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Deja Vu All Over Again February 4, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Barack Obama, Democrats, Economic Stimulus, Economy, National Politics, Republicans.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

groundhog_dayI just watched the movie “Groundhog Day” again last night.  In case you don’t remember, Bill Murray plays an obnoxious weather man that is fated to live the same day over and over until he changes his fundamental self.   Some of the funniest bits in the  movie are Murray’s numerous attempts to kill himself as he realizes nothing has changed and there will be no tomorrow.  

Now, I don’t really think there’s anything funny about suicide, but lately, I’ve been thinking about taking  a toaster into the bathtub.  Watching what has been going on in Washington over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan has had me feeling like I was living in Groundhog Day – like deja vu all over again. 

President Obama as candidate Obama recognized a real desire of the American people.  They are tired of all the gridlock and partisanship in Washington and want both sides to work together and accomplish something.  Unfortunately for us, however, we have to choose people to represent us in Washington who ARE partisans.  That is the nature of American politics.  So, when President Obama reaches across party lines to work with Republicans – the Republicans naturally retreat into their partisan positions.  And that, my friends, is just the same old song.

The Republicans are branding the stimulus package a “spending bill” – ignoring that fact that the government MUST spend money to stimulate the economy.  They are calling the tax cuts for the poorest Americans “welfare”, because the working poor pay little or no income taxes.  Mind you, they do pay payroll taxes – social security and medicare – that take a bigger bite out of smaller incomes than larger ones (The income cap on social security was $102,000 in 2008.  A person making the median U.S. salary of $48,000 paid about $3000 in social security or 6.2% of salary.  A U.S. Senator paid about $6,300 – but only 3.6% of salary).  They say that “the government never created a single job” forgetting about the Roosevelt alphabet soup programs (WPA, CCC, TVA) or that most firefighters, police officers, teachers, and they and their staffs are government employees.  They say that the bill is “loaded with pork-barrel spending” because it wants to buy condoms, extend food stamp eligibility, and re-sod the mall and that those things are not stimulative.  They have also forgotten that STDs and AIDS infections are on the rise (bad for the economy), hunger is widespread (bad for the people who have to make the economy work), and the mall is a disgusting disgrace due to eight years of Republican neglect (bad for the national psyche).  Most of all, they seem to have forgotten that the Democrats won – and the American people have said that they want the priorities changed. 

The Republicans in the House and Senate are using the same rhetoric going back to Reagan to convince the American people to turn away from their own self interests.  Instead of bringing something new to the table, they want tax cuts, as if eight years of tax cuts didn’t get us where we are today.  They pledged to work with the President and congressional Democrats – then voted against the House bill en masse.  Now today, I hear that there just aren’t enough votes in the Senate to prevent a filibuster.

So what are the Democrats doing?  Apparently, some in the Senate are joining the Republicans – just as 11 in the House did.  They are turning against the President and their party and dooming the bill’s spending priorities.  Apparently, the President has scolded House Democrats for including the spending priorities when the bill was written.  The whole thing is a mess.  What’s worse, it makes Democrats look silly, weak, and rudderless – just what the Republicans have always said about them.

If there was one thing the Bush administration did well – especially in the first six years – it was wielding a mighty hammer.  Those House and Senate members fell in line – no defections – and if the President wanted it done – it got done.  Denny Hastert and Bill Frist made certain of that – they had iron in their spines.  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi just don’t seem to have it in them.

Let me tell you, if I were Nancy Pelosi, I’d be telling the President that I liked him and everything – but she’s one-third of government and doesn’t work for him – and I’ll put anything I damn well please into my bill.  If I were Harry Reid, I’d be telling those Senate Democrats that they’d better fall in line if they wanted their states to get money from the bill when it eventually passes.  And if I were Barack Obama, I’d tell the Senate Republicans to go ahead and filibuster my bill – and see who the American people blame for obstruction and failure.  I’d also call Arlen Spector, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and any other blue-state Republican into my office and promise lots and lots of stimulus if they swung over to my side.  I’d get my bill passed with or without them.

Only then could I leave the toaster in the kitchen.



Kate Ryan - February 4, 2009

I must have been reading your Michael Steele Post as you were reading mine – maybe great minds DO think alike. I agree with you on Steele – but I think the Republicans will just chew him up! By the way, I loved your comment on Republican “bipartisanship”. What is it you English say? Spot On!

1. futiledemocracy - February 4, 2009

Great blog. From the other side of the Atlantic, you should know, we’re pretty much unanimous in our support for Obama right now. Even our Conservatives support him and this bail out plan.

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