The Politics of Spite...From NY Times

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    Oct 05, 2009 3:30 PM GMT
    October 5, 2009
    Op-Ed Columnist
    The Politics of Spite
    By PAUL KRUGMAN
    There was what President Obama likes to call a teachable moment last week, when the International Olympic Committee rejected Chicago’s bid to be host of the 2016 Summer Games.

    “Cheers erupted” at the headquarters of the conservative Weekly Standard, according to a blog post by a member of the magazine’s staff, with the headline “Obama loses! Obama loses!” Rush Limbaugh declared himself “gleeful.” “World Rejects Obama,” gloated the Drudge Report. And so on.

    So what did we learn from this moment? For one thing, we learned that the modern conservative movement, which dominates the modern Republican Party, has the emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old.

    But more important, the episode illustrated an essential truth about the state of American politics: at this point, the guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it — whether or not it’s good for America.

    To be sure, while celebrating America’s rebuff by the Olympic Committee was puerile, it didn’t do any real harm. But the same principle of spite has determined Republican positions on more serious matters, with potentially serious consequences — in particular, in the debate over health care reform.

    Now, it’s understandable that many Republicans oppose Democratic plans to extend insurance coverage — just as most Democrats opposed President Bush’s attempt to convert Social Security into a sort of giant 401(k). The two parties do, after all, have different philosophies about the appropriate role of government.

    But the tactics of the two parties have been different. In 2005, when Democrats campaigned against Social Security privatization, their arguments were consistent with their underlying ideology: they argued that replacing guaranteed benefits with private accounts would expose retirees to too much risk.

    The Republican campaign against health care reform, by contrast, has shown no such consistency. For the main G.O.P. line of attack is the claim — based mainly on lies about death panels and so on — that reform will undermine Medicare. And this line of attack is utterly at odds both with the party’s traditions and with what conservatives claim to believe.

    Think about just how bizarre it is for Republicans to position themselves as the defenders of unrestricted Medicare spending. First of all, the modern G.O.P. considers itself the party of Ronald Reagan — and Reagan was a fierce opponent of Medicare’s creation, warning that it would destroy American freedom. (Honest.) In the 1990s, Newt Gingrich tried to force drastic cuts in Medicare financing. And in recent years, Republicans have repeatedly decried the growth in entitlement spending — growth that is largely driven by rising health care costs.

    But the Obama administration’s plan to expand coverage relies in part on savings from Medicare. And since the G.O.P. opposes anything that might be good for Mr. Obama, it has become the passionate defender of ineffective medical procedures and overpayments to insurance companies.

    How did one of our great political parties become so ruthless, so willing to embrace scorched-earth tactics even if so doing undermines the ability of any future administration to govern?

    The key point is that ever since the Reagan years, the Republican Party has been dominated by radicals — ideologues and/or apparatchiks who, at a fundamental level, do not accept anyone else’s right to govern.

    Anyone surprised by the venomous, over-the-top opposition to Mr. Obama must have forgotten the Clinton years. Remember when Rush Limbaugh suggested that Hillary Clinton was a party to murder? When Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in an attempt to bully Bill Clinton into accepting those Medicare cuts? And let’s not even talk about the impeachment saga.

    The only difference now is that the G.O.P. is in a weaker position, having lost control not just of Congress but, to a large extent, of the terms of debate. The public no longer buys conservative ideology the way it used to; the old attacks on Big Government and paeans to the magic of the marketplace have lost their resonance. Yet conservatives retain their belief that they, and only they, should govern.

    The result has been a cynical, ends-justify-the-means approach. Hastening the day when the rightful governing party returns to power is all that matters, so the G.O.P. will seize any club at hand with which to beat the current administration.

    It’s an ugly picture. But it’s the truth. And it’s a truth anyone trying to find solutions to America’s real problems has to understand.


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    Oct 05, 2009 4:37 PM GMT
    yes man, blame the republicans. Great democrat tactic that just doesnt fly and a guarentee wont fly with the american public in 2010 and 2012.
    Your party doesnt even listen to it's people. They want to push health care reform without even reading the bill. They have a clear and large majority of americans who oppose the public option... based on every survey conducted, but yet they still want to ram it down our throats.
    Your party doesnt care what it's people say... the people they work for?!?
    Your doomed for failure
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:18 PM GMT
    filmhottie said
    Your party doesnt even listen to it's people. They want to push health care reform without even reading the bill. They have a clear and large majority of americans who oppose the public option... based on every survey conducted, but yet they still want to ram it down our throats.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/20/new-poll-77-percent-suppo_n_264375.html

    ....here's one.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112818960

    ...here's an even more interesting poll

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/08/poll-most-dont-know-what-public-option.html

    ...and this one, i suspect, may be personally relevant to you.
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:20 PM GMT
    next, please?
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:26 PM GMT
    oh, also, a quinnipiac poll with 62% favoring (32% against) the public option

    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1357


    ...and an abt srbi poll from july that had the numbers at 56% for and 36% against. among other interesting numbers.

    http://www.srbi.com/MostAmericansEagerforHealthcareReform.html
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:37 PM GMT
    your polls are absolute bullshit. Rasmussen polls are basically the mother of all polls, and it is a large majority who oppose obama care.
    There is not a way in the world, more people favor single payer. Yea ok, maybe a san fransico poll of liberals, or better, maybe in hollywood, or maybe oregon, but the country as whole.... sorry big guy, your polls are bogus when it comes to the country as a whole.....

    NEXT!!!
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 05, 2009 5:40 PM GMT
    America will go nowhere until both parties can put all this petty bullshit aside and focus on what they have in common - us. It'll never happen, though.
  • mcwclewis

    Posts: 1701

    Oct 05, 2009 5:45 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidAmerica will go nowhere until both parties can put all this petty bullshit aside and focus on what they have in common - us. It'll never happen, though.



    well said and absolutely true.
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:48 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidAmerica will go nowhere until both parties can put all this petty bullshit aside and focus on what they have in common - us. It'll never happen, though.


    We are no longer what they have in common.
    Their commonality is now corporations.

  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 05, 2009 5:52 PM GMT
    filmhottie saidyes man, blame the republicans. Great democrat tactic that just doesnt fly and a guarentee wont fly with the american public in 2010 and 2012.
    Your party doesnt even listen to it's people. They want to push health care reform without even reading the bill. They have a clear and large majority of americans who oppose the public option... based on every survey conducted, but yet they still want to ram it down our throats.
    Your party doesnt care what it's people say... the people they work for?!?
    Your doomed for failure


    As a former Republican, I'd like to ask what the party currently stands for? I see a party that has alienated moderates and embraces the fringe of the party. I think it's a simplistic to call them the "party of no," but that does seem to describe them these days. Assuming they agree health care needs to be fixed, where are their plans for fixing the system? I see nothing from them.

    I'm sorry -- the Democrats do have their problems, no doubt. But the Republicans are not offering up any alternatives. Have all the intelligent people left the party? I'd LOVE to see a true opposition party that provided some opposition of substance, but the Republicans aren't it.
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:54 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidAmerica will go nowhere until both parties can put all this petty bullshit aside and focus on what they have in common - us. It'll never happen, though.


    Thank you!
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:54 PM GMT
    filmhottie saidyour polls are absolute bullshit. Rasmussen polls are basically the mother of all polls, and it is a large majority who oppose obama care.
    There is not a way in the world, more people favor single payer. Yea ok, maybe a san fransico poll of liberals, or better, maybe in hollywood, or maybe oregon, but the country as whole.... sorry big guy, your polls are bogus when it comes to the country as a whole.....

    NEXT!!!


    sampling data is i think available for every one of those polls. i posted not to argue the validity or merits of policy, but to disprove you on one "fact" you claimed; that every poll suggests that americans overwhelmingly oppose the public option.

    i disproved it. it took about 10 minutes to do so.

    you're also welcome to look up the recent rasmussen poll that shows support for health care reform overall going down about ten points after the public option was considered "dead." you're also welcome to research rasmussen's conservative bias: most polls tilt a bit conservative or a bit liberal, natch, and yeah it's all in how you frame the questions and how you make up your demographics. quinnipiac was more accurate in 2008 than rasmussen though, if i recall correctly.

    i absolutely think you should have the right to whatever opinions and arguments you have--let me say that. there's a coherent conservative argument to be made in this case. unfortunately, when you base an argument on a complete disconnect between factual reality and... well, what you yourself consider to be factual reality, i think that dumbs down real, constructive debate, and reveals you to be either (to be generous) ill-informed/lazy or (to be harsh) intentionally deceptive.

    and, either way, we lose--either from, like you, not caring to take the totality of data into account, or from being lazy enough to listen to people who spout questionable rhetoric shabbily cloaked as fact.
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    Oct 05, 2009 5:58 PM GMT
    Public option!?!?!? Are people crazy or what?!?!?! Why on Earth would anyone deny the kazillion dollar salaries and bonuses of our most needed citizens - insurance executives? Have people no sense of priority? They're not doing meaningless work, like sanitation, or teaching. They're performing the necessary task of denying claims to the sissies who claim disability with every sneeze or tumor. Who else has the guts to do that?
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    Oct 05, 2009 6:05 PM GMT
    Thanks to the democrats and their party of getting nothing done, the republicans will retake the senate in 2010 and the presidency in 2012.
    If Obama doesnt have some very good things happen in the next year, then it is bye bye Obama... one termer like his old buddy Carter in the hall of shame
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    Oct 05, 2009 6:07 PM GMT
    You're too young to be a bitter old queen, yet you've mastered being one. Truly remarkable.
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    Oct 05, 2009 7:06 PM GMT
    Another good piece from Mr. Krugman

    a shame he's not part of the president's economic advisory team.

    a brilliant man he is
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 05, 2009 7:08 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    filmhottie saidThanks to the democrats and their party of getting nothing done, the republicans will retake the senate in 2010 and the presidency in 2012.
    If Obama doesnt have some very good things happen in the next year, then it is bye bye Obama... one termer like his old buddy Carter in the hall of shame

    Don't bet your collection of Ann Coulter books on it, or your Rush Limbaugh-shaped dildo either.


    I've been told the Hillary Clinton vibrator is diesel powered.
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    Oct 05, 2009 7:10 PM GMT
    I don't see what makes anyone think republicans are better than democrats or vise versa.

    Although he hasn't been in office incredibly long, Obama seems to have picked up right where bush left off. We're gonna get hit with this healthcare madness, we'll more than likely be forced to no longer use the dollar for the Amero, and ect.

    I just don't see the debate of parties when it's clearly the people and the purse strings they are controlled by.
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    Oct 05, 2009 8:02 PM GMT
    The Republican Party, the party that has made an issue of such nonsense non-issues as Obama hating white people, Obama having "czars," Obama putting dijon mustard on a hamburger, Obama supposedly bowing to the Saudi King, Obama not wearing a flagpin in his lapel, Obama secretly setting up internment camps for his opponents, Obama shaking hands with Hugo Chavez, Obama being a big-spending and debt-incurring (after 8 years of Bush and a GOP Congress, no less) communist, Marxist, socialist, terrorist, fascist, dictator, parasite, Satan, Muslim, Manchurian candidate, Obama being an illegal alien who was born in Kenya or Indonesia or the country of Hawaii, Obama wanting to indoctrinate the nation's impressionable youth by telling them to work hard and stay in school, Obama wanting to set up death panels to kill people, Obama attacking and apologizing for America, Obama letting the evil Acorn organization run much of the country, Obama giving the Queen of England a shitty gift, Obama refusing to show his brith certificate, Obama's wife hating America and Obama trying to get the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.

    With all their attention over the past nine months on these vitally important issues, the Republicans seem not have had the time to come up with serious policy alternatives on healthcare, on the economy, on the deficit, on Iraq, on Iran, on Afghanistan or much of anything really.

    They have truly deteriorated from a party of ideas into one devoid of much serious thought and one joined at the hip with the crackpots on talk radio and the lunkheads on FoxNews.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Oct 05, 2009 8:07 PM GMT
    All I gotta say is we had it up to our ears in "The Politics of Spite" from bitter angry Democrats for 8 years. Now that the situation seems reversed, the Democrat's selective memory kicks in.

    I think the whole congress should be fired -- Dems and Republicans -- because they have become a bunch of whiners and a joke
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    Oct 05, 2009 8:13 PM GMT
    jerzeybum saidThe Republican Party, the party that has made an issue of such nonsense non-issues as Obama hating white people, Obama ... Obama refusing to show his brith certificate, Obama's wife hating America and Obama trying to get the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.

    With all their attention over the past nine months on these vitally important issues, the Republicans seem not have had the time to come up with serious policy alternatives on healthcare, on the economy, on the deficit, on Iraq, on Iran, on Afghanistan or much of anything really.

    They have truly deteriorated from a party of ideas into one devoid of much serious thought and one joined at the hip with the crackpots on talk radio and the lunkheads on FoxNews.


    you have forgetten one major thing.

    Obama being the ANTI-CHRIST
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    Oct 05, 2009 8:14 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    I think the whole congress should be fired -- Dems and Republicans -- because they have become a bunch of whiners and a joke


    I agreee with you congress needs to be cleaned up. you've got the proportions wrong however

    we need to fire half of the dems, but all of the repubs.
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    Oct 05, 2009 8:28 PM GMT
    jerzeybum saidThe Republican Party, the party that has made an issue of such nonsense non-issues as Obama hating white people, Obama having "czars," Obama putting dijon mustard on a hamburger, Obama supposedly bowing to the Saudi King, Obama not wearing a flagpin in his lapel, Obama secretly setting up internment camps for his opponents, Obama shaking hands with Hugo Chavez, Obama being a big-spending and debt-incurring (after 8 years of Bush and a GOP Congress, no less) communist, Marxist, socialist, terrorist, fascist, dictator, parasite, Satan, Muslim, Manchurian candidate, Obama being an illegal alien who was born in Kenya or Indonesia or the country of Hawaii, Obama wanting to indoctrinate the nation's impressionable youth by telling them to work hard and stay in school, Obama wanting to set up death panels to kill people, Obama attacking and apologizing for AmObama attacking and apologizing for Americaerica, Obama letting the evil Acorn organization run much of the country, Obama giving the Queen of England a shitty gift, Obama refusing to show his brith certificate, Obama's wife hating America and Obama trying to get the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.

    With all their attention over the past nine months on these vitally important issues, the Republicans seem not have had the time to come up with serious policy alternatives on healthcare, on the economy, on the deficit, on Iraq, on Iran, on Afghanistan or much of anything really.

    They have truly deteriorated from a party of ideas into one devoid of much serious thought and one joined at the hip with the crackpots on talk radio and the lunkheads on FoxNews.



    I find your post actuallly kind of funny. You stated so many things that Obama has been accused of, and to your credit... he is guilty of about 8 out of 10 things you mentioned.

    1, Yes he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia... it was on video.... and yes that is not protocol of what a sitting U.S. president does to a saudi king.
    It is a sign of weakness and submissive behavior to a regime that is clearly 3000 years behind the rest of the world.

    2.Obama does have many many many Czars, Its a huge deal because these are UNELECTED people who are placed in poisitions of power.

    3. Obama wearing a U.S. flag on his lapel is a big deal, and it is to most americans. Can he explain why he wont do so. It is a symbol of pride for the U,S, and as a person at the top of the totem pole of power in this country, or at least ---at that time---- most likely president elect, why would he choose not to wear a flag????

    4.Obama did MORE than shake hands with Hugo Chavez. Have you totally missed the coverage of the event?? He was pictured even hugging the ruthless thug as well as accepting a lovely gift which was a book about the history of socialiam in south america. Yea that goes down real well with the american public. Why not just just get caught his chavez's dick up his ass.

    5. " Obama being a big-spending and debt-incurring" This is most utterly ridiculous comment you made.The man has pushed the deficit into record highs that will not recover from from generations... if at all. He will spend spend spend and for what? The unemployment rate is near 10% average, which is most likely actually 20%. Tell me one thing that obama has convinced you his spending is a good thing. What has he spent our country's future on that you are proud of and agree with??? Thanks to your bitch obama, China can now really call the U.S. it's bitch.

    6. You stated people have been calling Obama a Marxist and socialist. Of course he is a socialist. Bigger government, more welfare, less individual economic success. The man believes government should run everything and the private sector should not.

    7."Obama being an illegal alien who was born in Kenya or Indonesia or the country of Hawaii"..... Why in the world would the man not show a birth certificate?? It would end any speculation of his citizenship right there., but NO! Obama, will not show it. A sitting american president cannot prove his place of birth??? and you think that is OK????
    And who the hell says Country of Hawaii?? You lose all credibility for debate when you make up pure fiction. Last I checked, Hawaii was a state, and if born there, you are an american citizen.

    8."Obama attacking and apologizing for America'... AGAIN.... have you not seen or read Obama's apology speeches to country after country. This is an out and out travesty, and is treason in my book. He should be impeached and be prosecuted.

    9."Obama giving the queen an IPOD" --- you must not know how to follow a story. Obama put his own speeches on the ipod!
    The queen was like.. what the fuck?? I dont want to hear this man.

    10. "Obama letting the evil Acorn organization run much of the country"----
    Acorn is a proven corrupt organization. Do you read the news lately? Acorn and its prostitutes have done wonders for america lol. yea.
    Obama was their lawyer, I think around the time when he was buddies with terrorist Bill Aryes who bombed the pentagon. Great person for a U.S. prez to be bumping shoulders with,

    You are a blind ignorant bleeding heart liberal who cannot distingish good from bad, right from wrong. It's everyone else is bad, obama good.
    2012 will put you and your party back to the carter years.
    Thank your messiah and your bitch obama.
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    Oct 05, 2009 8:58 PM GMT
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHA...wow, what a litany of laughter-inducing statements.

    I will reply and pick this stuff apart when I have more time tonight. But thanks for the howls, dude. Funny, funny stuff.
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    Oct 05, 2009 8:58 PM GMT
    This topic was started not about democrat vs republican, health reform politics or any other specific item on the legislative horizon.

    This topic was started about the destructive politics of spite. The responses from RJ members about this only further proves the point.

    When people cheer about Chicago loosing the bid for the Olympics and attach that failed attempt to President Obama and are HAPPY, something is definately wrong with the way this country is proceeding in attempting to solve massive problems.

    In such an atmosphere, nothing constructive can get done.

    Spiteful/hateful behavior can poison any relationship. When it hooks into civil discourse and ignores the real issues, it causes peole to blindly follow their emotions, which usually don't have anything to do with the issue/person at hand.

    I don't need to hate or like republican, democrats, conservatives, Bush or Obama. I would listen to all the options and push for solutions. Even if you don't like a particular presiden't policies, why would anyone be happy about a failed attempt to make something happen that is inherently good?

    After they cheered about loosing the Olympics, was there any discussion about a push for some other American city to host the Olympics sometime in the future?