The People have spoken, and Barack Obama is President of The United States; a huge majority of Democrats occupy the House; and there is a nice (although not a filibuster-proof) majority in the Senate. So what’s the problem?
Nancy Pelosi, first and foremost. If she didn’t load up the House Bill with enough pork to send the world’s Hassidic Rabbis into massive convulsions, we wouldn’t be in this situation right now. Harry Reid for continuing to walk on the leash of Madam Speaker and not exercise his own authority to get the garbage out, and tell Pelosi to stuff it. He’s a United States Senator for God’s sake, and the last time I looked that was higher on the political food chain. Grow a set, Harry…please. By setting the Stimulus Bill up for Republican ridicule by putting completely unnecessary spending into it, the Democrats have put the roadblocks up themselves. The Republicans were just more than happy to assist them in the process. There are definitely obstructionists on the GOP side, make no mistake about that…but there are some good centrists who are working with Democratic centrists in trying to get this all done by this evening for a vote. The other issue that was a major factor in this Bill being more problematic than it should have been was the fact that Democrats allowed Republicans to win the media war.
As much as I hate to say it, The President himself is to blame for much of this for a couple of reasons. One, he trusted Pelosi…he’ll never do that again. I know he likes Harry Reid personally, and Harry will still be in good graces as long as something like this does not become routine. Two, he didn’t sell it himself in the manner of an FDR, JFK or even Ronald Reagan. Only in the past few days has he been doing what those men did by working the phones and personally calling Senators and having conferences in his office. Now, he has encouraged the emergence of moderates such as Senators Snowe, Collins, and Nelson as power brokers in moving the Bill toward a more sensible conclusion. Three, he is no longer playing the role of Mister Nice Guy. He is determined to get this through the Senate and in conference between the Houses as soon as possible.
It looks as if instead of taking a vote this evening, it might be delayed until Sunday; which will give the obstructionists more time to cherry pick and spout their rhetoric on the Sunday News Programs. $170 BILLION was cut from the previous Bill, and most of that is coming from Education. Yes, you read that correctly…Education. But you know what? Education spending belongs in an annual Omnibus Budget, NOT a stimulus package; likewise other line items that were removed. Democrats need to wake up and realize that this is not the time nor the place for bullshit in the Bill; Republicans have to wake up and realize this is not the time nor the place for obstructionism. People are losing their jobs and their homes; the American Public is getting angry and impatient. Action now is needed.
One thing that will happen next week is the almost certain objections of Pelosi to the cuts made to the Bill. This will be the new President’s first test of his authority: to keep her in line. Once he does that, Reid will follow suit, although he’s been amazingly bi-partisan considering his reputation for being a hard-liner. This is where Mr. Obama REALLY comes to Washington. And unlike Jimmy Stewart, he needs to make sure that he heeds the old adage of “No more mister nice guy”. The real enemy of the passage of this bill and the President’s agenda is The Speaker Of The House. She needs to know who’s boss, and I have no doubt that she will find that both of her butt cheeks will be a nice shade of crimson by the end of next week.
“I never did say that you can’t be a nice guy and win. I said that if I was playing third base and my mother rounded third with the winning run, I’d trip her up.” – Leo Durocher