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February 07, 2009

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faboo post!

I was thinking too, maybe it would make more sense for Obama to shelve this one and start over; it does seem to be a bad bill, so why not just admit it and move on.

What some of us want is"the power to have our way, to steamroll the opposition and exact payback."

YEP - Right here.

But I have to ask: how can you be calling for bipartisanship when Collins and Nelson and their gang of 29 made an alright bill much worse? I'm one of those angry lefties who sees bipartisanship as code for right-wing; our politics have moved extremely far to the right in the last 40 years, and I'd like to move them leftward.

But you seem content with our "center"; that's what I'm gathering from this post. I agree w/your critiques about Obama's (lack of) leadership, but I am also picking up that you believe there's some sort of compromise solution. How can that be when all the GOP has is more tax cuts, and more stripping of spending on social programs and more ## for private property and defense spending?

I don't think you can have it both ways - bipartisanship in this governing environment and any remotely effective policies.

I like this post from Steve at TLC, who agrees with you on House Dems and Obama, but not on the bipartisanship piece:

http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/013786.php

I'm with Red on this. You keep saying the repubs "have nothing" and yet the democrats need to compromise with them? You don't compromise with poisoners.

(Which is a separate issue, I think, than the badness of the bill.)

how can you be calling for bipartisanship when Collins and Nelson and their gang of 29 made an alright bill much worse? I'm one of those angry lefties who sees bipartisanship as code for right-wing; our politics have moved extremely far to the right in the last 40 years, and I'd like to move them leftward.

Because it's not an "alright bill;" it's a lousy bill, fill of lousy, less than inspiring ideas about spending a lot of money - much on dubious projects - and hoping, against hope, that the spending will solve things. The things the bill gets right - expanding the social safety net spending - are not "stimulus", they're disaster relief. Which, probably is more of what we need, just now, anyway.

Look (and this time, I'm justified with it, j) - where we most obviously disagree is in the framing here - I don't think "bipartisan" means "rightwing" and I think much of the left that wants their way more than anything isn't making the left look better for it. There's stuff, serious stuff, wrong with this bill. If we can't face that, and do something about it, then really we're not better at this than Republicans. Or more correct about our social theories. We're just going to beat and beat at Republicans until they cry, or something. That doesn't strike me as any sort of progress... and in the long run it's a recipe for defeat, even if, in the short run, we get our way.

And yes, I don't think the Republicans have much in the way of stimulative ideas... but that's in the context of a discussion where the choices are a) spending, or b) tax cuts. The real problem - which was my main point - is that buying into this argument over this bill is buying into a false choice. If we sat people down, in true bipartisan fashion - getting good people, on all sides, who care about economic issues to meet in the middle - I'm just convinced we could do the things that should be done: Bankruptcy reform. Affordable housing. Creative spending on interesting projects. Some green projects. And even some creative rethinking of tax policy. No one - really even both of you - that I've discussed the stimulus bill with likes it. People hate it. Ordinary people can think of any number of alternative things that make more sense. And yet, we sit here watching that horror show and talk about it as if they're making progress, or as if progress is being destroyed because some fantastical number is being lowered to some other, still fantastical number.

You can't just point to the childish fight being held in DC now and call that our only way to be "bipartisan." That's reductive, and it insults everyone's intelligence. There's lots of ways to do this differently... and my point about Obama, and failure, is that if you mean to do it differently, then do it. If you do it the same way we've been doing it for years... don't be surprised that "bipartisanship" is equated with "disaster." Like this bill.

I'd love some examples of the creative people you see on both sides of the aisle to propose what you're looking for, since Collins and Nelson purport to be just that and failed, and I'd like examples of how this talking across the aisle has failed to come to pass.

It sounds like you're just focusing on this legislation and I think there's a larger governance issue here, so that's also a difference.

Collins and Nelson are the prime examples of the debate that's happening "in the context of a discussion where the choices are a) spending, or b) tax cuts. The real problem - which was my main point - is that buying into this argument over this bill is buying into a false choice."

Ill say it over and over - you get a group of thoughtful bipartisan people together and focus them on other, more creative approaches - like bankruptcy reform or affordable housing or tax policy... you'll get some interesting proposals. We could do bankruptcy reform over foreclosure - there are concerned lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who can hammer that out. You can't get those kind of proposals in a context where Nancy Pelosi's team says let's spend a lot of money on stuff we like (which is mostly everything) and Republicans say no. That's a discussion we've been having for years, and it gets us nowhere. Which, I'd point out, is just where it's getting us now.

weboy,

You said this about the movie Dave,

"More than a few bloggers have brought up the notion of Dave, the old eighties movie where Kevin Kline pretends to be Kevin Kline pretending to be President (speaking of dicks, the whole discovery that he's impersonating the President hinges on... you guessed it, Sigourney Weaver as his wife seeing the difference down there). "

1) Dave was release in 1993
2) In the movie, Sigourney Weaver said she discover the difference because Dave was interested in her legs when she was entering/exiting the car. The President had long lost interest in her. Dave ask her if it she discover the diference from what she saw in the shower and she said no.

I agree with Redstar and jinb about the politics. Obama was rolled. He better learn something from this mistake or it is going to be a long 4 years.

I'm happy to concede any detail on Dave... never my favorite film (it's that Charles Grodin thing), and not one I'd base a lot of Presidential arguing over (though what Weaver's character says, and whether that's reflected in how she reacts... anyone's call).

As for "rolled"... I have no idea what that's supposed to mean - rolled by Collins/Nelson? Seems to me that effort didn't amount to much (the bill gets Collins, Snowe and, what Specter? That's hardly much of a sign of GOP success), and if he's supposedly "rolled" by Pelosi... that just seems like a bad description of what actually occurred. I'd buy that he got "rolled" by the ideas of "experts" offering this sad set of spending and tax cuts as the conventional way to "stimulate" the economy... but if that's the best way to put it.... I have even less hope for what comes next. I can't say this loudly or often enough... this was a terrible bill before the Senate changes. It's still a bad bill. getting "rolled" is the least of his - or our - problems.

Also, I'm feeling a bit of deja vu with Obama's attempts at bipartisanship/post-partisanship (whichever) from the early days of the Clinton presidency and remembering how terribly that worked out in the end.

This is Peanuts' Lucy pulling back the football...again.

...which doesn't, again I concede, make the original bill any better.

Weird, I left a comment here yesterday that never appeared...about how I wish you could provide actual examples of bipartisan creativity on bankruptcy or AH. Because it just seems to me to be totally theoretical from this post.

We get it. You hate the stimulus. But this larger notion of Congress working together productively - I can't figure out for the life of me what you're basing that on.

This might please you - my post borrowing from this one about whether we should scrap the stimulus is being featured on the homepage of Change.org right now.

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