Rep. John L. Mica (Fla.), the ranking Republican on the transportation committee, called the proposed infrastructure spending "almost minuscule" and expressed regret that the administration had not crafted its plan around an ambitious goal such as building high-speed rail in 11 corridors around the country, which Mica said would cost $165 billion.You know what? He's a typical Republican in many, many ways, but here he's actually talking sense. More like this, please.
"They keep comparing this to Eisenhower, but he proposed a $500 billion highway system, and they're going to put $30 billion" in roads and bridges, he said. "How farcical can you be? Give me a break."
But, of course, the majority of them are just batshit fucking insane:
Now, Republicans are just chipping away and collecting scalps, and they've been moderately successful, but in a really haphazard fashion. Yesterday, out of nowhere, conservatives started complaining about the lack of housing aid in the bill, which is rich for them. And check out what nutball Michelle Bachmann tried to pass as an amendment (it didn't make it through the Rules Committee) - requiring a state spending cap for any state that receives funds from this legislation, the kind that almost destroyed Colorado a few years back (Republicans are the party of state's rights). I'm not seeing a lot of strategy, just a general lurching from one outrage to the next.So here's an idea for Obama: seize on those statements from the rare few Republicans who actually realize the need for more spending, give them their heart's desire, and then go on teevee crowing "See? All bipartisan, these bits were recommended by Republicans, isn't that loverly?!"
Sadly, it's working. I guess the provision to refurbish the National Mall has been excised. From a raw policy standpoint, it's not a dealbreaker, but it shows a troubling trend where GOP hissy fits bear fruit. Democrats are plowing forward on this bill, but what happens with the next one? Who has the ear of the President? Democrats who want to cement legitimate progress? Or Republican know-nothings who appeal to elites to create firestorms? And the idea that this will buy Obama votes down the road for other liberal initatives borders on the insane.
Reward good behavior, punish bad. It works for small children. I don't see why it wouldn't work for the bunch of screaming infants the Republicon party has become.