Mitt Romney debates himself
Mitt Romney’s policy objectives.
Tix for US Senate Debate on Flickr.
I got my tickets for the upcoming debate between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren! Faculty were supposed to be able to reserve four, but there were eleven thousand requests from the general public. Has apathy faded? (Faculty can request to be waitlisted for an additional two, and so I have.)
|—||Robert Scheer: “The Gang That Couldn’t Bomb Straight” - Robert Scheer’s Columns - Truthdig 2/23/12|
The costs of the dirty deal (done dirt cheap) must be patiently explained by the people whom it affects. These are our children.
Losers from the Debt Deal: Students
Graduate students would be the hardest hit, as the bill proposes an elimination of the interest subsidy on federal student loans for “almost all” of them. This means that beginning July 1, 2012, grad students will be responsible for the interest on their loans while in school and during any subsequent deferment period.
Credit: AP Images
The Senate plan appropriately calls for meaningful cuts in military spending and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it does not ask the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations to make any sacrifice.
The Reid plan is bad. The constantly shifting plan by House Speaker John Boehner is much worse. His $1.2 trillion plan calls for no cuts in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it requires a congressional committee to come up with another $1.8 trillion in cuts within six months of passage.
Those cuts would mean drastic reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What’s more, Mr. Boehner’s plan would reopen the debate over the debt ceiling, which is now paralyzing Congress, just six months from now.
While all of this is going on in Washington, the American people have consistently stated, in poll after poll, that they want wealthy individuals and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. They also want bedrock social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to be protected. For example, a July 14-17 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 72% of Americans believe that Americans earning more than $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes.
In other words, Congress is now on a path to do exactly what the American people don’t want. Americans want shared sacrifice in deficit reduction. Congress is on track to give them the exact opposite: major cuts in the most important programs that the middle class needs and wants, and no sacrifice from the wealthy and the powerful.
Is it any wonder, therefore, that the American people are so angry with what’s going on in Washington? I am too.
|—||U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) ”Why Americans Are So Angry - Newsroom: ” 7/28/11 originally WSJ|
The Sane One throws down big knowledge on the house floor. A true patriot.
Early Bird Special: Here’s a recap of what happened while you were sleeping: Dennis Kucinich fixed everything.
From Goldwater to Bachmann, the meaning of one of the right’s favorite terms has evolved considerablyBY BRIAN GLENN
Michele Bachmann calls herself a “constitutional conservative.” So does Rand Paul, and anyone endorsed by Sarah Palin gets the label as well. As the nation heads towards defaulting on its debt obligations and the state of Minnesota remains closed, it’s worth pondering what constitutional conservatism actually means, and what lessons we can take from it.
For conservative politicians, the name signals that they are identifying as Tea Party members, which means limiting government, balancing the federal budget, lowering taxes, ending redistribution from the wealthier to the poor, assigning a central position for God in the lives of Americans, even in courthouses and public schools, and asserting the right to bear arms. While God will always be given top billing, one gets the sense that lowering taxes and eliminating social programs are actually the most important pillars in the platform — so much so that many elected officials claim to be unwilling to compromise no matter what the short-term consequences.
Yet the term “constitutional conservative” is older than the Tea Party movement, and has a subtle yet important difference to it, since it focuses on moderation. For contemporary conservative political theorists like Harvey Mansfield and Peter Berkowitz, among others, constitutional conservatism requires a proper balance between principle and prudence — that is, between living up to one’s ideology, and living together in a democratic community in which all acknowledge the necessity of compromise. God remains central, for religion provides a source of virtue and a reason to sacrifice for the greater good, and protecting individual liberties still remain the fundamental goal, but being a constitutional conservative for political theorists above all requires an awareness of political realities, and an accommodation to them in order to a allow a range of people in a society to live together peacefully.
Today’s officeholders who call themselves constitutional conservatives have taken a very different approach. They may do well to revisit their theoretical brethren who acknowledged the necessity of living according to principle while not being ideologues, of being driven by values and not opportunism, of compromising on policy while remaining true to principle, and understanding that as much as one would like to move society in a certain direction, it may not happen overnight.
As the federal government stands on the brink of defaulting on its debt obligations, the question for the moment is whether political constitutional conservatives, too, can find proper balance between principle and prudence, between staying true to their ideology, and living together in a democratic community in which all acknowledge the necessity of compromising with others.
Brian J. Glenn is a political historian who teaches in the Department of Government at Wesleyan University. His book, “Conservatism and American Political Development” (co-edited with Steven M. Teles), was published by Oxford University Press in 2009.