Now that Barack Obama is the most successful Republican president since Ronald Reagan, the Republicans, in the deepest depths of their black-hearts, don't want to win elections any more. What do they gain by winning? Why not let a Democratic majority in Congress pass the Republican agenda of increasingly unpopular legislation? The Republicans can sit back and say, "Look what those Democrats did!"
Obama broke the UAW; Ronald Reagan couldn't do that. Obama turned the nation's health care crisis into a boon for health care corporations Richard Nixon couldn't do that. Obama lifted the deep water oil drilling ban. George W. Bush couldn't do that! Obama committed nine billion dollars in loan guarantees to private power companies to build nuclear power plants. Why in the hell would any right thinking Republican want to get this guy out of office?
Mama taught "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." I think the Republican strategy is "It's how you play the game that determines whether you win or lose." Could John McCain have enacted half of this agenda in eighteen months? All this and put Social Security and Medicaid in the butcher shop window?
So, if a blue dog Democrat votes with the Republicans most of the time, why are they still called Democrats? These people are the wild cards. The Democrats play the victim card and call the Republicans the party of no, but if the Republicans are the party of no then the Democrats should be called the party of show! The legislation to extend unemployment benefits died before the July fourth recess because Democratic Senator Ben Nelson voted with the Republicans!
The Democrats left the Senate chamber saying, "Oh, woe is me. We tried so hard but the party of no stopped us yet again." Had I been Harry Reid I might have had a word with Senator Nelson. "Ah, Ben, we need your vote on this one, and if we don't get it I'm afraid I'm going to strip you of your committee chairmanships and put you in charge of a new committee, the Tinker Toys, Rubik's Cube and diaper pail safety committee. What do you think, Ben?"
The plan is to devolve the political process down to good guys and bad guys, to break issues into sound bites covered in media sauce. The unemployment extension was a very cynical opening salvo for the November elections. It is the marching band and sequined drum majorettes marching across the field. Look what we did! We created a cruel and inhuman issue and then we solved it while marching into the shape of a sucker.
They fought for weeks over an unemployment extension but handed $37 billion to Afghanistan with barely a peep. They had to do this quietly because the war is increasingly unpopular but also because they had to cut domestic spending to do it. The bill offers up on the sacrificial altar $11.7 billion in rescissions or clawbacks of money already appropriated to other programs, not just from this year's budget but from next year's as well. That's $4.7 billion in savings from changes in mandatory programs and $7.1 billion in increased revenue! But wait, there's more! There's an additional $162 million for the Coast Guard to defray the cost of cleaning up Gulf oil spill the president said that PB would pay for.
With tax cuts on the lips of the administration and Congress, I'm left totally at a loss as to where those increased revenues are expected to come from. This is fantasy bookkeeping. Robbing Peter to pay Pentagon with an IOU, promising to pay back more next year. Meanwhile they manufacture a crisis at the expense of the unemployed and then solve it to make themselves look good. They let Snidely Whiplash tie poor Nell to the railroad tracks and then rescued her at the last minute as the train approached and the rag time piano plays in the background.
But if you're a Republican in a leadership position, what do you do? You can't just sit quietly for eighteen months. You can't say, "Well, he's really doing a heck of a job there!" So of course Republicans attack Obama, but they never attack him on the true issues. They attacked the GM bailout as socialism; the Carter administration made straight business loans to Chrysler in the 1980s but Obama bought stock in GM. Rather than a lender/lendee relationship the Federal Government is reduced to a mere stockholder. Socialism? Hardly. It's fascism, a corporatizing of government debt.
The Republicans slammed the Obama stimulus package publicly as too large and adding too much to the deficit, but they didn't slam the tax cuts. The US Chamber of Commerce agreed with the liberal side that the stimulus was too small and the Wall Street Journal wrote an Op Ed that agreed as well. We have seen repeated Republican attempts at silliness but they are quite serious. The more outlandish the Republicans become the more they guarantee Obama's reelection. That way they can please their base and pass their agenda without working up a sweat.
So Mitch McConnell can call to repeal the fourteenth amendment or Sarah Palin can call her Mama Grizzlies. This is show business for ugly people; nobody but nobody thinks that Sarah Palin is a serious candidate for any public office. Yet she is portrayed that way in the media nearly every day. When and where she speaks is covered as if we are in a heated campaign. When she misspeaks, which she is so often prone to do, it is covered as if a serious candidate just committed a major gaff. This woman is Joe the Plumber in pantyhose; she is a shiny thing like a set of keys to catch the baby's eyes. She reminds me of a joke I heard once.
It was closing time in the bar and the bartender told the three or four patrons to finish their drinks because he wanted to go home. One of the patrons went to the door and saw the police parked across the street.
"I'm not leaving with that cop parked over there. He's bound to stop me for sure!"
The other patrons agreed they wouldn't leave with that cop parked there either.
So the bartender says, "Okay, everybody out the back door and I'll go out the front and you wait until I pull off and then you leave."
The patrons waited out back and as the bartender came out the front door he began singing, "Her name was McGill but she called herself Lil, while everyone knew her as Nancy!" He staggered to his car and fumbled for his keys, dropping them twice. He got in the car and floored the engine then barked the tires as he took off.
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