Monday, March 9, 2009


Another month of enormous job losses. Over four million lost since the beginning of the recession. Fear, trembling, panic.

And still, all we get from the Republicans in Congress is obstruction and idiocy. John (Don't-pronounce-it-like-it-looks) Boehner calls for a government spending freeze for the rest of the year. This is the quality of their leadership, the best of their ideas. Even more dumbfounding is the lack of commentary in the media pointing out how stupid it is. It's like the emperor and his clothes: no one is willing -- no one of importance, anyway -- to stand up and say the guy is a f*cking moron. (Well, actually David Brooks, medium-coherent conservative depending on which direction he's bouncing on the I like Obama I hate Obama seesaw he's been of late, said something, three days after I started writing this.) (And, it seems, I'm not the only one who thinks this way. [May I also say I write many of these posts ahead of time. This was finished before I came upon the linked commentary. With which I wholeheartedly agree.])

As is obvious from my writing, I simply can't get my mind around it. In the greatest economic crisis since the Depression (and who knows where the bottom is?), you'd think all parties would work to find solutions. And you'd think that even those who disagree with Obama's approach would at least allow that he's making an honest attempt. But no. It's politics beyond usual. And the noise machines have ramped up the vitriol to frightening levels. And that I mean most literally. Abandoning even the prior pretense of "fairness and balance" (yeah, like "murder" means massage, "sunbeam" means soupbowl), Fox News announces a fight to the death (which could turn out to be true) with Obama. Morning to night, there's no lie too big to spread, no dire motive too insane to attribute. He's trying to destroy us! He's making up the crisis!! He wants to take over as a permanent dictator!!! He hates successful people!!!!

Under George Bush, the prevailing ethic was no-holds-barred greed and wealth aggregation in the few at the top. Some people made out like crazy and, obviously, didn't care a bit about the hole that was being dug for everyone else. What kind of idiot worries about a false economy if they're doing great? Who cares about the meaning of patriotism and country, if they're just words to allow obfuscation? So it's hard, even for a non-cynical soul like me, not to believe that this furious resistance is only about preservation of their riches and power, and not at all about what they think is right for the country. Showing absolutely no desire to help, their cynicism and unchecked self-interest is breathtaking. Their willingness to do and say anything, no matter how outrageous or self-evidently false is of unimaginable scope. An entire party, with a single mind, has decided not to help in any way, in a time of undeniable need. Not only not help: to apply effort only to destruction, without advancing a single useful idea.

In fairness, to do otherwise would require a complete rethinking of their paradigm; it would mean a shift from thinking only of self, to believing that there's merit in considering the country as a whole. That being only very rich instead of immeasurably rich could have long-term trade-offs that would be worthy.

(When the Seattle Mariners offered A-Rod a mere eighteen million a year, he felt disrespected, and went away and took steroids.)

Where's the outrage? Where's the so-called liberal press calling it what it is? Stupid, empty, hyperpartisan. Dangerous, destructive, unhelpful. Insane.

After 9/11, which was not anywhere near the threat to our survival that the current economic crisis is, Democrats -- who were in the minority in both houses of Congress -- rallied around the president. For whatever wrong reasons, many of them voted to authorize the Iraq invasion. They worked on and agreed to the ironically named "Patriot Act." Common peril led to common effort. Misguided, credulous, poorly conceived; but common effort. President Bush, it was believed by all, was doing what he thought best for the country. Until it was obvious the war was a disaster, and that Bush had taken advantage of the crisis to advance a very dangerous theory of presidential power*, there was broad support of his efforts to respond to the terrorist attack, setting aside misgivings and giving benefit of doubt. But that was Democrats. You know, the party that blames America first, according to Bill O'Reilly. That hates their country, according to Sarah Palin.

The contrast, in this crisis, with Republicans in the minority, is striking, and deeply disturbing. Among the entire lot of them in Congress, there were only three willing to help. Among the shouting class, and their propaganda machine, not a single one. Before a nickel of the stimulus money was spent, there was universal resistance and condemnation. Hope for failure. Only the most horrible of motives have been ascribed to President Obama. There's absolutely no evidence of desire to help the country; only to continue to help themselves to the spoils. Except for Democrats, among those who have means there is no willingness to give up anything for the greater good. None. It's astounding.

And devastating. We're irreparably broken politically, and it will kill us.

Where did the patriots go? What happened to love of country among those who claim to own it? Only when it can be used to enrich themselves is the concept of use to them. Sacrifice? Pitch in? Compromise? I spit on your sacrifice, I reject your call for common effort and common ground. I have principles.

Principles. What are they, exactly? And where were they for the last eight years?

*Talk about irony: commonly repeated with horror, from the right, is Rahm Emanuel's statement that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. Which is exactly what Bush did with 9/11, trying to turn a presidency on the rocks after nine short months, into a monarchy. But hypocrisy is the mother's milk of politics.


  1. I just wanted to do a drive-by comment to say I really enjoy reading your blog. It's kind of soothing to read the same things I am thinking, expressed better than I can express them--especially when I read the news and feel like I was perhaps abducted by aliens and plopped down into a bizarro society that looks like Earth but ... isn't. I hope you have decided this blog is worth keeping up--I would miss it if you quit.

  2. In middle school, me and my friends were playing kickball instead of handball because it included more people and it was more fun. The kid who suggested handball got so mad that we didn't want to play his game that he took the ball and kicked it over the fence so no one could play. I think he's a Republican, no joke.

  3. Your point seems to be that doing something, anything at all, is good. That there's no need to consider whether Obama's solution is the right one, or if a better one could be found.

    Here's a good opinion in Newsweek:

  4. @ Beer Bottle: "Your point seems to be that doing something, anything at all, is good. That there's no need to consider whether Obama's solution is the right one, or if a better one could be found."

    Another salient feature of the modern GOP: poor-to-nonexistent reading comprehension.

  5. Beer Bottle,

    No, what he is saying is that the only thing to do is what he thinks. If he doesn't agree, it's wrong. He's a surgeon you know.

  6. BB: In referring to Samuelson's article, I conclude you agree with me that Obama should be raising taxes more, and more broadly. Good for you.

    And, no, quite obviously my point is not that doing "anything" is good. It's that Obama is working on solutions and Congressional Rs and their screaming enablers are working only on obstruction, calling overtly for failure rather than offering alternative solutions or pitching in. It's a strange policy. If he indeed fails, they could get blame for not helping. And if he succeeds, they're toast. Toastier even than they are now.

    But when your quiver is empty, I guess all you can do is throw the bow.

  7. Oh man, now we have another anonymous -- or is it the same one. Can you useless commenters who prefer only snark to actual contribution (not unlike the Congressional Rs and their screaming enablers) please take one extra second and put an initial or something at the end of your post? So I know which stupidity to address or ignore?

  8. You talk about Republican obstruction--but what has been obstructed? Obama has gotten everything he's wanted. He got his cabinet choices through--as many as he's actually nominated. Not the Republicans' fault that many "withdrew".

    The Republicans can't stop anything at this point. If they thought Obama had the right plan, they would sign on. If they don't go along with it, it's hardly their fault if it fails. They only approve/disapprove. They don't make it happen.

    If it fails, it's all Obama's. If it succeeds, it's all his also.

  9. Again, why do you need the Republicans to go along? all ya need is %50 + 1... Yeah, I know you need 60 to stop a Filibuster but even thats BS, all it takes is 50 + 1 to bring something up for a vote...that Nuclear Option if the D's would grow a pair...and while we're questioning each others Patriotism, it was only your Hero FDR's lettin the Japs bomb Pearl Harbor that ended the Depression anyway... might want to stay away from Hawaii this December...

  10. BB: first, it's not true that he can get anything he wants. In the House, perhaps. In the Senate, clearly not.

    As to obstruction, I mean fighting, saying no to, decrying, lambasting everything he says and does while offering no useful alternatives. Inflaming. It's just a matter of whether they succeed in obstructing, clearly; it's a matter of what path they've chosen, and for what reasons.

    I've said before: I think the body politic is best served by having two credible parties. I've said I wished the Rs would have leaders who'd like to help, who'd put forth credible ideas. As opposed to rallying behind a talk-show host, while providing idiotic ideas of their own. It does them harm, and, in fact, all of us.

  11. Colbert sums up my attitude towards Faux News, talk radio, and the Republican Party. On his show, he plays a clip of Hannity opining that Rush Limbaboon is the leader of the conservative movement in the country.

    Colbert then comments; "To warrant obsequious crap-licking like that, jhe [Hannity] must have said something terrible, like 'The vacuum in Republican leadership has allowed a mean-spirited, lard-ass talk radio mind corpse to become defacto leader, which is turning an already crippled party into a bickering laughingstock'".

    Well, yeah. There is a segment of the population that eats the noise machine's crap up with a spoon. That's why Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, and Faux News exist; they fill the MDA of craptastic misinformation required by these folks to maintain their optimal state of wingnutty health.

  12. In any case, what do we have as an alternative to Obama's plan? The R's offer NOTHING.

    BB, do you have any idea what we should do, since you don't think the new New Deal is the right thing? If so, you're way ahead of the Republican leadership and the right-wing pundits.

    I'm serious here. Where is the constructive debate? What should we do? And what might be the consequences of doing nothing?

  13. But the Rs did put forth their own proposal--a smaller ($280 B, maybe) stimulus that spent all the money early on and didn't mess with all the stuff years away. In short, what we need now, not what Dems would like later and forever.

    Their proposal was slapped down. Never really even discussed.

    What has Obama wanted that he hasn't gotten? And whose fault is it?

  14. "After 9/11, which was not anywhere near the threat to our survival that the current economic crisis is, Democrats -- who were in the minority in both houses of Congress -- rallied around the president. "

    This expresses, with crystal-clarity, the problem with the Republican party. They are not truly interested in serving the needs of their country. That there are other issues more urgent than their incredibly narrow dreams is beyond their perception.

    They should be ashamed of themselves, and so should Americans who allow and encourage this reckless childishness.

  15. Yes, BB, but it was $445 billion. And it involved . . . you guessed it, tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts. Also $11 billion to push mortgage rates down to 4%. I guess they didn't get the memo that lots of us, at least the ones with good credit, already have those mortgages. Well, I take that back, mine's at 5%. Still, hard to see how they'd make that work; just sounds like another "them as has, gets" thing to me.

    No infrastructure projects. Not much other than tax cuts.

    Y'all can read about it here. Or here.

  16. Y'all Won, so go ahead and...
    1: Close Git-mo, whats takin so long??..
    2: Surrender in Iraq, see #1
    3: Legalize SSM, all it takes is a Presidential Order, and no, its not for me..
    4: Lift the Ban on Stem Cell Research...OH, he DID that one, maybe Christopher Reeves will walk again, and Yeah, I know he's dead..

  17. BO can't close Gitmo until he has all his other options ready:,0,7548176,full.story


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