Saturday, February 07, 2009

Time to End It and Not Mend It: The Republican Party, That is . . .



Well, hey folks, I’m back. (I haven’t really gone anywhere, just sitting back and seeing how the Obama era begins to unfold.) It comes as no surprise to readers of this blog that my expectations are not high, but under the circumstances it’s hard not to hope for the best. Yet, alas, signs are not particularly good.

Imagine, if you will the Friday, NYTimes op-ed page, bookended by Paul Krugman’s and David Brooks’s biweekly columns, as an image of Obama staring up at you from your morning breakfast table. In one huge ear a doughy, bespectacled avatar of Brooks whines in an inimitable smarmy voice, "embrace 'a functioning center,'" while in the other, an exasperated Krugman risks tumbling into the massive auricular cavity as he shouts, "Go left young man, your 'attempts to transcend partisanship [have only ] ended up empowering politicians who take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh.'”

True to form, however, Our Boy Barack, rather than recognizing he has to make a choice is trying to follow the advice of both angel and demon, which in effect means he’ll be listening to Brooks, which also means that he’s trying to save a party that has no justification for continuing to exist as a major force on the American political scene.

Why are there any tax cuts in the proposed stimulus package? Do Republicans really believe that tax cuts will turn the economy around? Well, since some folks believe that Elvis is still alive, perhaps. But whether or not they believe in the efficacy of tax cuts, what they know is that absent a commitment to tax cuts, the Republican party doesn’t exist. That’s why, as Krugman reports in his blog:
Thirty-six out of 41 Republican Senators voted for the proposed DeMint amendment to the stimulus bill — a massive package of permanent tax cuts that would create a huge hole in the budget, while doing very little to help the economy.
Republicans know that if a stimulus plan goes forward without any tax cuts and the economy begins to turn around, the empirical basis for their existence will have simply disappeared. By contrast, a stimulus plan with some tax cuts will allow them to attribute any subsequent success to the presence of tax cuts, whether or not the tax cuts contributed to the turnaround.

So, now is the time to drive a stake through the heart of the political vampire that’s been sucking this country dry ever since Grover Norquist crawled out from some cave during the reign of Reagan with his “Tax-Payer Protection Pledge.”

Obama has the stake in his hand but doesn’t seem inclined to use it.

7 comments:

silveradept said...

The Republicans actually do believe that tax cuts will save the economy. It's the basic Reaganomic indoctrination - tax cuts save the economy, government can't do anything right, except when it helps corporations crush people and exploit them, and the supply side is the only side that matters.

Barack Obama could stake the Republicans by getting his plan passed without any tax cuts, but he did promise a few, so I think he'd be stuck this way even without his desire to be seen as someone who unites both sides to generate good legislation. Since "partisan" has become a bad word on the scale of "communist", both of which have been said about the President, the Republicans have successfully changed the narrative to be "When we're nakedly partisan, that's okay. If our opponents do it, that's evil and communist."

the professor said...

And so far his hunger for "bipartisan" solutions have gotten him just what he deserves: a series of backhanded slaps across the mouth from the Republicans

silveradept said...

No kidding. At times, he seems to have the flash of insight that says, "The populace elected me so that I could drive you into obscurity and marginalize you, like you did during your eight years in power", and I think on certain matters, he will wield that hammer. For the most part, though, he seems to genuinely want to avoid the back-and-forth of running roughshod over the opposition between their times in power.

brokenwindowsblog said...

Have you read this yet?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/02/13-4

Of course, it's hard to be disappointed if you know what you're getting, though I think we all hoped he'd be a bit more progressive than he has been. C'est la vie!

brokenwindowsblog said...

Have you read this yet?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/02/13-4

Of course, it's hard to be disappointed if you know what you're getting, though I think we all hoped he'd be a bit more progressive than he has been. C'est la vie!

the professor said...

Thanks for the "Common Dreams" tip. An excellent post, which makes my planned next blog a little redundant, particularly his suggestion that the Dems should force a "GOP filibuster. Make them actually physically do it, as senators used to have to. Then go to the country with this message: 'You're hurting, and if we don't do something right now, it's gonna get lots worse.'"

It turns out though that prior to putting forward the stimulus package, the Dems agreed to “a procedural deal [which meant] the bill needed 60 votes to pass.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/us/politics/14web-stim.html?ref=politics

silveradept said...

Yet another example of the Democrats negotiating as if they were weak, instead of putting the hammer down like they're strong. Perhaps too many years as the party out of Presidential power has ingrained bad habits in them.