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Does anyone know what happens now? Do the House rules get voted on? Is it by a majority of the full House? Can changes be made to what McCarthy has agreed to before the vote? Can a motion to vacate be put forth by a member of either party? And what happens then? Does it fail if it doesn't get a majority of the full House?

Questions. I have so many questions.

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JVL - I always find the articles you present interesting, but the Ted Gioia piece was brilliant. I especially enjoyed the link to his earlier piece on "How Web Platforms Collapse: The Facebook Case Study" (subtitled "Or ten times Mark Zuckerberg jerked me around").

He captures perfectly why the the tech giants think they can treat us like (insert appropriate and acceptable scatological reference here), and reminded me why I long ago dumped Facebook and never dabbled in Twitter, or any of the other social diseases that have been foisted off on us as in our interest.

Thank you!!!

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> A (part of the) electorate that is deeply invested in performance....

What is the incentive for voters to be disconnected from reality?

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Reality is messy. And it's hard. Performative hate is easy.

I read a good article somewhere recently that helped explain the attraction of conspiracy theories (I wish I could put my finger on it, but I can't). In short, conspiracy theories may seem arcane and complex to us, but they actually offer a simpler internally consistent way to see the world (mind you, internal consistency doesn't mean they have to match very much of what we might call "reality"). People who struggle with the real world find comfort in a simple world with clear cut issues, villians and heroes, the same way I find comfort in watching old cartoons, I guess.

I think the same "simplification" argument applies here.

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But doesn't the conspiracy theory crash and burn against the reality of "they want to cut my mother's social security, which is the major part of her budget. Who is going to take care of her?"

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Only if someone makes sure people know what they are trying to do... otherwise, they're just protecting the "real Americans" from the CRT-spouting Marxist liberals.

I doubt GOP plans to cut Social Security get a lot of air time on Newsmax.

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Always find at least article in the Triad terrific.

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My cousin just died unexpectedly leaving a wife and a 6 month old. SS survivor benefits are a lifeline because in these days of low mortality among the young, nobody loads up on life insurance, and even if they did, you can't buy enough to set up a widowed spouse to raise a family without some other kind of assistance.

I was widowed when the kids were in middle school. SS was a lifeline--I worked but the extra expenses were covered, and I was able to set up a college fund to make up for what their dad's income would have provided when it was time for them to go to college. I am afraid that they will go after survivor benefits because the population needing them is relatively small, but it is so important.

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My father died in 1964 when I was 3 years old. SS benefits were a lifeline for my mother, my 1 month old baby brother and me. Am I incorrect in remembering those benefits were cut in the early 80's?

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They were--it used to be that benefits would go until 21 or end of college, but early in the Reagan administration they quit paying benefits once a dependent graduated from high school.

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My brother-in-law was born late his father's life. He got social security until he was 18. Isn't there some big mouth R that also received SS as a child? Can't remember who. And condolences to your cousin's wife and family.

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Yes, condolences from me too.

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Kevin seems to have never learned the lesson of having an arsonist in your house: don't let them in, and if you have to, don't offer them a gallon of kerosene too

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Jeff, I agree completely. Governing IS the point. But given the lack of GOP concerns about much more than winning, I think Bulwark and similar efforts like The Dispatch, achieve little by endlessly telling us what we already know.

Where else can we expect thoughtful discussion of important policy issues if not from folks like them? Maybe some of the non MAGA types in Congress will use such discussions to better inform themselves. Maybe even the Dems. What’s to lose?

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I'm not sure I understand how policy gets made. I suspect the usual analogy to sausage is more apt than I'd like. I particularly don't understand how the punditocracy influences what gets decided. And I don't know how much attention the ruling class pays to Charlie, Sarah, JVL, Tim et. al. (I wish it were more!)

But I do agree with you there is little to lose in developing reasonable policies. I suspect that laying out limited, actionable, specific policies that will help broad swaths of the public, and then letting the Republicans defeat them, and then making sure everyone knows what happened, offers the best chance of defeating the anti-govenment party.

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It's going to be hard, since the R's will probably be able to kill anything in committee and if it survives that McCarthy won't take it to the floor. If it doesn't get to a floor vote it doesn't get a lot of visibility.

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Agree. It would take a forceful and sustained influence campaign, which is much more difficult on real mundane issues than on hot-button cartoon issues like CRT and trans swimmers.

I think this all circles back to why various outlets (including the Bulwark) are doing a lot more pointing out how the other side is playing crooked pool and a lot less developing policy...

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Should be, but if their basic principle is "less government is better," then just not governing is arguably the best approach.

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Reflecting on the 15 rounds of votes and what "concessions" the House bench/Freedom Caucus got from Kevin...on the surface some of the things sounded reasonable (e.g. committees with more responsibility for legislation than "tablets" from the Speaker to vote on, i.e. more involvement and transparency to the legislative process), more time (72 hours) to vote on a bill, etc...It would be interesting to get a perspective from some of the Bulwark team on what the concessions were and discussing the pros and cons of them....Even as a center left person the media seems to have portrayed most of the horse trading that Kevin had to do as bad and some is, and some is if "in the wrong hands" (e.g. one person asking for a vote on the Speaker is only bad when abused as that one vote rule has been in effect in the past)..

Anyway, a thoughtful analysis that better informs Bulward readers on the "concessions" and the pros and cons of them would be interesting..

thanks for all the entire Bulwark team does..

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A very good post, Pat. I too would like the Bulwark to do an analysis of the rules framework. And I need to know what transparency to the process for these members means.

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To me the real problem isn't necessarily what he gave away. Yeah, there were good points hiding under the dung. The real problem is that Kevin, no Speaker, can govern/enact legislation with only a 4 point majority. Like it or not, he NEEDS moderate Ds. A Speaker who is interested in governing would have gone to the Ds and said, "Look the crazies want to run the asylum; I don't want that. What can I do for YOU to let me rein them in? Let's make this work." But that's not Kevin. He wanted the title and the office, not the job.

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I don't disagree (although we just had a Speaker that did an amazing job with a 4 person majority :) ) I was just interested in a more balanced perspective than all the "this is terrible"...I agree it's going to be a S$%#sshow to attempt to manage the crazies (and I bet Ryan and Boehner have their feet up on their desks with a large glass of wine and wide smiles on their faces)..

There are things like earmarks they want out...there are different PoVs on earmarks ...I was in favor last time they got rid of them until it seemed the House's business came to a halt...but my recollection is that the last congress used them and a lot got done (with a 4 person majority)...how much is earmarks vs Nancy we'll never know, but that's one of those again with a pro/con debate that it would just be interesting to include in all the stuff.

And as much as Kevin will "need" moderate Ds, I don't see an incentive structure that will allow him to do that...it's either 218 votes from his Caucus on legislation or the committees won't let it get to the floor for a vote..and if he tries to get moderate D's on board, be prepared for the Damocles sword to come down and an upcoming vote for a new speaker...

It's going to be a "fun" two years...Popcorn futures is where to invest...

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Pelosi could get things done with a four vote majority because 1) the left wing of her party isn't a bunch of lunatics and 2) she knew how to deal with them.

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I remember when earmarks were targeted by the Rs in the 2008 election. And that it was a mistake in terms of a well-functioning House. These people are so anti-government, I don't think they care at all about a well-functioning House or party. The parties are weaker now. Candidates can do their own fundraising. This is a reflection of that.

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Pelosi did an amazing job because she knew it was a job and didn't put up with garbage. She also knew how to find and reach out to Rs. Kevin just wanted the job, completely oblivious to the fact that it IS a JOB. Apparently there are ways to get stuff to the floor without the committees. Anyway, we'll see how he does with the rules vote. Right now, it probably doesn't matter much. But when we hit the summer, he's going to need Ds whether he likes it or not.

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I pity McCarthy. I don't know how he'll be able to get the next budget passed.

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While I did have a twinge around ballot 10, I have zero pity now. He sold himself, and possibly the country, for his ambition. He may not last until the budget battle - he may not get past the committee assignments if he starts handing out plum jobs to the 20.

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You suggest in your opening that, in order to become Speaker, Mr. McCarthy had to betray his principles. Are you able to identify any that he held?

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He had principles for one hour when he spoke out against the insurrection. He lost it when he went to Trump and kissed his shoes. Though to be fair, he lost it when he voted against certifying Biden.

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McCarthy didn't kiss Trump's shoes, Eva. What he kissed, long and lovingly, was about 3 joints (and I'm talking skeletal articulations, not paper-wrapped vegetation) further north.

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Just had a thought. The rules package has to be passed by a majority. If enough Rs really don't like what Kevin gave away, if they join with Ds to force a vote on individual parts of it, that would eliminate that bomb throwers' power. If I were the Ds, I'd start talking to the few sane Rs there are.

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Jan 7, 2023·edited Jan 7, 2023

I'd like to think there are sane Republicans, but after they kicked Liz Cheney out, I can't believe they have any principles or integrity what so ever.

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They have no principles.

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Forget principles, how about pride? If Kevin starts giving newbies, which many are, plum assignments, I don't think they'd take it very well.

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Kevin neutered himself for a gavel. Symbolism is everything. And...I find it absurd thinking the,caucus w seniority will let newbie imbeciles stroll into positions of power on committees wo a giant revolt from within.

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We may find out today with the rules vote. Several members are already speaking.

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True enough. But how does it help?

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Yes. But in addition, anti-CRT, abortion bans, gay rights bans, etc. were ballot losers.

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Now that this week’s fiasco is behind us, maybe we Bulwark subscribers should be asking more from our Publishers/editors. Instead of merely criticizing the Congress we have, or at least part of it, how about actual policy recommendations that could help create discussions that might lead to positive changes.

I fear you folks have morphed into the very thing you (and I) hate about our former political party. That being complaining about the situation we are in, while barely scratching the surface of using the intellectual capital you have to suggest specific policy ideas. For example: Immigration reform. Biden is making some policy now. How can it be improved? In the process, maybe you can decide what Bulwark was created to do. Besides just criticize. God knows the GOP offers lots of low hanging fruit here, but if all all wanted was criticism, I’d just watch MSNBC. For free.

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I'd agree with you except for one thing, I read that the Republicans want to do 2 things first, and McCarthy was denied votes until he agreed. 1) investigate Hunter Bidens Laptop and 2) impeach Biden. How do you report on a majority party that has no interest in doing its actually job of governing?

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Agree--sort of. There's a special place in hell for people who like to complain but don't have recommendations. But we could ask ourselves...with the sort of shenanigans we watched for the last week, is there a point to discussing the fine points of policy?

When the primary goal of a substantial and apparently powerful portion of the majority party is to make sure no governing gets done, how much intellectual capital needs to go into crafting exquisite policy recommendations that have no chance to see the light of day?

I'd love to see some kind of comprehensive immigration reform to a) address the border crisis, b) be more humane to people who are voting with their feet for our system and way of life, and c) ease our labor shortage. I'll bet the folks here could have an interesting and productive discussion of what that could be, where a lot of viewpoints would emerge. I'm sure the folks at the Bulwark have intelligent, well thought out suggestions. If we came up with a solution I'd guess almost no one would be completely happy with it, but we'd all recognize that's how compromise works. Almost any immigration reform would be better than what we have now.

If Matt & Lauren were in the room, I don't think it'd go so well.

I think there IS an implicit recommendation here--govern. Until the House decides it's part of the government and not a show on Newsmax, crafting policy is just a little like being the government or party in exile repeatedly drafting platforms and manifestoes.

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If whatever coalition we represent has no power to put policy in place on its own, and the opposing side deals only in alternate facts, debates on policy might have little value.

The value it could have is as preparation for when this coalition wins enough power or the opposing side returns to sanity. The situation prevailing when either of these miracles happens could be different enough to render any recommendations now to be of little value.

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

I think the "alternative facts" part of this bothers me most...I'm sure most of us have friends who, even if they haven't gone "full MAGA", don't see the world in anything like the same way we do. A friend of mine--a fellow retired military officer and usually a very reasonable person--brought up "innocent tourists wandering around the capitol" during a discussion of January 6, and had never heard of Michael Fanone. The news outlets he frequents clearly are telling a different story than the one we get. I do recognize that it's always possible that I'm the one being misled, but I don't think so. Just the fact that I have to consider that is one of the insidious effects of constant gaslighting.

But the people we're condemning here (admittedly without any recommendation beyond "don't be a crasshole") are either all in or (and I think this is more likely) know better but see advantage in pretending otherwise. I'm reminded of the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch where a farmer's sheep are being maimed and killed trying to fly, under the influence of a clever sheep named Harold who is depressed by the lot of a sheep. When a tourist asks the farmer why he doen't just get rid of Harold, the farmer replies "Because of the enormous commercial possibilities if 'e succeeds." Every one of these crassholes stands to benefit from the spread of the "alternative facts"...so they have no reason to step away from them. And that makes them absolutely impossible to work with.

That rant aside, I absolutely agree that having a reasonable plan in case an opportunity to govern presents itself is always a good idea. If Democrats can get on message and sell the idea of effective, responsible government to the American people (including specific, actionable legislation with more descriptive names than "Inflation Reduction" or "Build Back Better"), maybe they can make that chance. Put ideas that Americans support--one at a time--up for a vote and make the GOP vote them down.

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Nothing is important to the Republicans than investigating Hunter Biden's laptop. That's how stupid and vindictive they are. And also quite a few of them have no qualifications for doing their actual job.

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They have been channeling Trump's wishlist for 6 yrs. No one should be surprised. Maybe when their own, constituents driven by hate that they manifested will come bite them in the necessary places when these rabid haters realize they are voting against their long term interests...but again, maybe not. Buckle up.

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It is difficult to comprehend just how pervasive the hateful aggression is displayed in such a place of significance

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For the GOP and political pundits who uphold Putin as an ideal leader, I'm in favor of them all emigrating to Russia.

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Agree.

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Jan 7, 2023·edited Jan 7, 2023

Policy vs performance. One could argue that it's been this way for quite some time.

After all, polls have long shown that Americans tend to agree with Republicans in principle but Democrats in practice. Ask about general ideas and attitudes and Republicans are the better fit. Ask about specific policies and the Democrats are more likely offering what people want.

In other words, when Americans are in the mood to party, they cozy up to Republicans and their ingratiating overtures. But when sh*t gets real and things needs to get done, they look to Democrats.

Certainly, you can see this pattern in recent Presidential elections. Our last three Republican presidents were all elected amidst healthy economic conditions, in particular falling unemployment rates; in fact both '88 and '00 were bottom--out years for unemployment, while in '16 it was in free-fall and kept going (until COVID). In contrast, the last three Democrats were elected amidst rising unemployment and economic downturn, even (in '08 and '20) outright calamity.

Not that this matters much for the midterms, which tend to be driven by the President's opposition, thus reinforcing the presidency as our overall pivot point. But if Republicans keep behaving like a complete disaster, they may begin to squander the frivolity subsidy that Americans grant them in Presidential election years.

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I'm not sure on what basis we can say that Mccarthy has principles he betrayed?

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Thanks for the introduction to Ted Gioia. I was hooked immediately by his clear style and obvious passion for the arts. I subscribed and have already found new music to love from his best of 2022 lists. I really enjoy checking out your recs.

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I've known of him for years as an excellent music critic, but clearly his reach goes further.

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And of course I meant Goioa.

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