Is the sequester a moment for Republicans to govern?

He can fight. But can he govern? (House Speaker John Boehner from Wikipedia)

In these final days of the sequester countdown, President Barack Obama appears to be mostly driving the public narrative, with polls showing most voters siding with Democrats on most of the issues.

In a way, it’s an unfair fight.

The president, after all, owns the bully pulpit.  When House Speaker John Boehner speaks, it causes a stir in the political press and riles up Washington-watchers like myself.

But when the guy in the Oval Office takes too the microphone, it goes on page one and generally leads the nightly news.

It’s also far easier for Mr. Obama to hone a clear message.

He is, after all, the chief executive, while Rep. Boehner is a guy whose day job as House Speaker is herding cats.

But I wonder if behind the drumbeat of culture war politics and posturing, this isn’t a moment for Republicans to begin clawing their way back to parity with Democrats by doing that most dangerous of things in Washington:  governing.

When Mr. Obama was elected in 2008, Republican leaders said point-blank that their number one agenda item was a political one, insuring that his presidency was limited to a single term.

That agenda failed.  Republicans are now facing down the barrel of another four years.  Even many of the most conservative Republican governors are now implementing Obamacare.  The Just Say No approach is in tatters.

So why not try another tactic?  Why not try actually making things work?

So far, the reporting from Washington has suggested that Mr. Obama is the one who needs to be the grown-up in the sequester stand-off, finding a way around the impasse.

But what if Mr. Boehner and his sidekicks in the House were to come up with the solution?

I’m not talking about Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which is a great political document, outlining a firm ideological stance.  That plan may be a great campaigning document, but everyone in America knows it’s dead on arrival in the real world.

I’m talking about some new, creative plan that actually moves the country toward fiscal sanity, includes some real austerity, and also acknowledges that the public’s views on many issues have changed.

This plan might include a re-imagining of the political landscape.  Rather than linking budget cuts to a boost in taxes, as Mr. Obama has proposed, why not link budget cuts to a hike in the Federal minimum wage?

Or why not use this moment to score some other big wins, by compromising on tax loopholes but gaining some kind of significant tort reform in the healthcare industry, or inter-state commerce freedoms that would boost competition in the insurance industry?

The bottom line is that the current line-in-the-sand approach isn’t working very well for the GOP.

So conservative leaders need to find an innovative package of ideas that will hold their backbenchers, while also bringing at least some Democrats, including Mr. Obama, back to the table.

The message of this kind of fresh thinking to the American people could be profound.  Polls show that a growing number of voters see Republicans as politically extreme, hidebound, and detached from their everyday concerns.

Maybe the best way back into the hearts and minds of the nation isn’t a new slogan, or a new packaging of old campaign rhetoric.

Maybe the best way for Republicans to re-emerge as America’s governing party is to come up with a plan for actually governing.

52 Comments on “Is the sequester a moment for Republicans to govern?”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:


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  2. Mike Ludovici says:

    This may be the beginning of the end for the Republican party and, eventually, the two party system.
    I’ m hopeful.

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  3. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Wonderful thinking Brian, but who is going to support the GOP in doing any of that? Listening, reading and watching the news it’s clear that as far as the media is concerned the sequester is all the fault of the right. Obama bears no responsibility for the plan his administration developed, IIRC it was our new Sec Tres Jack Lew, and it’s “cuts”. What is being reported is that Repubs are blocking Obamas plans. In fact it’s made to sound as though sequestration is a dirty Republican trick that was dreamed up by Grover Norquist or Karl Rove just to trip up Obama. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the Obama is selling “face time” with the Prez for a half million dollars a shot, he gave the GOP just 7 minutes of his time in a face to face meeting. Is that being reported on MSNBC, ABC, NPR or Huffpo? Nope, so just who is going to back anything the GOP comes up with? Who will even report it other than Fox? What media source will present anything the GOP comes up with as worth listening to?

    This is why the GOP is dead. They have let the media marginalize them and done a great deal of self marginalizing. They don’t matter. They sold out their base, they completely destroyed their status and the worst part is they really don’t understand why anything matters anymore. So even if they did come up with some fiscally responsible tit for tat, who is going to present their ideas and sell them? That’s all the news has become these days- an advertising agency for the Democrat White House and a tool to destroy a Republican White House, and the Republican party for that matter.

    Sorry, but I don’t think the Republicans could get good press or even a fair shake no matter what they did.

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  4. Rancid Crabtree says:

    You want a one party system Mike?

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  5. The Original Larry says:

    How’s that leadership thing working out for the Democrats? What will Obama do when the American people finally realize that leadership involves more than just blaming the other guy? Let it all collapse; maybe then a real leader will step up.

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  6. Mike Ludovici says:

    RC, we should all be Independents.

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  7. Paul says:

    It is too bad that both sides have to kowtow to the media so much. Because of that neither side can get anything done. The idea of a free press is to keep folks honest, but now it has turned into a mechanism for shaping policy.

    Let’s see what the presidents budget plan looks like and they can work from there.

    The markets have basically given up on Washington. The people that the president most wants to help are going to be hurt most by the lack of action. Too bad.

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  8. Pete Klein says:

    The poor Republicans. It’s all the fault of the liberal media.
    The American people, Democrats, Republicans and Independents all want something from the government. They would just prefer someone else pay for it.
    Cut the budget but give me mine.
    I don’t believe most people really care about the size of the budget as long as they get from it what they want and don’t have to pay any more to get what they want. If it’s something they don’t want or think they will never need, they say, “Cut it.”
    The real problem facing the Republicans has little to do with the budget in and of itself. The real problem for the Republicans is social issues. They imagine themselves to be the majority when they are not. Everyday they become more and more of a minority party but continue to think this is the 1950’s of “Father Knows Best” and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”

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  9. JDM says:

    Suggesting that Republicans govern points to the obvious.

    Obama is not governing. He refuses to govern. He is much more comfortable blaming the country’s ills on those who do govern.

    Interesting that you are encouraging for the GOP to govern more.

    More opportunity for Obama’s blame-game strategy to work.

    No. I think the best strategy for the GOP is to give the reigns to Obama.

    Put him in a place where he is seen as the decision-maker-in-chief.

    After 5 years of non-governing, the blamer-in-chief needs to take responsibility.

    Obama is not good at that. He is better at blaming others.

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  10. JDM says:

    Another strategy is for the GOP to do nothing.

    At this point, Obama has made so many false claims that the sky will fall, the best thing to do is nothing, and show the American people how falsely they’ve been mis-lead by this mis-leader.

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  11. Brian Mann says:

    You guys may be right. It may be that the “do nothing” and the “wait for the public to figure out that Obama is a fraud” approach that conservatives have embraced for five years – beginning with the 2008 campaign – will start bearing fruit.

    Then the Republicans will surge back to power and have the freedom to implement their agenda.

    Or it may be that the opinion surveys are meaningful, and Obama’s re-election has significance, and the loss of US Senate and the popular vote defeat in congressional races is relevant. It could be that this political strategy just isn’t working.

    But there’s also a wider issue here. Even assuming Republicans do find ways to win elections, they still have to develop strategies for actually governing a divided nation. Why not try to win on that issue?

    Why not demonstrate that they’ve figured out how to come up with innovative (and politically viable) solutions that are better than Obamacare, better than stimulus spending, and better than closing tax loopholes?

    You want to prove that Obama is a flop? Great. Why not do it by coming up with better, winning ideas?

    –Brian, NCPR

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  12. Jim Bullard says:


    The problem with your proposal is that it would require a majority of moderates in Congress, most of whom have bailed in recent years complaining that the shift to the extremes on both sides has made it impossible to do anything constructive. And of course, with everyone who has bailed quoting that reason, it has gotten worse. Unless you have some “moderation” drug we can slip into the Capital Hill drinking water I don’t see your suggestion, as good as it is, going anywhere.

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  13. JDM says:

    Brian Mann: “You want to prove that Obama is a flop? Great. Why not do it by coming up with better, winning ideas? ”

    Exactly. That is what is being done.

    That is not what is being reported, however.

    The media will take the hit along with Obama. The “wait for the American people to figure it out” will come to pass.

    Hiding relevant information is not a good when one is in the media business. It will come back to bite you.

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  14. Brian M: you’re missing the point. For the far right which now calls the shots in the GOP, all government* is evil so therefore not governing is, by their definition, the best way of governing.

    (*-with the exception of their sacred cows: bloated military spending and other forms of corporate welfare)

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  15. JDM says:

    The American people have figured out the the budget “cut” is not a year-over-year cut.

    It is a reduction in the projected increase in year-over-year increase. A small reduction at that.

    Baseline budgeting means everything starts the new year where it left off from the current year.

    In other words, no cuts. Just additions.

    No layoffs. Just additions.

    No loss of services. Just additions.

    No cuts in pay. Just additions.

    No searching for waste. Just additions.

    Just more waste.

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  16. Peter Hahn says:

    It would be nice if the republicans decided to participate in governing. We need a two party system. But it doesn’t look like its going to happen soon.

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  17. Zeke says:

    If all parties involved would adopt a no comment pledge and agree to only comment on their websites it wolud be a step in the right direction. What say you; SAY NO TO MEDIA

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  18. Paul says:

    One place that there could be room for compromise, tax reform.

    But it needs to be done properly. Look here is the White House definition of tax reform from their website:

    If you don’t want to check it out let me copy here what is number one on the list to do for tax reform:

    “Lower tax rates.
    The tax system should be simplified and work for all Americans with lower individual and corporate tax rates and fewer brackets.”

    Now the president has suggested tax reform but his own kooky version where you actually raise tax rates at the same time that you are trying to reform the tax code.

    Now I don’t like the idea of doing nothing but it seems better than trying to work with such a zany potential partner until they can at least start to follow their own rules.

    Why hasn’t the press called the president out on his bizarre ideas?

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  19. tootightmike says:

    The past five years have been tough. Tough on the worker, the teacher, and the public servant. Tough on the mighty manufacturers of everything but armaments. Tough on the small business people and tough on those with a great new idea. This recession that Bush handed us has been hard on those in government too, even those in the Republican party. It has been hard to accomplish anything for several years, no matter what your profession….even being President.
    Through all that, Obama has accomplished a few very difficult things. These tiny moves forward were fought day and night by those who would return to the fantasy world of the 50s that never existed. Progress is tough, and Obama may be the only one in government with anything to show.
    We need a two-party system. Maybe we need a three or four party system. What we really need is parties that want to move forward, and are willing to work toward the future. The Republicans have been sitting on the bench, refusing to play, and only coming out to brawl.

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  20. Paul says:

    “Progress is tough, and Obama may be the only one in government with anything to show.”

    There is the hitch many of us do not think that “progress” emanates from Washington.

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  21. Rancid Crabtree says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to advise us on just who would be backing the GOP if they actually did come up with some good ideas. Seriously, who? You can throw the fluff line about “poor Repubs blame the media” out there is you want, but when was the last time anyone can recall any news outlet beyond Fox championing ANYTHING the GOP or the right proposed? Even int his last election cycle studies showed the news media reported far more positive stories about Democrats than Repubs. And they did far more critical reporting of the GOP and right then Dems. Look it up yourself.

    So even if the GOP came up with some brilliant ideas, how are they going to sell it if the vast majority of the news media is not willing to give them a fair shake?

    Zeke- You got my vote on that idea!

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  22. Rancid: the extreme right Tea Party has gotten more media coverage per capita than any fringe movement in recent history, except I’d guess for Fred Phelps’ cult.

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  23. Paul says:

    The idea of giving the president the flexibility to administer these cuts where he sees fit makes sense to me. That is a good compromise. Keep the cuts and replace the “meat cleaver” (as some like to call it) with a scalpel. The democrats got their tax increases (that are having a pretty negative impact on some sectors of the economy) and now the GOP gets their modest spending cuts. That is bi-partisan and then we are on our way! Then they will begin to realize that tax reform is something positive that we can do and we should do it with the White houses recipe that starts with lowering tax rates and broadening the base. They can have their Buffet rule and some other things and we all will be getting along.

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  24. Paul says:

    This is pretty interesting. It looks like Bob Woodward better be careful or the White house says he will “regret” reporting on the sequestration, kind of scary stuff:

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  25. Walker says:

    “…when was the last time anyone can recall any news outlet beyond Fox championing ANYTHING the GOP or the right proposed?”

    Gee, first off, Fox News, though its ratings have taken a hit lately (why is that, anyway?) is still the number one rated news source, so what difference does it make how the other news outlets treat Republican ideas?

    But more to the point, I would think that a true Conservative would figure that viewers would vote with their remotes to such an extent that the great silent conservative majority would have long ago driven liberal-biased media from the marketplace.

    Does the marketplace rule, or doesn’t it? If it does, then the overall balance of the news media must reflect viewers attitudes.

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  26. The Original Larry says:

    “the popular vote defeat in congressional races”

    You ought to stop repeating this fiction right now. The party with a national majority does not, and should not, control the House of Representatives. Election to the House is by district and a landslide victory in one district is not related to election results in other districts. Why must you continue to hint that Republican control of the House is somehow illegitimate? All your mealy-mouthed pronouncements about what the GOP should do don’t disguise the fact that you would like to see the Democrats in control of the entire government. That might be sweet for them but then who would they blame for their failures?

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  27. JDM says:

    TOLarry: ” That might be sweet for them but then who would they blame for their failures?”

    They control the White House and Senate, and yet those waskelly wepublicans are to blame for our current state of affairs.

    If they controlled the White House, Senate, and House, it would be the same.

    Oh wait.

    It was. And for 5 months, it was filibuster-proof and yet those waskelly wepublicans are to blame for Obamacare, the failed stimulus, the failed bailouts, the failed city of Detroit, and the failed presidency.

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  28. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Brian, not NCPR, that may be true, I don’t know. But the Tea Party isn’t the GOP and the coverage hasn’t been at all supportive, otherwise we wouldn’t see the brainwashed masses believing the Tea Party is about racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. It’s about fiscal responsibility and gov’t spending. Whens the last time you heard the on the news?

    Paul, it’s not anywhere in the Presidents authority to cut what programs he wants! Not if I understand what you’re saying correctly. Congress has that authority, not the President. And just how would that be compromise? That’s not compromise! Obama developed the whole sequestration plan to force the Repubs to knuckle under. That’s pretty much what you propose.

    Walker, believe it or not cable news ratings do not equal the whole of the news media. That’s JUST cable news ratings. It says nothing about CBS/NBC/ABC/PBS/etc., or new papers, news magazines or internet news. It’s just cable TV news. I just saw a report that states more people now get there news from internet sites than TV, cable or broadcast. So, while it’s great, I suppose, that Fox is #1 in cable news, that doesn’t mean the nation is glued to the TV waiting to told what to think by Sean Hannity…thank goodness! In fact, looking at the report I saw yesterday, most young people seem to get their “news” from a comedian on The Comedy Chanel. That’s marginally better I suppose than getting “news” from talent show host, inside trader and disgraced former tabloid editor Piers Morgan. At least Stewart can have a conversation without resorting to imitating a screaming 3 year old in the middle of a temper tantrum.

    Anyway, what news outlet do you think would give support to any GOP ideas besides Fox? Maybe the WSJ, maybe. Who else? Who will sell GOP ideas the way Obamacare was sold or the way most other Dem ideas have been sold over the past decade?

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  29. Walker says:

    You’re ignoring the “marketplace of ideas” issue, Rancid. If the news media as a whole is biased, shouldn’t market forces have long ago punished outlets that fail to reflect the needs of the populace? In short, shouldn’t the magic of the marketplace guarantee that the media provides exactly what the news consuming populace wants it to provide?

    If there’s a liberal bias to the news, it’s because that’s what the people want.

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  30. SESZOO says:

    It’s getting harder to take any of these so called politicians seriously. Supposedly were headed for disaster March 1 , if that’s the case shouldn’t we be using whatever money we can to prevent cuts to education ,health care ,military ,etc,etc. but instead our govt. is going to start funding the syrian rebels with 60 mil in aid. I understand that 60 mil is only a drop in the bucket but it’s a big enough drop to help a school district or two. Every other month it seems that we’re in financial trouble and dire straits until the last possible moment , It just seems crazy to send out funding to other people with out taking care of our own first.

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  31. Paul says:

    Walker, I agree. Many of the so called liberal media sources are financially on the ropes. So I think the market will eventually produce the angle the public wants.

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  32. Paul says:

    I noticed that Congress (both parties) have left town for the weekend, so there you go. I guess they don’t work on Fridays.

    The DOW was within striking distance of it’s all time high today. Maybe tomorrow. Most people don’t care about the sequestration (save the media).

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  33. jeff says:

    New idea. Call off the sequester by agreeing to not spend more than last year. Freeze Cost of Living adjustments too. Shouldn’t lost any jobs. As the military draws down a savings will be realized. These moments of urgency have brought out some potential impacts in the last week. A freeze would do the same. It could clarify actual needs. Why does government have to always go up? Why more more more? Because they don’t treat the money with respect for the source. My income does not go up every year. Inflation eats away if I do get an increase.

    I think there has been value in the sequester because it has brought more attention to the issue. The “bully pulpit” includes all the department secretaries who tout their own expected ills so the executive branch gets 13 or 14 voices and more. And that number and their positions draw more reporters than one speaker of the house and the whip.

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  34. Michael Greer says:

    I’d like to propose that we replace the word “loopholes” with “tax cheats” . Sure, it’s legal, but it undermines the purpose of tax collection, and creates inequalities under (tax) law. “loopholes” is a too-friendly phrase

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  35. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Walker, you ignore the question. Who will sell Republican ideas in the news media besides Fox or maybe the WSJ? 90% of the news media is controlled by 6 corporations. 5 of the 6 have no right leaning news outlets. If you can show me any proof over the last, say, 20 years of any support for right leaning or Republican ideas, proposals, etc. by anyone other than Fox please do so. Other than a few token shows of “fairness” using so called conservatives like Joe Scarborough I haven’t seen it. So I think I’m more than justified in my belief that good, solid fiscally conservative ideas are never going to be sold outside of the News Corp holdings.

    I think Paul has pretty well hashed your theory of “the marketplace of ideas”. The once powerful CNN is a shadow of it’s former self and MSNBC has completely thrown itself into literally becoming the propaganda arm of the DNC. I forget his exact words but Chris Mathews recently stated clearly that they would support Obama against the right. That’s not journalism, that’s propaganda.

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  36. mervel says:

    Jeff doing what you suggest would be more severe than the actual sequester.

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  37. mervel says:

    But to your point all of these cuts I think could be done without layoffs, I think those are political to show the “pain” of the sequester to the public.

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  38. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Regarding this post-

    Paul says:
    February 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm- “The idea of giving the president the flexibility to administer these cuts where he sees fit…”. No offense Paul, but what makes you think he’ll cut anything?!!

    I received an email regarding this idea of letting Obama have the power to decide what to cut and spend by his judgment alone-

    “Sources on Capitol Hill have informed us the Senate is working on a backroom deal to give President Obama nearly total control over federal spending for the rest of this fiscal year.

    This is their “solution” to their self-created sequestration crisis.

    Your Senators are on the verge of ceding their constitutional authority to Obama and giving him virtually unlimited power over taxing and spending.

    If this deal goes through he will have almost unlimited power to raise taxes for the next seven months.

    Under this backroom deal, Obama would essentially be given full authority to raise taxes and set spending levels, because Congress would need a two-thirds vote on a “resolution of disapproval” to stop him (a near impossibility).

    Top GOP Senate leaders have given their “tacit approval” to the plan according to a Politico report that says “Republicans are now proposing that Congress surrender an important piece of its Constitutional ‘power of the purse’ for the last seven months of this fiscal year.”

    TRANSLATION: State Senators would cede their constitutional duty and give Obama unconstitutional powers to raise taxes with NO accountability.”

    I find this idea extremely dangerous and foolhardy. This rings of 1930’s Germany or FDRs attempts to pack the Supreme Court so as to support his agenda. I don’t care who the President is or what party he represents, this is beyond unConstitutional. This is unbelievably dangerous.

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  39. Walker says:

    “I think Paul has pretty well hashed your theory of “the marketplace of ideas”. The once powerful CNN is a shadow of it’s former self and MSNBC has completely thrown itself into literally becoming the propaganda arm of the DNC.”

    Rancid, you can say the above OR you can say that media bias is keeping Republicans from getting their ideas out, but you can’t claim both.

    And incidentally, Fox News isn’t doing all that well either:

    The good news? Fox News once again had the top 13 programs — much better than January, where it failed to sweep the top 10 for the first time in years and had its lowest ratings in the all-important A25-54 demo since 2001. “Special Report” also celebrated 50 months as the top-rated show in its hour.

    The bad news? Shep Smith, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity all saw huge drops in the demo from the same point in 2012. Hannity fell a staggering 35 percent from 2012, and O’Reilly fell 26 percent. It was the two mens’ worst performance in the demo since 2006 and 2008, respectively.

    Maybe the popularity of partisan media is fading generally. Anyone know of a good analysis of the media generally? Who cares who is number one– what matters is what share of the populace is watching what kind of sources.

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  40. Rancid Crabtree says:

    That makes no sense Walker. Fox is not all the news anyone gets. It’s one source out of what? 25-30? And that’s just cable/satellite tv. And it’s certainly not all the news available. As I said, a report a couple days ago says more people now get their news from internet sites than TV. I don’t think the people leaving CNN and MSNBC are going to Fox for their news. Is that what you’re alleging? That makes no sense since your excerpt said Foxs ratings were down.

    As you say, whats important is what percentage is getting their news from what source? IMO Fox has clearly gone from being something like “fair and balanced” some years back to GOP cheerleaders. I don’t watch Fox at all, I actually spend more time watching MSNBC, CNN or NBC TV news more than any other source just to verify stories I’ve read of the appalling actions they’ve taken. If I want fair and balanced I tend to research things myself after reading a story here, on Drudge or where ever or hearing it on the radio via NCPR/NPR, CNN or CBC. I’ve actually seen more balanced news come from CBC regarding US issues than from most US sources. But I don’t think we can really depend on Americans flocking to CBC for their news.

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  41. Walker says:

    Rancid, you’re the one who said that “the media” was failing to present Republican positions.

    “…more people now get their news from internet sites than TV”

    Let’s not forget that tv news channels are also prime providers of online news sites.

    So, still, if Republicans positions are not being presented by “the media” (your claim, remember) and if the marketplace determines what the media presents, then it would seem that the public isn’t much interested in what Republicans have to offer.

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  42. We need a spending freeze across the board. We should only maintain essential spending. After all, if it’s not absolutely necessary, why are we spending money on it? Our children are getting further in debt before they are even born…

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  43. Walker says:

    Ah, Shanna, but what is essential to one person is not essential to another. If only it were so easy!

    Besides, don’t believe the hype about the crushing debt we’re leaving to our children. As a percent of GDP, our current debt is half of what it was after World War II, and that debt was cut by 75% over the next thirty years, until the Reagan tax cuts pushed it up again.

    Have a little perspective: see The Long Story of U.S. Debt, From 1790 to 2011, in 1 Little Chart.

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  44. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    It is ironic that the bickering over the budget will likely led to a downgrade of our credit and higher cost on debt service. The sequester will dampen a recovery so we will have less government revenue and our debt to GDP ratio will increase.

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  45. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Walker, that’s not what I said at all. What I said was “Who will sell the good Republican ideas?”. Republican ideas or positions are certainly presented, but HOW are they presented? For instance, today Obama blames sequestration, his plan, his idea, and the hurt it will cause squarely on the Republicans. Lets see if any news outlets other than Fox get out and present the fact that Obama came up with the sequestration idea, implemented it and gave the GOP 7 minutes of his precious time in a face to face to discuss things. How the media presents things is as important as what they present.

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  46. Rancid Crabtree says:

    The current debt is not half of what it was following WW2, it’s currently over 106% of GDP, 15 Tril gdp v 16 Tril debt. And that doesn’t take into account the $122 trillion or so in unfunded liabilities we have on the horizon.

    Comparing today with 1945 is wishful thinking. It’s a completely different paradigm with huge liabilities and entitlements that were undreamed of in 1945. I can only wish we had that future ahead of us.

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  47. Mervel says:

    It will take a new plan for the GOP to govern. The democrats lost 5 out of 6 presidential elections in a row before Clinton formed the DLC and got them back on track. That will have to occur for the GOP. However I have to say in this case they were smart to not compromised they compromised on taxes in jan and what does Obama do now when it time to cut spending? He goes back to the tax well again.

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  48. Walker says:

    Actually, Rancid, what you said was “when was the last time anyone can recall any news outlet beyond Fox championing ANYTHING the GOP or the right proposed?”

    You also said “As I said, a report a couple days ago says more people now get their news from internet sites than TV.”

    Surely you don’t think that Republican proposals lack champions on the Internet?

    In any case, I would remind you one more time that the media operates within a marketplace, and if markets are the magical entities that conservatives constantly make them out to be, then ALL ideas get exactly the exposure and championing that the public wants them to get. Or do you think that markets work everywhere except in the field of journalism?

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  49. Walker says:

    “The current debt is not half of what it was following WW2, it’s currently over 106% of GDP, 15 Tril gdp v 16 Tril debt.”

    Well, that all depends on how you count it:

    According to the CIA World Factbook, during 2011, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio of 67.8% was the 38th highest in the world. This was measured using “debt held by the public.”[37]

    The ratio is higher if the total national debt is used, by adding the “intragovernmental debt” to the “debt held by the public.” For example, on 10 January 2013, debt held by the public was approximately $11.577 trillion or about 73% of GDP. Intra-governmental holdings stood at $4.855 trillion, giving a combined total public debt of $16.432 trillion. U.S. GDP in 2012 was approximately $15.6 trillion, for a total debt to GDP ratio of approximately 105%. (Wikipedia: United States public debt)

    The Atlantic link I gave is using the same metric for post WWII and today (well, 2011) and the comparison comes to 112.7% for 1945 and 67.7% for 2011. OK, so that’s not exactly half, but it’s in the ballpark.

    What is the 1945 equivalent for your total national debt (including the debt the government owes itself!)? Who knows? Your fabulous Gee Whiz spinning Wow-Them-With-All-The-Numbers site claims to have a Time Machine feature, but you can’t go back before 2000. For apples to apples, I’ll take my numbers.

    That same Wikipedia page also says “Historically, the US public debt as a share of GDP increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined.” Guess what? We’re in a war AND a recession, thanks to the sheer genius idea of cutting taxes during a war, er, two wars. What we need to do is to reverse the Bush tax cuts and end the wars. Then MAYBE down the road we could get the debt back to where it was under The Man From Hope, when we were starting to worry about the debt completely disappearing.

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