Staying down for the last couple days has ne feeling closer to human. I’m current with replies. I’m hoping to return full time as February begins.
Jig Zone Puzzles:
From NY Times: Republicans have a problem. For years they could shout down any attempt to point out the extent to which their policies favored the elite over the poor and the middle class; all they had to do was yell “Class warfare!” and Democrats scurried away. In the 2012 election, however, that didn’t work: the picture of the G.O.P. as the party of sneering plutocrats stuck, even as Democrats became more openly populist than they have been in decades.
As a result, prominent Republicans have begun acknowledging that their party needs to improve its image. But here’s the thing: Their proposals for a makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product. When it comes to substance, the G.O.P. is more committed than ever to policies that take from most Americans and give to a wealthy handful.
For several days, I have been thinking about doing an article about how this softer, gentler Republican approach is lipstick on a pig. Paul Krugman beat me to it, and wrote an excellent piece. Click Through.
From Think Progress: During an interview on Meet The Press on Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) predicted that the sequester cuts are “going to happen” and made no concrete proposals for how to avoid the reductions. The tone represents a sharp rhetorical and policy shift for the onetime GOP vice presidential nominee, who warned during the 2012 presidential campaign that the cuts would “devastate” the country and undermine job growth.
“I think the sequester is going to happen,” Ryan said, referring to the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to the Pentagon and other government agencies that will go into effect unless Congress approves offsets. He charged that Democrats rejected the GOP’s replacement legislation — the bill cut the food-stamp program, slashed Medicaid, undermined funding for the Affordable Care Act and disaster relief — and failed to produce their own alternatives.
There’s a lot not to like about the sequester, but it is better than anything else Republicans have offered, because it does not gut the entitlements for which Americans have paid for our entire working lives.
From The Nation:
When John Boehner whined last week that Obama’s goal for his second term is to “annihilate the Republican Party” and “shove us into the dustbin of history,” he was working the party into a psychological state much like James Franco had to in 127 Hours: They’re getting ready to accept that they will have to sequester their arm with a dull knife.
Of course, Obama’s War on the GOP is about as real as the liberals’ War on Christmas—both are paranoid, apocalyptic fantasies marketed to drum up fear and self-pity on the right. Obama telling Republicans to “Please proceed” is no more tantamount to annihilating the GOP than chirping “Happy Holidays” is to eliminating Christmas.
Instead, this is a classic case of psychological projection. Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Frank Luntz, and senators Bob Corker, Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, among other right thinkers, actually held a meeting the night of the 2009 Inaugural to plot to undermine Obama’s newborn presidency with nonstop obstructionism. The next year, Mitch McConnell said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” And yet, after these plans failed to block Obama’s re-election and instead cost the GOP a number of House and Senate seats to boot, here is Boehner saying his party is the victim of existential aggression.
Virtually everything Republicans say is projection. In this case, Obama has always been far kinder to his Republican adversaries than they deserve. I agree that Obama’s goal to annihilate the Republican Party is not real. That said, mine is, and Obama’s should be.