Thursday, January 29, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

Kudos to the House Republicans. I mean it. They voted unanimously against the Obama "stimulus" package. That was the right thing to do. It won't help them ... but it was the right thing to do.

Here's why it won't help them:

When I watch television (which isn't very often), I make a practice of tuning in to the most lapdoggish media I can find. During the Bush Era, that meant Fox. I knew I could count on them to reliably parrot the line of the party in power. Now the idiot box stays tuned to MSNBC, for the same reason.

The Democrats are pushing two standard lines.

The first one -- "Rush Limbaugh has taken control; he's filling the GOP's leadership vacuum and heading up a crew of wreckers to make sure that Obama fails to the country's detriment" -- probably plays well with the Democrat base, but it doesn't really hold much water. The Bush presidency and his own personal problems turned Limbaugh into a laughingstock -- pretty much a non-video GOP version of Jerry Springer -- long ago. He no longer electrifies the GOP base, or strikes terror into its opponents, the way he did in the early 1990s.

The second line is more effective, but there's some nuance to it: "What if the stimulus works? Aren't the Republicans screwing themselves by eschewing Obama's bipartisanship offerings?"

Folks, the "stimulus" ain't gonna work. FDR "pump-priming" was a massive failure in the 1930s, and it's going to be a massive failure this time too.

But ... I remember my grandmother, who raised three kids during the Depression and the war. She was a devout Christian (of the Pentectostal variety), and while she believed that Jesus sits just to the right of God the Father in heaven, she also evidenced no doubt whatsoever that FDR sits just to the right of Jesus.

FDR's version of "stimulus" didn't work any more than Hoover's did ... but it got him re-elected three times. Most people still think that the answer to any problem is for government to "do something," even (maybe especially!) if the government "doing things" was the cause of the problem in the first place.

Obama's version of "stimulus" won't work, either, any more than Bush's did. If he was really interested in stimulating the economy, he'd have his OMB director working overtime to produce a balanced budget -- with massive tax cuts factored in -- instead of warning us to expect trillion-dollar deficits. The only thing government can do to shorten the recession is shrink.

But just you watch. We'll be told that the recession (or depression) would have been even worse without this drunken-sailor spending spree, and that its failures were due to Republican obstructionism ... and if history is any example a voting majority of us will swallow the line (w/hook & sinker attached).

So, once again, kudos to the Republicans. They did the right thing, and I'm not interested in belaboring whether or not they did it for the right reasons. But I don't see them racking up any political capital for it.

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