Booman, who is “The Man” in my book has this great post that I recommend you just click on and go read. Other things actually happened in the world this week that I’m sure you won’t be able to find in and amongst the blathering about that right wing blogger and Shirley Sherrod.
The Republican Party has made the calculation that the only way they can get back in power is to prevent the Obama administration from accomplishing ANYTHING! This tactic shows that they really don’t give a shit about our country and are willing to sacrifice the American people to further their lust for power and money. And that is really what the GOP is all about, money. The most recent example of this is the Republican’s attempts to stop the passing of an extension of unemployment benefits. Every economist will tell you that these benefits have a direct impact on economic activity, when people have money to buy food and services, it helps to keep local businesses operating. It is disposable income that gets put right back into the economy. Greg Sargent has been telling us that Republican obstruction has been working and if you believe the polls, he is right. From Greg…
As you know, I’ve been arguing here that the GOP strategy of obstruction is paying off for Republicans — big time. The public is blaming Democrats, not Republicans, for the government dysfunction that has resulted from Republican obstructionist tactics, because Dems are in charge.
Now we have the clearest illustration of this phenomenon yet, courtesy of the internals of the new Washington Post poll.
Here’s the rub: The most visible example of GOP obstruction yet has been the blockade of an extension of unemployment benefits. The poll shows the public overwhelmingly supports this extension — and it also shows the public is deeply frustrated with the workings of Federal government. Yet despite these two facts, Republicans are now leading in the generic Congressional matchup.
Now I don’t put as much stock in polls as almost everyone else this far out from an election, I’ve been around too long and observed too many ups and downs in polls to get all excited about any given poll. I could give you dozens of examples of the media pronouncing a candidate dead and that candidate going on to win. Greg makes reference to one poll that has the Republicans leading in the generic Congressional matchup but Time’s recent poll showed the opposite. And really, generic polls are fucking worthless, they don’t tell us anything. People vote for real people, not generic people and I agree with Tip O’neill’s old line, all politics is local.
Digby at Hullabaloo pointed me to Greg Sargents post and gives his dead on analysis of the current political environment. Go Digby…
Similarly, the party in power is expected to do what’s necessary to pass its agenda. If it can’t, it is held responsible for the failure, not those who stopped them from doing it. This is particularly true in the present circumstance. The president blaming the “do nothing congress” only works when the congressional majority is of the opposition party. When it’s your own party, you just look like a weak leader and people think the underdog Republicans are simply “playing the game” better and so deserve to “win.”
And there is another dimension to this which especially applies to the Obama administration. Since he ran explicitly on the promise to end the bickering, change Washington and create a post-partisan consensus, people see the failure of those things to materialize as a measure of his failure to deliver on his promise. This president is more hampered than most in making the (legitimate) argument that the Party of No is to blame for the nation’s troubles. I didn’t subscribe to the “personal magic” theory of the presidency, so I had no illusions about Obama’s ability to keep this promise. But I think a fair number of people believed it and the rest think it’s the job description to beat the opposition with hardball politics. Failing at either makes him the loser, not the other side.
I think Digby’s analysis points to why the president’s approval numbers are where they are. Some of that disapproval is from liberals who want him to fight the Republicans more, take on those motherfuckers and beat them down. After 8 years of frustration during the Bush years, they want to see some blood, damn it. And of course, President Obama only brings out the big guns once in a while. I still remember the swooning on the left when the president went to the Republican caucus during the health care fight and beat them fuckers down. Keith and Rachel were swooning over him saying, where has he been, we need more of this. I know I want to see more of it, but unfortunately our president is trying too hard to end the bickering. We are coming up on an election and mark my words, the president has a lot of ammo that was handed to him by the moronic Republicans.
Democrats have finally passed that extension of unemployment benefits over the lock step opposition of the GOP, but what have the Republican’s set their sights on next? Help for small businesses. No shit, check out this from Steve Benen, the Political Animal that he is…
So, what’s next? A measure to help small businesses — which Republicans are also trying to kill.
Perhaps the last best hope of Democrats to pass legislation aimed at creating jobs before the November elections seemed to be crumbling in the Senate on Wednesday as Republicans signaled that they would block a bill to expand government lending programs and grant an array of tax breaks to small businesses. […]
[W]ith some Democrats viewing the small-business bill as critical to their political prospects in November, Senate Republicans were not about to let it through easily, and have insisted on a chance to offer amendments.
Yep, Republicans are fighting against a measure to help small businesses because it’s more important to undermine Democrats than it is to help the economy.
Indeed, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who isn’t exactly a liberal firebrand, noted what appears to be plainly true — that the GOP leadership wants to reject a measure to help the economy for purely political reasons. “I think Senator McConnell knows and believes this bill could actually create millions of jobs and doesn’t want to give the president and Democrats credit for doing what we do, which is standing up for the middle class,” Landrieu said.
It is infuriating that Republicans would purposely try to prevent jobs from being created for political reasons. They absolutely have no shame, no conscience. I can’t wait until President Obama and the democrats hammer those fuckers with this over the next few months. Bludgeon those bastards with it.
I’ve frequently heard economists and others wonder out loud where are all the jobs? Why aren’t businesses creating more jobs, record profits are being announced every day. I challenge you to go to Google and search the terms “record profits 2010″ and see how many hits you get. Why aren’t these companies re-investing those earnings? I personally think that much of it is do to politics. Here are some facts from the Washington Post…
Nucor isn’t alone. The balance sheets of large U.S. corporations are for the most part in good shape. Many big companies have piles of cash on hand and credit markets have thawed so that they can raise new funds. Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 2, U.S. corporations overall raised $740.8 billion by issuing bonds, up from the $522.2 billion raised during the same period last year and almost as much as the $779.8 billion raised in the go-go year of 2007.
If you read the article, you will see that there are a lot of reasons why these companies may be holding back from investing, but I have a theory that at least some of it is political. I had this notion after reading this article about the US Chamber of Commerce by RJ Eskow at Crooks and Liars, it’s a must read…..go now and read…..here are a few pieces from it.
The United States Chamber of Commerce has released an “open letter” to the President, Congress, and the American people which contains its blueprint for our political future. It lays out the current Republican playbook in stark terms, and it reads like the battle plan for those alien spaceships from Independence Day: Drain the resources, take everything from the population, strip the land to a husk… and then presumably sail away in mile-long spaceships toward the next targeted planet.
What we’re seeing is the Politics of Plunder, revealed in all its nakedness. There will be another example of this corporate-driven mindset this week, possibly even today, when all but a handful of Republican Senators vote against a moderate set of curbs on Wall Street excesses. The Democratic Party may disappoint its supporters from time to time, but it seems that Republicans never do — once you accept the fact that its real “supporters” are the mega-businesses represented by the Chamber of Commerce. Some of the delegates who chanted “drill, baby, drill” at the GOP Convention are staring out their windows at oil-soaked beaches, while others have gone broke in an economy ruined by Wall Street gambling. That won’t stop the Politics of Plunder. (Come to think of it, “drill, baby, drill” would have been a perfect motto for those spaceships.)
To be clear, the Chamber of Commerce isn’t the political lobbying arm of “business,” as it sometimes claims. It specifically serves the interests of massive businesses, which are often at odds with the needs of small and medium enterprises. Any CEO of a smaller company who’s pressured by one of the Chamber’s sales representatives to join, as I was in my business life, is being asked to subsidize policies that will benefit the Chamber’s mega-donors — often at her or his own expense. The Chamber’s letter serves those mega-interests well, and we can expect most Republicans to follow it in lockstep, no doubt with cheering crowds pumped up for the same old chants and a few new ones.
Voters care more about helping the unemployed and getting Americans back to work than they do about cutting the deficit. Budget-slashing is a Washington fixation only, fueled by the think tanks and lobbyists that the Chamber/GOP crowd funds and promotes. But Chamber-driven Republicans hope that the public won’t understand what they’re doing, counting on “fatigue” and confusion to provide a smokescreen for the Politics of Plunder.
Those shadows over the nation’s cities aren’t spaceships. They’re the very real threats that continue to loom over us: Continued unemployment. A damaged environment in risk of even greater devastation. Generations of older Americans who might be left without financial security. Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce want to use our economic crisis as a “shock doctrine” moment to pass measures that will continue a massive transfer of wealth to the upper one percent, while mortgaging the country’s future to the economic interests that have already served it so poorly.
As the vote on financial reform will once again illustrate, this is not a movie.
Now, after reading that article or the above snippets, do you think I’m being conspiratorial when I think that the Chamber of Commerce and the huge corporations they represent might actually be stifling growth on purpose to put more money in their own bloated pockets? Isn’t capitalism wonderful?