* The Repubs goofed up (typical) when they went to Paul Ryan for house leader...he's a pretty boy. Should've appointed some beer-belly...they should have at least one, right? To appeal to the Tea Baggers?
* After his latest full-throated unachievable promise (to drop US incarcerations so that we're not #1 in the world, by the end of his first term), I came to a realization: Bernie intends to lose. I think he enjoys the attention and stirring people up --- a little bit out of civic duty but also a little bit out of vanity -- but he is counting on either Hillary or some Republican to keep him from ever having to make good on anything he promises. The alternative is that he hasn't thought that far ahead, which is just scary. Of course, that's going to leave all his starry-eyed adherents convinced that everything Bernie promised would have been possible, if only voters hadn't rejected him in favor of someone who "understands politics" and "knows how bills become laws" and "can do basic arithmetic". So they're going to become even more cynical about the system because they fell for the sales pitch of a snake oil salesman from Vermont.
* Right now, Sanders is campaigning, not governing. His job right now is to dream big. The man's not an idiot, nor are his supporters.
* Bernie will accomplish NOTHING. It's all very pie in the sky on the campaign trail, but this is what he'll have to deal with, and he will fail. NOT ONE of his fantasies are going to come true, and all of his "promises" will come to naught. If he wins, he will be a one-term President who will end up reviled for lying during the election, and end up handing the country to the Republicans after that. Then we'll really be screwed.
* You underestimate the hatred the right has for the left. It doesn't matter what color or gender a Democrat is. The wing nuts are going to stomp their feet and refuse to pass anything that does not destroy government.
* The problem is, nobody can work with these visigoths. We need voters to turn out and defy the district drawn against them. So far, however, turnout in Dem primaries/caucuses is down from 2008 numbers, so the prospects for change at the ballot box don't look good.
Wingnuts have a death-grip on Congress: Why Paul Ryan can’t control the House GOP
With budget negotiations on the horizon, the Republicans' right flank is digging in its heels yet again
By Gary Legum, February 11, 2016
Remember last fall, when pundits and politicians were trying to talk themselves into Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House because he would lay down the law with the hard-right wing of the Republican caucus? When he was the man who could bring some much-needed order to the ranks? Who could maybe end this habit of careening from crisis to crisis that Congress has fallen into because the two parties are unable to agree on anything, down to whether toilet paper should be rolled over or under in Capitol Hill bathrooms, let alone a budget to fund the basic functions of government?
As the kids like to say, LOL:
“The release of President Obama’s eighth and final budget on Tuesday has forced into the open the seething tensions that never really went away after a spending agreement was reached last year, in part to ease Mr. Ryan’s transition into the speaker’s suite.That “core group of House Republicans” is the House Freedom Caucus, the band of 40 or so feral meerkats who did much of the heavy lifting in driving John Boehner into retirement. But they aren’t the only Republicans who look like infants here. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), the chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, last week announced they will not even let the director of the Office of Management and Budget present the proposed budget to the Congress. This practice is a common courtesy extended to presidential administrations for the last 40 years or so.
That deal set spending until the end of October of this year, at levels that the president adhered to and Senate Republicans hope to make stick. But a core group of House Republicans who gave Mr. Ryan a pass back then now say they want to toss those numbers out like so much flotsam and pass their own budget with far tighter spending restrictions.”
No one would expect any Congress to rubber-stamp a president’s budget proposal, of course. Not even if the same party controlled both chambers and the White House. But what’s notable here is this quote from one member of the Freedom Caucus:
“If we are going to pass a Republican budget, it should reflect Republican ideals,” said Representative Mick Mulvaney, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the Freedom Caucus that is leading this charge. “That means lower spending.”Right, except you’re not passing a Republican budget any more than President Obama expects you to pass a Democratic budget. The president’s proposal is the opening to a negotiation, to be hashed out between two parties. Is anyone available who can explain the job of legislating to these legislators?
But like so many other legislative norms that the Republicans in Congress have tossed out the window during the Obama era, the practice of two co-equal branches of government openly and fairly debating genuine issues that will affect the American people has been given the heave-ho. Yet I’d bet cash money some of these legislators like Mulvaney and Price are also just astonished that bullying idiot Donald Trump is stomping their party’s candidates for the Republican nomination.
Paul Ryan knows how this is supposed to work. He was, after all, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee for the four years the Democrats controlled the House from 2007 to 2011. Then, when the GOP regained the majority in the chamber, he chaired the committee for another four years, until 2015. If anyone in the House knows how the budget sausage gets made, knows all the little compromises over appropriations levels and priorities that go into funding the government, it’s Ryan.
But as part of his deal to earn his Republican colleagues’ votes for Speaker, Ryan devolved a fair amount of power for setting legislative agendas back to the committee chairmen. This took away one of the tools that past Speakers like Boehner could use as leverage to get bills they favored taken up by individual committees. With that gone, a weak Speaker is practically a helpless bystander to this sort of spectacle. Sure, maybe he can still yank the chairmanship away from Price, but that will just raise howls of protest from the other chairs who thought they had freedom to run things as they see fit. And though Price isn’t a member of the Freedom Caucus, you can bet that group approves of what he’s doing. If Ryan punishes him, he gets an even louder revolt on his right flank, in the middle of an election year.
But beyond all this inside-baseball stuff is a point that many pundits have hammered on over and over during the primary campaign. Which is that this partisan infection of the House is not going away after the 2016 election, or even after 2018 and likely not until sometime after the next census in 2020, if it happens at all. So even if Democrats still hold the White House next year, either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton will spend much of his or her time negotiating and fighting these budget fights just to keep the government’s lights on, let alone pushing through major changes to healthcare or financial industry regulations.
Plus, there’s a good chance he or she will be saddled with Paul Ryan as Speaker, and he’s about as solid as helium. By the end of 2017, we may all be longing for the halcyon days when John Boehner ran things.