Thursday, February 12, 2009

What To Look For Tomorrow When Congress Votes On Obama's Jobs Bill


GOP opting for more of this-- lots more

This morning MSNBC posted a quick, kind of sad roundup of the Villagers' take on who are the winners and losers in the battle over the Stimulus bill. Not a mention of the American people, who got royally screwed by the Republican/corporate media jihad against Obama-- the real story of this battle. I mean, these people really would rather see America fail than watch Obama succeed! But that's not what MSNBC's analysis was about. They'd rather celebrate the reactionaries ability to force Nancy Pelosi to eat shit. Yep, it was all about how fabulous the "mavericks and moderates" are and how they saved the day-- albeit on the backs of working families, placating the Big Business interests that own the GOP and the Blue Dogs. All the swell folks who dragged the country-- because of their relentless and unquenchable greed, avarice and feelings of supreme entitlement-- into the mess Obama is trying, with one hand tied behind his back-- to clean up.
The Republicans and their right-wing media allies are doing whatever they can to strangle the Obama phenomenon in its cradle; the mainstream media pundits are stressing the negative so they don’t get called “in the tank for Obama”; and the Democrats are shying away from holding the Bush-Cheney administration accountable for its crimes.

None of these developments is particularly surprising. Indeed, they track closely to the political-media pattern that took shape the last time a young Democrat won the White House, when Bill Clinton became President in 1993.

Then, the dispirited Republicans got a lift from the loud voice of a younger Rush Limbaugh who used his popular three-hour radio show to pillory Bill and Hillary Clinton. That, in turn, encouraged the congressional Republicans to vote as a bloc against President Clinton’s budget and economic plan.

The three Senate Republicans-- only one of whom, Specter, took even the tiniest political gamble-- took a $819 million jobs bill and turned it into a less effective stimulation package that will cost $836 billion. Who would have guessed that from the reports on TV? Old and closer to their graves than to child rearing, they eliminated $16 billion for school construction, while adding billions of tax breaks for people making over $100,000 a year at the expense of those making under $100,000 a year. Thanks, moderate mavericks! And thank corporate media for explaining this so thoroughly so that voters understand who their enemies are (Pelosi, of course, who wanted to ruin America by assisting working families) and who their friends are (Nelson, Collins, Lieberman, the Republicans in general, who wanted to save America by salvaging as much of the toxic Bush agenda that wrecked the economy by screwing it towards the wealth, as they could).

You'll never read about it in the viciously anti-family corporate media (which has it's own propaganda agenda with which to paint Pelosi and progressives) but Pelosi and her lieutenants accomplished a few things-- despite Rahm Emanuel's bellowing. In Conference, the House Democrats were able to strengthen the safety net Collins and Nelson and Lieberman had left so badly tattered. The final compromise "expands federal aid to an array of programs aimed at the poor and jobless, with billions of dollars for health care, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs... the final deal still represents a larger federal contribution to nearly every major aid program the government administers."
"It targets relief to those hurting the most in the recession," said Sharon Parrot of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning group that advocated for many of the expansions included in the bill.

It was indeed a mixed bag, the nature of compromises, with Democrats fighting for working families and Republicans, Blue Dogs and media anointed "moderates" fighting for their corporate masters. For the greater glory of Republicanism, Collins and her crew of dried up scrooges lopped $56 billion from the House's school construction program ($95 billion) but the Conference Committee put back $7 billion and it stands at $46 now. And so it went across the board. The bill extends unemployment benefits for between 20 and 33 weeks and adds $25/week to people's checks, money that will course immediately back into the economy. Pelosi's team also successfully managed to remove some of the worst-- but by all means not all-- of the tax breaks for the wealthy that the "moderates" were demanding in return for their votes. In the end, the final compromise has only $513 billion in spending, and $276 billion in tax breaks, many of them for people in the top brackets, while screwing over the states badly. You can thank a tiny handful of delusional right-wing governors for that, although it will be interesting to see if even the worst of the lot-- Mark Sanford (R-SC), Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Haley Barbour (R-MS), Rick Perry (R-TX), and, of course, Sarah Palin (R-AK)-- actually rejects the federal money. All the Democratic governors and most of the Republican governors-- from Charlie Crist (FL) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA) to Jodi Rell (CT) and James Douglas (VT)-- are putting America first, not the crazed politics of their party that insists on doing everything possible to sabotage Obama and make him fail in the hopes of riding back to power on that failure.

And, as if on cue, the NRCC launched a wave of vicious and deceptive radio ads paid for by Big Business, targeting 30 House Democrats who are supporting the jobs bill.
The ads accuse the representatives in GOP-leaning districts of backing frivolous spending and highlight funding in the House-passed bill that would prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, aid smoking cessation and fund the National Endowment for the Arts.

..."After running on a platform of fiscal responsibility, [Rep.] Zack Space (D-Ohio) now has the obligation to explain why he’s willing to pile even more mountains of debt onto our grandchildren without regard for how middle-class families’ hard-earned tax dollars will be spent," NRCC communications director Ken Spain said in a statement directed at Ohio voters.

Along with Space, Republicans are targeting several veteran Democrats who have had little trouble winning reelection, including Reps. Charlie Melancon (La.), Chet Edwards (Texas), Bart Gordon (Tenn.) and Ike Skelton (Mo.).

More vulnerable Democratic freshmen, like Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Glenn Nye (Va.), Larry Kissell (N.C.) and Betsy Markey (Colo.) will also hear the ads when they return home for the week-long recess, when the ads are set to begin running.

So what we should be looking for tomorrow is which, if any, Republicans decide to put America first and stand up to the thugs and hacks in their own party to vote for the compromise. In the House there are whispers about a handful of Republicans doing just that: Fred Upton (MI), Mike Castle (DE), Jim Gerlach (PA), Chris Smith (NJ), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Tim Johnson (IL), maybe even freshmen Anh Cao (LA) and Leonard Lance (NJ). And the senators who could put America first and join Specter, Collins and Snowe are Voinovich (OH; who's retiring anyway and doesn't have to fear the wrath of the wingnuts), Judd Gregg (NH; who has been abstaining but just removed himself from contention as Secretary of Commerce), Richard Lugar (IN), and Lisa Murkowski (AK).

And then there are the treacherous Blue Dogs in the House who deserted Obama on the first go round. Will any of them return to the fold? Emanuel got his slimy K Street buddies copies of the bill-- even before lawmakers-- so that they could go over it for the Blue Dogs. Will any of their reactionary brethren join them in opposition? We'll let you know tomorrow.

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At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who votes to rob my children of their future livelihood and hand that money to ANYONE (politically connected PACs like ACORN, AIG, or losers like Henrietta homeless) deserves nothing less than a bu11et in the brain.

It will be my children & grandchildren who have to pay the bill for asinine inflation of our worthless fiat currency. This money, such as it is, is ours, not the government's, not yours, not Henrietta's, not Julios.


Then folks can bitch about how somebody owes them something.

In the meantime, if this keeps up, we're likely to have a third war for independence on our hands.

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I think all the republicans with their greedy me first fuck everyone else bull shit should be hauled outside and shot in front of the Washington monument and then dumped in a mass grave and be forgotten. These people are nothing but a bunch of worthless greedy crooks.

At 2:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the new bill is super horrible--it does have its good parts. Okay, so I'm pro-Obama, but I'll have you know that there are some provisions I do not agree on as well.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Mac G said...

Awesome post and you analysis is spot on. Axelrod is the only Obama advisor worth trusting. Rahmbo has everyone fooled.

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bill passed, albeit with little Republican support. People thought that with Obama in office, everything would change- that Republicans and Democrats would magically come together and agree on a great way to change our nation overnight. That obviously didn’t happen. Despite an optimistic leader, partisan politics still exist and each side has their own vision as to how to run the country. This video has commentary from CNN about the ‘partisan bickering.’


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