/ Republicans: megalomaniacs or mentally retarded?

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Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
Are the American Republicans power-mad, or mentally retarded? Anyone got any idea? Either way, they look very foolish to the rest of the world.
ice.solo - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

judging by their spokespeople, both.
The Lemming - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I read an article yesterday that if the government shuts down, then the UK will suffer through lost exports.

And this current bun fight revolves around ObamaCare which was made law 3 years ago.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Funny how they have no money to pay non essential staff, yet were a hairs breadth away from reining £1m each cruise missile terror on Syria. Oh, and their debt ceiling is about to be broken again.

Seems to me that someone doesn't have control of the purse strings
Edradour - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Funny how they have no money to pay non essential staff, yet were a hairs breadth away from reining £1m each cruise missile terror on Syria. Oh, and their debt ceiling is about to be broken again.
>

Well that's not quite the case and your argument is specious. Paying non-essential staff isn't the problem, it's the stubbornness of a small core of highly ideological Republicans who are effectively holding the country to ransom unless they get what they want.

To the OP - I don't think even the majority of the Republican party agree with the tea party extreme that what they are doing is the correct way to go about things. That US politics has become so divisive that one of the key issues in the last election is now being reargued on the House floor is a sad state of affairs. Indicative, perhaps, of what happens when you are more scared of a potential primary opponent than you are of a general election opponent. All the while that Rep candidates have to lurch to the right to secure the 'party base' the threat of this type of politics remains.




woolsack - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Funny how they have no money to pay non essential staff, yet were a hairs breadth away from reining £1m each cruise missile terror on Syria. Oh, and their debt ceiling is about to be broken again.
>
> Seems to me that someone doesn't have control of the purse strings

And at the same time the US stock market sits at all time highs propped up by QE money. Seems like those that benefit the most have things just right at the moment
Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

It's also a fault of Obama.

In the UK we have a winner-takes-all system which gives the winner the power to implement their program. The US isn't like that, Americans tend to like small and limited government and their system was deliberately set up with a division of powers such major changes can only come through consensus. Thus presidents need to build a consensus in order to implement their program. The last vote gave Obama the presidency by 51% to 47%, but that is a close margin. Under the US system that does not amount to a mandate to overrule the 47%.

Obama has a lot of very good qualities, but one thing he is not is a deal-maker able to compromise and build consensus by reaching agreements with the Republicans. Of course the Republicans are largely to blame also.
Al Evans on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Its quota for having mental retards has been greatly influenced by it's infiltration from the very right wing Tea Party members.
Donnie - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> It's also a fault of Obama.
>
> In the UK we have a winner-takes-all system which gives the winner the power to implement their program. The US isn't like that, Americans tend to like small and limited government and their system was deliberately set up with a division of powers such major changes can only come through consensus. Thus presidents need to build a consensus in order to implement their program. The last vote gave Obama the presidency by 51% to 47%, but that is a close margin. Under the US system that does not amount to a mandate to overrule the 47%.

Obamacare is a law passed before the last general election, when the democrats won the presidency, the senate and also won the popular vote in the house of representatives. If that's not a mandate to a) not repeal a law that's already been passed and b) pay for it rather than shut down government I'm not really sure what is......

> Obama has a lot of very good qualities, but one thing he is not is a deal-maker able to compromise and build consensus by reaching agreements with the Republicans. Of course the Republicans are largely to blame also.

The republican's are far, far less reasonable and open to compromise. Almost entirely to blame would be more accurate.
Edradour - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Donnie:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> Obamacare is a law passed before the last general election,

Obamacare is also a policy that has been completely misrepresented by the Republican right. Many of the arguments against it are either based on fallacies or entirely spurious. Much of the opposition is just opposition for the sake of it.

Yes, US government is based on consensus but it should also be based on common sense. The Republicans lost the last Presidential election, and the one before it. Therefore, it could be reasonably argued that the President does have a mandate to effect his policies. Especially considering he won in 2008 with a huge landslide and with record voter turn out. ACA is his flagship domestic policy and was then too.

>
> [...]
>
> The republican's are far, far less reasonable and open to compromise. Almost entirely to blame would be more accurate.

Couldn't agree more. They need to get a grip - it's pathetic.

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Donnie: Maybe switching the govt off and then back on again will fix it, as any IT support tech will tell you ;-)
Offwidth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I've talked to mainstream Republicans who think Obama has been quite canny with his deals. No president in recent times has faced such repeating diffculties on debt and budget, let alone the number of votes on the health plan (how many now, 30+ ?). Also 47 to 51 is a pretty healthy margin in recent US elections. When the likes of John McCain and the Wall Street Journal say what they said it's pretty clear this is bad news for the Republicans unless they think they can clean out the crazies as a result.
John Postlethwaite - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Edradour:
> (In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús)
> [...]
>
> All the while that Rep candidates have to lurch to the right to secure the 'party base' .

Increasingly familiar with what's happening here; where we see that in practice, the Big Society is no more than Society for the Big
Jimbo W on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> In the UK we have a winner-takes-all system which gives the winner the power to implement their program. The US isn't like that, Americans tend to like small and limited government and their system was deliberately set up with a division of powers such major changes can only come through consensus. Thus presidents need to build a consensus in order to implement their program. The last vote gave Obama the presidency by 51% to 47%, but that is a close margin. Under the US system that does not amount to a mandate to overrule the 47%.

Rubbish. This is not about a lack of democracy. The Republican leader is only proposing acts that are supported by a majority of *Republicans* in congress, not a majority of *congress*. There would be enough support from sane republicans for something palatable to be passed with democratic support. It has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with a bunch of extremist ideological republicans holding their country and its economy to ransom at the same time as showing two fingers to democracy.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> It's also a fault of Obama.
>
> In the UK we have a winner-takes-all system which gives the winner the power to implement their program. The US isn't like that, Americans tend to like small and limited government and their system was deliberately set up with a division of powers such major changes can only come through consensus. Thus presidents need to build a consensus in order to implement their program. The last vote gave Obama the presidency by 51% to 47%, but that is a close margin. Under the US system that does not amount to a mandate to overrule the 47%.
>
> Obama has a lot of very good qualities, but one thing he is not is a deal-maker able to compromise and build consensus by reaching agreements with the Republicans. Of course the Republicans are largely to blame also.

Soon after starting this thread I had to get to work ... so a bit like lighting a touchpaper and running : )
I'd be interested to know, though, what 'compromise' you think Obama could have made that would have been acceptable to the GOP. His Obamacare seems a very weak and watered down thing already. It seems to me that they are not really interested in health care at all; all they are concerned about is bringing down Obama, by whatever means they can. However foul.

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to woolsack: funny how all that QE money seems to only float paper equity and not paper gold. hhmmm couldn't be manipulated ...no, of course not.

<takes tin hat off, polishes it and puts it back on>
Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Donnie:

> If that's not a mandate ... I'm not really sure what is......

In a winner-takes-all system a 51:47 victory is indeed a mandate, but in a system designed to need consensus it isn't. The Democrats have a small margin in the Senate and the Republicans have a small margin in the House, so that is again roughly tied. Then you factor in that according to polls, support for Obamacare is about 39% and disapproval of Obamacare is 57%. (CNN/ORC poll Sept 6-8)

Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I'd be interested to know, though, what 'compromise' you think Obama could have made that
> would have been acceptable to the GOP.

What he really needs to do is to persuade the people. If it was broadly popular then he'd get it despite GOP opposition. (As above, latest polls are 39:57 against.)
tony on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> [...]
>
> What he really needs to do is to persuade the people.

He did, in the last election.
Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:

> He did, in the last election.

No, he won a narrow victory on his overall programme. That's different from support for Obamacare specifically.
johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:

Yes, but he doesn't carry the people with him on this issue. Hence the Republicans calculate that opposing it in this way is a vote-winner. I've no idea whether they're right or wrong - wrong, I hope -, but that's the US democratic system in action, like Coel says.

jcm
Jimbo W on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> In a winner-takes-all system a 51:47 victory is indeed a mandate, but in a system designed to need consensus it isn't. The Democrats have a small margin in the Senate and the Republicans have a small margin in the House, so that is again roughly tied. Then you factor in that according to polls, support for Obamacare is about 39% and disapproval of Obamacare is 57%. (CNN/ORC poll Sept 6-8)

Again, you don't get it. John Boehner will only propose a budget bill to Congress that gets, not a majority of Congress support, but only a budget bill that will pass Congress unaided by Democrat support. A bill with no attempt to delay or dispose of Obamacare would almost certainly pass Congress easily. This is Republican insanity, and two fingers to democracy.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: The trouble is that as nice as Obamacare is, when your debt ceiling of $16.7 tillion is about to be reached, you have $30 billion left which will just pay the interest until the end of the month, then you either keep borrowing and increase the cebt ceiling, or you cut expenditure.

How you cut that expenditure is definitely up for debate.

If (which is unlikely) we see a default on treasury interest payments because the real issue of the debt ceiling isn't increased, then it really could set off a series of events which would be unpleasant...but I suspect it will be more a case of keep calm and carry on for now. Does anyone in congress really have the stomach to face that elephant in the room (apart from the tea party of course)?
Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Again, you don't get it.

Yes I do.

> This is Republican insanity, and two fingers to democracy.

No, they are politicians, they're doing it because they think it will benefit them at future elections, and they are buoyed by the opinion polls indicating a majority against Obamacare.

As jcm says, whether they are correct in such judgements is another issue, but this is how things work in a seek-consensus system as oppose to a winner-takes-all system. Obama does not have a broad consensus on Obamacare.
Offwidth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Dissaproval for the health care plan is running that high because people dont understand it yet. When asked specific quatsions about its contents they are generally for the majority of them. It is a plan with problems (partly as the republicans made sure to stick some in there). Lack of support is partly also because there is a more than 10:1 advertising spend against (including a good deal of plain propaganda and lies) versus for. If you want to see how bad it gets try this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7cRsfW0Jv8

That this ignorance has happened is the fault of the democrats who should have doen a better job in explaining their policy.

Finally please stop this 'Obamacare' rot: its politically pejorative and should be well below your standards of argument.
MG - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Finally please stop this 'Obamacare' rot: its politically pejorative

You better let Obama know that. Yesterday he tweeted "They actually did it. A group of Republicans in the House just forced a government shutdown over Obamacare instead of passing a real budget.”
Jimbo W on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes I do.

Ha!

> No, they are politicians, they're doing it because they think it will benefit them at future elections, and they are buoyed by the opinion polls indicating a majority against Obamacare.
> As jcm says, whether they are correct in such judgements is another issue, but this is how things work in a seek-consensus system as oppose to a winner-takes-all system. Obama does not have a broad consensus on Obamacare.

This is not how things work. This is how to subvert the normal democratic process in a representative democracy. The logical conclusion is to argue for referenda on all major issues. If not, representative democracy should take its course... ...and that does not mean highly polarised proposals from John Boehner that pass, NOT CONGRESS, but just the Republicans in congress. That is to behave as if Congress was 100% Republican, and is totally undemocratic.
Offwidth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MG: So democrats are above the politically pejorative now? Let the political children play but adults should behave like adults.
MG - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to MG) So democrats are above the politically pejorative now?

The tweet suggests Obamacare is not pejorative to US ears or Obama ('s twitter writer) wouldn't have used the term.
Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> That this ignorance has happened is the fault of the democrats who should have doen a better job in explaining their policy.

Yes, agreed, and this is another way of saying that Obama has not managed to build a consensus for this policy.
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Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> This is how to subvert the normal democratic process in a representative democracy. ...
> That is to behave as if Congress was 100% Republican, and is totally undemocratic.

I'm not sure what the complaint is. The system was deliberately set up to give minorities blocking powers, and they are using those blocking powers.

This is very much in line with the original design of the American constitution, where they were very wary of governments, and wanted to preserve states' autonomy against a federal government, and thus wanted a limited government that could only do limited things and only with a broad consensus.

One can make a good case that Obamacare is against the spirit of the original conception of the constitution, in that this is the sort of thing that should be left to states and voters in states to determine.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

One of the keys to understanding Americans is that their national strategy game is Poker, not Chess. They don't think like chess players trying to anticipate many moves ahead in a fair game where everyone starts out with balanced forces and you resign if you've got a bad position. Bluffing, making the other guy pay more than he can afford to see your cards and taking big risks are part of the game. This is just business as usual for the US system pushing things to the limit to see who blinks first and then cutting a deal.

MG - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: Perhaps worth noting too that Obamacare would be comparable to an EU-wide health system. I suspect those in the UK might not be too happy about paying for Bulgarians hip operations if this was mooted.
Jimbo W on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier) Perhaps worth noting too that Obamacare would be comparable to an EU-wide health system. I suspect those in the UK might not be too happy about paying for Bulgarians hip operations if this was mooted.

You'd also have to accept the reality that multiple US states consistently receive aid year on year to the tune of several % points of GDP each. Competitive states already economically support those that are not so competitive. So there is a degree of political and economic union which is far from being achieved in the European context in which Germany has begrudgingly provided loans to countries in need of aid. So really, it's not like having an EU wide health system at all.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> One of the keys to understanding Americans is that their national strategy game is Poker, not Chess.

What an interesting thought. We saw this recently with US v Russia recently over Syria. That move by Putin was so like checkmate in chess.

wintertree - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

One of the minor parts of this fallout is - according to the BBC - that all national parks are now closed, with day visitors and campers set to be evicted.

That'll be good for their tourism income - I'm glad is was just the Rim Fire we had to contend with a few weeks ago. I can't imagine how inconceivably pissed of people are going to be after paying thousands for flights, hire cars, hotels etc. to get their and find everything closed. In the entire country.

If it's taking down the state parks as well it'd be catastrophic - no fall back options; I think they're separate to the federal government but I don't actually know.
Offwidth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Besides which, many rich right-wing folk in the UK would rather dump the NHS for the same dumb reasons. The previous US system's government per capita health costs exceeded anywhere in Europe (or any other developed ecomony) before a penny of insurance was paid. Yet for all this money a third of americans had no health insurance. How dumb is that for a nation to allow health related business interests to rip you off to that extent.

Oh and for MG sure I'd partly contribute to Bulgarians if they were in a properly intergrated EU health system as it would be the only fair thing to do and it benefits all of us economically to have a properly functioning basic health system irrespective of the model.
elsewhere on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> Perhaps worth noting too that Obamacare would be comparable to an EU-wide health system. I suspect those in the UK might not be too happy about paying for Bulgarians hip operations if this was mooted.

What rubbish. That's only true if different bits of the US regard each other as different nations. They don't. They think of themsleves as different parts of the same nation and if my memory is correct there is an entity known as the United States of America and they have the same president and the same national flag. Unlike UK & Bulgaria.
Offwidth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to wintertree:

I met people in Yosemite, at the end of last week when we headed home, who had just arrived. How gutted would you be?? Pretty much everyone I spoke to during Facelift was convinced the shut-down wouldn't happen.

A good few national forests with climbing are not gated so they would be alternaties.
John_Hat - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> Are the American Republicans power-mad, or mentally retarded? Anyone got any idea? Either way, they look very foolish to the rest of the world.

All of the above I think. It's worth remembering that the democrats in the US are basically liberal tories in our speak. Republicans would be, in our eyes, extreme right wing tories.

Luckily we don't have anything in the UK which corresponds to the lunatic right wing of the GOP, however these freaks are, in most Uk views, boarderline insane extreme religious nutcases. Presumptions of sanity are therefore not given.

From my reading of the situation, this small minority of lunatics are somewhat upset that despite 43 votes and a court case they have failed to derail the universal healthcare bill (Obamacare), and appear to have utterly lost the plot and are prepared to do *anything* to stop it.

Moderate republicans are as frustrated with them as everyone else, and the leader of the house is really not helping matters by refusing to table a vote on the finance bill as he knows that enough moderate republicans would vote with the government to pass it.

This last is especially insane - this use of a procedural loophole to avoid having a vote that you know you will lose.

Oh, and in fairness, there's a fair amount of Democrats who are not exactly doing all they can to stop the situation as they are very well aware at how insane this is looking to the general population and are gleefully rubbing their hands watching the GOP making itself unelectable.
Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to elsewhere:

> That's only true if different bits of the US regard each other as different nations.

They do have a strong streak of regarding themselves as different states.

> there is an entity known as the United States of America and they have the same president and the same national flag. Unlike UK & Bulgaria.

We have an EU President, an EU Parliament, an EU commission, and EU flag, and we are signed up to "ever closer union".
Coel Hellier - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

> This last is especially insane - this use of a procedural loophole to avoid having a vote that you know you will lose.

Do you also oppose such tactics in causes you might support?

E.g. this effort, widely regarded as heroic:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23058736
elsewhere on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
The USA is a nation because the people think and believe it is a nation.

The EU is not a nation because the people do not think and do not believe it is a nation.
IainRUK - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> What rubbish. That's only true if different bits of the US regard each other as different nations. They don't. They think of themsleves as different parts of the same nation and if my memory is correct there is an entity known as the United States of America and they have the same president and the same national flag. Unlike UK & Bulgaria.

They do.. it depends on the state of course. Texas being the obvious extreme example. Its all semantics when a country is a state or a greater unity like the EU. But in many ways the US could be seen as the EU fast forwarded 100-200 years or so. 10-15 states were independent countries and retain a strong indentity. In many ways it's not too disimilar to the UK in that respect.
MG - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> What rubbish. That's only true if different bits of the US regard each other as different nations. They don't.

They have very significant identities as States, probably not as strong as EU nations but not far off in many cases. They will pull together for some things but compete ruthlessly in other areas. Viewing federal programmes as somewhat comparable to EU-wide programmes is not unreasonable.


Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

There is very little similarity between the US and the EU (apart from some economic ones). I am in a very small minority of people, I'm sure, who is rather in favour of a United States of Europe, such as Churchill dreamed of. But I guess that it's about as unrealistic as Schiller's Ode to Joy.
MG - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> There is very little similarity between the US and the EU (apart from some economic ones).

Rule of law, democratic, largely Christian culturally, significant pooled government, significan regional automony, wealthy, "old" declining(??) powers. Seems like there is quite a lot of similarity
MG - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Oh and for MG sure I'd partly contribute to Bulgarians if they were in a properly intergrated EU health system as it would be the only fair thing to do

You might but would the population at large think the EU should be providing healthcare? I would suggest not at all and that they would say it should be left to individual nations. Much like some argue in the US that it is individual State's responsibility. Strangely Massachusetts has pretty good healthcare introduced by...Mitt Rommney.

Neil Williams - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:

I don't think it's any worse than "Boris bikes" or "Boris buses", which as I quite like both I don't think it is particularly perjorative to credit the person responsible for their introduction by way of the nickname.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:

I can't see why there would be an EU-wide single health system any more than that there's an EU-wide railway system. It'd be more likely to be a set of rules requiring equal access to providers and a legal minimum of cover (given that most systems in the EU are mandatory social insurance based rather than a UK style monolithic NHS).

Neil
Neil Williams - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:

The EU is a *much* looser union than the USA.

The USA is probably more similar to Germany and its federal states than the overall EU.

Neil
IainRUK - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: Not really. Its a much much bigger area. Politically, socially areas of the USA are incomparable. Germany is much more unified.. thanks to the unification tax.. but although there are wealth differences they seem much less than in the US
MG - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> I can't see why there would be an EU-wide single health system any more than that there's an EU-wide railway system.

Well no, and republicans it seems can't see why there should be a US health system, which was my point. There are other arguments too of course but I think Obamacare is much closer to an (imaginary) EU system than the NHS. It's worth bearing this in mind when trying to understand some of the opposition to it.
Neil Williams - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:

Another option might be to mandate a minimum level of cover then let the states sort it out?

Neil
Eric9Points - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Mentally retarded obviously.

They're objecting to the nation providing health care to 3/4 millions US citizens who are too poor to pay for it themselves.

According to some idiot on CH4 news they can't afford it. The richest country in the world can't afford to care for it's poorest people.
Jimbo W on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> [...]
>
> I'm not sure what the complaint is. The system was deliberately set up to give minorities blocking powers, and they are using those blocking powers.
> This is very much in line with the original design of the American constitution, where they were very wary of governments, and wanted to preserve states' autonomy against a federal government, and thus wanted a limited government that could only do limited things and only with a broad consensus.

Indeed, reading on it isn't even republicans in general that are being obstructive, it is a small handful of tea party members, about 10% in total who are holding Congress, and as a result, the rest of government, to ransom, which is not what the mechanisms of government were designed for. And, as for your referral to the popularity of Obamacare and the idea that polls should somehow trump representative government, some 73% of people in the US do not think that the government should be shut down over Obamacare!
BigBrother - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Indeed, reading on it isn't even republicans in general that are being obstructive, it is a small handful of tea party members, about 10% in total who are holding Congress, and as a result, the rest of government, to ransom,

How does a small minority of one party block a vote? The democrats and the rest of the republicans surely could just vote the law through as they form a huge majority.

Offwidth - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to BigBrother: they threaten to campaign agains, stand candidates against and do other stuff to dissenters. Part of what is going on here might be mainstream Rebublicans sensing the air of votors/calling the bluff of the Tea Party.
Offwidth - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to BigBrother: Its similar to the blue rinse brigade holding back progressive policy in the conservative party. Party members are often more to the right than their candidates who are already a little too right to maximise votor support.
John_Hat - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to BigBrother:

There's a procedural loophole where the speaker of the house doesn't have to allow a vote to go ahead if it cannot be passed by the majority party in the house.

Since a vote of continuance would need both parties, he is entitled to refuse to allow the vote.

The speaker is being heavily leaned on by the minority in a "allow the president off the hook and you'll never work in theis town again" manner.
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Jimbo W on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to BigBrother:

By having the speaker, burned before, in the pocket of the tea party:
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/10/the-two-basic-facts-that-should-be-in-every-shut...
cb294 - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> One of the keys to understanding Americans is that their national strategy game is Poker, not Chess. ...

I have spent some time in both Russia and the USA, and have never thought of this. Great observation!

CB
MikeTS - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

both obviously
j0ntyg on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Dissaproval for the health care plan is running that high because people don't understand it yet.
They have a huge country, full of different peoples, most of whom have been brainwashed by this idea that everyone should be a strong individual, look after themselves and to hell with the losers or people we don't know, not of our nationality, or they are from Oregon but we are from Florida. That is a difficult attitude to counter as most Americans don't have a national idea as Europeans have. We have small crowded lands where everyone has lived together for centuries, gone through good and bad times together and as a consequence are more likely understand and be sympathetic to our "losers".
We are much closer knit societies. Americans call that socialism, which they think is a bad thing. Funny how so many "Christian" Americans go to church but won't help their own and shoot each other left right and centre.

In reply to MG: Only if it was on the German model not the British. Obamacare is not single payer, you still need insurance from a private company, that is just bought through exchanges though with the idea that by expanding the pool you bring down premiums. That's why some of the anti- lobbying (funded by the Koch Brothers of course!) is aimed at getting young people to refuse to buy and pay the fine. Without young healthy people the exchanges won't push down the premiums.

I don't know what the system is like in Bulgaria!
Jimbo W on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA:

And the law went live today with the private vendors accepting insurance applications from those not previously covered - so the republicans might have stalled Goverment, but the law they dislike. Take up had apparently been high despite the Republican scare mongering. And it would be difficult to see how it could be reversed once those companies are contracted.
MG - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA: my point was about the size, not the details of the scheme.
In reply to MG: OK, fair enough although it's worthy to not that the population of the US is quite a lot smaller than that of the EU, about three fifths of the size. There's a lot of us EUizens!
Dave Cumberland - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> Are the American Republicans power-mad, or mentally retarded? Anyone got any idea? Either way, they look very foolish to the rest of the world.

You are insulting a huge number of American voters by posing that question in the pejorative way you did. You may have lived in America, in which case you may understand the American psyche better than your prejudicial question suggests. These "foolish" Americans as a nation have a "can-do" attitude more than is prevalent in the champagne socialistic, illiberal denizens of Europe and the UK.
johncoxmysteriously - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Calm down, dear. He's talking about the handful of Tea Party nutters holding up the budget, not 'a huge number of American voters'.

jcm
Offwidth - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Way to go... complain about an alledged stereotype and attack with another eh?
Donnie - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Donnie)
>
> [...]
>
> In a winner-takes-all system a 51:47 victory is indeed a mandate, but in a system designed to need consensus it isn't. The Democrats have a small margin in the Senate and the Republicans have a small margin in the House, so that is again roughly tied. Then you factor in that according to polls, support for Obamacare is about 39% and disapproval of Obamacare is 57%. (CNN/ORC poll Sept 6-8)

It's not designed to need consensus in the sense that if one party wins the popular vote in all three elections - president, house and senate - then they shouldn't be able to pass the laws they want because voting districts favor one side.

I wasn't aware of the polling though. But if you follow this you'll know that the republicans really aren't telling the truth about it - so the public aren't making an informed choice.

Offwidth - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Nice and hard working as many ordinary US citizens are, they are not especially well informed or have time to analyse potential faults in their political thinking and as such are easily exploited.
MG - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Good candidate for the most patronising post of the year there. Would you say the same about British citizens? In my experience the average American is far more politically engaged than the average Briton.
Al Evans on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth: I don't understand this argument, even in Couesescus Romania, just after his fall, we visited hundreds of orphanages all state run, not great but trying to do a job, even some mental asylums for older people. The state accepted it's need to look after the poor and disadvantaged and its responsibilities to those people. The NHS is the flagship of such policies worldwide.
Surely Obamacare is just trying to bring the USA into the modern world of humanitarian healthcare?
Coel Hellier - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Typical US attitudes still have a large streak of the Wild West about them.

"A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness"

This frontier spirit is a very different attitude to the cradle-to-grave welfare-stateism of Europe. There are good and bad points about both; you could say that they overdo their attitude and that we overdo ours.

seankenny - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I found a lot of younger Americans have a real admiration for European things such as trains, functional healthcare systems and really high quality limestone sports climbing.
Offwidth - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:

Well my experience is the exact opposite. Average british citizens seem clearly more aware of issues nationally and especially internationally when I talk to them. I think this is party due to the family and community focus (especially in small towns) and sheer hard work giving US citizens less free time and partly as the news on offer is poor compared to British equivalents. In this, they are especially bad at knowing anything going on outside the US. It's my perceived avaerge difference and, in that, not universal for all groups, for instance most US climbers I meet seem a lot more politically aware than the average Jo out there (better certainly than the average brit) and the liberal elites in the US hardly suffer this ignorance. They do seem better than brits on local politics.
MG - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Well my experience is the exact opposite. Average british citizens seem clearly more aware of issues nationally and especially internationally when I talk to them. I think this is party due to the family and community focus (especially in small towns) and sheer hard work giving US citizens less free time and partly as the news on offer is poor compared to British equivalents. In this, they are especially bad at knowing anything going on outside the US.


As I suggested above, a very rough analogy is US=EU, State=EU nation, US county/city=local authority. I would say at each level engagement in the US is at least as strong as in the UK, and significantly stronger at a local level. And in both cases international awareness is limited.


They do seem better than brits on local politics.

Agree
seankenny - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
>
> They do seem better than brits on local politics.
>
> Agree

Is this because local politics actually matter in the US, whereas here everything of any importance is dictated from the centre?
Donnie - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> Typical US attitudes still have a large streak of the Wild West about them.
>
> "A long time ago came a man on a track
> Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
> And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
> Made a home in the wilderness"
>
> This frontier spirit is a very different attitude to the cradle-to-grave welfare-stateism of Europe. There are good and bad points about both; you could say that they overdo their attitude and that we overdo ours.

You could say that, but if you were taking an objective look at what works best for people living happy healthy lives then we (the UK) clearly under do ours and they massively over do theirs...

Dominion - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> And this current bun fight revolves around ObamaCare which was made law 3 years ago.

Which was again fillibustered by Republican Senator Ted Cruz proudly making a speech for over 21 hours, reading from Dr Zeus's Ham and Eggs whilst doing so.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24270591

Perhaps he should pay the costs for the time he wasted doing that?

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> "A long time ago came a man on a track
> Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
> And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
> Made a home in the wilderness"

I always presumed, due to the writer, that was about strolling into Northumbrian countryside for a bit of camping.
Offwidth - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:

Good try: the local I saw was more like the local town, not their state. Plus its complete idiocy to defend ignorance of important geopolitics on such grounds. Those in the US with more political awareness I've met seem to think the same (that too many in their country should know and do much more). Also I'm not putting the UK on a pedestal as other European states seem to beat us.

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