Caveman politics.

To comprehend our present predicament, I believe the only way to move forward is to look at our past. I’m not talking a year ago, or a decade, or even a century. I’m talking waaay back.

Humans have always perceived reality through a sort of political looking-glass. In order to make sense of things, a person’s heart and mind must be in agreement.

We’re back in the stone-age, as a small band of hunter-gatherers stumble upon a watering hole. This little group is now in possession of something more precious than gold. Life is wonderful for a while, till that fateful day when another group of cave-dwellers spot the creek.

The first instinct is to fight to the death for the sole right to the water. Let’s say our original small band of warriors wins, but half the group dies in the battle. Time passes, and another group of outsiders show up at the creek. This time our prehistoric friends are divided.

They can’t just let the enemy take what’s theirs; but how many more men can they afford to lose? Two camps arise: one advocating to fight like the last time, the other wanting to share the water with the intruders. This is the birth of politics. Conservatives/Republicans/Nazis wanting to hold on to what is theirs no matter what; and Liberals/Democrats/Communists wanting to “share the wealth”.

So, which side is right?

Wrong question. It’s not a matter of right versus wrong. It’s a matter of winning or losing. And as Solomon so keenly observed, there’s a time when the conservative way is best suited for the situation at hand; and there’s a time when the liberal approach makes more sense.

Our great nation has been on a conservative course since Day One of the Reagan Revolution. I may be in the minority but I’m convinced it’s time for a liberal awakening.

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The last days of the Obama presidency.

Another day, another misstep by Obama. This morning the President once again inserted himself smack in the middle of the debt reduction talks. Once again, he spouted nonsense about bipartisanship. As more than one political pundit reminded us, the only thing Obama can do is either sign or veto a bill put before him. He has no business getting involved in the adult process of getting a bill passed in Congress. Mr. President – leave it to the professionals.

Let’s go through a short list of his failures to get a debt deal done.

Simpson-Bowles. Did he sign it into law? Nope. Never got through Congress, as it was met with disapproval from both parties.

A clean debt ceiling bill. Never got through the House.

The Biden Plan. Talks broke down after Obama tried to finesse the deal through “compromise”.

The Grand Bargain. Speaker Boehner had to literally walk out on the President upon indications the Tea Party wouldn’t march in lock-step with the President and his “balanced approach”.

Cut, Cap and Balance. Didn’t make it through the Senate after Obama threatened to veto it.

And now a last-ditch effort by Speaker Boehner to get a deal done by asking the Tea Party to make huge sacrifices to Obama seems perilously close to failure.

Throughout the debate, the President has failed to lead every time he let congressional leaders battle over the details. Throughout the debate, the President has acted like a dictator, summoning congressional leaders to the White House.

Mr. President, let me remind you, it was Bush who was The Decider – not you.

It is still possible to save the country from economic collapse. All we need to do is get Obama and Biden to resign in disgrace, and have John Boehner assume the Presidency. Eric Cantor would then take over as Speaker. Then we’d see Washington back on track. After all, it’s important to note that if John McCain were President, this debt ceiling nonsense would have cleared Congress not in a matter of months, but in a matter of hours.

Have it your way.

Prevailing wisdom says let the government default. Allow our credit rating to drop. Pay the interest on our outstanding debt first and stop payments on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Do not, under any circumstances, raise taxes.

I’ve reached the point that I realize opposing those ideas is counterproductive. Any kind of balanced approach to solve our debt crisis and avoid default will not succeed in Washington, and is anathema to the vast majority of the American people. They want Obama out of office and they want America to start over, with a clean slate.

No logic, no reason, will change anyone’s mind, so what’s the point? Americans are more upset that Obama interrupted The Bachelorette than that we might be headed for a major economic crisis. So, have it your way.

Hope that clears it up…

Washington’s debt ceiling showdown is nearing a dramatic Hollywood blockbuster conclusion sure to keep pundits and partisans on the edge of their seats till the final credits roll. This is clearly a case where right-versus-wrong logic fails us. There are many conflicting and divergent aspects to this situation.

Republicans generally believe taxes are a drain on the market, which is bad for jobs. Democrats generally believe the only fiscally responsible position is to look at both sides of the ledger, revenues and spending. Some on the left sincerely believe the federal government has an obligation to stand up for the disenfranchised. Some on the right sincerely believe in limited government. Many simply enjoy the brinksmanship. Some are wholly owned subsidiaries of interest groups. Most of them are worried about getting reelected. And I believe all of them think they’re doing what’s best for the country.

Hope that clears it up…

The Stupidest People in the World

President Obama Threatens to Veto “Cut, Cap and Balance”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is a big sponsor of the bill and noted his party is doing what they promised when they got elected. “[T]his is just kicking the can down the road. And that’s — the American people sent us here to make big tough choices. They didn’t send us here to set up a commission, give the president veto power. That’s not what they sent us here to do,” he said on Fox News Sunday.

“We are headed for a cliff. If we don’t fix it, it’s — now, we are in big trouble,” Jordan added.

While there is some support in the House, it is not expected to make it through the Senate.

Did you catch that? Cut, Cap and Balance doesn’t have enough support to get through the House; but even if it did, it would never pass in the Senate. It’s just the latest in a long list of symbolic votes John Boehner and his Republican comrades have made in order to please their base ahead of the next election. But Republicans – and Fox News, of course – are already attacking Obama for saying if this ridiculous bill came to his desk he’s not retarded enough to sign it.

Given that we’re speeding headlong into Great Depression II unless the debt ceiling is raised – and raised soon – the President has been working nearly nonstop to negotiate a deal with Republicans who continue to play foolish games like Cut, Cap and Balance. With all this going on, we’ve recently heard from the stupidest people in the world:

Representatives of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee took Obama’s campaign headquarters in downtown Chicago by storm early this afternoon. The group, led by press secretary Neil Sroka, was there to deliver a petition signed by 200,000 of its members. If Obama allows Congress to make cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security funding during deliberations over the debt ceiling and the federal deficit, those who signed the petition pledge to refuse to donate or volunteer to Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Please remember recent history on this one. Last November unions sat out the elections because they didn’t think the Democratic Party was working hard enough for them. Union-busting republicans, like Scott Walker, swept into office. The LGBT community also withdrew support last November. The result? Well, for example, in Pa. a Rick Santorum clone was elected to the Senate, while Congressman Patrick Murphy, the guy who got rid of DADT actually lost!

So, Progressive Change Campaign, what do you think Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are gonna look like under President Bachmann?

Put Up Or Shut Up

While nearly all politicians in Washington have been spending their time posturing to their bases regarding the impending debt ceiling disaster, one guy has actually been working to solve the problem. He’s Senator Tom Coburn (R – OK).

His 9 trillion dollar deficit reduction plan has a little bit of everything: spending cuts that republicans will love but democrats will hate; increased revenues that democrats will love but republicans will hate; and entitlement reform that the American people will hate.

Cuts

Among the proposed cuts in Coburn’s plan include $974.1 billion in cuts from the general government, as well as billions from Congress and the Executive Office of the President. Those reductions would be achieved partially by cutting 300,000 jobs from the federal workforce, and imposing a three-year pay and bonus freeze for federal workers and Congress members.

The proposal also targets more than a trillion dollars from the Department of Defense budget, as well as hundreds of billions from the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, and Education. NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration and numerous other government agencies are also hit with billions in reductions.

Revenues

The senator, however, does not limit his proposed savings to spending cuts alone: the plan also carves out more than $990 billion that could be saved by overhauling the tax code and eliminating “the most egregious tax giveaways.”

“Politicians love to play the tax code because it benefits the politicians,” Coburn said on Monday.

Among the proposed tax reforms include the elimination of breaks that are duplicative of government funding for local economic initiatives, the elimination of special interest corporate tax breaks, and cutting what Coburn describes as “misguided subsidies” for some clean energy initiatives.

Entitlements

Coburn’s plan – the most expansive such proposal put forth so far – also calls for major reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that would amount to more than $2.5 trillion in cuts over the next ten years.

Some of the reforms to Medicare and Medicaid include raising the eligibility age for Medicare recipients, tracking high prescribers and prescription drug users to detect abuse, enrolling low-income seniors in Medicaid managed care programs, and reducing subsidies to teaching hospitals for graduate medical education.

For Social Security, Coburn proposes restraining benefits for high earners, raising the retirement age, and adjusting cost-of-living calculations to more accurately reflect inflation.

I urge both parties to at least use Coburn’s plan as a template to get a deal done. The plan may be far from perfect, but it’s the best thing I’ve seen so far.