Thursday, January 29, 2009


One can only admire the obstinacy of House Republicans, not one of whom voted for the stimulus package – despite the election, despite public opinion, despite Obama’s popularity, despite everything. When not just repeating the old shibboleths about the evils of taxing and spending, they justify themselves with arguments that are, at best, borderline incoherent. The latest version: that there isn’t enough spending on “infrastructure,” though there is also, somehow, too much spending and not enough tax cutting. In a word, they’re idiots. But they know how to leverage their power.

That’s what they did back in the early days of the Clinton administration. It’s how we got the Contract (with/on) America, and how the likes of Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich got to be so powerful. Their positions were no more coherent then, though they were more in tune with the Zeitgeist of that still Reaganite era. Nevertheless, they were able to take power and hold onto it until 2006, doing untold damage – in accord with the wishes of their benighted “base.”

If only the POP, the Party of Pusillanimity (or, equivalently, Pelosiism) was similarly diabolical! We might then have been spared some of the wreckage of the past two years; we might even have been relieved of Cheney and Bush a few months earlier. But, of course, that was out of the question – not only because the Democrats have a tradition of abject cowardice, but also because many of the new additions to their Congressional ranks –for example, New York’s (actually David Patterson’s) new Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand -- were Rahm Emanuel recruits, with views even farther than usual to the right of the Democratic “base.”

But the so-called Progressive Caucus was another matter. They could easily have done what the Gingrich-Armey gang did. But, for that, they’d have had to have broken free from the Pelosiites, and defied their erstwhile Progressive Caucus colleague, Nancy Pelosi. They were too dense or too nice or both. Finally now, at least the House Judiciary Committee, with John Conyers in the lead, is showing a little more backbone: they are investigating Bush era Justice Department abuses, and they’ve issued a subpoena for Karl Rove! Lets hope they don’t back down. More importantly, lets hope Barack Obama and Eric Holder don’t make them back down. By early next week, when "Bush's brain" is scheduled to testify (under oath!), we’ll see which way the wind is blowing.

Meanwhile, Obama seems to be turning into the anti-Gingrich by making unprecedented gestures of “niceness,” and self-defeating concessions, to his obstreperous, and not particularly loyal, opposition. Maybe there’s some shrewdness behind the madness. More likely, Team Obama is still in the campaign rut – going after the moronic middle that thinks (if that’s not too strong a word!) that “bipartisanship” will make everything right.

To this, the “base” that put Obama in office and gave him a mandate for “change” should say with one voice – “enough already. Mister President, everybody who will ever like you already does. If the election were held today, you’d double your landslide. So stop campaigning and start governing.” Step number one: learn from the GOP. They have no defensible principles and no coherent strategy. But because they are mean sons of bitches who know no scruples, they are and always have been tactical geniuses. Now is the time to be like them – to put away childish, “bipartisan” things, so that, as your choice for invocation speaker, His Holiness Reverend Rick, might say, “thy will be done.”

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