We don't know what the president had to put in his stimulus package to get the votes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (only progressives seem to have been offered nothing), but at least they delivered their votes -- unlike the demagoguing Republicans and Blue Dogs."How many chances are we going to give this president before we say, 'Enough is enough'?"
-- John Oliver, on last night's Daily Showby Ken
"For eight long days," John Oliver went on . . .
At one point during the election campaign, when candidate Barack Obama had once again chosen not to try to show up the eight years of extreme-right-wing Bush regime policies for the catastrophe they were, and candidate Young Johnny McCranky for the clueless galoot he was, not to mention the liar and extreme-right-wing tool he had turned himself into, my friend Peter -- who's actually more cynical about politicians than I am, which is saying an awful lot -- surprised me by saying he was glad that it was Obama framing the response rather than him.
This gave me pause, until Peter explained that his instinct, like mine, would have been to try to blow the little turd McCranky to smithereens. However, the polls kept insisting that that would have been wrong, because of Middle America's supposed mortal fatigues with partisan wrangling. The standard wisdom was that middle-ground voters admired candidate Obama for not stooping to it.The prez has 'em just where he wants 'em
As we all know, all the more so in the wake of yesterday's House votes on the new administration's stimulus package, which received not a single Republican vote (and was snubbed by a cadre of the usual in-name-only Democrats), now-President Obama still believes in his vision of post-partisanship. And we have to allow for the possibility that he knows just what he's doing, that even after being played for a sap by goons within his party as well as the united goon front of the "official" Opposition, the president is chuckling, thinking that now he's got the partisan sumbitches just where he wants them
Last night on Countdown
, MSBNC's and Newsweek
's Richard Wolffe seemed to be suggesting just this, telling Keith Olbermann that the president has handled the politics of the stimulus package flawlessly. The idea is that he has established himself as the President Who Has Risen Above Partisanship, just as the country wants, only to be foiled by the congressional Republicans who resorted to nothing but partisanship in the face of the very economic crisis that's generally conceded to have cost the Republicans any shot at the White House in 2008. As a result, the theory goes, the Republican obstructionists will be punished by all those Americans pining for the promised new era of postpartisanship.
So goes the theory, anyway.This package was largely crap to begin with
Me, I'm seething, almost as crazed as your average Republican by the Opposition's stupefying ignorance, cynicism, and blatant dishonesty. The original
Obama stimulus package was largely crap, partly because of the coterie of Wall Street stooges the president has in his inner economic circle (starting with Treasury Secretary Geithner and economic adviser Summers), but also because already in the original proposal massive concessions were made to the economically ignorant but nevertheless delicate sensibilities of Republicans -- notably the massive tax cuts, which were there as a sop to eternal right-wing dogma despite their dubious stimulative value.
But then, even before any negotiations were held with the Opposition, the administration began pulling out more of the good stuff in the package and stuffing in more of the bad, not even attempting to counter the bullshit being spewed by 94th-rate "thinkers" like Sunny John Boehner.
Let's be blunt. Sunny John is an utter ignoramus when it comes to economics. The only thing he knows about the subject is what fun it is for an influential congressman to stuff his pockets with lobbyist cash, all the more so when there's enough bribe money to be allow for trickling some of it down to "his members" -- right there on the floor of the House if it suits his mood.Playing voters for saps
But if there's one things those social and economic know-nothings do
know, it's how to play average American voters for saps. They know how to choose and use buzzwords -- ad when they ridicule the modest family planning expenditures included in the bailout plan, at least until the panicky president yanked them, as $300 million for condoms rather than a down payment on undoing the catastrophic damage done to responsible family-planning programs by the eight-year marauding spree of the ideological extremists. It's not "for condoms," you lying thugs and ignoramuses, it's a reasonable investment in tragically neglected responsible social policy, and since it's money targeted at the least advantaged segments of American society, it's money that's sure to be spent
-- hence it's stimulative value.
Once again, the Right-Wing Noise Machine is demonstrating its mastery at framing every political issue to the undeserved advantage of its most economically overprivileged and/or ideologically whacked-out constituencies. And already the infotainment-news media, the very same people who spent most of the last eight years playing lapdog for the wackos and hooligans of the Bush regime, have miraculously awakened to their professional obligation to play an adversarial role with the administration, hurling at it without even the most cursory fact-checking every lie, delusion, and obfuscation concocted by the Right-Wing Noise Machine.
Then there are the nominal Democrats -- you know, that great thinker Jim Cooper and his mangy Blue Dogs, who preach their one-note gospel of fiscal "prudence" (as if they would have a clue what's prudent and what isn't) even while the economy is going down the tubes. This might be mildly ironic if it weren't so monstrous. At a time when the Right-Wing Noise Machine is in high gear spewing the lie that the New Deal prolonged rather than shortened the Great Depression, the Blue Dogs take pride in insisting on repeating the demonstrated error of the Roosevelt administration: being persuaded, starting in 1936, to attack mounting government deficits at the cost of undoing a certain amount of the economic turnaround accomplished in the glory years of the New Deal.
The simple economic reality is that government deficits are not in themselves evil or even undesirable. At times, like for example now, they're not only desirable but necessary
. What we have to worry about is out-of-control
deficits. You know, the sort run up by the "conservative" Reagan and G.W. Bush regimes, which we now understand were not accidentally but intentionally
dangerous, according to the extremist dogma of government-hating thugs like Grover Norquist, with his famous image of staving government into a baby that can be drowned in the bathtub.Heads we lose, tails they win
What we have to remember is that those out-of-control Republican congressional loons believe the same thing that Rush Limbaugh has been screeching. They all hope that the economic disaster worsens rather than improves, in the hope that the Obama administration will be held to account. They seem to take it for granted that, voters' memories being notoriously short, they'll have forgotten by the next chance they have to go to the polls, their "screw you" obstructionism.
I worry that they're right. (I more than worry
, but never mind that for now.) Especially when the right-wing demagogues cloak their obstructionism in all those time-tested propaganda buzzwords people like Karl Rove have toiled so diligently to develop, I worry that they can all too easily sell the lie that back in '09 they
were the ones who tried to agree on a bipartisan plan, only to be rebuffed by those far-left ideologues, the raging socialists of the Obama administration.
Now if I were the one responsible for devising a counter-strategy, I would go for total annihilation. Call those hoodlums out for the liars, imbeciles, and thieves they are, aiming for complete obliteration. Maybe I'll let my fantasies run wild in a later post, but for now the point is that apparently in postpartisan America my approach would be wrong.
On the theory that the postpartisans are right, I have to echo my friend Peter: It's a good thing it's President Obama and his team rather than me calling the shots here.SO WHO ARE THE DEMOCRATIC TRAITORS?
HOWIE (ON THE ROAD) ADDS --
Here are the 11 treacherous "Democrats" who crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans and against American working families:Allen Boyd (FL) --
Blue Dog; wants to run for the Senate in 2010... as a Democrat (UPDATE: see below)Bobby Bright (AL) --
in a 3-way tie for worst freshman, everJim Cooper (TN) --
Blue DogBrad Ellsworth (IN) --
Blue DogParker Griffith (AL) --
in a 3-way tie for worst freshman, everPaul Kanjorski (PA)
Frank Kratovil (MD) --
claims to be a Blue Dog but they must be too embarrassed to put him on their listWalt Minnick (ID) --
in a 3-way tie for worst freshman, everCollin Peterson (MN) --
Blue Dog and chair of House Agriculture Committee, probably even more corrupt than Appropriations CommitteeHeath Shuler (NC) --
Rahm's greatest hit: slimy Blue Dog who wants to run for the Senate in 2010 (on an anti-immigrant platform)Gene Taylor (MS) --
Anyone think there will be any accountability on any level? Some of these fellas are already GOP targets for 2010 but you think Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in charge of incumbent retention, will give any of them a dime less? I bet not.
You think DSCC chair Bob Menendez will try to find alternatives to Shuler and Boyd for Senate seats in NC and FL-- like candidates who will actually vote like Democrats? I bet not.
You think Nancy will remove Peterson from his lucrative perch at Ag -- and give corporate agriculture a scare? Not a chance.UPDATES FROM HOWIE (WHO CAN ONLY POST COMMENTS
FROM THE ROAD), ABOUT REPUGS AS WELL AS DEMS
UPDATE: Bill McCollum and Allen Boyd, both shameless reactionary puppets for Big Business who have built lucrative careers for themselves on the backs of working families whose aspirations they have denied, realized that the mood of the country is not going their way. Both of these political Neanderthals have taken themselves out of the race
for the Florida Senate seat. Score two
points for America!
As for the Republicans, maybe they don't need to turn to Rush Limbaugh as their ultimate leader. Vladimir Putin, formerly a Soviet KGB operative, currently Russia's strongman, was in Davos singing the same tune
that Republicans are singing about President Obama's Stimulus Package. And believe me, Putin, Limbaugh, Boehner, DeMint, Cantor . . . they all would rather see America fail than Obama succeed.
Labels: Boehner, Obama, obstructionist Republicans, reactionary Democrats