Thursday, January 29, 2009

The sound of one hand clapping

By Carl

It seems bipartisanship died pretty quickly on the Hill:

WASHINGTON — Without a single Republican vote, President Obama won House approval on Wednesday for an $819 billion economic recovery plan as Congressional Democrats sought to temper their own differences over the enormous package of tax cuts and spending. [...] Democrats voluntarily dropped from the package several provisions that Republicans had singled out for derision in recent days, including money to restore the Jefferson Memorial and for family planning programs.

You'll hear a lot in the coming weeks from FReepers and their fellow travelers about the domestic spending portions of this package, and of course, the sudden interest in deficits. There will be talk, particularly with regards to the safety net spending portions, like extending unemployment benefits or automatically enrolling the unemployed in Medicaid.

This from a group of people who thought nothing of digging deeply into the national treasury to provide welfare for a people in a land thousands of miles away after we bombed the living crap out of them, shot them up, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, and generally made their lives miserable... for nothing!

So naturally, the first question I have to ask is, "Why would you spend half a trillion dollars on a land that you will never ever visit to assist people you will never ever meet, but not a dime to help the family down the block buy a loaf of bread or get a flu shot? Why would you spend a trillion and a half to bailout your banking buddies so they can buy corporate jets or pay
obscene bonuses, but not help a fourth grader keep her clarinet?"

Why do they hate America so?

Naturally, there's a bright side to all this partisan show of hatred for a fairly reasonable-if-massive bill: when it succeeds, the Republicans will be scrambling to explain to constituents why they voted against the very lifeline they ended up depending on, and wouldn't the constituency have gotten an even better deal if their Congresscritter had agreed to go along?

Part of this, I'm sure, is political theatre. Barack Obama, meeting with Capitol Hill Republicans (must have been one of the small conference rooms on the Hill), signaled he'd be willing to adjust some of the tax breaks offered in the package to include small businesses, so long as the Republicans would pony up some of the corporate welfare they've allowed to creep into the budget over the past fourteen years.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-
Pornville) seemed rather hesitant to be cooperative.

Iowa, where men are men and sheep wear IUDs.

The dance begins. The Senate debate on the bill begins in earnest today, but will likely extend into next week. For once, it might be worth tuning in CSPAN and popping up some Orville Redenbacher.

As well, the whole rural/urban split across party lines (rural legislators, Democrats and Republicans, derailed a compromise on the distribution of Medicaid funding) as reported by Politico is probably going to end up in a bit of arm-twisting behind the shed. Clearly, Republicans in Congress feel this is their best weapon in peeling off support for the stimulus package, and it will be interesting to see if Pelosi can marshall her whip (Steny Hoyer) to drag these kids back into the lunch line.

I suspect so. It's early in the term and these folks have a lot of legislatin' to do. Screw around with the signature piece of legislation of this Congress, and you run the risk of losing the party's backing in your re-election,
which most are already running for.

There's a sentiment among conservatives that Americans are "bailed out", that the spending that's already happened has them weary and wary of any new spending proposals.

Silly Charlie Brown conservatives. If anything, people are going to be solidly behind this bill, and will get all over you for supporting Bush's bank bailout bill for taking money that could have been pumped into the economy and wasting it on Falcon jets. And yet, these dimwits report this "sentiment" as if it existed anywhere but in the feeble addlepated minds of Rush and Sean and Lord Coultermort.

If it's a recession when your neighbor loses his job but a depression when you lose yours, then it's a bailout when he gets a check in the mail, but a stimulus package when you do.

And don't feel bad for your banking buddies, Republicans.
I know I don't!

(Cross-posted at Simply Left Behind.)

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