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Can the Party of No Ever Say Yes?

Or are they just going to keep cutting off their noses to spite their faces?

Ezra Klein sums up the current sequester situation well. Republicans have five goals/demands:

  1. Reduce the deficit.
  2. Cut entitlement spending.
  3. Protect or increase defense spending.
  4. Get rid of unnecessary deductions and loopholes in the tax code.
  5. Lower tax rates.

Now, I think all of these are reasonable goals, except for the last one because it directly conflicts with the first one (unless you still believe in the fantasy of trickle-down economics).

Note that I’m not saying I agree with these goals. For example, I think US defense spending (#3) is high enough and could be reduced. And I’d clarify number two in that I think we can decrease entitlement spending without decreasing benefits (in fact, in an earlier post I made the point that we could better reduce costs by increasing entitlement spending).

Nevertheless, the White House has now told the GOP that they will agree on the first four of these. So Republicans would achieve 80% of their goals. But the Republicans don’t want that deal. Instead they will take the sequester, which only accomplishes one of their goals.

Why? Who knows. Maybe the GOP would prefer to sweep themselves into the dustbin of history, rather than ever say yes to anything from Obama.



  1. Scott Segraves wrote:

    But Fox News swept-hair attack gerbil Judge No-politano says Obama should be impeached for the suck-uester. So, why get 80% of stuff you say you want, when all you REALLY want, is to humiliate–if possible, remove–“That One?”

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  2. I’m wondering if you are being sincere or sarcastic when you ask “why?” IK.

    The public face of the Republican party has only been turned towards certain sectors of it’s base for a few years now, if not longer, as you’ve documented in your postings.

    The answer to “why?” is simple: it’s what they think the base wants.

    The stunning thing is that they think that that base will have long-term influence sufficient to keep the politicians in power. The smarter players know it won’t, and are reaching out to members of the general polity who don’t perfectly fit that base (Hispanics, for instance).

    But like nearly everything spun and polished for mainstream broadcast, the public face of the Republican party is simplified to the point of absurdity… so why are you surprised to find it being absurd?

    (I’m not saying that some of the politicians seem to be acting truly this absurd: certainly, some are. But that absurdity is too broad a brush to paint all of the party. And I can’t believe I’m the one saying this: Madame Progressive that I am.)

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  3. Scott David Daniels wrote:

    Personally, I’d like to see 3 go down a bit, but in the current political climate, there’s not much chance of that.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  4. wildwood wrote:

    I’d like to know why Obama is once again extending his well bitten hand? Does he never learn?

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  5. Patricia wrote:

    I just discovered a delicious irony in the NY Times.
    1. The Repubs want the sequester to happen.
    2. The Repubs want to stay tough on immigration.
    3. Due to looming cuts, immigration detainees are being released all over the country.
    4. This stupidity is beyond belief. Do they comprehend the consequences of their actions?

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  6. Patricia wrote:

    By the way, I am not concerned that illegal immigrants are being released; but rather that these guys don’t even get it when they’re sabotaging their OWN agendas. Duh!

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Scott Daniels. Yeah, I didn’t say that well. I personally would like to see our defense budget slashed quite a bit. I meant to say that I can understand it as a goal (even if I don’t agree with it). As opposed to #5, which is directly incompatible with #1.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink
  8. Peter wrote:

    Patricia, remember that it’s not their actions. It’s The President’s actions. This whole sequester thing is his fault!

    And if we keep repeating it enough, maybe people will believe it!

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink
  9. Michael wrote:

    If the sequester ends up causing a recession (though only estimated to cost 700,000 jobs), I propose we call it the Tea Party Recession. After all, it was their debt ceiling brinkmanship that led to the sequester proposal in the first place.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink
  10. ebdoug wrote:

    I read an AP news article that brought up a good point. The party of “no” was elected to represent its constituants. Obviously they come from areas of ignorance because their constituents adhere to all five areas against all logic. And 99% of their constituents will answer the question “What Religion are those who wear turbans?” As Muslim. A test of their ignorance. They have to vote the way they were elected.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  11. Michael wrote:

    The phrasing of that question does set them up, though, by asking what religion (singular). Let’s face it, there’s a good chance that a randomly selected person from Oklahoma has never met a Sikh.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  12. Dan wrote:

    Heard a story once. Back in the day you had to take a reading test to vote. A black college professor walked into vote and was handed a newspaper from China then asked if he knew what it said. His responce was, “Yes, it says I won’t be voting.”
    Like reading a Chinese newspaper, what has relgion have to do with the right to vote?

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    Michael, I think the answer they’re looking for is “Islam”.

    Islam : grammatically speaking, Islam should only refer to the religion or acts done in the name of that religion, never a person who practices that religion. Islamic community and Islamic art are correct, Islamic man is not.

    Muslim should be used to describe all people of the Islamic faith but not the faith itself. You may say that you are interested in the religion of Muslims, but never in the Muslim religion.

    Read more: Difference Between Islam and Muslim | Difference Between | Islam vs Muslim

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink
  14. ebdoug wrote:

    Dan, it is just an example of the ignorance in this country. People who think you can cut taxes (and theirs wouldn’t be cut anyway)and get everything we can before with no tax increases. Their representatives in Congress have to vote the way their constituents want them to. Which is “no”. No tax increases, no spending cuts. I don’t have a TV, but I know most do. They aren’t learning.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
  15. Michael wrote:

    Anonymous @13, what you say is true, but you completely missed my point. I do know the difference between a Muslim and Islam. Frankly, though, I wasn’t paying attention to that pedantry, because I felt the discussion of Sikhism was a more important point.

    Let me restate what I said: Sikhism is a completely different religion that has nothing to do with Islam, yet adherents of both faiths wear turbans. People who are ignorant of Sikhism often assume that anyone who wears a turban is a Muslim. Similarly, people frequently assume anyone from the Middle East (except Israel) is Muslim, despite the fact that Lebanon is about 40% Christian.

    It’s not just about ignorance of terminology. It’s ignorance that other religions exist.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  16. Mountain Man wrote:

    You know, I’m a little surprised, given the nature of the general posts on this site that you have no problem with either “cutting defense spending” or “cutting entitlement spending.”

    I’m in favor of cuts but let’s ask ourselves where these should most reasonable occur.

    1. “Defense.” Okay, we now spend MORE on “defense” then the NEXT TEN countries ON EARTH PUT TOGETHER. Are cuts warranted here? Well, could be. Maintain “defense” spending – I don’t think so.

    2. “Entitlements.” Okay – what does it mean to be “entitled.” It means you contributed a defined amount. No contribute. No entitlement. What’s wrong with that?

    I think your priorities need reconsideration.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink
  17. Iron Knee wrote:

    Mountain Man, did you read my post? Carefully? I specifically said I don’t agree with the goals, I just understood them.

    Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

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