Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

GOP Scorpions and Democratic Tortoises

This is a time for mixed metaphors. As the House was voting on the stimulus bill yesterday, Minority Leader John Boehner held up his hand with thumb and forefinger to create a zero, indicating the number of Republicans who would back the bill.

He might have done better with a V for pyrrhic victory.

We are in tortoise-and-scorpion territory here, with the GOP willing to drown both themselves and Democrats in the economic flood by doing what is in their nature--ideologically stinging the bearers of government spending as they try to prevent impending disaster.

Imperfect as the House bill is, the unanimous vote against it signifies Barack Obama's failure to get a serious bipartisan dialogue going there over the relative efficacy of spending vs. tax cuts, neither of which is guaranteed to reverse the economy's freefall. (Conservative economist Martin Feldstein, among others, has ideas that seem to be worth consideration.)

The President keeps inviting such engagement, as he did in response to the House vote last night:

“I hope that we can continue to strengthen this plan before it gets to my desk,” he said. “But what we can’t do is drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way. We must move swiftly and boldly to put Americans back to work, and that is exactly what this plan begins to do.”

The hope now for urgent debate needed over specific measures is in the Senate, where Mitch McConnell, with a six-year lease on his seat, seems more willing to work with Democrats than Boehner and his crew, whose eyes seem to be firmly fixed on the 2010 elections.

Their unanimity is impressive, but they could turn out to be lemmings headed for a seaside vacation.


jf said...

Martin Feldstein has served on the board of directors at AIG for the last 20 years. His credibility's questionable, at best.

Sonam said...

This is what House Republicans are looking for from Obama:

knatoli said...

Yes, very powerful image here. What has happened seed did we sow to reap this vicious form of leadership inside the Republican party?