In a staggeringly predictable move, the House Republicans unanimously opposed yesterday’s stimulus package. A few stray observations:
1.) Obama’s been taking pains to reach out to the GOP, and the bill is weaker as a result. I stand by what I’ve been saying all along–bipartisanship later, but right now we’re in an emergency, and this whole thing is time-sensitive. The bill should have been rammed through Congress, Tom DeLay-style.
2.) This looks like a stupid move by the Republicans. Daniel Larison puts it best:
The bill as presented to the House shouldn’t have passed, but it is striking how unwilling the Republican leadership was to back a popular piece of legislation. When confronted with a similar situation in September over the bill authorizing the TARP–the Democrats had a majority but wanted, indeed needed, Republican votes for provide bipartisan cover–the Republican leadership caved and backed a bill their constituents hated and endorsed a measure of dubious merit. Of course, that was four months ago when it might have done them some good electorally. Having blown the obvious opportunity to tap into populist outrage over the bailout, which was supported by perhaps a third of the electorate at most, the leadership now decides to make their stand opposing a bill that commands support from a broad majority of the country, and they do so at a time when their stand, such as it is, will be forgotten by the time the midterms come around.
Indeed, the sudden unanimous opposition of House Republicans to this bill mainly accomplishes one thing, which is to remind everyone of how gutlessly the Republican leadership acquiesced to whatever the Bush administration wanted and how they only managed to discover some interest in resisting massive expenditures when someone from the other party is in the White House.
They were obviously trying to embarrass Obama, but they’re the ones that look like idiots–it’s hard to imagine anyone, besides maybe Halperin, believing that this happened because Obama was excessively partisan.
3.) Speaking of excessive partisanship, it looks like we’ve just caught a glimpse of the new House Republican strategy, such as it is: rather than the party of conservatism, or the party of any coherent ideology at all, they’re looking to be the party of reflexively voting against any and every bill that Democrats support. Proving, once again, that John Boehner is a complete idiot.
4.) I was talking to Daniel about Boehner’s leadership strategy the other day and I made an observation that I decided not to post about at the time because it just seemed too mean to give its own post. Well, fuck it.
Here’s the problem with Boehner: He’s a two-bit bureaucratic flunky. He was a solid leadership choice under a strong Republican executive because he was good at brown-nosing and taking marching orders from his higher-ups. But now that the Republican Party has no single leader, Boehner is, for the first time in his time as the House GOP leader, both the symbolic and effective head of his caucus. And that’s just not good for anyone. It’s like a petting zoo being run by one of the more dimwitted sheep. And what’s worse, the only thing he really is good at is securing his own position, at the expense of both his party and the country.
House Republicans: Please replace this guy. I don’t even mind if you replace him with someone evil and/or insane anymore, just as long as it’s someone who’s bright enough to recognize when making common cause with Democrats is in the best interests of his party.