Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Scare plus a good video

In case you  missed it.  Jon Stewart and the President.  What a combination.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Barack Obama Pt. 3
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Here's your Halloween fright!  It's scarier than any ghoul, goblin, or witch.  It's even scarier than Sarah Palin.  Here is another good NYT op-ed piece from Paul Krugman.  Read it and weep.

Divided We Fail

Barring a huge upset, Republicans will take control of at least one house of Congress next week. How worried should we be by that prospect?
Not very, say some pundits. After all, the last time Republicans controlled Congress while a Democrat lived in the White House was the period from the beginning of 1995 to the end of 2000. And people remember that era as a good time, a time of rapid job creation and responsible budgets. Can we hope for a similar experience now?
No, we can’t. This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness.
Start with the politics.
In the late-1990s, Republicans and Democrats were able to work together on some issues. President Obama seems to believe that the same thing can happen again today. In a recent interview with National Journal, he sounded a conciliatory note, saying that Democrats need to have an “appropriate sense of humility,” and that he would “spend more time building consensus.” Good luck with that.
After all, that era of partial cooperation in the 1990s came only after Republicans had tried all-out confrontation, actually shutting down the federal government in an effort to force President Bill Clinton to give in to their demands for big cuts in Medicare.
Now, the government shutdown ended up hurting Republicans politically, and some observers seem to assume that memories of that experience will deter the G.O.P. from being too confrontational this time around. But the lesson current Republicans seem to have drawn from 1995 isn’t that they were too confrontational, it’s that they weren’t confrontational enough.
Another recent interview by National Journal, this one with Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, has received a lot of attention thanks to a headline-grabbing quote: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
If you read the full interview, what Mr. McConnell was saying was that, in 1995, Republicans erred by focusing too much on their policy agenda and not enough on destroying the president: “We suffered from some degree of hubris and acted as if the president was irrelevant and we would roll over him. By the summer of 1995, he was already on the way to being re-elected, and we were hanging on for our lives.” So this time around, he implied, they’ll stay focused on bringing down Mr. Obama.
True, Mr. McConnell did say that he might be willing to work with Mr. Obama in certain circumstances — namely, if he’s willing to do a “Clintonian back flip,” taking positions that would find more support among Republicans than in his own party. Of course, this would actually hurt Mr. Obama’s chances of re-election — but that’s the point.
We might add that should any Republicans in Congress find themselves considering the possibility of acting in a statesmanlike, bipartisan manner, they’ll surely reconsider after looking over their shoulder at the Tea Party-types, who will jump on them if they show any signs of being reasonable. The role of the Tea Party is one reason smart observers expect another government shutdown, probably as early as next spring.
Beyond the politics, the crucial difference between the 1990s and now is the state of the economy.
When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, the U.S. economy had strong fundamentals. Household debt was much lower than it is today. Business investment was surging, in large part thanks to the new opportunities created by information technology — opportunities that were much broader than the follies of the dot-com bubble.
In this favorable environment, economic management was mainly a matter of putting the brakes on the boom, so as to keep the economy from overheating and head off potential inflation. And this was a job the Federal Reserve could do on its own by raising interest rates, without any help from Congress.
Today’s situation is completely different. The economy, weighed down by the debt that households ran up during the Bush-era bubble, is in dire straits; deflation, not inflation, is the clear and present danger. And it’s not at all clear that the Fed has the tools to head off this danger. Right now we very much need active policies on the part of the federal government to get us out of our economic trap.
But we won’t get those policies if Republicans control the House. In fact, if they get their way, we’ll get the worst of both worlds: They’ll refuse to do anything to boost the economy now, claiming to be worried about the deficit, while simultaneously increasing long-run deficits with irresponsible tax cuts — cuts they have already announced won’t have to be offset with spending cuts.
So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Darlene said...

*Joy Des Jardins - I changed this post after your comment so it got lost. I am glad you got to see the video at last.

Kay Dennison said...

I am afraid as you well know. I loved Jon's interview with Obama.

Darlene said...

*Kay Dennison - What's not to love? Both guys are aces in my book.

joared said...

Watched streaming video of Stewart's and Colbert's D.C. rally for sanity and to dispel fear.

Also, wrote piece recapping a few Calif. election highlights. Some significant issues here including redistricting measures designed for deliberate confusion. Though I'm very concerned I'm not willing to give in to fear whatever the outcome. We'll continue to have our work expressing our views cut out for us.

Darlene said...

*Joared - I saw the rally beginning with the battle of the 'train' bands. I missed the first part because the Board decided to throw a neighborhood coffee at the tennis court at the end of my street that morning. Since I rarely see my neighbors I decided that I should put in an appearance.

I will read your comments today. I know California has some major issues including legalizing marijuana, which appears to be headed for defeat. Foolish people.

20th Century Woman said...

On Monday morning my fingers are crossed. I don't have a lot of hope. I vote in Alaska, and I expect to vote only for candidates who are destined to lose. The Republican candidate here is really scary. Lisa Murkowski is one of the more reasonable Republicans, but she's not great. The Democrat, McAdams is weak.

tnlib said...

"Be afraid. Be very afraid."


Darlene said...

*20th Century Woman - Maybe it's best that these whackos win. After a few years of them the Republican party would be a dead do-do. Unfortunately, the damage they will do in the meantime is very frightening.

*tnlib - Jon Stewart changed my mind. I am not as afraid as I was when I wrote this post. The Dems are poised to lose many seats, but there is a ray of optimism now that it won't be a bloodbath.

Looking to the Stars said...

Love the new picture of you :)

I'm just waiting to see what happens tomorrow. I don't expect anybody I voted for to win. In fact, Obama was the only one who won that I voted for. before & since then everybody has lost (sigh).

I have really enjoyed all the emails you've sent. You are such a sweetie :)

Darlene said...

*Looking to the Stars - Thank you for your very nice words.

Hattie said...

I sure hope Krugman is wrong.

Barry said...

Hi Darlene -

I borrowed the Krugman piece for my blog. Hope that's ok.

It's ugly up here in Mass. It feels as though since we lost Teddy, the gloves came off. I fear the wheels will come off next.

Darlene said...

*Hattie - Me, too, but he has called it right so far. Scary times.

*Barry - It's ugly all over the country. I will mourn Teddy until my dying day. There will never be another Teddy.

Of course you are free to borrow anything from my blog and the Krugman piece is in the public domain. Just be sure to give credit to NYT and Krugman.

Barry said...

Thanks, Darlene. Done and done.