Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obstruction Junction

A version of the stimulus bill will pass in the Senate later today, it will then be sent to conference for a compromise with the House version. A preliminary vote had 61 Senators in favor, which includes the support of just three Republicans.

So, out of 219 Republicans on the Hill only three support a path to recovery endorsed by economists of all ideological stripes and the staunchly pro- business US Chamber of Commerce.

When Rush Limbaugh made waves with his "I want Obama to fail" boasts last month, I rolled my eyes and lamented the attention he received. But now, it seems that dangerous sentiment is something of the official position of the Republican party.

Republicans are in the midst of a kind of identity crisis, left to wonder how their "permanent majority" became so thoroughly dismantled. Apparently, many see the rising deficits and increased spending of the Bush years as he party's main problem.

Now, they've found ideological purity at a time when rapid spending of this type is exactly what our country needs.

Alas, this is not a genuine disagreement, but an attempt at sabotage through disingenious allegations of "socialism" and "partisanship" to score political points. This sort of gamesmanship is not new, but it's unfotunate to see it at such a crucial time for our country's near and long- term future.

Oh, and, lest you think Republicans are just purely obstructionist, their alternative? More tax breaks, beyond the $400+ bn guaranteed in the current versions (though that is mostly middle- class relief), and a battle to keep the president from instituting temporary CEO pay caps. Leave our infrastructure to crumble; do not create jobs directly; keep our buildings and schools and medical records inefficient and out of date.

But go and cut income taxes again, cause that worked out so well the last time.

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