The Utter Bankruptcy of Today's Republican Party

No Republican votes tonight.  None.  

As I have written so many times before on this blog, the modern Republican Party ceased being a serious Party when Bush took office. Their leadership and government left America weaker today than it has been since before World War II.   They failed to tackle critical challenges on their watch, and ignored warning signs of dangers to come.  They have dug a very deep hole for the nation, and today they turned their backs, hard, on a popular President trying to begin cleaning up the mess they made, and do the right thing for a nation in need. 

I listened to Republicans over the last couple of days, trying hard to understand the rationale for their opposition.  I heard references to a CBO report that had already been proven not to exist.  I heard about pork but they offered few specifics.  I heard the refrain again and again that tax cuts are the best way to create jobs - an assertion that was disproven by the economic experience of the Bush era.  We had historic tax cuts under Bush; job creation was anemic, and incomes for average people actually fell.  The tax-cut strategy didn't work.  For eight years the Bush Presidency confused cutting taxes with offering a broad economic strategy that would help prepare the nation for the great challenges of this emerging century - and we are all paying the price today.  Massive structural budget deficits, ready to grow worse with the retirement of the baby boom.  Aging infrastructure.  Years of flat wages and declining incomes.  Record home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies.  2nd tier rates of broadband penetration.  Rising rates of poverty and those without health insurance.  A terribly broken immigration system. A global round of economic liberalization unfinished.   A badly bungled TARP. But of course one big thing did get done during this period - those massive set of tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.  

For the last four years, Rob Shapiro and I have talking about the inability of the political class to come to terms with was happening to the American middle class.  For those with means, the Bush era - up until the last year - was a boom time.  Taxes were cut, assets appreciated. But for far too many Americans the economic crisis we talk about today began long before the financial crisis hit in 2007 and 2008 - and this crisis was the increasing struggle of every day people, the decline of median income even during a robust period of economic growth.  This lack of a proper response to this crisis is what drove the Republicans from power more than anything else in 2006, and it was Barack's finding of his voice on the struggle of every day people in the summer and fall of 2008 that was so critical to his pulling away from McCain.  The American people have come to feel that the modern GOP really didn't understand or have a plan to deal with their very real economic crisis.  They are right of course, and this more than any other issue is what has driven the GOP from power and given the Democrats their huge majorities today. 

But clearly the Republicans in charge of the House don't understand all this.  Their party only swung into action when the economic crisis began to affect the monied class.  Their actions were predictably inept, secretive, and misguided.  $500 billion of stimulus and TARP money was spent in 2008 and the crisis worsened.  They even blocked meaningful action on keeping people in their homes - key to solving the financial portion of this crisis - with predictable and cynical cries of "moral hazard" when two companies alone - AIG and Citigroup - received commitments from their Treasury Department of close to $500 billion.  More money, of course, than the one year cost of the stimulus plan passed tonight by the House.  That's right. Citigroup and AIG have commitments for more money from our government than all of the 2009 portion of the stimulus plan that has been derided by the GOP as an outrageous use of the people's money.  

The GOP will have two more chances on this stimulus to behave in much more constructive ways, with upcoming votes in the Senate and again when the bills are brought together and voted on again in each chamber.   I don't know what is going to happen, or how this will play across the nation over the next few days.  I wrote recently that the road back for the GOP, this party of "magic negros," would be a long one.  But if the Republicans continue to act in ways so clearly designed to serve the interests of the few over the interests of the many at a time of such great national challenge then their road back may be even longer than I could have imagined.


Wole jak rozmawia. Jako cos nie z tej strony uznaje Egipt, a to wszak futrzaki. Oddaje i pozwala na to. On to woli.