Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Imelda Staunton, 57.

And plenty of good stuff:

1. Ryan Grim and Sabrina Siddiqui on how Members of Congress spend their time. Depressing.

2. Is it the worst ever graph? It's certainly a contender, and Andrew Gelman has it.

3. Lots of reasons to take not of a small health care story hidden in the fiscal cliff bill: Peter Orszag reports why it's important for budget reasons, but it's also a great how-Congress-works story.

4. Paul Krugman really wants to mint the coin.

5. Keith Hennessey has a very reasonable debt limit strategy for Republicans. Therefore, it probably won't happen.

6. Mark Knoller, profiled by Shane Harris.

7. And Molly Ball on the lessons she learned from Richard Ben Cramer.


  1. Hennessey's strategy is only reasonable if you accept his ridiculous analogy comparing the Federal budget to a teenager's credit card.

    1. Eh, the strategy itself of giving three month debt ceiling increases in exchange for the opportunity to do a little political theater is totally reasonable. It might be that the particular content of the political theater that Hennessey would prefer is annoying (in which Boehner and McConnel pretends to be Germany while the American people get to be Greece), but should Republicans take the White House I'm sure Democrats can come up with their own theater.

      From the GOP's perspective, the problem with Hennessey's strategy is that they've spent so long playing dangerous games with the debt ceiling that it's not clear that political theater would even be useful to them anymore. If a GOP challenger cuts an ad counting the number of times a Democrat raised the debt ceiling, that gives the Democrat an opportunity to talk about how close the GOP came to risking default, or how GOP policies (war, tax cuts, recession) increases debt.

    2. Not sure why so many people have linked to Hennessey's strategy. His assumption that Dems don't want to raise the debt ceiling any more than Republicans strikes me as completely wrong. The party that occupies the White House has always voted to raise the debt ceiling. As far as I can tell, this is yet another example of Republicans' inability to understand any point of view other than their own.

    3. First, I agree with Consumatopia -- there's a lot of partisan rhetoric in the piece, but the strategy is fine.

      Second, the point is that the president's party is the one that has to supply the votes, but the individual Members still don't want to cast that vote -- so the correct (responsible) strategy is to extract maximum hurt over it.

      Now, I think it's all nonsense; Members who want to duck this vote are massively overestimating how bad it is. But if Hennessey is correct (and he probably is) about what they believe, then the rest follows.

  2. Happy 100th birthday to Richard Nixon! Some people say Nixon is dead, but we all know that the true animus of Richard Nixon could never die.

  3. Mike Konczal outlines a good political-optics solution to the platinum-coin option:

  4. I was intrigued by Grim and Siddiqui's column in the context of Citizens United. Prior to that decision, the typical Congressperson's day, with its prescribed prison march out to the call banks, seems like an adorably daft episode of Hogan's Heroes.

    Post-Citizens United, when there's no longer a $3,000 cap on the donations of the person on the other end of the line, the whole thing seems a bit sinister.

  5. So now we are censuring blogs too. What a tragedy. My posting from a few days ago about the possible appointment of Kahan S. Dhillon, Jr. somehow disappears. Well folks that will be the last time I post in this place.


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