Friday, January 30, 2009

Republicans Batting Zero

Not one single Republican voted for the bailout measure approved by the House Of Representatives. To be sure, there were portions of the bill which were objectionable to the Republicans, particularly since approximately $200 billion of the bill is likely to become a permanent part of the budget. But the funding for the birth-control information was deleted, which was a main sticking point in the craw of most Republicans. But not one, even one, Republican was able to vote for the bill? Sounds like a solid party line stance. To what purpose?

Congressman Boehner recently said that the Republicans can't be the party of, "No." The Republicans did come up with some counterproposals, mainly in the area of tax cuts. "Instead of a tax credit for individuals making $75,000 or less or families making less than $150,000, Republicans would like to reduce the tax rate by 5 percent on those Americans in the lowest tax brackets, from 15 percent to 10 percent and 10 percent to 5 percent." It's nice to see the Republicans focusing on tax cuts for people making moderate to low levels of income. This is certainly a change from the Bush administration era when Republican tax cuts were targeted for the wealthy. Well maybe the Republicans aren't batting zero, but they certainly aren't scoring any runs. Reducing taxes will help people, but it certainly won't turn the economy around. Nor is it certain that the Democratic sponsored legislation will either.

One potentially hopeful sign was that several Republicans had less than nice things to say about Rush Limbaugh. These comments came about the same time that President Obama told Republicans in Washington to stop listening to the right-wing talk show host. Rush Limbaugh then went on to say that "The president wants him (Limbaugh) to fail." This is all grist for Rush Limbaugh's mill because there is nothing he likes more than controversy, especially when it's about him. Rush Limbaugh is entirely about himself and gives new meaning to the words "self-absorbed."

There is some expectation that a few Republicans senators will vote for the bailout legislation. Heaven forbid! Recently Mitch McConnell, a key Republican leader in Congress, pointed out that the Republicans run the risk of becoming a regional party if they continue as they have during the Bush administration. Republicans are reputed to stand for less spending and smaller government. That's an interesting concept, because even Ronald Reagan, who said that "government is the problem not the solution" ended up with a larger bureaucracy at the end of eight years than he started with.

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