BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
The Republican Leadership–They Just Don't Get it
It is completely unconscionable how far the Republican leadership has strayed from anything resembling responsible governance. While they thrive on their claim of patriotism, their petulant obstructionism during one of the most serious financial crises in American history betrays a total disregard for this nation, and an absolute disdain for the American people. Their childish behavior is nothing short of political malfeasance.
But true to form, they claim that their attempt to sabotage President Obama's rescue program is for America's own good. They claim that they're concerned about reckless spending, and the huge debt that the president's initiative is going to leave our children. But that claim is disingenuous on it's face. Where was that concern when they literally threw away a trillion dollars, off budget, in Iraq–a meaningless war that only served to enrich Republican cronies, and has caused so much wear and tear on the U.S. Military, that it's going to cost us an additional trillion in order for the nation to recover.
And where was Republican fiscal responsibility when they committed to building an embassy in Iraq that's rivaled only by the Vatican in terms of size and opulence? The embassy that was originally budgeted to cost 592 million to build is now estimated to cost $736 million at last count, due to the shoddy workmanship of the Asian labor force imported to do the work--Bush spent all of that money and the fire suppression systems didn't even work. It is by far the largest embassy in the world, built on 104 acres of land, and it has been estimated that it is going to cost a billion dollars a year to maintain.
The Republican Party's fiscal responsibility also seemed to be missing in action when, according to a Washington Post article, the Defense Department's inspector general says that the Pentagon "cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort." And the article goes on to indicate that "The Pentagon did not have the proper documentation, including receipts, vouchers, signatures, invoices or other paperwork, for $7.8 billion that American and Iraqi contractors were paid for phones, folders, paint, blankets, Nissan trucks, laundry services and other items." The article also points out that "the inspector general found deficiencies in accounting for $5.2 billion of U.S. Payments to buy weapons, trucks, generators and other equipment for Iraq's security forces. In addition, the Defense Department spent $1.8 billion of seized Iraqi assets with "absolutely no accountability."
But now that it comes to rescuing the American people, the Republican Party has all of a sudden found Jesus. And just as suddenly, now that they're in the minority, they also see a moral imperative for bipartisanship. This, from the party that forced Democratic lawmakers to meet in the basement when Republicans were in the majority.
Now that they're in the minority, they seem to be fully embracing Rush Limbaugh's position that "There is no bipartisanship in President Obama's plan. President Obama's definition of bipartisanship is when Republicans cave and agree with his plan so he can then claim it's bipartisan." Limbaugh goes on to say;
"Mine is a genuine compromise. So let's look at how the vote came out, shall we? Fifty-three percent of voters in this country -- we'll say, for the sake of this proposal, 53% of Americans -- voted for Obama. Forty-six percent voted for Senator McCain, and 1% voted for wackos. Let's give the remaining 1% to President Obama, so let's say that 54% voted for President Obama and 46% voted for Senator McCain. As a way to bring the country together and at the same time determine the most effective way to deal with recessions, under the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009, $540 billion of the one trillion will be spent on infrastructure as defined by President Obama and the Democrats. The remaining $460 billion, or 46% that voted for Senator McCain, will be directed towards tax cuts, as determined by me."
Someone needs to point out to Limbaugh and the Republican leadership that their newly embraced idea of bipartisan governing is un-American. They're proposing another form of government–a coalition government--and that's not how we do things in the United States. If we did govern in that manner, however, Al Gore would have controlled the government after the 2000 election. After all, he did win the majority of the votes.
As usual, Limbaugh's retreaded, Republican answer for everything is tax cuts for the rich. But we've been down that road before, several times, and it's always been a disaster. Why should we give the very same people who recklessly wasted the initial bailout money even more tax cuts?
The fact is, this Republican plan, as all Republican plans, is nothing more than yet another attempt to undo the New Deal. The Republican Party's only reason for being for the past seventy years has been to reverse the provisions of President Franklin Roosevelt's landmark legislation that literally rescued Americans from having to sell apples on the street to survive. But the New Deal is much too popular to be successfully attacked legislatively, so the neo-cons decided to use this farce of a war in Iraq to both rob the American people of the means to fund the programs created by the New Deal, and at the same time, enrich themselves beyond measure. But their greedfest got out of hand, as it always does (see Ronald Reagan disaster), which led directly to our current condition.
The Republican stimulus plan is ridiculous on it's face. In short, it's a scam. Fact: No one is going to create jobs until the average American has enough money to purchase what is produced. It is that fact has always made Republicans miserable failures in managing the economy, going all the way back to the Great Depression.
So why should we listen to Republicans? Why should President Obama even consider allowing people who lost their own child for child abuse to become foster parents? If it was up to me, I'd relegate them to the basement. That's the only good idea they've had in seventy years.
Eric L. Wattree
A moderate is one who embraces truth over ideology, and reason over conflict.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
Posted by Eric Wattree at 6:47 AM