February 12, 2009

More on Republicans and Obama

Apropos of Monk's most recent comment, this story about Judd Gregg suddenly withdrawing at Commerce supposedly over disagreements over the stimulus (which is essentially the same as when he offered himself for the job) and a difference of opinion on policy.

All due respect to Steve and LB (and any other conservatives reading this) but I don't buy it. I don't buy that Gregg didn't know what he was getting into when he signed up for this job. What I (and a lot of other people) think is that Gregg signed up for the job when bipartisanship was supposedly something that Republicans wanted to do. But since then, the Republicans seem to have decided they would rather let the economy tank than give credit to a Democrat. They have declared war on the new President, despite the fact that they lost the last election and Obama's poll numbers remain high. They have declared war on the President despite an economy on the brink of collapsing. They have put their own petty party loyalty ahead of the country.

Sorry, but this pisses me the hell off. And it pisses me off especially because I know a lot of Republicans who are more responsible and ethical than this, and I have no clue why they allow this kind of bullshit to represent their interests.

Personally, I hope the Republicans relegate themselves to a minority party for the rest of time. That would make me very happy right now. It wouldn't be best for the country, but then again, what do Mitch McConnell and Rush Limbaugh care about that?



steves said...

I'd like to believe that the Republicans are doing this out of some kind of ideological difference, but I am not sure. You may be right and my other Democrat friends are saying the same thing.

Cato Unbound has be doing a great discussion on bipartisanship. The original author makes a good point. To some degree, bipartisanship is overrated. If the Republicans truly don't think the stimulus plan is a good idea, then they shouldn't support it. OTOH, Obama should stop worrying about selling it to the Republicans. You won. Show some leadership and implement your ideas.

Streak said...

Steve, good point, though I think that Obama is trying to do just that. The irritating part is that when he asserts leadership, Republicans cry "partisanship."

I also have no problem with conservatives objecting based on ideology (though there is that pesky issue of driving the bus into the ditch and then claiming you know how to drive it out) but I don't trust that these Republicans are acting out of that kind of conviction. There was a quote somewhere from Gregg actually arguing for the basics in the stimulus as important. That was before the Rush Limbaugh branch knee capped him, I am afraid.

Principled opposition should be celebrated. But Republicans have (and I mean those in power in the leadership, not all Republicans) challenged the patriotism of critics when they were in charge, and demanded that their failed ideas be implemented regardless of the national vote or failure of those ideas previously.

It is enough to make me sigh some more. I keep wondering when the principled and thoughtful conservatives like you, Steve, will be in charge instead of those who grovel before Rush Limbaugh.

steves said...

It is enough to make me sigh some more. I keep wondering when the principled and thoughtful conservatives like you, Steve, will be in charge instead of those who grovel before Rush Limbaugh.

My single term on our neighborhood association board is my only foray into public office. I'd love to be a judge someday, though.

I think the Republicans are trying to establish some kind of post-Bush identity. I would have to say they aren't doing such a great job, from what I have seen. There are some good conservative and moderate/conservative voices in the blogosphere. I wish they were more active in Republican policy making. Until they get some smart people in policy making positions and leadership, they will deservedly languish in second place.

I turned on Rush the other day. I can't believe people want to listen to him. What a moron!

Streak said...

No argument there. On any of those points, but especially on Limbaugh. The fact that he is not some kind of guilty pleasure for Republicans instead of a quasi-leader is cause for concern.

Monk-in-Training said...

To reveal a bit about my self, I have been a Republican since I first voted for Gerald Ford. I was a big supporter of and volunteer for Ronald Reagan.

The Party changed during the Reagan years, there was a thought that they had to get tough and mean to win, at any cost. This was a policy espoused by Lee Atwater, which he later recanted on his deathbed and called a "tumor on the soul" of American Politics.

Then talk radio grew and I was a big Rush fan. Then Rush told of his THIRD marriage, where he cheated with a married woman and lured her away from her husband and children. That ended it for me, at nearly the same period Newt's serving of divorce papers on his wife (to leave her for a younger woman) while she was getting chemo shocked and ended my respect for him. Bit by bit the leaders of my Party's personal lives were ... somewhat less than worthy, lets say.

As time went on, Michael Spencer (aka Internet Monk) wrote some articles about how many conservative Christians were far more interested in Bill O'Rielly and Sean Hannity , et al than they were in the Scriptures. That made me sit up and realize, Chistianity is not an Ameriacn invention or political party. I found my party moving into an are that was not only intellectually vapid, but what I considered dangerous territory.

So, I remain a Republican but along with Andrew Sullivan, I am convinced they are now fighting for their political survival by opposing Pres. Obama, national interest be damned. They (or at least some of them) are actively working for him to fail, and the stimulus to fail.

I never thought I could be more unhappy with them after Pres. Bush, but it seems they are doing their best to become a regional has-been rump.


LB said...

I guess I'd disagree with your analysis that the Republicans would rather see the economy tank than give credit to a Democrat.

I saw on cnn.com (http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/09/poll.obama.stimulus/index.html?iref=newssearch) that support for the stimulus is a little more than 50 percent and among independents its right at 50%.

I think Republicans are opposed to the bill for three reasons. 1. Based on the poll above, its what their constituents want. 2. As a result of #1, they're playing politics. 3. They genuinely don't think it will stiulate the economy.

Point three is where the real debate is because the second point is alomst always true of almost every member of Congress regardless of party. When you look at exactly what is being done in this bill its hard to see it as a stimulus.

To me it looks more like life-support. The government will spend lots of money to provide basic jobs. But I don't think those relatively low-wage jobs are going to spark a reboot to the economy. If the root cause of the bad economy right now is somewhere in the credit/mortgage/financial industry, then I'm not sure how spending money on putting computers in classrooms stimulates the economy. Hence I think its more like life-support allowing people to continue on with assistance, but it doesn't give the economy the CPR paddles that it really needs. And I think that's how a lot of Republicans see it too.

What the CPR paddles are in this case, I don't know. Perhaps the economy isn't having a heart attack but has a cancer that requires lots of many different treatments. If that's the case then this stimulus bill shouldn't be the end of th debate (which sadly I think it will). There needs to be a serious debate from economists over whether or not government should continue to have Freddie and Fannie Mac and other related issues. That is where bipartisanship should really come in (on the debate, hearing from all kinds of economists), but I know it won't.

Sorry for the long post, but since I know you and I disagree philosophically, I try to make an intelligent comment which often takes me many more words than I would like.

Streak said...

Monk, I can appreciate your journey. I was not a volunteer for Reagan, but he was the first person I voted for.

LB, no need to apologize for a thoughtful comment. I do disagree with some assumptions, but have no problem with your contribution here. That is what this blog hopes to be.

I guess even in your analysis, there is this gaping huge problem. If the patient is having a heart attack, and there is a way to keep the patient alive until, perhaps his heart can respond to other signals, why not do it? Say that some of those initial efforts won't heal the patient, but they do keep the patient alive? Why not do that?

I also, as I have said many times, think that the Michael Steele "work v. jobs" distinction is really flawed. We are looking to keep people employed, or employ them so they can participate in the market. Period. The fact that those jobs may not last forever is not necessarily a bad thing. And in all of these spending that Republicans object to, they require people to work. They are not tax cuts that might end up in some savings account, or sent off to save a Nigerian prince. They are out there in the economy.

Will that be enough? I doubt it. Not from what I read. We need to actually do more than this 800 Billion to even get close, is what I am reading. But tax cuts won't do it--of that I am relatively sure, and not doing anything is going to make it last longer.

And finally, while I respect conservative principles, and principled conservatives, and really enjoy having thoughtful conservatives join us here at the blog, I do not consider the Republican leadership (at this time) to either be thoughtful or principled. After watching these same leaders bow and scrape for Bush and Rush, it is incredibly hard to take them serious now. They had no concerns about a 1.4 trillion dollar tax cut, and had no fiscal concerns about the lack of oversight in Iraq and with Haliburton (to say nothing of the Patriot Act, wiretapping, and torture). For these particular Republicans to stand up and claim to be concerned about responsibility begs credulity.

I don't think you are like that, LB. And I wish the grownup Republicans would stand up and speak instead of Rush Limbaugh bootlickers.

Monk-in-Training said...

Via Sam Stein @ Huffington Post.

Appearing on CNBC the day after he abruptly withdrew his nomination for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg made a rather blunt admission about the partisan intransigence that the Obama administration is forced to deal with.

From the transcript:

Carl Quintanilla: Well, Senator, since you were nominated it's become quite clear that the margin that the president is going to rely on in the Senate has come down to really three Senators."

Sen. Gregg: I think it's always been that margin.


Clearly, no matter WHAT Pres. Obama says or does, the Republican Party has no interest in coming together to save the Nation.