Some faces are more worth saving than others.

Some faces are worth saving. But John Boehner’s? Srsly?

Eric Liu has a thoughtful essay about why “saving face” is not a legitimate procedural goal under the circumstances of the current shutdown/debt ceiling dispute. But the essay seems to me to miss the obvious question raised by the photo that accompanies it.


Is that face worth saving? Srsly?

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 “Some faces are more worth saving than others.”

  1. This, Twitter tweet dealio from @JuddLegum, was pretty good.

    Can I burn down your house?


    Just the 2nd floor?




    Let’s talk about what I can burn down.



  2. The concrete issue seems to be: should Pelosi protect Johm Boehner´s job as Speaker? Suppose – as seems increasingly lilely – that Boehner caves, bringing clean CR and debt limit bills to the vote, which pass with Democratic support. Boehner is weakened, and vulnerable to a Teahadi coup. Pelosi should reward Boehner for belatedly doing the right thing; besides, no plausible alternative GOP Speaker (Ryan, Cantor?) would be better. At the very least, Democrats should declare the intention to abstain in a vote on his reelection if he resigns and stands again. In the current GOP meltdown, there may even be a plurality for Pelosi over any GOP candidate as Speaker, but she surely won´t accept this poisoned chalice.

    1. As I read Wikipedia:
      1) Boehner can only be deposed with his consent. If he doesn’t resign, he’s speaker until 2015 even if all 434 other members of the House spit every time they hear his name (unless they change the rules – but I suspect this would require a majority of the whole House, not just of the caucus).
      2) You can’t elect a Speaker by plurality, as you appear to suggest; you need a majority of all votes cast. Pelosi can’t be speaker unless some Republicans decide to back her or to abstain – and they’re free to vote for joke candidates instead.

      1. Exactly. Which is why I continue to think that he’s not worried about being deposed but rather about giving political cover to other Republicans who don’t want to cast what is bound to be a political no win vote. The Democrats have spent years coddling the republicans, cleaning up after them and generally enabling their bullshit. I see no reason to throw the GOP or its Speaker a lifeline.

      2. The key ia ¨a majority of all the votes cast¨. This excludes abstentions, so these are valuable strategic currency. It´s not a pure plurality system, but close.

        1. Sure: but this just means an abstention is a half-vote for Pelosi, and must be obtained as such, and will be interpreted as such. Since they’re free to vote for Zombie Ronald Reagan or for Jesus or for Dirty Harry instead of abstaining: they don’t even have to back a real candidate.

          Somehow, I don’t see any Republicans actually voting for Speaker Pelosi, not even by abstaining.

    2. In this comment nine days ago over at Obsidian Wings, I made the same suggestion. I called it a fantasy, and Warren Terra puts his finger on the reason why: Boehner can’t be forced out as Speaker, mid-Congress.

      On the other hand, he is not guaranteed the Speakership after the 2014 election. He might lose it because the Dems take back the House, which is unlikely. Or he might lose it because they don’t, and the Republicans sacrifice him to the Teabaggers. That is less unlikely. And THAT is when Pelosi and the Dems can promise to abstain — in exchange for Boehner doing the right thing (aka caving) now. By “doing the right thing”, I mean putting a clean 6-month CR and a clean 2-year debt limit extension on the floor TODAY.

      It’s not guaranteed that either measure can actually pass the House and not be filibustered in the Senate. And that may be the reason why Pelosi has not offered this kind of deal to Boehner. I seriously doubt the reason is that she hasn’t thought of it.


  3. Regarding that face:

    It should be noted the DJIA made a leap of $111 on Friday.
    It also was up quite a bit on Thursday.

    The wags tell us this was due to confidence that the Teahadis are not going to trash the world economy anytime soon…
    I hope the market has this correct, but I feel absolutely no confidence.

    The bottom line is Standard and Poor’s was absolutely correct to downgrade American debt.
    If fact so long as Teahadis have so much force, US debt should be downgraded again…
    How about triple C minus?
    If you are going to put the world thru this every 6 months that rating seems fair.

    So how about a prediction?

    Prediction: the Teahadi’s are going to burn the country down and cheer the destruction like Palestinians watching the Trade Towers fall…
    Boehner’s face is the face of Wall Street and personal portfolios next week.

    I truly hope I am wrong.
    But if you have a profit locked in, put in your Limit orders to sell sometime soon…

    1. The footage of a few Palestinians celebrating 9/11 was authentic. But it wasn´t a mass outpouring, though a later poll showed 65% support by Palestinians for the attacks. (Has this poll been repeated more recently?) The PNA condemned the attacks and tried to suppress reports of celebrations.

      The Palestinian reaction was not representative of the Muslim world generally. There were condemnations from every leader you could think of except for Saddam Hussein, but including Gaddafi, Al-Assad, and the Taliban. According to Wikipedia ¨huge crowds attended candlelit vigils in Iran¨.

      1. James I noticed you made a prediction last week regarding a sinking stock market. Are you still in on that?

          1. Yada yada.

            President Obama’s mistake is imputing rationality to his adversaries where it doesn’t exist. Both domestically and foreign.

            Yours too.

            I think the President’s learning.

            You, I’m not so sure.


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