Beyond the Election and Right Wing Craziness

I’m pretty certain that we will be seeing a second term for Obama given all the recent polls on the states important to the electoral college, so I want to look ahead to two things that I think will dominate post-election politics.

The first item is more of a prognostication, even though its roots have been thoroughly debunked as a series of right wing lies meant to capture low information/low intelligence voters.  That’s the hoopla around the Benghazi consulate murders.  It’s evident that right wingers and low information voters have fallen for conspiracy theories.

The “Benghazi Default” right wing strategy is being looped on Fox and used as the default non-answer by Romney surrogates despite the memes having been debunked by media, the CIA,   Condoleeza Rice, and fact checkers.  Cannonfire does a great job of listing the information on that and there are many places in the media where you can find a list of the events and find a thorough list of the debunked right wing canards.  Here’s one from Juan Williams writing for The Hill.  The Benghazi canards have been so debunked that the media is basically ignoring them now and only brings it up when a Romney surrogate falls back on the “Benghazi Default” which is now the term for they’ve got nothing to say for Romney so they’re using the meme.  We now have a league of Benghazi Truthers out there with every other idiot set of truthers led by the likes of Donald Trump.  Benghazi Truthers get a two-fer.  They get to hit a Clinton and Obama. CDS and ODS twofer!!!

So, here’s my prognostication.  The Republican party will continue to have its internecine  issues with its crazy religious and teahadi right who will turn on Romney the day after the election as not being pristine enough.  They and the other flakes, nuts, and whackos left in a congress held hostage by Republican wingers will immediately start working on a plan to impeach POTUS on the Benghazi Default since they won’t have anything particularly real to say at that point.  I’d bet real money on this happening if I had any. It will get farther than it should given that the Senate will stop it eventually, but worse, it will impact policy discussions which is why it will be allowed by Republican leadership.  It will become a bargaining chip.

So, the second thing is something I want to spend more time on because it’s more of a ‘real’ threat to policy concerns and how the politics of a false impeachment could play into an Obama second term in much the way the same hoopla did in Bill Clinton’s second term.  That would be the idea that there is a “fiscal cliff” and that Obama will get back on the “Grand Bargain” train.  There is less likely to be outspoken criticism of these moves. There are already some folks with good policy instincts starting this conversation.

First off, Jonathan Chait goes after the “fiscal cliff” meme at the New York Magazine. I’ve mentioned that this is one thing I want to write about because I think it plays well into right wing paranoia and their stupid battle cry about pushing some huge future inter-generational debt scam.

I’ve written before that the legacy debt of social security has been following us since day one and that so far, there’s really been not one mention of it beyond scholarly journals because no one feels crippled by it.  The “fiscal cliff’ meme plays into economic ignorance and right wing paranoia and plays well into the agenda of Wall Street and billionaires.  This is being used to force a bigger scheme.  Namely, that Wall Street still has its eyes on our Social Security Funds and that unnecessarily strict changes to Social Security may happen to get at other things.

Starting in January, there will be a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that greatly improve Obama’s bargaining leverage. If those policies stay unchanged for the entire year, they would harm the economy a great deal. But if they only stay in place for a few weeks, or even a few months, the impact would be minor. Likewise, if you don’t eat anything for three weeks you could die, but if 6 p.m. comes and goes without dinner on the table, you don’t need to be scared.

Yes, Obama will have some bargaining leverage and I’m more afraid that he’ll return to the “Grand Bargain” than to look for alternatives that won’t unravel the social safety nets. Robert Kuttner–writing for HuffPo--has some interesting things to say about this.

In the parlance of economists, the economy is stuck in what the economist Irving Fisher called a debt-deflation, where the continuing damage from a financial collapse acts as a lead weight on the recovery. The only entity that can blast the economy out of a debt deflation is more public spending — which of course cycles right back into the private economy.

So what is our president doing to shore up his support by reassuring voters that things will pick up in the next four years? More public investment, more jobs, more overhaul of the financial system, more relief for the mortgage mess, right?

Well, not exactly. While he gives lip service to these goals, Obama is preparing to do a major deal for deficit reduction, which will only add to the drag on the recovery. His administration has bought into the argument that the business elite and the money markets expect deficit reduction, and that it will also play well with the voters.

In his recent off-the-record conversation with the editors and publisher of Iowa’s largest paper, theDes Moines Register, which was made public under pressure from that newspaper, Obama had this to say about deficit reduction:

I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.

And we can easily meet — “easily” is the wrong word — we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years, and we can stabilize our deficit-to-GDP ratio in a way that is really going to be a good foundation for long-term growth. Now, once we get that done, that takes a huge piece of business off the table.

Say what? Four trillion dollars of deficit-reduction, otherwise known as economic contraction. Really? If Obama strikes such a deal, it guarantees that a sluggish economy will continue.

This was the real story from that Des Moines Register interview and it’s the one that the media is ignoring while chasing its tail and the false meme of “Ro-mentum”. The Grand Bargain is basically the track to a continued slow, long, miserable, drug-out recovery.  It’s taking the UK path to economic malaise.  I’ve just linked you to a Bank of England (BOE) speech. That’s basically the UK’s version of the FED.  It compares the recoveries of the UK and the US.  The speech is actually called “Why is their recovery better than ours?”  The answer is that we’ve taken a slightly more Keynesian approach to recovery with a stimulus and a Bernanke monetary policy that recognizes the threat of deflation and sluggish growth.  They did a grand bargain sort’ve thing.  Their austerity program dealt them a huge blow.  It widened their federal deficit.  It led to worse unemployment and terrible growth.  The comparative graphs are astounding. I’ve placed the GDP one to the left.

The contrasting directions of employment trends raised uncertainty in the UK over the US during the latter half of the recovery, which weighed on consumption.

Fiscal policy, however, played an important role as well. Cumulatively, the UK government tightened fiscal policy by 3% more than the US government did – taking local governments and automatic stabilizers into account – and this had a material impact on consumption. This was particularly the case because a large chunk of the fiscal consolidation in 2010 and in 2011 took the form of a VAT increase, which has a high multiplier for households.

The fact that British real incomes were hit harder than American households’ incomes by energy price increases could be ascribed in large part to the past depreciation of Sterling, which also hit real incomes directly. All combined, these factors significantly dampened consumption growth in the UK, with knock on effects on investment and stockbuilding.

So, why would we follow this path to certain economic malaise?  Bill Black provides a great analysis.’

The Republican Party’s approach to convincing Obama to commit the Great Betrayal cleverly exploits three human weaknesses.  First, Obama wants to be considered a “centrist.”  Second, Obama yearns to be considered “bipartisan.”  These first two weaknesses are forms of vanity.  The siren song is “do this and you will become known as the President who acted as a statesman to cut across Party and ideological divides and make the hard choices essential to allowing America to continue to be a great nation – while ‘saving’ the safety net.”

The third weakness that the Republicans seek to exploit is fear – and the death of alternatives.  The mantra of European austerity proponents is “there is no alternative.”  The only choice is between austerity and collapse, and that means there is no real choice.  The Republican strategy is to create a series of “moral panics.”  As the name implies, this involves the creation of a special form of panic falsely premised on immorality.  (Think: “Reefer Madness” or Professor Hill causing River City, Iowans to believe that the arrival of pool hall demonstrated the imminent moral collapse of their children.)  The Great Betrayal can only occur if Obama succumbs to mindless (and innumerate) panic.

Chait believes that Obama will not fall for this.  Black obviously believes the President will still want to be seen as some one that will negotiate with Right Wing Terrorists in the name of bi-partisanship.  I don’t know.  Perhaps the incredible nasty attacks on the President during this campaign and the 4 years of obstruction and filibusters he endured during his first four years will drive him Chait’s direction.

So, enter my prediction of a pending impeachment charge no matter how frivolous.   I think we can all say that the CDS that drove the impeachment of President Clinton is only matched by the ODS that will drive the impeachment attempts on Obama.  Even Newt Ginrich–the architect of obstructing Clinton’s second term–has been using the Benghazi Default this week.   (That link goes to Hannity so be warned and get some eye bleach.)  No matter how much the evidence shows that this is a false narrative, the right and Fox keep hyping it in the same way that no amount of damnation by Chrysler, GM, Fact Checkers, and the media is stopping the Romney campaign from telling folks in Ohio that US jobs producing Jeeps are going to China.  These folks just live on lies and achieving their evil goals in any way possible.  They will see us all dead in the streets rather than give an inch.  Just look at what Rush Limbaugh is saying today about Chris Christie’s h/t to POTUS on FEMA’s response to Sandy.  They will never be moral actors.  NEVER.

So, will the political circus of a purely political impeachment movement by whacko Tea Baggers and other republican partisans create an atmosphere that warps the outcome of this serious policy discussion ?    Well, again, I’d put some serious money on watching a completely solvable situation go right into the right wing crapper as ODS goes to 11 the day after Romney loses.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Guard your Social Security well!   I wish I didn’t really believe this scenario is possible but unfortunately, I really do.

97 Comments on “Beyond the Election and Right Wing Craziness”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Eli Lake ‏@EliLake
    This link is better for my latest on #benghazi State Dept. never asked for back up

    More facts for Benghazi Truthers:

    It’s unlikely any outside military team could have arrived in Benghazi quickly enough to save Ambassador Chris Stevens or his colleague Sean Smith, both of whom died from smoke inhalation after a band of more than 100 men overran the U.S. mission at around 9:30 p.m. that evening and set the buildings inside ablaze.

    • RalphB says:

      That story was fucking useless. It basically did what all the others have done, put out some information and say we don’t know something. The information, so far, has never been of harm to the administration but you can’t say the same thing for the headline or the tone.

      I would give a lot to know ex-Moonie reporter Eli Lake’s “sources” for these scoops.

      • dakinikat says:

        I think the Juan Williams article is the most concise one that I’ve seen with links to the important players.

      • I agree about Williams article, it was to the point and very well explained.

        Kat, this is brilliant:

        …a congress held hostage by Republican wingers will immediately start working on a plan to impeach POTUS on the Benghazi Default since they won’t have anything particularly real to say at that point.

        You know what? I am still working through 500 Days, it is very difficult to read about the things that happened before and after 9/11. The lies…manipulation, ugh. But…the warnings were out there, and Bush and his administration fucked it up! They outright ignored the CIA’s evidence. And then, after the fact, tortured prisoners who did not have any connections at all to al Qaeda, well actually they had their friends in Syria and Egypt do the dirty work…but they got these folks to say anything to make the abuse stop. Then they took those lies, brought about by horrible physical and emotional abuse, and used them to manipulate the public and the other members of congress into war in Iraq.

        There was no impeachment of Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft…etc.

        It makes me sick.

    • Fannie says:

      After the election, let them impeach Obama all they want, it won’t do any good, and will be a waste of taxpayers time and money. That’s all it is.

  2. pdgrey says:

    I am blown away by this post, I have felt this, but their is no way in hell I would ever vote for Twit. I know in my soul that is the right choice to vote for Obama. But if we don’t start screaming from the day after the election, we will be in trouble. Once again Dak, this post is amazing! Thank you.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s exactly what we have to do–scream bloody murder. Obama is still the far better choice.

    • Fannie says:

      I agree with with Dak, day after the election, they’ll be saying if only Santorum or better yet if only Huckleberry would have been in running……….they love Huckleberry, he said in a speech that all the democrats are going to hell………. Otherwise, it’s don’t compromise, and don’t govern. Maybe they will all slash their wrist.

  3. RalphB says:

    For a long time I would have agreed with Black but now fall more into the Chait camp on what I think Obama will do. With the leverage of the fiscal cliff, he may well negotiate from the first position of real strength he’s had. Hopefully, he won’t be easy to deal with for the Reps.

    Benghazi may have a limited lifespan since Thomas Pickering is leading that investigation into what happened and will eventually release their conclusions. Once that happens, Fox will have to not only go after Obama and Clinton but also Pickering and his investigation. His long and pretty golden reputation through a lot of administrations may not be easy for them to go after without looking like the dolts they really are. I kind of think that’s why the Rightwing Wurlitzer is playing “Benghazi 9/11” what amounts to 24/7 now

    • pdgrey says:

      Great reply, Ralph! i agree.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Chait is right. I think we have a better chance he will fight them this time simply because he’s fighting for his place in history now besides being the first black president and because they’ve shit all over him. I can’t imagine he doesn’t want to take them down for those reasons.

      • RalphB says:

        Personally, I think vengeance would be sweet for him. It would for me!

      • pdgrey says:

        God I hope so Dak.

      • peggysue22 says:

        I hope your lips are to God’s ear on this one Dak–that Obama will grow a spine, get off this stupid bipartisan mantra and start acting like a Democrat. Can’t say I’m terribly optimistic. But maybe, just maybe if the GOP tracks the crazy course and tries to impeach a second Democratic POTUS, the light bulb will go off and Barack Obama will realize that compromise with the current crop of Republican legislators is utterly useless, simply a form of political suicide.

        My basic fear is that he actually believes and wants the austerity course, even though the evidence from Europe is irrefutable: it has made things worse, much worse. Oh sure the 1%, the CEOs are all hankering for an austerity deal, just like their European counterparts. Nothing like another knife into the heart of the withering working/middle class. Thing is, people will only be pushed so far. There’s going to come a moment when the public awakes and say: It’s over, done, stick a fork in it.

        Right now It’s still a don’t trust your lying eyes time. The situation in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland is savage. To replicate that situation here is absolutely insane. But that doesn’t mean our bought and sold pols won’t try it.

        I’ve been convinced since the Dem Convention that Obama would take the election. The Secretary of Explaining Sh*t [Big Dawg] said everything that needed to be said. But I have no doubt that once the last vote is counted, the great screech will begin. On one item, I absolutely agree with Obama–we’re about to witness a great civil war within the Republican Party. The battle will between those GOP members who still have a modicum of sense and decency and the total loons. Not sure how it will play out, but despite election results, we will still be living in very dangerous times.

        May the gods protect us. We’re going to need it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I sure hope you’re right, Ralph. But then why did he tell the Register he was going for the “grand bargain” and the catfood commission, and try to keep it off the record?

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Excellent post, Dak. As soon as I read that interview Obama gave to the Des Moines Register, my heart sank. I have no doubt that Obama will go for the “grand bargain.” There are two possibilities that could stop him: 1) the House Republicans refuse to cooperate like they did last time, and 2) the American people raise holy hell!

    I really like Jonathan Chait, but he’s much too much of a sucker. Look how he fell for “Moderate Mitt” until he really crossed the line with the 47% remarks.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh fine. This guy should not be in charge of an election of any kind.

      • pdgrey says:

        Because I live in Florida and “lived thru 2000” and Katherine Harris I am probably more paranoid, but shit like this doesn’t help. By the way my sister when to college is Miss Make-up. Angus Scott in Atlanta.

  5. RalphB says:

    emptywheel has yet more from a story in Foreign Policy about documents which keep appearing out of nowhere in Libya.

    Another Sequel in the Libyan Left Behind Series

    A month ago, I marveled at the remarkable frequency with which interesting documents have a way of appearing in Libya; I dubbed it the “Libyan Left Behind” syndrome.

    It has happened again. Yet more journalists–Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa, writing for Foreign Policy–has found newsworthy documents at the abandoned (and unsecured) mission in Benghazi. These suggest that elements from Benghazi’s police force may have helped plan the attack. One letter informed the Libyan Foreign Affairs office that a member of the police force had been surveilling the compound the morning of the attack, and that the police had not provided increased security requested for Ambassador Stevens’ visit.

    I trust emptywheel so I’ll link there rather than to FP.

  6. RalphB says:

    Donald Trump the Orange Supremacist is still helping Mitt Romney lie about Chrysler sending jobs to China.

    Obama is a terrible negotiator. He bails out Chrysler and now Chrysler wants to send all Jeep manufacturing to China—and will!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2012

    And Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s Vice President of Product Design, called Trump out:

    @realdonaldtrump you are full of shit!

    — Ralph Gilles (@RalphGilles) November 1, 2012

  7. Fannie says:

    Here we go, Texas says any UN monitors coming into Texas via OSC, voters security watch,
    will be arrested. And we were the ones who helped the security and cooperation monitors.

  8. ANonOMouse says:

    Terrific Post Dak….The fiscal cliff meme scares me too. I know that is code for “let’s decimate the safety nets and turn everything else the govt does over to the private sector”. Europe’s failed austerity madness should be a lesson that their model does not work.

    Hopefully Obama’s 4 yrs of experience with GOP/TP obstruction and filibustering will show him that the velvet glove approach doesn’t work with goons & fools. He needs to bring a sledge hammer to the next round of negotiations

  9. Fannie says:

    If this is repeat, am sorry –

    Michael Bloomberg endorses Obama……………….this is one big move in supporting climate change, education, and healthcare, and gay rights too.

  10. pdgrey says:

    Ok, can these people just secede so I can die without hearing another American speak this hell again?

  11. ecocatwoman says:

    Not ignoring the fact that I may have already lost my mind, but I remember coverage that Obama was counseling the players in the EU to turn around on their austerity plans. Anyone else remember that? If I’m correct, why would Obama choose austerity for the US? Plus won’t there be a new Treasury Secretary? Obama would have to look really, really, REALLY hard to find someone worse as Geithner’s replacement. Sheila Bair – PLEASE!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Obama has hinted that the new Treasury Secretary will be Erskine Bowles of the Catfood Commission. He would be worse. And don’t hold your breath for Obama to appoint Sheila Bair. They all treated her like shit during the stimulus fight. They actually left her out of meetings by not telling her about them.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I well realize she was treated poorly – led by Geithner. Probably because he knew he was a light weight compared to her, so she made him look as bad as he actually was. She said in an interview that Rahm assured her that the prez supported her remaining in the administration. Then she found out that Geithner wanted her gone & she was gone. I just wonder if the prez has read her book.

      • pdgrey says:

        I have a headache, BB from that, Erskine Bowles? I guess we really will have to double down on the pitchforks if Obama wins. This election, what was that little girls name that was crying? F*ck. I wish I had some hallucinogens, then I just wouldn’t remember it.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      “Obama has hinted that the new Treasury Secretary will be Erskine Bowles of the Catfood Commission.”


  12. bostonboomer says:

    I just followed a link of Ralph’s and the another link and ended up at this FDL post. May I just say that Matt Stoller is every bit as goofy looking as I imagined. I’ve never seen his photo before.

  13. pdgrey says:

    By the way If you didn’t see Steve Colbert last night, he had Lily Ledbetter on. She is a one woman wrecking ball to enocomics for women. We should unleash her in this country, especially the south, with that beautiful accent.

  14. Red Dragon says:

    The “Daily Beast” has also been playing the “Benghazi Default” card

  15. pdgrey says:

    Isn’t this this special, the republican’s think they still believe in Abraham Linclon’s anything.

  16. RalphB says:

    Some swing state polls for today:

    Colorado: Romney 50%, Obama 47% (Rasmussen)
    Colorado: Obama 49%, Romney 48% (CallFire)
    Colorado: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (CNN/ORC)

    Florida: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (Newsmax/Zogby)

    Iowa: Obama 50%, Romney 44% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)
    Iowa: Obama 50%, Romney 47% (CallFire)
    Iowa: Romney 49%, Obama 48% (Rasmussen)

    Michigan: Obama 53%, Romney 45% (Public Policy Polling)

    Nevada: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (SurveyUSA)

    New Hampshire: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)

    North Carolina: Romney 46%, Obama 45% (High Point University)

    Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 44% (Newsmax/Zogby)

    Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (Public Policy Polling)
    Virginia: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (Newsmax/Zogby)

    Wisconsin: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)
    Wisconsin: Obama 49%, Romney 49% (Rasmussen)
    Wisconsin: Obama 51%, Romney 42% (St. Norbert College)

  17. peregrine says:

    I agree with Chait in that I don’t think Obama will fall for any more right-wing “plays.” I will suggest that, when Obama wins (yes!), there will be a different landscape: he would be freer after the election and in his last term to actually shape the fiscal cuts and spending negotiations maybe with fewer Republican freaks in Congress and more Democrats who will stand firm with him. I’ve thought all along that he can’t recklessly cut huge numbers of programs that will hurt blacks and the poor. He owes blacks “something” for the coolness that they have managed during the 4-years of right-wing Obama, and racial, smears and hatred. Much of what he salvages for the blacks will include the whole set of American poor, disabled, sick/chronically ill, elderly and into the middle class. He must learn to call on his supporters to rear up and use their power to slam the radicals. We’re out here.

    The House may very well start impeachment proceedings. Too bad it’s not the ’60s or early 70s because there would be a 100% chance that the blacks would burn the Capitol down if a congress(wo)man mentioned the word, “impeachment.” I don’t know how riled Blacks are to predict anything, but I’m unnerved just thinking about such a thing…so I’ll light a match. I also can’t calculate how utterly disgusted people are with these extremists. I’m ready to kick their asses if they put forward such a House vote to say, “Enough!”.

  18. ecocatwoman says:

    I just saw this WONDERFUL video on MSNBC. The man in the video is a disabled veteran in Lakeland, FL. Used to be a Republican but he’s voting for Obama –

    • pdgrey says:

      Wonderful is right, ecocatwoman. Some of those made me cry, one sounded like my father. Thank you for finding them.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I hope everyone on here will take a look. This one is the only one I’ve seen from Local Voices. It is powerful. It’s just a shame that pieces like this haven’t been running for months.

    • RalphB says:

      Really nice to see. Hope they can keep it up!

      Tampa Bay TImes: Democrats crushing Republicans on sporadic Fla voters in early voting

      A trusted Democratic operative sent us some data on the early and absentee ballot vote in Florida so far to make the point that Barack Obama is crushing Mitt Romney when it comes to banking the votes of sporadic and infrequent voters before election day. So far more than 3 million Floridians have cast a ballot by absentee, mail-in ballot or in-person early vote ballot. Democrats lead by more than 60,000 votes, but it’s the unlikely voter numbers that jump out:

      Of the nearly 414,000 Floridians who did not vote in the last three general elections, Democrats have an advantage of more than 53,000 votes. Of the more than 482,000 Floridians who have only voted in one of the last three general elections, Democrats lead by more than 77,000 – a total of more than 132,000.

  19. dakinikat says:

    Here’s Romney talking about Mormon faith…

  20. RalphB says:

    AP debunks more Fox/wingnut Benghazi talking points. It’s a pretty long story.

    US officials: No delays in rescue effort in Libya

    WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA security officers went to the aid of State Department staff less than 25 minutes after they got the first call for help during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday, as they laid out a detailed timeline of the CIA’s immediate response to the attack from its annex less than a mile from the diplomatic mission.

    The attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 by what is now suspected to be a group of al-Qaida-linked militants killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

    The timeline was offered just days before the presidential election in a clear effort to refute recent news reports that said the CIA told its personnel to “stand down” rather than go to the consulate to help repel the attackers. Fox News reported that when CIA officers at the annex called higher-ups to tell them the consulate was under fire, they were twice told to “stand down.” The CIA publicly denied the report

  21. pdgrey says:

    I remember this video from awhile back. But for women who care about choice, suffer and watch this to the bitter end.

  22. RalphB says:

    Desperation is a weird thing.

    Josh Marshall: Entering the Backward B Phase of the Campaign