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 February, 2009


 The G.O.P. and the Stimulus Package

Tales of Two Cities, circa 2009

Please pardon my Charles Dickens, but “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom (the American voter).” It was the age of foolishness (the Republican congressional delegation).”

Last Tuesday, President Obama sailed his U.S.S. Bipartisanship over to Capitol Hill. He should’ve stayed home. How did the loyal (and I use that word loosely) opposition respond? “Damn the torpedoes, full speed in reverse.”

Obama had intended to court favor with congressional Republicans on that massive stimulus package. He was greeted by a group of people who keep forgetting they no longer control as much as a parking spot in Washington these days.

Oh, as soon their meeting had adjourned, they couldn’t wait to find the nearest open microphone for the purpose of announcing, “He seems like a nice enough fellow…” (As if on November 4th 65 million voters hadn’t already figured that out) “… but we’re still not going to budge on his stimulus plan.”
“It was the season of Light. It was the season of Darkness.”

Later, it was reported that House Minority Leader, John Boehner of Ohio (He’s the guy with that ever-darkening winter tan and the baritone voice) was among the Republican leadership who urged his fellow Republicans not to vote for the package – even before they met with Obama. I think Boehner is trying to tan himself dark enough to become the first black Republican presidential candidate. Or he’s planning to play Al Jolson on Broadway.

Anyway, Boehner and his fellow Republicans tried to convince reporters there is way too much “liberal, tax and spend” stuff in that stimulus package, to gain their support.

What a pointless argument, when you consider for two consecutive elections the American voter hasn’t seemed that bothered about the “liberal, tax and spend” stuff.
They seem to have far more affection for it, than they do some whining Republican who’s been anything these past few years, but a worthy steward of the economy.

So, when Wednesday rolled around and the stimulus package was approved by the House – with not a single Republican vote cast in the affirmative – it was clear that bipartisanship really hasn’t caught on among certain still-fuming members of congress.

The vote was 244 to 188. Rush Limbaugh - thinking he’s a member of Congress - tried to vote for the plan because somebody told him there was a million dollars in it to support his oxycontin and donut habit. “It was the epoch of belief. It was the epoch of incredulity.”

The President had found a few items in the package that strained credulity. So he called on his fellow Democrats to trim millions of dollars from it that would have been set aside for contraceptives and sod for the Washington Mall. That was his clear signal that he’s willing to compromise, to some extent, with Republicans.

That could have easily been met with constructive suggestions to make further cuts. Instead, Republicans launched just another tired old negative media blitz.

Obama should’ve proposed adding two billion dollars to construct a paper Mache statue of Sarah Palin toting a Louis Vuitton. Republicans would have designated it a shrine.

Otherwise, it seems there’s simply no give, just take in this era of “post-partisanship.”

“It was the spring of hope. It was the winter of despair.” Americans, who voted for a new way of doing the nation’s business by electing a brand new president with a winning smile, keep finding grumpy Republicans hogging their TV screens.

Some Republicans, the ones who actually aren’t elbowing each other out of the way to get air time, certainly must understand they aren’t in a real good position to simply find flaws in Democratic proposals, without offering real solutions to correct them.

Those days are over. They don’t have the votes in congress, or the support of the majority of Americans to speak only of despair, in the face of hope.

Enough with Charles Dickens, let’s just quote Thomas Paine.

Republicans you should just, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net