Thursday, January 29, 2009

Conservatives: No Second New Deal

Updated January 29, 2008 at 7:18 AM
After taking out family planning money and ditching bankruptcy reform, plus including significant tax cuts to assuage Republican objections, not a single Republican voted for the economic recovery plan that passed in the House on Jan. 28. Nobody expected overwhelming GOP support, but after the 2008 election, that's just stunning. (11 blue dog Democrats voted Nay.)
This type of partisan obstruction by Republicans is just another example of why Americans overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party on issues like the economy. "There will be people in districts all over the country that will wonder why, when there's a good bill to get the economy moving again, why we still seem to be playing political gotcha," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in an interview.

Rank-and-file Congressional Democrats had been willing to give Republicans the business tax cuts and other provisions they wanted in the stimulus in the spirit of bipartisan good faith. That is, up until every single one voted against the bill on the House floor Wednesday. Now, in both the House and the Senate, angry Democratic members are lobbying Democratic leaders to yank back those tax breaks and other concessions made to Republicans. Sen. John Kerry says Democrats should ignore Republicans’ demands about the stimulus plan if they’re going to vote against it anyway.

Several days before taking office, President Obama spent an evening in George Will’s home to dine with a handful of right-wing conservative media elites in an act of bipartisan good faith. Less than week after Obama took the oath of office, Will’s right-wing dinner guests have already shown the futility of engaging in a good-faith bipartisanship. While President Obama advances his approach to promote economic recovery, Will's dinner attendees are on a no-holds-barred offensive of misinformation against Obama's approach.
Published: January 25, 2009

As the debate over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan gets under way, one thing is certain: many of the plan’s [conservative Republican] opponents aren’t arguing in good faith. Conservatives really, really don’t want to see a second New Deal, and they certainly don’t want to see government activism vindicated. So they are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending. Some of these arguments are obvious [false and misleading] cheap shots.

snip - Any time you hear someone reciting one of these arguments, write him or her off as a dishonest flack.

snip - [But the obvious cheap shot arguments and assertions] that are fraudulent can seem superficially plausible to those who don’t know their way around economic concepts and numbers. So as a public service, let me try to debunk some of the major anti-stimulus arguments that have already surfaced [from conservatives]

snip - But here’s the thing: Most Americans aren’t listening. The most encouraging thing I’ve heard lately is Mr. Obama’s reported response to Republican objections to a spending-oriented economic plan: “I won.” Indeed he did — and he should disregard the huffing and puffing of those who [not only] lost, [but whose conservative governance ideology created the economic crisis in the first place.]

Read the full article at
Many are promoting false and misleading cheap shots against Obama's recovery plan:
Media Matters
snip - David Brooks, Larry Kudlow, Brit Hume, [George Will, Carly Fiorina and George Stephanopoulos, among many others,] have asserted that the proposed fiscal stimulus package supported by President Barack Obama would amount to spending at least $223,000 for every job created, echoing a January 15 false and misleading "Stimulus Quick Facts," issued by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee... read the full article.
Caving to right-wing conservatives’ anti-abortion campaign of misinformation, President Obama reportedly pressured House Democrats to strip family planning funding from its economic recovery proposal — even though it would potentially save $700 million over 10 years. MSNBC’s David Shuster pressed Hutchison (R-TX) about the provision, pointing out that it would help relieve states of health care costs. Unable to respond, Hutchinson launched a reflexive conservative attack on any plan that is not all tax cuts.
Among those repeating the false and misleading "Stimulus Quick Facts" is Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. At a luncheon meeting of the Plano Chamber of Commerce on Friday Jan. 23 Senator Hutchison said that she could not support President Barack Obama's proposed $825 billion stimulus package because it wouldn't provide an instant jolt to the economy.

Hutchison said the bill, among other things, would lift the earned income tax credit for low-income workers and allocate billions of dollars to help pay for college, build roads and other structures and invest in alternative fuels and other projects that would not stimulate the economy. Hutchison further said the effect of the sweeping spending plan would be to drive up the federal deficit. "What we're looking for is a jump-start," Hutchison said, "This is not going to be a jump-start."

Even though Obama has met with Republican media pundits and congressional leaders several times to assuage their concerns and added bipartisan compromise tax cuts to his stimulus package package -
House Republican Leader John A. Boehner and his No. 2, Whip Eric Cantor, told their rank-and-file members Tuesday morning [Jan, 27] during a closed-door meeting to oppose the bill when it comes to the floor Wednesday, according to an aide familiar with the discussion. Boehner told members that he's voting against the stimulus, and Cantor told the assembled Republicans that there wasn't any reason for them to support the measure, according to another person in the room. Cantor and his whip team are going to urge GOP members to oppose it. [Politico]
Both Texas’ senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) and John Cornyn (R) have voiced their staunch opposition to the $819 billion plan. “I read the bill in vain for any real stimulus in the economy,” Cornyn told the Dallas Morning News. Not one House Republican supported the Obama-backed stimulus package and Texas’ senators predicted a similarly lopsided result in the Senate, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Bob Herbert says in his NYTimes column,
"What’s up with the Republicans? Have they no sense that their policies have sent the country hurtling down the road to ruin? Are they so divorced from reality that in their delusionary state they honestly believe we need more of their tax cuts for the rich and their other forms of plutocratic irresponsibility, the very things that got us to this deplorable state?

Republicans have argued, with the collaboration of much of the media, that they could radically cut taxes while simultaneously balancing the federal budget, when, in fact, [Bush's] big income-tax cuts inevitably lead to big budget deficits. We listened to the G.O.P. and what do we have now? A trillion-dollar-plus deficit and an economy in shambles. When the G.O.P. talks, nobody should listen."
As Media Matters has documented, during the Bush administration, corporate media consistently allowed conservatives to dominate their shows, booking them as guests far more often than progressives. The rationale was that Republicans were “in power.” Now that Republicans are not in power the media continues to allow conservatives to monopolize corporate news channels.

In an analysis, ThinkProgress found that the five cable news networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business and CNBC — hosted Republican lawmakers over Democrats by a 2 to 1 ratio.

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