Catfood Commission II Off To A Fine Start

… NOT. The GOP leadership have announced their six members. None could be called “moderate,” not even in jest. All have signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. All have a history of engaging in battles of ideology.

Moreover, it has been announced that the Catfood Commission (Super Committee, Super Congress, call the damned thing whatever you like) will engage in public debate. On the one hand, this is good; I’m sure you are as fed up with back-room secret deals as I am. On the other hand, this guarantees that at least the GOP members, and probably Democrats as well, will posture for their respective bases. And we’ve already seen how the GOP eventually manages to reach “agreement”: their one and only technique of “negotiation” is raw blackmail, to which Obama’s Dems always, always cave.

I still question the constitutionality of the whole proceeding. Congress is creating a third branch of itself, a branch not mentioned in the Constitution, a group of legislators that have the extraordinary power to write bills not subject to amendment but presented only for an up-or-down vote by the duly constituted houses. But I do not expect any sort of constitutional challenge, and if there is one, I am confident how the current godawful Supreme Court will rule on such a challenge.

At this point, the best we can hope for is that Dem leaders appoint members as extreme in their progressive views as the Republicans are in their radical conservative views. I feel certain Nancy Pelosi understands the dynamic and will do this. Harry Reid, on the other hand, has already named three senators who, if they do not actively collude with the GOP members, will at least not obstruct them.

When the best you can hope for on any proposal is a 6-6 tie, with the accompanying draconian automatic cuts in the budget law just passed, you know we are in for some unbelievably hard economic times. I hope you are all ready for this…

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  • upyernoz  On Thursday August 11, 2011 at 11:01 am

    this was a battle that was already lost when the debt ceiling deal passed last week. of course, none of the GOP superfriends could be called moderates and all have signed grover’s pledge. how many moderates are left in the GOP congressional caucus anyway? the few that are still called “moderates” (e.g. the senators from maine) have taken positions in the past 2 years that would have been crazy rightwing just a few years ago. plus, there was no chance at all that even those non-moderate “moderates” would ever be appointed by the GOP leadership. and as for the norquist pledge, there are very few GOPers in congress who haven’t taken the pledge. such is the face of the modern GOP.

    it’s a similar analysis for the democrat side. just as the modern GOP is filled with rightwing radicals who have pledged to never cut taxes and are never inclined to real compromise, the democrats congressional caucus is filled with people who are always trying to reach some bipartisan grand deal, which means selling out democratic principles in the process. to be honest, for all their limitations, kerry and murray were better picks than i feared–not that it makes much difference. it’s pretty clear that whatever comes out of this committee will be a steaming pile of doo-doo.

    as you note, the only possible outcomes at this point are horrible draconian cuts to social programs, or a deadlock with horrible draconian cuts to social programs along with some cuts to the military, with the latter maybe being the better option. all the dem picks tell us is the likelihood of deadlock, and with this crowd i guess i would give it around a 30% chance.

    • Steve  On Thursday August 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      ‘noz, you analyze the situation persuasively. Back in 2004 I actively supported and campaigned for Kerry, with some reservations, but I did think he was smart and perhaps not quite so egomaniacal as most Dems. Perhaps he can overcome the terrible situation all the super(wo)men are placed in. But I think the whole thing is a terrible way to govern, and sets a terrible precedent. I would not be surprised if The Twelve becomes a regular feature of all difficult legislation, a de facto new branch of Congress with too much power for their own good. We’ve seen what happened to presidents since the presidency acquired such an imperial character; Dog knows what a SuperCongress will do when endowed with comparable superpowers. I do not look forward to watching what happens next.

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