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Republicans And The Siren Song Of The Past

Memo Pad Politics

Republicans And The Siren Song Of The Past


President Obama’s dramatic move to reopen relations with Cuba crystalizes the larger story of his presidency: In many significant ways, he has dragged America into the 21st century. But how long will we stay here? I ask because so many Republicans seem nostalgic for the golden era of Chubby Checker, Elvis Presley and The Shirelles, or the slightly more recent decade when Lionel Richie and Olivia Newton-John topped the charts.

For now, Republicans are sitting in the metaphorical green room of history, waiting for their onstage close-up. They’re free to rail against anything and everything Obama does, knowing that his core achievements will be protected for two more years by Senate Democrats and Obama himself. Even the new Republican-controlled Congress can expect filibusters and vetoes if it goes too far in trying to obliterate the Obama era.

The real test will be what the GOP does if and when it has the relatively unfettered capacity to work its will — for instance, if it elects a president in 2016. That person would have to decide whether to roll back the many Obama policies achieved through executive action, regulations and a handful of major laws. Would he or she revive a Cold War with Cuba, stop nuclear talks with Iran, break a climate agreement with China? Revoke temporary legal residency for millions of immigrants? Take away health coverage from millions who are newly insured? Lower the minimum wage for federal contractors? Weaken consumer protections against banks? Reduce tax rates on the rich?

At least a few GOP lawmakers and 2016 prospects must be secretly relieved that Obama is taking the heat for some decisions that were necessary and/or inevitable. We have thriving automobile and renewable energy industries, even as Republicans have been able to rail against government “bailouts” and “picking winners.” We aren’t sending combat troops into quagmires, prolonging a long-failed isolation policy toward Cuba or courting confrontation with Iran, and the GOP can still hammer Obama as weak, indecisive and naive. America has finally joined the rest of the developed world in offering broad access to health insurance — and Republicans, in an act of political jiu-jitsu for the record books, have ridden the new law to two midterm routs.

The positioning so far in the 2016 presidential race is revealing. Most of the hot GOP prospects have a foot in the 1980s, the 1960s or both. The field is crowded with aggressive interventionists, supply-side tax cutters and climate-change skeptics. Some seem to want to prolong the Cold War. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, whose parents left Cuba well before Fidel Castro’s revolution and takeover, has been so emotional and militant in opposing Obama’s Cuba shift that The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz wrote a parody called “Rubio Vows to Block Twenty-First Century.” (“We cannot stop time, perhaps, but we can defund it”). What’s most striking about Rubio’s old-school views is his age. He’s just 43.

To give them their due, several future contenders are trying to formulate plans for a 21st-century Republican Party. Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan are looking at alternative ways to fight poverty, while Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush support comprehensive immigration reform that deals with the millions of illegal immigrants already in America. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is a warrior for privacy rights and criminal justice reform, he backs Obama on Cuba, and he’s against what the libertarian Cato Institute’s David Boaz calls “promiscuous interventionism” abroad.

Yet in crucial areas, they and many other GOP prospects are still modeling themselves on an illusory Ronald Reagan. The actual Reagan raised as well as cut taxes, grew the government, terminated a U.S. mission in Lebanon — that is, cut and ran — after 241 military personnel were killed in a bombing, and negotiated with “evil empire” leader Mikhail Gorbachev to reduce nuclear weapons. But who in the Republican field will emulate the practical, flexible Reagan who was open to discussion and compromise?

Paul stands out at this point for rejecting the Reaganesque Republican ideal of America as global supercop with its nose — not to mention its bombs and troops — in everyone’s business. He’s on the same page as his colleagues, however, when it comes to tax cuts as an economic cure-all. His draconian proposals to cut taxes, slash spending and balance the budget in five years are about as newfangled as Hall and Oates.

Given his name and his race, Obama’s two election victories were potent symbols of a new century and the promise of an increasingly diverse nation. Yet the real 21st-century pillars of his presidency are his policies, from energy and health care to immigration and diplomatic engagement. My fingers are crossed that in their rush to reject all things Obama, Republicans won’t reflexively climb into the wayback machine and embrace the ideas of the past.

Follow Jill Lawrence on Twitter @JillDLawrence. To find out more about Jill Lawrence and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Jill Lawrence

Award-winning journalist Jill Lawrence is a nationally syndicated columnist and a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report. She also contributed to The Surge: 2014's Big GOP Win and What It Means for the Next Presidential Race (2015). Lawrence has discussed political and policy developments on television, radio, and many other media outlets. She was an adjunct professorial lecturer at American University in 2014, teaching on the relationship between politics and the media.

Lawrence has covered every presidential campaign since 1988, as well as historic events such as the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, the Clinton impeachment, the Florida recount, and the 1993 and 2009 battles over health reform.

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  1. FT66 January 1, 2015

    Sad the best time of the year is now over (the Happy Holidays). On the other side am happy I got an opportunity to discuss politics with my friends and family members where we are heading to. I was able to convince them all that republicans win of two Chambers last November means nothing unless they have the last signatory on all isues on their side and no opposition at all to their proposals.
    In this case the President is not republican. He won’t sign anything which is against his or Party’s will. These two Chambers will vote and vote pass whatever they like and send them to final signature which will meet a big rejection (VETO). Time will be passing by and 2016 Presidential Race will kick in. People will switch their interest to 2016 race and forget what is going on in Congress. In the end, nothing will be produced. They will be forced to beg the President for any compromise (to show people they can govern) of which he can decide to twist them around as he wishes. He has already shown them a bit as an introduction (in Nov.&Dec.) how he will carry on the last remaining 2 years of his Presidency. Without republicans producing anything, they can’t tell people we tried but blame the President while he is on his way out. They can’t blame Hillary either (in case she will be the candidate), because she was no longer in the Admin and didn’t block anything either. What an interesting 2015 Year to watch moving to 2016 and have a different person in the Oval Office!

    1. Gary Miles January 1, 2015

      There are over 400 bills on Harry Reid’s desk waiting for senate action. Obama should VETO every single bill that comes to his desk. The country will then have a “new” party of NO and people will finally figure out that the left/right paradigm is nothing but a lie and they are all on the same team, which of course is NOT either team the people claim to be on. I like no action by the Feds, don’t we have more than enough laws already?

    2. mike January 2, 2015

      You keep forgetting his Legacy. Obama needs to get things done since at this point the Legacy Thing doesn’t look real good. His signature program, Obamacare was built on lies, poorly implemented, sign ups below projections, costs still rising, majority of Americans unhappy, etc..
      Foreign Policy he has none.
      Oh, he did some social things but it is all about the economy and he is no longer trusted at that. I know you are going to bring up the 5% after years of slow growth, but go look at what helped it.

      1. Independent1 January 2, 2015

        And you’re still spewing your absolute nonsense rhetoric!! When are you ever going to stop lying!!

        Obama has accomplished more than all of the last 5 worthless GOP presidents combined:

        Here’s just a partial llist:

        Cut fuel use and carbon pollution for median and heavy duty vehicles.

        -Raised minimum wage to $10.10 for workers on new federal contracts.

        -Reduced carbon pollution from power plants by 30% by 3030

        -Reduced HFCs by 700 million metric tons of carbon globally by 2025.

        -Made historic announcement with China to reduce carbon pollution.

        -Capped student loan monthly payments to 10% of income.

        -Acted to help women fight pay discrimination among federal contractors.

        -Launched ConnectED initiative to connect 99% of students to next-generation broadband.

        -Secured more than $1B to invest in early childhood Education.

        -Launched “My Brother’s Keeper” to expand opportunities for young men and boys of color.

        -Designated the largest Marine Reserve in the world.

        -Protected Alaska’s Bristol Bay from consideration for oil and gas drilling.

        -Launched “Made in Rural America Initiative”.

        -Prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees.

        -Spurred progress to raising minimum wage across the country.

        -Launched 4 new Manufacturing Hubs in 2014.

        -Acted to protect and conserve 260 million acres of ‘treasured lands and waters’.

        -Started FAFSA Completion Initiative to help students applying for college financial aid.

        -Permanently protected the first shoreline addition to the California Coastal National Monument.

        -Released gainful employment regulations to protect students from unaffordable college loans.

        -Launched the Climate Data Initiative.

        -Awarded $100 million in grants to redesign America’s high schools.

        -Called for an end to our veterans’ homelessness by the end of 2014.

        -Announced a 100 million Competition for Apprenticeship Grants.

        -Created Pollinator Health Task Force.

        -Laid out a plan to strengthen America’s Teach Preparation Program.

        -Designated San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to Los Angeles County.

        -Created the first five Promise Zones in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw in Oklahoma.

        -Released a strategy to reduce methane emissions.

        -Held the inaugural College Opportunity Summit.

        -Announced $500 million in community college grants for job-driven curriculums.

        -Held the first White House Maker Faire expanding access to tools to launch businesses and learn STEM skills.

        -Announced steps to strengthen native American communities through education and economic development.

        -Took new steps to address wildlife trafficking and to combat transnational organized crime.

        -Launched new federal actions to combat the rise of anti-biotic resistant bacteria.

        -Supported the Treasury Department’s decision to rein in corporate tax reversions.

        -Took Executive Action to improve the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries.

        -Pledged $2B to the Green Climate Fund to reduce carbon pollution & strengthen resilience in developing

        -Released troves of data and tools on water and ecosystems as part of the Climate Data Initiative.

        And that list doesn’t include some of the economic related accomplishments such as these:

        1) Obama has presided over the longest stretch of continuous positive jobs growth in America’s history – more than 57 months and counting.

        2) The stock market has virtually tripled during the Obama administration (from a low around 6,600 to over 18,000) with it reaching levels NEVER SEEN BEFORE which has improved the lives of millions of American retirees such as myself!!

        3) The Obama Administration has managed America’s energy sector such that TODAY, America is the largest distributor of energy on the planet FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY!!

        4) The Obama Administration has rounded up and deported more troublesome illegal aliens that have been costing America billions THAN THE THREE PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS COMBINED!!

        5) Obama following through on the auto bailout has resulted in America’s largest manufacturing sector, the Auto Industry, recording profits the past couple years that haven’t been seen since Clinton was in office. And in that process arguably saved 1.5 million Americans their jobs and kept America from falling into a full fledged depression.

        6) During Obama’s time in office,deficit spending has come done FURTHER and FASTER than under any previous president IN HISTORY (from a 1.4T deficit in Bush’s last budget to under 500B for 2014 – reducing deficit spending more than 1T/yr in 5 budgets)!!

        7) During Obama’s time in off the unemployment rate has come down further and faster than under any previous PRESIDENT IN HISTORY!! (From 10.1% when the freefall Bush created turned around, to below 5.8% in less than
        6 years.)

        8) Obama’s administration started a war on fraud early in his 1st term, the spring of 2009, focusing on fraud in the defense and healthcare sectors which has resulted in bringing more fraud crooks to justice and recovering more illegally gotten government money than the last 3 presidents combined.

        9) Obama pushed for a stimulus in 2009, that not only helped keep America out of a depression, but also invigorated the alternative energy sector to create alternatives to fossil fuels (solar, wind, hydro, tidal and
        plasma) that will greatly reduce demand for oil and coal in the near future; greatly helping the world’s efforts to combat global warming.

        10) Obama was successful in getting legislation passed that revises the rules health insurers must follow in providing insurance to Americans (ACA/Obamacare); which has not only already saved more than 60,000
        people their lives, but is also now saving hospitals and many states millions/billions, even including in the red state of Arizona, billions of dollars in reduced costs because there are millions fewer Americans that are
        now uninsured.

        11) Obama has presided over the economy during best year of jobs growth (2014) in America since 1999, when another Democrat was in office!!!

        12) Obama used an Executive Order to cut the banks out of the student loan program which has greatly simplified the loan application process which has allowed hundreds of thousands, maybe millions more high school graduates to afford college than under any previous president.

        1. Gary Miles January 2, 2015

          ROFLMAO! Global warming is a proven fraud, the only thing Obama is doing is putting more people on the government dole over debunked BS that has been destroyed by scientific fact not junk science made up by losers who will do anything for funding to make themselves relevant. Your media choices will not give you facts that do not fit the progressive agenda, which makes you somewhat ignorant on issues that have basically screwed you and I by adding to the insane Federal deficit. Let me give you a scientific fact, solar and wind energy sources CANNOT support the needs of today’s modern society. Fact number 2, the planet has not had any warming in 18 consecutive years, despite a 9% increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.
          The polar ice caps are just fine and Al “the whale” Gore was completely wrong about them melting by 2013. The polar bears are prospering and doing just fine as well. All those big bad hurricanes that were supposed to hit after Katrina apparently didn’t get the message. The recent water shortage in California is nothing compared to what the protection of the Snail Darter did to farmers in Central California, denying them water over a useless fish that couldn’t help feed one small village in Ethiopia.
          Not one president in our lifetime has done crap for this country, none of them and Obama is nothing but a bum who got thrust into politics and is making the best of his unlimited supply of tax dollars and new federal debt.

          1. Independent1 January 2, 2015

            You’ve really gone off the deep end. Everything you just posted is 100% total HOGWASH!!!

        2. mike January 4, 2015

          I have already given you the criteria for ones legacy so lets start on your Big 12 give you the rest of the story on some of them .
          1) Yes, there has been this streak but what you refuse to give is that the jobs are heavily and disproportionately low paying, part-time jobs. wages remain stagnant, good paying wages a small proportion of newly employed. Participation rate at almost all time low.
          Lets use this past Decembers numbers, 321K new hires sounds great. Unemployment 5.8%. Participation rate remained at 62.8% Yet 115,000 signed up for unemployment insurance, Full time jobs declined by 150,000, while part-time jumped to 177,000. Fewer men working by 110,000 and fewer women by 59,000.
          No you can try and brag about Obama being the economic savior but it is only part of the story.
          2) You like to quote the great rise in the market and try and tie it to the wonderful job Obama has done.
          Plain and simple, the rise in the stock market is the poor/slow economy and and totally unrelated to any improvement in economic conditions, but is the result of the massive infusions of cash into the financial system by the Fed. Reserve. The moment the economy gets better the Fed, will step in and raise rates, then watch what happens to market.
          3) Your play on words about Obama managing energy is just plain Baloney. All increases were on state and private lands, while decreases on fed. lands. Again it happen on his watch but he had very little to nothing to do with the growth.
          4) Deportation of illegals is another one of your half truths. The numbers are comparing apples and oranges, using numbers never before used in the final numbers.
          7,11) U3 is far from the real number of unemployed. Look at U6 for the real picture unemployed, underemployed, and those no longer looking. If those who have dropped out of labor force were counted, unemployment would be much higher. So again, nothing to brag about again. Job growth has grown only in the low wage, part-time fields, the medium to high wages are almost non-existing. Low wages are the vast majority of new hires.

          No, the lying, half truths are all yours.

      2. Independent1 January 2, 2015

        I realize you’re not religious or you wouldn’t be lying at every opportunity like you do. But just to put you on the record, here’s what God thinks about liars as recorded in Revelations 21 vs 8:

        But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

        1. mike January 2, 2015

          Oh, I am very religious and I am not lying about Obama accomplishments, time will tell where he will stand in the future. Just because it doesn’t fit what you think is true doesn’t mean mine is false.

          Now aren’t you the one that showed no humanity when I sincerely wished you Health and Happiness for 2015. You called me Evil, and now you want to spout verses from the Bible. What a hypocrite!!!

          1. Independent1 January 3, 2015

            Sorry, I’m not like Eve. I recognize snakes-in-the-grass when I see them.

          2. mike January 3, 2015

            As I said before, then you are a hypocrite!!!

          3. Independent1 January 3, 2015

            Even God hates the things Satan loves; which clearly describes YOU!!!


          4. mike January 3, 2015

            You really are delusional. Funny but delusional.
            So glad you have the inside track with God and knows what he thinks.
            I have a feeling God will dispute your contention.

          5. Eric Lipps January 4, 2015

            Ah, the Prophet Michael is heard from, speaking for God. Repent, ye sinners, for the day of the Lord is nigh!

          6. mike January 4, 2015

            No, just responding to Independent1 who thinks he has the inside track on what GOD thinks!!
            So you also have the inside track on who are sinners, thanks, enjoyed the laugh.

          7. Independent1 January 3, 2015

            And let’s get one thing straight: when I said that what Satan loves describes you, I’m talking about what you’re representing yourself as – a lover of the GOP. It’s what the GOP has turned into that I hate. And because of that, I will not allow myself to say anything favorable about someone who is determined to push the mantra of the GOP which is THE LOVE OF MONEY AND HATE FOR EVERYONE BUT THE WEALTHY OR THINGS LIKE CORPORATIONS THAT WILL MAKE MORE PEOPLE WEALTHY.

            You may be a very nice person; what what you’re representing yourself as IS FUNDAMENTAL EVIL!!!!!!

            If the GOP was actually as religious as it claims to be or pretends to be, it would be throwing people like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich out of the party. Two people who represent everything that God hates. People who are intent on filling their lives with worldly things and even one who is clearly living in adultery.

          8. mike January 3, 2015

            You had better be careful, God is watching you spewing out falsehoods.
            When did God tell you he hates Republicans.

          9. Independent1 January 3, 2015

            Interestingly, in reading in Malachi, I came across vs 5 of chapter 3 where it seems to describe God’s judgement of the GOP exactly:

            “So I will come near to you for judgement. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers; against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me.” says the Lord Almighty.

          10. mike January 3, 2015

            So when will God smite us down?? Give me a heads up, will you??? Oh, I shouldn’t hold my breath since you hate me and people like me.
            If God is so upset with my ilk why does he let us exist.

          11. Eric Lipps January 4, 2015

            Considering how you’re always whining about the damage Obama and liberals are doing to America, I’m surprised you don’t see the left as God’s instrument in smiting America.

            More seriously, assuming God exists, he has a habit of letting evil empires and their willing servants exist for quite a while before bringing them down. Think “Rome.” (Which fell after it turned to Christianity. Or the Persian Empire. Or the Soviet Union, for that matter.

          12. mike January 4, 2015

            He does exist! I have questioned his existence many times but always come back that he does exit and in my life. I am far from a Bible Thumper but do believe.
            Christianity played a very small role, if any at all, in the fall of Rome, if it did, it made harder to govern. The fall of Rome was from Political corruption, Bad emperors, invasions by Barbarians, division of empire west and east, weakening of Roman legions, Huns invasion, but probably most important Economic troubles.
            But for you to put an emphasis on Christianity as the cause pretty much tells me you fit in with the rest of most Democrats who do not believe in God or religion.
            Could it be that God has a bigger problem with you none believers?? Just asking!

          13. Independent1 January 3, 2015

            Do you really think that we don’t know what you and your troll buddies are up to?? Why are you here?? Nobody here is interested in the least to your opinion; so why are you here?? For one reason only – to create as much mayhem and distraction as you can. Why else??

            This is why you’re here: The Traditionalist Movement

            “We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime. We will take advantage of every available opportunity
            to spread the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the existing state of affairs. … contribute to a vague sense of uneasiness and dissatisfaction with existing society. … We need to break down before we can build up. We must first clear away the flotsam of a decayed culture.”

            “We need more people with fire in the belly, and we need a message that attracts those kinds of people…We must reframe this struggle as
            a moral struggle, as a transcendent struggle, as a struggle between good and evil. And we must be prepared to explain why this is so. We must provide the evidence needed to prove this using images and simple terms…”

            “There will be three main stages in the unfolding of this
            movement. The first stage will be devoted to the development of a highly
            motivated elite able to coordinate future activities. The second stage will be
            devoted to the development of institutions designed to make an impact on the
            wider elite and a relatively small minority of the masses. The third stage will
            involve changing the overall character of American popular culture…”

            “Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions…”

            “We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them
            a moment’s rest. We will endeavor to prove that the Left does not deserve to hold sway over the heart and mind of a single American. We will offer constant reminders that there is an alternative, there is a better way. When people have had enough of the sickness and decay of today’s American culture, they will be embraced by and welcomed into the New Traditionalist movement. The rejection of the existing society by the people will thus be accomplished by pushing them and pulling them simultaneously.”

            “We will be results-oriented rather than good
            intentions-oriented. Making a good-faith effort and being ideologically sound will be less important than advancing the goals of the movement…”

          14. mike January 3, 2015

            Just trying to keep you honest and correcting your half truths to out right lies.
            Perfect example, your play on words, you make a statement that Obama managed the energy sector and is the largest distributor of energy on the planet.. What you leave out it has nothing to do with Obama, it started will before him, is being done on state and private lands not Fed. lands where the amount produced has fallen yearly. he is against all carbon related products and if he had his way there would be no production. For now we are producing which is great for us, but projections show that this will plateau off and start down. Petrostrategies gives 37 years of oil reserves and 13 years of gas.
            Just another half truth.

          15. Independent1 January 3, 2015

            Here are some excerpts from FactCheck.org working to fact check statements that Romney and Obama made during the debate 2 years ago; and oil and gas exploration and production have skyrocketed under Obama since that time; but even back then, claims Romney made about oil production ON FEDERAL LANDS were falling under Obama – were declared FALSE:

            From FactCheck.org:

            But Romney’s claim fails to tell the whole story. Oil production on federal lands and in federal waters has seen an overall increase under Obama. And natural gas production under federal jurisdiction has been falling since 2003, long before Obama took office.

            We know that under Obama, that gas production has since skyrocketed such that America now produces more energy than anyone. And no matter how it happened, IT HAPPENED ON OBAMA’S WATCH!!! A lot of that expanded production IS THE RESULTS OF RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION THAT WERE FUNDED BY OBAMA’S STIMULUS WHEN HE FIRST TOOK OFFICE!!!

      3. Independent1 January 3, 2015

        And with respect to “Obama’s Legacy”, well, that legacy is very strong among Americans EXCEPT FOR GOP SHEEPLE LIKE YOURSELF:

        An article in the Washington Post just yesterday shows JUST HOW PARTISAN REPUBLICANS ARE!!

        Gallup did a survey on whether people thought 2014 was a good year for America or not. And aside from only about 10% of GOP SHEEPLE claiming it wasn’t: more than 80% of Blacks say it was, and almost 80% of Dems say it was; and over 60% of Hispanics say it was.

        So it’s this 10% of GOP SHEEPLE who insist on watching FAUX NOISE, who have the absolutely wrong mindset!!!!!!

        See this from the Washington Post:


        1. mike January 3, 2015

          Legacy is not based on today. It is based down the road on the implementation of a Presidents policies, how they are doing years later, etc., the next president decisions to keep or undercut the previous presidents policies, future events is also a consideration, even the presidential archives have an affect, and much more. But if the decision making is designed to justify their actions in legacy terms, then we are in real trouble.

          So Blacks with their 11% unemployment feel all warm and fuzzy being employed in 2014, Right??And all the racial tensions say it was a good year, Right???

          Oh, I will look at WP, but it really isn’t germane to what is happening or going to happen.

  2. Budjob January 1, 2015

    The Republican bastards made Obama’s life pure Hell and I say turn about is fair play.VETO everything the nutjobs propose!!

    1. plc97477 January 1, 2015

      I would say that is a given since the nutjobs are not going to be able to propose anything sane at this point.

      1. Eric Lipps January 4, 2015

        We can only hope that the Republicans get tired of being led
        around on a leash by the freak-show right, cut the rope and send these cranks back to the carnival where they belong.

        That, of course, assumes that the GOP hasn’t simply been
        consumed by the freaks. That there are enough sane people left in the GOP power structure to put the cuckoos back in their clocks. Cross your fingers.

    2. EaglesGlen January 1, 2015

      Obama the greatest presidential liar in U.S. history fraudulently pushing his OBAMACARE of fraud and all Obama’s illegal revisions. And Obama lost to ISIS in Iraq? And word is it take 3 years to reGsin Iraq. Another worst.

      1. cbarneym January 1, 2015

        To EaglesGlen,

        Months before Pres. GW Bush claimed Iraq had WMD, admin. officials Colin Powell & Condoleezza Rice both disagreed with the president’s WMD claim.

        02/24/01: In a joint press conference in Egypt − with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa − Colin Powell said: ‘frankly they (sanctions) have worked. He (Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction’. (http://2001-2009.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2001/933.htm).

        07/29/01: Condoleezza Rice, in a CNN Wolf Blitzer interview indicated the weakness of Iraq when she said ‘his country is divided… He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him and his military forces have not been rebuilt.’ (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0107/29/le.00.html).

        10/7/02: In a Cincinnati speech Pres. GW Bush said: If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today – and we do… but he didn’t and was proven 100% wrong.
        ‘President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat’, Cincinnati, Ohio, Oct. 7, 2002

      2. Budjob January 2, 2015

        Eagles,You sound as if you haven’t taken your meds recently.Just maybe,some of your nutjob Republican associates will understand what you are ATTEMPTING to communicate!

    3. mike January 2, 2015

      Not quite all the fault of those Republican bastards, Obama helped to make his life pure Hell. In the past, Obama had to have it his way or the highway, we will see how that works now. I suspect he wants to show things are getting done in Washington, so maybe more flexibility from him.
      The first sentence of the article is Obama draggomg the US into the 21st century with part coming with recognition of Cuba, but neglects to mention that the Cuban Government wants no part of it. Raul Castro demanded that the US keep its hands off governing principles(communism) to go forward. We will see what the future holds. He can’t touch the embargo, only Congress can end it, so how will he negotiate going forward.

      1. ericlipps January 2, 2015

        Obama had to have it “his way or the highway”?

        Just who offered whom a trillion dollars in spending cuts over ten years if in exchange some revenues were raised through tax increases? And who told whom he could stick his trillion dollars where the sun doesn’t shine if so much as a penny in new taxes was part of the deal?

        1. mike January 2, 2015

          I am not sure what years you are talking about but if you are referring to cuts in Medicare and Social Security, C.P.I., the left already was in full opposition.
          We have a spending problem not a revenue problem. Revenues have been up every year.
          You seem to forget he totally ignored his own commission Simpson-Boles Plan.

          1. ericlipps January 3, 2015

            Revenues have been recovering from the deep hole into which they plunged after the Bush Crash of 2007-’08, but that doesn’t mean they’re adequate.

            And if you’re so eager to cut spending, let’s hear about some major programs you actually favor that you’re willing to see deeply cut or eliminated. No fair volunteering other people for cuts in programs they depend on but that you don’t like.

          2. mike January 3, 2015

            Into football game, so simple answer, Simpson-Boles Plan, which Obama totally ignored. Very balanced!
            More thoughts tomorrow.

          3. Eric Lipps January 4, 2015

            President Obama did not ignore the Simpson-Bowles plan, the brainchild of Erskine Bowles and Sen. Alan Simpson. He simply did not accept its recommendations. (And they were recommendations, not orders.) Apparently you feel he should have treated it as though it had come down from Mount Horeb on tablets of stone.

            I suspect the show-stopper for Obama was the proposal to cut the existing tax brackets from six to three, with the top bracket substantially below the present one. This would have been yet another huge giveaway to the rich. Since the plan was essentially presented as all-or-nothing, take it or leave it, the President chose to leave it.

            Suppose he hadn’t? Its provisions eliminating “tax
            expenditures” (pork-barrel projects, tax exemptions for the wealthy and corporations, and outright subsidies to certain industries such as oil and tobacco) would have been stripped out in a flash by Congress. It’s not as if the President could have simply decreed the whole thing into effect, even if he’d wanted to.

            Evidently, snce you can’t even spell its name
            you’ve never actually read the plan, or even a summary of it. (Since you’re posting here, I’m assuming you can read.) Where did you get your information about it—Fox “News”?

          4. mike January 4, 2015

            Now that’s funny! He didn’t ignore it he just didn’t like any of the recommendations. In the real world that is ignoring completely what was recommended. He did ignored his own commission and he ignored it for political reasons. It just didn’t fit Obama’s agenda of Big Government. I will try to use the word “ignore” a few more times so you can keep up .
            You are right I misspelled Bowles, but I sure enjoyed the game.
            Yet, BOWLES, a staunch Democrat, and co-chair of the commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, believed in it, the bipartisan committee believed in it and signed off on the recommendations. So you must feel Erskine is just a pawn of Alan, right?? Bowles a highly respected Democrat is just ignored by his own leader Obama, who asked him to co-chair.
            Why ignore your own commission unless you are just posturing.
            Back to another game. Ta Ta

          5. mike January 6, 2015

            I guess better late than never. CBo projects spending by Fed. govt to be 22.1% of GDP by 2024, tax revenues at 18.3% of GDP. So deficits will continue to rise until major decisions are made by both parties. Nothing is off the table. Healthcare and SS must be part of overall plan. Repeal 2010 healthcare law, Block grant Medicaid, growth 2%, Increase medicare premiums and deductibles, cut non-medicaid state and local grants 20%.
            SS. price index benefits, raise normal retirement age, SS Disability by 20%, cut supplement income by 20%.
            Discretionary Programs:
            ALL programs would be effected by cuts in spending. Fed govt has 2200 separate subsidy programs, each of which costs money, creates bureaucracy, spawns lobby groups and more freebies. So agriculture, commerce, energy, housing, foreign aid, are on the chopping block and those in other departments.
            Yes, even DOD
            Also, privatize Amtrak, air traffic control, TSA, electric utilities, Army corp engineers, Corp of engineers, Tennessee Valey, and all other subsidies in various departments.
            Terminate Housing and Urban development.

            Better sooner than later for this country to survive as a vibrant country. if not, CBO projects Fed. spending will be at 40% of GDP 2050. With state/local spending on top of Fed., government wil consume half of entire U.S. economy.
            Will it be done? I doubt it very much.
            Without changes to this massive size and scope of government we are doomed and will have failed future generations.

    4. S.J. Jolly January 3, 2015

      Emotionally satisfying, perhaps, but not the road to other than scorched earth politics.

  3. ericlipps January 1, 2015

    Republicans believe we should restore the America of the past. Unfortunately, the past they want to restore never existed, and in many ways that’s just as well.

    What do you call someone who wants to “restore” society to a social, political and economic order which never was? Not “conservative”; try “radical,” or “revolutionary.” And it’s worth noting that the R’s, for all their gum-beating about conservatism, keep announcing “revolutions”: the “Reagan revolution,” the “Gingrich revolution” and so on. One of their Senate candidates a few years back even hinted at armed revolt (Second Amendment remedies) if right-wingers couldn’t win at the polls.

    1. EaglesGlen January 1, 2015

      Dem’s withe a voting majority of funds and laws (and 2 of 3 presidents) can’t hold a border, infesting America with 12 million illegals. One of the greatest failures in history.

      1. ericlipps January 1, 2015

        So you think they all arrived after January 2009, do you?

        Study up. Start here
        and move on from there.

        We don’t even know that there are twelve million. After all,
        they don’t exactly have an incentive to line up to be counted, so the number is essentially guesswork, if not made up altogether.

        1. S.J. Jolly January 3, 2015

          As for guesswork, quite a few legitimate US citizens refused to fill out their 2010 Census forms. Their statistical data had to be extrapolated from the other residents of their census tracts. IOW, educated guesswork. You consider this to invalidate the entire Census?
          As for the number of illegal immigrants in this country, unless they literally live underground — twenty million, in the equivalent of three New York Cities? — they have to come out in the open at least from time to time, to buy groceries, pay utility bills, earn money, etc., thus can be counted.

      2. S.J. Jolly January 1, 2015

        We can make the US borders “non-porous,” yes. If we assign the entire USMC, a couple divisions of the Army, and a big share of the Navy to guarding them. Which would still leave the problem of legal visitors overstaying their visas.

        1. CrankyToo January 3, 2015

          I’m no legal scholar, but I’m pretty sure such actions would violate the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the use of federal troops to perform state law enforcement duties. I believe border state governors would be limited to the use of their “weekend warriors” (their National Guards).

          1. S.J. Jolly January 3, 2015

            “Weekend warriors” wouldn’t do the job. Too few, too short term.
            Any law can be set aside if the cause is dire enough. I.e., keeping Jose and his sister, Rosa, from illegally entering this country in search of employment.

          2. CrankyToo January 3, 2015

            Oh Yeah… I’m sure the Tea Party goobers, the Libertarians, the Nazis and other assorted Repugnican wing-dings are dying to see Congress (ANY Congress) try to amend or repeal a law that basically keeps the Federal government from using the United States Armed Forces against American citizens. That’s going to go over like a turd in the punchbowl.

          3. Eric Lipps January 4, 2015

            Who said anything about amending or repealing Posse Comitatus? (Which Southern congressmen, newly returned to power in Washington after the end of Reconstructruction, rammed through to keep the federal government from preventing them from stripping blacks of the rights theoretically guaranteed them by the Reconstruction-era amendments to the Constitution.) Instead, they’ll simply defy the law, and count on the feds to back down.

          4. CrankyToo January 4, 2015

            The answer to your question is “S.J. Jolly”, who wrote “any law can be set aside…”. How else can a law be “set aside”, except by amendment or repeal?

          5. S.J. Jolly January 5, 2015

            By mutual agreement of the people making the law. Basic contract law.

          6. CrankyToo January 5, 2015

            Sorry, Bro, but you lost me. I have no idea what you’re on about.

          7. S.J. Jolly January 5, 2015

            Well, yes, repealing, amending, or “temporarily” suspending the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 would trouble the right-wing groups you mention. But, more so than leaving the US – Mexican border “porous”?
            As for using the US Army against US citizen, look up the Bonus Marchers of the Great Depression. Army troops were used to drive them out of D.C.

        2. latebloomingrandma January 5, 2015

          As that great President St. Reagan stated “Mr. Gorbechov. tear down this wall”, the Republicans who want to BE the next Reagan would rather put up a wall on our southern border. Go figure. We’re always good at telling other countries how to live, not so good at following our own rhetoric.

      3. charleo1 January 2, 2015

        Our greatest failure stems from the notion our immigration mess starts, ends, or involves spending more funds at the border. That it is a political football, rather than a collective lack of political will, and overriding economic interests, that has brought us, and the immigrants to this place.

  4. Gary Miles January 1, 2015

    As a veteran who receives all healthcare from the VA medical system, I want absolute 100% single payer government controlled healthcare for everyone. It just isn’t fair that only the vets get the worst of the healthcare industry in this country and everyone should join in. It’s only fair, isn’t it?

    1. CrankyToo January 1, 2015

      I don’t understand. I’m also a veteran and I get excellent health care…

      1. Gary Miles January 1, 2015

        The history of the VA is well documented. The battle for Agent Orange care allowed thousands to die from the effects because the government refused to acknowledge their responsibility. It took years for Gulf War syndrome to finally be recognized (where I fall into the system), far too late for hundreds who died from denied care. Current issues of vets dying waiting for simple appointments in numerous VA hospitals, including Pittsburgh where I go. All of this well documented. The number of vets who have been denied rightful disability benefits probably numbers in the tens of thousands. I’m fairly lucky, my care has been reasonable and timely. I’ll never be able to run again, but I can still walk OK. I’m 49. My ability to defend myself has been diminished by 50+%. Thank God for concealed carry and stand your ground laws. I do not get any disability, even though all my ailments are considered as a result of my service (Gulf War Syndrome). I have managed to reduce my daily pill intake from 26 a day to 14 a day through organic diet and high priced vitamins.

        It’s easy for you and I to look at things as a positive. For the most, I also get good care, but I think that is location related and staffing is good. This isn’t the case for everyone and that is well documented. I’d like the Liberal’s who want government run healthcare to get it and see what it’s like to have inadequate and sometimes no care as many of our brothers and sisters have had to deal with. Let them learn a valuable lesson about how government can’t and won’t get the job done. I hope you can understand where I’m coming from! Thanks for all you have done to preserve our freedoms and I wish you and your family the very Happiest of New years! At the same time, we have to share the big picture with those who will listen!


        1. Faraday_Cat January 2, 2015

          There are really only two reasons that single payer (like the VA system today) would be a bad thing…if it were underfunded, and/or micromanaged. The VA has both of these problems, thanks largely to taxpayers not wanting to foot the bill (for the military service they typically ignore), congress-critters funding the wrong parts of service (republicans in the house gave the DOD more than they asked for, cutting things they said they needed and funding things they said they didn’t need, in an apparent kickback scheme to companies that would build items the DOD said were unneccesary), and obstruction of bills that would correct many of these procedureal problems.
          So, take ALL the money going into private insurance coffers, as well as all the money going to defense that even the DOD says is wasted…put all the money in a pot for single-payer and you have a working system (not to mention that it would be like gaining thousands of doctors, as the ones who deal with thier own billing are suddenly freed from multiple different things they “have” to do to get paid by the myriad of health insurance companies now).
          It’s easy to say something is broken beyond fixing if you ignore fixing the things that broke it.

          1. Independent1 January 2, 2015

            Like I said to Miles on another blog- I find it hard to believe that being a veteran that he supports the right-wing considering it’s the Republicans who are doing the most to make our veterans lives miserable.

            I gave him this link:

            The Real Scandal: 258,000 Veterans Lack Healthcare Because Republicans Won’t Expand Medicaid

            Most of these uninsured—414,000 veterans and 113,000 spouses—have incomes below 100 percent of FPL, and will therefore only have new coverage options under the ACA if their state expands Medicaid. However, fewer than half live in states in which the governor supports their state participating in the expansion, while the majority live in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid or have not yet decided whether to expand. The extent to which uninsured veterans and their family members with incomes below the FPL will have access to new
            coverage options under the ACA will depend on whether they live in a state that adopts the Medicaid expansion.


          2. Gary Miles January 2, 2015

            You have given me the best laugh I have had all day! There is not one single social system that has EVER been managed efficiently by the government, NOT ONE, EVER. Yet you think that the next one will work if….. The taxpayers have not one thing to do with the failure of government programs, incase you have forgotten, the Federal government has had plenty of money to spend, also known as 18 trillion dollars in debt. So please, don’t fantasize about anything that the “taxpayers” didn’t want to fund being a problem.

            Pretending doctors want single payer is a joke and unrealistic. They are leaving the profession BECAUSE of the government interference, this has been very well documented since 2010. The people who are feeding you this utter BS should be sued for fraud!

          3. TZToronto January 5, 2015

            “Single payer” does not have to be one plan. In Canada, the health care system is run provincially but funded federally and provincially. So each province (and territory) runs its own plan; some provinces cover more things than do other provinces, but all provinces must have a single payer system. So in the U.S., a single payer system would not necessarily have to be run federally. It could be administered by the states, but one state’s plan would accept the coverage offered by all other states.

        2. latebloomingrandma January 5, 2015

          There is a difference between a completely socialized medical system like the VA system, where the hospitals and all employees are gov’t owned and operated, and the Medicare system, where hospitals are still private entities,(non-profit and for profit), but the gov’t pays the bill. Since I started on Medicare, i really like it. I pay a little more for my supplemental, since it picks up 100% of the balance. There are many insurers to choose from for the supplemental. I kept my doctor. Had hip replacement surgery and did not have to wait long for an appointment, in a town with lots of old people. I’m not sure why Medicare for all (single payer, not gov’t OWNED) would be so horrible..

          1. Gary Miles January 5, 2015

            Don’t ask me why, but there is something I like about you! You seem to really be a nice person and would likely be honored if we were friends in real life, rather than the virtual one. As you know I’m now a caretaker for the elderly. I understand both the Medicare and Medicaid systems. Despite the wrong claims about Medicaid expansion and the issues with States that didn’t do it (like Pa), the current systems are working fine for the people. But that’s where it ends. Let me share what a good friend on mine explained on the other side of the issue, the healthcare providers and the economic facts of the matter.

            As he wrote: By the way, the exchanges are depending on Medicaid Expansion. That is the primary mechanisms for “subsidizing” the “high cost/no return” people who had no insurance.

            And for future arguments, the reason the States have refused Medicaid expansion is that it will OBLIGATE the States to meet the new Medicaid bills. Medicaid is not 100% Federally funded. The ACA sets a trap by subsidizing the increase in Medicaid, but everyone knows that down the road the subsidies will expire. And then the States will have to keep the Medicaid going as it is an obligation once established.

            For many States, Medicaid is already their largest budget expenditure. They understand what increasing it will mean. This is why Texas went a different rout.

            But notice how the Progressives trash those “Red” States which have developed alternatives. This goes back to the “digging holes” point. Any system other than expanding Medicaid is automatically “wrong”, “false”, “bankrupt”, “evil”, etc., etc.. Because it is not digging holes, Medicaid, it cannot be tolerated.

            The entire ACA discussion can be boiled down to simply “Laws” of economics. Most Progressive arguments ignore the actual “health care” and rely only on the “insurance”, conflating the two as the same.

            The simple fact is that you cannot increase the DEMAND for health care and expect the cost to drop if the supply remains constant. Increasing the number of people on insurance, which is required to pay doctors, INCREASES DEMAND for health care. To the tune of about 15 million people. The same people who don’t have enough money to buy insurance or pay for their doctor bills.

            Meanwhile, there is no increase in the supply. In fact it is declining. Doctors are retiring, hospitals and clinics closing. Medical care is becoming centralized as the “cost of operations” is driven higher by…………wait for it…………..federal and state regulations, including the ACA itself.

            So the reality is that there has been ZERO decrease in health care costs since the ACA was adopted. The costs that Progressives are focused on have partially declined. But the actual and full cost has simply been displaced to other places. Like the new “asset” tax, or the new “luxury tax” and the “tax” for not having “mandated” insurance coverage. It has also been pushed into the Medicaid budget.

            One other key point for your future arguments. MEDICAID is a primary cause of hospital closures and Doctors reducing service to Medicaid patients. Why??? Because Medicaid tries to address the “cost” issue just like Insurance companies do. They DICTATE the reimbursement rates for medical services. So the person claiming that failure to increase Medicaid is causing Doctors to not be reimbursed adequately has the entire thing backwards.

            When they use this FACT to argue for Single Payer then simply go back to the Basics of the supply/demand relationship. Ask them to explain how increasing demand will reduce costs when they have not addressed the number of Docs or clinics?? And how will these increase if the Govt Insurance is going to keep costs down by “dictating” the PRICE of health care??

            PRICE is the mechanism by which we peacefully resolve differences between supply and demand. If we do not allow free market prices to resolve the conflict the only answer is COERSION. The Force of Govt. will have to be used to “DICTATE” the price. This then upsets the supply/demand/pricing equation. It will cause a distortion in the value equation somewhere. This usually occurs on the “supply” part.

            In short, there will “necessarily” be “death panels”. It is inevitable.

            While much of his comments probably don’t apply to you (as far as being a Progressive), the economic issues tell the story.

  5. markinla January 6, 2015

    Paul Ryan are looking at alternative ways to fight poverty, while Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush support comprehensive immigration reform that deals with the millions of illegal immigrants already in America.

    “Fighting” poverty while flooding the country with welfare dependent immigrants in a time of increasing automation making existing unskilled and semi-skilled jobs disappear in record numbers while millions of Americans can’t find jobs. What great thinking.


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