We are not yet a month into President Obama's first term, and the bipartisan spirit he promised has come to its ultimate demise. Despite our president's meetings with Republican members of Congress and his allowance of Republican tax cuts into the stimulus, they are setting him up for failure, in hopes their stonewalling of his policies will equate to 2010 gains in the House and Senate and, ultimately, a 2012 gain in the presidency.
First, right wing talk entertainer Rush Limbaugh made claim that he hopes "[Obama] fails."- No surprise there. This is a man who earns a living making controversial statements. His ratings and salary are dependent on getting people to listen in hopes those statements will become even more controversial. Once it was leaked that President Obama told Republicans he'd invited to the White House, "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,"- it was obvious the radio entertainer would try to manipulate the statement to create his signature professional wrestling atmosphere against the president.
Representative Phil Gingrey, in a rare showing of congressional fortitude, told Politico.com that Rush Limbaugh and other conservative leaders are able to "stand back and throw bricks"- but don't offer any real leadership. Gingrey then stated a retraction and said, "I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh."- He called into Limbaugh's show with a note of apology, stating, "I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday."-
Bipartisanship? I don't think so. And Gingrey is not alone.
The stimulus bill, which passed in the house with no Republicans voting yea, is destined for the same future in the senate. Republicans Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint have stated there will likely be 100 percent Republican opposition to the bill. Senator Grassley of Iowa already plans to filibuster the bill, should it not receive 60 votes. Both James Inhofe and Jeff Sessions have implied they will join the filibuster.
Former Republican Presidential candidate McCain has also decried the bill, stating by email to his supporters, "The proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans."- McCain also reduces the argument to his past-failed talking point: Too much spending.
McCain's comments come in spite of the package's $500-per-worker tax break and German Marshall Fund fellow Dan Morgan's call that the $819 billion will revive middle and lower-income America, who have been hit hardest by the economic crisis. McCain campaigned for president promising $45 billion in tax breaks for America's 200 largest corporations--and now he opposes similar giveaways Obama put in the bill to appease Republicans such as McCain.
McCain also fails to note that the GOP's only alternative to the plan is Jim DeMint's "American Option: A Jobs Plan That Works.' This plan would cost $3.1 trillion over 10 years, more than 3.5 times the cost of Obama's.
And McCain, McConnell, DeMint: They're not alone.
The list goes on. And it is not short. Congressional Republicans and their colleagues in the media and political entertainment industry, while responsible for supporting the measures that have put us in this financial crisis, seem to be banking on Obama's idea that "Things are going to get worse before they get better."- They will oppose any bill President Obama and the Democrats propose and support. They will kiss the rings of their radio entertainers. They will do this so they can blame the other side when Americans aren't Scrooge McDuck-ing in their pools of gold by 2010.
The only way for Americans to forget about the last eight years of government failure is to watch the next two, four, and eight fail even worse. Most politicians will not come out and say it as Limbaugh did, but will rather act on it in the form of a vote. They will use cheap political stunts, such as inviting Samuel "Joe The Plumber"- Warzelbacher--the man who became a celebrity by conveniently showing up on his own lawn and attracting a nickname that falsely assumed his profession--to a Republican senate meeting on the stimulus, in hopes it will attract attention.
The American people did not vote for Limbaugh, "Joe The Plumber"-, or John McCain in the 2008 elections. We voted for Democratic rule and a change from the past 8 years. Obama may be right in telling Republicans that you can't just listen to Rush, but he also must understand that you can't be bipartisan when the other side is partisan.