Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Disorder in the House

Disorder in the house
There's a flaw in the system
And the fly in the ointment's gonna bring the whole thing down

The floodgates are open
We've let the demons loose
The big guns have spoken
And we've fallen for the ruse

Disorder in the house
It's a fate worse than fame
Even the Lhasa Apso seems to be ashamed....

Disorder in the house
All bets are off
I'm sprawled across the davenport of despair

Disorder in the house
I'll live with the tosses
And watch the sundown through the portiere

--Written by Warren Zevon and Jorge Calderon, 2003:  "The Wind"

CartoonI downloaded this picture from the right-wing news service Newsmax (I like to keep tabs from time to time on what is getting them all excited).  I like the wit of the reference to Julius Caesar; there was something Roman in Boehner's sacrifice, and something very civic and honorable in fixing the looming budget dilemma with the deal--which will be highly unpopular with the Tea Party membership, to which he was more than willing to offer the back of his hand.  There will be more here about analogies between ancient Rome and the US; I will just say that in the arc of the Romans' history, we are well past the fall of their Republic.

The rallying of the Republicans around Paul Ryan was predictable.  He wanted a less-than-fulltime Speakership role, and the caucus' inclination was for weakening the position of the leadership, so there was grounds for agreement.

Speaking of prediction, I caught Ryan's probability of being Speaker at a pretty good timing on, buying shares at 34% (they're now at 95%).   I ended up on the wrong side of the Will Biden Run? teeter-totter; my last trade was for Yes; however, I was always on the No side for his winning the nomination and the Presidency, which more than made up for the loss on the speculative market of his announcement.  And, my investment in shares on positive outcomes for Hillary in 2016 (in Iowa, for the nomination, for the Presidency, and for a woman being elected President) have all appreciated nicely in recent weeks.  Finally, I got shares on Justin Trudeau becoming the next Prime Minister of Canada when they were at 20% and the race was a virtual three-way tie.  I wasn't sure then who would win, but I was fairly certain that the incumbent, Stephen Harper, would not.

No Labels!
My good friend and radio talk-show host Norm Goldman should get on the docket for this group, which seeks to bridge the partisan chasm.  It's not that he is non-partisan, but that he eschews labels like "liberal" and "conservative" (and I agree they have become totally distorted to the point of being meaningless).  We differ on "progressive", though; I think he and I both are of that persuasion, while he insists it is not a meaningful one.

Anyway, this No Labels group had its caucus in New Hampshire recently (of course; for a few months it is the center of the US political universe).  Its favorable location and opportunity to showcase one's pragmatic line-crossing (if that was the posture deemed advantageous) allowed it to get the attendance of a number of Presidential candidates:  Christie, Pataki, Graham, O'Malley (by phone), Sanders, Trump, Kasich and Webb.

A couple more interesting notes:  The co-chairs are Jon Huntsman and Joe Lieberman--showing that the group's core is among those rejected by, or running away from, their party's base--while the agenda also showed  participation from Kelly Ayotte, Evan Bayh, and Bill Nelson.  Ayotte is running for re-election in New Hampshire, and will need crossover votes from Indpendents and/or Democrats to win a tough battle, so she had two reasons to show up.  Nelson I can't quite figure--he is not running until 2018, but in Florida it is usually best to have crossover appeal.

The most interesting case is Bayh:  one of Indiana's Senate seats is opening in 2016 (Dan Coats is retiring), and Bayh is sitting on $10 million of campaign funds from previous elections, but his office has stated clearly that Bayh is not running for it.   My guess is that he is in touch with the Clintonistas, and they have told him he will be in consideration for the Vice Presidential nomination, to keep himself available and burnish his credentials with moderates (which have always been good). If Bayh can give Hillary a fighting chance in Indiana (which Obama won narrowly in 2008, and lost in 2012), that makes the Republicans' Electoral College map even more difficult.

I will not be watching the CNBC debate tomorrow (the World Series holds more interest for me); though some different moderators from a less-friendly network might ask questions outside of the usual Republican primary comfort zone, I'm not too interested in Trump bashing his latest straw dog. This time I imagine he will come out looking for a reason to attack Ben Carson, who will try the rope-a-dope strategy.  Whatever.

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