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Feb 26 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Kristol’s advice to Cons: “I don’t care why you do it, just obstruct!”

In his inaugural column for the print edition of the Washington Post, Bill Kristol offers some advice for his Republican brethren: obstruct as much as humanly possible.


…Obama’s aim is not merely to “revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.” … Conservatives and Republicans will disapprove of this effort. They will oppose it. Can they do so effectively?

Perhaps — if they can find reasons to obstruct and delay. They should do their best not to permit Obama to rush his agenda through this year. They can’t allow Obama to make of 2009 what Franklin Roosevelt made of 1933 or Johnson of 1965. Slow down the policy train. Insist on a real and lengthy debate. Conservatives can’t win politically right now. But they can raise doubts…. Only if this happens will conservatives be able to get a hearing for their (compelling, in my view) arguments against big-government, liberal-nanny-state social engineering — and for their preferred alternatives.

It seems like an odd thing for Kristol to put in writing. Generally, Republicans say they want to at least try to have a constructive role in public policy. Kristol counsels the opposite — Obama is poised to “make history,” so Republicans need to “obstruct and delay.” The GOP, Kristol insists, needs to “find reasons” to do. Obstruct for obstruction’s sake, and figure out the rationale later.

I’m sure that sounds like a clever plan to the current fuckwits in Washington, but I don’t think it’s going to have quite the effect they might hope. Obstructing one of the most popular presidents evah is probably going to haunt them just a wee bit. 2010′s looking better all the time.

2012, alas, may not be as entertaining as we’d hoped:

One Republican who isn’t heeding Limbaugh’s warnings is the anti-immigrant zealot and former congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO). In an interview with ThinkProgress at the CPAC conference today, Tancredo declared that Jindal’s speech marks the end of his presidential ambitions:


TP: [Jindal] has gotten some flack for his performance on the response to Obama. I’m curious what your thoughts on it was.

TANCREDO: Great content. Lousy delivery. And I’m sorry to say this because I like him a lot. I served with him. Good guy. Solid guy. But I think that performance would very well have put the last nail in the coffin for him, for running for president. Mostly because what we are desperately looking for today in this party is a leader. Bobby Jindal is a great intellect, but his capacity to lead just is, his bearing, is not there. At least, it wasn’t there.

Paging Joe the Plumber… oh, wait, his stock isn’t rising, either:

On the homepage of the Politico right now, there’s a headline that reads, “Joe laughs at Obama speech,” above a picture of Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher. The headline leads to a story — and video — in which we learn the former campaign prop didn’t care for President Obama’s address to Congress this week.

Apparently, the fact that Wurzelbacher “did not have many nice things to say about Obama’s speech” is newsworthy.

It’s worth noting, though, that while Wurzelbacher remains important in some circles, his public “following” appears to be dwindling.

Joe the Plumber (no longer a plumber; first name actually Samuel) popped into [Washington, D.C.] yesterday evening to sell his new book and to remind people that he’s still a plain and simple guy. Mission accomplished, on at least one of his missions.

About 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement of a downtown Border’s bookstore to hear Joe speak. Joe addressed them from behind a lectern and with a microphone, but that seemed unnecessarily formal.

At least a few of the 11 didn’t actually show up for Wurzelbacher, but were in the store anyway. One was reading “Dreams From My Father” upstairs and thought it was an amusing coincidence that “Joe the Plumber” was in Borders at the time.

That’s just pathetic. What’s Sarah Palin going to do for running mates and Cabinet officials if these two are anathema? What happens to all that popcorn we’d stockpiled?

Ah, well. I’m sure the Cons will find some way to entertain us. They’ve not missed a trick yet:

In the budget released today, the Obama administration announced that it would end the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, as well as shut off loopholes that effectively eviscerate corporate tax revenues, all in an effort to fuel a robust domestic agenda and start lowering the deficit.

Predictably, the right wing is up in arms over the small tax increase for the richest businesses and families. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) complained to a friendly crowd at CNBC this morning that Obama’s tax increases would harm the economy, and insisted the best way to raise revenue is to cut taxes:


HUTCHISON: I think we get revenue the way we’ve done it in the past that has been so successful in the past and that is tax cuts…Every major tax cut we’ve had in history has created more revenue.

[snip]

The notion that cutting taxes somehow — magically — increases government revenues is a myth that won’t die. “The claim that tax cuts pay for themselves…is contradicted by the historical record,” reported the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which showed that revenues grew twice as fast in the 1990s, when taxes were raised, than in the 1980s, when taxes were cut. FactCheck.org called a claim like Hutchison’s
“highly misleading” and stated the obvious fact that “we can’t have
both lower taxes and fatter government coffers.”
You know, these tax cut arguments hold about the same water as an employer telling employees they’ll make more money if their salary’s cut. Which arguments hold about the same amount of water as a collander does.

If Sarah Palin wants a truly awesome running mate, though, she won’t want Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who is merely average on the batshit insanity scale. No, she’ll want to turn to someone else, someone who rails against imaginary legislation, someone who makes less sense than she does… I have just the one:

So, to review, the Senate today approved an amendment to a bill about D.C. voting rights prohibiting the FCC from bringing back an old broadcast policy that the FCC wasn’t considering and which the Obama administration does not support. Congress at its finest.

But since it passed overwhelmingly, at least we won’t have to hear the right complain about this anymore, right? If only it were that simple. The measure would still have to be approved by the House, which isn’t interested in holding a vote.

In response to the DeMint/Thune measure, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) proposed “a rival amendment that he said essentially reaffirmed existing law, which calls for the FCC to encourage diverse media ownership.” It passed 57 to 41. Despite the fact that Durbin’s measure simply re-stated current law, every Republican in the Senate voted against it.

DeMint told reporters that Democratic efforts to legally encourage diverse media ownership open a “back door to censorship.”

I have no idea what DeMint is talking about. Come to think of it, neither does he.

My darlings, the Con party still offers hope. They may have lost two of their best idiots, but they’ve got a plethora waiting in the wings. We shall be able to enjoy our popcorn in 2012 after all.

2 comments

  1. 1
    george.w

    Bobby Jindal a great intellect?Still shaking my head over that one. But I doubt that giving a bad speech will hurt his chances as a presidential candidate.

  2. 2
    Cujo359

    I’m still shaking my head that he was a Rhodes Scholar. If this story is to be believed, they didn’t even have to take a moment to consider.Clearly, Rhodes scholarship isn’t what it used to be …Anyway, there seems to be no shortage of barking lunatics in the GOP these days. Surely one is photogenic and smarmy enough to be on the 2012 ticket.

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