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(The Atlantic)   Your false equivalence guide to the shutdown. Anyone using the words "standoff," a "showdown," a "failure of leadership," a sign of "partisan gridlock," or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism   (theatlantic.com ) divider line
    More: Fail, equations, John C. Calhoun, safe seat, opinion leaders, protest vote, bankruptcy, Jonathan Chait, dispute  
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3148 clicks; posted to Politics » on 30 Sep 2013 at 11:37 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-30 09:41:16 AM  
I feel the same way about the term "political disagreement".
 
2013-09-30 09:45:56 AM  
I've got mine, fark you.
 
2013-09-30 09:47:09 AM  
If we're going historical, can Obama just challenge the dissenters to a duel in Congress?
 
2013-09-30 10:05:15 AM  
As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a "standoff," a "showdown," a "failure of leadership," a sign of "partisan gridlock," or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism*** and an inability to see or describe what is going on. For instance: the "dig in their heels" headline you see below, which is from a proprietary newsletter I read this morning, and about which I am leaving off the identifying details.

This isn't "gridlock." It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us -- and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too.


It is partisan gridlock.  The traditionalists of the GOP are in a struggle with their radical elements for sure, but the fact that the will be held hostage by that radical element, rather than crossing party lines and voting with the other party, is partisan gridlock.  It's also a failure of the GOP leadership to steward the sane elements of the party across party lines.  That's the way I see it, at least.
 
2013-09-30 10:05:24 AM  

doglover: If we're going historical, can Obama just challenge the dissenters to a duel in Congress?


I'd rather someone just beat Louis Goehmert with his walking stick.
 
2013-09-30 10:07:18 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a "standoff," a "showdown," a "failure of leadership," a sign of "partisan gridlock," or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism*** and an inability to see or describe what is going on. For instance: the "dig in their heels" headline you see below, which is from a proprietary newsletter I read this morning, and about which I am leaving off the identifying details.

This isn't "gridlock." It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us -- and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too.

It is partisan gridlock.  The traditionalists of the GOP are in a struggle with their radical elements for sure, but the fact that the will be held hostage by that radical element, rather than crossing party lines and voting with the other party, is partisan gridlock.  It's also a failure of the GOP leadership to steward the sane elements of the party across party lines.  That's the way I see it, at least.


It's gridlock in the same way that two fat guys are walking shoulder to shoulder down a narrow alley and demand that the skinny guy they're approaching get out of the way.
 
2013-09-30 10:09:10 AM  
What if we just quote the president?


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."
 
2013-09-30 10:09:54 AM  
Democrats and moderate Republicans want a functioning government and a stable economy. Radical Republicans don't.

All 3 sides are bad!
 
2013-09-30 10:10:17 AM  
This whole heath care issue would have been solved long ago if Congress had to buy their health insurance on the open market.
 
2013-09-30 10:10:45 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: It's gridlock in the same way that two fat guys are walking shoulder to shoulder down a narrow alley and demand that the skinny guy they're approaching get out of the way.


So, you are saying that when the two sides work together, its like throwing a hot dog down a hallway?
 
2013-09-30 10:11:27 AM  

I_C_Weener: What if we just quote the president?


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."


That wasn't a quote from a president. It was a quote from a senator.
But you already knew that.
 
2013-09-30 10:12:26 AM  

I_C_Weener: What if we just quote the president?


the difference being, of course, that obama's SYMBOLIC "no" vote on the debt ceiling in 2006 was cast when there was ZERO CHANCE of the US defaulting on its debt obligations. today, however, a large number of house republicans want to do just that. and it's looking more likely by the day.

the upshot is, the GOP is threatening to DESTROY THE US ECONOMY if its political demands aren't met. in other words, they are nothing more than a terrorist organization at this point.
 
2013-09-30 10:12:42 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: This whole heath care issue would have been solved long ago if Congress had to buy their health insurance on the open market.


True.  And Martha Stewart never would have gone to jail if she'd been a Congresswoman.
 
2013-09-30 10:13:16 AM  

I_C_Weener: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: It's gridlock in the same way that two fat guys are walking shoulder to shoulder down a narrow alley and demand that the skinny guy they're approaching get out of the way.

So, you are saying that when the two sides work together, its like throwing a hot dog down a hallway?


...No?
 
2013-09-30 10:14:57 AM  

Via Infinito: I_C_Weener: What if we just quote the president?


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

That wasn't a quote from a president. It was a quote from a senator.
But you already knew that.


True.  But that was the same guy.
 
2013-09-30 10:18:36 AM  

I_C_Weener: True.  But that was the same guy.


• a symbolic vote to not raise the debt ceiling when there is ZERO danger of that happening is not the same thing, even remotely, that is going on right now
• deficits have been falling under obama faster than any time since WWII, so this isn't about fiscal policy; it's about partisan politics

but you already knew that.
 
2013-09-30 10:19:09 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: It's gridlock in the same way that two fat guys are walking shoulder to shoulder down a narrow alley and demand that the skinny guy they're approaching get out of the way.


In this case, the two fat guys are holding hands.  One of the fat guys would like to let go and let the skinny guy through.  But he doesn't, because he is afraid of the other fat guy.  Or something like that.

It's "gridlock" because the saner members of the GOP can't join the Democrats without fear of being primaried by the insane in their party.  Members of two opposing parties unable to join for common resolution = gridlock in my book.
 
2013-09-30 10:22:48 AM  
All I know is that all politicians are liars who are only out for themselves and I don't trust any of them from either party.

/hard-hitting analysis
 
2013-09-30 10:26:16 AM  

I_C_Weener: Marcus Aurelius: This whole heath care issue would have been solved long ago if Congress had to buy their health insurance on the open market.

True.  And Martha Stewart never would have gone to jail if she'd been a Congresswoman.


Well, technically, she wasn't convicted of insider trading.  She was convicted of talking to a Fed without her lawyer present.  But I see your point - she wouldn't have been questioned by the Fed to begin with if she were a Congressman.
 
2013-09-30 10:26:28 AM  

FlashHarry: I_C_Weener: True.  But that was the same guy.

• a symbolic vote to not raise the debt ceiling when there is ZERO danger of that happening is not the same thing, even remotely, that is going on right now
• deficits have been falling under obama faster than any time since WWII, so this isn't about fiscal policy; it's about partisan politics

but you already knew that.


So, he did believe it was a good idea but gave a speech and symbolically voted against it anyway?  Let's make this guy president.

You can make excuses.  But he voted against it before he begged for it.
 
2013-09-30 10:28:02 AM  

I_C_Weener: Via Infinito: I_C_Weener: What if we just quote the president?


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

That wasn't a quote from a president. It was a quote from a senator.
But you already knew that.

True.  But that was the same guy.


Yes it was. Back when he was still a senator who had no idea what kinds of information the president is privy to. Haven't you ever noticed how people are all idealistic and hopeful when they're running for president? Oh they're going to change this, and fix that. Oh yeah. And when they actually get in office and start to understand what is really going on with this country, they end up changing their tune and going gray almost immediately? It happens to all of them. Chances are, they're exposed to a daily reality that would make the rest of us soil ourselves.

tl;dr - People can and should change their opinions when presented with different information. Especially the freaking president.
 
2013-09-30 10:30:24 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: I_C_Weener: Marcus Aurelius: This whole heath care issue would have been solved long ago if Congress had to buy their health insurance on the open market.

True.  And Martha Stewart never would have gone to jail if she'd been a Congresswoman.

Well, technically, she wasn't convicted of insider trading.  She was convicted of talking to a Fed without her lawyer present.  But I see your point - she wouldn't have been questioned by the Fed to begin with if she were a Congressman.


It does seem like more laws passed by Congress should apply to them.  In this case, they have insurance through their employer, so ACA doesn't affect them.  They can keep their plans because they control the purse strings for their employer.  And they already use a version of the exchanges for getting their insurance plan.

Maybe if their employer only paid the same percent as the average employer does toward health insurance...then they had to rely on a government subsidy to cover some of the premium...and the rest themselves...then we could hold them to the same standard we face on health insurance.
 
2013-09-30 10:35:56 AM  

Via Infinito: tl;dr - People can and should change their opinions when presented with different information. Especially the freaking president.


True enough.  But if supporters of Obama felt that way in truth, they'd also have felt that way about Bush and just trusted that he knows best.
 
2013-09-30 10:38:02 AM  

I_C_Weener: It does seem like more laws passed by Congress should apply to them


Congress has a long history of exempting themselves from the legislation they impose on the rest of us.  The ADA, EEO, and OSHA come to mind.
 
2013-09-30 10:38:05 AM  

I_C_Weener: But he voted against it before he begged for it.


He was a Senator before he was the President. Not sure how that's confusing.
 
2013-09-30 10:39:42 AM  

I_C_Weener: You can make excuses.  But he voted against it before he begged for it.


so by your definition, these two scenarios are identical

1) man finds out his son has lifted his credit card to buy a video game. he says, "i'm gonna kill him!" and goes home, scolds his son and grounds him.
2) man finds out his son has lifted his credit card to buy a video game. he says, "i'm gonna kill him!" and goes home and actually kills his son.
 
2013-09-30 10:45:47 AM  
I think it's kind of dumb that this sort of thing is even possible.  If we're obligated to pay our bills by the Constitution, why would it be possible to have anyone be able to vote not to do it?
 
2013-09-30 10:50:22 AM  

EatHam: I think it's kind of dumb that this sort of thing is even possible.  If we're obligated to pay our bills by the Constitution, why would it be possible to have anyone be able to vote not to do it?


Because under House Speaker Newt Gingrich the Gephardt rule was abolished, that way Rs could hammer Clinton over spending. Ds then hammered Bush over spending. And on and on.

All proving that the debt limit is an entirely arbitrary number that serves no purpose other than for political grandstanding. It should be abolished.
 
2013-09-30 10:52:23 AM  

colinspooky: I feel the same way about the term "political disagreement".


I feel the same way about the term "controversial".  That seems the catch-all phrase when someone says something blindingly stupid or mean, without coming out and saying it's stupid or mean.
 
2013-09-30 10:52:52 AM  

Dusk-You-n-Me: EatHam: I think it's kind of dumb that this sort of thing is even possible.  If we're obligated to pay our bills by the Constitution, why would it be possible to have anyone be able to vote not to do it?

Because under House Speaker Newt Gingrich the Gephardt rule was abolished, that way Rs could hammer Clinton over spending. Ds then hammered Bush over spending. And on and on.

All proving that the debt limit is an entirely arbitrary number that serves no purpose other than for political grandstanding. It should be abolished.


I understand the history of it, I'm agreeing with you that there shouldn't be such a limit, or if there is, it should be considered at the point of creating new spending, not the point of paying for what we already bought.
 
2013-09-30 10:53:15 AM  

FlashHarry: I_C_Weener: True.  But that was the same guy.

• a symbolic vote to not raise the debt ceiling when there is ZERO danger of that happening is not the same thing, even remotely, that is going on right now
• deficits have been falling under obama faster than any time since WWII, so this isn't about fiscal policy; it's about partisan politics

but you already knew that.


Of course it does. It brings it up in every debt-ceiling thread.

As MIKE LOWELL recently pointed out: (to paraphrase) Learning or changing would require you to admit you were wrong about something at some point in your life.

That ain't how the Derp Squad rolls.
 
2013-09-30 11:02:25 AM  

I_C_Weener: You can make excuses.  But he voted against it before he begged for it.


You can pretend it's the same.  But it's not.
 
2013-09-30 11:16:40 AM  

Dusk-You-n-Me: Because under House Speaker Newt Gingrich the Gephardt rule was abolished.


Wait, you're telling me that at one point Congress automatically authorized the debt limit based on what it had previously approved in their budget? What kind of wizardry is that?
 
2013-09-30 11:23:05 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Wait, you're telling me that at one point Congress automatically authorized the debt limit based on what it had previously approved in their budget?


Well the Gephardt rule made sense, so clearly Newt was required to get rid of it.
 
2013-09-30 11:25:50 AM  

Dusk-You-n-Me: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Wait, you're telling me that at one point Congress automatically authorized the debt limit based on what it had previously approved in their budget?

Well the Gephardt rule made sense, so clearly Newt was required to get rid of it.


Remember: Newt was "The Smart Candidate" running for the GOP nomination in 2012.
 
2013-09-30 11:31:56 AM  
Using the Obama debt ceiling quote is disingenuous as hell. As he himself admits, at the time he didn't actually realize what the debt ceiling meant.
 
2013-09-30 11:33:59 AM  
So the rest of the country is gets to suffer because the tea party is being whiny biatches? Yeah...that's just great.
 
2013-09-30 11:39:07 AM  
Why do the Teahadists sound like Clem down what for the trailer park arguing with the repo man from Aaron's came for his big screen TV?
 
2013-09-30 11:39:21 AM  

Rincewind53: Using the Obama debt ceiling quote is disingenuous as hell. As he himself admits, at the time he didn't actually realize what the debt ceiling meant.


A democrat talking out of his ass?  Unpossible.
 
2013-09-30 11:41:35 AM  

Lt. Cheese Weasel: Rincewind53: Using the Obama debt ceiling quote is disingenuous as hell. As he himself admits, at the time he didn't actually realize what the debt ceiling meant.

A democrat Congressman talking out of his ass?  Unpossible.


FTFY.

See, if you use his words against him, you're essentially saying "Yes, we accept that our position is wrong, but hey, he got it wrong in the past too so nanny-nanny-poo-poo."
 
2013-09-30 11:41:51 AM  

Lt. Cheese Weasel: Rincewind53: Using the Obama debt ceiling quote is disingenuous as hell. As he himself admits, at the time he didn't actually realize what the debt ceiling meant.

A democratpolitician talking out of his ass?  Unpossible.


FTFY.
 
2013-09-30 11:42:23 AM  

Weaver95: So the rest of the country is gets to suffer because the tea party is being whiny biatches? Yeah...that's just great.


That sounds biased.
 
2013-09-30 11:42:42 AM  

I_C_Weener: What if we just quote the president?


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."


I was unaware that it was okay to borrow tons of money when the economy is in full expansion but ridiculously immoral to borrow money when the economy is cratering or barely recovering. Huh. Guess I learned something new today!
 
2013-09-30 11:43:59 AM  
There are historic parallels.  Just think of it as the GOP being, de facto, two political parties.  everybody wanted a 3 party system.  Now we have one.  The tea party just needs to branch off and form its own party.
 
2013-09-30 11:44:19 AM  
So to make this simple for our local tea derpers....the ACA passed congress. It was signed into law. It passed constitutional muster. It's the law of the land, and most of the country wants it to go live. But a relatively small faction of radicals have decided to shut down the entire government in Order to shut down implementation of a law they don't like very much.

Let me hit that again. A small faction of radicals is bypassing every rule in the book in order to unconstitutionally shut down a law they do not like.

The implications of this are terrifying. Imagine if this was being done by a small group of democrats. What do you think wall streets response might be to that? Rush limbaugh? Hannity? Do you think they'd be ok with a small group of leftist radicals tanking the fedgov to push thru unpopular reforms? Because I think they'd flip their lids. So tea derpers...be carful about setting this precedent, because eventually it WILL be used against you.
 
2013-09-30 11:44:31 AM  

Rincewind53: Using the Obama debt ceiling quote is disingenuous as hell. As he himself admits, at the time he didn't actually realize what the debt ceiling meant.



That's a really, really bad excuse. Now you are going to start that whole "I don't know what's in it, I didn't read it" conversation.
 
2013-09-30 11:45:16 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: This whole heath care issue would have been solved long ago if Congress had to buy their health insurance on the open market.


You mean rather than getting it from their employer, as most Americans do?

I_C_Weener: Marcus Aurelius: This whole heath care issue would have been solved long ago if Congress had to buy their health insurance on the open market.

True.  And Martha Stewart never would have gone to jail if she'd been a Congresswoman.


Nonsense. Insider trading rules apply to members of Congress just as they apply to everyone else. The problem is that knowledge of pending legislation isn't "insider" information as defined by the statute, because it isn't information gained from a person or persons within the publicly traded company. I'm all for expanding the definition of "insider trading" to include persons with such knowledge, but that's not the way the law is currently written, and the law as currently written applies to members of Congress just as it applies to everyone else. If a member of Congress trades on information gained from someone within the company, that congressperson is in a heap of trouble.
 
2013-09-30 11:46:05 AM  

Serious Black: I was unaware that it was okay to borrow tons of money when the economy is in full expansion but ridiculously immoral to borrow money when the economy is cratering or barely recovering. Huh. Guess I learned something new today!


The important thing to remember, as always, is that both sides are bad, even if you have to draw a false equivalency between symbolic votes and votes purposely intended to have a huge direct negative impact.
 
2013-09-30 11:46:31 AM  
At this point in the game, anyone pushing false equivalency narratives that both sides are equally to blame are part of the problem.

We're in this situation because we've continually let one side get away with things that were previously widely accepted as grossly beyond the pale, and now it's become our "new normal".   They're doing it because we've let them get away with it.
 
2013-09-30 11:47:13 AM  

I_C_Weener: Via Infinito: tl;dr - People can and should change their opinions when presented with different information. Especially the freaking president.

True enough.  But if supporters of Obama felt that way in truth, they'd also have felt that way about Bush and just trusted that he knows best.


Oh, please explain your "logic" on this. I have popcorn ready.
 
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