February 07, 2009

A Bitter Pill

Because of the tireless and unending Bush Bashing of the last eight years I was hoping that we could have at least a month or two where the president wasn't a primary source of the nation's ire. A honeymoon would have been nice, a respite from the ever present trashing of the commander in chief.

But the way Barack Obama has been acting the last couple of days is making that impossible.

And I was someone willing to give Obama a chance. Like an arranged marriage, I was willing to try to make the best of it. I had hoped that Obama's pragmatism and penchant for political expediency would win out over his left leaning ideology.

If Obama turned out to be a Ronald Reagan, great. Unfortunately, at this point he's looking more like a cross between LBJ and Jimmy Carter.

Hope and change?

More like fear and same. Within a week or so of the inaugural address the hopeful tone has all but evaporated into the frosty Washington DC air. In its place arguably the same kind of fear mongering that the Left endlessly accused the Bush administration of perpetrating to get things done. The difference of course being that the threat of terrorism is very real and the need for a pork laden spending bill to beat back "The worst financial crisis since the great depression", much less evident. (The stagflation of Jimmy Carter's early eighties was worse).

If Bush had done what Obama is trying to do he would have shoe-horned every Republican pet project into the Patriot Act. That is the equivalent. It's using an emergency to reward the special interests of your political party! With this so-called stimulus bill, the Democrats are doing an end run around the normal budget appropriation process in order to foist upon us their usual political agenda. They are using a financial crisis to lavish their supporters with billions of dollars of federal cash. They can't stuff the bales of cash out the door fast enough, it seems. We're told that it's such an emergency that we don't even have time to think it through really, just sign it. Hurry, hurry, hurry, it doesn't matter what we do, we have to do something, anything! This stimulus bill debacle is madness.

And it could be Obama's political death. He's been trying to scare us that "we will never recover" if we don't pass this bill. I'm afraid that Obama's political career will never recover if this thing passes and then fails to deliver as it will inevitably do according to any economist who understands the basic principle that we will have to raise taxes down the road to pay this thing off. And we'll have to pay this off right around the time that the inflation caused by this will be kicking in according to every economist who's name isn't Paul Krugman.

In one of Obama's recent partisan fear mongering speeches he proclaimed that, "somewhere a business is closing its doors". He has yet to explain how rewarding Democratic special interest groups and simply stuffing cash out of the doors will have a tangible effect on the businesses in danger of closing. A temporary payroll tax suspension will have a tangible effect on businesses and employees, irreversibly increasing the size of government and causing inflation down the road can only harm, not help the private sector economy Obama claims to be interested in helping.

A now we're told by Obama that tax cuts are "the failed policies of the past".

Really? That's interesting considering that Obama actually campaigned on tax cuts. How many times were we told that there would be tax cuts for 95% of Americans? Yet in place of tax cuts were getting the largest increase in the size of government since the New Deal.

Obama promised over and over in the campaign to go through the federal budget "line by line" and eliminate wasteful programs. Well, here's his chance to live up to one of his hollow promises. Don't hold your breath. Like the promise that he wouldn't appoint lobbyists and the promise that he would bring a new tone to Washington. So much for the new tone, in Washington DC it's business as usual as Obama is now digging in his heels in a one-sided partisan defense of Nancy Pelosi's Democratic spending extravaganza.

For Barack Obama the more things change, the more things stay the same.

I really am fairly surprised that Obama is behaving with such a tin ear. The people are starting to turn against this bill, so to entrench yourself in defense of it in its current form strikes me as politically tone deaf. And I've always known Obama to do what is politically expedient, just ask Reverend Wright.

I have been avoiding directly criticizing the President for about as long as I can on this blog. The issues are too important and Obama is acting far too partisan for me to keep that up anymore. For Barack Obama the honeymoon is over and the bloom is off the rose. Any notion of Obama as a transformational or transformative leader has been swept aside.

And unless a serious overhaul takes place, this bill that is being stuffed down our throat will be a bitter pill indeed.


Kent said...

I was one of the first to offer congratulations to the President on election night, but he didn't get much of a honeymoon with me. I have great problems with a number of his cabinet choices, specifically Geithner and Holder, and I disagree with nearly everything he's done thus far in terms of executive orders and this absurd 'stimulus' bill.

That said, I don't demonize Obama the way the Left demonized George W. Bush because I think the dignity of the office should always be respected. Chris routinely refers to Bush as being 'dumb.' I think that disrespects the office.
Obviously freedom of speech gives us the right to say anything we want about our elected officials, but I believe it matters a great deal how we comport ourselves.

That said, I'm going to continue to be as partisan as I've always been. After all, bipartisanship means compromising one's principles, and that's not how I roll.

Jaz said...

Yeah, I wasn't as magnanimous as you were on election night but since then I had been informally adhering to a kind of grace period.

I have been so wary of being perceived the way I perceived the mindlessness of knee-jerk Bush Bashing that's it was hard to know, at first, what I'm allowed to criticize.

Mr. Parker said...

The problem with Bush bashing, is, we are in this problem largely due to his failed policies. Just the mere fact that we NEED a stimulus ought to tell you something. The Republican party has been in charge for most of my life, and im 36 yo. 20 of the last 28 years have been dominated by a Republican in the White House. And up until 2 years ago the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for 14 years. And yet Obama, who has been in the POTUS for less than a month, has drawn your "ire." Where was your ire when the the fiscally conservative GOP spent 6 trillion of our dollars on boondoggle after boondoggle? Just curious.

Jaz said...

Mr. Parker,

I appreciate the comment and I can't help but notice how the theme of your complaint seems to dovetail with a complaint lodged by California Senator Barbara Boxer the other day. Boxer was wondering why Republicans are only now suddenly concerned with reigning in spending when it has been the Republicans spending so much over the last eight years. This sort of complaint seems to discount the results of the last two elections (2006 & 2008) where the people voted to punish Republicans by, for the most part, not re-electing them.

Conservatives are not generally big fans of massive government spending, no matter who's doing it. That's at least one of the reasons why the Republicans were hammered in 2006 and went on to lose the White House in 2008. If Republicans get elected as conservatives and then go to Washington and behave like Democrats, the prospects of their re-election is greatly diminished. This is at least part of the reason their ranks have been so decimated. They have been losing their own voters and only now are they starting to realize that they were sent to Washington to shrink the size of government not to increase it. Better late than never, I say.

But because spending has in the past been out of control isn't a very good argument that it should continue. Which is basically what Boxer, and perhaps you, are essentially arguing if you're in favor of this "stimulus" bill.

That the barn door was left open and some horses escaped is not a compelling argument that the barn door should remain open.

If only the criticism of Bush was mainly characterized by substantive arguments about his policies there wouldn't really be a need for the term 'Bush bashing'. If the fact that Bush spent money on giving AIDS relief to Africa or spent money on No Child Left Behind was the source of people's ire that's one thing. But the kind of over-the-top bashing that we have seen for the last eight years has gone well beyond, or I would argue below, that. It's that kind of Bush Bashing I will endeavor not to be guilty of when it comes to Obama.