Friday, January 4, 2013

Elsewhere: Filibuster, Silly Polls, More

Sorry for the slow blogging today; we had a power outage here at Plain Blog World Headquarters this morning (on top of a messed up night last night, as those who noted the time stamp on the Watergate post might have noticed), and next thing you know I hadn't actually wound up with anything to put here.

I'll try to get back later with a baseball post...we'll see. Meanwhile, I wrote an Ignore Those Polls! post about the House Republicans and issue polling on the debt limit over at Greg's place. That episode reminded me of Newt and Luntz in 1994/1995, but yesterday I suggested that perhaps, following that model, the 113th Congress might be not as awful as the 112th.

Meanwhile, at PP, I argued today that there really is a potentially solid compromise on filibuster reform.Yes, Superbill! gets a mention.

4 comments:

  1. The problem I have with all the filibuster reforms being considered is they don't end the ability of a partisan minority to require 60 votes for everything. Like you, I'm far from convinced that the talking filibuster is going to really be so inconvenient and politically damaging that it is going to stop McConnell (let alone the more conservative recently elected Senators) from filibustering everything. But it's probably the case that the majority is going to have to see the uselessness of the talking filibuster proven to it first before it will consider going to a true majoritarian Senate.

    Question: has any actual Senator proposed a solution like Superbill?

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    1. Nope. My impression, by the way, is that they're being modest because they don't have the votes for more.

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  2. Regarding polling on the debt limit, I find myself perplexed. I agree that "Would you like to see a new global economic crisis triggered deliberately on account of pig-headed incompetence?" probably would poll poorly, but is anyone going to ask that? Most regular people will never see that as a likely outcome unless it's actually allowed to happen, and the probability of it actually happening, I hope, is pretty low. Fox News will happily spin it for its audience in any way that's most convenient for its side. The Republicans are already telling people that the issue is about allowing the president to charge things on the people's credit card without the permission of Congress, so they're clearly capable of saying anything. Meanwhile, the incentive structure for the actual bargainng will be that of a "chicken game" as each side tries to force the other to surrender in the name of preventing mutual disaster. The advantage goes to the side that believes--or convincingly appears to believe--that the disaster really wouldn't be so bad, the side that's most committed, most stubborn, most ignorant of the real consequences, perhaps the side wiht the most pig-headed incompetence.

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    1. Scott, I'm not sure how well traditional models of bargaining apply any more. Since the reversion point of the cliff was way on the Democrats side, they should have been able to get more out of the cliff negotiations. I think the problem may be that the GOP utility function is non-continuous. At times, I even wonder if the GOP has it's own utility function, or if their utility is derived from some weird, unmodelable source.

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