Friday, October 18, 2013

A Credibility Gap

Seems Legit
Mark Levin, super-star conservative talk-show host warned listeners a couple of days ago that Barack Obama is planning a coup:
"This now more about a continuing resolution, shutting down part of the government or even the debt ceiling," said Levin. "This President of the United States is threatening to violate the 14th Amendment, if not Article One, to drive this nation into intentional default. This is why I've played clip after clip of him and his supporters talking about default. He is prepared to do it. What could be better to fundamentally transform America?" 
"It is Obama who rejects the Republican majority in the House, it is Obama who seeks to destroy the House's core Constitutional power, it is Obama who does not accept the fact there is divided government and it is Obama who is holding the nation ransom if his demands are not met and met absolutely," claimed Levin. 
"If this is not a coup, if this is not an effort to eviscerate what is left of the Constitution, then what the hell is?" yelled Levin.
He's not the only one sounding the alarm. The Center for Western Journalism clues us in:
Even though the erosion of our Constitution began long before the Obama regime, the Marxist-in-Chief was handpicked to carry it out to an unprecedented level, a level of destruction so massive that ‘walking it back’ to any semblance of normalcy would prove futile.
Obama is responsible for tipping the scale in his favor, piling on over $5 trillion of debt that will ultimately collapse world financial markets and eventually render the U.S. dollar worthless .
The Atlantic Wire finds six instances--not counting the most recent--where Rush Limbaugh finds Obama in the commission of a coup. Here is one:
    September 23, 2009 : [in a Rush quote roundup] "I would describe what Obama is doing to this country as basically a coup. It's just frightening. He talks about a New World Order, and the New World Order is him. Obama is bigger than his country, bigger than the presidency -- he is the world."
Lyndon Larouche has some predictions:
Since it is inevitable that the current U.S. President Barack Obama has no chance of being re-elected under what might be called a "democratic election-process,...  there can be no possibility that the forces controlling British puppet Barack Obama's career do not fully intend to pull off a coup d'etat comparable to that of Adolf Hitler.
Okay, Larouche is a nut ... but still: WND (formerly World Net Daily with 40 million page views and 5 million unique visitors a month) has some similarly grim tidings with the headline:
Alarms Over Obama Coup Against Constitution Surging
Nothing will be off limits – a national police force, instant citizenship for all Third World people … forced equalization of income (except for Obama’s wealthy supporters), widespread use of tax audits to carry out vendettas against enemies … suspension of habeas corpus … and much, much more. 
... Why do you think Big Sis needs 20,000 drones patrolling the skies over America and NSA needs a new listening post to read and listen to every personal communication between every American citizen and archive it forever
And the Capitalism Institute wonders ...
Is Obama Firing Generals Not Willing to Kill Americans?
Now, Obama is apparently asking his generals a question: are you willing to fire on American citizens? If not, then they can’t go up the ranks. This means Obama is readying the US military to literally shoot and kill Americans. What is the source for this? A Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
The list goes on and on ... and on.

You Have A Gap ... A Credibility Gap 
Doctor "About the damage Sybil. You don't have enough to cover 
it all of course. You'll have to work it off. As well as 
your repair bill" 
Sybil "Repair.?" 
Doctor " You have a gap. A credibility gap. Your citizenship is 
in question. But you've been conscripticed anyway." 
Sybil "Where" 
Doctor "7981 Building the medical parts facility" 
Sybil "The one that always being bombed?" 
-- Aeon Flux, Thanatophobia
I am not a believer in the unalloyed good of Obamacare--I think it may work--but it also may not--and while "in-flight repairs" are possible, Republicans, currently, will not participate allow them. On the other hand, I am dubious that it's the end of the world as we know it. Despite hearing it in the strongest language from every Republican ... I remain unconvinced. Why is that?

:: Looks Up ::

Well, right. So if I don't believe Limbaugh, Levin, and WND (and you can argue that many of those quotes are cranks--and Limbaugh and Levin are maybe nuanced--but c'mon--I can quote high-standing Republicans all day. I didn't even have time for Bachmann) what would I believe? How could the Republicans make their case to me? I thought about that. Here are my answers:

Math From A Source I Trust
If you can show me math that pretty much everyone agrees on then I'll believe it. I can buy into, for example, the CBO--while you can make they case they are partisan you can make the case anyone is partisan ... and so then what? Everyone is? If that's the case, you are too.
This Indicates A Problem
The above graph indicates a problem with healthcare spending kicking in strong around 2022 and then going nuclear. I believe it. So something has to be done. We may disagree on what (and if you tell me it requires nuclear-level intervention right now it seems you aren't looking at the same graph I am) but this starts to persuade me.

Of course the ACA is supposed to fix exactly this and I, not being a health care expert, have to trust someone as to whether it will or won't.

A Large Preponderance of Experts
If you have large numbers of experts and the majority of them, you've got my attention. I don't see a mechanism for manipulating vast quantities of scientists all over the world so I consider large numbers in more-or-less agreement to be a legitimate sign-post. Sure, you can tell me they're all consumed by group-think--okay, maybe. But just remember it's Limbaugh listeners who proudly referred to themselves as "ditto-heads" (do they still do that? Does anyone know what 'ditto' means anymore?).

CNN polled 14 economist and 9 said Obamacare is hurting job growth (largely due to uncertainty). Is that enough? Well, it's enough to make me think we need to reduce uncertainty. What's the best way to do that? Well, it's not defaulting on the debt-ceiling: the TBill market proved that:
The Cure Is Worse Than The Disease
Your Own Side Says So
The Omnivore is largely enamored of the street-touch-football rule: if your own team says so it's probably a good call. That's why The Omnivore prefers conservative sources over liberal ones when discussing Republicans. If enough people on the "blue team" come out against Obamacare as a nation-killer I'm all ears. How many is enough? Well, it depends on who. One Obama would be fine. I could accept Erza Klein and Nate Silver if they teamed up or something. I'm not sure exactly who the left's Michelle Bachmann is but that'd get my attention at least.

'Nay' Democrat votes don't count though--it has to be analysis and a clear statement of intent.

A Logical Argument I Can Follow
Finally, if you can make a logical argument for your case that does not either ignore large tracts of expertise neither of us have or skip them entirely I'll follow along. Sure, Lyndon up there loses everyone when he declares as fact that Obama is a puppet of the British Crown (honesty, Lyndon? The Crown??)--but Levin's argument that Obama will default and then seize power to pay what he wants is absurd.

Crying Wolf
The electoral damage to the GOP in 2014 won't be anger over the last two weeks--that'll be gone--it'll be brand damage and lack of trust. The GOP didn't just look disorganized and divided--or even (just) stupid--it looked out of touch with reality:
One organization in particular — the Heritage Foundation — has amassed an incredible amount of good faith from conservatives based on decades of solid conservative policy work. It’s difficult to explain the amount of goodwill the Heritage brand amassed on the Right over the years. There’s nothing like it. When you see their Blue Liberty Bell logo on something, as a conservative, you can pretty safely assume that you’re going to agree with whatever’s in it. It became a much more important brand than, say, that of Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform, which is typically accused (mostly by the Left) of having too much influence.  

“Defund” was always a bit pie-in-the-sky, but at this late date is was completely detached from reality. So that’s the state of the conservative leadership — the only people left with credibility among conservatives. Their behavior here did not just harm conservatism first and the GOP second, but it arguably resulted in a worse deal than what the House Leadership would have gotten on its own. As an added bonus, we get a fractured party, a fractured movement, and nothing in exchange.

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