Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Republicans against Obama and America

When no Republican member of the House voted for the "Stimulus Plan" President Obama and the rest of the country had more than a hint that bipartisanship wasn't in the air. The Senate response to the plan wasn't much better, and the necessary three Republicans to get 60 votes so that legislation could be passed were able to extract significant concessions from the Democrats. In the meantime Republican leaders went on weekend television, and talked to any media that was willing to listen, about the deficiencies and pork in the Democratic plan. To be certain there is more pork in the plan then the president would like, but for the first six years of the Bush administration an all out pig roast was held in Washington.

What's at stake? The economy and the next 10 or 20 years of the life of this country. What's the Republican response to the economic crisis? The Republican stimulus proposal focuses mainly on tax cuts and tax incentives. There is little, if anything, in the plan to address the fact that the major banks of this country are on the verge of collapse. There is also little in the plan to address the issue of a still mostly frozen lending system. How do the Republicans address the fact that major companies are on the verge of bankruptcy? Economic Darwinism.

The mantra of preserving the free market system lost any meaning when the major banks and financial institutions of this country created trillions of dollars of toxic assets instead of profits. It's amazing how they blame this on Barney Frank. It's as if the Republicans are living on another planet, or see the world so differently that they just don't get it. It's the economy stupid! The Republicans are also busy rewriting the history of the Great Depression. The Republicans are saying that everything Franklin D. Roosevelt did to get the country out of the Great Depression failed. There isn't time or space to get into a debate on this issue, but a lot of books are going to need rewriting to match the new Republican version of history.

The Republicans left in Congress are ideologues who have a particular view of the way society and the economy often function. Their lack of pragmatism hinders their ability to see a variety of alternatives as well as the true nature of the problem. President Obama should quietly bury his bipartisan plans for the present time and get on with the business of trying to prevent a severe recession from becoming a depression.

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