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Bipartisanship, Bischmartisanship

January 28th, 2009

That, at least, is how Republicans are approaching this. I just watched John McCain making a statement about the stimulus bill.

Now, first consider the fact that for the six years they had more or less complete control, Republicans ran up literally trillions of dollars in debt, with at the very least tens of billions of that literally disappearing, unaccounted for. Consider that one of the last acts of the Republican administration was to fork over $700 billion, a figure they literally pulled out of their asses, with no accounting nor accountability, no strings attached, to wasteful, untrustworthy money merchants.

Here comes a Democratic Congress and president with a plan rich with middle-class tax cuts and infrastructure building, not to mention strict accountability, a plan far superior by any measure to the “let’s fork money into the pockets of rich people” plans the Republicans steamrolled through Congress several times during their tenure as a supposed means of “stimulating” economic growth.

Keep in mind that Republicans, during their time in full power, had no problems shoving their plans through Congress with coercive tactics, abused their power to keep votes open until they could twist arms, and screamed bloody murder when Democrats even hinted at a filibuster. Forget that Obama has bent over backwards to accommodate Republicans, adding their proposals to his plan, inviting them in and consulting them at every turn, showing them every ounce of respect that Bush and the Republicans utterly refused to show to Democrats when the roles were reversed. Obama went to the Capitol, and spent two hours in closed session with Republicans, answering their questions in person. Can you even imagine Bush having done that? Republicans’ heads would have exploded at the very idea of such a gesture.

So here we have Republicans calling the current plan “wasteful,” and objecting otherwise purely because, according to McCain:

Well, the plan was written by the majority in — a Democrat majority in the House, primarily. And so, yeah, I think there has to be major rewrites if we want to stimulate the economy.

Now, consider this: McCain is claiming here that he’s trying to be bipartisan. And yet, one of his major beefs here is not what is in the bill, but rather who wrote the bill. As if there was nothing wrong with Republicans writing every bill when they had power and cramming it down the Democrats’ throats, but now the Democrats, how dare they, now that they’re in power, even think about writing legislation themselves! What bastards!

But here’s the real telling point in McCain’s speech: note his use of the term, “Democrat majority.” That’s a term which he knows full well is a slick, sly political epithet. And yet, here he is, claiming to be the voice of bipartisanship, and he can’t even use the non-insulting term to describe the other party.

That one expression speaks volumes: this is not about responsible legislation, this is not about wasteful spending, and this is certainly not about Republicans trying to be bipartisan. This is about one thing, and one thing only: the beginning of a 4- to 8-year campaign on the part of Republicans to damn every advance to help the American people in the name of playing a smear game that will lead to Republicans reclaiming power.

Pure and simple.

  1. Tim Kane
    January 28th, 2009 at 12:04 | #1

    McCain doesn’t know squat about economics. Said so himself, so how does he know what will or won’t work?

    How does he know a rewrite will fix the economy. He lost this arguement big time in the election.

    The people voted against him because they didn’t trust him over Obama to fix the economy. So what is he doing here? He punishing the people by getting in the way of Obama fixing the economy.

    We were damned if we do, and damned if we don’t when it comes to McCain and the economy.

    On a larger note, the Republican God Father in the sky, must have gotten his act together, must have figured out how he wanted to deal with the Obama thing, and he must have had a talking to McCain, and offered him a leadership role in opposition to Obama or an eternity in the wilderness.

    I’m trying to piece together Obama’s strategy in all of this. First I think he doesn’t want to blow political capital on this, he’s saving that for healthcare (I believe), he’s using this to build political capital (so far so good, his ratings are high). He’s trying to appear reasonable.

    Also, there’s the overall strategy, I think, of rumpifying the rump of the rump of the Republican party – i.e., isolate the wingnuts and make it insufferable for moderates to to cohab with them.

    Also, I think he wants to make an indellible stamp on the minds of the public that he was more than reasonable, so that they bear the full burden of opposing the stimulous package.

    Then he’ll be able to say that trillions for Iraq, hundreds of billions for Wallstreet and no oversite but parsimony and fiscal prudence whenever the middle class is involved, they wouldn’t give crap to the Autocompanies, and they actually build something and employ millions of people lifting them up into the middle class.

    so one wonders if Obama is feeding the Repugs the rope with which to hang themselves.

    This is where it gets interesting. Clinton’s were heavy on tactics light on strategy. Obama is heavy on the strategy. When Clinton went to pass health care, he tried to finesse it through. Obama will be coming at this with strategy. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

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