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 Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever' 
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Post Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
Politico wrote:
Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'

By REID J. EPSTEIN | 7/13/11 7:54 AM EDT

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to allow President Barack Obama to raise the nation’s debt limit without corresponding spending cuts has split the Republican blogosphere into warring factions.

Online, a cadre of establishment-type conservatives largely aligned with Wall Street (and the Wall Street Journal) are backing McConnell’s move as “fiendishly clever,” while grass-roots Tea Party types pronounced themselves horrified and called for the Senate leader to be burned in effigy.

The sharp division on the internet is a reflection of the GOP fault line as lawmakers aim to negotiate a deal with Obama and congressional Democrats to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 deadline for default.

Before McConnell unveiled his plan, Republicans had been using the debt ceiling deadline to seek major spending cuts, while Democrats and the White House have been pushing for new tax revenues to close the federal deficit.

Consequences of a serious GOP split could be major, possibly threatening leadership posts and allowing Democrats to forge deals not with a united Republican block but with separate factions in the House and Senate.

Blog fans of McConnell’s plan were willing to forgo the potential spending cuts in order to reap political benefits.

“It makes (Obama) almost wholly responsible for the debt hike, which will be a major political liability with the election around the corner and a plurality of voters still more worried about raising the ceiling than letting a default happen,” blogger Allahpundit wrote at Hot Air, who backs McConnell. “After a month of shrieking from lefty legal experts about how the Fourteenth Amendment supposedly lets O ignore the ceiling, here’s McConnell calling their bluff. You want to own America’s debt problem? Enjoy.”

And John Podhoretz wrote at Commentary Magazine’s blog that the McConnell plan is “almost fiendishly clever” and suggested it is inevitable.

“People can scream all they like, but some form of the McConnell proposal is what is almost certainly going to be the way we go,” Podhoretz wrote. “The 2012 election is the venue where this will all get sorted out.”

Grover Norquist initially defended the McConnell plan, before his American for Tax Reform sent the blog a statement arguing his remarks don’t constitute an endorsement of the plan.

Meanwhile, Tea Party-aligned bloggers who have been railing against debt limit increases were incensed with the McConnell proposal.

At Red State, Erick Erickson wrote that McConnell proposed “a historic capitulation” and suggested readers mail weasels to his Kentucky office. Erickson first suggested burning McConnell in effigy before toning down his rhetoric.

“Mitch McConnell wants to make it even easier by allowing Congress to go through a dog and pony show of feigned cuts that never get cut while allowing escalation of our national debt. So much for accusing Barack Obama of smoke and mirrors,” he wrote. “2014 cannot come soon enough to destroy the political future of this weasel.”

Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks encouraged the group’s million members to pressure McConnell to drop the proposal.

“We’ll be encouraging our million-plus members to help Sen. McConnell find his spine,” he wrote. “We are publishing his phone number and urging everyone to call it.”

And at Right Wing News, blogger John Hawkins said the McConnell deal should come with the minority leader’s resignation.

He wrote: “Senate Republicans, for once in your weaselly political lives, decide that you’re going to stand up, do what’s right for the country, and show the courage of your convictions instead of giving in because it’s hard or because you’re afraid of the media. If you can’t win this fight, even with the American people fully behind you demanding deficit reduction, what fight can you ever win?”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/07 ... z1RzeLa9rI

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July 13th, 2011, 9:55 am
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
McConnell is a foolish RINO, just like the rest of the "establishment" Republicans. The way I see it is this - Obama is the one who wants the debt ceiling increase to further his own agenda, so it should only be done on conservative Republican terms. There should be no tax increases in exchange for spending cuts. Obama can't get two things for one. Nope. A debt ceiling increase in exchange for spending cuts. That's it. No compromise whatsoever.

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July 13th, 2011, 10:27 am
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
I understand McConnell's reasoning for it, and its smart, BUT you don't give away your plan B strategy while your still negotiating. It was idiotic. The president already damaged himself with the withholding SSI checks comments, so he didn't need to be warned of more trouble yet.

If you really look at McConnell's plan, its the same debt increases in 3 installments, with equal spending cuts to be made with each raise, but republicans don't have to vote on it, so all the blame falls on BO. Its not the big plan that forces the Dems hands, but its still a smaller scale dollar for dollar cut to debt limit increase ratio that has been discussed.


July 13th, 2011, 10:34 am
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
A little more on the Debit Ceiling mess:

SunLight Foundation wrote:
Debt Limit Secrecy
John Wonderlich
July 5, 2011, 1:26 p.m.

Every time we learn something about the debt ceiling negotiations, we should take it with a big grain of salt. Everything we learn has probably been shared only because someone at the table had something to gain by sharing it.

The public has been left out of the debt ceiling discussion entirely. That's an undesirable place to be, since it creates incentives for dishonesty and collusion. Both sides selectively disclose details about their discussions, accusing the other of bad faith, or to painting themselves as heroes in self-congratulatory vignettes leaked to the press.

Unfortunately, there's no way of telling what's real, and what's contrived. And most press coverage takes claims about the talks at their face value, somehow ignoring that those disclosures are intended to manipulate the narrative. Perhaps for lack of an alternative, the media is left repeating all accounts of the "closed door" meetings as though they're not part of the negotiations themselves.

I was interviewed for today's Washington Times, covering the secrecy of the negotiations:

Quote:
“What they’re delivering here is absolute lack of meaningful disclosure and completely secretive discussions about enormously important decisions that they’re making, and that’s just not an acceptable state of affairs.”

There's plenty of parties to blame here. Congress has failed to do its job, and is basically abdicating its responsibilities to an ascendent Executive Branch. And each symbolic bill that passes the House or Senate only further divorces Congress from non-theatrical legislating.

This hypocrisy isn't new, either. Members of the party out of power routinely vote against satisfying our outstanding obligations, claiming it's the more responsible move, only to reverse course in the majority. (As Obama is now doing, having voted against the raise in the debt ceiling in 2006.)

Perhaps the current state of affairs shouldn't be a surprise, then, if hypocrisy around the debt limit is a perennial event. There was even a House Rule, until this year, that bills to raise the debt limit would be introduced by the House itself, saving the trouble for any individual Member. Congress has long been content to shield Members, and therefore the public, from what debt limits are about.

And now, divided government has moved the debt limit vote from being a normal political football party-line vote, to being the subject of hardline negotiation tactics. Much of the right will inevitably be angry that the vote won't be used strongly enough to reduce spending, and much of the left will be upset that the faith of the country was subject at all to being a bargaining chip in yet another game of revenues chicken.

Ultimately, though, the negotiations are happening out of the public view because debt limit issues have been treated for years as too grown up for public consumption -- appropriate for politicking, but as a substantive matter, only fit for experts. And now party leaders have to deal with the reality their political line has created -- public expectations that will render their actions unpalatable.

For many DC insiders, this is viewed as an inevitable situation -- the realities of fiscal policy should be shielded from public consumption, best negotiated in a back room, and then dressed up and sold to the public (by the negotiators themselves) as a compromise that saves the day, even as the full terms of the compromise never get aired. (We still don't know what party leaders promised each other in the last budget fight -- Senate votes? Support for other provisions?)

That insider perspective, though, strikes me as part of the problem. Budget secrecy is caused, in part, by unrealistic public expectations. The further the President and party leaders walk from substantive public discussion, the more our politics will be waged on myths and caricatures.

Requiring all negotiations to be public would be very difficult, if not impossible. But the current state of affairs reflects a failure of our politics, and a weak spot in our representative democracy. And we don't have to accept it as normal, or desirable.

http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2011 ... t-secrecy/

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July 13th, 2011, 10:59 am
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
Honestly I think it makes the republicans look spineless and hypocritical. Spineless because they know the debt ceiling needs to be raised and being the party of no will hurt them greatly this time. Hypocritical because they keep crying about executive branch using to much power but in an act of cowardice and desperation try to give their own power to Obama to avoid political backlash.

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July 13th, 2011, 11:58 am
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
How is saying no going to hurt them, when this is exactly what the voters asked for? They signed a pledge for no new taxes and to cut spending. They're doing exactly what they said they'd do. The only reason they'd take this path is to avoid default, and they can't force the cuts until they take greater control in 2012.


July 13th, 2011, 1:57 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
They should not raise it and default. We all be much better off.


July 13th, 2011, 6:42 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
If the debt ceiling is not raised I doubt republicans take greater control.

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July 14th, 2011, 12:47 am
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
I'm assuming that greater control would be the presidency? I don't see that happening.. I can't see Americans not voting for the guy who dun killt bin laden.


July 17th, 2011, 12:15 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
Politico wrote:
Opinion Column
The real deal on the debt debate

By JOE SCARBOROUGH | 7/18/11 1:33 PM EDT

The debt ceiling debate rages on, with President Barack Obama daring the GOP to call his bluff and Sen. Mitch McConnell declaring a deal impossible with this White House. These days, it’s hard for most Americans to sort through the red-hot mess that is Washington.

In a gerrymandered America, extremism sells at the polls and in the world of political talk. Fact blurs with fiction and simple math becomes fuzzy.

Here are 10 truths about the debt crisis you won’t hear over the next month from the halls of Congress or the West Wing.

1. Barack Obama doesn’t want a deal.

Political theatrics aside, Obama has no political interest in putting together a grand bargain to resolve the debt ceiling crisis. The president and his team know that after two years of tactical blunders, the White House finally has the GOP on the run.

The mishandling of Paul Ryan’s budget has bled into a long, hot summer of stupid human tricks by Republican leaders. Even taking into account big media’s built-in bias against small government, the GOP has allowed itself to look intransigent, dogmatic and dumb.

That’s a trifecta worth playing for a president who desperately seeks approval from the same independent voters who elected him in 2008 and abandoned him two years later. The White House sees its rivals destroying themselves, so should they interrupt all the fun with a deal that is actually good for America?

2. The Republican Congress doesn’t want a deal.

Speaker John Boehner has lost control of his caucus, a tea party politician is surging past other GOP presidential contenders in the polls, and the Republican establishment is dead as a doornail. The center of Ronald Reagan’s party cannot hold because there is no center to a political organization whose most influential members of late have been Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

Still, I suspect that GOP stonewalling will pay off politically in the end. Despite gasps and groans coming from the offices of editorial writers and Wall Street CEOs, the dirty truth is that most Republican freshmen will be rewarded politically at home for voting against every debt ceiling deal. Never mind doing what is best for America.

3. Barack Obama has no interest in entitlement reform.

Let’s face it. This president would rather spend this August vacationing in a double-wide with the Young Republican Club of Utah than seriously addressing entitlement reform.

Obama knows that the political battlefield is stacked against Republicans on the all-important issue of entitlement reform. The mishandling of Ryan’s Medicare plan is proving to be bad political medicine for many reasons, and the White House is in no hurry to help save the patient from a mess of their own making. Embittered Democrats also remember GOP candidates demagoguing Medicare in 2010 — and they are ready to return the favor next year.

The president was smart to talk about putting Medicare and Social Security on the table last week because he gambled that most Republicans wouldn’t be shrewd enough to call his bluff.

He was right.

4. Most Republicans have no interest in serious tax reform.

What conservative with any grasp on political reality really believes that lowering tax rates is realistic in 2011? With most public polls showing a majority of Americans supporting higher taxes for millionaires, there is no chance in hell that a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate will lower income tax rates, even if loopholes are closed.

If the Republicans want to reform a tax system that allows a billionaire like Warren Buffett to pay lower tax rates than his secretary, then the trade-off seems pretty obvious. Republicans should close $1 trillion in tax loopholes in exchange for spending cuts totaling $3 trillion.

If the GOP were willing to do that, it could take credit for shaving a cool $4 trillion off America’s debt without surrendering the Bush tax cuts. But Republicans are not interested in that kind of tax reform. So for the foreseeable future, it looks like some of America’s largest corporations will continue to pay absolutely nothing in taxes.

Good luck selling that to independent voters.

5. The Democratic president wants to keep Wall Street happy.

Be assured that a deal will be made to raise the debt ceiling in a way that will not cause heartburn on Wall Street. After all, Obama has raised more money from the financial community than any other politician in U.S. history. So even after all the whining and moaning, Wall Street will always get what it wants from Obama. If you don’t believe me, give Elizabeth Warren a call.

6. Republican leaders want to keep Wall Street happy.

Do I even have to explain? Didn’t think so.

7. Democrats don’t give a damn about debt reduction.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that a party that has championed Big Government for 100 years would be repulsed by the idea of cutting spending in Washington. Occasionally, Democratic presidents like Bill Clinton are forced by Fed chairmen or Republican majorities to behave rationally when it comes to deficit spending. But Obama has yet to show such an inclination.

As I have documented for years, George W. Bush increased the national debt by almost $5 trillion. That is a shameful record but is nothing compared with the spending pace being set by the same man who voted against raising the debt ceiling a few years back.

By the end of his third year, Obama will have signed legislation that added almost $3 trillion more to America’s debt. By his own projections, this administration will add an additional $7 trillion to the debt by the end of the decade — easily making his the biggest spending White House in U.S. history.

Any suggestion that this president cares about deficit reduction insults the intelligence of the intended audience. He does not. Neither do his Democratic allies in the Senate, who refuse to release their own budget. That tactic may keep pressure on Paul Ryan and the Republicans, but it also exposes the Democrats for what they really are.

8. Republicans don’t give a damn about debt reduction.

Who are you going to believe, Republicans or your lying eyes?

GOP candidates have been telling you for decades that they are your only hope for a balanced budget. And for a few years in the ’90s, they were right. But their record over the past decade has been abysmal.

Under George W. Bush, Republicans doubled the national debt and turned a $155 billion surplus into a trillion-dollar deficit. When the GOP asked for control of Congress in 2010, it promised to change its ways. But after taking courageous budget votes in the House and Senate, what is the end result?

Well, we did get a deal to end the government shutdown this spring. John Boehner’s plan was supposed to cut $38 billion from the deficit but ended up doing little to stem a set of policies that have put the United States $7 trillion deeper in debt. And now it looks like the debt ceiling showdown will end up with Mitch McConnell’s Republican Party giving the president unprecedented power to raise the debt ceiling. It all adds up to prove just how little the GOP establishment cares about debt reduction.

9. Both sides are lying about taxes.

Democrats want you to believe that tax hikes will cure the debt crisis. It’s a lie, and they know it. Republicans want you to believe that tax cuts will cure the debt crisis. That’s also a lie, and they know it, too.

Democratic calls to hike tax rates on millionaires and billionaires may whip the base into a frenzy, but it will do very little to pay down America’s $55 trillion in obligations over the next generation. Democrats know better but won’t admit that to voters anytime soon.

As for Republicans who claim that more tax cuts will magically grow America out of a debt crisis, please explain to America why almost a decade of Bush tax rates have coincided with the worst economy since the Depression and the biggest spike in deficits in U.S. history?

10. Both sides are afraid to tell you how bad things really are.

I’m a small government conservative by trade. I voted against raising the debt ceiling when Congress wanted to take it to a measly $5 trillion. I worked with a handful of Republicans to run Newt Gingrich out of town because he wanted to spend too much money. In his last floor speech, he attacked us for being members of the “Perfectionist Caucus.”

I consistently ranked as one of the most fiscally conservative members of Congress over my four terms and never voted for a tax increase. And I wouldn’t vote for one today.

But I learned through the years that politics is the art of the possible. America is $14 trillion is debt. We have over $50 trillion in bills coming due over the next generation. A mild bump in interest rates could cripple our economy for years to come. Greece is in flames. The European Union’s financial system is teetering on the brink of collapse. China is expanding exponentially. And America can’t compete with a rebuilt economic machine until we first fix its foundation.

Considering the challenges facing America this century, any Republican who squanders the chance to cut $4 trillion from our debt in exchange for $1 trillion in tax loopholes is no conservative in my book.

It’s time to tell Americans the truth. And the first party to do that will own the future.

A guest columnist for POLITICO, Joe Scarborough hosts “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and represented Florida’s 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/07 ... z1SZJumZ8F

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July 19th, 2011, 12:25 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
Scarborough is a Rino, so i never take too much of what he says seriously.

It all comes do to the old saying "Its economics, stupid." Obama's 2 biggest voting groups were the young and the black. Both were and are the hardest hit by this economy. They won't show to the polls if the economy and unemployment stays the same or even if it ends up at the projected 8.75% that Goldman Sach's put out.

As to each point, it comes down to who you believe. The Gallup polls which are done more evenly, or the online polls that can't be viewed as a true sampling.


July 19th, 2011, 12:46 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
njroar wrote:
Scarborough is a Rino, so i never take too much of what he says seriously.

It all comes do to the old saying "Its economics, stupid." Obama's 2 biggest voting groups were the young and the black. Both were and are the hardest hit by this economy. They won't show to the polls if the economy and unemployment stays the same or even if it ends up at the projected 8.75% that Goldman Sach's put out.

As to each point, it comes down to who you believe. The Gallup polls which are done more evenly, or the online polls that can't be viewed as a true sampling.

First off: I never take anything anyone says too seriously (with a grain of salt, as they used to say).

Secondly: Name calling (RINO) serves NO purpose and doesn't help to get anything accomplished; all is really does is to put up more doors/walls/interference and prevents/impedes any potential progress. BOTH/ALL sides would do well to remember this. Most any time I (or others) hear someone name call (Rino, Dumbacrat, Libtard, Fascist, Socialist, etc) I (they) don't put too much stock in what follows (consider the source, as they used to say).

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July 19th, 2011, 1:02 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
I could fix this entire mess with common sense solutions, but neither side of the aisle would go for it due to political reasons. I find it funny that Obama voted against a debt ceiling increase when Bush was president, but now he's for it. Conversely, Republicans were for it under Bush, but are now against it. Nothing more than political posturing and bullshit. Regardless, this out of control spending on both sides needs to stop and stop now.

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July 19th, 2011, 1:05 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
Wags, but Scarborough is a RINO. Fortunately though, we won't have to worry about those types holding public office much longer. Goal number one of the tea party is to eliminate them in as many primaries as possible. After that has been accomplished, we set our sights on Obama and his socialist ilk. It's just a matter of time. Trust me on this.

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July 19th, 2011, 1:11 pm
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Post Re: Blogs: McConnell 'fiendishly clever'
slybri19 wrote:
Wags, but Scarborough is a RINO. Fortunately though, we won't have to worry about those types holding public office much longer. Goal number one of the tea party is to eliminate them in as many primaries as possible. After that has been accomplished, we set our sights on Obama and his socialist ilk. It's just a matter of time.

While I can understand and appreciate what you're saying, it still doesn't really matter IMO. We're all AMERICANS and no matter which political party someone choose to align themselves with (and let's all try to remember, it is a CHOICE not a proclamation), their 1st priority should be to ALL AMERICANS not to the donkey, elephant or whatever symbol the TEA party uses. Personally, I tend to work on voting out those that perpetuate an un-American stance, doesn't matter which letter they have after their name or which party-color they associate with.
slybri19 wrote:
Trust me on this.
Careful, you're starting to sound an awful lot like a politician [-X

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July 19th, 2011, 1:56 pm
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