Wednesday, February 04, 2009

GOP Political Games Are Not Okay

Republicans Clearly Are Willing to Let This Country Collapse if They Think it Will Win Them Elections

Doug Kreeger, AlterNet:

It is abundantly clear that the Republican leaders are going to do everything to prevent Obama and the Dems from doing anything constructive.

Grasping for relevance, out-of-touch lawmakers crafting stimulus just remembered we have a housing crisis

Meg White. BuzzFlash:

Republicans say tax cuts are key to getting people to buy houses. It's hard to tell the origination of this idea, however. The GOP plan for the stimulus package has been more tax cuts all along. Fearing looking antiquated, uncompassionate, greedy or all three, they've decided to inject some relevance.

Basically, they've changed their talking point from "It's tax cuts that stimulate the economy, not government spending!" to "We want to fix the root of the problem: housing. Democrats just want to spend money on pet projects!" But they're still selling the same magic solution.

Democrats are almost as politically-driven as the GOP in their recalculation. Hallucinating that the conservative talking points about pork-barrel spending were actually working on the American people, Dems decided to come to the rescue of the ailing housing market, too. Their plan intends to save current homeowners from the brink of foreclosure, something the Obama Administration planned to take on in a separate action.

This move is even less surprising, but perhaps also less callous than the Republicans'. [...]

It's less callous because it has less to do with partisan desires like the ones driving the tax cut cries from Republicans. People actually need assistance with their mortgages, and tax cuts won't stop foreclosure.

Denial As Political Strategy

Josh Marshall, TPM:

Behind all the back and forth over the Stimulus Bill is a simple fact: the debate in Washington is rapidly moving away from any recognition that the US economy -- and the global economy, for that matter -- is in free-fall. The range of outcomes stretches from severe recession to something closer to a replay of the Great Depression, though that label is perhaps better seen as a placeholder for 'catastrophic economic collapse' since the underlying place of the US economy in the world economy is very different from what it was in 1929. This reality was palpable in the political debate until as recently as a few weeks ago. But Republicans are using a strategy of conscious denial to push it off the stage.

It's the Stupid, Stupid

Josh Marshall, TPM:

I've been hollering for days about this or that Republican's picayune complaints about the Stimulus Bill -- either line items for minuscule dollar amounts or bogus complaints about spending items that demonstrably will create lots of jobs and improve the economy over the long term. [...]

Those jobs are needed in the short-term to prevent unemployment from getting out of hand and in the longer term to reshape the economy so that we're not dependent on recurrent bubbles to keep the economy afloat. This is an emergency jobs bill. And it costs a lot of money because we're in a deep crisis. But this basic point has disappeared almost entirely from the public debate.

ThinkProgress has admirably demonstrated that the cable networks continue to tip the scales in favor of Republicans by booking like twice or even three times as many Republicans as Democrats to discuss the Stimulus Bill. But that only tells us what we already know, which is that the Washington press establishment is still wired for Republicans. But there is a Democratic president. And he does have the bully pulpit. And he needs to make this argument, which he's not. Absent that, we can't be surprised and the Democrats are not in much of a position to complain if the vacuum is filled by a bunch of Republicans making statements that are either demonstrable nonsense or just lies.

Look at what people are talking about and you wouldn't get the sense that we're actually in the midst of a major economic crisis that will likely send unemployment well into double digits if nothing is done quickly -- and a crisis that is in large measure the result of the economic policies that the Boehners and Cantors and McConnells are telling us, all the evidence to the contrary, will now save us. Everyone who's taking this situation seriously realizes that spending is the pivotal part of what the government needs to do to stabilize the economy in the face of this crisis.

Message to D.C.: It's the Jobs, Stupid. Not Tinkering with Taxes.

Christine Bowman, BuzzFlash:

It's time we workers told everyone in Washington that the way to bail out America is to save and create more jobs. Period.

Washington, listen to this. Convince us workers that we will be getting a paycheck if you want us to be good consumers and help the American economy come back. You can also tell us how we can help. Convince us that Uncle Sam will have a plausible safety net for us -- most importantly, access to health care, Social Security benefits, new job training programs, educational help -- and we won't hold on to every discretionary penny we still have. We might even be ready to "buy American." [...]

While you're at it, you also could partner with unions that are willing to provide job training. Give grants to schools and colleges willing to prepare students to succeed in the globalized economy. Pay Americans today to build up America for tomorrow.

Or, you Washington "leaders" can tinker with tax rules and argue your ideological talkling points as the country sinks lower than a Mississippi swamp day by day and minute by minute.

Today the outrageous news is that GOP senators have decided to fight Obama on the nation's recovery bill. Although Keynesian economic theory says go big and fast, or you've lost the stimulus battle before the first shot is fired, the GOP seeks to reduce the package. They want to tinker with housing. That horse has long since left the barn. How would that get money flowing?

Michael Steele Continues Republican Lies: Not in the History of Mankind Has the Government Ever Created a Job

Heather, C and L (with video):

Michael Steele is completely clueless. Hey Steele, weren't you drawing a government pay check at one time? Maybe that didn't qualify as a job. I think the people working for the Post Office, Parks Department, IRS....etc., etc., etc. might disagree with you.

Joe the Plumber: ‘I don’t know if the American public deserve me.’

Amanda Terkel, Think Progress:

Yesterday, the ubiquitous Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher — aka “Joe the Plumber” and “Joe the War Correspondent” — became “Joe the Economist” when he went and spoke to a House GOP breakfast on the economic recovery package.

One thing that needs to be done, he said, is killing this stimulus package, because it’s just another example of “American government” — Republicans and Democrats — “kicking our butts left and right.” He also called it welfare.

Joe the Plumber now advising the GOP

SilentPatriot, C and L:

Sooo.... I guess the Republicans actually want to stay in the minority?

Painfully Stupid

Josh Marshall, TPM (with video):

Sen. Thune (R-SD) explains Republican thinking about the economic crisis ...

Country's on the precipice. And idiots like this are holding the floor.

D.L. Hughley: A Man Can Take Us To War and Lie and We Won't Do a Damn Thing About That

John Amato. C and L:
I had to tune out the Blago stuff after a while, but check out D.L. Hughley's take.

If This Were an M. Night Shyamalan Movie I'd Walk Out

LithiumCola, Daily Kos:

So, the idea seems to be that Washington Republicans are engaging in purely ideological shadowplay for the benefit, not of their constituents, but their party bosses. And the effect of this shadowplay will be to wipe out programs that have little appreciable effect on the cost of the stimulus, and that no one but Republican bosses would have bothered to complain about, except for the theatrical bellyaching. [...]

Now, I don't know about you, but I am confused. Why is anyone in their right mind considering sacrificing programs that no one really opposes, in order to get votes that aren't needed anyway, to please no one but the bosses of a regional party, who neither have nor want any reasonable arguments for sacrificing those programs in the first place?

It's Not Going to Be OK

Chris Hedges, Truthdig:

The economic crisis could plunge the U.S. into a long period of social instability. Our democracy is in peril; the threat of totalitarianism is real.

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