Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Howlin' Dogs

by digby

I hope what dday writes below is true and that the stimulus works like a charm because if it doesn't, it looks like this is going to be the only clean shot. The Republicans may be all over TV flexing and posing, but like the WWF wrestlers they imitate, they are all for show.

The real problem is, as we should have known, with the Blue Dogs:

Obama budget promise wins Blue Dog support

House Democrats won a key procedural vote Tuesday on the stimulus after a last-minute promise from the Obama administration to return to “pay-as-you-go” budget rules after the stimulus is approved.

In a 224-199 vote, the House approved a resolution allowing the stimulus bill to come to the floor for debate. Twenty-seven Democrats – 24 of them members of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition – bucked their leadership and voted against the measure.

But according to Democratic leadership sources, the number was almost much higher – and could have been high enough to hand the Republicans a monumental victory – had it not been for a letter from President Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag.

The letter addressed to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David promised to return to “pay-as-you-go budgeting,” and stressed that the stimulus was an “extraordinary response to an extraordinary process” and thus subject to different rules.

“It should not be seen as an opportunity to abandon the fiscal discipline that we owe each and every taxpayer in spending their money – and that is critical to keeping the United States strong in a global, interdependent economy,” the letter stated.

Orszag also emphasized that Obama’s support for paying for any temporary tax cuts in the stimulus that he would like to make permanent. The budget director said Obama would detail those offsets in his budget.

“Moving forward, we need to return to the fiscal responsibility and pay-as-you-go budgeting that we had in the 1990’s for all non-emergency measures,” Orszag continued. “The President and his economic team look forward to working with the Congress to develop budget enforcement rules that are based on the tools that helped create the surpluses of a decade ago.

“Putting the country back on the path of fiscal responsibility will mean tough choices and difficult trade-offs, but for the long-term health of our economy, the President believes that they must be made.”

Though addressed to Obey, Democratic sources said copies of the letter were distributed in a last minute flurry to Blue Dogs, many of whom were already on the floor and ready to cast their votes. The centrist group already was ruffled by the fact the package included far more spending than Obama had called for, and were prepared to vote as a block against the resolution, Democratic sources said.

If eight more of the 52-member Blue Dogs had voted against the resolution, it would have been defeated, ending any hope that Democratic leaders had of passing – or even finishing debate on – the stimulus bill this week.

The Orszag gesture did not arrive in time for some, but it did for some others, including Blue Dog Co-Chair Charlie Melancon (D-La.).

“In his letter, Dr. Orszag’s reference to restoring the pay-as-you-go requirements we had in place in the 1990’s is a clear and direct signal that President Obama is willing to make the tough decisions necessary to put our country back on a path to fiscal responsibility,” Melancon said after voting for the resolution. “After years of reckless deficit spending, the members of the Blue Dog Coalition are very encouraged to see that our new administration is serious about bringing responsibility and accountability to the federal government.”

Gosh, all we need is another dot-com bubble and the deja vu economic recovery will be perfect.

The Blue Dogs are conservatives who consistently vote on the deficit issue, whether against tax cuts or government spending. This is their main distinction from the Republicans who actually want to take money from working people and give it to corporations and the wealthy. But mostly, they are simply intellectually lazy people who I suspect find that it's always a purple district crowd pleaser to make the anti-debt argument. It is one of those things you can say in a mixed political crowd that everyone can agree upon. Who likes debt? But it's a governing cop-out. Sometimes debt is necessary to survive or invest for the future --- a point which they have no problem making when it comes to military spending.

Unfortunately, we are in very difficult economic times which require that the government be free to act with some dispatch and creativity in order to keep this thing from turning into a catastrophe. This is not the time for their simple minded brand of fiscal discipline. As I've said before, it's like telling the patient he needs to jog and go on a diet while he's in the middle of a heart attack. It's good advice, but not particularly relevant at that moment.

If things get demonstrably worse, I assume that the congress will have to act. But it's instructive that these people are seen as principled, upstanding guardian's of the nation's well being, while the rest of the Democrats who are struggling to pass a bill that injects needed cash into this ailing economy to save it from depression are widely derided as corrupt, incompetent boobs. It's a testament to how deeply conservative indoctrination still holds in our political discourse. And it shows just how toxic it is to the nation's health.

I'm not crazy about Obama's post-partisan schtick, because I think there is a villain in this piece and I think people need to know who it is. (That's why I like Roosevelt's line about "I welcome their hatred" and some of Obama's sharper lines in his inaugural address.) But his rhetoric of "we are all in this together" is a step in the right direction to create an alternative narrative of politics besides the Randian vision of the brave individualist up against the evil government monopoly. If his policies succeed, and he cares to take up the task of reorienting people's thinking seriously, it could begin to turn that around.

But right now in Washington, it's still a Republican/Blue Dog world and we just live in it. And because of that "what works" apparently means what works to keep Blue Dogs on the team.(And when I say Blue Dogs, I 'm not just referring to the House, but also to the insanely overbearing egos in the Senate as well. I suspect the show is about to get even more surreal when it moves over there.) Without these bizarre Democratic figures, the Democrats don't have a majority.

Luckily, they were able to appease them enough to keep them from defecting on the stimulus in the House, but they will continue to hold a gun to the president's head while the Republicans are out spinning like dervishes to the same end. They make quite a tag team.