The Thinker: Rich Galen


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What's the Mayan Word for "Cliff?"

Rich Galen

Friday December 21, 2012


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  • Boy, I'm good. I finished Wednesday's column with ;
    "Plan B might not pass, but Plan C or D, or Q will find its way to the floors of the two Chambers before December 31 and will pass."

  • Plan B is not going to pass as last night the House Republican Conference �


    You might have noticed over the past 14 years that I refer to the assemblage of the GOP in the House and Senate as the "Republican Conference" and the Democrats as the "Democratic Caucus."

    That's what they call themselves.

    When you're watching a cable chat show, if someone refers to the "Republican Caucus" change the channel, because they don't know what they're talking about.

    It's like watching NCIS when one of the characters refers to "The 395." Only in Southern California - where the Hollywood writers live - do they put a definite article ahead of an Interstate number.


  • � the House Republican Conference refused to accept the elements of the Plan.

  • Speaker John Boehner said in a statement:
    "The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass."

  • I am not in touch with the innermost circles of the House leadership as I once was, but I can guess, in broad strokes, what went down.

  • Remember, this is the still the 112th Congress. Members of the House and Senate who have announced their retirements or have been defeated are still voting on these 10-year programs.

  • On Wednesday night the House Rules Committee held a meeting to bring Plan B to the floor on Thursday. Voting was set for sometime around 7 PM. It never happened.

  • I suspect, when the Hill reporters finish bearding the Republican Members and their staffs, that the major stumbling block was any lack of agreement from the White House that if Plan B passed the House and Senate (which was far less than doubtful) that the President would up the ante for spending reductions.

  • Without any guarantee of spending reductions at least matching the revenue increases, this was seen as a bad deal - maybe on the scale of the George H.W. Bush "Read My Lips" deal when Bush 41 agreed to revenue increases with the Democrat-controlled House and Senate only to see them (and Pat Buchanan) beat him over the head with them during his re-election campaign in 1992.

  • The House Majority Leader's office declared the Members could go home until after Christmas. The President is going to Hawaii. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid had previously said he would send Senators home today and wouldn't call them back until two days after Christmas.

  • So. The cliff looms.

  • And the Mayans are laughing up their sleeves if they had sleeves up which they could laugh.

  • Today is the end of days we've been hearing so much about. As I told you the other day, it is also my 66th birthday, so I didn't miss the height of the Mayan civilization by much.

  • My social security checks will just about cover my increased taxes in 2013 which means I've been working since I was 18 just so I could afford to pay my taxes after I turned 66.

  • Welcome to the new normal.

  • If we're all here on Saturday we can begin worrying about the fiscal cliff again, something the Congress won't be doing for at least a week.

  • In the meantime, here's the answer to the question posed in the title. The Mayan word for "cliff" is lik'ik'ik.

  • That's true.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the NY Times coverage of 41's reneging on his "No New Taxes" pledge in 1990, and to CNN's coverage of the activity - or lack of - in the House yesterday.

    Also an amusing weather report for 12-21-12.

    -- END --

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