February 7, 2008
Follow-Up On the Non-Wimpy GOP
We mentioned earlier today, in McCain Wimps Out - Except That He Really Didn't, that the Democrats had recklessly linked two completely different and diametrically opposed approaches in their putative "compromise" Senate economic-stimulus bill:
- Extending the tax rebates to disabled veterans and Social-Security recipients who don't pay taxes;
- Subsidizing home heating bills, extending unemployment compensation, and adding tax cuts for coal producers.
Now, some folks may agree with the second approach -- I don't -- but nobody can argue that the government paying for heating oil or making it easier for people to go longer without having to get a job is stimulatory; the first is neutral on the issue, and the latter is actually depressionary. (The coal subsidies were obviously just added to try to lure some Republicans from coal-producing states, such as Wyoming, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania -- or maybe because of extortion by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, 80%, who has a history of making such petulant demands.)
But the GOP held firm, refusing to go along, despite -- or perhaps because of -- Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 90%) personally armtwisting Republican senators to vote for the bill. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ, 65%) waited at the airport, ready to cast a vote on the Republican side if it looked as if the Democrats would prevail, but otherwise unwilling to fall into the Democrats' badger trap.
There was never any danger; Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA, 43%), who probably needed to vote for the bill because of the coal provision, was allowed to do so; six other RINOs (blue means up for reelection this year) -- Sens. Chuck Grassley (IA, 88%), Olympia Snowe (ME, 36%), Susan Collins (ME, 48%), Norm Coleman (MN, 68%), Pete Domenici (NM, 75%), Gordon Smith (OR, 72%) -- did so as well, probably because Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY, 84%) knew the GOP had enough votes. And Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC, 96%) voted with the Democrats, as well. I'm sure several of these dissenters would have been willing (if reluctant) to vote with the party, had the Democrats turned some other Republicans.
The Democrats' bill failed, as we told you earlier; and now comes word that the Democrats have thrown in the towel... they passed the extension to seniors and disabled veterans -- favored by Republicans -- as a stand-alone amendment to the bill. The bill itself will now pass in that form, be sent to the House, and quickly pass tonight:
Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed Thursday to add rebates for 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans to a House-passed economic aid package, ending a partisan stalemate over the plan.
The key breakthrough came when Democrats, under pressure from party colleagues in the House, agreed to drop their insistence on adding jobless benefits, heating aid for the poor and business subsidies, and said they would allow a vote on a plan that merely extends the tax rebates to Social Security retirees and disabled veterans.
I have a dream... actually, it's more of a prediction. Harry "Pinky" Reid has been the worst Senate majority leader of my lifetime (in the sense of "most incompetent"). He has led the Democrats into multiple failed attempts to surrender in the Iraq war, and continues to insist to this day -- despite the stunning turn-around last year -- that we have "already lost." His compulsive intransigence to President Bush's policies might be defensible if it were sustainable... that is, if Reid could actually stop those policies. But he has failed there as well. He even lost numerous votes on conservative judges that the Democrats despised, including two stellar Supreme Court justices.
On vote after vote, as today, he can't even find a legitimate compromise to advance Democratic policy by luring enough Republicans to break the filibuster. His whiny, reedy voice and limp-wristed fist-pumping serves only to make him the poster boy for Democratic fecklessness and weakess on the war, the economy, taxes, judges, and on core Democratic issues, such as socialized medicine and open borders.
I predict that if the Democrats do not make substantial electoral gains in the Senate in November, Harry Reid will be out as majority leader by January. This can be either bad or good for us: Bad if they elevate some doctrinaire liberal who is simply a better speaker and more inspiring to the Democratic troops; but good if they decide that enacting policy is more important than fighting repeated last stands to the bitter dead end, on issue after issue.
If they replace Reid with a majority leader who can actually compromise with the Republicans, instead of taking the attitude, "What's mine is mine, what's yours is negotiable"... then perhaps we can finally begin moving beyond this political civil war -- and move America forward instead.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 7, 2008, at the time of 2:41 PM
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The following hissed in response by: Geoman
Reid is odd.
As a minority leader he did a fairly good job spoiling Bush's fun, but as majority leader he has been an unequivocal disaster.
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