Roy Blunt Caught In Liaison With Rosy Scenario

Last night, I came across an interesting story in the Joplin Globe.  The paper’s first-class reporter, Susan Redden covered Roy Blunt’s trip to Carterville back in March of 2008.  Blunt was there celebrating—via a business in Carterville—the Republican-supported economic stimulus package, then recently passed and signed by President Bush.

Yes, I said, “the Republican-supported economic stimulus package.”  There was such a creature, and it failed to do its job. Miserably. 

But the interesting thing about the story was Roy Blunt’s flagrant intercourse with Rosy Scenario, that loose dame who goes both ways—depending on who’s living at the White House.

According to Ms. Redden, here is what our congressman, Roy The Optimist, had to say in the Spring of 2008, mere months before the largest financial meltdown since the Great Depression:

The condition of the U.S. economy is not as bad as it is being portrayed, U.S. Rep Roy Blunt said Tuesday on a tour of a Joplin-area manufacturer.

Blunt never spoke the word recession, instead citing “unemployment at historic lows” and an increase in housing starts in February.

“You won’t hear that on the 24-hour news,” he said. “All the fundamentals are strong, especially in Southwest Missouri. I’m concerned we’re going to talk ourselves into economic problems.”

Get that?  All the fundamentals are strong! That line sounded so good that John McCain borrowed it for his presidential campaign, although with limited success.

And Blunt was “concerned” that we were going to “talk ourselves into economic problems.”  At least you have to give Roy credit for creativity.  While most conservative analysts eventually blamed the meltdown on government intervention,* he had the good sense to pre-emptively blame it on free speech. 

But there’s more:

He said the stimulus legislation includes an accelerated depreciation schedule that will allow businesses that invest at least $800,000 into new equipment to write off $250,000 in taxes the first year.

“That change in the tax code will allow businesses to write off more of their investments in equipment and facilities,” Blunt said. “It should help small businesses expand and add jobs. We really should see a reaction in the next couple of months.”

These days you hear Republicans blaming the Obama administration for its misplaced confidence (yes, Obama has slept with Rosy Scenario, too) in the Democrats’ stimulus package, passed earlier this year.  But given what happened after Blunt made his comments, I think it’s fair to say that he was Rosy’s biggest lover of all time.  Okay.  At least in the last few years.

Still more:

Blunt, the 7th District congressman who is minority whip in the House, said the more aggressive depreciation schedule is among several changes in the tax code designed to stimulate the economy by encouraging production and job creation.

“It’s the best part of the stimulus package because it’s better than one-time spending,” he said, referring to federal rebate checks to be mailed later this year.

Just more evidence that supply-side economics is not the panacea that conservative Republicans claim.  “Aggressive depreciation schedules” and other such remedies were useless in the face of the Tsunami that was yet to hit.

And in a declaration that would surely vex the saintly Dave Ramsey, Redden reported:

He acknowledged reports that many people say they plan to pay off debts with their rebate checks, which are designed to spur consumer spending.

“If they pay off debt that won’t be a bad thing, because some of them will turn around and incur more debt,” he said.

But finally, Blunt presciently endorsed now-President Obama’s energy policy:

Blunt agreed that gasoline-price hikes are affecting shipping and other areas of the economy, and he said the United States needs an energy policy that encourages energy production, including from alternative sources.

“And we’ve got to use our own resources, from biofuels to wind, to take the pressure off,” he said.

All of this sort of undermines Blunt’s efforts to undermine Obama and the Democrats, as Roy The Forgetful undertakes his campaign to become our senator.

Here are some attempts by the memory-challenged Blunt to criticize Democratic efforts to undo the damage Blunt and his party did to the economy:

The national jobless rate has surged to 9.8 percent, the highest since 1983, even though the liberals’ so called “stimulus” plan that I opposed was promised to deliver a “worst-case” unemployment rate of 8 percent this year…Now the Obama Administration is considering a “Stimulus Two.”

Robin Carnahan is satisfied with the way things are going in Washington. I’m not.

In passing the now-failed stimulus, one-party Washington promised that joblessness would level off at 8.5 percent this year. But it got worse. Washington has proven what Missouri common sense already knows and teaches. We cannot “borrow our way of debt.” People can’t. Governments can’t. It doesn’t work for the nation’s budget. It doesn’t work, because it can’t work.

Finally, like all conservative politicians, Roy Blunt has a tried-and-false solution for our economic woes:  

…if we want more consumer spending and job creation, then let’s reduce people’s taxes.

The mantra of cutting taxes never grows old for some Republicans, mainly, I suppose, because it works on the bubbabots, who think their children’s reduced and free lunches, Social Security, Medicare, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, interstate highways, blah, blah, blah, are indeed “free.”

Not that Blunt doesn’t also propose to do something about our wild federal government:

While we do this, Washington must get control of government spending.

Wow!  Blunt wants to “control” the feds!  The following is an up-to-date list of federal agencies and programs Roy The Courageous is advocating that we cut, scale back, or “control”:

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for updates to the preceding list.

* Ironically, the Republican-supported stimulus package of 2008 also contained the following, according to Fox “News”: 
To address the mortgage crisis, the package raises the limit on Federal Housing Administration loans from $362,790 to as high as $729,750 in expensive areas, allowing more subprime mortgage holders to refinance into federally insured loans. To widen the availability of mortgages across the country, it also provides a one-year boost to the cap on loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy, from $417,000 up to $729,750 in high-cost markets.
Look for Roy The Duplicitous to blame Democrats for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac malfeasance at some point in the 2010 Senate campaign.

[Photo: Globe/Roger Normer]

Advertisements

Republican Demagogic Efficiency

Now that President Obama has acknowledged “systemic failure” on the part of the government to do its part to keep airplanes from becoming terrorists’ weapons, it is time to assess Republican behavior in the aftermath of the Christmas Day incident in the Michigan sky.

While I’m not shocked that Republicans would use the near-tragedy as a vehicle to gain political advantage, their speed and efficiency in doing so is, well, breathtaking.  Since there is none better on television to explain such behavior, I will rely on Rachel Maddow to do the job in two separate segments:

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

A Decade Of Delinquency

I know I may be slaying a slain elephant, but there are signs that voters may be forgetting conservative malgovernance, resurrecting too soon the carcass of the Republican Party.  So, I’m of the mind that the results of error-ridden political philosophy should be eagerly broadcast, as often as possible.

Since Paul Krugman summed up the last decade, I will sum up Paul Krugman:

“It was a decade with basically zero job creation.”

“It was a decade with zero economic gains for the typical family.”

“It was a decade of zero gains for homeowners… And for those who bought in the decade’s middle years…[a]lmost a quarter of all mortgages in America, and 45 percent of mortgages in Florida, are underwater, with owners owing more than their houses are worth.”

“Last and least for most Americans — but a big deal for retirement accounts, not to mention the talking heads on financial TV — it was a decade of zero gains for stocks, even without taking inflation into account.”

“Even now, it’s hard to get Democrats, President Obama included, to deliver a full-throated critique of the practices that got us into the mess we’re in. And as for the Republicans: now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is — tax cuts and deregulation.”

Help Glenn Beck: Send $$$$

As a service to Four State bubbabots, who may be in the market for a summer house in Connecticut, here is a listing for Glenn Beck’s home in New Canaan, a steal at only $4 million:

 

While New Canaan, Connecticut (the wealthiest town in the state, with a per capita income of $85,459), is no Pineville, there is a water view from at least one of its four floors, and what self-respecting bubbabot wouldn’t want to sleep where Glenn slept?  

This conservative beauty has somewhere between  8,720 and 11,320 square feet of living space, 6 bedrooms, 5 full and 3 half baths, which is more toilets than are found in great swaths of McDonald County.

Anyway, since the $23 million-dollar-a-year Mr. Beck stands to lose about a quarter of a mill, if he sells now, compassionate conservatives in the area may want to send $$$$ to the populist broadcaster to offset his loss.  Just send any and all donations in care of The Erstwhile Conservative.

I’ll see that Glenn gets them.

 

Mad Max 5: The Truth About Republicans

After watching the following video, which features Democrat Senator Max Baucus in, shall we say, an altered state of consciousness—one in which the usual Senate “decorum” succumbs to much-needed honesty—I am convinced that whatever Mad Max was smoking/drinking/swallowing, he should pass it on to his colleagues:

Never, Never, Never Forget GOP Malfeasance

Today’s Globe carried an AP story—way back on page 6B—titled, “Dems see GOP hypocrisy in health debate.”

The story began:

Republican senators attacking the cost of a Democratic health care bill showed far different concerns six years ago, when they approved a major Medicare expansion that has added tens of billions of dollars to federal deficits.

The inconsistency — or hypocrisy, as some call it — has irked Democrats, who claim that their plan will pay for itself with higher taxes and spending cuts and cite the nonpartisan Con­gressional Budget Office for sup­port.

By contrast, when Republi­cans controlled the House, Sen­ate and White House in 2003, they overcame Democratic opposition to add a deficit­financed prescription drug ben­efit to Medicare. The program will cost a half-trillion dollars over 10 years, or more by some estimates.

The story points out that 24 Republican senators who voted against health care reform voted for the 2003 Medicare expansion, quoting some of them including Orrin Hatch:

Six years ago, “it was standard practice not to pay for things,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “We were concerned about it, because it certainly added to the deficit, no question.” His 2003 vote has been vindicated, Hatch said, because the prescription drug benefit “has done a lot of good.”

So, it was okay to fund expansion of Medicare six years ago because “it was standard practice”?  What a defense.

But particularly galling were the comments of Olympia Snowe, who Obama and Senate Democrats courted to the point of nausea in order to gain her “bipartisan” vote:

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said simply: “Dredging up histo­ry is not the way to move for­ward.” She noted that she fought unsuccessfully to offset some of President George W. Bush’s deep tax cuts at the time.

But for now, she said, “it’s a question of what’s in this pack­age,” which the Senate passed Thursday in a party-line vote. The Senate bill still must be rec­onciled with a House version.

The political situation is dif­ferent now, Snowe said, because “we’re in a tough climate and people are angry and frustrat­ed.”

Sounding like Anson Burlingame, her “let’s forget about the past and move forward” dodge doesn’t do justice to the harm Republicans have done to the economy, and just because we are in a “tough climate”—created by Republican malfeasance—I suppose we are all supposed to forget about the fact that most congressional Republicans truly are monumental hypocrites.

Thankfully some honest conservatives still exist:

“As far as I am concerned, any Republican who voted for the Medicare drug benefit has no right to criticize anything the Democrats have done in terms of adding to the national debt,” said Bruce Bartlett, an official in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He made his comments in a Forbes article titled “Republi­can Deficit Hypocrisy.”

Bartlett said the 2003 Medicare expansion was “a pure give­away” that cost more than this year’s Senate or House health bills will cost. More important, he said, “the drug benefit had no dedicated financing, no offsets and no revenue-raisers. One hundred percent of the cost sim­ply added to the federal budget deficit.”

The pending health care bills in Congress, he noted, are pro­jected to add nothing to the deficit over 10 years.

The AP story also points out that the 2003 Medicare expansion vote was quite divisive in the House:

It resulted in a nearly three-hour roll call in which GOP leaders put extraor­dinary pressure on colleagues to back the prescription drug addi­tion to Medicare. In the end, 204 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted for the bill.

Part of that “extraordinary pressure” was exerted by none other than our own Roy Blunt, who was part of the Republican leadership in the House at the time* and who is now seeking to bring his hypocrisy with him to the Senate, should he convince a majority of Missourians next year he is worthy of Kit Bond’s seat. Bond, by the way, also hypocritically voted for Medicare expansion and against health care reform.

*Jo Ann Emerson from the 8th congressional district in Missouri changed her “no” vote to “aye,” after pressure from Republican leaders in the House. The bill initially passed the House 216 to 215.

Olivia Ruth Smith’s First Christmas

OLIVIA RUTH SMITH

The Erstwhile Conservative’s New Blogging Associate

Her first Christmas, her first visit to Santa, and her first snow.

No Christmas Cheer Here

In Barbra Streisand’s Yentl, a film based on Isaac Singer’s short story about a defiant Jewish girl who undertook the study of Jewish law and theology by disguising herself as a boy, there is a scene in which a bookseller with his wagon full of books offered, “Picture books for women, story books for men.”

Before his death, Yentl’s father, a Rabbi, had secretly taught her Talmudic law, despite the fact that women were not allowed at the time to receive an education equal to that of men.

Fundamentalists have always, it seemed, been enemies of equal education for women.  

The Apostle Paul, himself a highly educated man, wrote almost two centuries ago in 1 Timothy 2:11:

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

Today, out of Peshawar, Pakistan, we read:

The Taliban blew up a girls’ school in Pakistan’s Khyber district, where troops are fighting against militants in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an official said Wednesday.

The AFP story also reports:

Islamist militants opposed to co-education and subscribers to sharia law have destroyed hundreds of schools, mostly for girls, in northwest Pakistan in recent years.

Fortunately, for the most part, 21st century fundamentalist Christianity has been tamed by modernity, at least when it comes to blowing up houses of education for women, but modernity has not touched millions of Islamic extremists world-wide, who are hell-bent on inflicting centuries-old ideas on the rest of us. 

I have grave and insurmountable doubts that our continued prosecution of the “War on Terror” will succeed in eliminating such thinking from the face of the earth.  Perhaps the only way to do so is for “sensible” Muslims to begin a widespread campaign to condemn the Taliban and other Islamic extremists for such evil acts like the one committed in Pakistan today.

But nothing resembling such a movement appears to be on the horizon, and our century proceeds with a large number of medieval minds menacing civilization, and the only recourse seems to be killing them, one by one.

Rita, Bill O’ And The Necessity Defense

An AP story in the Globe this morning examined an interesting legal question surrounding the upcoming trial of Scott Roeder, the “pro-lifer” charged with the murder of George Tiller in Wichita.

Roeder has confessed to the crime (to the AP, no less), so his guilt is not in doubt, but his apparent defense will be to contend in some way or another that the murder was “necessary” to prevent the killing of unborn “babies.”

Now, even though such a “necessity defense” or “choice of evils defense” will likely fail, I understand why someone like Roeder would raise it. In fact, I’ve written before about the difference between those people in the anti-abortion movement who are “serious” about the rhetoric they use and those who are not.

Many months ago, I criticized our own abortion foe and Globe letter-writer, Rita Crowell, who had submitted a letter to the paper in which she compared President Obama to King Herod, one of the worst figures in Christian history:

A vote for Obama is a vote for dead children and an attack on God Himself. Let us not elect a Herod in this forthcoming election.

I wrote in response:

…the real problem with Ms. Crowell’s position on abortion is that she isn’t serious. I mean really serious. Imagine if, in Springfield, Mo., there were hundreds of elementary schoolchildren being systematically slaughtered every year. Imagine Ms. Crowell knowing where such slaughter was being perpetrated. Imagine her finding out who was doing the killing. And then imagine her merely writing letters to the Joplin Globe about it.

No, what she would do, hopefully along with others who share her convictions about murdering schoolchildren, is go to the slaughterhouse and put a stop to it, even if violence against the perpetrators were necessary.

In the case of Scott Roeder, merely protesting in front of George Tiller’s clinic wasn’t enough for him.  He is one anti-abortion true believer who takes his beliefs seriously, who really believes that abortion is tantamount to murder, thus justifying his actions.  His beliefs, as abhorrent as they are, are buttressed by almost the entire “pro-life” culture, whose members, like Rita Crowell, routinely say and write things like the following:

The No. 1 issue for the forthcoming Nov. 4 election should be the elimination of abortion. Abortion is a grave sin, an unspeakable crime against God and nature. Elimination of abortion supersedes and overshadows all considerations of the economy, poverty, health care, war and illegal immigration. Abortion is concerned about whether an innocent child lives or dies.

Whether local people like Rita Crowell or national figures like Bill O’Reilly realize it or not, their extreme, Manichean rhetoric makes the world safe for Talibanic extremists like Roeder, who see themselves as God’s instruments to accomplish the “elimination of abortion.” 

To be sure, Ms. Crowell, despite her hate-filled missives to the Globe, is not directly responsible for Roeder’s actions. His decision to shoot Dr. Tiller at point-blank range was his and his alone.

But I certainly don’t remember the frequent letter-writer ever submitting a letter condemning the murder of Dr. Tiller, whose gruesome killing really did remind one of the King Herod of old.

The AP story indicates that Roeder’s attorneys probably won’t  use the necessity defense, a legal long shot, but instead:

Legal experts and others close to the case have suggested his public defenders may actually be aiming at a conviction on a lesser offense such as voluntary manslaughter — defined in Kansas as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”

Part of any “unreasonable but honest belief” would certainly include being persuaded by the incessant extremist rhetoric pervasive throughout the anti-abortion culture, even if most of those who author such rhetoric—hopefully that includes Rita Crowell—don’t take it as seriously as the Scott Roeders of the world.

Lest We Forget

Paul Krugman, my favorite liberal columnist, summed up the health care reform fiasco the other day with some advice:

A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy. Declare that you’re disappointed in and/or disgusted with President Obama. Demand a change in Senate rules that, combined with the Republican strategy of total obstructionism, are in the process of making America ungovernable.

But meanwhile, pass the health care bill.

He also pointed out what some of us, who wanted the reform bill to do so much more, often forget:

With all its flaws, the Senate health bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare, greatly improving the lives of millions. Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail.

Krugman also reminded us of the fiscal responsibility incorporated into the bill:

All of this would be paid for in large part with the first serious effort ever to rein in rising health care costs.

Finally, he addressed the need to reform the way the Senate functions in today’s polarized political environment:

The filibuster, and the need for 60 votes to end debate, aren’t in the Constitution. They’re a Senate tradition, and that same tradition said that the threat of filibusters should be used sparingly. Well, Republicans have already trashed the second part of the tradition: look at a list of cloture motions over time, and you’ll see that since the G.O.P. lost control of Congress it has pursued obstructionism on a literally unprecedented scale. So it’s time to revise the rules.

Amen to all.

[Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times]
%d bloggers like this: