Wednesday, February 29, 2012

That Whole Respectful Disagreement Thing

Digby is dead right when she raises all kinds of alarm bells about the Dems' number 2 guy in the House, Steny Hoyer, talking to Our Centrist Third Way Betters about deficit reduction legislation.

In a speech hosted Monday morning by Third Way, Hoyer revealed that he and other lawmakers are looking for the right moment to introduce a bill that would achieve the sorts of deficit reduction goals that have eluded Congress and the White House thus far.
“Members of both parties, and on both sides of the Capitol, are working to ensure that the next time we find ourselves at an impasse — which could be sooner, rather than later — we will be ready, with a legislative package in hand to address our debt and deficit in a comprehensive, long-term way,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer declined to discuss the specifics of this bill, but suggested it would deal with spending and tax policies of all kinds. He and his colleagues face one key problem: there’s a lot of white space on the legislative calendar this year, and that means they’ll have a hard time leveraging unwilling members into action.
If, however, he can get members of both parties to vote in significant numbers for this bill — including broad Republican support for higher taxes — it would have significant implications for both Congressional elections, and the ultimate policy direction the government takes when it ultimately does lock in a deficit reduction plan.

Yeah, I trust Steny Hoyer about as far as he can throw me.  He serves a useful purpose as long as Nancy Pelosi is the one calling the shots, but if Hoyer had his druthers, we'd be up to our necks in Blue Dog crap with no pooper scooper in sight.   My issue is with Digby's characterization at the end:

I'm beginning to think we should elect the most crazed Tea Partiers we can find and encourage them to hold fast and never pass any bill that President Obama might sign. With Democrats like Hoyer around, it's probably our only hope.

Ironically if that's Colbertian satire, it's not funny, because that's basically what 2010 proved when voters did exactly that in the House and in state legislatures across the country in a redistricting year (hindsight and all.)  If she's being truthful, it's even less funny and for the same reason.  Yeah, we need better Democrats than Hoyer, and the bar for that is "breathing and recognizes President Obama as the leader of the party and will not piss on him repeatedly in public" and all, but c'mon.

First of all, there's no way Hoyer's deficit reduction foolishness means he's going to get anything done that the President can sign as bi-partisan anything during an election year.  Republicans aren't serious about deficit reduction at all (see the payroll tax cut) and if anything, they want to increase the deficit in order to push up a debt ceiling fight from 2013 to as close to October as they can (again, see the payroll tax cut).  Secondly, giving the President something the centrists will get tingles over in an election year is not something the GOP is going to allow, period.

And finally, the irony this is that "electing the most crazed Tea Partiers we can find" is how we got into this entire mess we're in right now.  No matter what President Obama signs, it has to go through Congress and the Sausage-Making Process(tm) first.  The key there is getting more and better Dems.

I know, I'm reading way too much into this, but it's not like the stakes aren't Mt. Everest high.  So far, the joke's been on us for the last fifteen months, or do we really think that having birth control, affirmative action, and separation of church and state reviewed is a good idea or something?  Maybe there's more pressing issues than what Steny Hoyer might "give away at the table" right now, people.  Just an observation.

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