July 30, 2011

"Whom will the public blame for debtageddon?"

Asks Ezra Klein, with prissily correct grammar and a neologism that reminds us of the recent Armageddon that wasn't: Carmageddon.

I'll tell you who I'll blame. I'll blame everyone who thought about the debt-ceiling crisis in that form, which reveals that it's all been jockeying for position in the next election. Interestingly, asking that question now is part of the jockeying.

Klein, ever biased in favor of Democrats, accordingly says:
In a 2010 paper presented at the American Political Science Association’s annual conference, Asger Lau Andersen, David Dreyer Lassen and Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen tried to take a systematic look at....
Oh! Good Lord! I'm crushed under the weight of the appearance of scholarship. Those names! Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen? A sketch comedy writer could not concoct a better name to exude the aura of pretentious loftiness.

But, hell! It's systematic.  No way it's ammunition for the partisan Klein to use to urge the GOP to... as they say... compromise.
... Voters don’t like budgetary breakdowns. More interesting was how voters apportion blame. “While governors are punished only when part of a unified government, legislatures are (almost) always punished.”
This suggests that when one party controls the government, voters blame them for budgetary breakdowns. But when the two parties split control, the executive is able to float above the squabbling in the legislature, or at least heavily influence the way the public assigns fault. “Governors may be more adept at the blame game that sometimes follows failures to finish a budget on time,” the authors speculate.
Got that?  The executive, Obama, may be able to "float above" the divided legislature, which is "(almost) always punished."

Got that, Republicans? You will be punished if you don't cave compromise.

66 comments:

mrs whatsit said...

That headline occasioned some discussion around this houseful of grammar nazis last night. We decided that the WaPo could have kept the grammar, lost the prissiness, and added some readability by using "Who'll be blamed for debtageddon?" instead.

The Crack Emcee said...

Oh! Good Lord! I'm crushed under the weight of the appearance of scholarship. Those names! Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen? A sketch comedy writer could not concoct a better name to exude the aura of pretentious loftiness.

While I agree with you here, 100%, weren't you the one who dissed the Sarah Palin movie because it didn't have any pontificating professors in their studies?

Whew, girlie, have a nice trip in the fall,...

Ann Althouse said...

"weren't you the one who dissed the Sarah Palin movie because it didn't have any pontificating professors in their studies?"

I was the one who served up some sarcastic comedy that you took as serious. Yes.

Bill said...

Normally when I "apportion blame" between two sides it's 50/50 or 60/40 or 90/10 or something like that. The point is it always adds up to 100.

Now of course I blame democrats more than republicans for our current situation, but I'd say it's like 85/70 at this point. Blaming hardly seems worth the effort.

People forget that the you're-no-better-than-we-are arguments are a double edged sword. They make both parties look bad. And they do nothing about cutting our out-of-control spending.

Ann Althouse said...

"We decided that the WaPo could have kept the grammar, lost the prissiness, and added some readability by using "Who'll be blamed for debtageddon?" instead."

I don't see how that's keeping the grammar. You'd have to say: "Whom'll be blamed..." But nobody ever says "whom'll." The only reason for saying "whom'll" ever would be if you were writing poetry and you needed a rhyme for... something that rhymes with "whom'll."

Jay said...

President Obama will be presiding over the first-ever downgrade of our nation’s creditworthiness.

That is who is to blame.

Period. Full stop.

campy said...

You'd have to say: "Whom'll be blamed..."

No. The pronoun Who is the subject of the verb will, therefore nominative case is called for.

Beta Rube said...

I said "whom'll" several times today. I think I was answering a question about the future occupant of first base or something.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Whom will the public blame for debtageddon?"

Using math like that (using english like that) your guess is as good as mine.

And, regarding your last comment, you're hilarious.

Gawd, I'm actually becoming GLAD I divorced,...

mrs whatsit said...

No, it's "Who'll be blamed." The easy way to figure out which is right is to substitute "he" for "who" and "him" for "whom." It would be "He'll be blamed," never "Him'll be blamed."

It would, however, be "The public will blame him" or "Will the public blame him?" rather than "The public will blame he" or "Will the public blame he?" That's why the original headline was technically correct.

Toldja we were grammar nazis around here.

Scrutineer said...

Klein, ever biased in favor of Democrats...

This is like saying "Debbie Wasserman Schultz, ever biased in favor of Democrats..." Does Klein pretend to be nonpartisan?

rhhardin said...

The whom is there from timidity.

Charlie said...

Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen works for Goldman Sachs!

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Canuck said...

Who cares who will be blamed for debtageddon?

Partisans care because their main concern is winning elections, but ordinary people want economic stability.

If the domestic economy blows up, I expect the American public will be upset at everyone in WA DC.

A Feast For Crows.

Steve Austin said...

Klein and his side have been trying to lay out some sort of strained intellectual narrative to justify Obama the past two weeks. If you have to explain stuff in these terms it means your guy is losing the argument.

There was a Peggy Noonan column yesterday I believe about how no one really likes Obama personally, even his supporters. He just doesn't inspire anyone anymore. We will see a lot of these type of columns as we head into 2012 IMO.

chickenlittle said...

He just doesn't inspire anyone anymore.

Just more objective evidence that he is the anti-JFK.

vet66 said...

Why does Klein studiously ignore the inconvenient truth that the democrats had full control for two years and never produced a budget? Along comes 2010 and the House is turned over to the Republicans who are supposed to draw a line in the budget sand. The inference being that the democrats just had their hands slapped for inaction.

With the same logic as the Wisconsin recall nonsense, the democrats at the federal level attempt to leverage the hand slap to further their own ends. Why, you may ask? The democrats in power believe the American public is stupid and ignorant.

2012 will prove whether they are correct or not. Hopefully, the American voter will rise up and take offense at this insult to their common sense.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

The function of grammar, the only function of grammar, is to promote clarity. "Whom" designates an object, "who" designates a subject. In use, though, the hearer can easily distinguish one from the other by context, so "whom" is falling out of use. I'm amused by those who defend language rules because they are rules. Grammar is an observation of language, not a law, and languages whose grammar is not in flux are dead languages.

No Name said...

the 'debt ceiling crisis' is just the latest DC parlor game- who will win, who will lose, who will be seen to win or lose. It's pure politics. And what's good for America? Feh! Way down the list of what's important.

Congress = 535 reprobates putting their own political survival ahead of what's good for the country.

We're screwed, and we're doomed to watch it all, helplessly, in slow motion.

quercus said...

You'd have to say: "Whom'll be blamed..."

I hope you were joking, but know you weren't.

chrisnavin said...

Trouble A-Bruin.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You're sort of giving those Danes' names the Nikki Haley treatment, aren't you? What was Klein supposed to do, invent pseudonyms for them?

themightypuck said...

That this is a mess of the democrats own making doesn't mean the republicans have carte blanche to do as they will. What amazes me is how petty it all is. I'd be fine using the debt ceiling as leverage to actually do something like cut a chunk out of the big entitlements but instead it is the same old kick the can down the road accounting tricks.

Greg said...

I still say give the Dems everything they want and then make 2012 a referendum on their spending/borrowing profligacy.

Paddy O said...

If the US economy collapses due to debtageddon, it might very well be the beginning of a global breakdown that leads to Armageddonageddon.

Clyde said...

I'm guessing that Leonard Pinth-Garnell was busy that day.

And isn't it kind of Dane-gerous to turn over the American Political Association over to a bunch of Danes? Dare I say, "unAmerican?" I guess I just did, didn't I?

Heart_Collector said...

Government to me at this point simply stands for perpetual greed circle jerk.

Heart_Collector said...

The country's running over a fucking cliff and YOU PEOPLE are more worried about the proper grammar of the headlines then where we are going.

bagoh20 said...

I'm sure of one thing: it's not MY fault. I've been paying many times more than what I take out for decades. If I hadn't payed so much, I can guarantee you many people would have jobs today who now don't, and they would be manufacturing jobs busy innovating and building useful products made in the U.S. The result would be even higher revenues than what they got from me. Stupid leftists. I'm pissed because this stupidity sucked much of the power out of a lifetime of my hard work.

Now multiply that by a million and you have the current U.S. economy. We are left with few jobs and the worst kind of jobs, and the people don't know how to do much more than shuffle paper and click their keyboards.

Big Mike said...

The executive, Obama, may be able to "float above" the divided legislature, which is "(almost) always punished."

I think most people think he should have been doing his job, instead of whining on twitter that he is being forced to do his job. I hope they remember in November 2012.

Peggy Noonan has written that Obama inherited a serious economic situation and he made things worse. Now she writes quite simply that he's a loser. That is one very intelligent lady.

Trooper York said...

What happened? They couldn't get
Leonard Pinth-Garnell?

edutcher said...

If the Demos think they go into 2012 clean, they're kidding themselves.

Dingy Harry's "bill", which he's afraid to put up for a vote, is only a futile attempt to save the Demos in the Senate from total Arma(not Carma)geddon.

Ann Althouse said...

with prissily correct grammar and a neologism that reminds us of the recent Armageddon that wasn't: Carmageddon.

Crack,

Troop,

Hormone alert. She's hot today.

PS Crack, that post was weird.

bagoh20 said...

I know 300 million people who are not floating above it all, but I'm happy the king is not affected.

Zach said...

I would expect that Obama will get the majority of the blame, simply by virtue of being the most well known person involved.

Obama has been panting for a repeat of the Clinton era government shutdown, where Gingrich and Dole took the majority of the blame. But Boehner is much lower key than Gingrich, has been negotiating in good faith, and has actually passed a bill through the House. It's hard to believe that voters will go out of their way to blame the man in the gray suit.

MikeinAppalachia said...

vet66-
The democrats in power are pretty much correct.

Zach said...

The other factor is that Obama is not Clinton. Clinton was amazing at seizing the moment. You'd just sit and steam and watch him do his thing. He was just better at politics than the republicans.

You couldn't pull off a maneuver like this against Clinton, because Clinton with a month's worth of high visibility press conferences would have taken over the debate.

I remember thinking that the people who thought Hillary's campaign was unstoppable were forgetting that Hillary isn't Bill. Now I think that the people who think Obama will effortlessly assign blame to the Republicans and get off scot free himself are forgetting that Obama isn't Bill Clinton, either.

Zach said...

The other factor is that Obama is not Clinton. Clinton was amazing at seizing the moment. You'd just sit and steam and watch him do his thing. He was just better at politics than the republicans.

You couldn't pull off a maneuver like this against Clinton, because Clinton with a month's worth of high visibility press conferences would have taken over the debate.

I remember thinking that the people who thought Hillary's campaign was unstoppable were forgetting that Hillary isn't Bill. Now I think that the people who think Obama will effortlessly assign blame to the Republicans and get off scot free himself are forgetting that Obama isn't Bill Clinton, either.

E.M. Davis said...

Those names remind me of this.

PatCA said...

They keep talking about the debt ceiling because they don't want to talk about the real problem: the debt.

The Crack Emcee said...

Trooper York,

What happened? They couldn't get
Leonard Pinth-Garnell?


LOL!

edutcher,

Hormone alert. She's hot today.

PS Crack, that post was weird.


I'm sorry - which post was weird?

ic said...

The problem is TeaParty supporters are not WaPo's public. To begin with: they were "insane" to oppose Obamacare, WaPo's public supported; they are insane to find Obama incompetent, WaPo's public believe Obama is brilliant; TeaPartiers are insane to ridicule TOTUS mouth piece, WaPo's public found the One who was yet to utter a coherent thought eloquent. Yeah, WaPo's public will blame the insane Tea Partiers and the inept Republicans, will idolize the no-plan Reid, and secret-plan Obama. Unfortunately, WaPo's public is shrinking by the minute.

Chip S. said...

Obama may be able to "float above" the divided legislature

He's Washington's heart-shaped balloon.

grackle said...

Who will be blamed? The GOP, of course. Regrettably, the MSM with few exceptions controls public opinion. Watch MSNBC for the talking points, read NYT for the “intellectual” slant.

Ominous note: My word verification was “belib,” I swear to God.

Joe said...

The most amazing thing in all of this is that Obama has proven to be politically tone deaf.

Obama had a chance to lock in his next election and write himself into the history books as a good, if not great, president (regardless of whether he was or not) and blew it.

I'm stunned at Obama's deference to Senate democrats as a whole. All he needed was three. That's it. Just how piss poor do you have to be at politics to not get three senators of your own party to vote your way?

n.n said...

With over 10% of our economy now based on the accumulation of debt, and government deficits growing at a rate exceeding the growth of GDP, not even the evisceration of America's wealthiest, entrepreneurs, and managers, would offer a sustainable future.

So, the federal government receives approximately $2 trillion in receipts and is running an account deficit of over $1.5 trillion. First, this cannot continue. Second, where is all of that money going? Third, how does this fiscal flood affect the purchasing power of individuals and nations that value their currency with respect to the dollar?

As with previous decadent civilizations suffering from a progressive decline, maybe we should just enjoy the good life for as long as it lasts. It's not like our population is sustainable anyway, following the sexual revolution and normalization of other subversive behaviors (e.g., abortion, pornography, "modern" families).

Those who embrace the inescapable aspects of the natural order will inherit the Earth and the product of our labor. Those who also embrace the enlightened order (i.e., rejection of superior or exceptional dignity) will be the most productive.

edutcher said...

The Crack Emcee said...

PS Crack, that post was weird.

I'm sorry - which post was weird?


The one you linked to at the top. Maybe it's me - I've had heartburn like you wouldn't believe, but that just blew my little baby mind.

Ann Althouse said...

"No. The pronoun Who is the subject of the verb will, therefore nominative case is called for."

You're right. Sorry. I didn't see the "be" switcheroo.

The Crack Emcee said...

edutcher,

Maybe it's me - I've had heartburn like you wouldn't believe, but that just blew my little baby mind.

Ahhh? Heartburn is it? Well you came to the right place:

Take three of these and call me in the morning.

Wait - did you say heartburn?

Lou Kramer said...

White House and Washington DC were attempting to panic herd us this week. These are the types of people we're up against.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43943482

Thoroughly corrupt and immune from the consequences of their actions.

miller said...

Dear Professor Althouse,

For the first time I wished you were using a different system than Blogger, because your line

"I was the one who served up some sarcastic comedy that you took as serious. Yes."

was pure comedy gold and I wanted to +1 or "Like" it.

Signed,

A fan

Lou Kramer said...

The article I linked is titled "Washington Is Annoyed at Wall Street's Failure to Panic".

SPImmortal said...

Who will be blamed? The GOP, of course. Regrettably, the MSM with few exceptions controls public opinion. Watch MSNBC for the talking points, read NYT for the “intellectual” slant.

---------

If that was true the Dems would have never gotten stomped in the Obamacare debate and had to push it through the back door and lost 65 house seats as a result.

Talk radio probably reaches way more people than MSNBC or the NYT combined.

BJM said...

Maybe the same people they blamed in 2009?

Oops...wait. no.

Debtageddon is a politically manufactured crisis in advanced of the 2012 election season.

The GOP is so dumb that they fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Again.

The Crack Emcee said...

miller,

For the first time I wished you were using a different system than Blogger, because your line,...was pure comedy gold and I wanted to +1 or "Like" it.

Miller, come on, man - you actually fell for that shit? No, seriously - you bought that line? Are you kidding me?

Damn, and here I was thinking cult leaders had it easy,...

grackle said...

If that was true the Dems would have never gotten stomped in the Obamacare debate and had to push it through the back door and lost 65 house seats as a result.

Talk radio probably reaches way more people than MSNBC or the NYT combined.


I was careful to allow for notable exceptions, of which Obamacare was one. But as the dealers in Vegas would say, one winning hand does not make a rich poker player. And I think the off-year GOP victory was about more than Obamacare.

My citation of MSNBC and NYT was merely emblematic. The strength and totality of MSM opinion influence is more than talk radio, FoxNews and conservative blogs combined. And the Left also commands the academics, the intellectuals and the artists in our society. I wish it was not so.

TosaGuy said...

Washington has cried wolf one too many times with me. All it does now is put a deadline out there and state that the world will end if it doesn't get a deal done. Sorry, all that has done is create crap legislation.

It's all a political game akin to a reality show. The politicians and the punditry need to create drama and the potential for doom in order to justify their quest for power. The last thing the likes of Ezra Klein wants to do is study some committee meeting on farm subsidies. He wants to be a player in the big game, but the game needs the appearance of big stakes to make it worth his while.

We don't have government, we have reality show politics.

caseym54 said...

I must have missed something, but wasn't Boehner's bill a compromise? And didn't the Democrats vote the compromise down?

Joanna said...

I think the MSM perspective is becoming different from Joe Schmoe's view. (I'm basing this off of the most recent Gallup polls showing a change in the public's view of Obama, but the MSM continuing their same party-line rhetoric.) In the MSM's lust to prop up Obama, they may have inadvertently lost some power to sway public opinion. If this is true, that is a mighty victory.

If this is true, it also means that Rs will blame Ds/Obama, Ds will blame Rs/TP, and people who aren't paying attention will probably just say Washington is a mess (until it hits their pocketbook, in which case they'll blame Obama -- for no reason other than they don't know enough about the players in the game to blame anyone other than the man in charge).

Oh, and the MSM will obviously blame the Tea Party.
1. Easier target than Republicans (since blaming Republicans might make them appear "biased".)
2. TP attack headlines sell.
3. Guerrilla warfare. Classifying the Tea Party as extremist terrorists is a way to not only attack TP-pols who haven't otherwise been recently involved with anything newsworthy. It's also a way to sideways-style call anyone from Bachman to Perry a terrorist without having to back the claim or take any real heat.

The Tea Party held Congress hostage! Hostage-takers are terrorists! The Tea Partiers are terrorists! The Tea Party likes Rick Perry! Rick Perry is a terrorist! The Tea Party likes the Constitution! The Constitution is an outdated, terrorizing document!

Whee. (*sigh*)

Joanna said...

It's all a political game akin to a reality show.

Speaking of, I'm currently watching a WI rep on CSPAN -- Sean Duffy, the Real World guy.

Peano said...

Peggy Noonan ... writes quite simply that he's a loser. That is one very intelligent lady.

She voted for him. You call that intelligent?

The Crack Emcee said...

Peano,

Peggy Noonan ... writes quite simply that he's a loser. That is one very intelligent lady.

She voted for him. You call that intelligent?


I just did a post on that "intelligent lady" and all of Obama's other supporters.

These people are nuts.

AST said...

I was resigned to Ezra Klein blaming the GOP and the Tea Party for everything that disappoints him, along with most of the MSM.

The President has the power to decide which parts of the government to shut down, which is a big ace in the hole, but his approval rates are plummeting as it is. Would it be a good idea to try a replay of the 1995 face off? I don't know; I'm just asking.

debtageddon? More like Blamageddon

wv: acroo - funny that we're talking about debt

Eric said...

You couldn't pull off a maneuver like this against Clinton, because Clinton with a month's worth of high visibility press conferences would have taken over the debate.

Clinton not only was a more competent politician, but also he had a much more competent political team. Obama just doesn't have people like Carville and Begala.

chickenlittle said...

Is it ein kleiner Mann or der kleine Mann?

I'm trying to inflect as much damage as possible but I don't remember which.

Christina Hinton said...

Dear Ann,

A little lesson on culture. Believe it or not, the whole world does not follow American cultural practices. Lasse has three names simply because it is typical to pass down mothers' maiden names across generations in Denmark. He is from a modest background, and worked incredibly hard to get where he is. He is one of the most humble and kind people you could ever meet.

Take care,
Christina Hinton