Gregg Withdrawal 2: Another ViewPolicy

I’ll go ahead and up front admit to some early suspicion of a “right wing conspiracy” to undermine President Obama. But that’s a little melodramatic, isn’t it? So, I’ve adjusted myself, come back to reason, and will just say that there seems to be concerted effort by the Republican establishment to continue with business as usual in Washington. And by “business as usual”, I mean a partisan and ideological commitment at the expense of progress- even the chance of progress.

The announcement of Sen. Judd Gregg’s decision to withdraw his bid for Commerce Secretary is what made me suspicious. I get the very real political differences between Democrats and Republicans, and even think these differences are healthy and, ideally, work to the benefit of the American public. But that only works to our (the American public) benefit if the two parties are willing to actually work together through those differences. President Obama has done his part, extending a branch time and again. Gregg’s nomination, even with the strategic smarts of it all, was but one of those branches. Sen. Gregg, himself, praises this fact, saying, “He (Obama) has been a person who has reached out and aggressively reached out, across the aisle,” (New York Times, 2/12/09).

But Republicans’ response to the stimulus package is a prime example of the refusal to make progress. I actually think there’s reason to be concerned about some parts of the package. Legislation, particularly important legislation, is rarely perfect on the first go-round. Early objections, by Republicans as well as Democrats, was welcomed and even expected. It is the American way and the way our legislative branch should work. But the opposition cannot come, complain, offer few alternative options, and then take their ball home when the final product isn’t fully as they would have written it. That’s not sticking to your guns. It certainly isn’t progress. Instead, it’s obstruction. And for all the debate over the last week about what Americans voted for… partisan obstruction definitely wasn’t on the list.

When it comes to the economy, people- regular people- are struggling. We want something to happen. Give us an idea and let’s see if it works. For all the theories about what works, Republicans have had a shot. It didn’t work. Let’s try something new. Instead of working against the administration, work with it to make things better. No one’s asking Republican lawmakers to give up Republican fundamentals. But this gamble that Americans will mistake Republicans’ ideological stubbornness for anything other than what it is at the expense of doing something is quite a risk. And it’s not one that is likely to help.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently complained that, “This package, had it been developed in genuine consultation, could have had a different result… But at the end of the day, it was–the administration decided–let the package be developed in Congress by the majority.” (The New Republic, 2/10/09). That would be almost believable if the nation hadn’t watched weeks’ worth of Obama administration efforts to reach out to the other side.

  • Grozet

    If McCain, the consummate bipartisan legislator, stood adamantly opposed to the stimulus because it was both a “generational theft” as well as a bill being so forcefully shoved through Congress that no real overhaul could even be considered, then everything you said about Obama is hogwash.

  • EJ

    Lets assume that what Gregg was saying were his real reasons for dropping out for a moment. Obama ripped out the one actual substantial thing that the Commerce Department does, the Census, out from under him in order for the Whitehouse to manipulatre, i mean overlook its methods. So much for change. Werent you guiys bitching about centralization fo executive power over the last 8 years? oh I get it, your nto agains power, your just agains the other guy’s power. Who is being the hyper partisan person now?

    Also, you can make an argument over this stimulus or not, but not agreeing with it is not nevcessarily being partisan and trying to take down obama. If the deomcrats actually created a stimulus bill that was designed as keynsian theory states, temporary, targeted and timley, not perminant, aimed at special interest groups, and slow then there would have actually been some bipartisan suppport. What the dems did with this bill is shove evrything they have every wanted into one place. This is as if the GOP of recent years put reathorizing the patriot act, banning partial birth abortion, cutting the capital gains tax, and banning gay marriage all in one bill, calling it the “freedom act” and then yelling at the dems for being partisan and resisting “progress”. Please. If you cant see this your either blinded by party alegiance or your an idiot. The dems have no need to get republican support for this thing, and they can go along and pass this mess of a bill on their own if they want. But dont claim to want bipartisanship and then create the most partisan, special interest, ineffective, bill there is and then cry when no one joins the band wagon.

  • EJ

    and obama’s trivial “reaching out”, though he did far more then congressional leaders was over trivial things like the birth control provison. Wow, what a comprmise, a $900 billion dollar bill, and he took out something like 50 million. This is like taking the bill i just mentioned and yelling at the dems for not playing fair because they added a few million for food stamps.

  • Brian Kirwin

    I used to hear that a cold without medicine lasts 14 days, but a cold with medicine last 2 weeks. Recessions and 18 months oddly work the same way.

    Danae, I think there would be a lot of votes for a real stimulus bill. Remember when the bill was a giant highway and bridge bill? Highways and bridges are now $27 billion out of $789 billion.

    Instead, this “stimulus” is $21 billion for health insurance, $87 billion for Medicaid, $45 billion for Special Education, Pell Grants and Head Start. I hate to tell you, but Pell Grants don’t help the economy until someone graduates. Head Start doesn’t help the economy unless you suddenly start massive child labor.

    $40 billion for unemployment, $20 billion for food stamps, $14 billion for social security payments.

    How many jobs is this creating? How much stimulus is all this social welfare spending. People only get most of this money if they stay unemployed. Please tell me what gets stimulated?

  • jon boisseau

    My urge to throw up gets stimulated. Isn’t the bond rate pretty much zero? Aren’t things as bad or worse in pretty much every other economy? Who’s going to buy the bonds to even pay for this debacle?