Sunday, February 15, 2009

Danger - Political Rant. Keep Back 50 Feet.

As a blogger, I'm delighted that we have the sort of bloviating lunatics in Congress that we do, because it means I'll never run out of things to blog about. As a citizen with a functioning brain (no comments, please, Mike and Fiona), I'm appalled at the ludicrous antics of our elected reprehensives as they do their best to make political hay out of the worst economic crisis since the Depression.

Nobody's blameless here. Both sides have plenty to answer for, both in creating the current mess and in pointing fingers at each other for perpetuating it. But yesterday's Republican Weekly Radio Address by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was so far over the top I was ready to move to someplace like Zimbabwe where they understand sound financial management and cooperative relationships between political parties. You can listen to Senator Murkowski's address and read the text by using the hyperlink I provided...but unless you're a brain-dead, die-hard, bottled-in-bond, aged-in-wood, dyed-in-the-wool, head-up-and-locked, hide-bound conservative who just knows the Republican party has all the answers and all Democrats have pointed tails and are hell-bent on ruining the country, you may want to have a large-capacity bucket available to throw up into.

The first thing that astounds me is the sheer gall of taking the gently aggrieved position that those irresponsible Democrats aren't being bipartisan and taking our fiscally responsible positions into account. In point of fact, the Democratic majority isn't doing anything any different than the Republicans did when they were in the majority. Steamrolling the opposition when you are in a position of strength is a well-recognized, if despicable, Congressional tradition. The difference here is that President Obama, whatever else you may think of him, has made herculean efforts to court what in most countries would be a loyal opposition. Sadly, the only loyalty on the opposition side of the aisle seems to be to the most radical end of the Republican continuum, represented by self-important windbags like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.

Senator Murkowski goes on to lament the cost of the stimulus package, noting that all the money will, one way or another, have to be borrowed. "All this spending adds up," she gently admonishes, "and has to be paid back -- paid back by our children and their children." Well, fancy that...I've been saying this for months, and I don't even have a radio show to whine on any more. The senator fails to mention that the standard Republican solution for all problems is tax cuts. How waving the magic wand of tax cuts, which decrease government income, will help the government to pay its bills still mystifies me, although it appears to be quite clear to the few people who still believe in trickle-down economics. One might also ask where the Republicans were when their president over the past eight years led us into a ruinously expensive war of questionable need, then paid for it off the books to hide the true cost from the American people...all the while castigating those who questioned it as weak-kneed, un-American supporters of terrorism or worse.

Senator Murkowski ended her address with these words: " Republicans continue to pursue policies that strengthen our economy and create jobs, we'll insist that taxpayers aren't only protected -- but also well informed. Republicans in Congress have pledged to work with the majority party. It's my hope that they take us up on our offer as we closely monitor how and where this money is spent." The clear insult she delivers to the President and the current majority party is that they do not wish to strengthen the economy and create jobs - only to spend money as recklessly as Republicans have done when they had the chance. Pork-barrel spending is not the personal trough of either party. She claims that Republicans in Congress have pledged to work with the majority party...and yet 100% - every single one - of the House Republicans voted against the economic stimulus package. And how close an accounting of government spending have they wished when they were in the majority, busily digging (with the contrivance of bone-headed Democratic policies, to be sure) the economic hole into which we have now fallen? I wish she would have delivered this address on television so I could see if she was able to keep a straight face while earnestly delivering such a load of bald-faced horse hockey.

It's been a long time since I've been so enraged by a political speech. Senator Murkowski's sincere, breathless, we-know-what's-right-but-they-refuse-to-listen-to-us hyperbole makes me sick. Political cartoonist Pat Oliphant said things about as well as I ever could...and in fewer words:

I love my country. But I often wonder how much those we elect to run it do. When they can deliver ludicrous drivel like Senator Murkowski's speech instead of thoughtful debate and principled cooperation and compromise, I have to wonder.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

Its not just a congressional tactic works much the same way in other countries too...its just sadly the way of power.

Personally I think if we want to save money ...those leaders should do what they do for FREE...and no special vehicles etc provided by the gov't either...

Bet that would get a lot of the riff raff out of gov't...and most of gov't out too.

Mike said...

At least Lisa Murkowski has a pleasant speaking voice. So you just have to ignore what she's saying and pretend your listening to the girl at the bar your trying to pick up after 5 beers.

Wv - fesmi - someone asking to be fesed.

Mrs. Geezerette said...

Bilbo writes: "How waving the magic wand of tax cuts, which decrease government income, will help the government to pay its bills still mystifies me, although it appears to be quite clear to the few people who still believe in trickle-down economics."

Bilbo, here is something for you to ponder:

The Reagan Tax Cuts: Lessons for Tax Reform

Anonymous said...


Both the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts resulted in increased tax revenue because more people got off the dole and went to work.

It's history, and as Yogi Berra said, "You could look it up."

The Clinton welfare reform probably had the same effect, although I'd have to do some heavy research to prove it.

You know who.

an orange county girl said...

wow. that was quite the political rant (btw, i'm totally with you on this). usually, when something political makes me really angry, my diatribe ends up being no where near as coherent as yours.

Bilbo said...

Andrea - yep.

Mike - I agree about Sen Murkowski's voice up to a point. But after a while that breathless, gentle mom thing grated on my nerves.

SusieQ - nice to hear from you again! I'll check out your link.

Anonymous - I'll concede that tax cuts may make some sense in a booming economy. But when millions are out of work and businesses are collapsing, I think you'd have to really stretch your imagination to think that a tax cut will benefit someone with no income, or that a tax cut will be large enough to convince businesses to re-hire the millions they've already laid off. Yes, you keep telling me it's history, and I can look it up. You may want to check out Neustadt and May's wonderful book "Thinking in Time" for a good analysis of drawing the wrong lessons from history.

Liz - I was driving on the beltway while I was listening to the Murkowski address, and I was so angry I was actually yelling at the radio. I'll bet there were a few cell callers who notified the police about a raving lunatic in the vicinity of Tyson's Corner.