Saturday, January 31, 2009

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Democrats taking over national politics + Economy tanking at breathtaking speed = Wingnut bloggers out of work.

Nobody could have predicted, etcetera, etcetera.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Via e-mail, Zandardad asks:
So far I am very unhappy with some of the specifics of the stimulus plan; and I think the Democrats in the Senate really need to open up the process to get at least some Republicans on board. What do you think?
Well, the answer is yes, especially in the Senate. Republicans will filibuster, and I honestly don't think Obama's going to get every single Democrat in the Senate on board either. Mathematically he has to get some Republicans on board. That's just fact.

Pops points out David Broder's Friday column as an example of this reality. For once, he has a couple of salient points.
Last week the $819 billion tax and spending bill passed the House with all but 11 Democrats supporting it and not a single Republican voting yes. The first important roll call of the Obama presidency looked as bitterly partisan as any of the Bush years.

It was not for lack of effort on the part of the new president. Obama went to the Capitol to visit Republican as well as Democratic lawmakers, and he encouraged the Democratic draftsmen to scrap a couple of egregiously irrelevant spending programs they had penciled into the bill.

On the other hand, Broder takes those points and uses them to blame Nancy and Harry. Obama indeed reached out in a good faith effort. For his troubles, the House GOP flipped him off in a completely partisan show of disrespect.

My problem is Broder's assumption that the Republicans should be ultimately controlling this legislation. Getting some Republicans on board is one thing. Surrendering the legislation to the GOP is another. Why should Obama and the Democrats bow and scrape to the GOP? The Republicans lost the election. The people rejected them having control of the country in an unequivocal and total fashion.

Let's recall who got us into this mess in the first place: The Republicans and their $3 trillion war, years of lack of executive branch oversight, and flat out greed.

The Republicans had their chance. They had their say. And still, Obama offered them an olive branch time and time again. Their ultimate answer was a total, unanimous rejection of the bill by every single Republican in the House.

Now they are complaining about not being involved in the process of legislation they wholly struck down, in the most petulant, whiny fashion possible. Broder, being the Village Idiot In Chief, is doing their whining for them.

Pop, the GOP wants the stimulus to fail. Period. Don't fall for this bipartisanship crap. You can recognize a user and an enabler when you see one.

Turning Into A Distinct Pattern

For a political party and a President that promised "Change you can believe in" there sure has been an awful lot of news stories about politically corrupt Democrats here in the last month. Granted, most of the stuff they've done is just plain stupid (and nothing in comparison to the rank illegality of Bush/Cheney mind you) but there's a pattern here, and after ten days of the Obama administration I'm already sick and tired of it.

The ongoing "pay-to-play" investigation into Bill Richardson and Blago's impeachment are the most serious. But there's still plenty of ethical questions involving Hillary Clinton's relationship to international donors to her husband's foundation, the increasingly bizarre Caroline Kennedy/David Paterson/Kirsten Gillibrand imbroglio, and the fact that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner can't do his own taxes correctly.

And now another major problem rears its ugly head: HHS nominee Tom Daschle has his own tax problems.

After being defeated in his 2004 re-election campaign to the Senate, Daschle in 2005 became a consultant and chairman of the executive advisory board at InterMedia Advisors.

Based in New York City, InterMedia Advisors is a private equity firm founded in part by longtime Daschle friend and Democratic fundraiser Leo Hindery, the former president of the YES network (the New York Yankees' and New Jersey Devils' cable television channel).

That same year he began his professional relationship with InterMedia, Daschle began using the services of Hindery's car and driver.

The Cadillac and driver were never part of Daschle's official compensation package at InterMedia, but Mr. Daschle -- who as Senate majority leader enjoyed the use of a car and driver at taxpayer expense -- didn't declare their services on his income taxes, as tax laws require.

During the vetting process to become HHS secretary, Daschle corrected the tax violation, voluntarily paying $101,943 in back taxes plus interest, working with his accountant to amend his tax returns for 2005 through 2007.

(Daschle reimbursed the IRS $31,462 in taxes and interest for tax year 2005; $35,546 for 2006; and $34,935 for 2007, a Daschle spokesperson said, adding that Daschle had asked his accountant to look into the tax implications of the car and driver five months before Obama won the presidency.)

The Daschle spokesperson told ABC News that the senator, facing questions from the committee, has said "he deeply regretted his mistake. When he realized it was a mistake he corrected it rapidly."

Now we see why Geithner was confirmed. Daschle had the same problem.

Is it too much to ask for the Obama guys to find people who aren't doing stupid crap like this and putting them in critical positions? Our economy is all but done, our health care system is on life support, and we've got Obama putting in tax cheats to run his damn programs?

Is it truly that hard to find decent Democrats that don't have records that make them look like Bush-era nepotists and cronies? Is it truly that hard to find decent Democrats that don't have records that make them look like Bush-era nepotists and cronies? Honestly? We've had eight years of this shit and I'm altogether sick and tired of the same excuses, the same backslapping, the same bullshit from the last eight years.

No, I don't want the Republicans back in power. Yes, I do want competent and decent Democrats in the Cabinet because I know they exist, and Obama has managed to find a lot of them to his credit. But aren't we in enough trouble here as it is, Mr. President? Don't we need a clean slate here at a time where crap like this has gotten this country to the brink of economic disaster?

Maybe I'm holding Obama to a higher standard. But frankly after Bush/Cheney nearly destroyed this country, we all should be holding our entire government to a higher standard. Period.

OK, rant over. Resume Obama administration.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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