Voices from Russia

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Morning After: A Bridge Too Far for the Tea Party

Filed under: Barack Obama,politics,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

THIS is all that the Republican Party is capable of, today. They are nothing but contrarians with no positive programme, as the next two years will show…

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How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F Buckley, and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. Today, no actual conservative can be a Republican. Reagan would despise today’s wholly negative Republican Party

Frank Schaeffer

There are no easy ways out of the mess that the financial sector has created. But giving into mindless deficit fetishism risks higher unemployment and a larger long-run debt. The economy needs another stimulus, and it needs it now.

Joseph Stiglitz

Nobel Prize laureate in Economics (2001)

I‘ve been reading much nonsense in the news over the past few days, and CNN and Fox are full of earnest young talking heads telling us about how the Republicans are going to repeal Obamacare and slash spending after their “smashing victory”. Nothing is further from the truth. The Tea Party/GOP had a stinging defeat on Tuesday. “Defeat? How can that be? The Republicans won control of the House… they control the agenda!” Actually, the GOP fell far short of what they needed. Let me explain.

Firstly, the USA is NOT a parliamentary democracy, as is Canada, for instance. Stephen Harper got to form a government (albeit a minority one) as his party won the largest number of seats in the last election. Here, the fact that the Republicans now control the House of Representatives changes nothing in the “government” (in American terms, the “administration”). Furthermore, note well that the Republicans did not win control of the Senate. Ergo, Mitch McConnell can suck wind… he’s nothing but the Minority Leader. Harry Reid is still the Majority Leader… and he’s stewed at the Tea Party pukes for the nasty campaign they ran against him. Furthermore, Lisa Murkowski, not the Tea Party carpetbagger Joe Miller, is the US Senator from Alaska (the Alaska Natives fucked the Tea Party… good on them!)… she will NOT back ANY Tea Party lunacy, that’s certain. In short, the Democrats still control the agenda in the Senate and still possess the bully pulpit of the White House.

Secondly, the field wasn’t “level” as far as determining victory went. The Republicans had to attain a supermajority in both the House and the Senate in order to win any kind of victory… that would enable them to override President Obama’s vetoes of their legislative programme and obtain cloture in Senate debates. Otherwise, the president would stymie the GOP by vetoing its legislation, and if the Democrats were only a minority in the Senate, they would gum it up with filibusters, not even allowing the Republicans to table its agenda for consideration. Like it or not, such a supermajority was the condition necessary for any kind of real (rather than apparent) Republican victory. On the other hand, the Democrats merely had to hold back the GOP… that would preserve most of the president’s programme and keep the Republicans from any real attempt at repeal. True… that ain’t fair… but that’s real life, kids. That’s precisely what happened. The Democrats did BETTER than anyone expected. They retained control of the Senate, which is more important than the House… after all, the Senate ratifies treaties and approves federal appointments.

Here’s what some voters elected on Tuesday… they’ll learn the hard way, no? God willing, it won’t lead to deepened suffering…

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Therefore, one can see President Obama’s strategy… and it’s a wise one, in fact. Right now, he’s playing the “mark”… and the Republicans are eating it up. It shows their essential vapidity, shallowness, and lack of an actual programme. He’s dangled the dropping of the cap-and-trade legislation in front of them. This is to get them to put radical legislation on the table… then, he can plant a pious look on his face as he vetoes the lot of it… “They’re not trying to seek common ground, as I’m doing. See… I dropped cap-and-trade”. This, of course, would be a red flag to Tea Party boobs such as Rand Paul and Marco Rubio… and the GOP would look extremist and stupid. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Hasn’t this happened before? It did… in 1995 and 1996! Bubba sandbagged Newt… and it led to his handy re-election in ’96. I remember why people voted for Bubba… no one liked Bubba… no one liked Newt… but Newt shut down the government, and he shot the GOP in the foot.

Have you noted that none of the commentary on the election mentions this recent history? I saw a recent news conference on CNN that gave me a hint as to why this is so. There were many fresh and young faces… kids too young to remember Newt’s escapades in the ‘90s. Obviously, these young ‘uns are writing much of the nonsense being purveyed, at present. They obviously slept through the lectures in Poli Sci 101, as the Republicans failure to win the Senate dooms their agenda to failure. Anything passed through the House would end in a conference committee… that’s what happens when the House and Senate pass different versions of the same bill.

Therefore… the Republicans are NOT going to repeal Obamacare, not now, not next week, or at any time over the next Congressional term. NADA… NO WAY, JOSÉ. Even if such a bill passed a conference committee (and Harry Reid would see that it wouldn’t), the president would veto it, and the GOP doesn’t have the votes to override him. The Senate wouldn’t even table such a repeal bill. McConnell knows this… Boehner knows this… but the young journalists don’t know this (I can smell their full nappies through my computer screen). Furthermore, President Obama knows this… Harry Reid knows this… and they’re letting the Republicans make extravagant promises that they can’t deliver upon. In truth, nothing said by the Republican leadership in the last 48 hours has any relation to reality. The most that the Republicans can do is to tweak Obamacare a little bit (for BO shall allow that), and cut only that spending that the president allows them to cut.

Don’t let the pictures in the press fool you… all politicians are actors; never forget that. Barack Obama’s a poker player… he’s said to play a cautious and conservative hand, he’s not a gambler like John McCain. There are four “aces” in the American political deck… the House, the Senate, the White House, and the Supreme Court. BO has two in his hand… the Republicans only have one. Despite appearances, the Republicans have a very weak hand, especially as far as their mindless spending cut proposals go. I’ll leave you with a quote from Professor Stiglitz… it says it all, and it will tell you why President Obama and Senator Reid will defend America against the lunacy of the GOP (and they can… the president CAN veto legislation… the Senate MUST approve all House bills before they become law). Here’s something the snot-nosed young journalists should attend to:

The real risk for America right now is a prolonged weak economy… something that a mindless focus on deficits can help ensure. The deficit hawks from the banking system went on vacation from the fall of 2008 through the spring of 2009, while they demanded money be doled out freely… to themselves. But now that the public clearly won’t stand for another free lunch at its expense, the deficit hawks are back at work, more vocal than ever about the need to cut government spending. They say it was necessary to the health of the economy to dole out money to the banks; but not necessary to the health of our society to make sure everyone has access to health care. It was not acceptable to alter the contracts of the AIG personnel, even those “key” and irreplaceable personnel who made the mistakes that led to a 180 billion dollar (5.517 trillion Roubles 126.45 billion Euros 110.538 billion UK Pounds) bailout, but acceptable to break the social contract between America’s elderly and the rest of society, by cutting back on Social Security.

President Obama thinks highly of Professor Stiglitz, for good reason. Smile, and pour yourself a drink… the GOP lost on Tuesday. Let them trumpet away… when the next congressional term begins, they’ll have to eat every last promise and bluster. How do you spell V-E-T-O? Oh… this way to the conference committee meeting, Messrs Boehner and McConnell… Mr Reid is waiting for you!

Oh… I almost forgot the most important news of the election. Joe Miller lost in Alaska to a “write-in” candidate. The Native vote was overwhelmingly against him. Sarah Palin can’t deliver in her own backyard. In addition, this election shows that Tea Party tactics fail in non-Nativist White areas. I’d say these are factors for ‘012, no? She’s a loser… is she the Alf Landon of the 21st Century? Perspirin’ minds wanna know…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 4 November 2010

Albany NY

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