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Shutdown and Debt Limit, Yellen, etc.

Letter from a Braves fan to his Republican congressman
Letter from a Braves fan to his Republican congressman

(1) Letter from a Braves Fan to His Republican Congressman:  See above–this came from NBC Sports Hardball Talk, and was then covered by Talking Points Memo. The comments on the NBC page from baseball fans are great too.

(2) Crooks, Liars, Idiots, and Plutocrats:  Great piece by Matías Vernengo, over at our sister blog Triple Crisis. The money quote: “it would be a mistake to conclude that we have been dominated by a group of rogue and irrational idiots hell-bent on destroying Western Civilization in the name of Christian values and some crazy, ill-defined notion of freedom. It is important to note that over the last two years the radical elements within the GOP have actually achieved something. They have consolidated a contractionary fiscal stance, barring any possibility of the fiscal expansion that we need for a healthy recovery.”

(3) The GOP’s “Suicide Caucus”:  There’s been some interesting analysis of what The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza calls “the G.O.P.’s Suicide Caucus”–the House members behind the government shutdown.  Lizza’s Where the G.O.P.’s Suicide Caucus Lives looks at the demographics of those House members’ districts–concentrated in the South and Midwest and largely white and rural, these are districts where Romney/Ryan won by landslides. Lizza summarizes: “In short, these eighty members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities, where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular. Meanwhile, in national politics, each of these trends is actually reversed.”

The other report about what’s going on in the GOP that sheds some light on the shutdown and debt limit fight is a report put out by Stan Greenberg and James Carville (via an outfit called Democracy Corps): Inside the GOP: Report on focus groups with Evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans. One interesting thing is that they made a point of having focus groups including only like-minded people–evangelicals, or Tea Partiers, or GOP moderates (though they didn’t sound too moderate to me!). So you get people saying things that they wouldn’t say in front of like-minded people.  Turns out they really really hate Obama and think he’s a tyrant or about to become one, and that he’s either already brought us socialism/communism or is about to. (Again I keep thinking–if we’re getting these reactions, isn’t it too bad we don’t actually have a party or a president that were actually proposing socialist policies?) Here is Bloomberg’s account of the report: Why the Republicans Shut Down the Government.

(4) Ron Baiman’s Letter to the President about the Shutdown and Debt Limit:  Ron Baiman of the Chicago Political Economy Group, wrote a letter entitled:  President Obama, Please Take Debt Extension off the Table and Refocus Debate on Jobs. He calls for the president to use one of the available ways to deal with the debt ceiling without Congress (14th Amendment duty to pay government bills;  platinum $1 trillion coin) and just insist on focusing on jobs. One thing that makes me nervous about that idea is the fact that the right-wingers in the Democracy Corps focus groups were so ready for Obama to turn into a “tyrant”:

They think President Obama is on the verge of using his powers to pursue his agenda without limits. That is evident in the frequent discussions about executive orders and action: “When Congress is gone…he just does an Executive Order. He’s going to get anything he wants. And there’s nobody there that will have the guts enough to stand up to him”

Seems like minting a platinum $1 trillion coin would just feed this.

(4) Bill Black on Al Jazeera America on Yellen: Bill Black’s take on the new Fed chief: Yellen Was the Obvious Choice–Except to Obama. At the ceremony with Obama and Bernanke, she made a point of mentioning the jobs part of the Fed’s mandate, and some people are talking about how she’ll pursue “full-employment policies,” but this seems implausible to me.

Ok, that’s it for now.

–Chris Sturr

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