God Help Us! The “Adults” are Running the Asylum!

There are a lot of reasons why I wouldn’t want to be John Boehner. But if I was, the presence of Eric Cantor would be up at the top of my list of Weird Ass Critters I Don’t Want to Meet in an Alley”. In the wake of last Friday night’s major budget deal — the one where Boehner, (a guy who once handed out tobacco-industry lobbyist checks on the House floor and plays more golf in a week than a touring pro), kept Cantor and Cantor’s pandering to every grudge the Tea Party could think up at bay long enough to shake hands on a deal with Barack Obama — there’s a lot of talk about, “who won”? While I’m not certain who among those characters can claim victory, I know for absolute certain that none of us out here are any better off.

Since I’ve never read anyone, from my favorite lefties to The National Review describe Boehner as “brilliant” or even “hard-working”, I’m prepared to accept that he is neither. But he is a survivor — from a reliably Republican suburban Cincinnati district — and he is bright enough to understand the ebb and flow of politics. Whether he has a read on the ferocity and petulant,  juvenile expectations of the freshman Tea Partiers who seem to be coagulating around his #2 — Cantor — I am also uncertain. But he has to know that this new crowd, infused with the absolutist thinking you expect from a combination of evangelicals, apocalyptics and “super” Constitutionalists, will stop at nothing to get what they see as a divine right. (When both God and the Founding Fathers are on your side in The End Times, you can never be wrong, can you? And if it turns out you are? Well, The Left Behind are all going to be reduced to cinder so who’s going to count?)

Maybe Boehner and Cantor have worked out a clever tactical strategy, in which Boehner plays to the “middle”, treating Obama like he matters in this recent fight over a pittance, (last week’s $38 billion is not even 1% of the annual federal budget), while Cantor goes on stoking the fires of righteous rage among “them that took them” to the dance the Republicans are at now. Maybe. But this being D.C. politics, it seems far more likely that Boehner is expecting Cantor to go for the dagger (and his job) at the next hint of “compromise”, like say, next month when the batshit starts flying again over  an increase to the debt ceiling or … letting the United States fall into default. (Expect Mike Pence, Michele Bachmann and the usual suspects to start chanting, “Let it fall … ” by May Day.)

Since Cantor has never said a contrary word about any notion the Tea Party notion has ever belched up, I would strongly advise Boehner to operate under the assumption that Cantor is prepared to milk that braying herd for all they’re worth, and if that means grinding Boehner up for low-protein feed, so be it.

Meanwhile Boehner also has to worry about Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan, implausibly, is the face of the Republican party’s “adult” wing, a compliment he earns for not being directly associated with the likes of Bachmann as anything else. With the ever even-handed national media eager-to-desperate for a Republican, any Republican, who sounds like they were educated at an accredited college, and is making decisions based on quaint concepts like study, corroboration and cross-checking, and are not “inspired” by what the burnt profile of Jesus Christ in their toast “spoke to them” that morning, Ryan is a bona fide rising star. A bright intellectual light! A couple more “big ideas” and he’ll be the next Newt Gingrich. (Clear the office desktops, ladies … ).

It says something about the asylum when a “big idea” plan like Ryan’s grand overhaul of the Federal budget — (guaranteed to be fought over pretty much all next year) — is deemed credible and adult even while offering no brave restraints on the Pentagon’s infinitely vast pool of pork, and treadworn schemes like the one for privatizing (“keep your government hands off my …”) Medicare; a plan that drives millions even deeper into the tender mercies of the country’s insurance cabals. Boehner must spit blood at the thought of putting his face on the call for sucking Medicare away from his party’s Revolutionary War re-enactors, with the tea bag dingleberries hanging off their (China-made) tri-corner hats. But if Ryan’s “adult” plan — thoroughly disemboweled as preposterous (here, here, here and here)– gains traction with “the base” (who, as per usual, won’t have a clue what effects it’d really have, even on them), it’ll be Boehner who will have to sell it.

The all-politics-no-governance ideology of the new Republicans has left most of the ward doors to the asylum wide open. The sight of so many droolers and babblers and fiery-eyed messianics roaming free would have Sam Rayburn heading for a bunker, and as the line goes, you sir, Mr. Boehner, are no Sam Rayburn. But yon Mr. Cantor has a lean, hungry and absolutely craven look.

Meanwhile, the opportunity is ripe for Obama on Wednesday, to play adult again and walk the country through the real world of government finance, where you resolve nothing by focusing on a small fraction of the federal budget, and trying to eliminate or gut social programs that no polling has ever shown a majority want cut. Likewise it’d be useful for Obama to explain that the national “defense” (i.e. the profligate waste end of the budget, which is is pushing past 50%), where we continue to buy — at premium chump prices — every gun and widget the defense lobby says we need is the one area of 21st century government that has to be completely emptied out and re-imagined. Then, while he’s at it he should lay in to the childish fiction that we can go on forever lowering taxes/handing out free money to the (“job providing”) elites who are currently sitting on $1.3 trillion in post-’08 crash assets.

64 thoughts on “God Help Us! The “Adults” are Running the Asylum!

  1. Erik Peterson says:

    “any Republican, who sounds like they were educated at an accredited college,…”

    Clever as always. What’s your demographic assumption behind that chestnut? Got a source? Where’s your degree from?

  2. Festus says:

    CHARLEY: Nobody dast blame this man. You don’t understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there’s no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out their in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back- that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple spots on your hat and your finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream boy, it comes with the territory.

    Death of a Salesman

  3. Erik Peterson says:


    BL, I think going blue has a lot of potential for you.

    Figure… liberals don’t pay Bill Maher to be funny. He’s not funny. They pay him, and pay him well, to be the public voice for things they can’t say themselves in regular life. Like Sara Palin is a twat or cunt.

    The great thing about having no hope of ever again having a full time writing position is that’s got to be a liberating feeling. You can truly say anything with no real repercussions. Dingleberries is great. I would just work on the logical extensions of that… conservatives are inbreds, conservatives are retards…. I imagine you’ll be approached with opportunities right away and that freelance limp to age 62 social security will become more interesting if not more remunerative.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      You’re a conservative, right, Erik? I mean, besides being a full-time polymath and tastemaker.

      1. Erik Peterson says:

        I don’t like labels Jim.

        BL like I was saying Maher is in this space but there’s room for more. You’ve got to sharpen your dialog though and loosen remaining inhibitions. I foresee a short stand-up or spoken word tour to work out a routine. That’s no problem to work up, it can merely be a reflection of things that are said every day…’You ever notice how conservatives are a bunch of fuckin idiots?’… etc, you’d have a lot of material in no time.

        There’s got to be differentiation from Maher though. I think you’re on to something that he hasn’t been very bold with ….there’s a real hunger to see the sky god people properly mocked. That’s a wave that can be ridden to the top.

      2. Erik Peterson says:

        Meh. Harris would regard you as a poseur BL. He’s got a critique of Islam that you’re unwilling to recognize as an institutional liberal Democrat.

        Not a bad example though insofar as he’s been elevated by the demographic we’re talking about. Now he is an intellectual. The void that remains is one for a vulgar atheist to enter, changing the nature of the ridicule from casually caustic of faith to openly insulting of it. No one’s expecting you to carry an argument. This male Maureen Dowd thing you do is a perfect vehicle for that though and I’m quite sure yours is an authentic voice that gets rewarded.

  4. PM says:

    Look, lets face it, right now the republicans are suffering from a very severe case of leadership failure.


    and it is not just potential presidential candidates, but also the congressional leaders as well. At some point (probably in 2014) this will be corrected, but for now, Obama is wiping the floor with them all, and the potential strong leaders (2014 edition) are unwilling to emerge to take on a strong incumbent.

    Bottom line is that the republicans are suffering because Obama really is a good, strong leader/candidate, and he is popular and effective. All of this despite the concerted republican/fox attempts to tear him down and discredit him. This disconnect is the cause of the republican discontent–why no strong republicans despite such a weak president? Answer is that this is not a weak president.

    1. PM: Obama doesn’t have my political instincts … and that is without question a very good thing. How you resist doing a spit take into the face of know-nothing, do-nothing cynics like Eric Cantor I don’t know. Sure, I wish he’d slap these characters down in the most public and humiliating way possible, but that’d only set the troll culture into a full apocalyptic death spiral, with a lot of the rest of us sucked in as collateral damage. He is clearly playing a longer-term game than they are, gambling that the larger electorate will acknowledge that next year. More specifically, as others have noted, the multiple, appalling implausibilities of the “adult” Ryan plan are so egregious that he has to be thrilled to have it hanging out there as the standard toward which the GOP wants to drive the middle class.

      1. PM says:

        I do think that Obama is extremely thoughtful and skilled as a politician, and that he is always playing the long game, many many steps ahead of the rest of the pack. he is incredibly patient, and willing to allow himself to be savaged in the short term, in order to achieve his long term goals.

        I predict that he is either going to endorse Simpson Bowles tomorrow, or else something very, very close to it. I think that by waiting, and waiting until Ryan put out his fairly extreme budget proposal, that Obama will be able to claim the center. Simpson bowles will seem all that more reasonable and legitimate because of the extremity of Ryan and the congressional republicans. Boner and Cantor and the tea Party and all of the rest will have been out manoeuvered again…. (or so i hope….)

      2. The ‘art” will be in explaining to the country that “putting our financial house in order” means, at the very least returning us to a pre-9/11 defense budget (keep the exponential increase intelligence if we must but dial back on the next generation bombers and a couple carrier groups), reestablishing Reagan-era tax rates for the very wealthy AND putting the country on notice that the inevitable howls about “weakening” us in the face of terrorism and “job-killing” by crippling our “job providers” really is hysterical politics at its worst.

      3. PM says:

        I was listening to Faux last night, and heard O’Reilly explaining to Dick Morriss that the budget crisis is far more important to the survival of our country than the war on terror….quite a shift in perspective, I thought. Assuming that Obama does adopt something close to Simpson Bowles, i wonder how long it will take O’Reilly and Co. to switch back…

      4. PM says:

        Only to be surpassed by Dick Morris and Sean Hannitty, talking about how the House republicans are patsy’s, because they were too afraid to shut down the government (Morris saying “I won that fight last time, and i know how we could win it this time.” Breathtaking, really)

      1. Newt says:

        Today is the day!

        Thought du jour:

        ‘Tis far wiser to not authorize a higher debt ceiling today than suffer total economic collapse in 5 years.

      2. Festus says:

        Newt’s Law: It is far wiser to shoot yourself in the face than it is to take slowly increasing doses of arsenic.

        Festus’ Corollary: If both your ‘either’ and your ‘or’ are stupid, look for another choice.

      3. PM says:

        Newt’s law corollary:

        If you think you are going to suffer economic collapse 5 years in the future, why not make it a matter of principle, and bring it about NOW?”

      4. Newt says:

        NEWT: Do any of you clowns believe we suffer from an under-taxation problem? Read the damn headlines ….

        US deficit up 15.7% in first half of fiscal 2011

        (AFP) – 39 minutes ago

        WASHINGTON — The US budget deficit shot up 15.7 percent in the first six months of fiscal 2011, the Treasury Department said Wednesday as political knives were being sharpened for a new budget battle.

      5. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Yes, Newt, I do think that the deficit CRISIS will not be solved by cutting discretionary spending alone, or privatizing Medicare and Medicaid alone, but also with a revenue increase, i.e. letting the Bush tax cuts, all of them, lapse.

        And before your reflexive recitation of the hoary shibboleth that rich people are job creators, rest up your lips, click and read on:


      6. PM says:

        Newt; the budget deficit is worse because of the tax cuts. Less money in means larger deficits. it is actually fairly simple.

        I love the irony of republicans complaining about the growing deficit after their insistence on huge tax cuts, which of course make the deficit that much larger.

      7. Newt says:

        We must rid the Feds of that opiate called printable currency leveraged by Chinese lenders. Doing so will force the government to instantly spend within its means.

        Why is that such a bad thing? Someone explain, please. (and spare us the apocalyptic talk.) This isn’t a freshman course at the Humphrey Institute.

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    You’re kidding me, right?

    This administration is completely unserious about meaningful budget cuts and tax reform, as is the entire party. Obama hasn’t so much as even acknowledged that his own deficit commission exits.

    I’m not sure, PM, where you are thinking he’s actually going to propose anything from that commisson of substance. You could be right. I won’t hold my breath.

    If Tea Partiers are wearing dingleberries, which are partial turds, one hates to think of what’s hanging off the caps from the Pelosi/Reid fringe who don’t think we’ve spent nearly enough.

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    OK, Brian, I’ll play along.

    Perhaps I stated the obvious about the Democrats lack of interest in tackling the deficit. If so, sorry.

  7. Mike Kennedy says:

    Talk about unpopularity — with mounting deficits, joblessness, clueless foreign policy and gas nearly $4 a gallon, I think Obama would be in a fight to the death with any one of a handful of Republicans.

    if this shit continues, it will be The One who will take the fall, not the Republicans in the House.

    1. Danny B. says:

      You have to find a credible candidate first…The field you have so far can’t win a national election.

      And I know you hate to hear this, but The One’s popularity still is ahead of The Big Forgetters at this point in Nancy’s presidency.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Give it a few more months of this death spiral and this will look like Carter II. The only reason he has a chance is a lack of a strong competitor. Even without one, if gas is between $4 or $5 a gallon and the jobs rate isn’t much improved, he’s done.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        We do, bro. A six pack of your or my favorite beer. I’m sucking on a Mirror Pond as we speak. It’s not bad. Hopefully, you’ll supply me with more.

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    Oh damn. Gaterud’s not going to like the “hopefully” bullshit.

    Please disregard. I should have said “I hope you will supply me with more.”

    1. PM says:

      Will do. And i am hoping to get some Surly Furious out of you! (a 4 pack will do, as the cans are 18oz.)

  9. Mike Kennedy says:

    A liberal just asked me that question?.

    Ok. I’m done laughing.

    Now, if I were a liberal, I would say, “why Jim, let me enlighten you. People work where there is work. We need to ensure that people have access to jobs wherever they are. In fact, I would be in favor or the government subsidizing people’s car gas and maintenance cost so they don’t have an undue hardship.”

    Come on. I expected more from you.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      And I expected just about this from you. Answer the question. You don’t work at a factory, do you?

  10. Mike Kennedy says:

    No. I don’t. But what if I did? Are some more deserving of consideration than others? Actually, I’m just trying to get a rise out of you. I travel to two offices I own and to clients’ businesses.

    I hope gas prices go through the roof. It will speed up drilling, open up newer technologies and create more supply. Here’s to $8 a gallon.

    1. Mike: Four words. Telecommunication and a Prius.

      But thanks to myriad tax loop holes, most of your “commuting” is tax deductible, I’m thinking. Or, put another way, subsidized by all taxpayers … or … “socialized”.

    2. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Ok, that’s more like the impression you’d given, Mike; you’re a man in charge of his own work life. And you set it up this way?

      If you worked at a factory and bought your McMansion far from the city for the cheap land when gas was cheap and now you can’t sell it, well that’d be one thing.

      But I you give off the air of a bootstrappin’ guy who captains his own ship, a guy who works in front of a couple of computer monitors all day and has clients into his mini-mall office decorated with inspirationally captioned stock nature photos to talk about their portfolios, etc.

      That’s something you can do most anywhere they have good access to the internet. So you’ve set up this 80 miles in the car a day lifestyle. Enjoy it while you can. We won’t be drilling our way back to $2.00/gal gas.

      1. PM says:

        No, we won’t be going back to $2.00/gal at all. But at the same time, there are professions where a face to face relationship is essential, and simply can not be replaced with an electronic relationship. I think that anyone who would work with a money manager via the internet is a fool… (not that electronic communications can’t play a role in that relationship, but only to facilitate the personal relationship).

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Well, we generally commute to our money manager, doctor, dentist. car repairman, accountant, massage therapist, barber, etc., not the other way around. But its not a daily occurrence.

        But if he lived in the boondocks, well, he wouldn’t be our money manager, or, in our case, she.

      3. Mike Kennedy says:

        Though it really doesn’t matter — I first set this business up 16 years ago, and there were too many advisors in my area; so I chose one that was less crowded where I had a chance to get established without having to move my family.

        So it wasn’t by choice. But not that any of this matters. High energy costs hurt the economy and everyone gets affected.

        Many on the left downplay this when it’s a Democratic president, the same ones who demonized Bush when oil prices rose.

        How mighty hypocritical. If he’s president now, the wails of “Cheny and Bush are in big oil’s pockets” would be ear shattering.

      4. Festus says:

        Mike, does your connection with reality concern any of your clients?

        Here’s a typical lefty – Matt Yglesius – from June 2008

        The Love
        By Matthew Yglesias

        Jun 19 2008, 4:19 PM ET
        Foreign Policy lists five reasons to love $4 gasoline. And it’s true, expensive gas has a lot of public benefits. And if we made gasoline more expensive through, say, higher gas taxes or a carbon tax then not only would we secure the public health, congestion, and environmental benefits of expensive gas but the government would have a good source of revenue with which to mitigate some of the consumer pain. As things stand, gas is expensive (and getting pricier) anyway, but oil companies and oil-exporting nations are reaping a huge share of the benefits.

        June 2008, right in the middle of the last oil spike


      5. Mike Kennedy says:

        I’m not sure if my desire for higher gas prices initially registers, but once we talk through it, most agree that it is probably beneficial in the long term.

      6. Mike Kennedy says:

        However, the guy who wrote the article fails to mention that oil companies and oil exporting nations are one in the same. Most of the top 10 oil companies are state owned.

  11. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, Brian, I wish it were so. The IRS won’t let you deduct any mileage to or from work. Period.

    And I always play by the rules. So only if I am going to a client’s place of business or a meeting at another location etc. can I deduct it.

    I drive autos that get good mileage (Hondas) and I do use computers, cell phones etc. for a lot of work. I was just razzing Jim.

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