Monday, April 15, 2013

California Democratic state convention and Grover Norquist

My two activities this weekend were to listen to the podcast of Grover Norquist speaking to the Commonwealth Club and attending the annual California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento. Norquist played up the libertarian angle, probably a smart move when a conservative addresses a liberal crowd. He definitely threw the Bushies under the bus on Iraq and claimed to oppose occupying nations (something contrary to his position back when it counted). He also claimed the Democrats drive up the size of government to increase the number of people dependent on government and therefore supportive of Democratic positions, making opposition to government spending a partisan issue on purely partisan grounds. A lot of it was either disingenuous or vague, like supporting tort action as a substitute for environmental regulation, when torts are incredibly inefficient and often limited by the Republican Party.

The best part of the Democratic state convention was a panel on strengthening partnerships to communities of color. The really interesting thing these independent organizations are doing is targeting intermittent, low-frequency voters and get them to turn out on issues (not for specific candidates). I can attest from my own campaign that those voters are not campaign primary targets - when you have limited money, you put your effort into reaching someone who votes 80-100% of the time, not 20%. While California is majority-minority, the stats they showed had a majority of voters being white and disproportionately wealthy, and until the electorate reflects the population, they argued that governmental priorities won't reflect popular needs - quite the opposite of the problem Norquist sees of a too-big government.

For myself, I'm not sure whether growing inequality is caused by unfair governmental processes biased against the poor, or by the nature of our current economy, but either reason to me justifies countervailing action. I'm not buying Norquist's argument that we just need government to leave us alone. That doesn't mean he's always wrong though - finding the areas where government doesn't work well or should be less intrusive could be an area of agreement. A cap-and-trade or carbon tax is a good example, as opposed to typical regulation. Just waiting for the Republicans to pick that one up.


David B. Benson said...

How about a health tax for coal burners (and refineries)? These disproportionally affect the poor (who often do not vote).

John Mashey said...

Stick Norquist in the search box at the LTDL.

Americans for Tax Reform was one of the bigger recipients of tobacco funding, PDF @ Fakery 2, pp.39-40. he was #2 on that page, although I missed Citizens for a Sound Economy.

p.40: what will ATR do?
Press releases, letters to Congress, media, position papers.

Norquist = PR agency for tobacco.

Jeffrey Davis said...

The size of government has decreased greatly under Obama.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey is still in another universe.

Oh noes it is the big bad tobacco lobby.

How about a health tax on smokers?

Democrat policy does breed dependency and Obama has a worse record for minority unemployment than Bush.

EliRabett said...

Eli is not so sure about Norquist and Iraq. He married a woman of Palestinian descent from a Muslim family. This has been no small bone of contention between him and the neoconservatives. Of course he married in 2004, so, again, who knows.

EliRabett said...

As to Obama and the size of government and unemployment of all types, Anon (please take a number in the future like Anon 666 so the bunnies can sort you out amongst the chaff) might, just might recall the free fall the economy was in before the 2008 election and between then and the time Obama was sworn in.

The major shrinkage in government has been in the states, which were broke and firing teachers, cops and firefolk by the thousands. The stimulus funding helped a lot with that until the economy turned a bit better. Right now, the federal government is going to contract like crazy as contracts expire and contractors are laid off due to the sequester. The US, too stupid not to fail.

Anonymous said...


The sequester is only a reduction in the rate of growth, the government is still going to grow every year.

Remind me who had the majorities in the House and Senate January 2007 - January 2011?

Five years in and all Obama worshippers can say is "It is Bush's fault". Pathetic.

You guys butcher facts like a Gosnell.

Anonymous said...

"For myself, I'm not sure whether growing inequality is caused by unfair governmental processes biased against the poor, or by the nature of our current economy, ..."

he said jarringly.
You don't see these as very close aspects of the same thing?
Steve has a pointer:
and there are pointers every day

People find themselves at a loss for words. "Corporatism" is not well known, "neo-feudalism" sounds too fancy, and of course the F-word is completely forbidden.

Pete Dunkelberg

EliRabett said...

Anon, for the last time take a number. See the little message by the comment box

"Some of the regulars here are having trouble telling the anonymice apart. Please add some distinguishing name to your comment such as Mickey, Minnie, Mighty, or Fred."

The last time means the next time in this thread you don't do it, your post goes straight down the Rabett Hole.

Jeffrey Davis said...

The number of civilian federal employees peaked back in 1990.

Anonymous said...


Yes it peaked in 1990, most of the decline happened at the end of clinton's term and Obama has increased the federal civilian workforce where they are closer to 1990 then anytime under Clinton and Bush.

So once again your statement "The size of government has decreased greatly under Obama" is false and another liberal myth you live under.


EliRabett said...

That's an irrelevant number. Contractors make up about 2/3 of actual federal employees, even at government labs like NASA Centers. They are going to die like flies in the next six months as contracts are not renewed.

Anonymous said...

"They are going to die like flies in the next six months as contracts are not renewed."

All from 4-7% reductions in spending this year.

You are right Eli, let us just keep borrowing money from China or print more, nothing bad will happen from that.

As it often is with lefties you exaggerate the situation for emotional effect.


EliRabett said...

Goes like this #1. The cut came in the middle of the fiscal year. That means it is doubled. Then, of course, there are fixed costs and long term contracts. The only thing that is straightforward to cut are expiring contracts. As an example, post docs are on one year contracts.

Guess what goes.

Jeffrey Davis said...

Yes. Sorry. Just wait till you get +60. You'll confuse charts you've seen once.

The interesting thing about the size of the government is that it's not only smaller now in absolute terms, the per capita size is around half what it was in the 60s.

As for spending, the big spike was the stimulus, but absent that discretionary spending has been declining. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc. are still up because we're in the middle of horrible unemployment made worse by Republicans pretending to forget the lessons of the Depression. What's happening, of course, is the decision to bankrupt the country to undo the social welfare programs. (Clinton's surpluses were a major threat there, eh?)

Anonymous wants to pretend that there's no such thing as a) filibusters and b) DINOs like Mary Landrieu. The Dems had a nominal filibuster-proof margin for around 4 months of Obama's time in office. During which the ACA was passed.

Anonymous, distinguish yourself: pick a name. Any name. And stick to it.

Anonymous said...


So many myths, so little time. How did Clinton get that "surplus (stealing from SS, like all administrations) with a Republican congress?

Budget bills cannot be filibustered.

The ACA was passed without Republican AND without public support.

The recovery has been weak because of the stimulus and inaction of the President to lead and submit serious budget proposals. It took the Dems in the Senate four years to come up with one idea for a Federal Budget.

Wow. You are biased and void of actual facts.


Jeffrey Davis said...

Any spending bill can be filibustered. How do you think the fiscal cliff gag works?

The ACA was passed without public support? Try getting rid of it.

The road to Clinton surpluses began in 1993 when his first budget was passed without any Republican votes. It was not a Republican congress to begin with. The surplus continued because Republican votes were not as monolithic as they've become.

Obama submits spending proposals all the time. You use "serious" to mean "Republican". The other day, it took around 15 minutes for a Republican to attack Obama's "chained CPI" proposal. That's "serious" like Grandma used to make. If Republicans want to gut Social Security and Medicare, all they have to do is propose it, pass it, and get a president to sign it. Same as it ever was.

EliRabett said...

Ok, let's start at the top here. There were (note the were) several ways to help with expected shortfalls in revenue for Social Security. One was to provide borrowing room for the federal government by reducing the debt and deficit. That is the path that Clinton took. If we did not have the disaster of the Bush Bust, the trifecta of taxcuts, unfunded splendid adventures and unfunded Medicare Part D, the federal debt would easily be able to absorb the boomer's retirement. That one is now off the table.

Remember also that Alan Greenspan sold an increase in the SS tax in 1986 to help cover that. Eli has that stolen from feeling, and given Alan's role in the Bust tax cuts, he would enjoy contemplating Greenspan'shead on a pop-sickle stick.

Today, there are still a few ways, one to raise the maximum for taxation to where it should be based on previous history, to about 200K from about 100K, another this chained CPI, a third, reduction of benefits in 10 or 20 years, and finally, simply to absorb the additional debt. On that front there is some interesting news about McIntyre like manipulation of the spreadsheets by our libertarian economist friends. Not to their benefit.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll ignores that the Rethuglicans are on record saying their goal was to bankrupt the ebil gummint--the starve the beast strategy. This has worked out much better for them than firing on Ft. Sumter.

Anonymous said...

"You use "serious" to mean "Republican"

No I mean "serious" when he can receive at least one vote from a Democrat.

I did not say "spending bills" I said "Budget" bills and those cannot be filibustered. See Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

ACA still does not have a majority of public support in polls, it will not be repealed, but it is going to be a disaster.

Yes Eli correct, though I would not give 100% blame on Bush he was not pointing guns to the heads of the many Democrats that voted yes on many of those bills.

I also do give Clinton credit for the end of the 1990s and some to Republicans, probably 60-40 Clinton/Reps.

A_ray, I'll just ignore your posts with childish turn on words, your post reads like that of a spoiled child on a school playground.


a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll, Sorry, but that is all the effort a conservibot is worth. Give us something more than a talking point, and you might get a reasoned response. As it is, you're just a scratching post.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Great job ignoring me, anonytroll. While your post is still content free, at least it wasn't a Rethuglican talking point. Does the mean you need to re-synch with the mother ship?

Hank Roberts said...

> ignoring me
Remember the tar baby ignored Br'er Rabbit, but couldn't help it.

Eli, does your septic-wrap-contract provide that Anonymous who can't read and fails more than six times to get a number, doth thereby provide you should post her/his/its IP number as its identifying number from there on?

That's mainly a bot-trap provision to catch the ones that don't read because they can't.

EliRabett said...

Blogger has it's limitations, and not seeing IP is one of them. OTOH, he was putting a small 1 at the bottom of his posts but appears to have slipped up.


willard said...

Let's try to put this sentence:

> As it often is with lefties you exaggerate the situation for emotional effect.

Before this other one:

> [L]et us just keep borrowing money from China or print more, nothing bad will happen from that.

just to see the effect it has.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Yep I slipped and forgot the "1". Oh well.

Willard, it has no effect, next.


Jeffrey Davis said...

A past Congress cannot tie the hands of a new Congress. The only way to do that is via constitutional amendment.

Very little spending anymore happens via Budget Bills. It's been continuing resolutions for years. And those have been filibustered. Again: how do you imagine the Fiscal Cliff gag works.

You ducked the DINO issue. (It's like ducking the whole Southern Strategy when Repubs bring up party and race.)

Basically there hasn't been spending for donkey's years that hasn't had Republcan support. If you don't like the way the economy is going get rid of Republicans. It's really very simple.

Anonymous said...

"A past Congress cannot tie the hands of a new Congress. The only way to do that is via constitutional amendment."

Yes but the current Congress would have to approve a bill to strip the CBA of 1974 off the books, they cannot just ignore it.

If you are referring to Senate rules on filibuster than I suggest you send Harry Reid "a pair" as he seems to be missing his.

DINO RINO = Division and purity tests yeah those discussions have been helpful recently

"Get rid of Republicans" well that will get us more ACA's and Stimulus both of which are bloated wastes of money and one will continue to be a disaster. We could also look forward to hearing about more Gosnells.

You seem to lean towards dictatorships via one party rule, shudder the thought.

Speaking of emotional twisting to get a result then acting like a petulant child, because you did not get your way, did you see Obama's little tantrum yesterday? Finding people like Gosnell will save many more childrens lives than starting down the road of a federal gun registry.


willard said...

1 follows through his irony:

> bloated wastes of money ... a disaster... more Gosnells ... dictatorships ...

Maybe it's a vocabulary thing.

Anonymous said...


Your lack of comprehension is astounding.

Try this. If I were to have spoken in public, with all the grisly pictures entered as evidence in the Gosnell trial, on full display and advocated for a new law banning abortions and called all those opposed as hating children and not wanting to save even one child's life, that would be a "right" example of what the "left" does on a regular basis, as far as "As it often is with lefties you exaggerate the situation for emotional effect."

Glad I could clarify that for you.


willard said...

Dear 1,

My point is that we have evidence of your own fear mongering.

Right here.

Unlike you, I don't need to burden anyone with bad associations or slippery slopes to show that.

Nor have I to hypothesize anything about your comprehension.

Thanks for playing,


Anonymous said...


Your selective judgements are duly noted.


willard said...

Dear 1,

If you have the recipe to produce non-selective judgements, please share.

Unless you had question-begging meaning in mind?

Many thanks!

Brian said...

Thanks for watching the store, Eli.

I'm not too inspired by Anon #1 to respond - it's standard stuff. The only exception is that I'd agree the Rs deserve some minority "credit" for the 90s surplus, in that they wanted tax cuts, Clinton wanted a mix of cuts and spending, and the size and the duration of the surplus resulted from the standoff.

Clinton and Ds deserve the credit for creating the surplus however.

If we remember Gore's 2000 campaign proposal for a modest tax cut and protection of Social Security (and later, no Iraq war) we have an idea where we'd be if Jeb Bush hadn't hired a firm to knock black voters off the voter rolls because they had similar names to ex-felons.

Aside: the only intelligent thing Greenspan did was recognize the economy wasn't overheating in the mid-90s. Otherwise, he was a Randian disaster.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not too inspired by Anon #1 to respond "

Right back at you Waterboy.

The surplus was partially an illusion and Clinton left Bush a recession and 911.

As to the 2000 election, it was close in Florida because the press called it early for Gore while polls were still open in the panhandle, which inclined many Bush supporters not to vote, not because of some voter suppression conspiracy.

Shall we discuss the non-counting of military ballots that year?

Do you ever get anything right?

No one in the world knows what would have happened if gore was president and to make a projection based upon his campaign promises! lol that is hilarious, good one "he said in the campaign." lol

Your silence on KT's military hating postings is going to come back to bite you, if you run in 2014.