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Even a blind pig finds a truffle every so often

Hell freezes over, and Mitch McConnell is right:

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants to slow consideration of an economic stimulus package that Democrats are hoping to send to President- elect Barack Obama soon after he takes office.

McConnell yesterday called for giving lawmakers and the public at least one week to review the legislation once it has been written. He said he wanted Senate committee hearings on the measure, rather than immediate floor consideration.

“A trillion-dollar spending bill would be the largest spending bill in the history of our country at a time when our national debt is already the largest in history,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement. “As a result, it will require tough scrutiny and oversight. Taxpayers, already stretched to the limit, deserve nothing less.”

Our government was designed to be deliberative. And the record of legislation passed NOW NOW NOW NOW -- from the AUMF, the Patriot Act, FISA [cough] reform MR SUBLIMINAL Thank you, President-elect Obama, for hammering another nail into the coffin of Constitutional government!, all the way to The Big Give to Hank Paulson's golfing buddies -- is a sorry record indeed. McConnell, though no doubt actuated by the basest of motives -- is right.

The House Republicans, despite being lunatics enthralled to dead economists, did the Lord's work when they held up the bailout bill, and when the process became deliberative, at least we got some minimal safeguards.

And we trust Harry and Leader Nance why, exactly?

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pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

we were at a dinner the other night, and the subject came up. We were talking about the deafness associated with the Bush administration and Congress. Both have refused to listen to the American people on important issues. Congress has passed legislation despite our protests in the form of emails, letters and phone calls. Their deafness reached a low point with the bailout vote.

Someone at the dinner said that the reason Congress voted yes was because the administration claimed that the economy would shut down and martial law would have to be declared if the bailout was not passed. I must have missed that when the legislation was being debated, but after googling, there were indeed stories about this from a few congressmen. Yes, it was fearmongering, but enough of them fell for it AGAIN! The fact that Paulson was given little accountability or oversight makes them even bigger asshats. Under Bush, Congress has become a mass of quivering jello, and the system of checks and balances has been tossed aside.

Now McConnell wants to slow down and be deliberative.

Oh brother.

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

I agree that we all ought to get a chance to see what trillions will buy, and to debate what is on the shopping list. We are not in that much of a hurry. However, what McConnell wants to do is delay and obstruct. So, along with the courage to open the process to the public, and even Republicans, our hopefully somewhat less quivering Congressional leadership needs to take a stand and use their authority to make the will of the majority prevail. I would love to see McConnell and company stomp their little feet, hold their breath until they turn blue, and otherwise engage in tantrums.

Submitted by lambert on

It was the Democrats who were all NOW NOW NOW (along with Bush and Paulson) on the bailout. The House Republicans, loons though they might be, called bullshit long and loud -- and I think we got a better bill.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

He doesn't give a damn about anything else.

The plan with this new stimulous plan is to use it for multiple objectives. One is the stated purpose, to inject money into the US economy in a way that reaches directly into the pocketbooks of working Americans. Secondly, the intent is to begin a reordering of governmental objectives, away from benefiting just the Top 1% and towards benefiting the whole of the population.

The third objective, not being openly discussed anywhere that I've read, is to use the bill to crack and destroy the residual power of the Republican senatorial caucus. That is what McConnell is trying to obstruct.

Even with new Senator Franken in place, the Republicans will hold enough seats to block anything they choose. The only reason Leiberman still has his committee spots is that he's promised to vote with the Dem caucus, but that still leaves Obama and the Dems one vote short of being able to force cloture and end a filibuster. McConnel has openly vowed to use his residual power to obstruct Obama and the Dems at every turn, and this is his first attempt.

The Dems are planning to use the stimulous bill to pry away two of the Republican caucus members (including a spare, in case one of them changes their mind). By shifting allocations of funding, they will favor two of the Republican senators and obtain their votes. By offering the bill at the last minute and calling for an immediate vote, they will not tip their hand as to who those two senators are until it is too late for McConnell to mount a PR campaign to drive them back under his control.

McConnell is demanding that the bill be made public and hearings held not so he can work for the betterment of Americans but so he can control the apportionment of funds. If the Republicans decide to allow the bill to be voted upon, he must have the decision be as a result of his horsetrading and his allocation of funds, not because of what Democrats have cobbled together. Unless he is the one to control the process, he has no power.

Myself, I am more than happy in the short term to take whatever risks are required to shatter the last bit of Republican federal political power. I hope the Democrats are resourceful enough to get the two votes they need, the votes that will break McConnell and the Republican caucus and render them utterly impotent.

Because it will only be then, when the Democrats no longer have to bargain with the Republicans, that the door will open for Progressives. So long as the power struggle is between Democrats and Republicans, the centrist forces within the Democratic caucuses are in control and Progressive causes will struggle. Once, however, the Republicans are no longer a force then the debate will be entirely within the Democratic caucus and the Progressive wing will have a strong say.

Oh, yes; this bit of revisionist history:

lambert: "The House Republicans, despite being lunatics enthralled to dead economists, did the Lord's work when they held up the bailout bill, and when the process became deliberative, at least we got some minimal safeguards." and " "It was the Democrats who were all NOW NOW NOW (along with Bush and Paulson) on the bailout. The House Republicans, loons though they might be, called bullshit long and loud -- and I think we got a better bill."

It was Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, Reid and Obama who insisted on the restrictions eventually imbedded in the TARP bill, not the Republicans. The Rs wanted more than anything to tie up the Dems in endless debate and keep them off the campaign trail; the Dems were indeed in a hurry, to get the damn thing done with and get back out to their campaigning. Nothing the Republicans did facilitated in any way the "better" bill.

l: "And we trust Harry and Leader Nance why, exactly?

Who says we should "trust" them? We shouldn't trust anyone. I want to get the damn Republicans out of the conversation, out of power and off into limbo. Then I want the Progressives in congress, and there are a few, to start negotiating with the conservatives in the Democratic caucuses and with Obama over how to divvy up the winner's spoils. That scenario doesn't require any trust, but it does require some hardball politics now to marginalize the Republicans. I say the Dems should do whatever it takes to fracture them, with my full blessing.

Submitted by lambert on

Once again:

Our government was designed to be deliberative. And the record of legislation passed NOW NOW NOW NOW -- from the AUMF, the Patriot Act, FISA [cough] reform MR SUBLIMINAL Thank you, President-elect Obama, for hammering another nail into the coffin of Constitutional government!, all the way to The Big Give to Hank Paulson's golfing buddies -- is a sorry record indeed. McConnell, though no doubt actuated by the basest of motives -- is right.

All I want for Christmas is Constitutional government again -- three branches, checks and balances, "ambition must be made to counteract ambition." Basic Civics 101 stuff.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Just a nice looking façade to cover the ugliness of our true governmental structure.

Sorry to dash your hopes, I'm a right bastard, I know. Happy New Year anyway, dear Fellow; may we all of us have a better year than the last one.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Why?

Not me, nor am I any sort of Reductionist. More to my taste are Michael Mann and Bill Domhoff, as far as they go, but maybe they bore you as well. Myself, I've never been bored; sounds dreadful.