My boldest prediction has been that by their actions, by their brazenness, this iteration of the GOP is consigning itself to history’s dustbin, with which some people disagree.
But we have reached a point not faced by this Republic since the seven states of the Old Confederacy abjured their allegiance to the Constitution.
We have been mocking the hardliners among the House GOP as the “suicide caucus”. We’ve smugly assured ourselves that by their actions during the government shutdown they are dooming their party’s electoral chances for the foreseeable future.
But it has gone beyond a “suicide caucus”. It can now be accurately called a “suicide bomber caucus”.
A quick trip down memory lane. Democrats had suffered a crushing blow on no other day than the 1st Anniversary of Pres Obama’s Inauguration into office. Jan 20, 2010. We had lost Sen Ted Kennedy’s seat. The fate of the Healthcare bill hung in a balance. It had passed the House earlier in December 2009. The Senate version passed in a cliffhanger moment with ailing WV Senator Robert Bird being wheeled in, and Sen Sherrod Brown flown in by WH straight from a funeral, to cast the critical filibuster-proof vote just a breath before Christmas Day 2009 rolled in, and start of congressional winter recess.
But come January 2010, the two bills needed to be reconciled. On this anniversary date, Scott Brown trounced Martha Cokeley in the MA senate special election. Democrats’ threadbare 60 filibuster-proof caucus, gone. Healthcare reform teetered on brink of collapse. Many Very Serious People in the Beltway, pundits and Democrats told the President to give or radically scale back his Healthcare quest. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel read him the “Political-Implications-Riot-Act.” WH was in a deep funk.
Then came the Republican House’s grand invitation to Pres Obama visit their caucus retreat in Baltimore, MD. They probably wanted to humiliate the president for his recent loss, through fake chivalry.
WH RSVPed with one tiny request, whose acceptance a House GOP member later said was the biggest mistake they ever made. Pres Obama had asked to bring camera crew along.
First were his opening remarks calling for both parties to work together:
There’s a reason that the 1 hr 20 minute Q&A section that followed these opening remarks shook the Beltway political universe, prompting media calls for British-style “Prime Minister’s question Time” tradition to be established here in the US, to engender real dialog among political parties. Of course GOP rejected the idea and it fizzled. But for many Democrats, what became known as The Baltimore Massacre, would be grist for partisan loremaking. One man. 183 GOP congresscritters & their families. (Sinews taut). Room darkened, spotlight on POTUS against black curtained backdrop. T’was like oratory in a theater. No notes. Brilliance extempore.
The entire exchange is worth spending time listening to again in its entirety just for the sheer thrill of watching President Obama glow in the den of the opposition.
However, there is a segment key to the subject of this essay; that President Obama foresaw exactly the predicament that Republicans would be in now, incapable of saying “Yes” to anything he proposes, offers or agrees with them on, that they become convulsed contortionists.
Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) had asked Pres Obama why he won’t take GOP (harebrained) plans on healthcare reform. He patiently tried to explain to her that Democrats HAD included many Republican ideas into the healthcare bills if they were objectively shown to be workable. But the critical point he made was that their reflexive rejection of anything he’s proposed including personal demonization of him, was going to hurt them in the long run.
So, 45 months ago President Obama predicted exactly to a T the current GOP Convulsions. We’ve seen this phenomenon play out over and over, but none of those prior occasions have been as dire as the shutdown we’re in the midst of and the looming economic catastrophe should we enter default.
Speaker Boehner, there is a way to retreat from that feeble ledge. President Obama WILL help you if you let him.
President Barack Obama shares a laugh with, left to right, Personal Aide Reggie Love, Personal Secretary Katie Johnson, Senior Advisor David Axelrod and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in the Oval Office, Oct. 8, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama prepares to take a shot before watching a game played by members of the National Naval Medical Center’s Marine Wounded Warrior basketball team on the White House basketball court, Oct. 8, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama shares a laugh with, left to right, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Senior Advisor David Axelrod, Personal Secretary Katie Johnson and Personal Aide Reggie Love in the Oval Office, Oct. 8, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama watches as members of the National Naval Medical Center’s Marine Wounded Warrior basketball team play on the White House Basketball Court, Oct. 8, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office, Oct. 8, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama talks with will.i.am, following an event The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)
10:15AM: Pres. Obama and VP Biden receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
12:30PM: Pres. Obama and VP Biden meet for lunch
12:30PM: Press Sec. Jay Carney briefs the press
2PM: Pres. Obama conducts regional television interviews
3PM: Pres. Obama nominates Janet Yellen for Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke will be in attendance
4:30PM: Pres. Obama meets with House Democrats at the White House
NY State Of Health: NY State Of Health Announces Exchange Has Signed Up Tens Of Thousands Of New Yorkers For Low Cost Health Insurance
The NY State of Health (NYSOH), the official health plan marketplace, today announced that over 40,000 New Yorkers have signed up for quality, low-cost health insurance in just a little over one week, more than any other state reporting thus far. These 40,000 New Yorkers completed the full application process and were found eligible for health insurance plans allowing them to now choose the low-cost health care plans they applied for. The exchange was launched on October 1 marking the beginning of a six-month enrollment period offering individuals and small businesses across the state access to quality, low-cost health plans.
In addition, the State’s customer service center operators have provided assistance to more than 26,000 callers. The rates for the health plans on NYSOH represent a 53 percent reduction compared to the previous year’s individual rates. In addition to this cost-savings, it is estimated that nearly three-quarters of individual enrollees will qualify for financial assistance.
President Barack Obama is having House Democrats to the White House as a showdown over the budget extends into its ninth day. The White House says the private meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday. The White House added that the president intends to invite Republicans and senators in the coming days.
The President will nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen for her boss Ben Bernanke’s job, according to the Wall Street Journal. That announcement, based on multiple reports, will happen on Wednesday. Bernanke is expected to leave the Fed Chairmanship in January at the end of his term. Of course, Yellen’s nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, and Congress is a bit preoccupied with the current government shutdown and impending debt limit deadline. In other words, it’s not clear when her confirmation would make it to the top of the Senate’s to-do list.
The White House released a statement Tuesday night denying reports that the United States would suspend “all” military aid to Egypt. ”The reports that we are halting all military assistance to Egypt are false,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. CNN on Tuesday cited an unnamed U.S. official who said that an “accumulation of events” led to the U.S.’ decision on a “full suspension” of military aid to Egypt, according to Reuters.
President Barack Obama makes a statement on winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in the Rose Garden of the White House, Oct. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Greg Sargent: GOP Shutdown Shenanigans Giving Dems A Big Recruiting Boost?
Rep. Steve Israel, who is in charge of winning House races for Democrats, told Dem lawmakers at a closed door meeting today that GOP shutdown shenanigans were giving Dems a big recruiting boost, by prompting reluctant Dem candidates to express renewed interest in running in very tough GOP-held districts.
Israel, the chair of the DCCC, also said that if the 2012 House elections had been held today, with polls showing what they are now showing, Dems would have taken back the House, according to several sources present. Israel cited a Quinnipiac poll showing Dems up by nine points in the generic House ballot matchup and a Public Policy Polling survey, commissioned by MoveOn, showing that GOP incumbents in 17 districts are trailing generic Dem challengers, and concluding that Republicans are in “grave danger of losing control of the House of Representatives.
Senior Advisors David Axelrod, left, and Valerie Jarrett along with other staff, watch from the Colonnade as President Barack Obama makes a statement on winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in the Rose Garden of the White House, Oct. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Brian Beutler: How To End The Shutdown Mess: Introducing The Beutler Plan
It’s fair to say that the House GOP’s “strategy” in merging the government shutdown and debt limit fights is to deploy one gimmick after another in the hope that one of them effectively changes the game. Today’s is no different, but it could point the way to a mutually agreeable stand down if House Republicans agree to a simple swap.
The swap I’m proposing is this: The Senate accepts the working group plan if the House accepts the temporary funding bill and a year-long debt limit increase. That removes the threat of default for a considerable time, and reopens the government long enough for the two parties to have the negotiation Republicans now claim to want. If taxes aren’t part of the discussions, fine. That just assures they won’t go very far.
The working group plan stipulates that members “shall meet on each calendar day thereafter unless both co-chairs jointly determine that there is good cause to dispense with such meeting.” After five weeks, if Democrats won’t submit to a cuts-only approach, and Republicans won’t agree to new revenues, the group can disband, and the only threat would be another government shutdown. One that could be averted by a narrow appropriations agreement, subject to sequestration.
President Barack Obama reads over his remarks regarding the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize with Senior Advisor David Axelrod and staff in the Outer Oval Office, Oct. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Greg Miller: CIA To Call Back Thousands Of Furloughed Employees
The CIA plans to begin calling thousands of furloughed employees back to work Wednesday, U.S. officials said, in an effort to contain the cumulative toll of a government shutdown stretching into its second week.
In a statement issued Tuesday to the CIA’s workforce, Director John Brennan cited concern about the “potential adverse cumulative and unseen impact on our national security” of furloughs that had forced employees across almost every category of the agency’s workforce to leave their jobs.
U.S. officials said that other intelligence agencies were taking similar steps but declined to disclose specifics on how many or which categories of employees would be summoned back to their jobs, citing the classified nature of their work.
President Barack Obama attends an economic meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Reid Wilson: Arizona Law May Restrict Voting In Local Elections
Arizona residents who registered to vote using forms provided by the federal government will not be allowed to vote in state and local elections next year, according to an opinion issued by the state’s attorney general, setting up the possibility of a two-track electoral system that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and impact just a small handful of voters.
In a legal opinion presented to Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), Attorney General Tom Horne (R) said voters who registered using a federal registration form but failed to provide a document proving their citizenship are eligible to vote in federal elections, but not in state and local elections.
Horne also held that voters who registered using the federal form won’t be eligible to sign petitions for candidates or ballot initiatives. The opinion means Arizona counties will have to print two separate ballots: One set that will allow voters who used the state form to register to vote in federal, state and local elections, and one that will allow voters who used the federal form to register to vote only on federal elections.
Bryce Covert: The Government Shutdown Has Cost $1.6 Billion So Far
The government shutdown that started last Tuesday has already cost $1.6 billion in lost economic output, according to market research firm IHS Inc. Should the shutdown last through October 9, the total will come to $2 billion. That’s equivalent to the cost so far of the “biblical” flooding that has ravaged Colorado. If it lasts three to four weeks, Moody’s has estimated that the total cost to the economy could come to $55 billion. The shutdown could reduce economic output by 1.4 percent.
A U.S. Secret Service agent prepares to open the door to the Oval Office for President Barack Obama following his statement on winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in the Rose Garden of the White House, Oct. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Josh Israel: Federal Courts Expected To Run Out Of Funding Next Week If Shutdown Continues
if the federal government shutdown continues for another week, the entire federal judiciary system could run out of funding and cease normal function. According to the New York Times, once the courts’ funds are depleted, the impact — especially on lower courts — could be “disastrous,” including “extensive furloughing of staff, and reductions in probation, pretrial and courthouse security services.”
The U.S. Department of Justice, also partially paralyzed by the shutdown, has been forced to ask for delays in a wide array of civil cases. A major Federal Trade Commission anti-trust case, at least one Commodity Futures Trading Commission anti-competitive policy case, and a case brought by an injured citizen against a U.S. Postal Service driver have all been put on hold until the shutdown ends.
Over the last two years, however, as the radicalism of extremist Republican politics has intensified, the argument has gone mainstream. Both the New York Times and Politico have lengthy reports this morning on the growing number of GOP lawmakers — some in the House, some in the Senate, some new to Congress, some who’ve had lengthy congressional careers — who genuinely seem to believe the crisis they’re creating on purpose won’t be “that bad.”
The evidence is overwhelming that their argument is, among other things, dangerously insane. What they’re suggesting — the Treasury can simply “prioritize” expenditures to prevent default on our debts — is illegal and literally impossible. We are, at the risk of sounding impolite, talking about a group of ignorant radicals, with an uninterrupted track record of failed predictions, who have the fate of the global economy in their hands. Good luck to us all.
First Lady Michelle Obama greets a young girl during an autumn picnic for the U.S. Secret Service Presidential Protective Division on the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
President Barack Obama and Annie Glenn, wife of former Senator John Glenn, greet each other following an event at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)