There Are Those Who Say Lord Obama Has No Responsibility for Gov't Shutdown

By 1pm ET yesterday, I had already received two honors for my column "Let Us Be Clear: Obama Deserves Chief Responsibility for Gov't Shutdown.Slate's Matt Yglesias tweeted that my piece "wins the prize for most tendentious shutdown article" and New York's Jonathan Chait graced me with the "Worst shutdown column award." I will cherish these every bit as much as I do a trophy given to a "Mide Gillespie" and featuring a female figurine that I got in 1976 for being on a tennis team.

My column made what I think is a fairly obvious point (spoiler alert: I gave it away in the headline). It's the same basic point that Gov. Chris Christie makes in the clip above: That the failure to pass a budget ultimately redounds to Obama's lack of leadership. Here's part of what Christie said:

My approach would be, as the executive, is to call in the leaders of the Congress, the legislature, whatever you're dealing with and say to them, we are not leaving this room unless we fix this problem because I'm the boss, I'm in charge. When you're the executive, if you're waiting for leadership from the legislative branch of government whether you are the Governor or whether you are the President, or whether you're a mayor, you are going to be waiting forever.

The only reason the government is shut down is because there is no budget, or a continuing resolution, or a spending plan, or set of appropriations bills, or whatever you want to call it. A stronger leader and a more effective politician than Obama would have made sure that we never got to the moment we're in. Especially at the exact moment when his big health-care reform bit was about to start enrolling people. I suggested that Obama would have done better by "kick[ing] the asses of sorry little functionaries like John Boehner and Harry Reid to pass budgets on a regular basis."

Because Jonathan Chait is sometimes a funny guy, he translated that idea into a reply to my piece titled, "Confused Libertarian Demands Obama Become Strongman." And because he is far more often a graceless spewer of ad hominem attacks whose defense of being "mean" reads like a blame-the-victim bully, he wrote,

It’s continually amazing to me that [Reason] publishes commentary on public policy by a writer who lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the policy process.

Among my many supposed sins was not realizing that government can function (as it has for years) without a budget per se (as opposed to continuining resolutions, appropriation bills, etc.) and that Republicans were wholly responsible for the lack of a budget being hashed out earlier this year. Don't you see, both House and Senate Republicans played all sorts of procedural games to refuse to enter in conference over spending? They were demanding preconditions, the bastards, and the Democrats didn't want any. That means that it is all the GOP's fault (but not, one presumes, when Obama refuses to negotiate over passing continuing resolutions or debt-limit increases). As Chait writes,

Senate Democrats have spammed my e-mail in-box pleading for a budget conference on a near-daily basis. House Republicans refused because their strategy is not to negotiate through regular order but to use the threat of a shutdown and debt default to leverage unilateral concessions.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that it is true that Republicans were just waiting for the moment when Democrats in the Senate finally got around to passing a budget after years of screwing off and giving interviews about fake forthcoming budget documents. It isn't true - though as I noted in my column, the GOP is not blameless in plugging up things -  but even if it were, it really doesn't matter to the argument I was making.

Of course the Republicans are trying to bust Obama's - and the Democrats' - balls. Politics ain't beanbag and all that. So what? Obama could have and should have jawboned all involved to work something out. That wouldn't have necessarily meant going Al Capone on anyone. He might have had to "offer" up something (horrors!) in exchange for cooperation. He might have pulled back on taxes or spending or the Keystone XL pipeline. He might have gone directly to the American people and gotten us to squeeze recalcitrant Republicans with our anger or sour tweets, or he might have peeled off some Republican squishes and flipped the four Democrats who voted against the Senate plan. There must have been something he could have done - we're talking about Barack Obama, after all, Lord of the Beer Summit, after all, and not just some mere mortal! 

But he didn't do any of that, nor did he manage to get the Democratic Senate to pass a budget resolution for years before this spring. Even back in 2010, when both houses of Congress were held by his own party. But you gotta understand, back then the Dems were too busy waiting for the big National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposal to really focus on, you know, jumping through procedural hoops like cooking up budget proposals. And the Republicans? They're just too crazy, or insane, or powerful, or too political or something. Because CITIZENS UNITED! KOCH BROTHERS! FOX NEWS! Otherwise, it just doesn't make sense that Barack Obama - such a uniter that he passed Obamacare with all those Republican votes - couldn't get the job done.

From the perspective of someone interested in reducing the size, scope, and spending of government, Obama's inability to finish isn't such a bad thing. Since 2009 (which includes spending under Bush and Obama, including part of his stimulus), real per capita spending has been basically flat or even down a bit. The failure of the deficit super-committee led to sequestration in the here and now instead of probably working out some sort of deal to cut spending 1,000 years from now. Here's hoping that spending's high point was indeed reached in 2009 and that we might start freeing up money wasted by the government for more productive uses by folks digging life, liberty, and the pursuit of whatever the hell they want to peacefully pursue. Man, look up at the chart above - there is just so much wasted money and lives trapped in those record-setting, post-Clinton spikes, both red and blue.

But the idea that Obama couldn't cut a deal or push a budget because the GOP would have forced him to bargain is just special pleading at its worst. And it certainly won't matter to anyone in the future looking back on how the wheels went off so many things during the Age of Obama.

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  • Sevo||

    I'd hate to be around that twit when he trips on a rug; NOTHING is ever his fault.

  • Invisible Finger||

    He's the perfect socialist - no personal responsibility whatsoever.

    Imagine how fucked up his kids are going to be.

  • Ronald Reagan||

    Stay classy.

  • ||

    "Have that removed."

  • TomTom||

    When I hear the name Jonathan, I automatically shudder. It’s one of those fancy pants names helicopter mothers affix to spoiled, self-involved children.

    We’re in the midst of a plague of these oh-so-special Jonathans lounging somewhere within the massive, roofless liberal tent. There’re the two Jonathans who bloviate endlessly from TNR, Chait and Cohn, interchangeable and each the evil twin of the other, whose sole function seems to be as soulless but faithful mouthpieces for Obama. Politico houses several of our most precious Jonathans and there’s a batch more of them out there, lolling about in liberal-only environs, each more precious than the next.

    In fact, I suspect that somewhere under the sun there’s an emo band called The Jonathans, all depressingly sensible, who perform solely at reasonable hours, say 7-9 p.m., family time TV, so as not to disturb their sleep cycle as taught by Dear Old Mom from the cradle on.

    Thank goodness for Gillespie, Welch and co.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Like so many serial killers have a middle name Wayne. Fawning whorish dweebs often named Jonathan.

  • Wardog00||

    Your comment about the name Jonathan would really be hurtful, except it is coming from someone with the kiddie name of TomTom.

  • Tomblvd||

    OWWWWW! Easy Wardog (if that is your real name). No need to go nuclear and blow someone up on account of their screen name. That's just crazy talk!

    You are a wildman, Wardog, a wildman.

    (wait, you did know it was just a screen name, right?)

  • Trollificus||

    No, that's part of his real name...Johnathan Wayne Wardog-Alda.

    You do the math on that one...

  • jolieena||

    I just want to add my story. I get paid over $87 per hour working online with Google! I work two shifts 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening. And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids. Its by-far the best job I’ve had. I follow this great link http://cuttr.it/ukvczrq

  • SIV||

    Nick is far better at defending himself than Milquetoast Matt Welsh

  • Hyperion||

    It's the jacket dude, Welch doesn't have the jacket.

  • sarcasmic||

    Welch has the horn rims. However geek-specs do not wield the same power as leather.

  • Hyperion||

    Or the baby face. He needs to ditch the horn rims and get a goatee. Look more mean, like a free radical anarchist. Then biaattches like Joan whateverthefuckhername would be scared of him and secretly want to sleep with him.

  • fish||

    Then biaattches like Joan whateverthefuckhername would be scared of him and secretly want to sleep with him.

    I wouldn't wish that on anyone.....not even you you monster!

    (well shriek maybe....but no one else)

  • Hyperion||

    I didn't say that anyone would want to sleep with her. I said she would want to sleep with him, therefore making her sound even dumber and more confused than she already does, if possible.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Please, Welch spends more than half of this time in France. In France. You're lucky he doesn't rock the Euro-Male handbag and fashion scarf ensemble.

  • SIV||

    DC was a bad enough environment.

  • Hugh Akston||

    He's tried to grow a beard before, dude. It...it doesn't turn out well.

  • sarcasmic||

    He's tried to grow a beard before, dude. It...it doesn't turn out well.

    I thought it looked OK. For a geek.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    That wasn't a beard, dude.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Matt keeps going on MSNBC commercials where he's the only boy; then he feels he can't interrupt lest he be sexist. He needs to get Katherine Mangu-Ward to do some of those gigs. She can be tart when she needs to be.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A stronger leader and a more effective politician than Obama would have made sure that we never got to the moment we're in.

    Except that House Republicans are racist. And stubborn, too. Unlike them, Obama was elected to his office by the voters. Therefore, Congress should understand that he doesn't need to negotiation in his continuing reasonable compromise with the ideological foes.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Here's the thing... The congress is not subordinate to the president. They answer to their own voters, not to the executive. They've made a habit of shirking their responsibility and letting the president pretend to be a king since the FDR regime or thereabouts, but legally speaking, it's still the congress's fault that there's no budget, so it remains their fault until and unless they pass a budget and send it to the president to sign or veto. If he vetoes, THEN it's his fault the government is shut down.

    As for apportioning blame within the congress, given that the house has passed four bills and the Senate is just sulking, I kind have to go with the Senate democrats being the culprits here.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Isn't Obama supposed to be the leader of the democrats though?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    FWIW - I'm pretty sure FOE was being sarcastic....

  • Tomblvd||

    Yea. People's sarcasm detectors must be government issue, they aren't working.

  • Tman||

    C'mon Nick, it's because you used the gangsta rap term "Get over it."

    You racisty racist you.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    "I hate the fuckin' Eagles, man!"

  • Hyperion||

    Is that fat fuck Christie in that video? Why hasn't he exploded yet?

  • Being Waterboarded||

    He has exploded... onto the scene.

  • fish||

    No one has offered him the proverbial "wafer thin mint".

    It's wafer thin.....

  • Bruce Majors||

    Maybe Cory Bookers taps out the excess gas periodically?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Putting the fault squarely on the Republicans means PRECISELY that Obama is an ineffective leader.

    Any piece of shit can lead people that are already following. An actual leader has to get enough people to jump on board when they DON'T instantly want to.

    Holy fucking shit, even Dumbya figured this out.

  • Sevo||

    "even Dumbya figured this out."
    The second-worst prez.

  • FYTW||

    It’s continually amazing to me that [Reason] publishes commentary on public policy by a writer who lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the policy process.

    Fair enough. It's continually amazing to me that the New York Magazine publishes commentary on public policy by a writer who lacks even a rudimentary ability to fog a mirror.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Hey! Vampire Americans have feelings too!

  • Hugh Akston||

    What is going on in Team Blue you guys? Has the government shut down cut off the supply of drugs that prevent them from turning into shrieking retards?

  • fish||

    Well Chait certainly is "non-essential"!

  • Bruce Majors||

    Ms. Chait is a 'crat now in education policy I believe, after her service to the country at the Center for American Regress.

  • FYTW||

    If there are drugs to prevent that condition, Chait hasn't been getting his dosage for years.

  • Bruce Majors||

    He's drug free. Or Minoxidil doesn't work.

  • Jordan||

    Has the government shut down cut off the supply of drugs that prevent them from turning into shrieking retards?

    How would we notice?

  • ||

    It's the latest orgy for TEAM OUTRAGE, Hugh. How dare the GOP block shit they supposedly don't like! This is like Newtown all over!

  • SweatingGin||

    This is like Newtown all over!

    Stealing that.

  • Raven Nation||

    "we're talking about Barack Obama, after all, Lord of the Beer Summit, after all, and not just some mere mortal!"

    This is a key point: folks like Yglesias & Chait spent much of 2008 telling everyone that Obama was something new, never-before-seen, a species of leader rarely seen in the world. But he can't even pull off a budget deal.

    Which leaves the Y&C crowd with limited choices: either the rethuglicans are SO evilly powerful that even the great Obama can't overcome them (which still lessens his leadership cred) OR Y&C & their ilk were talking through a hole in their head 5 years ago.

    Or both.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    No no no... It's that the Republicans are racist.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    That's the narrative. He tried to reach out but the evil Republicans were so consumed with racist hatred that they thwarted him.

    And when the public turned on the Democrats in 2010 and the Dems were shellacked, well that was just the public failing Obama.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Yep. Sad but true.

  • Hugh Akston||

    His glory is too much for this fallen world.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    It's only religion when Teathuglicans do it.

  • Raven Nation||

    You know who else thought his people had failed him & were unworthy of his leadership?

  • ||

    Virginia Postrel?

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Bruno Ganz?

  • John C. Randolph||

    Admiral Dönitz?

  • John C. Randolph||

    No, wait.. It was that idiot with the Charlie Chaplin mustache who shot himself in the head, right?

    -jcr

  • ||

    Khaaaaan!

  • MrGuy||

    "My mom"?

  • Bobarian||

    "were talking through a hole in their head"

    The hole they talk through is very near their heads, because it surrounds them.

  • Bruce Majors||

    I'm not sure the hole was in that end.

  • Jordan||

    A real leader leads from the front nine.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    You still couldn't escape this sick Twitter burn Nick:

    Rajesh ‏@rajesh_v 24h
    @jonathanchait @nickgillespie process, policies etc are for wusses. Where's my leather jacket?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Did he tweet that before or after he took a shit in the street?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It’s continually amazing to me that [Reason] publishes commentary on public policy by a writer who lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the policy process.

    First they ignore you, then...

  • Floridian||

    , then...
    They arrest you for ignoring your betters and buying things from Silk Road?

  • ||

    First they ignore you, then...

    they shoot you for being prescient and then take credit.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I hear Jonathan Chait is a GOP plant.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I thought men like him were usually called a fruit.

  • ||

    Edward D. Wood, Jr.: I like to dress in women's clothing.

    Georgie Weiss: You're a fruit?

    Edward D. Wood, Jr.: No, not at all. I love women. Wearing their clothes makes me feel closer to them.

    Georgie Weiss: You're not a fruit?

    Edward D. Wood, Jr.: No, I'm all man. I even fought in W.W.2. Of course, I was wearing women's undergarments under my uniform.

  • juris imprudent||

    That sir is an insult to plants.

  • Bruce Majors||

    I would have thought he's more in the fungus family.

  • Dead or In Jail||

    This brings up an interesting question: which book is the essence of 21st Century Progressivism--

    Yglesias, Matthew. Micropenis: A personal journey

    or

    Chait, Jonathan. The Comprehensive Guide to Masturbation: Guidance on Technique, Propriety, and Endurance.

    These two titans present each other with stiff competition indeed.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    +1

    Krugman, Paul. Surviving Herpes: Interpersonal relationships when the personal is painful.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Sullivan, Andrew.Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhea: Fact and Fiction

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That's hilarious, Lady Bertrum. That is, the idea that Andrew Sullivan would write any book before publishing his magnum opus Pregnant With Meaning: An In-Depth Sarah Palin's Uterus and What It Signifies For National Politics.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    +1

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Jonathan Chait graced me with the "Worst shutdown column award."

    The same assclown who joked about turning Nazis loose on WW2 vets who had the audacity to think they could visit a public memorial without King Barry's approval?

    I would take the award as praise.

  • Irish||

    The proper nomenclature is 'God King,' you disrespectful swine.

    Bow and scrape before the glory of The Light Bringer.

  • MJGreen||

    Not God Emperor? It certainly feels like we're on the Golden Path.

  • Swiss Servator, Kneel to Zug!||

    To Kralizec, yes?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    stiff

    That's actually the subject of Yglesias's second book, As Soft As Obama's Heart: My Struggle with Erectile Dysfunction

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Shut down your yaps dems lol

    Shortnsweet.com

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Shut down your yaps dems lol

    Shortnsweet.com

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Weigel with some reporting from the World War II Memorial

    The drama-cum-circus spreads around the memorial. Huizenga finds himself in a short shouting match with a tourist who’s standing outside the memorial, looking down at him.

    “Do your job!” yells the tourist.

    “We tried to fund the veterans and the parks, and the Democrats blocked it,” Huizenga says.

    “You didn’t try! Why don’t you vote for a gun ban and maybe the Democrats will stop Obamacare,” the tourist says.
    [...]
    But it’s not like the nonagenarians walking the memorial are willing to become health care pundits. They, like the parks, were supposed to be victims of the House GOP’s intransigence. The House GOP wants to prove that they’re really victims of a reckless President Obama. Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer spots the bureaucrats sliding back the barrier and starts to confront Johnson again. Beyond the barrier, another heckler tries to rattle him.

    “Why don’t you go back to Congress and do your jobs?” the heckler yells.

    “Why don’t you get a job?” snaps Neugebauer.

    The heckler, a Harvard Ph.D. student named Matthew Kustenbauder, calmly moves away as Honor Flight workers tell him to keep it civil. “The nerve of him to say ‘get a job,’ ” says Kustenbauder. “For all he knows, I’ve been furloughed.”

  • Irish||

    There is an unbelievable amount of gross stupidity in that article.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    “The nerve of him to say ‘get a job,’ ” says Kustenbauder.

    Hey! Matthew didn't go to frickin' Harvard to sully his hands with something so abominable as WORK. Work is for the peasants! It's Matthew's job to sit in an office full of books and think big thoughts that will benefit the people!

  • Winston||

    You mean Reason Contributing Editor Dave Weigel?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You'd think a PhD would be able to come up with better butthurt than that.

  • seguin||

    Who knows what PhD program he's in. He could be getting his doctorate in Butthurt Studies, in which case that was dissertation material.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama should not cave at all.

    The next time the GOP will demand, say - outlawing the birth control pill (abortofacieants). Their lust for legislation by crisis will know no end.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Their lust for legislation by crisis will know no end."

    Yeah, they're the kind of people who would openly avow that they won't let a crisis go to waste to pass their agenda, and who would ghoulishly try to exploit a tragedy to get laws passed.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|10.2.13 @ 8:17PM|#
    "Obama should not cave at all."

    Yep, negotiation's for wusses, right, dipshit?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Progtards have a lot of sand saying Obama shouldn't cave on Obamacare when he's already granted waivers to that very law by the bucketful.

    Just because Team Red may have adopted the wrong tactics on this fight doesn't mean President Cornball and his fellators aren't raging hypocrites.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Like JFK before him this is Obama's Khrushchev moment.

    Blockade is in order.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Umm, Krushchev ended up getting everything he wanted out of JFK and then some.

    You're not just mathematically ignorant, you're historically ignorant as well.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Not true. He was bounced amid humiliation. Castro called him a pussy for backing off Cuba. The US kept their missiles in Turkey.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You are hilariously stupid. Khruschev didn't give a damn about Castro's opinion, and per declassified Soviet documents he got much more than he anticipated from the Crisis.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    He [Khruschev] was bounced amid humiliation. The US kept their missiles in Turkey [???].


    He was surely crying like a little girl while JFK removed the mid-range Jupiter ICBMs from NATO ally Turkey.

    Castro called him a pussy for backing off Cuba.


    Pure show from a clown. JFK agreed with Khruschev not to intervene in Cuba any more, exactly what Khruschev wanted.

  • OldMexican||

    By the way, it should be MRBM for Mid-range ballistic missiles, not ICBMs. Sorry for that.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Not true. He was bounced amid humiliation. Castro called him a pussy for backing off Cuba. The US kept their missiles in Turkey.

    The Soviets gained a new satellite 90 miles from American shores, and the US actually removed their missiles from Turkey in 1963 as part of the deal. You can't even get basic facts correct.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|10.2.13 @ 8:31PM|#
    "Like JFK before him this is Obama's Khrushchev moment."

    JFK was no prize, but Obo isn't fit to lick his jockstrap.
    And, no, what Obo is 'protecting' has nothing to do with national security. It's a rotten, poorly written piece of crap that is nothing other than an ego prop.
    You are a mendacious, slimy turd.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    I see proggies are picking up the neocons' Munich logic. Justify your refusal to compromise by pointing to vague future threats which supposedly can only be avoided by showing manly vigor now.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    the GOP will demand, say - outlawing the birth control pill (abortofacieants). Their lust for legislation by crisis will know no end.

    Imagine if the President had the power to effectively nullify Congressional legislation by issuing an order to the DoJ to avoid prosecuting anyone under those laws. What a fantastic dream!

  • ||

    When's the last time a member of the GOP tried getting anything remotely like that done?

    Now get back to polishing obama's knob you slimy little demfag.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    After reading a bunch of Palin's comments I'm starting to think she/he lives in some bizarre alternate universe where Christianity is winning the culture war.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    In one sense Obama's problem isn't even ideological; here's a backbench Senator who spent just enough time in Congress to find out where the bathrooms were located, and who has never worked in or produced anything of excellence -- all the while being told he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Lo and behold, he knows nothing about how to run a government or do much of anything besides speechify and be "articulate".

    The "problem" is that even though Yglesias & Co have the collective intelligence of a Belgian waffle, they have enough sense to know what they're being paid for. They are employed for their utility as their respective side's bitches, not as purveyors of anything in the way of interesting or independent analysis.

    If Yglesias came out and said, "look, this shutdown is the result of a failed budgeting process" and explained how the budgeting process works, how it has broken down, and theorized as to why this might have happened, it would look terrible for the inexperienced God-emperor. Yglesias would not be getting retweets from his audience. If he started to use his blog in this fashion permanently, he would be out a job. That is why Slate is populated by fatheads: everyone out there who is aware of Slate's existence knows what people working there are being asked to do, and anyone with some sense of integrity and/or intelligence would rather huff paint than ply their trade by making excuses/lying for politicians.

  • ||

    Exactly, and it's not just Slate. Like I said on an earlier thread, ideology and partisanship is the death of talent. The more ideological and partisan a website/blog/paper/magazine is, the worse its writers will be, because only truly awful dipshits would be willing to allow their reputations to be cratered by writing the most insipid propaganda imaginable.

    I mean, think about what these people do. You have to be either fucking retarded (Yglesias) or vicious and hateful (Chait) or such an abject sheep (many of the other writers) to do this without either going insane or hating yourself.

    It's sort of like with politicians or cops: if you create a position of power (in this case, the writers have a very limited power, the power to spread propaganda, but that is a form of power), the worst possible people will gravitate to it. So with cops you get violent bullies; and with writers you get venal or stupid integrity-and-talent-less hacks who have no problem lying and misrepresenting.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yup. Lord Byron was wrong; power doesn't corrupt, it attracts the corruptible.

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    Acton.

    Byron's the one who's famous for getting his head chopped off by Duncan Macleod.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    D'oh!

  • Long Range Boredom||

    Frank Herbert said it best: "Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it."

  • RickC||

    I like Douglas Adams' take.

    "It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

  • RickC||

    . . ."most" want to rule . . .

  • ||

    It's sort of like with politicians or cops: if you create a position of power [...] the worst possible people will gravitate to it.

    Aw, you stole that line from Raymond Chandler -- except his (cop) character put cops first and mentioned politicians as second.

  • David R||

    And the award for "Most Vacuous Use of the Word 'Tendentious'" goes to...

  • Irish||

    McDonald's worker admits being paid $15 by a group called "Good Jobs Nation" to protest WWII veterans.

    Remember: The Tea Party is totally astroturf, but when liberals pay hobos and the working poor to march in their picket lines, that's democracy in action.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO ASTROTURF THESE PROTESTS IF THE KOCH BROTHER TEABAGGERS WOULD JUST PAY THEM A $20 AN HOUR LIVING WAGE!!!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    speculating on what the McDonald’s employee, Luis Chiliquinga, really thought,

    I guess "Chico Esquela" would have been too obvious a troll.

  • juris imprudent||

    Should've gone with Frito Pendejo.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I hear Carlos Danger needs a gig these days.

    -jcr

  • Curtisls87||

    This made me snort!

  • XM||

    15 dollars an hour to protest, or just 15 dollars to protest?

  • ||

    Wouldn't that be funny if they paid $15? That's some living wage!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    His Majesty, the God-Emperor, Barack Obama, the First of His Name, grants an audience to his faithful subject, John Harwood, to bestow his wisdom and enlightenment on the ignorant masses....

    Or to tell people it's not his fault. Again.

    “During the course of my presidency, I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican party,” the president told CNBC’s John Harwood in an interview. “I think I’m pretty well known for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I’m too calm. And am I exasperated? Absolutely, I’m exasperated. Because this is entirely unnecessary.”

    “I am exasperated with the idea that, unless I say that, ‘Twenty million people, you can’t have health insurance,’ these folks will not reopen the government. That is irresponsible,” he said of Republicans’ repeated efforts to defund or delay his signature health care law as part of any bill to fund the government.

    How dare these evil Republicans not give me my way! Don't they know who I am? I am the God-Emperor, Barack Hussein Obama! My power is as boundless as my wrath!

  • Irish||

    Yup.

    If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.

    When has this man ever said something that might make Republicans uneasy about working with him?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    " his faithful subject, John Harwood"

    You got that right.

  • Irish||

    Well, this happened.

    Critz attended a meeting Saturday for the party state committee and was confronted about a joke about rape that he made in June 2012 at the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women’s convention.

    During the meeting Saturday, Michele Sellitto, who had attended the 2012 convention, asked Critz to tell her how he proposed “to represent the people of Pennsylvania when at a state Democratic women’s caucus you told a joke that was degrading to women and to gays.”

    After more questions from Sellitto, Critz reportedly left the meeting.

    The offending joke, according to Missa Eaton, who attended the convention, was about “a home invasion and a rape scene, and in the end the perpetrator is gay.”

    How is this not big news? I'm sure the media would be equally willing to look the other way if a Republican made a joke about gay rape.

  • Bobarian||

    Well, until I hear the joke, how will I know if it's funny?

    I'm not Lindy West, and able to tell if a rape joke is funny just by who tells it, for chrissakes!

  • SIV||

    Rape jokes are always funny in a rape culture.

  • juris imprudent||

    You got a dick don't you? Then by definition a rape joke is funny.

    Sheesh, why do people insist on over-complicating things?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Was it this one:

    Lawyer speaking to a jury, says "Ladies and gentlemen, it would simply be impossible for my client to have committed this rape. I mean, here, let me show you his organ of generation...have you ever seen anything so small and pitiful? Here, let me hold it up so you can get a look..."

    Client whispers, "stop handling my dick or you're going to lose the case!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So a hunter walks into a bar and says, "bartender, how big is a penguin?"

    "About two feet tall."

    "Are you sure? Only two feet tall?"

    "Yes."

    "Dear God, I've shot a nun!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I have a joke so funny it will make your tits fall off. Oh, I see you've already heard it.

  • Tony||

    Yeah it was pretty much the stupidest bullshit I read on the subject all day. You can hardly move without tripping over a Republican who is more critical of Republicans than Nick Gillespie was. John Boehner is the one person who can end the shutdown. Not Barack Obama, John Boehner. A clean CR will pass the House. Obama can't strongarm House Republicans more than Republican Speaker John Boehner. They think Obama is the antichrist, probably literally in many cases. Your article was ridiculous, ahead of a Republican cocksucking curve that never actually existed. Concern trolling for a strongman presidency. Absolutely ludicrous.

  • #||

    Does Tony need to be self aware to be considered alive?

  • seguin||

    He does worse on the Turing test than MappRapp.

  • triclops||

    Please humor us by describing the myriad ways Obama bent over backwards for Republicans.

  • Tony||

    All the Senate is asking for is a short-term continuing resolution at sequestration levels of spending, which Democrats do not support.

  • JWatts||

    All the Senate is asking for is a short-term continuing resolution at sequestration levels of spending, which Democrats do not support.

    We've been over this. Over half of the Democrats in Congress voted for the sequester. And Obama signed it!

    Stop spreading the lies.

  • Tony||

    We haven't been over this with your head outside of your ass though.

    Democrats and Republicans voted for the sequester in order to motivate action that never happened, because Republicans decided they liked the sequester against all reason (except the reason that any cutting is good, derrr). Democrats (not to mention economists) do not support spending at that level or that level of arbitrariness.

  • JWatts||

    LOL, that argument is pathetic, as is your silly name calling.

    It was a deal, Defense cuts vs other Discretionary cuts. With both sides agreeing to risk losing spending that they valued. The agreement was to go forward with broad cuts that would motivate the parties to make specific cuts. If no specific cuts could be reached, then the broad cuts would take effect.

    Are you really saying that the Democrats are so stupid and short sighted that they thought they could agree to the deal, fail to reach a compromise, but expect the deal to be repealed before it took effect?

  • John C. Randolph||

    Spare us your homoerotic fantasies, rent-boy.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Sports analogy time!

    Obama's behavior is like a coach blaming his team's ineffectiveness on his staff. Damn, the offense is not working because the offensive coordinator sucks! Rather than lead to rectify the problem, he'd rather sit, watch and blame. He's the 'I didn't do it' President.

    Obama is not a good leader at all. He's the Lane Kiffin of politics.

  • Tony||

    So explain exactly what he's supposed to do. "Lead harder" is a little vague.

    And why doesn't John Boehner have any responsibility to lead harder, considering he's the one person who could end the shutdown?

  • JWatts||

    So explain exactly what he's supposed to do. "Lead harder" is a little vague

    Get the administration involved in the budget negotiation process by spring. Which until Obama took the reins was a pretty standard practice.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|10.3.13 @ 10:17AM|#
    "So explain exactly what he's supposed to do."

    Do you and he need a paint-by-numbers kit?
    Managers manage; what "exactly" they do varies by the circumstance. But here's the deal; if a manager can't manage, the manager deserves a shove out the door.
    Your fave liar is a failure.

  • IceTrey||

    The problem with Christie is that the President isn't the boss. We have a triumvirate style government.

  • ||

    Every single criticism of Nick's column and all of the Tony and PB posts in these comments are pure projection. My God. Mendacity and un-self awareness run amok.

  • John Galt||

    Free ginormous Obama poster. Kewl.

  • earthandweather||

    Amen. I needed that, thanks Nick.

  • TomTom||

    When I hear the name Jonathan, I automatically shudder. It’s one of those fancy pants names helicopter mothers affix to spoiled, self-involved children.

    We’re in the midst of a plague of these oh-so-special Jonathans lounging somewhere within the massive, roofless liberal tent. There’re the two Jonathans who bloviate endlessly from TNR, Chait and Cohn, interchangeable and each the evil twin of the other, whose sole function seems to be as soulless but faithful mouthpieces for Obama. Politico houses several of our most precious Jonathans and there’s a batch more of them out there, lolling about in liberal-only environs, each more precious than the next.

    In fact, I suspect that somewhere under the sun there’s an emo band called The Jonathans, all depressingly sensible, who perform solely at reasonable hours, say 7-9 p.m., family time TV, so as not to disturb their sleep cycle as taught by Dear Old Mom from the cradle on.

    Thank goodness for Gillespie, Welch and co.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Trained doggies. Well paid chihuahuas that Chase cars. Yglesias does actually have a thought every other year more abstract than a press release. Chait remains a shonda.

  • livertarian||

    Gov. Christie may have a point, but isn't is possible that there are no other big dollar spending disagreements left in federal government apart from ACA at this point? Seems like at least 95% of federal spending is either bi-partisan approved (like NSA and entitlements), or totally bi-partisan "let's pretend that doesn't exist" (interest on debt, equal pork distribution to states, and much more).
    Just point fingers and yell until 2016.

  • DenverJay||

    What I find interesting is that, looking at the graph, spending per capita has been higher under Republican administrations than under Democratic ones. There is 1945, but WWII was still going on. Also, note the exception is Dwight "watch out for the Military-Industrial Complex" Eisenhower. A man who actually practiced what he preached! Amazing, where do we get one of those?
    My theory is that the Dems have to be frugal to avoid the "tax-and-spend" stereotype, while Republicans want to avoid the "mean old man hates the childruns" label. Also, since the Republicans are statist fucks no matter what they pretend, since they are Republicans they can get away with higher spending.
    (I know that, in theory at least, Congress is in charge of spending, but the President has more influence on the budget than any single Congresscritter)

  • Tony||

    Republicans as fiscally responsible is total 100% propaganda bullshit.

  • DenverJay||

    With the exception of Ike. But at least they pay lip service to the idea. In theory, they agree that lower spending is better. Dems won't even accept the premise.

  • miktek99||

    The last years the Federal Government ran a surplus was when the voters put the Democratic Party's Bill Clinton. He handed over to George W. Bush a surplus which immediately ended when Bushed passed the biggest tax cut in history. Then the deficits started in for the 8 years of his Presidency while of course the Republicans who also passed the new drug benefit for Medicare in Part D of course unpaid for. But of course those on the Right turn a deaf ear to this as it creates too much cognitive dissonance for them.

  • Ronald Reagan||

    This article is essentially stating that Obama is a poor leader because he could not convince, cajole or force a tantruming minority of Republican Representatives to behave like adults when they couldn't have their way.

    The only place this argument resonates is in the extreme right wing echo chamber. The American people are placing the blame correctly, and the Republican brats in the House of Representatives will ultimately get their spanking. They are even starting to blame each other. Priceless!

  • josh||

    it makes perfect sense to me, and i'm neither libertarian nor conservative.

    and i read it as more, he isn't even pretending to try and "convince, cajole, or force...". he has a horrible congressional relations team/strategy and no sense of how to use the bully pultpit of the job he holds.

    the gop sucks too,of course, but obama has a greater degree of power he's wasting.

  • Ronald Reagan||

    Obama is wasting his power? When the dust settles, he will have engineered one of the greatest shifts in American politics, and the Republican party will be greatly diminished. He is one of the most effective leaders this country has ever seen.

    Of course, the Republicans have helped him by constantly shooting themselves in the foot. Rather than fix the party, they will blame the "low information voters". (You know: women, brown people, immigrants, poor people, non-Christians, young people.)

  • ||

    Obama and the Dems were perfectly happy toplay extreme partisanship and no prisoners when it suited their purposes. Now the Republicans are playing the game the Dems started, and the Dems are whining about it.

  • Ronald Reagan||

    If you look at politics as a game, it is obvious the Republicans are playing it poorly. They are losing ground with the American people every day that this goes on.

  • loellaviles||

    my friend's sister makes =$­8­0= an hour on the laptop. She has been fired from work for seven months but last month her pay check was =$­1­2­7­4­1= just working on the laptop for a few hours. here are the findings...

    http://WWW.WORKS23.COM

  • Westmiller||

    I think libertarians should *support* Obama's "shutdown".

    It's the first time in decades that the federal government has operated without a deficit. If we could keep it "closed" for a few years, we might actually see a reduction in the debt.

    Rhetorically, we should be hailing the action by calling it "prudent austerity" for government bureaucrats ... thank you Mr. President! A few hundred thousand government agents losing their jobs could be a real boon to private employment and prosperity.

  • josh||

    obama strikes me as someone who decided the other kids are mean, so he's not going to play (or in this case, negotiate) with them. i think they're mean too, but they were also elected, so you can't take your ball and go home.

  • Ronald Reagan||

    Most Americans see it as just the opposite. As much as the right likes to tout the founding principles of this country, they can't seem to get their heads around the concept of democracy.

  • Isab||

    Most Americans, especially Democrats, don't seem to understand that the US is not a democracy. It is a republic.

    It is functioning as intended, which is gridlock, when there is not negotiation, and agreement.

  • Ronald Reagan||

    de·moc·ra·cy
    noun \di-ˈmä-krə-sē\

    : a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting.

    If you are going to be a pedant, at least get it right.

    The People are going to give the Republicans a spanking for holding the economy hostage and making unreasonable demands.

  • wilonacoury||

    my roomate's sister makes $78 hourly on the internet. She has been laid off for 6 months but last month her income was $16950 just working on the internet for a few hours. go to this site
    http://WWW.WORKS23.COM

  • miktek99||

    The Affordable Care Act was passed on March 23, 2010 3 yrs and 7months ago.

    On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the ACA in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.

    The bill was originally put together by a bi-partisan committee whose members were Democrats Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, and Kent Conrad, and Republicans Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley, and Olympia Snowe.

    The Tea Party minority the GOP has attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act some 40+ times and failed every time.

    The bottom line is why does the President somehow to negotiate with a party minority who I regard as right wing fanatics over a law that has passed by the Congress and adjudged consitutional by the Supreme Court.

    I say the President has no need to negotiate with terrorists who will shut down the government to demand that the President somehow repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    My family will immediately benefit from the Affordable Care Acts provision to not allow insurance companies to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Informal polls show that when asked to choose between Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act they chose the Affordable Care Act.
    Those on right hate Obama their style is to manufacture ad-homimen attacks that are vile, vicious and filled with cognitive distortions which to my mind only display their lack of any kind of intelligence.

  • XM||

    yeah, why would the president negotiate with right wing "terrorists". After all, he's delayed the employee mandate and pushed back the implementation dates (unilaterally!) without any sort of discussion. He also insists congress is exempt. See, when the guy wants something, he gets it done by himself just fine.

    Insurance companies rejected maybe 1% of those with preexisting conditions. 80% of the Americans claim that they were SATISFIED with their (pre ACA) insurance plan.

    ACA did not enjoy bipartisan support WHATSOEVER. Every bad thing we've predicted has pretty much happened. The mother bleeping bronze plan would cost me just 2000 dollars even with subsidy. The reasonable deductible is a moot point if you wain't working full time.

    I'm literally surrounded by people who supported Obama, and not one of them bought insurance. They can't afford it.

  • ||

    uptil I saw the bank draft for $9693, I didn't believe that my sister woz like realey taking home money parttime at there labtop.. there uncles cousin has done this for only about eighteen months and at present cleard the depts on there villa and bought a great Jaguar XJ. he said

    http://WWW.WORKS23.COM

  • wooffjordy||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to Economy tab for more detail ...

    =============== http://WWW.MAX34.COM

  • wooffjordy||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to Economy tab for more detail ...

    =============== http://WWW.MAX34.COM

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