13 February, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

It's going to be fun in 2010 to remind Americans who would have been jobless without the stimulus just who voted to keep them unemployed:
Just moments ago, the House passed the economic stimulus bill, 246 to 183. Seven Democrats joined the Republicans in opposing the bill.

And how many Republicans broke ranks to support the package? Just 48 hours ago, the Politico reported, "It's now expected that as many as 20 or more Republicans could break ranks to back the president." But today, not even one House Republican voted for the legislation.

No, not even Rep. Cao, who yesterday was burbling about how his district needed the money desperately. What happened, Mr. Cao? Did the Cons beat you up in the bathroom, or did your district win the lottery?

Maybe the toy mouse overwhelmed his conscience:

As I noted here yesterday, the Nancy Pelosi team is blasting as a “total fabrication” the claim by conservatives that there’s $30 million in the stim package to save the salt water marsh mouse in Pelosi’s district.

Today GOP Rep Tom Price, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, went on the House floor and floated the story again, and he held up a mysterious prop in his right hand as he did so...


“What’s in it? Have you read it?” Price asked, holding up the bill. Then he hoisted what appeared to be a little critter in a bag, and continued: “We found thirty million dollars for mice.”

Was he really holding up a mouse? “It was a toy mouse, from a pet store,” Price spokesperson Brendan Buck tells me.

If this were performance art rather than politics, that actually would've been rather clever: a fake mouse for propping up fake talking points. As it is, I can only wonder what the residents of Cao's district will say when he tells them he rejected billions of dollars in aid because he got snookered into believing $30 million would be going to protect mice.

This is going to be an awesome campaign slogan: "They voted against your job because they're afraid of imaginary mice." The toy mouse industry should be booming. Thank you, Cons, for making it easy.

And what has this done for Con chances at getting a voice at Obama's table? Heh:
The White House is no doubt pleased to see Congress pass an economic stimulus package, but that doesn't mean the president and his team will pursue other "big-ticket" agenda items the same way they approached this fight.

White House aides say they have concluded that Obama too frequently lost control of the debate and his own image during the stimulus battle. By this reckoning, the story became too much about failed efforts at bipartisanship and Washington deal-making, and not enough about the president's public salesmanship.

For Obama's next act, the program is the same as he has been planning for months: New Deal-style plans to rescue struggling homeowners and rewrite regulations on the financial markets, plus a budget proposal that lays the groundwork for sweeping health care reform.

But the strategy to promote these items is getting an emergency overhaul. Obama plans to travel more and campaign more in an effort to pressure lawmakers with public support, rather than worrying about whether he can win over Republican votes in Congress. Officials suggested that the new, more partisan tone Obama embraced last week in his speech before House Democrats at their retreat and continued at his news conference Monday was what he should have been doing all along.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told reporters last night that his team let process stories dominate the discourse, and that "there's an insatiable appetite for the notion of bipartisanship here and we allowed that to get ahead of ourselves." The Politico piece also noted that "Emanuel said that they recognized they had overdone their initial outreach to Republicans."

I think they believe this is what they want. Wait until they discover that people like Obama a lot more than they like Cons. The public pressure should make their heads explode.

And all that talk of protecting the kiddies from having to pay the bill - well, according to young voters, it's not winning them any friends among the youth vote:

McCain says the plan is "generational theft. ... We are robbing future generations of Americans of their hard-earned dollars because we are laying on them a debt of incredible proportions." This from a man who ran a campaign that promised to double down on the deficit-producing Bush tax cuts and whose response to the economic crisis is ... $450 billion in tax cuts for corporations and the weathy. He's remarkably consistent, but consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

It's awful nice of McCain to think of young people now -- as Sarah Burris notes, McCain and other Republican leaders turning to the youth now have never prioritized their concerns much before -- but in this case young folks are more concerned about the present than the future. It's not actually young people who are complaining about "generational theft," it's actually men of a certain age; in McCain's case, 72.

Understanding that a commitment to reducing the the national debt and balancing the budget is important under normal conditions, young people would still prefer to have jobs when they graduate from college or high school during a recession crafted in large part by the economic policies McCain has supported throughout his career.
Um. Oops. Looks like the kids are a little smarter than the Cons anticipated.

Maybe they're simply not impressed with the Cons' fearless leader, who is too stupid to use CTRL-F:
During the February 13 broadcast of his syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh claimed that Democrats "have reformatted the bill -- they've made it a PDF [Portable Document Format, created by Adobe Systems] file when they posted it. Now, for those of you that don't use computers, basically what that means is that it cannot be keyword searched. A PDF file is essentially a picture of a page. And, so, you can read every page, but you cannot keyword search it. It's not a text file as legislation normally is as posted on these public websites. They don't want anybody knowing what's in this." In fact, PDFs are searchable in multiple ways. In its Help Resource Center for Adobe Reader, a program that reads PDFs, Adobe Systems writes: "You can run a simple search, looking for a search term within in a single file, or you can run a more complex search, looking for various kinds of data in one or more PDFs. You can run a search using either the Search window or the Find toolbar. In either case, Reader searches the PDF body text, layers, form fields, and digital signatures. You can also include bookmarks and comments in the search."
Hey, Rush? Shut the fuck up, you ignorant fucktard. We already have an overabundance of evidence that you are, in the memorable words of one of our soon-to-be-Senators, "a big, fat idiot." All you're doing is stinking the place up, which frequently happens when one talks out of one's boil-ridden butt.

I'm fascinated by all of this. I do believe the Cons have had a complete psychotic break. They're fighting sensible measures the majority of the country likes very much, they're digging in against a president whose popularity is still astronomical, and they're taking their marching orders from a man who doesn't even know how to use the abundant search functions in PDFs. Having an R after one's name is fast becoming the kiss of death - or, as RNC Chairman Michael Steele so memorably said, "the scarlet letter." How do they expect to survive the next election cycle?

Ooo, maybe they can follow Blackwater's brilliant example and change their name!

This should do the trick.

Blackwater Worldwide, the contractor that emerged over the last few years as Exhibit A for ugly Americans in Iraq, has decided that the best response is to ... change its name.

And check out the name they picked: "Xe." (Apparently it's pronounced like the letter 'Z.' Raising the question: Why not just call it "Z"?)

They've also renamed Blackwater Lodge & Training Center, the subsidiary that does much of their controversial overseas operations. It's now the "U.S. Training Center Inc." (Which doesn't exactly mesh with "Xe," but whatever.)

According to the Associated Press, Blackwater (or should we say "Xe"?) president Gary Jackson said in a memo to employees, announcing the changes, that they reflect a shift in the company's focus away from private security and toward operating training facilities around the world.

You can see how "Xe" would be the obvious name to reflect such a shift.

Expect a Con pollster to start searching for the letter that most resonates with voters very, very soon.


Cujo359 said...

Generational theft? As far as I'm concerned, the people who are the thieves are the ones who let this happen in the first place, and borrowed money to pay for it.

The Intellectual Redneck said...

Will the stimulus bill compromise lower your tax rebate to $8 per week? That appears to be true. The final version has not been passed, but reports indicate the $500 per year in reduced tax withholding has been reduced to $400 per individual and $800 per couple. That only comes to $8 per week for an individual and $16 for a couple. If they start the payments in June and make it retroactive to the beginning of the year, you will get $13 per week until next January. Then, your rebate would drop to the $8 per week level. Are you felling stimulated yet? In a stimulus bill of almost $1 trillion dollars, you would think President Obama would have more for the working class.