Charades on Capitol Hill

In the classic British version of Charades, the goal is to act out a concept rather than a phrase or sentence.

Watching the House Republicans makes fumble and bumble around the fiscal cliff makes me think that they’re playing British charades, and the word is “decompensation.”

Almost – “almost,” I say – enough to make me feel sorry for John Boehner.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

14 thoughts on “Charades on Capitol Hill”

  1. How about fumbling and bumbling there way to a first down: Susan Rice out. Kerry in. Here comes Senator Brown.
    In our whole American world Obama couldn’t find someone who didn’t have a secure seat in the Senate?

    The other day Kevin Drum offerred up these bullets as evidence of the Republican meltdown:

    • Shamefully smeared Susan Rice in order to prevent her nomination as secretary of state.
    • Shown themselves completely unwilling to compromise with President Obama over fiscal cliff legislation.
    • Begun a campaign to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.
    • Almost unanimously refused to set up state healthcare exchanges to implement Obamacare.

    What one side calls “meltdown” the other side calls “success”.
    It needs saying again: We are in a cold civil war. You do not jeopardize a secure seat in the Senate in the middle of war.
    That’s either naive or dumb or both.
    In the spirit of Brad DeLong: Please, please, please could we have better surrender monkeys?

    1. The majority of the country wants to enter the 20th century and join the rest of the developed world and have universal healthcare. I suggest these high-functioning patriots that want to stay mired in pre-Civil War Murrica just all Go Galt to Tejas. That would solve a lot of problems.

      I would define that “success”, to get rid of these high-functioning Rebs who need to think the Civil War never ended to maintain their self-identity.

    2. JFTR, as a resident of MA, I don’t think Brown is any lock to get elected. He might, of course, and he might even be the favorite today, but I’d be careful about my assumptions.

      Brown ran an idiotic campaign against Warren. He might repeat that, and even if he doesn’t I think it left a negative impression in many minds. He still faces the problem of being a Republican, which he mostly ran away from in November, but he might no be able to dodge it so much if he’s running against a House member, which is not unlikely.

    3. There are some really good potential senate candidates here in MA, and there’s even rumors that Ben Affleck is interested in running. I agree the Republicans *think* they’re cleverly putting Brown back into the senate by removing Kerry, but I think the odds are that they’ll be disappointed.

      And I’m truly glad that Rice didn’t get it: she’s got too much money in Canadian tar sands. At least Kerry is an environmentalist. Maybe he’ll actually think about the real crisis facing humanity.

    4. Kerry’s getting old and someone will have to step up soon. On the assumption (shaky but nice) that the Massachusetts Democrats don’t nominate another loser with a sense of entitlement like Coakley, and the assumption that our president activates his beautiful machine for the ground game–and I think he’s learned that lesson–I think this is a great time to roll the dice. What we didn’t need was criticism from the left on Rice. The wingers maybe did us a favor there.

  2. 200 D, 233 R in the next congress, 2 vacancies.

    Can Nancy Pelosi find 17 Rs willing to defect from the Rs for the fiscal cliff vote?

    1. I certainly hope not. Why don’t all those idiots just go home and come back again in January after 90% of what the Democrats wants comes to us automatically and offer the Republicans a big middle class tax cut in January in return for reinstating some spending and tax credits for the poors? My God, Obama looks like he’d give away store in return for a pat on the head from the villagers.

      1. … Obama looks like he’d give away store in return for a pat on the head from the villagers.

        Viscerally visual….

        I keep thinking back to that moment in the debates when someone asked the candidates if there was any misconception about themselves they would like to address…
        Obama took that moment to affirm his faith in markets markets markets. With all the fervor and faith of a Glenn Hubbard altar boy looking to be groped.
        Of course one can argue he choose a wonderful moment to disarm the right-wing noise machine about socialism socialism socialism…
        Or one can argue he will do nearly anything to have the Republican party throw him a bone for proving he has got capitalistic chops.
        Any wonder why Krugman is feeling sick in his gut?

        1. Obama is a center-right corporate capitalist, sadly.

          I call him the Great Capitulator.

          We should have known what we were getting, though, when he voted in favor of the FISA legislation as a candidate, even after he promised to help filibuster it if it included retroactive immunity for the telecom companies.

  3. I’m with koreyel on this one. So far, Obama offered them cuts to social security and would’ve thrown in raising the Medicare age if his trial balloon hadn’t been shot down and beaten to death by angry peasants. The GOP continues to offer exactly nothing to which (if I understand what Obama said), President Obama is looking for more goodies to entice the Republicans to his Grand Bargain in which he implements the DLC agenda. The GOP doesn’t care about the polls or the election results and they don’t need to as long as they’re negotiating with Obama.

    Once again, I think Digby’s right that the only thing that’s going to save the New Deal from Obama is that the majority of the Republicans in the house are absolutely nuts.

  4. I’ve always thought of Charades as a very English game, played at the sort of country-house weekend party attended by Colonel Mustard and Lord Peter Wimsey. Do Scottish aristos play it? The Queen Mother was one and did play it with Eleanor Roosevelt, but I don’t know where she learnt it. The origin is apparently Renaissance France, so you can think of Catherine de Médici plotting who’s next among the guests.

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