Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2009

WHAT A DIFFERENCE TWO WEEKS MAKES.... Undeterred by polls, economic conditions, and reality, Republican officials are launching stimulus-related attack ads in 30 congressional districts nationwide.

From Oregon to New Hampshire, the National Republican Congressional Committee is going on the air with radio ads blasting House Democrats for supporting the stimulus bill, which the committee ridiculed as "chockfull of wasteful Washington spending."

The ads will find their way into the districts of 30 members, including Representatives Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, Ike Skelton of Missouri and Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio.

"Many of these very same Democrats who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility now have the obligation to explain why they're willing to pile even more mountains of debt onto our grandchildren without regard for how middle-class families' hard-earned tax dollars will be spent," N.R.C.C. spokesman, Ken Spain said.

Oddly enough, Republican leaders had a very different message two weeks ago:

"Let us be clear: attack ads will not create jobs or help struggling families but will only serve to undermine our nation's desire for bipartisanship. Instead of thinking about winning at any cost, we should all be thinking about creating the jobs Americans need."

But putting the hypocrisy aside, I have to say, it's become pretty tiresome to hear Republicans talk about the debt. First, more than 90% of all GOP lawmakers in Congress endorsed a "stimulus" measure that would have added $3.1 trillion to the debt. If the party were overcome with fear about the budget and "generational theft," why vote for such a plan? (For that matter, why run on a 2008 platform calling for -- you guessed it -- trillions of dollars in additional debt?)

Second, the latest Republican attacks presuppose some credibility on debt reduction. It's probably worth reminding NRCC spokesman Ken Spain that Republicans who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility added $5 trillion in debt, in just eight years, onto a pile for our grandchildren -- and have nothing to show for it except a deep and ugly recession.

To borrow Ken Spain's words, do Republicans "now have an obligation to explain" themselves?

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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GOP: our debt is way better than DEM debt

any suckers left?


Posted by: mr. irony on February 13, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Obama and the Dems must exploit the POTUS bully pulpit and all possible media occasions to remind folks about GOP responsibility for the current crisis and indebtedness!
A certain number of people will never support the Dems, but many others have had their faith in the GOP shaken.
It is important to counterbalance the Republican attempt to reel them back in before 2010 by refuting the revisionist BS and keeping the memory of Bush malfeasance alive.

Posted by: Richard Greenslade on February 13, 2009 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Undeterred by polls, economic conditions, and reality,

Hey man, that's just how they roll.

Posted by: Jennifer on February 13, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Approximately 1.9 Trillion of the 10Trillion debt occured under Dem Presidencies.

Posted by: Danp on February 13, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

I was watching a local political show here in St.Louis yesterday, and one of the callers was all upset because the democrats were "shoving the stimulus bill down republicans' throats" without any input from the GOP. She also decried the effectiveness of the stimulus bill, what with its money for "condoms, and Nanci's mouse".

When one of the show's hosts asked her where she was getting this information, she said "all over". She was reading it on the internet, hearing it on radio, and seeing in on TV. She believed that such a diverse range of media kept her from receiving too partisan a news story.

Posted by: palinoscopy on February 13, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Republicans, who pi**ed off a lot of their own base like me by spending for the past eight years, figured out that if spending would solve the financial crisis, it would never have happened.

Obama has resurrected the Republican party and you folks can't see it. If he had really tried to work with them, instead of letting Pelosi and 60 left wing lawyers write this bill, there would be no revolt and the public would be unaware of what was being done to them.

This is only Act One. What happens when they can't ram this monstrosity through the Senate now ? Interesting times. The more the public learns what is in it, the more outrage.

Posted by: Mike K on February 13, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

"But putting the hypocrisy aside, I have to say, it's become pretty tiresome to hear Republicans talk about the debt."

Remember not so long ago, when Boehner was all over the TeeVee talking about the need for action to avert economic catastrophe. We needed to pump billions of untold dollars into the banking system. That was September. I guess when your guy still has a shot at President a little bit of prudence is in order. Now, not so much.

In Sept. 2008
Boehner said, "You can't describe on Sunday morning how ugly this picture would look if we don't act."


By the way, September was VERY scary.

Via Kevin Depew-
In this video clip from an appearance on C-Span, Representative Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania explains what neither Treasury Secretary Paulson, Senator Dodd or Representative Boehner apparently felt they could say on the more widely-viewed This Week program.

"On Thursday, September 15, 2008 at roughly 11 a.m., the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the USA to the tune of $550 Billion dollars in a matter of an hour or two. Money was being removed electronically.

The treasury tried to help with $150 billion. But could not stem the tide. It was an electronic run on the banks The Treasury intervened, but, had they not closed down the accounts, they estimated that by 2 p.m. that afternoon. Within 3 hours. $5.5 trillion would have been withdrawn and collapsed within 24 hours the world economy.

Posted by: palinoscopy on February 13, 2009 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Oops! here's the link to the clip

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ca2_1234032281

Posted by: palinoscopy on February 13, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

The MSM, bought and paid for. The Rethugs lie and complain and it is all you see on TV and print. They say it and it becomes the truth to the ignorant.

Posted by: SteveA on February 13, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Republicans... figured out that if spending would solve the financial crisis, it would never have happened.

Mike K - Have you ever noticed that Republicans figure this out EVERY time they are out of power and forget it EVERY time they're in power? Catch a clue. There are plenty of them out there.

Posted by: Danp on February 13, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Ike Skelton and his liberal friends in Washington wants to bring JOBS to Missouri. I wonder what the DCCC is thinking this morning, hehe.

Posted by: Ben on February 13, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Doc Mikey, the only resurrecting done by the RepuGs is to appear in the new George Romero documentary, "Night of the Living Dead - Part Three" - And, the good part is George will not have to spend any extra for makeup and special effects for those coming off their yachts at the Balboa Bay Club.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 13, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

if spending would solve the financial crisis, it would never have happened.

Return to freshman Econ 101. Do not pass Go. Do not collect double-billed Medicare dollars.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

the fear and loathing becomes sickness unto death

Posted by: neill on February 13, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

RNC = Real Nasty Clowns! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 13, 2009 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Barbara Bachmann (R-Crazytown) was on a right-leaning radio station here in Chicago this morning. She is urging people to call their reps to vote no like she will. Then she had the gumption to say that "under the Democrat controlled congress, the deficit has increased by $9.7 trillion." Hmmmm. Im curious where she came up with that number. Im sure she included all of the money for Iraq and Afghanistan. She forgets that Bush asked for a lot of the money that makes up that purported amount.

Posted by: Gridlock on February 13, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Dems should note that every Democratic president since WWII has been able to reduce the national debt (not just the deficit) as a fraction of GDP during their time in office. The only GOP presidents to do so were Eisenhower and Nixon. The myth of Republican fiscal conservatism must be buried.

Posted by: rk on February 13, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K:
...If he had really tried to work with them, instead of letting Pelosi and 60 left wing lawyers write this bill, there would be no revolt...

No, Mike. He did try to work with them. The problem is that this is ideological with Republicans. Their solution to any economic problem is tax "shifts": cut rates and run bigger deficits to cover the shortfall in revenue. They are shifts because lower-income taxpayers wind up paying for the increased borrowing. Obama talked to economists and got their input: government spending programs allow for better control of what happens to the money and can be targeted to maximize the bang for the buck and to help alleviate as much suffering as possible. Obama, correctly, is saying tax shifts are the wrong way to go.

And Mike, if the Republican party has "pi**ed off a lot of their own base like me", why is it Democrats who have to change? Yell at your own party. There's a reason they got their butts kicked the last two elections.

Posted by: amorphous on February 13, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

8 years and 2%.

Wasn't the dollar figure on items that the Republicans objected to estimated at only 2% of the original stimulus bill?

Posted by: mmiddle on February 13, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

The Iraqistan wars.

Homeland Security.

Big Debts.

Big(ger) government.


What the hell are the repugnacans squawking about now?

It is clear that Obama's efforts at bipartisanship have been greeted by the GOP with a raised middle finger.

I say, media blackout for all things repugnacan for at least.... 2 years.

They are way too vocal and visible so soon after the election.

They do not deserve to be heard, anymore.

The demoncrats need to retake the dialogue and shape the debate.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 13, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and didn't the former business manager of the Republican Senatorial Committee lose and/or abscond with millions of their campaign cash?

Not only are they not good stewards of the public's money, they are not good stewards of their own money.

Posted by: coltergeist on February 13, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K:
...If he had really tried to work with them, instead of letting Pelosi and 60 left wing lawyers write this bill, there would be no revolt...

No, Mike. He did try to work with them.

Maybe he thinks talk is "work." I wouldn't be surprised. He thought that by being pleasant, they would adopt his agenda. What I meant was that he could have split the difference and included some of their agenda. He didn't and they didn't roll over.


The problem is that this is ideological with Republicans. Their solution to any economic problem is tax "shifts": cut rates and run bigger deficits to cover the shortfall in revenue.

You are half right. The fundamental difference between the parties is the role of private initiative vs government planning. When Republicans get in power as they were from 2001 to 2006, they often stray from the agenda. It is tempting to think you know it all when you are in Washington. They did a great job in the late 90s. The Clinton boom began when the Republicans took Congress in 1994. Look at a chart of the stock market sometime.

Democrats are the party of government, a change since the 40s. The existence of government employee unions will end the present era of spending as government pensions crash the states like California. We are seeing it now.

The bank bailout spending that was done in the fall was necessary although much of it was wasted. The problem now is that the Pelosi spending bill will weaken the prospects for real solutions of the financial crisis now. It also looks like Geithner isn't that swift after all. His performance has been pretty bad. I suspect we are looking at a lost decade like Japan. The irony is that the Pelosi bill is exactly what the Japanese did and that caused the lost decade for them. Spending on infrastructure won't do it.

Fortunately, I am old so won't have to live with the consequences of Obama and Pelosi. I would have thought he was smart enough to avoid the trouble he is but maybe he really is the ideologue they said he was.

Posted by: Mike K on February 13, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the scenario:
Founder of a large corporation is hit by a taxicab, aand is in a coma for over a year.
The Board of directors, in his absence, puts his (idiot) son in charge.
When the president wakes up and is able to work from his hospital bed, he's horrified to learn that the son has ruined the company, vastly increased the debt, nearly destroyed the market share, and gotten hit by a taxicab and is in a coma.
What does the owner do?
He goes deeper into debt. He borrows to modernize the factories, he reworks the product line, increases the research budget and the marketing budget, launches a 'We're Baaack!" advertising campaign, and works like hell to get the company booming again.
If it works, the company survives and pays down the debt.

The Republicans are the board members who sat by and said nothing while the idiot son was running up the debt, but whoare now huffing and wringing their hands and saying "More debt? My goodness gracious, add to it? It's shocking! It's not prudent!"

The answer the owner gives is that the time for prudence was when the debt was being acquired and when the damage was being done. What's necessary now is to make the company into an entity that can pay the debt.

Posted by: pbg on February 13, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter."
--Dick Cheney


So, there you go.

Posted by: alan on February 13, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK
Undeterred by polls, economic conditions, and reality,

I would point out that before the right-wing fearmongering ad campaigns, "polls, economic conditions, and reality" favored Bill Clinton's universal healthcare plan.

They are motivated by "polls, economic conditions, and reality" being against them and actively seeking to change that, not merely "undeterred" by it.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 13, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Obama and the Democrats in Congress DID talk to the Republicans. In fact, several weeks ago the Republicans were making noise about how pleased they were with the initial bail-out proposals. Then they locked ranks and voted against it.

Tough - Obama tried to meet them part way (and a lot further their way that a party that got pretty well whacked in the last couple of election cycles really deserved). And what Obama learned is that you don't get anything useful done by trying to pay attention to the current crop of Republicans.

Since he's a fast learner I hope he'll take that lesson to heart and offer much less to the Republicans the next time he's working on a proposal.

Posted by: Butch on February 13, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

If Republicans are so worried about the world our grandchildren will inherit, you'd think they might be just a little bit concerned about the long-term effects of global warming.

Posted by: Virginia on February 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he thinks talk is "work." I wouldn't be surprised. He thought that by being pleasant, they would adopt his agenda. What I meant was that he could have split the difference and included some of their agenda. He didn't and they didn't roll over.

No, Obama thought that by preemptively including tax shifts, he could get some credit from Republicans (certainly not from Mike). Obama’s position: “We’re in an economic crisis, and we need to stimulate demand as much as possible as quickly as possible. Our economists tell us the best way to do that is government spending programs such as aid to states, infrastructure projects, and extending unemployment benefits. The reason these measure stimulate more demand is that all of the money is spent, spent quickly, and spent within the domestic economy. The programs also make needed investments and act to preserve existing jobs, create new jobs, and alleviate economic hardship. Yes, this is a lot of deficit spending, but we need to do deficit spending to address this crisis. To get Republican support, I am including a significant proportion of tax shifts.”

The Republican response was to obstruct the bill and to propose their own bill which contained at least as much deficit spending, all of it as tax shifts. Why was it all tax shifts? I think it’s ideology, but why don’t you tell me Mike. If Obama had been formulating his plan, and he had asked you for advice about how to get Republicans on board, what would have advised?

You are half right. The fundamental difference between the parties is the role of private initiative vs government planning. When Republicans get in power as they were from 2001 to 2006, they often stray from the agenda. It is tempting to think you know it all when you are in Washington. They did a great job in the late 90s. The Clinton boom began when the Republicans took Congress in 1994. Look at a chart of the stock market sometime.

The Bush administration did not “stray from the agenda”, they abandoned it and stomped all over it. They pushed for tax shifts that took spending out of surplus and piled up huge deficits, all in the name of tax shifts (excuse me, “personal responsibility”). They invaded and occupied Iraq, and tried to reconstruct it in our image (if that isn’t government planning of the most intrusive sort, what is?) They rammed Medicare drug benefits through Congress. And they completely botched the aftermath of Katrina (or should New Orleans’ citizens have taken “personal responsibility”?). During the Bush administration, government became much bigger, much more intrusive, and much less accountable.

Yes, the economy did do well during the Clinton administration. And not just the stock market. Part of that was that Clinton (like Reagan) raised taxes to reduce the deficit. Median wages (a much more important and accurate measure of economic progress IMHO) also rose during the later part of the Clinton administration, and stagnated during the Bush years. Mike, is the stagnation of median wages during the Bush years a failure of Republican economic policy.

Democrats are the party of government, a change since the 40s. The existence of government employee unions will end the present era of spending as government pensions crash the states like California. We are seeing it now.

If the doubling of the national debt, torture, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, the unitary executive and the Medicare drug benefit don’t convince you that the Republicans are a party of government, I don’t know what will. It’s certainly convinced me.

The bank bailout spending that was done in the fall was necessary although much of it was wasted. The problem now is that the Pelosi spending bill will weaken the prospects for real solutions of the financial crisis now. It also looks like Geithner isn't that swift after all. His performance has been pretty bad. I suspect we are looking at a lost decade like Japan. The irony is that the Pelosi bill is exactly what the Japanese did and that caused the lost decade for them. Spending on infrastructure won't do it.

The Bush administration proposed the bank bailouts, and Paulsen was responsible for them. Mike, how do you think the financial crisis should be addressed? If you don’t have a detailed answer, can you give Obama the same benefit of the doubt you give Republicans?

Fortunately, I am old so won't have to live with the consequences of Obama and Pelosi. I would have thought he was smart enough to avoid the trouble he is but maybe he really is the ideologue they said he was.

Mike, the biggest ideologue here is you. You say you’re “pissed off” at the Republican Party. You haven’t named one specific thing that bothers you about them, and you are demanding that Democrats accommodate their ideology.

Posted by: amorphous on February 13, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Second, the latest Republican attacks presuppose some credibility on debt reduction. It's probably worth reminding NRCC spokesman Ken Spain that Republicans who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility added $5 trillion in debt, in just eight years.

We're poor little elephants
who have lost our way,
Trumpet, trumpet, trumpet.
We're big spending elephants
who have gone astray
Trumpet, trumpet, trumpet.

On the other hand, the Dem hypocrisy is "change you can believe in." Obama's policies are merely a continuation of eight years of Republican borrow-and-spend, but in spades. Trillions in waste and deficit instead of billions. Will Obama reach quadrillions?

Posted by: Luther on February 13, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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