Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The limits of bipartisanship

All very well to speak about moving beyond partisanship, but there are costs to doing so, and they are becoming apparent in the debate over an economic stimulus package, oops, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Plan.

Republicans are applauding the President-Elect's tax-cutting proposals (which fit in with the anti-government mantra that still paralyzes the GOP), but in a posture that gives new meaning to the term chutzpah, are already carping at the size of the overall package. This from the people who kept all that spending on the Iraq rat-hole "off-budget," so they could pretend it didn't exist.

If, for the sake of bipartisanship, the new administration trims the size of the stimulus, uh ARRP, package, that will be a serious mistake. (Paul Krugman had a very good take on this yesterday.) And to what purpose would Obama do this? If the economy continues to go downhill--which too small a stimulus will make much more likely--will Republicans take any part of the blame? Do I have to answer that one for you?

If the minority party is not willing to stand up and support steps necessary to save the nation from economic calamity, then it should be left in the dust.

(In practical terms the Democratic majority is large enough so that Obama and the House and Senate leadership need not pay much mind to the Republican leadership. I do not suggest openly dissing McConnell, Boehner and the others--although the impulse to do so on general principles is almost overwhelming--but they well know that some of the rank-and-file will support almost any plan that the new President puts forward. In the Senate, in particular, it is hard to see every "moderate" Republican supporting a filibuster over the stimulus package, which is what would be needed to block it.)

1 comment:

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Let's see if McCain lives up to his concession speech pledge to support Obama's presidency by working on his GOPhers to support the stimulus package or whatever.

I wonder if McCain has any clout in that group, having lost the election.

The McConnells and the Boehners of this world simply want to make Obama look bad over the next four years, and one way to do that is to block a sufficiently large stimulus, and watch the economy suffer in Barack's first term.