Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Stupid Internet Explorer. Don’t mind the fact that this first published with no content. It must be a Con.

Let us begin with some heavyweight support for my assessment that the GOP is acting like a bunch of screaming infants at a time when the country’s needing some adults to keep the economy from going all the way down:

Following up on Rep. Barney Frank’s argument connecting war spending with stimulus spending, the New York Times’ Frank Rich raised a good point yesterday that policymakers should keep in mind this week.

The current G.O.P. acts as if it — and we — have all the time in the world…. The party’s sole consistent ambition is to play petty politics to gum up the works. […]

The nightmare is that we have so irrelevant, clownish and childish an opposition party at a moment when America is in an all-hands-on-deck emergency that’s as trying as war. To paraphrase a dictum that has been variously attributed to two of our most storied leaders in times of great challenge, Thomas Paine and George Patton, the Republicans should either lead, follow or get out of the grown-ups’ way.

I argued over the weekend that the political world has been looking at the stimulus debate the wrong way, inasmuch as many believe it’s President Obama’s job to make far-right lawmakers happy. But Rich’s point is even more important: we’re dealing with an “emergency that’s as trying as war,” except the minority party isn’t treating it as such.

No, they’re treating it as an opportunity to play the obstructionist card. What they think this will gain, I do not know.

For all the talk of bipartisanship in Washington, it’s clear that Cons and their enablers have no fucking clue what it means. Let’s just have a look at what they assume “bipartisanship” to be, shall we?

David Broder, appearing on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC program this morning, wants the public to know that “bipartisanship” is all the rage inside the Beltway these days — as indeed it has been for as long as we can remember. What does “bipartisanship” mean? It means believing right-wing nonsense and treating it as credible:

Mitchell: I’ve read a lot, and talked to a lot of people, and heard a lot of debate about the stimulus package, and reasonable people on both sides — conservatives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, economists — aren’t really sure what’s gonna work and how it’s gonna work. What are the risks here in taking it all on? I mean, Alice Rivlin, who created the Congressional Budget Office, has written, importantly, that she would separate out what is job-creating, what is stimulus, and look at the bigger-ticket items down the road. Um, how do they know? How does the president know what he’s getting into here?

Broder: Ah, nobody knows, because this is uncharted territory. There are plenty of smart people who purport to understand the dynamics of the economy, but as we know, the first effort at stimulus did not achieve the expected results. So this is a gamble. It’s a big gamble for the country, it’s much better off if it includes the best thinking that’s available in both parties, not just one party.

As dday astutely retorts:

Um, sir, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FIRST STIMULUS WAS? It was a 100% tax rebate along the lines of the sum total of the thinking of one party. In fact, the “best thinking” of those people now is to weight the stimulus down with – wait for it – tax cuts, which would cost three times as much as the current plan because they want the tax cuts to be permanent, which is an even worse stimulus (There’s also the point that the Republicans would push more people onto the Alternative Minimum Tax and actually RAISE taxes for the middle class while dropping them for the rich, but that’s normal and besides the point I’m trying to make).

So, according to Broder, because a 100% tax rebate didn’t work, we have to come up with a “bipartisan” approach that includes the ideas of those who prefer what amounts to a… 100% tax rebate.

This is idiocy, and suggests one of two things: either most of the Beltway is trying to protect the assets of the rich, or they actually don’t know the meaning of the word “stimulus.”

Well, considering how clueless they are on the meaning of “bipartisanship…”

There’s also the fact that they tend to have a very hard time reading reports truthfully:

Last week, House Republicans offered a tax-cut heavy alternative economic recovery plan that they claimed would create 6.2 million jobs. The conclusion was based on a distortion of past research done by Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer. Over the weekend, Berkeley economist Brad DeLong obtained Romer’s response to the GOP’s misuse of her work. “Romer’s view is that the House analysis is absolutely incorrect,” said the White House talking points:

Question: The House claims that based on the research of CEA Chair Christy Romer, their plan would create 6.2 million jobs. Isn’t that a more effective way of jumpstarting the economy?

Answer: The Republican House analysis is flat wrong in its claim that the House Republican stimulus is more effective. No matter what your analytical assumptions, as long as they are consistent the plan the President supports would result in substantially greater job creation than the House Republican plan.

Being flat wrong never stopped them from flat-out lying before…

Part of what’s driving this current runaway train of abject stupidity is probably the base. Y’see, most of the sane people have already abandoned the GOP, leaving the batshit insane ones to vote:

What happens when conservative Republican policymakers fail and get thrown out of office? GOP voters want to see the party move even further to the right.

Coming off a shellacking at the polls in November, the plurality of GOP voters (43%)
say their party has been too moderate over the past eight years, and 55% think it should become more like Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the future, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just 24% think failed presidential candidate John McCain is the best future model for the party, and 10% are undecided.

Only 17% of Republican voters say their party has been too conservative, and 30% say its actions and positions have been about right, with nine percent (9%) not sure.

Now, I can understand rank-and-file Republicans feeling reluctant to consider McCain a “future model” for the GOP. As Atrios noted this morning, “The dude lost Indiana. No one cares what he thinks.”
But the fact that a majority of Republicans want to see the party emulate Sarah Palin suggests the 21st-century GOP probably should get used to the wilderness for a while.

And we should get very used to the miniority party being a bunch of raving fucktards, or having to pander to same. Fantastic.

Will Sarah Palin actually save the Con party? It seems rather like she wants very little to do with it at the moment:

The Note reported over the weekend that in planning for their annual winter retreat, House Republicans “extended an invitation to Alaska Gov. Sara Palin, hoping the party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee would give a morale-building speech.” Palin declined the invitation because “pressing state business made it impossible for her to leave Alaska.” Her excuse, however, was a lie:

So where is Palin this weekend? She’s in Washington, D.C., attending the super-elite Alfalfa Dinner.

“She lied to us,” said a Republican at the retreat.

I don’t know why this comes as such a shock to them. She spent several months doing nothing but lying on the campaign trail – it seems to be a tic, something she just can’t help. And yet: she’s their future.

As Steve quoted Kevin Drum saying, “Sarah Palin isn’t the future of their party, she’s the future of mine.”

You betcha. *wink*

Happy Hour Discurso
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