Democracy Has Prevailed.

June 10, 2008

It's Good To Be A Republican These Days (Part I)

Via Talking Points Memo, we find this at the Savannah Morning News:
The chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee predicts U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will be part of the firewall the party wants to build against Democratic control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., set a minimum on the number of seats the party must control, 41.
And why is 41 the magic number? Ensign explains:
"With 41 votes in the U.S. Senate, you can (1) block bad legislation, and (2) you can make the majority respect the minority's rights. And you can help craft good legislation," Ensign said. "If the Democrats were able to get to 60 votes - literally even if they get to 57-58 votes because they always seem to pick off a couple or three Republicans on a lot of votes - and if they win the White House ... they will be able to do pretty much whatever they want."
From TPM:
So if the Dems can't get to a 60-seat super-majority, the GOP will have won. Talk about lowering the bar.
Do you know when the last time the minority party had 41 votes or less?

According to this site from the US Senate, you have to go all the way back to the mid-70s to see numbers this bad. The Republicans in the Senate during the 94th Congress (1975-1977) held only 38 seats. Things didn't change for the 95th Congress (1977-1979) - they still held only 38 seats. Their fortunes improved a bit in the 97th Congress (1979-1981) as they moved up 3 seats to 41.

If the GOP is thinking that their "firewall" is a number not seen since the Watergate backlash, they're in deep doo-doo for sure.


Anonymous said...

John K. Says: This blog is correct. Which causes one to wonder? If Democrats have been in control for such a long period of time. And they will be in control in Jan 2009, then why are we still in Iraq. The Democrats promised to withdraw from Iraq and cut off funding. Yet, we have more troops there than in Nov 2006 and we are spending more money on the war than before. In addtion, if you look back, if we spent trillions of dollars on the war on poverty, (LBJ 1964)then why is Obama saying we have poverty. Why is Obama saying the system is broken if Democrats have been running the show for such a long period of time. Pittsburgh is broken and Democrats ala Jim Burns have been running it since 1932. My point, step up to the plate and take pride in your failures Democrats. You earned it. LMAO LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

I wonder if I should even respond to John K.

Ok, here goes.

First off, the REPUBLICANS have been in control of the White House since they stole the election of 2000. The Democrats have only been in control of both houses of Congress since January of 2007. That's not even a year and a half.

Doesn't John K know how to puncuate correctly? Just asking.

John K (in a futile attempt to change the subject) brings up LBJ and the war on poverty.

The government has also been spending billions (if not trillions) on the war against drugs - yet there's still drugs in this society.

Jim Burns was running the city in 1932? Wow he looks good for being about a century old.

John K - try to concentrate. Try to focus and stay on topic. You'll look less like an idiot if you do that.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of getting us further off topic, I'd like to suggest that all wars against abstract nouns should be avoided like the plague (c.f. War on Poverty, War on Drugs, and War on Terror). If anyone suggests a War on Global Warming, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if I should even respond to John K.

I'm beginning to think that the best way to deal with a troll is to reply to its points unemotionally, to ask it questions about its most obviously ridiculous positions, and to remain completely calm.

Anonymous said...


you may be right on that.


Anonymous said...

It is "Burn," not "Burns."

Any Republican, conservative or right-winger (or anyone who voted for Bush Jr.) who thinks it a good idea to discuss government failures, as we strive to extricate ourselves from the devastation inflicted by Bush Jr., lacks self-awareness and basic debating skill.

I generally favor divided government, but this is a rare circumstance in which one party might deserve complete banishment from the levers of power for a few years. It wouldn't bother me if the Democrats had 60 Senate votes after the 2008 election; wouldn't bother me if the Republicans muster the strength to hold that line at 41.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: And 2nd off LOL Democrats promised all sorts of stuff when they took over the Congress in 2006. Can we say $4 a gallon gas. LMAO Come on Jim Burn or Jim Burns or whatever your name is. Stand with these liberals and take responsibility for how you and the Democrats have run Pittsburgh. 52.8% grad rate, millions in debt, people leaving in droves. Now Peduto taking a 2 month sabbatical while there is still City business to take care of. And getting paid for it. Come on lefties take ownership of the area. You been running it for 72 years.

Anonymous said...

What were your recommendations for the Congress to do to lower gas prices, John? I know...invade Iraq again!

Anonymous said...

What were your recommendations for the Congress to do to lower gas prices

The answer to your question Mr. Shitrock is that we should allow the U.S. to drill for its own oil. The Democrat party has sold the common man out to the environmental lobby. Refusing to allow us to mine for our own resources and greater demand throughout the world is the reason for the higher gas prices. The existing administration can not control the price of commodities. As you know Schmuck, in a free market, the government need not interfere with private business.

If we make a concerted THREAT to drill for our own oil the speculators will drop the high bidding for oil and the gasoline price will drop. With all that in mind we will still seek alternative ways to utilize energy. I would LOVE to have my own wind turbine to generate my own electricity. I’m all for alternatives to oil but we will ALWAYS need oil in some quantities.
BTW it’s my understanding that the government makes more money on a gallon of gas then the oil companies.
What say you Mr. Shitrock? I’d like to know.

Anonymous said...

George Bush Jr.'s failure to use his office to promote energy independence was among the most important failures of his response to the 9/11 attack. For Republicans -- after years of neglect, partisan polarization, huge deficits, and general ineptitude -- to attempt to dodge responsibility for the current consequences of that failure is revolting, ineffective and par for the course.

On a more concrete note: Anyone want to take a stab at defending the administration's nonstop licking of Saudi dictators' boots during the past seven years? Some "friends."

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you would share a link with us, Anon, or a quote from an economist, about the effect that drilling in ANWAR would have on the price of oil. As I understand it, the effect would be negligible...a drop in the bucket. Do you have some evidence to the contrary? I'd appreciate an expert's word on the subject.

Try to document the answer to these questions: Would we expect ANWAR drilling to slash prices all over the world, or just in the US? What percentage of the oil we will need could ANWAR supply? And if it is true that the government need not be involved in private business, why do we shell out so much money subsidizing big business?

Anonymous said...

Hrm...our some of us(ok, just one of us) not aware of how the US government works?

And let's not conflate Pittsburgh politics with DC will find many liberals in this area very dissatisfied with the way Pittsburgh has been run.

Whatever...doesn't matter...

Now, the idea of drilling for our own oil just doesn't mesh with what we've heard from the oil companies, many of whom, as I recall, have attributed rising prices over the last few years to refinery limitations, which is a not a matter of drilling for more oil but the inability to process more oil.

Increasing demand for oil in China and India is also another likely factor contributing to higher prices.

Overall, I'd agree with Robert Reich, that there is no single cause - it's speculation, it's demand, etc.

The truth is that it is a problem that we should have been addressing over the last 30 years.

EdHeath said...

Notto be a broken record, but i would point us all to a KD/PG show with Kenneth Moors from Duquesne. (part 1) (part 2)

He mentions that refineries were not (and may still not be) operating at full capacity, rather something between 80 to 85 percent. That was to keep the price higher, at that time. He also said the equation would change in a year, because Chinese and South Asian demand would pull any slack out of the system.

Clearly if we drilled in the ANWR it would have some effect on price, but my *guess* is not much more than twenty five cents, if that. Government can have an effect on oil supply, but a majority of the Senate does not want to be seen having allowed a natural disaster to have occurred.

Meanwhile, the Congress can have an effect on demand, by encouraging solar and wind energy (eight years ago), by increasing the CAFE standards (eight years ago), by doing more than saying that conservation is a personal virtue. The Republicans still hold enough sway to block measures in
the Senate, like they did a couple of days ago with a tax on "windfall" oil company profits (a windfall profit is when your price per barrell is maybe $80 and you charge based on the one hundred thirty seven dollar interanational price). They also blocked renewal of the credits for solar and wind industries.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr. Shitrock but here os some credible info that you requested..
If anyone is to blame for our current energy mess, it's Congress. At least 20 billion barrels of oil sit untapped in Alaska and another 30 billion lie offshore. Such sources that could help satisfy U.S. demand for years to come. Yet, Congress has put them out of bounds.

Instead, Congress scapegoats oil profits. In reality, according to Ernst & Young, from 1992 to 2006 the U.S. oil industry spent $1.25 trillion on long-term investment vs. profits of $900 billion.

Truth is, oil industry profits are in line with the rest of American industry. In 2007, a record year, they earned 8.3 cents per dollar of sales. Beverage companies and cigarette makers, by contrast, earned 19.1 cents. Drug makers, 18.4 cents. Indeed, all manufacturers, 8.9 cents on average, made more than "Big Oil."

Besides, we've tried windfall profits taxes before, in the early 1980s, and they were an utter failure. As the Congressional Research Service found, revenues produced for the government were nearly 75% below what was expected. Meanwhile, domestic oil output fell 8%, while oil imports surged 16%.

That's just poor policy, and even worse economics.
Remember: Oil companies don't really pay "windfall profit" taxes, anyway. You do. Some 50 million Americans today own oil company stock, either directly or through 401(k)s and mutual funds. Don't be suckered: "Windfall profits" taxes come right out of your retirement account, not out of the oil industry's business.

Oh sure, Big Oil's profits are up. But so are the taxes they pay. In 2006, that came to $90 billion — up 334% in just four years.

This is how Clinton-style populism works. It starts with ignorance and ends with serious damage to our economy.
Investors Business Daily:

Does anyone think it was a success when we tried windfall profits taxes in the early 80s?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anon, but that's not really what I requested. I was wondering what impact that drilling would have on gas prices now and in the future, here and abroad. Your article doesn't really answer that one. Ed Heath "guesses" that it would perhaps drop the price of gas by 25 cents. Do you have any credible evidence that it might be otherwise? That the oil would last for more than a few years?

I suspect -- not my area of expertise -- you are correct that a windfall profits tax would do more to ease the public outrage about the obscene profits that Mssrs. Bush and Cheney's oil companies enjoy (saying that the profits are "up" seem to me to be disngenuous understatement) than it would to make much difference to the average Joe. But it would, of course, be far more meaningful than Sen. McCain's Fuel Tax Vacation thingy.

The article you post is interesting, if a bit misleading and essentially fact-free. But for Conservatives, who have had control of a miserable economy for the past 7 years, to complain about Bill Clinton doing "damage to our economy" is the stuff of farce on the face of it.

Anonymous said...

Mr Shitrock, you did not read the article but thank you for responding none the less. There is no mention of Bill Clinton in the article.
Your assumption of my political prejudices prevent you from listening or reading anything that I may offer. It's really just that simple. I won't change your mind and you won't make me "see the light" either. I'm not evil or corrupt or illiterate. I simply believe that we should ALL be free to succeed or fail without government restrictions.
Life has wonderful gifts look around and enjoy them. Peace to you and your family Schmuck

Anonymous said...

The biggest reason that oil so damn expensive is the weak dollar. Demand hasn't gone up enough to warrant additional production (expansion of the supply). Current demand is insufficient to offset costs incurred by increasing production. Consequently, the real cost of oil hasn't gone up much. In fact, the price of oil has remained steady in comparison to the price of gold for the last twenty years. The dollar, however, buys less and less with each passing day. If we want cheaper oil, we need a stronger dollar. For that to happen, though, the Fed needs to stop its inflationary practices.