Posts tagged ‘compromise’

Friday

Well my mind is kind of reeling. There are so many things that are not making sense, I don’t know where to start. Probably the first is the Farm Bill which should just be vetoed and tell Congress to get it right. Of course it has lots of good things in it, but it is loaded with bad things. Just to mention one is crop insurance which protects our farmers from Mother Nature, but is really a give away to insurance companies where we the tax payers guarantee a 14% return on their policies (and subsidize them). Why? Or why Congress removed the requirement to disclose who in congress is getting subsidized insurance? Full disclosure anyone?

That brings up a whole topic of compromise, horse trading, and extortion and . When does one become the other? Chris Chistie’s folks are mulling this over right now and clearly in politics the gray predominates. Right here in California we have a project going south (literally and figuratively) because of politics. That would the the high speed rail project. The route it will take was based upon horse trading to get votes and align the route with cities who had their votes for sale. So instead of good policy and projects, we get the suboptimal solution, and one that may ultimately spell its demise.

Let’s look at immigration. Republicans have given us a one page immigration plan, which means they haven’t giving us anything yet. But what is good immigration policy? Or how much of this is weighed down by pandering to the base as opposed to good policy that might work. Democrats are probably thinking we can throw away more money on border security if we can get a bill that actually helps legalized those who are in the shadows. Well that remains to be seen, but is that really a good compromise?

I guess what is really bothering me is that we know how to fix many things. They really are not up for debate since we already have enough data. But it would appear that we elect politicians who game the system for political advantage instead of working for the good of the country. How do we get around that? That is what is rolling around in my mind. We have a systemic problem in our political system that ensures that politicians like Chris Christie succeed instead of more public service oriented people. Sure Chris and most Democrats sell us that they care about us, but what they do is what they are.

So some horse trading and compromise works. Clearly if I want a new water treatment facility for my citizens I should be able to make a deal to support someone else’s project to get it. It is in the interest of my voters. But when I make deals to benefit special business interests or my political prospects, I am no longer serving the people’s interest (except where I lie to myself that this is good for the people). So how do we figure out who are the good guys and who aren’t. Watch what they do, not what they say. If women would do that, there would not be one female who is a Republican. I can dream.

Bipartisanship

UPDATE: SENATE DOES AWAY WITH FILIBUSTER FOR JUDICIAL NOMINEES (EXCEPT SUPREME COURT) AND EXECUTIVE BRANCH APPOINTEES. IT IS A START!

NYT: “Senate Democrats are on the verge of moving to eliminate the use of the filibuster against most presidential nominees, aides and senior party leaders said Wednesday, a move that would deprive Republicans of their ability to block President Obama’s picks for cabinet posts and the federal judiciary and further erode what little bipartisanship still exists in the Senate.”

Now I think this sentence reflects an implicit assumption on the conventional wisdom on bipartisanship. Let’s define the word and think about it: Does it mean, which I think is generally accepted, that politicians work across the isle to find solutions to our problems? That is what Americans want to see, right? “I wish they would quick arguing and get to work.” I like the Wikipedia definition better:

Bipartisanship is a political situation, usually in the context of a two-party system, in which opposing political parties find common ground[disambiguation needed] through compromise, in theory. Realistically, each party advances their own political agenda at the expense of the other party because of the conflicting ideologies.

The important thing to note here is that because the Republicans are in the minority and their political agenda is so at odds with Democrats, compromise is mostly impossible so they just block all action. The history of the Republicans since Obama came into office is obstructionism which tells you there is no common ground.

So let’s deconstruct. In both definitions there is an assumption of common ground. Seen any lately? Oh, wait there was that immigration bill in the Senate where there was compromise. Democrats got a path, albeit long and arduous, to citizenship, while the Republicans got a militarized border that makes the Berlin Wall look quaint. But the real interest of the two parties were not aligned. Democrats wanted to try to solve the problem of undocumented workers and their children in our country and Republicans wanted a token bill so they could maybe get some Hispanic votes. The bill is going no-where because there will be no compromise from Republicans in the House.

Meanwhile back at the bipartisan ranch, lets look at common interests that are required for it to operate. Do Republicans care about insuring Americans or fixing healthcare? Of course not. They have tried to defund Obamacare 43 times, run ads attempting to sabotage the system, and have tried to block implementation at every step. If they had any common ground, they would have a plan of their own that addresses these problems.

Democrats want to create jobs by cutting austerity and investing in infrastructure. Think that is going anywhere. Democrats and Republicans see the economy in two very different ways. One party wants to maintain the status quo, cut taxes, and believes in flowdown, and the other one is looking to make the tax system more equitable, and have government invest in tomorrow. If we had any common ground there would have been some weak bill a long time ago.

So my point is simply this: There is no common ground anymore, one party representing the status quo and a failed economic system, and the other, looking for answers. To want bipartisanship is to want policy that is filled with failed ideas. One party wants to address real problems, the other lives in fantasyland unfazed by reality or data. And you want bipartisanship?

Now the latest blowup is about the DC Circuit of Appeals’ three vacancies which the Republicans have decided does not need to be filled until they get control of the Senate again. And as the NYT noted, “Democrats got a reminder of how conservatively the court tends to lean when Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a Bush appointee, wrote an opinion last month declaring that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide free coverage for contraception was an infringement of individual religious liberty. “ Extending that logic, employers can make any decision they want about your healthcare. This is a result of the court being packed by right wing nuts. Well it is our turn to try to balance it and there is no middle ground.

As one woman from Texas put it (and I am paraphrasing), she was made as hell at Harry Reid and the Democrats for not taking action sooner. She did not want another generation of daughters at the mercy of right wing judges who would see them barefoot and pregnant. So let’s hope this time the Democrats don’t find another compromise that won’t work just like all the others. There is no common ground as the right has gone way to far right, bipartisanship is a trap, and we need to restore majority rule, not tyranny of the minority. Gut up Harry and clueless Democrats. That would be Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein from California and I have let them know my displeasure, have you?

The Myth of the Moderate Republican

Yesterday, the day after the off-year election, the pundit pablum about what it means was ubiquitous, and pablum and nonsense it was. As I and many others have commented, 2014 is a long way away and Americans memories are very short. But there was one reaction by mostly moderate Republicans, what is left of them, moderate Democrats, Democrats who would have been Republicans back in the 80s holding the beliefs they do, the media, which is worth examining. That reaction was looking at the Chris Christie win as the great (no pun intended) white hope for moderates in the Republican Party. The lesson they took from his win was that he is the model for the future successful Republicans and the Republican Party. After all, he won in a blue state. I beg to differ.

What is underlying this belief is the idea that if the two sides would just work together, we could move forward. The first false belief is that Christie is a moderate Republican and I kind of blew that away yesterday in Oh People Get a Grip. You have to actually look at his stand on issues. The second false assumption is that compromise is an end in itself.

The biggest blowhard on this approach is Chris Mathews with his never ending references to Tip O’Neil and Ronald Reagan and how they fought tooth and nail, but always found compromise. Different time, different issues, and the compromises made back then have landed us where we are today. Said another way, maybe the middle ground is so far right that it does not right the ship. Let me give you a “business” example.

Say a company is floundering, so they bring in a new CEO to turn it around. Say that there are differing opinions on the Board of Directors on the way to go. Say the company is a book company that has bookstores throughout the nation that are losing money and the CEO wants to jettison them and go to internet sales. Should he compromise with the Board and continue the bookstore’s losses while he tries to gain a foothold in internet sales? If he does, he is a weak leader and will probably fail. If he sees the future in internet sales, he should be all in.

Conservative economic ideas are those profitless bookstores. The economic inequality and jobless recovery while the stockmarket soars is a direct result of those compromises as we moved further and further right.  Do you want an optimal solution or a compromise solution that isn’t even suboptimal, but counterproductive?  So this idea that we just need to work together like we did in the 80s is how we got here.  One side has it totally wrong for us, has become immune to data and facts, but their ideas are very right for them and the 1%.

My own opinion about what this election meant, which is about as worthless the as pundits’, is that I believe the Republican Party is facing a larger civil war.  Instead of Christie pointing the way for respectful conservatism as the way forward, the right will draw the conclusion that Virginia could have been won and the Christies of the world are the death of the Party which will result in further civil war.

Secondly when the media quits fawning over Christie and actually looks at his record and conservative ideas, we will see nothing new, and really old failed ideas of both a social conservative and an economic conservative, moderated by a liberal legislature and the courts.  The press is infatuated with Christie right now because he doesn’t spin when it comes to politics.  Thus the respect they have for him on telling the truth.  But when they listen to the truth he tells, if he does, about his ideas, the love affair will be over.

Said another way, putting a smiley face on conservative ideas, still doesn’t change the fact that these ideas in action have only served the wealthy.  We need a new approach and it is called progressivism and that is where most of the civilized country is moving.

Some Rules to Live By

I was reading the papers this morning (actually reading their e-editions) and it occurred to me that they are giving us three truly important rules to live by:

I believe we have some real wisdom to live by. Who said reading the news just depresses us?

At this Point It Should be Crystal Clear

President Obama has sadly listened to the Beltway pundits again and is engaging in a push to work with other side. See his latest push for infrastructure investment that would be revenue neutral to make the Republicans happy. They won’t bite. What should be crystal clear at this point is that they aren’t going to do anything Obama. I doubt seriously if we are going to get anything but eye shadow for immigration reform, and forget anything gun related.

The ‘reasonable’ Senate Republicans now have six Senators who say they will filibuster background checks (more regulations). We have a nation poised for change and all the polls show the American people on the side of gay marriage, immigration reform with a path for citizenship, gun law reform including a ban on assault weapons and high capacity clips, and investment in infrastructure. None of it is going to happen because the Republican Party no longer accounts to what is good for America. Talk about a ground bargain is nonsense, and stupid by the way.

So one might ask yourself, why continue to play the game on the Republican’s court? Why not change your strategy from trying to accommodate the nonsense the Republicans are pushing (see the Ryan and Rand Budgets) with compromises they are never going to agree to, and go after them for the damage they are doing to the country. These are not fellow Americans with a different point of view. These are Americans who if they get their way, will take our country back hundreds of years and turn our society into the upper and lower classes. Call their policies what they are instead of trying to compromise with them, and move the fight to your court.

The conventional wisdom is that the nation is gerrymandered to keep Republicans in power so nothing much will change in 2014. And I believe that is true if Democrats do what they usually do and pander to polls instead of standing up for principles. But if you really understand what the Republicans stand for, the wealthy and disenfranchising everyone else (did you listen to the questioning by the conservative judges on the Supreme Court try to dodge the obvious?), then you understand what this is about. Republicans resist change in a changing world where change is the very foundation of survival and success.

So the strategy from Obama on down to the Democrat running for dog catcher is that they need to recognize that Republican policies are bankrupt and they need to be attacked head on. No more debt is the problem, we have to reduce the debt and invest, maybe we don’t need the assault weapon ban if we get background checks, and on and on. You are not going to get any of them. Go for the throat as the Republicans have been doing successfully to you. Attack their ideas and offer a different world view. If you want to move the country, you have to win the Congress, and to do that, you have to discredit conservatism. Compromise just lends credence to bad ideas and that is what Democrats have been doing now for 5 years.

It is a sin that borrowing right now is free (zero interest rate) and we have not put our people back to work because we bought into the home budget analogy of the Republicans. We let them control the debate focusing on debt which is not a problem instead of jobs. We keep dancing around cutting entitlement benefits when that is not the problem. We try to compromise on gun control, or immigration, or investment in infrastructure and we get nothing. What more do you need to realize we need to become the uncompromising party and fight for real change?

Compromise, Really?

Here is a question to my fellow Americans who can not quite see the forest for the trees: If you wanted compromise and bipartisanship, why did you elect anti-tax, anti-government Republicans to office? Surveys say most Americans want a balanced approach to deficit reduction, yet you returned that buffoon, John Boehner, who said yesterday that unless the President comes up with a plan of all cuts, there is nothing to talk about. Wow see, both sides do it, right? The President and the Senate have both offered balanced plans, and the President has even put cutting social programs on the table, as stupid as that is, but the Republicans want it their way, all spending cuts, or no way, and they both do it?

Are we wakening up yet? Republicans in the Senate started hanging amendments on an appropriations bill to limit the reach of gun violence measures, and they both do it? When are Americans going to wake up to the fact that Republicans are the problem. And what is really scary is that you elected some of the least informed Americans out there. Who else would be pushing a giant austerity program on America when the results of that policy in Europe is for everyone to see? It takes either giant denial, or grand stupidity. I find both among the Republicans.

And let’s just say you are one of those government hating, tax deploring Americans, what would you cut? Well, answers the grossly uninformed, “gov’ment spending”. What government spending? Ah, now we get down to it. And do you think the Republican Party is listing the cuts they want to make? No, they understand this will be highly unpopular and possibly damaging (actually they are counting on it) to our country so they want the Democrats in a spirit of bipartisanship to specify all the cuts.

So let’s just summarize for the less intelligent members of our country who voted for these morons:

  • The only compromise the Republicans will accept is a plan that is totally what they want, all spending cuts, and that is not a claim, that is what John Boehner said
  • When it comes to gun violence, immigration, energy policy, climate policy, or even a realistic budget, Republicans will block any real change through the use of the filibuster in the Senate, or their gerrymandered House majority
  • The Republicans scream for cuts even though austerity is a provenly failed policy because their real aim is to dismantle government by cutting programs to help the poor and middle class while preserving the tax benefits of the wealthy. See Ryan Budget for details.
  • Oh, and lets not forget that their ideal of little regulation has lead to the largest meltdown of our financial system since the Great Depression, and food and pharmacological contamination, and I could go on and on.
  • Couple that with low taxes for the “job creators” that instead of flow down has led to the largest transfer of wealth to the wealthy in our history and one has to ask, why we would want to do that some more?
  • And in those states where we have Republican Governors, and a Republican controlled State House what do we get? Limits to the right to vote, an attack on government and union workers, attempts to make gay and lesbians second class citizens, and let’s not forget the massive (record number of bills) amount of legislation passed to limit a woman’s right to choose
  • The bottom line is that Republicans hate government and taxes and are here to dismantle our great state. Ask yourself where in their plan is the money for improving infrastructure?

So oh great thinkers in the American red states and for that matter, the Beltway Media, where is the compromise in this? The Republicans have presented us with failed social policies, failed financial policies, failed energy policies (none other than low taxes or subsidies for the most profitable industries in the world), and a total plan of just say no. As stupid as cutting right now is, the Senate Democrats have provided you with a balanced approach of cutting and tax reform to cut the deficit. It is already the “compromise” position. Can you now identify who is the problem? I doubt it. Nothing is going to happen till 2014 and maybe not then, if our terminally stupid population re-elects these buffoons.

Bill Clinton’s Legacy

I guess we have all read or heard about Bill Clinton’s Op-Ed explaining his Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) back in his day. Times were different. I don’t buy it. Was slavery moral back in 1779 but immoral in 1865? Was disenfranchising the rights of gays and lesbians through DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell okay in 1990 and a gross violation of their civil rights in 2013? Think about the name of the bill, Defense of Marriage Act. Who were they defending it from. Did gays back in 1990 threaten traditional marriage like they totally don’t in 2013? Yes it was different times or was there just a lack of leadership.

Nobody that I know of (doesn’t mean much) has come out and criticized the Big Dog, because, I guess he is the Big Dog. Bill Clinton is a master at mesmerizing a crowd and with simplifying issues like no one else can. That was very apparent in his Democratic Convention speech and his later campaigning for President Obama. But when I look back at his Presidency, he took us in the wrong direction.

President Clinton is given the credit for moving the Democratic Party out of the shadows by embracing some conservative ideas and moving the party more to the right. He is lauded by the Republicans as an example of how a President can work with the other party. But what came out of those collaborations? DOMA, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, deregulating banking that led to the collapse in 2008, reforming welfare, which when the sky fell in 2008, many were without a life preserver. And of course who can forget his “not having sex with that woman” and probably was the primary cause of electing George Bush (well actually that would be the Supreme Court because Al Gore actually won the vote in Florida).

Chris Hayes was on Now with Alex Wagner Friday and they were discussing his op-ed and Alex asked Chris if this is a reflection of him realizing he was on the wrong side of history. Chris said this which I think we really ought to think about as we look for “bipartisan” solutions:

“It is also a reminder here I think, when people talk about Bill Clinton particularly and his Legacy and particularly the Clinton-Gingrich relationship as a kind of precedent or model for what President Obama is dealing with.

People forget what awful legislation came out of that partnership. We got the Effective Death Penalty Act which is an absolute disaster that any death penalty attorney will tell is a disaster. We got DOMA out of that. We got welfare reform, which I think is a very mixed bag, which as time goes on and we work our way through the Great Recession, is not all that it was cracked up to be.

So there was a lot that came out of that, out of Washington working or them coming to the table together that has haunted us for 17 or 18 years after the fact. I think it should give people just a little skepticism on just how worthwhile compromise or a grand bargain are as ends in and of themselves.”

So maybe Bill is a great politician, but not so much a leader if you define leadership as seeing the big picture and moving the country in the right direction. More importantly, think about all those compromises which were really moving the country in the wrong direction. That is pretty much what is on the table from Republicans these days. So I will ask again as I have asked over and over in this blog, why would you want to compromise with failed policies?

Once Last Shot at the Chattering Classes and Then No More Politics Until After Christmas

I heard Reverend Al on MSNBC ask what is it going to take to get a “deal” and Ed Rendell, the ex-Governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic talking head said that both sides are going to have to give, and then quoted the Rolling Stone’s song, You can’t get everything you want.”

What a bunch of crap. I and most Americans don’t want a deal, WE WANT A FAIR DEAL OR NO DEAL! And Ed keeps talking like we haven’t already given up too much and the both sides nonsense. He is one of those Democrats that hasn’t figure out that the debt is not the problem and solving the fiscal cliff does nothing to stimulate the economy. Maybe Democrats need to represent the Americans who voted for them (the majority) and not concede to some deal that furthers Republican agendas.

So Reverend Al should have asked how we get a fair deal, and Ed should have said there is already one that is way too generous on the table. And the answer to that whole question about a fair deal is we are not going to get one. There are 40 “chuckleheads” as one moderate Republican calls them, that will not raise any taxes. That’s fair right? The poor should pay for everything. Let’s take care of those job creators right?. Merry Christmas you assholes.

♫ High Ho, High Ho, It is Over the Cliff we Go ♫ unless the Democrats capitulate once again.

Oh and why do I say this does nothing for the economy? See The Incredible Shrinking Stimulus.

Compromise? Really?

My morning routine involves driving down to the mailbox (1/4 mile down a steep hill) at o’dark thirty to get the newspaper and also give my golden retriever a ride in the truck, which she pouts about if I don’t exactly follow this routine.  So my satellite radio was on and  I was tuned to MSNBC and I listen to Chris Jansing interview some Progressive Congressman about going over the cliff, which he felt would provide Democrats with better leverage in the negotiations.  Jansing countered rather vigorously with the question, “What makes you think the Republicans will negotiate then (after going over the cliff) rather than now.”  Implicit in this questions was be afraid, be afraid, the Republican talking point.

No, I did not hear the answer because I was so frustrated with the question, I turned her off.  But here is what my answer would have been:  “Gee Chris, so implicit in your question is the assumption that we should just cave to what the Republicans want like we did last time?  What you are really saying in your question is that taking the nation hostage with terrorist demands should be tolerated?  And in answer to the question, when we go over the cliff, it will be obvious who caused it and we will take it to the American people.  They have already weighed in on tax cuts for the wealthy in the election. Republicans are already irrelevant, and this will be political suicide for 2014.”

There are really two things to consider when looking at compromise that everybody who is a talking head or a pundit seems to want.  The first is to consider how extreme the Republican Party is.  They have moved the country far to the right during the Clinton and Bush years, and George Bush brought us Republican Valhalla, minimal enforcement of regulations and rock bottom tax rates, and the deficit bloomed, the economy sputtered and then blew up.  Now what the Republicans are fighting for is an extreme position backed by failed policies and compromise just moves us further to the right.  They move the ball 10 yards down the field to Right Lunacy, and we compromise with a 5 yard gift?  Why would we want to do that?

Second, the two views of the economy are diametrically opposed.  The Republicans’ view is to pay off the debt so that the wealthy will have “confidence” and create jobs while maintaining their “job creator” status.  The problem with this is an unblemished record of failure in this economic philosophy (See Europe and their austerity or job creation during the Bush years).  As the wealthy get more concentrated wealth, the economy falters (See Why Nations Fail or Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else).  They are fighting to maintain this unequal distribution of income and if you believe history, continue to weaken our economy and our economic future.

Meanwhile Progressives understand that we must raise up the middle class as the only way to get our economy going again versus the flow down that has failed under the Republicans.  They understand that the deficit is not the problem, but a symptom of a lackluster economy that is not growing.  The problem is jobs.  If you gut Medicare and Medicaid, and only increase tax rates marginally on the wealthy, you simply leave the problem in place while forcing those who have already suffered under these policies to pay price.  So why compromise if the end result does not solve the problem. Like last time when the Democrats compromised on the Stimulus and the Debt ceiling, nothing got better and  simply gave the Republicans a reason to say once again, “See, the Democrats ideas don’t work” when the Republicans made them ineffective with their compromised positions.

So no, don’t compromise.  If we go over the curb, we have just taken care of the tax cuts to the wealthy and there will be tons of pressure on Republicans to restore middle class tax cuts.  The other spending cuts need to be addressed one -on-one.  Defense certainly needs to be cut.  And note, if you follow my yesterday’s recomendations, that money will be reinvested into the economy in more productive ways, so there is no net loss in spending and we create jobs.

One last shot over the bow.  I listened to ex-Senator Alan Simpson of the Bowles-Simpson plan discuss how we need to raise the rates on the rich because he understands that without revenue, you can’t solve this problem.  But then he went off on the debt causing growing interest rates and inflation.  This is basically the argument that the CEO’s have launched to get a deal before we go over that speed bump.  It is the confidence fairy argument again where the problem is the deficit, not a lack of jobs and a growing GDP.  It is a failed argument as Paul Krugman has documented for the last four years (Incredible Incrediblity).  It is solving the wrong problem and nothing will get better.

First Republicans, CEOs, and VSPs (Very Smart People) have been saying our borrowing will drive up the interest rates and yet it is at record lows as predicted by Keynesian Economics in a severe recession.  It is not going to go up no matter how much we borrow until our economy takes off, because there is no strong demand for borrowing in a depressed economy.  When the economy takes off, you can then throttle back spending, controlling the interest rate, but first it has to take off and that means jobs.

The inflation argument is the other one that has been repeated over and over again since 2008 once it was obvious that we are printing money to pay our debts.  The trouble is two-fold.  First is a little inflation would be a very good thing.  Holding on to money during a period of inflation just makes it decrease in buying power, and there would be an incentive to invest and grow our economy.  Second, once again, Keynesian Economics tells us that there won’t be any or very little inflation until the economy starts to grow, and as Paul Krugman pointed out after WWI, France took the print money approach to solving their problems and weakening their currency while England took the responsible austerity approach, and guess whose economy did better and recovered earlier (Twenty Tales)?

My point is simple.  The people who are holding sway in this debate and pushing compromise and debt reduction have it all wrong.  Not just wrong in my opinion, but demonstrably wrong by all the data out there.  So why are we listening to them?  Because we are stuck in our home budget analogy and just can’t grasp the lessons of the world around us.  The only way to solve our problems is to grow our middle class, redistribute the spoils of our economy, and create jobs.  The debt will take care of itself if we follow Keynesian Economics and throttle back spending when the economy blossoms (see what happened after WWII with our massive debt, we just simply grew out of it).  So listening to this false BS on the TV makes me want to drive the car off a cliff.  Will we ever learn?

Liberals Fear Obama with Good Reason

There was an article in the Washington Post about how liberals fear that Obama will once again give away what he was handed in the election. I think they fear with good reason. That is his history, and I still don’t think he really understands Keynesian economics, which has been the model to use to describe what we are going through. The deficit is not the problem, but a symptom of the problem and yet he talks about solving the deficit problem instead of leading us with a discussion of about how we need to create new jobs so we have the ability to then deal with our deficit. I still think he believes that we can do both, i.e., some sort of compromise, and if he does, once again he will have squandered what the voters handed him.

I guess my real concern is that if he leads forcefully, he could end conservative nonsense about the economy forever, and if he doesn’t, he lets them right back in just like he did last time by allowing them to define the issues. If he were to go after jobs, and really improve the economy, 2014 and 2016 would force the Republicans to come back into the mainstream. And make no mistake, this election was not a lurch to the left, but a small move back to the center right. Don’t get carried away with the weed approvals and gay marriage. This is kind of recognizing failed policies and wasted dollars fighting what doesn’t need to be fought. But the nation, or at least the pundits and maybe the President are living in the dark ages of economics where they think we can cure our economy with just a little less severe austerity than the fiscal cliff.

So it is up to Democrats to lead if he won’t or can’t. I could be jumping the gun, but I think we are seeing the leanings once again to some kind of a bargain with entitlements. I hope not, because if he does, he has missed the boat once again, and Democrats in the Senate and House will have to lead. He has such an opportunity to define our future and change the dialogue from small thinking to big thinking. Will he? Will he go over the cliff and define the debate as he needs to? He hasn’t yet and if he doesn’t, if Democrats want to gain control in 2014 and 2016 they will have to pull him along. I am doing my part.