Not One Single Vote, Again
So the House passed the conference report of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
No Republican votes again.
(Seven Dems voted no - Bright, DeFazio, Griffith, Minnick, Peterson, Shuler and Taylor. Dan Lipinski copped out and voted "Present." I'm assuming Peter DeFazio's was a protest vote against what he considered to be insufficient public transit spending in the bill.)
It's not their bill, so they really shouldn't be voting for it. But it's hilarious that Republicans think they're winning. They think that Judd Gregg is a modern-day folk hero for realizing 9 days late that he's a conservative and Obama's a Democrat. They think they're gaining credibility with the American people by peddling lies on the floor of the House (did he really just hold up a toy mouse?) and claiming that spending isn't stimulus. The actually think it's in their interest to sink the global economy.
Andrew Sullivan is succinct:
This much is now clear. Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. There are legitimate debates to be had; and then there is the cynicism and surrealism of total political war. We now should have even less doubt about what kind of people they are. And the mountain of partisan vitriol Obama will have to climb every day of the next four or eight years.
More here. I'm not surprised by it. They are bereft of ideas, and in a political climate that rewards day-to-day pugilistic nonsense over anything substantive, of course the GOP would measure themselves by news cycle wins and losses. It is beyond perverse, but considering the posturing for the future, the ability to nitpick the economy over and over through united opposition, it's completely expected.
Which is what progressives looking at Obama's efforts at bipartisanship have been saying from the beginning.
• What Obama did: Trusted Judd Gregg when he indicated that, “despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace and move forward with the president’s agenda.”
• What Obama got in return: A “change of heart” from Gregg, who said that he “couldn’t be Judd Gregg” at Commerce.
• What Obama did: Reached out to have dinner with right-wing pundits Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and David Brooks.
• What Obama got in return: A ripping from his right-wing friends, who called it the worst in “galactic history.”
• What Obama did: Tried to work with the House GOP by preemptively including tax cuts, stripping stimulative spending proposals, and attending their conference meeting.
• What Obama got in return: Zero votes (and a bunch of false myths about his plan)
• What Obama did: Tried to reach out to John McCain to work together on “solving our financial crisis.”
• What Obama got in return: Nothing. McCain voted against the legislation, and even went so far as to call it “generational theft” and hypocritically complained that it contained “corporate giveaways.”
There's no bargaining with the rump faction, and I think the White House is coming around to recognizing that. And perhaps there's some value in making the breaking of the extended olive branch very public and visible. And it's good to hear that future message won't be calibrated to the biorhythms of the Village:
Mr. Emanuel owned up to one mistake: message. What he called the outside game slipped away from the White House last week, when the president and others stressed bipartisanship rather than job creation as they moved toward passing the measure. White House officials allowed an insatiable desire in Washington for bipartisanship to cloud the economic message a point coming clear in a study being conducted on what went wrong and what went right with the package, he said.
This is kind of serious stuff. The global economic meltdown is now the biggest threat to the United States, so says the National Intelligence Director. We can't afford these neo-Hooverists, or the dynamic that empowers the Axis of Centrism. Best of luck to the Obama team to figure out a path forward.