laissez-faire capitalist policies of the Reagan Revolution fulfilled to their utmost degree by Junior Bush's administration, our economic house is ablaze. Soaring unemployment, home foreclosure rates that are through the roof, banks and venerated financial firms collapsing... I could go on all day.
So, here we are, in this quagmire, bereft of any resources to deal with the crisis other than the full faith and credit of the federal government, and the troglodyte Republican leadership has the unmitigated gall to whine that running a federal deficit is fiscally irresponsible. This is the party that wiped out the federal surplus they inherited from the Clinton administration with their regressive tax cuts, then ran us into unprecedented debt by funding their illegal invasion of Iraq with Chinese credit.
Well, I honestly don't know if President Obama's stimulus package is a good idea or not. But it is, at the very least, an honest attempt to deal with our problems.
As I pointed out before, the GOP still stinging from the beatings it has received in the last two national elections has chosen to sabotage the President's efforts in the hopes of gaining some political advantage rather than constructively joining the debate. Of the 219 Republicans in the two congressional houses, only 3 voted in favor of the stimulus package.
The immediate reaction of the public was decidedly against the Republicans. Only 31% approved of their actions. And the Obama administration pointed out that several Republican governors, including Florida's Charlie Crist and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, favored the bill. With the public, three Republican senators, and a number of Republican governors supporting the President's agenda, congressional Republicans were in danger of being exposed as hypocrites and failed obstructionists.
But then, a clutch of governors, hailing from the most backward red states came to their rescue.
Texas' Rick Perry, South Carolina's Mark Sanford, Mississippi's Haley Barbour, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Idaho's "Butch" Otter, and (who else?) Alaska's Sarah Palin all remarked that federal stimulus money would no doubt come with a long list of commitments that would require them to (gasp!) pay for education, health care, and infrastructure. In short, they would be required to use the money to take care of their citizens.
Republicans generally have an aversion to spending money on caring for people, but this gang really takes the cake. I mean, really. Texas? South Carolina? Mississippi? Louisiana? Idaho? Alaska? Could anyone have possibly compiled a list of states with a more regressive and ignorant mindset?
Quoth Governor Perry: "My concern is there's going to be commitments attached to [the stimulus money] that are a mile long. We need the freedom to pick and choose. And we need the freedom to say 'No thanks.'"
The governors all got out and made their statements in front of the cameras, playing to their redneck base and showing a little support for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. But clown time is apparently over. Perry decided on Wednesday to go ahead and accept the money.
Watch and see: every one of these "principled" Republican governors is going to line up at the federal trough with his or her hand out like a greedy pig.
It was a nice little vignette, though: Republicans pretending to be driven by principles! High comedy.