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We will not go over the “fiscal cliff.” That’s my prediction anyway. I don’t make predictions often. As I often tell people, I am NOT clairvoyant. I cannot read minds or see the future. I do have pretty good political instincts, probably from working in or near politics for 90 percent of my life. I am no Chuck Todd but not too far away.
In any case, I do not believe we will go over the all too arbitrary and Congress created “fiscal cliff.” This is partly because President Obama was reelected. It was partly because the Democrats kept the Senate. With that in mind, our collective future rests in the hands of one man; Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Oh). Yes, the man who refused to use the word “compromise” on national television last year will be the one who forces his caucus to do just that.
First I need to have my own “Sister Souljah moment” (she once had an office down the hall from mine at RCA Victor, true story). The Tea Party makes for a great target as to why Washington seems incapable of getting anything done but they are a response to that inaction, not the cause of it. Our Congressional districts are becoming more and more polarized, resulting in more and more extreme representatives — remember, Congress is very much a mirror. If you don’t like what you see in Washington, you probably don’t like what you see when you look around you. It’s become too easy to blame one group or another for our collective failure to pay attention and act on what happens.
So, here we are. On the brink of yet another economic crisis. Europe has already gone back into recession (And we think that same austerity will work here? Are we that stupid, Joe Scarborough?). The great menace that is China has an economy that is slowing down. I am no economist but running a government on nothing but stop-gap continuing resolutions is not a way to run a government, when exactly was a full round of appropriations bills passed? Yeah, if you have to scratch your head at that one it has been too damn long. See? I am still a bitter cynic.
Yet, because Boehner is the speaker of the House and not someone like, I dunno, Eric “Dr. No” Cantor or Paul “I ran the marathon in under a minute” Ryan. Take home message: he is reasonable. Now, I would like to have a second “moment.” I believe that everyone who gets into public life is a patriot. Maybe a power hungry, egomaniac but also a patriot. I do not think Cantor or Ryan want to see the country fail, I just don’t think they are seasoned enough to understand the value of compromise.
Who is this John Boehner? His upbringing is nothing like Mitt Romney‘s. He has 11 siblings. He grew up in a two bedroom house. Yes, that’s right 14 people lived in a house with two bedrooms and one bathroom. He started working in his father’s bar when he was eight. If anyone gets the hardship brought on by recession, it’s John Boehner. He currently rents a basement apartment on Capitol Hill (really, his favorite restaurant is my favorite Italian place on the Hill).
Now I am no fan. In 2007, I worked a communications director for a Democratic member of Congress. One night there was a vote at about 1:00 am (we were still in the office, eyes glued to C-Span. The Democrats still had the House then and the man in the Chair was a D. He called the vote wrong — some members had not voted when he thought they had. It was bad. Steny Hoyer called for the vote to be held a second time and it was but the Republicans stormed out. The bill they disliked passed. The next day Hoyer asked Boehner to hold off on going to the Ethics Committee until they had looked into it. Boehner agreed (this was on the floor) but had actually already submitted a complaint with that committee. For years, that just got my craw (is that a real phrase?). Seriously, I thought that was crazily underhanded. Now, I have forgiven him.
What else do you need to know about John Boehner? He tried to lead a “coup” against Newt Gingrich. He smokes enough that you can smell him from a block away. He is a really conservative guy, though religious conservatives complain he is motivated more by small government conservatism than the issues that matter to them. I am not sure how he could be more conservative on same sex marriage, abortion and other things but I am not a social, fiscal or any kind of conservative so I am not the one to judge that. The conservative Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote this about him. The Plain Dealer says Boehner can “disagree without being disagreeable.” We need more of that in the world but even that is not going to save us from fiscal armageddon.
We will avoid the “cliff” because John Boehner is reasonable. We will lose the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year or more. We will lower corporate tax rates but raise the top two rates to what they were under President Bill Clinton (you remember those horrible recession years, oh right, we had a great economy then) to 36 and 39 percent. We will make a pledge to deal with entitlements, though the actual changes won’t happen right away (sorry young people, the retirement age will go up, if not this year, sometime before you retire. Seriously, it has to.).
Don’t worry family, I am still the bitter cynic you know and love. Don’t believe it? I still wear only black.
(This was published on 11/16/2012 at www.pardonthepundit.com)
11/16/2012 11:35 AM Alyson Durden – With negotiations to prevent the country from hurtling over the “fiscal cliff” predicted to fail, and fresh off their efforts to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, the cast of the MTV show “Jersey Shore” have announced a “road trip” to Washington, DC to get the President and Congress to work together. The group hopes to get leaders from both chambers and parties to meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden together for “one hell of a party” to hammer out a compromise that will prevent the sequestration, but also “bring some fun to the process.”
“If anyone knows how to bring people together, it’s us,” said Vinny Guadagnino. “We have navigated six seasons of living in close quarters with each other, and we know what it takes to force people to work things out. I personally got the house to look at art AND history in Italy. As a group we negotiated truces between Ronny and Sammi, Snook and the Situation, the Situation and the guys next door — well, Mike has forced us all to become master negotiators. He can get himself in a fight when he is by himself — does everyone remember when he knocked himself unconscious? I sure do.”
Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio told us, “Now that Mike quit drinking he has really become interested in fiscal policy, I never knew he had such interests, but he was really the driving force behind our efforts. I didn’t realize how serious this was until he sat me down one night after we’d been partying at Karma and said, ‘If we allow the budget cuts and tax hikes from the Budget Control Act of 2011 to go through, I may go back to doing drugs and drinking, just to help the economy. The housing market has just begun to recover, we cannot allow this.'”
Lawmakers on both sides were eager to meet with the reality stars. Speaker John Boehner was overheard saying, “I cannot believe I get to meet JWow! This job rocks!” And Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz tweeted, “The Jersey Shore summit will be the best meeting ever!” And the White House was not immune to the charms of the pride of Seaside Heights either, as staffers told PTP, “This is going to be awesome. And we were worried these talks would be boring. That Deema is a ‘bast in a glass.’ I hope she brings some of that!”
On a serious note, towns like Seaside Heights could really use your help. Here are some articles about what the “Jersey Shore” cast is doing to help and if you want to help, please check this out: https://www.facebook.com/restoretheshoreprojects
- ‘Jersey Shore’ star gets MTV talk show – EXCLUSIVE (insidetv.ew.com)
- ‘Jersey Shore’ Cast’s Shock At Hurricane Sandy’s Devastation On ‘Restore The Shore’ (contactmusic.com)
- The Situation from ‘Jersey Shore’ redefining GTL (it means gym, tan, lawsuit now) (celebs.gather.com)
- Biden says Jersey Shore has ‘homeboy’ in the White House (nydailynews.com)
I am a Democrat (not a DINO, I have been working for Democratic campaigns since I was eight) but I honestly like the idea of having two rational parties. It behooves us all because we have real issues to tackle; the fiscal cliff, an increasingly unstable world, the Mets.
We need our leaders from both parties to start acting like adults and start working with each other. We all need to stop demogoguing people who have different views from us.
In that spirit, I have some suggestions for the Republican Party:
1. Stop proclaiming that compromise is horrible; it’s what made our country possible. And special note to people like Congressman Ron Paul, we cannot fix problems of the past but we can try to deal with what’s going on now (he said recently that we have “already gone over the cliff” and warned against compromise). Note to Speaker John Boehner: Thank you for showing some willingness to work with the White House. I think you are reasonable but you cannot expect to please every member of your caucus if you want to get enough Democrats on board.)
2. Vet your candidates better! Seriously, listen to Stephen Colbert — anytime any of them want to talk about rape (unless it’s about stopping it) they should follow the advice and stab themselves in the eye with a pencil. I say this not just because I know women can get pregnant from rape or that I don’t think a baby conceived this way is a “gift from God.” It’s because these comments shift the focus from things that matter to things that don’t.
3. Vet your surrogates better! The ridiculous caricature that is Donald Trump has no place in the public discourse. And concocting conspiracy theories to demonize the president makes reasonable people think you are anything but and then even if you have cogent points on other issues; we don’t notice because we’re too astounded by your claims that President Obama is a Kenyan born, Marxist, wanna-be-Hitler whose presidency has ushered in the end of days from the bible.
4. Remember that our Constitution was written to protect our rights from the government, not restrict them. When you continue to oppose same sex marriage and try to demonize the LGBT community you show just how on the wrong side of history you are on. A friend of mine calls this the civil rights issue of our time. It is. I cannot wait until everyone has the same rights and we can stop talking about this and get back to dealing with real issues.
5. Try to remember, this is 2012, not 1955.
The part of me that writes satire and comedy loved the circus that was Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann et al (if Jon Huntsman had been nominated, and he was more conservative that the rest of them, you would have had a better chance) but the part of me that cares about the country was deeply saddened by the missed opportunity to get people thinking about real solutions to our problems.
I don’t think the Democrats are blameless. I hate negative political ads and our side ran a ton. They make everyone jaded about a process that should excite and inspire people. Politics is also supposed to be “the art of the possible.”
Lest you think I only think Republicans field bad candidates remember, I refer you to– John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner. Neither side is perfect but that doesn’t mean they are evil either.
This started as a bit of an inside joke I had with myself. I am away for the summer and was looking at a photo of my cat, whose full name has been changed from “Cheddar Jameson” to “Little Cheddar Jameson.”
It refers, of course, to the Facebook group started to support current State Department official and aide to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin. Why does she need this support? Because the always grounded in reality Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has accused her of being under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. While Little Cheddar Jameson is a cat and has never met Abedin (I have, I worked with her when I did advance for the Clintons), he would stand with her. Even a cat can see how implausible this line of reasoning is.
And this isn’t Alyson “the liberal Democrat” talking. This is Alyson “the I have a brain and can look at things rationally” talking. Senator John McCain has said the same thing as had Speaker of the House John Boehner.