The question I’ve been asking myself is why were Sunday’s talking head shows dominated by Michael Steele, Richard Shelby, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Mike Pence, John Cornyn, Newt Gingrich and George Will?
In case the media hasn’t noticed, the neo-Hoover Republican Party has consciously chosen to make itself irrelevant to the debate over how to fix the economy, because not one of them will support a responsible jobs-stimulus bill.
They’ve chosen to believe in revisionist New Deal history (h/t Brad DeLong) and economic gibberish, to ignore the 2008 elections, and ignore their party’s 30-year embrace of all the policies that produced the economic catastrophe we’ve inherited from them.
They’re in complete denial, they’ve got no useful ideas, and they’re not going to vote to help us get out of the mess their philosophy created. So there’s no logical reason to be listening to any of these people. So stop.
Not a single House Republican voted for the stimulus-jobs bill (American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act), despite Obama’s diluting the bill’s effectiveness with about 40 percent devoted to tax cuts to curry their favor. Those unilateral concessions bought the country nothing but lost jobs. Stop.
And in the Senate, despite the Gang of Four/Fools stripping out $88 billion in very needed and effective spending, including many items the obstructionist Republicans had listed as "wasteful" only last week, while leaving the worst of the Republican-sponsored tax cuts untouched, only 2 or 3 Republicans are willing (maybe) to vote for the Senate bill. Enough.
Despite the fact the Gang of Four has weakend the bill along the lines Republicans claim they want — and sacrificed at least 600,000 jobs (or more) in the process to buy Republican votes — 38 Republican Senators are still adamantly opposed to a stimulus package. Screw them.
The meaning of this ostrich posture is clear: Republicans are not going to support any meaningful jobs-stimulus bill, so there is nothing further to be gained from talking to Republicans in the Senate or House. They’ve chosen to be irrelevant, and we and the media should let them.
The only relevant discussion is between those who understand what a stimulus is — Spending => Jobs = Stimulus — and who understand the urgent need for more spending at all levels, and the Gang of Four narcissists who still don’t get it. No one else matters, so all of our attention needs to be focused on re-educating/ridiculing the Four narcissists. A successful Senate/House conference outcome depends on turning these clueless people around, not on making in further concessions to the neo-Hoover Republicans.
And the debate goes to the heart of the jobs/stimulus package. As Krugman explains in todays column, "The Destructive Center," we need a lot more spending, and we need it quickly, especially at the State and local level and directed at those most in need.
State and local budgets are in crisis. Teachers and health workers are being laid off; fire and police budgets are being cut. Buildings are crumbling, critical work is being cancelled, essential public services are being cut back, and jobs are being eliminated in every area. The fastest way to stop that, to preserve the jobs and retain necessary public services — and boost the economy — is to restore the ill-advised cuts made by the Gang of Four. (Larry Summers hinted at that today.)