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Intro: "Republicans say they want to save the country from Obama's reckless spending. But as Paul Begala argues, it's the GOP's policies that have driven the nation into the ground."

Speaker of the House John Boehner (left) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listen during a news briefing after a House Republican conference meeting, 06/22/11. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Speaker of the House John Boehner (left) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listen during a news briefing after a House Republican conference meeting, 06/22/11. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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+81 # Mickeyfilm 2011-07-30 11:16
Paul Begala has written the best and most clear description of what is happening. I wish it was on the front page of every American newspaper.
+7 # Virginia 2011-07-31 03:05
Hold on - where does he tell you that after Clinton balanced the budget that he gave away the keys to the store?! Clinton hardly apologizes for signing away the Glass Steagall act. We're in this mess because NO ONE regulated the derivatives on Wall Street. If no one else will say it I will, "It was REALLY dumb to do away with the Glass Steagall act, sir." About as dumb as having Lewinsky under your desk.

You can raise all the great race horses you want to but if you leave the barn door unlocked chances are they will be gone by the next morning.
+15 # Jim Bruner 2011-07-31 08:19
Sen. Phil Gramm, who later became presidential candiadate John McCain's financial advisoor and who called the American people "a bunch of whiners," slipped the Glass-Steagall killer into the bill that was passed with such a huge majority by a Republican Congress that it was veto-proof.
+1 # Susan Newman 2011-08-01 17:38
Paul Begala...I respect him so much...your remarks are right on Mickeyfilm!
+72 # LeeBlack 2011-07-30 11:27
The Republicans got in bed with the Tea Party to have a Republican majority, now they are infested with uncontrollable fleas.
0 # Bill Clements 2011-07-30 15:01
Both parties had fleas, but, yes, the Flea Party had more.
0 # Bill Clements 2011-07-31 00:06
My point being: both parties had the fleas.
+42 # DPM 2011-07-30 11:35
All so easy to see, yet, at least, 30% of our population is completely bind and another 30% myopic. So, now what?
+12 # billy bob 2011-07-30 21:19
Time for the other 40% to start paying attention.
+64 # humanmancalvin 2011-07-30 11:39
Mr. Begala is as right on as he could possibly be. Even on MSNBC (outside of the Rachel Maddow Show) one does not hear these evident-truths. So sick of news broadcasters trying to spin this (& other) stories as if there are two equal opposing views. Of course Fox News breaks from the pack & distorts, twists, manipulates & bends each & every story the GOP way. How I wish for a competent tell it like it is news sation. More Rachel Maddows & Kieth Olbermans are desperately needed. And Begalas.
+3 # AML 2011-08-01 16:01
Dylan Ratigan, from the belly of the beast (Wall St.) does a pretty good job at naming the banksters and the how's and why's of how it all got so bad. Morning Joe can be obnoxious, but they too have guests who really know what's going on.
+35 # JCM 2011-07-30 11:41
Thank You Paul
+46 # Barbara K 2011-07-30 11:49
All we have to do is look at what is happening with essentially a 3-party system and learn how dysfunctional a 3-party system is. We've had a 2 party system that had been for the most part working well, maybe not always perfect, but not so dysfunctional. It was the Republican actions under Bush and Gang who put this country into this economic crisis, and once again, it will take Democrats to rescue us again. We may not be able to accomplish much until we are rid of the Tbaggers who have infested the House. Time to fumigate the House. This President has been having to deal with conditions that no other president has had to deal with. No other one has ever had to face the relentless attacks and racism from the Rs and try to rescue our economy and face such debt crisis left by the Bush Gang. No President can accomplish all in the short time he has been in office, 2 1/2 years. The fact that he got as much done as he has is a miracle in itself. He needs our support, not our condemnation, he already gets enough of that along with hundreds of daily death threats. What a despicable bunch of selfish SOBs these baggers are. We need to rid ourselves of them, and the sooner that is accomplished, the better off our country will be, as well as her people, that means us.
+30 # ABen 2011-07-30 12:10
Barbara K,
Very well put. Obama has the patience of Job when it comes to dealing with the obstructionist Republicans and the petulant, childish Tbaggers. It would be heartening to see the rational Republicans who still remain in both houses (yes, there are still some in office) rise up and take back their party before it becomes little more than source material for the Daily Show.
+5 # boudreaux 2011-07-31 15:56
Very well said Barbara K. I wish more were are out spoken as you are and as to the point of saying it so blantely...You go girl....
+50 # ABen 2011-07-30 11:58
For those of you who like to add facts to this discussion, see the chart from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. the cold hard numbers clearly point out that the Bush Admin was responsible for 5+ trillion of the current debt, while the Obama admin is responsible for just under 1.5 Trillion. I know this will be hard to swallow for Republicans/Con servatives who still believe the myth that Republicans are fiscally responsible, but facts are stubborn things. Eat your peas! :-)
+36 # angelfish 2011-07-30 11:58
Bravo, Mr. Begala! What these Ultra Right-Wing Conservatives have done to our Economy, as well as the World's will reverberate for Centuries! Not content to trash President Obama, they are INTENT on turning us into the drones they need keep their Fiefdoms up and running! Surely the Koch bros. & Grover Norquist see the Idiocy of what their GREED has wrought? If they haven't, they are as Mentally challenged as the Tea Partiers? Are they NOT citizens? Have they no hearts or minds to see the damage they are doing? When people have nothing left to lose, the Possibilities are ENDLESS for whatever Mayhem can be achieved. I see now why they support the NRA, however I bet they never dreamed their ARMED Whack-o Militias might EVER turn their guns on THEM ala Banana Republic Rebellion! Think about it. Le Deluge is imminent! If you can't swim, I hope you can at least, tread water! Dear SANE and SENSIBLE brothers and sisters. Fall back and re-group, the biggest fight of the 21st Century is about to be waged and it is NOT against a Foreign enemy. We have MET the enemy, and they sits in our, once hallowed Halls of Congress. They're known as Newbie ReTHUGlican NAYSAYERS who rePudiate even their OWN leadership! Beware their ignorance. IT is what will DESTROY the very Fabric of our Country! Fight them with all your hearts, minds and souls! DON'T let them win, because if they do, we ALL lose!
+30 # frank 2011-07-30 12:09
Billionaire Investment in Tea Party Gone Bad?
Perhaps the super rich who funded the Tea Party and anti-tax movement are getting hurt the most. The stock market and bond markets have retreated and the super rich own most of them.
Gullible Tea party members and others were convinced that tax breaks for rich “job creators” were more important than anything, including the US economy, credit rating, Medicare, Social Security, education, police and fire protection.
These lemming-like voters elected inflexible idalogs to fight taxes and debt no matter who gets hurt.
Were the investments made by the super rich in the Tea Party their worst?
Maybe paying a little more corporate and personal taxes would have been a better investment.
+26 # J.Lindsley 2011-07-30 12:11
The ignorance of history and the workings of our democracy is the major element of out state of ignominy.

This is what happens when Education and The Arts are cut at the slightest downplay of the economy...,alwa ys cut there first.

And how much of it was as deliberate and intentional as fascist dance of death for DEMOCRACY.
+23 # Carrot 2011-07-30 12:38
Paul Begala has always been right on. And I feel he is this time too. But - no-one has mentioned racism. Racism is what this is all about, think about it. The conservatives degrade this President constantly and unless someone does something about that, it will continue. Who in the world does this Eric Kantor think he is???? Please, I pray the American people have woken up and smelled the coffee regarding McConnell, Kantor and Boehner - they are trying so hard to make the President look bad because he is black and I must say brilliant. They shouldn't be able to speak for us. PLEASE - PEOPLE, DON'T LISTEN TO THESE IDIOT'S.....
+5 # Capn Canard 2011-07-31 11:38
Carrot, you are right this is largely concerning RACISM. It is easier for Racists to fall back on that old outdated fear of "negros" than to face up to it like a man.
+2 # mcartri 2011-07-30 12:45
Paul, you do recall Dodd(D) & Gramm(R) teamed-up to kill the Glass-Steagall Act in late 1999? Clinton(D) signed it. I'm a progressive, who sees a moderate, Republican Obama, enabling a GOP agenda of social program cuts, supporting bills from both parties that have no sacrifice asked of the rich. Is there any doubt the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the rich will not be extended? The Democratic Party, as well as the GOP, I grew-up with from my first vote for HHH in '68, are both gone, replaced by two-parties representing the ting oligarchy of billionaires & millionaires that own them both now. I will NOT waste my vote on Romney or Obama. It's third party time.
+6 # margoharris 2011-07-30 16:58
So you are going to vote 3 party and let the rightwing win and what will that have accomplished for progressive policies? Sometimes you have to fight. The grass isn't always greener in the third party. What a nihlist like a bagger you sound.
+6 # Dolores A McGuigan 2011-07-31 07:30
i agree with some of your points, however, to put the Republicans and the Tea baggers in control is senseless.
-1 # Lucius 2011-08-03 16:29
I agree, it is time to create a third party. Something like a Green Progressive Party. It won't happen overnight and may not have any influence on the 2012 elections, but we must begin. MLK didn't change civil rights overnight; it took years. But by organizing and protesting real change happened. I believe that at this point there are enough disaffected Democratic voters (especially the young idealists who organized and actively campaigned in 2008) to build the base for a new party. And not some teabagging pseudo party, but a real third rail political party to challenge the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans.

The teabaggers elected some 87 members to Congress in 2010 while progressives and the left in general sat on the sidelines hoping in vain that Obama was going to do the right thing. We now know that Obama is a corporatist in thrall to Wall St and the Pentagon, and has entirely embraced the neo-con agenda in both foreign and domestic policies. The Democratic Party has sold out its ostensible base. Progressive politics do not exist in DC. What alternative do we have but to begin anew with a third party?
+15 # fhunter 2011-07-30 12:58
How we got here? you ask.
1. Our newly elected President refused to investigate the odious crimes that destroyed the life of 15 million people.
2.The President did not see that the Reagan-Bush(43) politics will usher in a complete PLUTOCRACY and did nothing to prevent it.
-1 # Lucius 2011-08-03 16:46
As some commentators have pointed out, Obama has been in thrall to the plutocrats who greased his political wheels from day one, and even before that. Then there are these two articles that demonstrate that Obama has never been what he appeared to be.
+15 # hmilagro2003 2011-07-30 13:35
This article has told us so much that we couldn't have known and makes the situation we find ourselves in...even more preposterous! The keyword is "greed"....and let's not forget "deception" -- this was a strategy layed out a long time ago by the Republicans when they took us into Irag...and set the Democrats up for having to deal with all of this mayhem that exists today, thanks to the Republicans! This has been a master plan...and who better to follow it than the Tea Party (invented by the Republicans)...
+7 # Dolores A McGuigan 2011-07-31 07:33
Republicans made their bed now we the middle class keep paying for it.
+11 # Terrapin 2011-07-30 14:08
And who voted for these Swines??? What part of the Republican agenda have the feeble-mined "voters" not understood in the last 30! years. This SHIT has been marketed since BonnieRonnie ... and we still buy into it. AmeriKKKa you voted for this crapola, now live with the consequences.
+9 # Barbara K 2011-07-30 15:02
Terrapin: We all did not vote for this bunch of idiots. You are rather harsh without knowing who did and didn't put these asses in office. I guess you don't follow our politics very much.
+16 # Elliot Hoffman 2011-07-30 14:26
Terrific articulation of what's been going on and likely to happen the the current trajectory remains unchanged.

Barak Obama has the bully pulpit. Does he have the cajones, the courage to speak this truth to America? What happened to "yes we can"? How did it translate into "no we can't?"

Paul B - please have a heart-to-heart with Obama and light a fire under his tush - please.

Any other ideas?

+17 # Bill Clements 2011-07-30 15:05
Yes, isn't it interesting how those like Begala just never get widespread media coverage on their views?

Mr. Begala hits the nail right on the head in describing who has dragged the country down into the mud, Obama or the GOP?
+2 # Dion Giles 2011-08-01 09:09
They're doing it together.
+15 # MaryC 2011-07-30 17:16
I hope President Obama hold fast to requiring the debt ceiling funding to be extended into late 2012- face it... the republicans have only wanted one thingin the past 3 years- to make Obama a one term president= they will do anything to cause chaos in the 2012 election and this debt face is right on point for them.
One other thing- should the first government pay chccks stopped if there is a default be that of congress? ALL of them are failing in their duty to our country!!
+12 # Mike Flack 2011-07-30 17:18
We the people. Mr. Begala has the facts correct. But,,. . . it is We-the-people who vote this vermin into office. If the house of cards come tumbling down not only us AND our children AND our children's children live with the terrible depression awaiting us, . . . but the world. Living through this entire escapades of lies and seeing it grow in epidemic proportions does not mean you cower under and accept them for anything BUT lies. Vote. It is our only weapon against stupidity. People. Go out and tell everyone to VOTE! Down with the Teabaggers and Republicans! It is our time for this revolution at the voting booth!
+9 # Rick Levy 2011-07-30 18:56
"Banana Republicans". I love it.
+11 # Dion Giles 2011-07-30 19:37
Looking at this contrived standoff from afar, it is clear that the politicians in the US Congress and Senate are only pretending for public consumption to squabble: they are in complete agreement on screwing Main Street to protect Wall Street and the brass-hats. The charade consists of a series of shadow bouts followed by compromises (with the Democrats doing the compromising and the Tea Party freaks setting the ultimate agenda). It's the shock doctrine - described exhaustively by Naomi Klein - applying itself to Britain, Europe and America. The author says the GOP is seeking to slash welfare. Correction, the bought pollies are all, with a tiny handful of honourable exceptions, moving to slash welfare. Almost none of them is moving to slash colonial wars or the overblown Pentagon. None of them, including the President, is making a public demand to reverse three decades of cuts in taxation of the non-productive grabbing classes. The US public are being treated to a charade with sinister intent.
+15 # fredboy 2011-07-30 20:03
The Republicans fail to understand that an ever-expanding nation (population, economic growth, etc.) with a debt culture requires an ever-expanding debt limit.

Instead, they put an incorrect philosophy based on incorrect assumption and beliefs ahead of reality.

Let's remember that the first nation the Nazis attacked was their own.
+12 # billy bob 2011-07-30 21:22
It's very simple. Cut the military's budget by a few trillion dollars.

This is a perfect opportunity to make the repugnants eat their words.
+6 # Pickwicky 2011-07-31 11:37
Billy--it's a lovely thought.
+6 # Capn Canard 2011-07-31 12:03
billy bob, YOU ARE CORRECT!! There is far more cutting that Rethugs ignore that could be done and then we could easily afford healthcare, education, and infrastructure improvements, but the private sector will scream that they are being hurt. And the main reason for their pain would be the fact that the people wouldn't be the ones being hurt. It is that simple. The Rethugs are beyond childish, they're criminals and culpable for all the economic pain we feel now.
+3 # Capn Canard 2011-07-31 11:31
Thanks Paul Begala BUT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. I've thought the same sheet for the last three years, the GOP GREED AND POWER GRAB HAS CAUSED ALL OF THIS MESS and they take absolutely no responsibility. Hell, it is going on 12 years of the complete failure of a Right Wing Ideology. This is in part the movement of money from the poor to the wealthy. Hmmm, perhaps now is the time to get rid of money.
+3 # Pickwicky 2011-07-31 11:36
The very discouraging news this morning is centered around a new possibly successful bill to end the crisis by including the establishment of a committee to (maybe) examine tax increases for the rich and for corporations. I can't but think that if Obama signs this one he'll ruin his chances for re-election.

Anyone see a light at the end of this particular tunnel?
+13 # karenvista 2011-07-31 14:33
As I have said before-reread the Shock Doctrine. That's exactly what the Republicans have been working on doing to us for years.

Paul Begala says "Banana Republics" but the Chicago School of Economics and Milton Freidman usually have had their sights set a little higher than that.

The Democratically elected and very successful economies of Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay were all overthrown by the U.S. to inflict the neocon economic philosophy of Milton Friedman which did exactly what the Republicans are now doing here. They destroyed labor unions, healthcare, pensions, public education, utilities, or industries, and brought a collapse of wages and the middle class. In these cases it was accomplished by violent overthrow of the elected governments.

Similar policies were carried out more stealthily after "Shocks" in Britain (Falklands war), Poland (Solidarity was hijacked), Soviet Union (Fall of Communism), and China (Tianamen Square.) Friedman advised all these countries and traveled to most to help enforce his destructive policies that enslaved the populations and promoted the plutocracies. 90% of China's "Princelings" are children of party leaders who were given public assets to create "capitalist" enterprises utilizing virtual slave labor. Same with Russia's abundance of Billionaires. Does any of this sound familiar?
+1 # Dion Giles 2011-07-31 23:47
This shock doctrine isn't being applied by only the Republican half of the bought pollies, it is being by nearly all the pollies in the House, the Senate and the White House coterie after a spell of theatre to con the public into believing the pollies wearing the different party brands are not in the operation together.
+2 # VSweet 2011-08-01 12:35
The Best is Yet To Come!
The Republican and T Party has crippled our nation trying to save the rich and wealthy...and toss the poor. They very well may get their demonic wishes..but the rich and wealthy businesses will plummeted and be dismantled quickly.

The poor and working class kept the economic structure from collasping, the wealthy to increase. But woe, to the political babylon and their leaders, They will lose their riches and fall mighty hard for harming the nation's poor, senior citizens and working class people.

Republicans and T party people get ready for your own rewards. It's coming!!!
What goes around (good or evil) comes back around.
-2 # Mark Pitts 2011-08-02 19:07
The Fable of Clinton’s Surplus. Here the facts and the reasons.

First of all, although there were years that showed a surplus, overall Clinton ran a deficit. Specifically he added $1.4 Trillion to the deficit, or 82% as much as Reagan.

Clinton had the good luck to govern after the fall of the Soviet Union, and before 9/11

He had the further good luck to come in just as one recession was ending, and left office just as another was beginning

He signed in significant deregulation which lead to economic growth, especially in the financial industry (Glass-Stegall and no CFTC regulation of derivatives).

Clinton cut taxes significantly as related to sale of housing.

And finally, Clinton was in office in the midst of the internet bubble
0 # Lucius 2011-08-03 16:57
An excellent summary. Yes, the GOP talks fiscal restraint, but that only applies to government spending on social programs. Unlimited spending for endless war, no problem. Massive spending on homeland security, no problem. Bloated military budgets based on redundancy and global hegemony, no problem. Tax breaks for the wealthy, tax loopholes for corporations, ditto.
Paul Begala may well be correct in that American may yet become a third world country.
0 # J.Kevin Binkley 2011-08-08 10:22
"another" side to the story.

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