26 March, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I have survived the move, or at least survived to a reasonable degree. Right now, my lower back is fighting a losing game. On the one hand, it's very much wanting to remind me that we have arthritis developing. On the other hand, I've got it buried in the new rocking recliner. And I've promised it a bath later. It's hard for a lower back to argue with those things, no matter how much abuse it took earlier.

It looks like I missed quite a bit of excitement during the move. The Cons have unveiled something they claim is a budget proposal:
About nine years ago, then-Gov. George W. Bush was asked about his budget experience. Bush said he was proud of what he'd put together: "It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it."

Keep that quote in mind when considering the "budget" House Republicans unveiled this morning.

Stung by their stereotyping as the "party of no," House Republicans eagerly promoted the unveiling of their alternative to President Obama's budget today -- but when they finished speaking, reporters had one big question: Where's the actual budget? You know, the numbers that show deficit projections and discretionary spending?

There certainly was no hard budgetary data in the attractively designed 18-page packet that the House GOP handed out today, its blue cover emblazoned with an ambitious title: "The Republican Road to Recovery." When Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was asked what his goal for deficit reduction would be -- President Obama aims to halve the nation's spending imbalance within five years -- Boehner responded simply: "To do better [than Obama]."

And that's really all we got. House GOP leaders held a press conference this morning to prove a) they could put together a budget; b) that they could be the "party of yes"; and c) that their agenda is about more than just saying the opposite of whatever President Obama wants.

Instead, they unveiled a "budget" with no numbers or even budget estimates, and spent most of the press conference criticizing the president.

Republican leaders posted their "Road to Recovery" report online, and it's more or less a joke. Apparently -- I hope you're sitting down -- the minority party believes the nation will thrive if we cut taxes, stick with Bush's energy policies, and pursue more deregulation.
Wow. Now, those are fresh ideas. If, of course, you're measuring fresh on a geologic scale.

They're proud as peaches about meeting Obama's challenge to show him a budget, but they seem a little lost when it comes to reporters asking basic questions:
Today, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell challenged Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) to say what the deficit impact of the GOP plan would be. Pence awkwardly tried to change the subject:

Q: So you don’t have the numbers now? About what you’re plan would be in terms of how it would cut the deficit or add to the deficit? You don’t have any numbers on that?

PENCE: Well, it’s really a broad – when the White House a few minutes ago was attacking the numbers in this bill, the tax cut numbers. There’s plenty of numbers in the Republican recovery plan. And we just really believe the President’s plan to raise taxes by nearly 2 trillion dollars on almost every American…deserves a debate on Capitol Hill.

Without details, “how is your plan credible?” asked O’Donnell. “Well, I thought through this morning, we didn’t have a plan, so it may be progress our plan is being attacked,” Pence responded. “This is the broad outline,” he said, stating that the GOP would introduce a bill soon.
And when might that be?
When might GOP leaders flesh out the details in their "detailed budget"? Boehner told reporters today that some numbers will probably be available sometime next week. So, right around the time House lawmakers are voting on the budget, the minority party will offer an alternative budget that no one's seen.
My, what... interesting timing. Don't they whine like spoiled little children when Dems pull that shit on them?

At least the press is finally getting tired of the Cons' antics. They're actually verging on acting like journalists:

Today, MSNBC cut away from its live coverage of President Obama’s web town hall to cover the House Republican press conference on its alternative budget. This afternoon, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer expressed her exasperation that the GOP still had not offered any real, specific plans. “Give me some substance!” she proclaimed:

BREWER: Here’s the thing. They say, We have a plan — and proceeded not to tell us what that plan is. They sent us some paperwork. It’s got no numbers attached. I understand, it takes time to do math. I would be content even doing without the numbers. I’m just saying, What are your ideas? You have my attention. We cut away from the president. Give me some substance!

MSNBC’s congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira said that the GOP website promised a “detailed plan.” “I guess details are in the eye of the beholder, but I don’t think most people would call this a detailed plan at this point,” he said.
One gets the feeling they're annoyed. Most excellent.

There's plenty more stupid where that comes from, but I've promised my aching back a nice, long soak, and the cat's "helping" unpack boxes, so I shall have to leave you with this last gem (h/t):
It appears Republicans just couldn't bear letting Obama's challenge stand until they had their act together, and had to do some quick posturing lest someone imagine they were just the "party of no."

But at one prominent conservative website, there seems to be some deep resentment that Republicans didn't respond a little more forcefully. Check out this interesting observation from Jeff Emanuel at Redstate:

There was a time in our country’s history where opponents who had a genuine beef with each other were not only unafraid to debate the issue (see Lincoln-Douglass), but were willing to actually do battle over it (see Sumner-Brooks). Heck, we’ve even had a sitting Vice President kill a former Treasury Secretary in a duel!
That's right. The rabid right are pining for the days when, instead of relying on your native intelligence to win a debate, you relied on your ability to aim a pistol. Gee, I wonder why.

1 comment:

Steve in MI said...

Dana, I love your writing, but I have to take you to task for this post. There are PLENTY of details in the Republican "budget" "plan". And there are numbers too! Real numbers! So many that I couldn't fit them here!

Read 'em and weep: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/3/27/91658/3389