good answers, Andrew.
Actually, I don't expect the GOP to sucessfully defund EPA, DOE, or any of the opther bloated bureaucracies, but they do need to push hard the facts that these agencies led by obama's czars are bypassing Congress and making regulations that effect our liberties and would mean higher taxes without representation, and thus would hurt the economy more.

The GOP must first get that message to the average voters and then work to defang those agencies as much as they can.

I think Boehner made a mistake when he said that we only control one half of one third of the govt..

No, we fully control the House of representatives, the pursestrings of the govt..
Not to mention we got a fillibuster proof Senate.

Granted, Obama still must sign off on anything, but why not make him look bad by making him own the fact that his czars are enacting their own radical legislation?

You know, instead of a complete defunding bill of say the EPA, have a bill that defangs them by (again) clearly pointing out it's Constitutional limits of power and also the President's Constitutional limits.

Let the folks know we are looking out for them by stopping taxes from being raised for more of Obama's hare-brained schemes such as cap n' tax for example.

Make it clear so that Obama can "be clear" and thus make him and any idiotic dem's who wannna stick with him own it.
Then we can go "see? Obama and these democrats wanna raise your taxes without representatation. You don't get a say in it. And they're gonna tell you what light bulbs you hafta buy and use, and they're gonna keep forcing energy prices higher to fund their political friends, etc., etc.

People don't like being told what to do and how to do it. And they sure as heck don't like new taxes that their elected representatives can do nothing about.

Stuff like this would help the GOP and the country not only begin to get some sanity in our out of control spending, but make Congeress again an equal part of the govt..
Right nopw the President has waaay too much power and we can see how easily it can be abused.

That's what I meant in particular about defunding. I should have said defanging.

I see what you mean about Guantamino, but we need to be smarter than that.

Depending on who wins the GOP primary the next Presidential election is by no means a sure thing and we gotta fry Obama's new campaign lies before they hatch.
we gotta point this crap out and say "we're letting Obama be clear and this is what he's doing."

That would go a long ways in healing the rift between the old GOP leadership and the new blood.
That said, Boehner is a huge improvement to Pelosi and we would do welll to remember that. :^)

However, Boehner (and McConnel, et al the old guard) must realize that we Tea Party types are gonna be watching them closely and expect them to bring their A game.

If Boehner and company remember that and stay in touch with conservatives then I can live with him as leader.
But if he don't, he is not irreplacable.
Thankfully, we have a new RNC chair because the last thing we need is for Steele to keep sabotaging us from the inside.

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Thanks! And I agree with you on all point.

1. Boehner is better than Pelosi by a mile, but he needs to stay in touch with conservatives and recognize that the country is moving to the right and will no longer tolerate the either the era of big government or the era of mostly-big government. I think he's doing that, but we'll see.

2. I like the defang approach. There are a lot of things we can do to gut these agencies of their powers without having to draw the political backlash of demanding the abolition of these agencies. Once they are stripped of much of their power and their role becomes so limited as to be insignificant, that's when you do a reorganization of the agencies to fold some of these into others, and then you make them disappear. That's the smart and effective way to do it. And I hope the Republicans get there. The problem is that there seem to be two sides -- one yelling abolish them now and the other completely rejecting the whole idea. The key is to convince both that the middle route is in all of our best interests.

3. The PR thing drives me crazy. The Republicans have never been good at exposing Democrats or even at defending themselves. That needs to change. They need to hired all new PR people, they need to wake up and realize that everything is political these days, and that they need to drop the Miss Manner routine -- politics is a bloodsport with no rules.

4. I agree with you about Gitmo. I understand why Boehner did it -- to please a large chunk of the base, but we do need to be smarter about these things. Even with something like Libya, I periodically see Republicans trying to hand Obama a life-line against the nuts in his own party. Don't. Make him put down his own people, don't do his dirty work for him.

Finally, let me say that I'm not saying this budget deal was the greatest thing ever, but it wasn't the horrible betrayal people are making it out as. Would I have liked to have seen a lot more out of it? Sure. But I don't think this is worth tearing the leadership apart over. We should be focused on ripping apart Obama's joke-budget and then supporting Ryan's budget. That's where our energy should be.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, Obama is now saying that there have to be spending cuts as part of the debt ceiling raising. So we may get a good deal closer to the $100 billion yet.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye. I'm willing to give the GOP a solid C on this one or maybe C- with lots of red pen corrections. :^)

Time to shred Obama's budget and push Ryan's.

Um, if I got the new democrat terminology down (it's hard to keep uyp since they change word definitions so quickly now), doesn't "spending cuts" now mean tax increases? LOL.

BTW, it just sounds so moronic when Obama talks about raising the debt ceiling and spending cuts in the same sentence.

Then again he is the guy that said we nee to spend our way outta debt, so for him this is actually quite profound I reckon.
This guy makes Wile E. Coyote look brilliant.

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Yeah, old Wiley E. is absolutely brilliant compared to this guy!

I agree it sounds stupid when he talks about cut and the debt ceiling together, but it really goes to show just how far the debate has changed. Even a few months ago, Obama never would have said the word "cuts." Now if only he would mean it!

As incredible as it seems, yes, tax hikes are now being described as "spending cuts in the tax code." And up is down. It's double plus good.

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