Barack Obama’s bipartisan honeymoon has ended even sooner than anyone expected - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Barack Obama’s bipartisan honeymoon has ended even sooner than anyone expected

The first ten days
Brief encounter

Jan 29th 2009
The Economist


Barack Obama’s bipartisan honeymoon has ended even sooner than anyone expected


EVERY incoming American president promises that he will reach across the aisle. Senators and congressmen, Republican and Democrat alike, join in the hymn to the virtues of bipartisan effort. This time was no different: everyone applauded when Barack Obama said from the steps of the Capitol that “the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” But, as usual, the stale political arguments have begun all over again.

Mr Obama set a cracking pace in his first days in office. He signed a lot of admirable orders, such as one closing Guantánamo within a year and others pushing for more fuel-efficient cars and ending the prohibition on sending aid to international organisations that provide abortion. He has buttered up the Republican minority in Congress, and they have gushed about how nice it is to work with him. Nonetheless, the first big partisan row of the new administration has already begun.

It concerns the new president’s plans for the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan”, the largest economic stimulus package ever devised: no less than $819 billion over the next two years in a bid to buoy up the shrinking economy and prevent the loss of millions of jobs. Many Republicans are worried about the hole this will make in the nation’s accounts. They note that plenty of pork has crept into the bill, and that it will be impossible to spend that much that fast. It also contains some protectionist nasties in the shape of “Buy American” provisions. The bill, they say, is just a sneaky way of achieving standard Democratic big-government aims.

A bit rich, the Democrats retort, coming from the party that inherited a healthy surplus from Bill Clinton and turned it, thanks to tax cuts unmatched by savings, into a fair-sized deficit even before the recession began to bite. And besides, what else do the Republicans have to offer as a solution to the mess their president created? (Not very much, is the sad truth.)

Visible party lines

On January 28th the stimulus bill passed in the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote. In principle, that means that it could die in the Senate next week, since the Democrats are currently two votes short of a filibuster-proof majority there. That seems unlikely: the Republicans will not want to be blamed for the recession. But it signals an early end to bipartisanship and bodes ill for the future of more difficult legislation, which will require a lot more co-operation.

Whom to blame for the breakdown? The stimulus row apart, the Republicans can claim to have behaved reasonably well, confirming Mr Obama’s appointments without much fuss, though they did try, unsuccessfully, to vote down his new treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, for failing to pay his taxes on time. Mr Obama, for his part, has offered a lot of fine words about bipartisanship but has not produced very much of it, preferring instead to deliver on cherished Democratic aims. The same holds for the stimulus plan. True, the package contains a large dollop of tax cuts: some $275 billion of the $819 billion comes in this form. But most of that was proposed long ago by Mr Obama on the campaign trail, and so can hardly represent an attempt to forge post-election consensus. The Republicans have been given little say in drafting the plan, and the Democratic majority has taken advantage of the rules of procedure to frustrate their attempts to amend it.

On the other hand, Mr Obama has been careful to drop a few of the least stimulative and most contentious items. And no one doubts that some form of big stimulus is urgently needed. The Republicans could equally be accused of playing a cynical game, voting against a package they know will pass in order to appear thrifty yet not risk being accused of sabotage. In other words: it’s politics as usual.


Copyright © 2009 The Economist
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 02:10 PM
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I don't think that a bill this difficult can be used as a gauge. There is going to be political posturing on this one, no matter what the final outcome is. Everyone will want soundbites to cover their ass in the 2010 elections.

The bipartisanship is going to come on the journeyman stuff.

And if it doesn't, I give it a better that 50% chance that the NeoCon block will pay badly for obstructionism in the next election. People don't like spoiled, sore losers and that is what the NeoCons base is starting to really look like.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 03:59 PM
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That article is quite possibly the most fair and balanced piece of writing I have read in the last couple of years.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 04:01 PM
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What? The Repugnants not approving any kind of tax payer funded bail out? What gives? Oh yeah... Democrap in the White House now.

Sad that it is this simple. Assholes them all.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 04:57 PM
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Visible party lines

On January 28th the stimulus bill passed in the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote. In principle, that means that it could die in the Senate next week, since the Democrats are currently two votes short of a filibuster-proof majority there. That seems unlikely: the Republicans will not want to be blamed for the recession. But it signals an early end to bipartisanship and bodes ill for the future of more difficult legislation, which will require a lot more co-operation.



Seems as though those Republicans with an actual population to reckon with see things a bit differently....



GOP governors press Congress to pass stimulus bill


By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy, Associated Press Writer – Sat Jan 31, 3:20 pm ET
Featured Topics:



NEW YORK – Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama's spending priorities.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state's share of the package.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist worked the phones last week with members of his state's congressional delegation, including House Republicans. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, the Republican vice chairman of the National Governors Association, planned to be in Washington on Monday to urge the Senate to approve the plan.

"As the executive of a state experiencing budget challenges, Gov. Douglas has a different perspective on the situation than congressional Republicans," said Douglas' deputy chief of staff, Dennise Casey.

Not a single Republican voted with the majority last week when the House approved Obama's $819 billion combination of tax cuts and new spending. The president's goal is to create or preserve 3 million to 4 million jobs.

Republicans led by House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio complained that the plan is laden with pet projects and will not yield the jobs or stimulate the economy in the way Obama has promised.

The measure faces GOP opposition in the Senate, where it will be up for a vote in the week ahead.

But states are coping with severe budget shortfalls and mounting costs for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. So governors, including most Republicans, are counting on the spending to help keep their states afloat.

This past week the bipartisan National Governors Association called on Congress to quickly pass the plan.

"States are facing fiscal conditions not seen since the Great Depression — anticipated budget shortfalls are expected in excess of $200 billion," the NGA statement said. "Governors ... support several key elements of the bill critical to states-increased federal support for Medicaid and K-12 and higher education; investment in the nation's infrastructure; and tax provisions to spur investment."


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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear View Post
I don't think that a bill this difficult can be used as a gauge. There is going to be political posturing on this one, no matter what the final outcome is. Everyone will want soundbites to cover their ass in the 2010 elections.

The bipartisanship is going to come on the journeyman stuff.

And if it doesn't, I give it a better that 50% chance that the NeoCon block will pay badly for obstructionism in the next election. People don't like spoiled, sore losers and that is what the NeoCons base is starting to really look like.
A lot of us don't like sore, vengeful winners, either.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 06:10 PM
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Does anyone else observe that the libs on BWOT are not stepping up to defend the particulars of the Porkulus bill? There were a couple of lame comments to help Pelosi connect condoms and economic recovery, but there hasn't been any real debate here.

BWOT libs are a bunch of wimps, it appears.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 06:19 PM
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 10:07 PM
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Does anyone else observe that the libs on BWOT are not stepping up to defend the particulars of the Porkulus bill? There were a couple of lame comments to help Pelosi connect condoms and economic recovery, but there hasn't been any real debate here.

BWOT libs are a bunch of wimps, it appears.
Well, unlike our NeoCon friends, we tend to wait until there is an actual BILL before we address its particulars. Right now we simply have the House version. The kids on the right have honed their laser focus on its hotbed of 0.2% of waste, saving us from having to address that.

Now, we will wait until the Senate Bill starts to gel and THEN is will be time to address just what the final bill that goes into the Conference Committee is going to look like. No sense yammering about stuff that may or may not actually exist in the final couple of cuts until we get to the final couple of cuts.

Some of us, however have read the House version so we are ready when it gets time.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2009, 10:11 PM
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Well, unlike our NeoCon friends, we tend to wait until there is an actual BILL before we address its particulars. Right now we simply have the House version. The kids on the right have honed their laser focus on its hotbed of 0.2% of waste, saving us from having to address that.

Now, we will wait until the Senate Bill starts to gel and THEN is will be time to address just what the final bill that goes into the Conference Committee is going to look like. No sense yammering about stuff that may or may not actually exist in the final couple of cuts until we get to the final couple of cuts.

Some of us, however have read the House version so we are ready when it gets time.
Still pushing that .02% thing? Prove it.

Yea, I'll bet you have read all 600+ pages.

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