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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulus Bill Passes in the Senate

For good or ill, and with its imperfections, which President Obama admitted in last night's press conference, the stimulus bill passed the Senate by a vote of 61 to 37. Only three centrist Republicans, bucking their party's leadership, voted for it. They are Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Spector.

As I wrote yesterday, I think the cuts they and Democratic Blue Dogs, like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman (actually, he's an Independent), made weakened rather than helped the bill. But I also agree with Obama that it's foolish to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The bill will go to conference and, hopefully, the cuts will either be restored or no more will be gutted from it.

Meanwhile, any illusion of compromise or bipartisanship was completely shattered by the behavior of Republicans in both the House and Senate. On the other hand, pragmatic governors, left with task of balancing budgets while their revenue streams from property and sales taxes dwindle, are embracing it regardless of party affiliation. One such moderate GOP governor is Charlie Crist, whose own state, Florida, has been among the hardest hit by the bursting of the housing bubble and the economic downturn.

And if there's any doubt that Florida residents want programs that fix infrastructure and create jobs rather than just provide more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (a strategy that failed miserably to alleviate the recession), read here:
Thompson and other community leaders gathered Monday at a small hotel to sign a letter to Obama they had drafted the night before. On their wish list: $462 million to pave roads, complete unfinished construction and bail out homeowners in financial distress.
Florida is a swing state that swung reliably Republican for the past ten years. Its current Republican governor is bucking his party's conservatives, both at the state and national level. Its current Republican senator, Mel Martinez, is not seeking re-election. Like Virginia, this state is ripe to be plucked back into the Democratic column. Its citizens are hurting while Republicans are modeling themselves after the Taliban in their tactics of obstruction, and they're bragging proudly about it. In short, they're clowning while adults are trying to fix this mess, which eight years of an MBA Republican president created.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hold up a second

Once again you can't have it both ways

Herrity was trying to govern after 8+ years of democratic mismangement. In short Bulova was clowing while adults (Herrity) was actually trying to fix this mess which eight years of extended spending by the democratic board created.

I don't get you AIAW you seem like a pretty smart lady but your partisanship is frankly disturbing.

The post below is another example. What are you trying to accomplish here. Taking quotes from a leftwing partisan with no original thought or analysis. You can do better.

The Barker post was much better. That is doing things on a bipartisan basis.

NMM

NMM

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

You know, NMM, I am going to reverse this on you. You have always claimed to be a moderate - a "middle man," as your moniker claims. But you seem to turn a blind eye to the very real partisanship of your own party, while whining about Democrats not rolling over for failed Republican policies.

Sorry, you can't have it both ways either. Sharon did not mismanage for eight years. She didn't have a crystal ball. So, when the housing bubble burst, people began defaulting on mortgages and even abandoning homes, and property values plunged, it created a revenue shortfall that nobody at the local level predicted. In fact, other localities - including those run by Republicans - are in far worse shape than Fairfax.

Frankly, you are beating a dead horse with this. Nobody is fooled by the faux claim that Sharon or Gerry are to blame for the GOP administration's failure to provide oversight to the mortgage industry.

Heck, their aversion to appropriate regulation couldn't even keep the public safe from deliberate food poisoning. Don't you know this is the consequence of Grover Norquist's "starve the beast" mentality?

As for the left wing partisan whom I quote, I assume you mean Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman. I would encourage you to skim my archives from 2005, when I started, and you will see that I have long been an admirer of his work.

The truth is I am damned mad at the way the Republicans have left our country. They mismanaged national security, got us into the wrong war - I'm not a dove, I want us in Afghanistan and the wild border regions of Pakistan, where the real al Qaeda, and the Taliban, still roam free to threaten us. I also want us watching Saudi Arabia, which funds the madrassas, which are the schools for terrorists. We failed miserably by targeting the one country that actually wasn't a threat to us.

The Bush administration badly mismanaged the economy, as we are seeing. Tax cuts for the very wealthy while we were conducting a war, gave us a whopping budget deficit. And it did not prevent a contraction of the markets. We are in frighteningly abysmal shape. Yes, I'm worried about the cost of the stimulus package because, thanks to Bush and the Republicans, we squandered a surplus while wrecking the economy.

And the knee jerk anti-regulatory bias means this administration, which claimed to be pro-life, couldn't even keep us safe from almost constant outbreaks of food poisoning. People have died from this negligence. And those most vulnerable were young children, old people, and those with compromised immune sytems - in other words, the most vulnerable.

Please don't whine that I'm partisan while you have such blinders on your eyes to the failure of your own party, which, after all, had eight years in power, came into office with a world at peace and a budget surplus and took a wrecking ball to everything.

The sad thing is that at the start of the Bush administration, I actually wished him well. I was diappointed that the Democrats had lost, but I certainly didn't wish him failure because, to me, that would mean wishing America failure and in my heart I could never do that.

I didn't think his policies would work and I had trepidation. But I believed that he was the president and his way should at least be given a chance.

I see none of that sentiment - absolutely none - from Republicans now. Indeed, they are gloating about refusing to compromise and about blocking and naysaying, and hoping to benefit from Obama's coming failure. They are not willing to even give another policy a chance. In fact, many, including your fellow bloggers in Virginia, have wished Obama failure, because that would be preferable to, God forbid, having to change their own minds. They wished American failure because their ideology is more important than America to them. And it's the GOP in Congress, not me, who claimed they were adapting the tactics of the Taliban.

Forgive me if I think they are despicable. And forgive me if I think you are neither as moderate as you claim nor as bipartisan. It's like incoming facts have no place to land because the runway is so cluttered with ideology that there's no place for open mindedness.

nova_middle_man said...

AIAW,

Sorry it took a bit to get back to you.

I think the federal Republicans are an embarassment and a joke

I think the local democrats are an embarassment and a joke

The two main ideas flowing through this are unchecked power = incompetence

For the record I did vote for Obama and Warner and also Fimian and Herrity most recently.

The reason I choose Novamiddleman is that I believe when either party has total control bad things happen. Ultimatley I propably should become a blue dog democrat. I propably would except for two things. I was raised in a New England Republican environment and I live in an area that is full of liberal democrats which make me not want to switch the party completely so I will continue my pattern of voting R local and D national.

You are a left wing democrat so of course we are going to disagree on things. I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who always agrees with the party line. Its an agree to disagree though as far as I can tell you are extremely pro-choice and pro-union/anti-free trade. Those are two specific issues that I am 100% on the opposite side.

Also it seems you will never be satisfied until the pendulum swings all the way to the left/progressive side of things. I prefer when the pendulum is in the center or maybe slightly right of center (smaller government lower taxes but fiscally solvant)

Looking forward to 2009 I think the citizens are best served under split party rule. So that means fighting tooth and nail to keep the house of delegates in the R column since I think it is entirely likely the governorship and senate will stay in the D column.

NMM

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Actually, I might surprise you that we agree on more than you think. First, do not, do not become a Democrat. The Republican Party needs its moderates more than ever now. It is unhealthy for the country to be so polarized and equally unhealthy for the oppostion party to be so marginalized at the extremes.

I think I overstate my case, sometimes, out of exasperation because for so long the Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, Arthur Laffer wing of the ideological spectrum has held such sway. Nobody even questioned that there might be another side to the story.

Let's start with free trade. While I think a lot of the free trade deals have been harmful for working people because we have not been competing on a level playing field (as one example, China manipulates its currency so that its exports are much cheaper, and they don't open their markets completely to American goods), the notion of real free trade is good.

As we teeter into worsening recession, those who point out that the Smoot Hawley tariff in the 1930s deepened and prolonged the Depression are correct. We need to avoid a trade war. Free trade agreements, when they are done right, are good things.

I am pro labor but I'm not naive that there have been abuses on labor's side as well as management's side. The problem, once again, is that the pendulum was allowed to swing so much that workers who do want to form unions are routinely harrassed and threatened with job loss.

Personally, I would like to see unions and management work together to provide benefits for employees. What would be wrong with there being a transparent grievance system, where a worker has a union representative and management has an HR representative and they negotiate a settlement fair to both the employee and management?

Even better, what would be wrong if a union and company split expenses in training workers, providing health care and pension benefits? That would cost management less and provide workers with badly needed benefits. It also would give companies better trained workers.

A lot of the reason Republicans are anti-union is because they perceive unions as supporting Democrats and pouring large donations into Democratic campaign coffers. But Chambers of Commerce and other business groups do that for Republicans.

As for the issue of pro choice, I am actually personally against abortion. If you read what I've written on the subject, I've always carefully worded my diaries and comments to mean that I am opposed to efforts to prevent women - and even men - from access to birth control measures. Too many religious groups are now defining birth control as abortofacients. That is a distortion of the science.

If a religious group wants to define life as beginning even before conception, they have a right to do so for their own members. But they don't have the right to force others to live by their definitions.

Preventing conception, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in a uterous is not the same as aborting a developing fetus. So, my real objection is to people trying to force others to live by their religious precepts.

As for specific candidates, I probably am more of a partisan and support mostly Democrats. But I met Pat Herrity recently and I think he has a good political future. I also like Ken Cuccinelli even though I mostly disagree with him. I respect him personally. And I've always said so, even while I've written about where we disagree.

There are a lot of Republicans I respect and whose blogs I read regularly. I keep them on my blogroll for a reason. I believe Democrats should read the other side too.

And certainly, you are always, always welcome here. Even if I occasionally get exasperated when we seem to be talking past each other, you have contributed a lot to this site with your comments.