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The Republican Rankin File

Jeannette Rankin, the remarkable suffragist, civil libertarian and pacifist who represented Montana in the House of Representatives in 1917-1919 and again in 1941-1942, was one of 50 House members who voted against the declaration of war on Germany in the spring of 1917. But in 1941, when Congress voted to declare war on Japan the day after it attacked Pearl Harbor, she was utterly alone in casting a “no” vote.

Three days later, when she voted “present” as Congress declared war on Nazi Germany in response to Germany’s declaration of war on us, she was alone again.

In December 1941, pacifism was not a remotely responsible response to the war that the fascist powers were waging against us.

With all due apologies to Rankin, who was in other matters a heroic figure, her inability to recognize and deal with a national crisis has more than a few echoes in the inability or unwillingness of today’s Republican Party to respond to the most serious economic threat the nation has seen since the Great Depression. Faced with a financial system that has rendered itself all but insolvent, a credit system that’s frozen, galloping unemployment and a swoon in consumer purchasing, the Republicans have responded just as Rankin did in 1941.

They either refuse to acknowledge the crisis or insist on the economic equivalent of unilateral disarmament in responding to it.

President Obama’s attempts to reach out to the Republicans have been smashed against the reefs of the GOP’s ideological rigidity. The current form of Republican inflexibility dates to the dissolution of the Soviet Union: With the end of the Cold War, the GOP’s signature issue -- anti-communism -- was no more. Republicans quickly discovered that the only other issue they all agreed on was cutting taxes.

So George W. Bush called for tax cuts to deal with the dangerous budget surpluses that Bill Clinton had been running, and then called for tax cuts to close the deficit his earlier tax cuts had created. He proposed tax cuts to finance his war in Iraq. And in that same spirit, defeated presidential nominee John McCain, in his Republican alternative to the Democrats’ stimulus bill, called for nothing but tax cuts to remedy the current meltdown and complained that the Democrats were calling for spending, not stimulus. Never mind that no reputable economist believes that tax cuts get money into circulation as effectively as government spending does. The Republicans’ belief in tax cuts is beyond the realm of empirical argument. Data do not daunt them, nor facts compel reflection.

Such is surely the case in the California legislature, where a Republican minority, empowered by a rule that requires two-thirds support to enact new taxes, has resisted any tax hikes on the state’s wealthy residents to address a looming $40 billion-plus deficit over the next 18 months. The GOP’s proposal to close the deficit entirely through spending cuts, which would decimate California’s police and fire departments, schools and universities, has been resisted by both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and the Democrats who control the legislature. But the refusal of the Republican legislators to be part of any compromise that both cuts spending and raises taxes has rendered the state unable to enact a budget, and has led to mass furloughs for state employees.

In America’s two most consequential legislative bodies -- Congress and the California legislature -- rules requiring supermajority support have empowered minorities unwilling to consider, much less undertake, the actions needed to right an economic system currently incapable of righting itself. It’s as if Jeannette Rankin had been able to veto our 1941 declarations of war.

The need to get to 60 votes in the Senate has produced a far weaker stimulus than the nation needs. The cuts enacted to win the votes of three Republican senators from heavily Democratic states come out of money that was going to the states -- 46 of which are facing budget shortfalls -- to enable them to preserve the jobs of cops, firefighters and teachers. In the conference committee that will reconcile the House and Senate versions, the best outcome would be to restore the aid to states and pay for it by reducing the across-the-board tax credit to all home buyers, regardless of need, that Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson inserted into the bill before voting against it because it also included spending.

And so, empowered by anti-majoritarian rules, Republicans cling to an ideology not remotely germane to the current crisis. “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present,” the first Republican president, in a time of supreme national crisis, said 147 years ago.

“As our case is new,” said Abraham Lincoln, “so we must think anew and act anew.” Today, the heirs to Lincoln’s party -- in name, anyway -- don’t seem remotely capable of thinking, anew or otherwise.

By Harold Meyerson  | February 10, 2009; 7:45 PM ET
Categories:  Meyerson  | Tags:  Harold Meyerson  
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I am starting to think Harold owns my opinion. If he complains, I am happy. And he always complains. Keeps me happy.

The Republicans know the other side has 60 votes. They just want to play short.

Is that wise?

Not very. But they do have a plan.

They would be better off supporting the President.

Posted by: gary4books | February 11, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Harry, Harry, Harry, so California, which has some of the highest taxes in the country, has in a deficit because they are too low? How about reckless spending by a bunch of brainless Democrats? They had tax revenues jack up as a result of the real estate boom and appropriated it all, without thought of a potential downturn. And you support this on a national level. You know, your employer will someday need to make cuts too, probably sooner as opposed to later. I suspect you might be at the top of the short list to go. Well at least I can have the audacity of hope for such a beautiful thing.

Posted by: mmourges | February 11, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

For those that think Obama is Einstein, think again. The idiot had the Lib Socialist led House to craft "his" bill. He actually delegated it to Pelosi and the union thug Obey. His lack of experience, his arrogance, his laid back casual street activist attitude has forever stained his administration. It is unconscionable that the President of the US would allow Pelosi to amass the Largest Load of Liberal Lard and blindly endorse it. Endorse nothing more than the most massive Liberal wish list of irresponsible government spending in the history of this country. Then frantically pitch it like a snake oil salesman portraying it as the Holy Grail that will save the world. All the while preaching doom and destruction. If ever there was any doubt that Obama is an uninterested, uninspiring, Political Hack Inept Fraud this confirms it. Just the thought of it should slap some sense into the cult like mindless numb brains of his needy minions. But it won’t because those minions are unaware. Fortunately the Republicans in Congress are aware.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 11, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Well stated, through a unique historical lense. Fifty years from now, GOP obstructionism will take an awful lot of spinning to not appear anti-American.

Posted by: free-donny | February 11, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Harold Meyerson is on the money again. The GOP are merely playing obstructionsist politics with the economic situation. Because it doesn't personally affect most of them, they don't get it.

But the Republicans have never understood the struggles of the common citizen.

Well done, Harold!

Posted by: wpreader2007 | February 11, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

If the stimulus bill is a spending bill as admitted by Obama, and spending by the government is stimulus, where are all the pro stimulus folks arguing for a 2 trillion dollar bill? 10 trillion? really, why stop at 800 billion? why does anything need to be shaved off the bill? obama says government spending is good, it's stimulus. So why is the amount so low? Where are the dems on this protesting the small dollar figure of the bill? Won't 1.6 trillion be twice the stimulus as 800 billion? Anyone? This is your arguement dems.

Posted by: permagrin | February 11, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

A great column. Please continue to keep congress honest.

Best part is the quote from Lincoln.

Posted by: rmarmstr | February 11, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

doesn't it just break your heart, the good ol' gop had to abbreviate their tired, old saw of "tax and spend," to just "spend?"

they then tried their other old saw, "pork." until the country starting ask itself, "firefighters - pork? school construction - pork? infrastructure - pork?

the obstructionist, "we got us into this mess, we couldn't possibly support getting us out of it," gop is still hoping the country does not remember we, by a sizable majority, rejected their tried and failed solution to all things - tax cuts.

Posted by: sbvpav | February 11, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

How can they possibly understand this complex economic issue when they can't even understand that a 40hr/week Government job with health care and retirement benefits isn't a job?

My 1st job out of College was witht he Government for 10 years. I got married, bought my 1st car on my own, bought my 1st house on my own, had my 2 kids, raised my family in the American Dream. Seemed like a real job to me.

I bet a lot of College Grads out looking at the job market would consider Government jobs real jobs too.

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | February 11, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"If the stimulus bill is a spending bill as admitted by Obama, and spending by the government is stimulus, where are all the pro stimulus folks arguing for a 2 trillion dollar bill? 10 trillion? really, why stop at 800 billion? why does anything need to be shaved off the bill? obama says government spending is good, it's stimulus. So why is the amount so low? Where are the dems on this protesting the small dollar figure of the bill? Won't 1.6 trillion be twice the stimulus as 800 billion? Anyone? This is your arguement dems."

Please, numbnuts, that is a specious argument. When Republicans argue for more tax cuts, because "they stimulate the economy," does anyone say, "well, why not just cut taxes to zero, since that would stimulate the economy even more?"

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 11, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I litterally stopped reading this after I saw the comparision of a foriegn agressor engaged in life or death acts of war and othe downturn in our gross domestic product. I do not think you can compare the the two. Jesus spoke in parables but had the benifit of omnipotent alpha omega finda of insight therefor he tended to speak in universal and timeless truths. The circumstaqnces have everything to do with the response in. Nobody has any idea with certainty what would happen if we ride it out; let bank negotiate with home owners to keep their homes do away with variable mortgages. This was the problem right fix it. Banks keep the assets on their books. and variable mortgages should just be outlawed. Tired this is tired nothing changes.

Posted by: Rvf0509 | February 11, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Imagine if Jeanette Rankin had Rush Limbaugh and 900 radio talk show hosts. Imagine if Lincoln were up against that barrage of blustering blowhards. Just read the comments on the economic stimulus. The opposition thinks this is a simple matter that joe sixpack or rush limbaugh is capable of fixing.

The scariest part is that they have representation in congress and can bring this country to ruin.

Posted by: tmcproductions2004 | February 11, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The repubs are gaming things. They have nothing concrete to contribute. So they walk the fine line between obstructionism and creating deniability.

If they come off as the Hoover Adminstration did early in the Roosevelt first term, they will get crushed in the next election

Posted by: poorrichard | February 11, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber could fix this...along with Steele, "Government jobs are not real jobs", what a crew...

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | February 11, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Republican Senator Grassley Feb 2009 "The taxpayers are seeing congress wanting to spend vast amounts of money and are counting on us to stimulate their money, insure their money, is spent wisely not wastefully and to make sure this is a stimulus bill and not a porkulus bill.

Republican Senator Grassley Jul 2006 Requested $50 Million to build an indoor Rainforest in Iowa...


Posted by: kkrimmer | February 11, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Republican Senator Boehner Feb 2009 "the flawed notion that we can borrow and spend our way back to prosperity.

Republican Senator Boehner Jun 2008 "the cost of this bill is high (Iraq war spending), it's a price for freedom, I don't think you can put a price on freedom and security in our country. (our country Iraq??)


Republican Message: $800 Billion for Iraq OK, $800 Billion for Americans NOT OK.

Posted by: kkrimmer | February 11, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Economics isn't like physics as a science; we're dealing with educated guesses here, and educated people break both ways on the stimulus. But beyond that:

Was it "supermajorities" that made the stimulus weaker? Or was it the non-stimulative portions of the bill (it reads like a Democratic wish list from the 110th Congress) that millions of people found objectionable, thereby necessitating a struggle for those 60 votes?

It's willfully ignorant to just ignore the political motives of one party when it's convenient for an argument. When Republicans stick together, it's obstruction; when Democrats vote lockstep (and they do just as much as the Republicans), it's bipartisan? Huh?

Posted by: chris19 | February 11, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Now an Indoor Rainforrest in Iowa, THAT'S real stimulus!

Not like a bunch of stupid full time Government jobs like Senator Grassley's...job...

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | February 11, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This bill is a disgrace. The Democrats are mainly concerned with control of the economy and the power that follows. They have absolutely no clue as to whether this bill will do any good. It is just an excuse to steal as much as they can from the working class to give to their friends.

Posted by: rraustin1 | February 11, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Those who would vote Republican need to find some responsible adults to become candidates. The greedy children who are in our government do not seem to understand you do not get something for nothing. If they had paid our bills for the last eight years we would be earning interest rather than paying it.

Posted by: cpathenry | February 11, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

permagrin - a lot of serious people ARE saying the bill is too small (Paul Krugman makes a good case), but the feeling in Washington is that it has to be kept under $1T in order to pass. Read: for political reasons. While this is a bad thing, it's there because people are stupid and latch on to symbols and found numbers, rather than actual facts or rational theories.

koolkat_1960 - Unfortunately, many of the nutjobs on the right are actually calling for exactly that: zero income taxes, capital gains taxes, property taxes, inheritance taxes, corporate taxes or tariffs. They'd pay for what little government they want to keep with payroll taxes - which they would free from the obligation of paying for Social Security or Medicare - fees on national parks and other "services" and Lotto.

Then they would drown the rest of the government in the bathtub.

And they're pretty sure they won the last election with a "mandate", too.

Posted by: dj333 | February 11, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"But the Republicans have never understood the struggles of the common citizen."

uuuummmm, did you happen to notice that it's the Dem leadership that has a problem paying the TAXES they so love to impose on the rest of us!?

...liberals and's all about victimology!

Posted by: ramvt84 | February 11, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

No doubt the Republicans are "sincere." What else to they have going for them? They want to re-establish the Hoover administration, which is a hard sell. From 1980 until 2008, they won the deregulation argument. We are now all enjoying the benefits of their victory, three scams later: The S & L scam, the banking scam, and now the total meltdown of the financial world. Mere truth and the facts are such a drag, and such hard work. Ideological blinkers are much more fun, and require no thinking at all. Any good ideological hack knows how you handle inconvenient truths: Just shout louder.

Posted by: eheath1 | February 11, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The only conclusion one can draw from Repub intrangience is that the game is already over. This seems to be the message that the administration is giving and the Republicans are reinforcing by refusing to go along with the last ditch attempt to avoid meltdown.

Neither "side" is very impressive in this hour of national need. We do not have a working legislative branch.

Posted by: roboturkey | February 11, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

My mind is numbed by the idiotic comparisons one can find in this article. It's the argument a lot of people in this world give: I'm right so you're stupid. Umm, OK. Can he possibly allow that there might be issues? Differences of opinion on how this might be handled? Guess not. If in Harry's reductionism he can't be bothered to state opponent's postitions just to knock them down, then it ain't worth my time to state them either. And someone get this guy a calender, the 30s and 40s are over.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | February 11, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Ronald Reagan reduced unemployment from about 10% to %5. And you Dems: spare us your phony indignation about deficits Reagan when you are promoting massive new spending that will balloon the National debt like nothing the world has ever seen.

Republicans are absolutely correct to stick with proven solutions. Democrats in congress, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, stuck in their ideological dreamworld, nearly destroyed the economy by foisting undue risk on the entire Financial Industry with aggressive Ninja (No Income No Job No Asset) Loan programs.

Now if we can only figure out who instigated the $550 billion electronic run on U.S. Money Market funds over a 2 hour period on Sept 18th 2008, conveniently timed after the Republican convention when McCain was surging in the polls, thereby intentionally precipitating the TARP bailout crisis. Don't expect the WaPo to care.

Posted by: tom2 | February 11, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are indeed ill-equiped to deal with a "crisis" created by Democrats in the 1990s with their irresponsible easing of lending rules. The Democrats, the self-designated party of moral superiority, should now fix the crisis that they caused.

Posted by: ttj1 | February 11, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

We are in a national economic emergency, with fateful global consequences.

Why, oh why, are we not hearing calls for the Democratic majority in the Senate to set aside the 60-vote rule and enact an adequate stimulus bill--something along the lines of the House version, shorn of useless tax cuts and providing sufficient federal spending for aid to state governments and for health, science, education, infrastructure, and "greening" the economy?

It is intolerable and idiotic that Congress should be held hostile to three "moderate" Republicans (Specter and the two ladies from Maine), a handful of "moderate" Democrats (Nelson of Nebraska and a couple of others from the cow states), and the inevitable Joe Lieberman. These ego-trippers have nothing in their heads except "split-the-difference" compromises. Sure, there are times when such compromises are useful. But this is not one. These "moderates" are in fact playing into the hands of the Republican ideologues who really are blinded by their outdated Reaganite dogmas and who (Limbaugh is one of the few who says it out loud, but the others agree) are hoping and plotting for Obama's failure.

Time to invoke the "nuclear option." The Senate 60-vote rule is not writ in constitutional stone (any more than was the old two-thirds rule of the Democratic Party, giving the South veto power over presidential nominations and thus safeguarding first slavery and then segregation).

Tell those trembling "moderates" to get onboard with a real, economically effective stimulus or face the thing being rammed through without them, by something like 55-46.

And, as Meyerson says, relegate the Republican idiots to the garbage heap.

Posted by: jm917 | February 11, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

In using Ms. Rankin as an example of the wrong vote at the wrong time Meyerson himself is wrong.

We Americans continue to live the general myth that our country's entry into World War II was necessary and inevitable. But what we know now proves otherwise. Japan did not want to conquer the United States but only a restored trade policy. With support from the United States England and Russia could have defeated Germany on their own. In fact Russia did most of the fighting and dieing in the war. Of course, all of that was not known in 1942. But Rankin understood what Harold should ponder, that war always leads nations to
demean themselves and suspend their own principles and beliefs to commit horrible acts against others. There's always another way.

Posted by: cstation | February 11, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I love how the Repukes now suddenly claim deregulation was all the Dems fault and idea.

So are you saying that you are now a proponent of heavy government regulation and oversight? lol

you 26%ers are petrified in your denials and lack of accountability

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | February 11, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse


This is the first time I have ever seen a professional journalist in a top-tier newspaper demonstrate Godwin's Law.

Mr. Meyerson, I tip my (tinfoil) hat to you!

Posted by: TheyCallMeBruce | February 11, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The government needs to come out from behind the current. It is estimated that the true amount of debt in the US is something between 55 to 100 trillion dollars. The government runs at least three sets of books that they never want the public to add up. We can no longer sustain the entitlement programs that have been created since the 1970's. This alleged stimulus is going to kick the debt down the road a bit but it is going to be back with a vengeance. Take a moment and watch this video and then do some research on an accurate amount of US debt. It will put the current actions of the government in perspective. At every level of government local, county, State and Federal programs are running out of money. When this stimulus fails, as it really is just pushing the issue off for a short time, then the government will be back saying another "stimulus" is needed.

At no point in the discussions of a "stimulus" have we heard how the government is going to cut costs and take steps to get the budget under control. We are slaves to the banks, working for the company store that we owe interest payments to. So why are we bailing out banks? Who is going to make money on this deal, yes the banks and those that buy the notes the government is going to try to sell to fund this. Wake up and demand that the government tear up their credit cards, start rolling back entitlement programs we can no longer afford and demand that we balance the budget in a specific time frame. This stimulus and bank bail-out is ill conceived and the government is not being honest with the public about our true financial picture. This will drive a stake in our heart:

Posted by: Bubbette1 | February 11, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Look, THEY'RE NOT TRYING to do what's good for the country. They want everything to completely collapse by 2010 so they can blame the Democrats and gain in congress.

Also, THEY DON'T BELIEVE their own propaganda about tax cuts being a solution to anything. They just want rich people--themselves--to get richer, and they literally don't care what happens to the states, the infrastructure, or anyone else.

We're making the same mistake we Democrats always make: taking them at their word, taking their excuses for hundred-dollar-bill pocket-stuffing seriously, and trying to convince them with logic that it's a good idea for them to pay their fair share.

They will NEVER do it.

And again, they WANT the country to fall into chaos so they can blame us for it and regain the votes of large numbers of stupid people.

The only solution I see is to somehow gain 60 seats so we can ignore their sabotage. But since that is unlikely, I fear the country is doomed.

-- faye kane, homeless brain
See more of my smartmouth opinions at

Posted by: FayeKane_HomelessSmartypants | February 11, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

cstation: "Japan did not want to conquer the United States but only a restored trade policy."

Sure, if by "a restored trade policy" you mean "to have the U.S. sit by and do nothing while Japan conquered, looted, and committed genocide in every inch of Asia and the western Pacific that Europeans hadn't already grabbed, plus most of the bits Europeans *had* grabbed."

Japan's fascist government in that era was every bit as awful as Hitler's or Stalin's, and Rankin had her head in the sand.

Posted by: TheyCallMeBruce | February 11, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

When George W. Bush was inaugurated (I can't actually say "elected") as president, I supported him, even though I did not vote for him.

As a fellow Texan, I hoped that he would make us proud. Though I was puzzled when he unilaterally abrogated the missile treaty with Russia, I took him at his word that it was no longer needed because the two nations were friends.

After 9/11, I was embarrassed by his delayed reaction, but ultimately impressed with his speech to Congress explaining what had happened.

At that point, he had 90% support from the nation. Then, he, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and the Republican Party began systematically alienating 60% of that support while ridiculing our allies under the guise of being at "war" with the whole world. Ultimately, I felt that he had declared war on me, my family and friends through rampant corruption, violation of our constitution, unwarranted wiretapping of my phone through my service provider, monitoring of my emails and my book-buying habits.

Yes, I began to loathe George W. Bush in a way I have never felt before. But he abused the American people so severely that there was no other option. For the first time in my life, I began giving hundreds of dollars to Democratic candidates.

Now, the Republicons in Congress are continuing down the same path. My own Congressman, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said the party should follow the example of the Taliban in launching an "insurrection." My senator, John Cornyn actually said it is better to be alive and deprived of your constitutional rights than to risk the threat of death from a statistically improbable terrorist attack. He also spoke up on the Senate floor in defense of a man who murdered the family of a federal judge, indicating that more such hits might be coming unless the judges start issuing opinions that he approves of. I can honestly say I have no representation in Congress.

The 61-37 vote in the Senate on the stimulus package pretty accurately reflects the national support the two parties enjoy, though Obama's support is much higher. And the Republicans are continuing to alienate their few remaining supporters.

We, the people, are still waiting for an apology from the Republican party. Instead, we get more insults, more arrogance and more destruction.

Changing our legislative agenda by eliminating Republicons from Congress is a costly and time-consuming process. But if that is what it takes, we have no other choice. The ship of state is taking on water, and the huffy children are carving more holes in the hull.

Posted by: motorfriend | February 11, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Lets see 26% of the voting populous self identify as Republicans. With this last election even more of the moderates (such as they were) have been removed. Right now led by Rush and Sean they are purging the rest in a quest for Ideological purity but doing so may cut their support even lower than 26%. But there are only a handful of states left were the Republicans can safely do this without fear of losing their seats. So all this may come back to bite them big time. While Politicians may place party and ideology above country, number one is and always will be themselves. If these Politicians feel threatened that the party may not support them next time around or even that the support could be detrimental to their chances (a moderate state tending more liberal now) you could see some declare themselves Independents. For incumbents this is a viable option and if a couple do just that it would shift the balance of power and more than likely vastly increase their influence and visibility back home at least until the next election. The Republicans may just push themselves even further into irrelevance.

Posted by: notthatdum | February 11, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this guy can sure do a re-write of history at the drop of a hat! It was President Obama who promised to lower taxes on the middle class during the campaign. He is fulfilling that promise to the people with the Senate bill.

According to Meyerson, Obama has apparently decided to go back on his word; but lets not pretend that Obama didn't embrace "the discredited policies of the past" during the campaign. That is completely dishonest.

Posted by: magellan1 | February 11, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

This is the kind of government you get when you elect people to government who do not believe in government. Why people keep electing republicans to government who feel government is "the problem", or has no purpose, I'll never understand. Do we hire managers of stores who believe the store is selling the wrong products? Do we hire people to manage a lumberyard who feel lumber is not the right product to be producing? Do we hire railroad company managers who think trucks are the way of the future?

Yet about 30% of Americans think Republicans, who feel government should be as small as possible and not provide its Constitutionally manadated requirements, is just what we need. The government is big and does a lot for a reason. Read the Constitution and get a clue.

Posted by: bevjims1 | February 11, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

On a blog that I often read, many of the posts refer to the GOP (and its friends in the media) in this way: when in doubt, they make stuff up.

Bush to Stephanopoulos in 2006: "We've never been stay the course, George."

The Administration to the country, 2004-2008: "We don't torture." While prisoners were being waterboarded (repeatedly) and cut with scalpels.

Every republican in sight, from late 2007 to a few months ago: "There's no recession!"

There are many more examples (US attorneys firings, the war in Iraq would be short and would pay for itself, etc.), but you get the idea. So when these prior comments say the recession is the democrats' fault, remember this.
These patriotic, fiscally responsible folk... make stuff up.

Posted by: crix | February 11, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the republicans are ideologically rigid, but it seems they also need to have an enemy to rail against. "Terrists" won't do entirely because they're so hard to pin down so now the enemy has expanded to include anyone who doesn't agree with them... never mind that means over half the American people. I truly believe that they are not only hoping, but are also working hard toward causing President Obama's economic plan to fail. That's what you do with enemies, isn't it?

Posted by: Ami_Blue1 | February 11, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Day after day, the Republicans continue to prove that they are morally and intellectually bankrupt.

After running up $10.3 TRILLION in new debt and obligations over the last eight years, they apparently believe that bankruptcy is no bad thing.

Witness the fiscal idiocy visited on America by Ronnie "Tax Cuts" ReaganL

Reagan tripled the National Debt -- and took America from being the world's leading creditor nation to being the world's leading debtor nation.

Witness the durable nature of Reagan's idiocy:

When then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil tried to warn the Bush administration of the financial disaster that their tax cuts would bring, the Dick Cheney responded, "As Reagan proved, Paul, deficits don't matter."

So here we are. On the verge of bankruptcy.

Thank you, Ronnie. Thank you, Georgie. Thank you, Dick.

Posted by: pali2500 | February 11, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Tom2 said "Now if we can only figure out who instigated the $550 billion electronic run on U.S. Money Market funds over a 2 hour period on Sept 18th 2008, conveniently timed after the Republican convention when McCain was surging in the polls, thereby intentionally precipitating the TARP bailout crisis. Don't expect the WaPo to care."

Why do Republicans still think that the economic crisis is the reason John McCain lost? He surged a bit after the convention because Sarah Palin was a new, untested, attractive option for some people at the time. Therefore his poll numbers increased to where he actually held a lead for a couple of days. Then the country started to see Palin for what she really was and his poll numbers dropped right along with that. They keep saying it was because of the economy and his stupid "Fundamentals of the economy is strong" quote but the reality shows that his poll numbers were already dropping at that time and that had to do with Sarah Palin just being herself.

Posted by: JeffParrish | February 11, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Guess politicians don't get well as others..
We are tax'd to the hilt..
As for one s/b be bailout..part of the order of make it or you don't..
As for helping out people..cap gas prices..cap Interest rates charged(2/4%) and Credit cards..give people a chance..ones out of work..all payments and interests halt until a job is found and then...the caps on interest is still imposed to help people to tax on food..
any sales tax is also only 2/4% across board..
As for Exec's at companies having problems...go back 10yrs...get all prior exec's and current--grab there estates and put money back into company they helped destroy..
Healthcare..everyone on Medicare..if Ins'd and what Ins does not cover Medicare covers..if Medicare will not pay--for whatever reason..people still owe nothing..Hospital/Doc/Med's etc..eats the cost.
Social Security..only for people who pay into it..and you have right to invest what they show you have..just like a 401k..
Feb tax..suspend until crisis over..
Companies get tax credit for hiring.. credit for ALL electric car..plug in from home..and can replace todays gas powered..and inexpensive(and I know it can be done and with the scare tactics of putting load on power grid..JUNK statements)..
Just a few ideas..but too simple..

Posted by: rw62827 | February 11, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Rankin might have been a deluded idiot, but at least she showed more guts than the pathetic bunch of Republican isolationists who did whatever they could to keep us out of the war, but only until Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war on the US showed how far up their fat a$$es their heads collectively were.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 11, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Harold - harold - harold....Repubs do not deny a stimulus is is the make up where opinions differ....but yet - you indicate they are ignorant to a needed package? So truly - who is ignorant?
You forget - it is spending - spending - spending that got is here what is the solution - more spending? So when biten by a snake...let him bite you again?
Bottomline - many people have lived beyond there means - and the carnage left behind in unpaid bills is coming home to roost.
This stimulus is nothing more than another bubble - prompting 5-10 years of growth/spending - and cramming into 1-3 years....But what of years 4-10? There goes the bubble...square one. That is why it's called a business cycle - ebb/flow of goods and services......the longer we delay that correction - the harder it will be.....and all the while - increasing government and government debt. Look around - no such model exists where it has succeeded where government is the main employer.

Posted by: short1 | February 11, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

It is the Lib Dem Socialist Party entitlement mentality that has managed to do irreparable harm to this society since FDR and LBJ. For all the good intentions of FDR his policies failed. LBJs so called Great Society was nothing more than governments way to enslave the ignorant with government handouts and to have them forever beholding to democrats. And the evidence in the failures of the Lib Dems big controlling government is no more evident that in the black urban population. The Socialist Lib Union mindset has also proven to be a complete bust. Witness Detroit. Lib Dem policy fails, is destructive and has weakened the nation. The Public Education system and it's union dominated structure is a disaster. Witness this countries ranking in the world in math, science and reading. Lib Dems and their policies are dangerous and divisive. Today's democrats have completely morphed into Socialists, anti Capitalist hacks. JFK is rolling in his grave.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 11, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Meyerson: And so, empowered by anti-majoritarian rules, Republicans cling to an ideology not remotely germane to the current crisis.

On the contrary moose-breath, with this election, their minority status, and this plan Republicans have finally re-awakened to why they are the oldest party on the country.

Nothing like this situation now to crystalize why huge socialist programs don't and won't work to force Republicans to quit tinkering at the margins and get back to fundamentals.

The government caused this mess by not doing their jobs. Dems passed silly laws that forced banks to grant loans to people they knew didn't have a chance in heck of repaying. Banks devised all sorts of risk mitigation strategies...some that were highly arcane and hard to understand. The executive branch, who certainly had the authority to provide proper oversight, botched the job. These are government failings...not failings of the free-market system.

Know this...the Dems have sewn the seeds of their own demise in the last couple of weeks. The Republicans are merely making the choices clear for 2010. It's about time too. For a long time there hasn't been a dimes difference between the two parties. Now there clearly is and Americans will realize that they are the best minders of their own money...not mid-level staffers and bureaucrats in the self-licking ice cream cone that is the Beltway. They will see the crap their tax dollars are going for and the revolt will be on. 2010 can't come soon enough. In the great words of that minstrel of protest, "For the loser now will be later to win for the times they are a-changin'"

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | February 11, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The G----damn GOP, is so G---damn ticked off that McCain lost, and Bro Obama is president, they have decided to HUNKER DOWN and block every freakin' thing that comes up for ratification. Plain and simple. Good Ol' boys, aint'cha? Jerks. Bunch O' Crawdads.

Posted by: gkemp | February 11, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The best metaphor for the GOP right now is that they're Wile E. Coyote just after he's run off the cliff, but before he's realized it and gravity takes hold.

Posted by: tgoglia | February 11, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to see the left-wing hacks posing as journalists haven't let a little thing like the dems controlling both houses of Congress and the White House from blaming those big bad evil Republicans for all the world's ills.

The Post's credibility is following the same route it's circulation numbers are - still sinking and heading toward sunk.

Posted by: ScottV | February 11, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I guess if the only arrow in your quiver is tax cuts, then that's what you promote. That appears to be the GOP position.

But I think it's going to take some decisive action on the part of the government to fix things.

Doing nothing or too little while we wait for the economy to magically right itself seems a little like hoping for the fire to go out while your house is burning down.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | February 11, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I want to hear you scream for help when your house has been broken into or burning and the police/firefighters are unavailable to assist you in a reasonable time because idiots like you consider basic services "pork".

Posted by: theobserver4 | February 11, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"When Republicans argue for more tax cuts, because "they stimulate the economy," does anyone say, 'well, why not just cut taxes to zero, since that would stimulate the economy even more?'"

That's what the Republicans have been saying for 20 years! The private sector can fix our roads, teach our children, defend our country (trust Blackwater!) and do absolutely everything government can do, while still making a profit.

And to think that millions of Americans actually believe that crap.

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 11, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Is it a crime to believe monetary policy will eventually right the economy? We've grown the monetary base the past year significantly in addition to a couple trillion dollars of open market operations since this problem began. So we're having a crummy U shaped recession. It is tough and painful, but believing monetary policy will save the day is an opinion I and others are entitled to have.

Posted by: JimDandy1 | February 11, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

You are so right about super-majorities. I don't even understand why they are constitutional given the one-man/one-vote ruling by SCOTUS years ago.

Americans are spoiled children who want everything given to them without having to pay for it.

I have little hope for our fiscal future until Dems in both California and the US Senate get the numbers we need to raise taxes on the rich back to what they were in the early 1980s.

Posted by: RealCalGal | February 11, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

everybody salutes the flag and sings "God Bless America" but when it is time to give back to your country everyone runs for the hills.. If all Americans put the amount of money that we waste on Cafe Mocha's etc..into a cup at the end of 6 months I betcha we would have enough to donate to the national debt to make a difference. Why is it we have this mentality of not wanting to chip in when the going gets tough. that attitude is just to unAmerican. This is Our Country...

Posted by: sabrina2 | February 11, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately the Republicans in Congress are aware.

Posted by: ChangeWhat |

You complaining about pork @ 1% of the total stimulus bill? You who stood by and cheered when your idol Bush ran this country and many parts of the world to the ground?

You have the audacity? Get this into your thick skull. You idiots lost - and lost big. The people spoke loud and clear. So tuck your tail and run. Don't come back and don't breed while away. We as a nation will progress without obstructionists like you.

Posted by: Pillai | February 11, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

i agree with and understand most of what Mr. Meyerson is saying; however, about Rankin's vote against declaration of war against Nazi Germany and Japan, she was true to her principles.

the GOP have no principles above self-enrichment, hypocrisy on morality and religious matters.

If war-profiteers were jailed such as the Bush family, whose Prescott Bush directly aided the Nazi war effort by providing jet fuel additives, and post war recruitment of Nazi scientists hadn't happened, the narrative would make more sense.

truth is: WW2 was about a new world order, just like the S&l collapeses involving Neal Bush and friends, just like the current ongoing fraud and treason.

pacifism IS an answer to even extreme acts of persecution and killing.

did the japanese americans locked up in camps ever rise up violently against the own government that illegally, collectively judged them all by their race as to their loyalty?

Posted by: forestbloggod | February 11, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse


You make Sarah Palin look like a genius.

Posted by: RightDownTheMiddle | February 11, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I have a simple suggestion. Those senators who are opposed to aid to the states should automatically forego aid to their own states, and explain it to their voters and governors why they voted that way.

Posted by: rationalprof | February 11, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Repubes, lead, follow, or get out of the way. You led for 8 years and steered us into an economic sludge-pit, you refuse to support President Obama, so its time you got OUT OF AMERICA's WAY!

Posted by: free-donny | February 11, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm a moderate-liberal, but I'm glad there's a large contingent in Washington always trying to keep a lid on taxes and spending. But the Republican's are a bit ridiculous in that cutting taxes seems to be the answer to every problem. I'd rather just have a bunch of sensible, fiscally-minded, progressive democrats and moderate republicans like Senator Spector running the show. Some government spending is essential in our society, to do the essential things where there is no market incentive (eg. environmental cleanup or SEC regulation) or where a monopoly could result if it were opened to the market (freeway construction or water services for example). But to the ideological wing of the GOP, if it can't make money in the free market it shouldn't exist. You can call these programs socialism if you want, but they are an essential part of a healthy, functioning society.

Posted by: SnowleopardNZ | February 11, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Repubes, thats a good one. kinda like Demacracks.

Posted by: Brutus2 | February 11, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin for president 2012!!!!

Posted by: Brutus2 | February 11, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Presidentg of the alskan women for moose and wolf extintion club

Posted by: Brutus2 | February 11, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Jeanette Rankin was not only a person of quality principles but she spend a significant portion of her life in promoting charitable and sound causes. In comparing her NO vote of WWII, which was consistent with her pacifist beliefs, with the current members' stance, regardless of party affiliation, shows a lack of understanding of Jeanette's life. Though many may disagree on her application of her principles in the one instance noted does not deserve her to be compared with others who do not appear to understand words as principles and fighting for equality and against poverty.

Posted by: jrrankin | February 11, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

John McCain and his followers know all too well how important this stimulous bill is. Why John McCain halted his presidential campaign to go to Washington to vote on the bailout package. So they are aware how important the financial fiasco is. It is highly disengenuous of them to think they can delay, deny, or ignore this stimulous bill now. Therefore, it is obvious that the Republicans have decided, for purely political reasons only, that obstruction and smear tactics work better for them when the current President is not of their party. They are so very ignorant - they have lost support of the American people and even some of their own members. Doesn't matter- they have to be the opposite of anything the Democrats propose. The will fiercely defend their outrageous agenda through the Media with a smirk on their face and hop in their step. Oh and bills filled with pork was the name of the game for the Republicans when they controlled both houses between 2001 and 2006. Hypocrisy at its worst!

Posted by: TimeforChange | February 11, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Harold you wrote a beautiful article but you weren't as clear on California as a native of the golden state would be.

California is being drained by Proposition 13 and illegal aliens. Illegal aliens account for about 4.5 million of California's population, the last serious estimate in 2006 was 2.8 million but I was there this past summer and things have notifably changed for the worse. The heritage foundation estimates that each illegal costs 17k per person. How many billion is that? 76.5 billion. Its 17 billion for every 1 million illegals. Even in the best case scenario illegals are costing at least 55 billion a year.

Proposition 13 shields corporations and businesses as well as ordinary folks. And it doesn't have any means testing. Warren Buffet, the second wealthiest man in america, receives a huge tax break from Proposition 13 on his business properties -and admitted he did and recommended that it be admended.

But as Harold mentioned the far right is against taxes unless they are on someone else. So they yelled and screamed and Warren who was Arnold's economic advisor and Arnold himself decided to forget the common sense approach and leave well enough alone.

Prop 13 is probably costing the state at least 25 billion in revenues a year, maybe more. So should California be in the situation they are in - no.

And you have two groups in California freeloading the system - the long term property owners and the illegals.

However, since Arnold portrayed himself as the great reformer in order to replace Governor Grey Davis, a good public servant, and changed course when reform got too controversial he is responsible for part of the mess - not the illegals but Prop 13 continuing to devastate the state of California.

Posted by: agapn9 | February 11, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Another really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: hclark1 | February 11, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

California actually requires two-thirds support to enact a budget (!) and also two-thirds support to enact new taxes, thus ensuring gridlock year after year.

Posted by: StuartinFresnoCalifornia | February 11, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr Meyerson, is right... er that is to say he's correct.

The GOP is a one-trick pony, however their circus has left town.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | February 11, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"The Republicans’ belief in tax cuts is beyond the realm of empirical argument. Data do not daunt them, nor facts compel reflection."

During one of the debates of the Republican candidates in last year's Presidential primaries the question was asked, "Who here believes that the theory of evolution is true?". Not one single candidate raised his hand.

Isn't this also the party that chanted, "Drill Baby Drill" incessantly last year despite solid geologic evidence that we have at best a tiny fraction of our oil needs below our soil and coastal waters?. And didn't Dick Cheney once respond, "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter"? And don't they continue to ignore solid scientific evidence and a consensus of scientists throughout the world that global warming is being caused by carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels?

Was it just a coincidence that John McCain received the majority of the vote from people with a high school education or less?

"Reality has a liberal bias" - Stephen Colbert

Posted by: dldbug | February 11, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Almost a trillion dollars for something the Congressional Budget Office has shown will not work.

The is the sort of change that is just unbelievable.

Biden was right about the Presidency being the wrong job for On-The-Job training.

Remember Lefties, Dissent IS Patriotic! Here's to the Patriots who stand against the porkulus bill!

Posted by: NeverLeft | February 11, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

There is good news and that is that the American people starting in 2006 are increasingly rejecting the ignorance and misinformation that make up the "core values" of the republican party. Wrapping yourself in the flag while holding a crucifix and the Bible will no longer suffice as qualifications to high office (at least no in most regions of the country). Culture wars mean nothing when you're out on the pavement and contemplating life in your new home, a card board box.

Also, Ronald Reagan was wrong. The scariest sentence in the English language is "We must not interfere with the ways of business as self correcting markets will benefit all."

Posted by: dldbug | February 11, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

OK, deficit hawks and small government fans ... where were you when the Bush administration ran up the deficit, blew 3 TRILLION dollars of our hard-earned tax money in Iraq, and spawned a bloated and ineffectual federal bureaucracy (the Homeland Security department)???

Did you manfully (or womanfully) speak up against these violations of your dearest, most hearfelt principles?


Then shut up.

Posted by: Madame_DeFarge | February 11, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Republicans seem determined to disappear as a political party. They have learned nothing from their defeats in 2006 and 2008. Now, by opposing Obama's Stimulus Bill, and watering-it down by eliminating key spending provisions and inserting ineffectual tax cuts, Conservatives are showing once again how Un-American they are. Rush Limbaugh wants America to fail. Congressional Republicans are making that happen. Hopefully, by 2010, Democrats will have won the 60+ votes they need to govern this country in the best interests of all the people, not simply the billionaires.

Please visit my Blog: "Conservatives Are America's Real Terrorists"

Posted by: cjprentiss | February 11, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Families are suffering as they've never suffered before and still the GOP can do nothing but play hardline politics as if this is an "us" or "them" fight. That they are completely doing this on the backs of American lives and futures is the greatest shame of all.

I say in the US Congress as in California we should throw these GOP humps out of office! Eight years of stupidity is enough.

Who would have imagined that after George W. left Washington - the man their entire party was so afraid to stand up too that they let him DESTROY their party, they would continue being stuck on stupid? Talk about thick!

This is no time to play "who can spit the highest on the playground". These people need to go. I'm not saying replace them with candidates of another party...just replace them with people who are able to produce an independant thought and actually give it voice. One wonders if they can even use the bathroom without assistance.

The current members of the GOP are like the Borg. Someone should tell them that was an episode of Star-Trek. It's not real. And in case they think it's real and believe "resistance is futile" they should look back on November 4, 2008 when they had their backsides handed to them. Not only did the American people resist, we put you in a coffin. With your collective inability to see the reality of what is going on in this country you're actually adding your own nails to the lid.

It's funny really.

Posted by: MPATL | February 11, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Yesterday, Fox News made an on-air presentation, documenting how the cost of the economic stimulus package has grown since September 2008. The package was set up as if it were enterprise reporting, but in reality, it was a straight recitation of a talking points memo that originated with the Senate Republican Communications Center. Media Matters was quick to spot this, and, in so doing, noticed an example of a factual error that came right off the page of the memo, into a graphic. And so, Fox got pantsed, pretty badly!"

The Republicans and their propaganda arm, Fox News, are interested in regaining power and if that fails, to destroy the rest of us.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | February 11, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

People who vote republican fall into one or more of the following categories:

1. homophobic
2. tax-phobic
3. selfish
4. religious hypocrite
5. mean spirited
6. hateful
7. sexually repressed
8. anal retentive
9. self-righteous
10. misogynist
11. redneck
12. anti-intellectual
13. paranoid
13. callous
14. greedy

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | February 11, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats have the White House, a majority in the House, a nearly filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and yet they STILL complain about the Republicans. If the Democrats really believed this stimulus bill was going to make things better, they would pass it themselves. Instead, they seem to already be looking to cover their butts from the fallout of this bill in the 2010 elections.

Posted by: wolfcastle | February 11, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Nuke the filibuster rule; it is a sweet 18th century rule for honorable men who actually were patriots and more than willing to be responsible for their actions to the point of being willing to hang for rebellion against the crown. These Republican ideological craven cowards, traitors to their country and their people, party lapdogs represented by Palin, McCain, Limbaugh, Coulter, and other idiots are anything but honorable and their greed for power knows no limits!

Posted by: Chaotician | February 11, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to simplify this for the GOP but spending, yes, government spending too = stimulus. This is an emergency and action is required fast. The Japanese government realized this too late and their economy has been in the doldrums for 10 years.
Spend - and 2 trillion isn't too much.

Posted by: hdlewis1 | February 11, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

These same Republicans that are screaming and shouting about "irresponsible spending" and "government waste" were perfectly happy to throw $600 trillion into the disastrous war in Iraq. They're happy to spend money. They just don't want to spend it on Americans.

Posted by: bmccormick | February 11, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Almost a trillion dollars for something the Congressional Budget Office has shown will not work.

The is the sort of change that is just unbelievable.

Biden was right about the Presidency being the wrong job for On-The-Job training.

Remember Lefties, Dissent IS Patriotic! Here's to the Patriots who stand against the porkulus bill!

Posted by: NeverLeft | February 11, 2009 4:11 PM

-Where was this slogan hiding back in '03 when I rose my voice against an unjust war and deliberate slaughter of hundreds of thousands?

Anyone who disagreed then was a by your definition at that point in time you are now a traitor.


Posted by: theobserver4 | February 11, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor is trying to gain a larger leadership position in the house and has his eyes set on a senate race. He will do anything to try and keep his conservative base, including stopping all Democratic lead initiatives, to accomplish those goals.

His district is very conservative and he has done an excellent job in convincing many people there to vote against their own best interests. It is shameful that he is using is considerable god given talent to be so distructive in this time of great leadership need.

Posted by: dbax | February 11, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

While I believe some stimulus package is needed, the proposed bill is WAY too expensive for the hypothetical benefits produced. Frugality is a virtue that seems to endangered, if not extinct. It is not 'obstructionist' to vote against a bad bill.

Posted by: Ivanhoe1 | February 11, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is morally and intellectually a bankrupt party. They resort to dishonesty and chicanery to deceive the public.

Posted by: kevin1231 | February 11, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

The American people understand that the one and only Republican solution to everything... tax cuts... is just a political ploy. We are so glad that Obama is in charge of our nation's ship. The Republicans are looking unpatriotic because they seem hellbent on sinking the boat just because they want to see Obama fail.

Posted by: goldie2 | February 11, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Talk about audacity! The Republicans and their ever-smaller group of rabid followers tries to tell us there is no crisis, or maybe there is a crisis, but just quit whining, get to work and wait for your next tax break. Everything will be fine, just get yourself a large car or nice tent to live in. Tax breaks have worked so well for the past 8 years - I'm sure that with enough tax breaks we'll all be OK. And anyone who can't handle a few setbacks like the loss of their job, their health insurance, their home, their car, well, they're just lazy losers - don't look their way - shun them and call them lazy liberals looking for a handout. If you lose YOUR job, despite being a good, hardworking Republican, be sure to tell your kids that it would be better to starve than accept foodstamps because those are only for no-good lazy people.

Apparently, the Republicans seem to think most American citizens are really stupid - OK, we did let them get away with stealing 2 elections recently. But now, they are really being insulting. A spokesman for the party that seems ever-intent on dumbing down the citizenry - their new chairman - tries to tell us that "work" (i.e. government-created jobs) are not jobs, just "work." So why don't all the Republicans who oppose the parts of the stimulus package that focus on infrastructure, etc, quit accepting their government-funded paychecks and benefit packages and get some Real jobs? Show us all just how strong your principles are - walk away from that phony "work" and find jobs.

Posted by: mbstrong | February 11, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Boy-oh-boy-oh-boy. I thought we were rif of those republican loonies.

Posted by: rlampe | February 11, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

They lived the high life, had their elite stuff 'on the haps', but failed to think on the broader scale of what happens when the incontinent chickens of irresponsible fiscal policy come home to roost, and who might happen to be standing under the perch when it happens. The way our financial system is set up, at the moment, is that everyone pays interest, everyone pays rent, everyone pays insurance, and everyone pays mortgages, buys certain commodities, such as petroleum, so, if you like to be a Rich Person, you position yourself in such a way as to be involved with one of the above in a gainful arrangement. Then, you make 'capital gains' off your investments while chasing bikini-clad waitresses on some far-off sandy shore. Well, that's the dream, anyway, but what happens when people get too greedy? What happens when the speculators do it to themselves, and no one can remotely afford to live in one of these usury-laden domiciles, or buy the overpriced commodities, or the job market tanks like a bowling ball falling out of a 4th story window straight into a kiddie pool full of used motor oil due to exotic management practices related to globinazimizals, and the whole apparatus grinds to a slithering sideways halt, leaving a trail of expensive parts and a bit smoke trail? Because that's about where they're at, and now they want Uncle Sugar to cover the tow bill.(That's you, me, and anyone else in this country that pays a penny in taxes). I say, 'no bailout' until and unless its' pretty apparent that all these high-finance types, regardless of political stripe/affiliation, get a 'handle' on what it means to be on the BOTTOM end of this beloved economy/Con Me/Con GAME, whatever you prefer to call it, there. We don't live in the United States anymore, we live in the People's Republic Of Credit, and I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm tired of being a spreadsheet entry/human resource/murkensumir/whatever. I think the banker-peeps generally need to think about vacating our national seat of government, fold their lobbying tents, and depart. It seems like all our Congress does anymore is cut checks to various and sundry parties, and I'm pretty sure they used to do something else besides rubber-stamp budget stuff. Pretty sure about that. So, what gives? Nothing, apparently, when it comes to having a free pass to play robber-baron-onomics...

Posted by: walkerbert | February 11, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

"Click and Clack"

It's way past time for the GOP to get a dope slap.

Posted by: FredZuber | February 11, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

In typical Dem/pro-gov liberal style, a state budget deficit, which is a fraction of any state budget, is leveraged to imply the vital services get cut. A prudent leader would cut everything but the vital services we expect a government to provide, fire, security, education, transportation. Everything else, including 'entitlement' programs, environmental agencies, and even lawmakers staffs are expendable. However, understandably no politician will ever voice that view, nor does our media (print or broadcast) ever dare 'pop' that illusionary bubble.
Similiarly, the illusion that the Federal government, which proved itself incapable of anticipating the current crisis, is wise enough to institute programs that will help without initiating a longer term negative impact, is being perpetuated by, no surprise, the same legislators that instigated this mess, as well as their fervent cheerleaders, the 'enlighten media". And remember, very few Federal programs, once instituted, ever get eliminated, another fact the media studiously ignores. These temporary programs are going to be with us, probably until the impendingfinancial crisis of Medicaid/health care and social security render current policies completely unaffordable.

Posted by: pedetcm | February 11, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

California, like Arizona, fell prey to the initiative cult worshipers some years ago, with the result that 50% of both states budget outlays are now immune from any legislative tampering or tweaking. This makes it tough for politicians to adjust state budgets in time of financial crisis. They don't have much room to work in. To a certain extent, the federal government is in the same boat.

Now we have millions and millions of taxpayers dropping out of taxpayer status, going instead over to the role of tax taker in the form of unemployment and other jobless benefits.

Foot dragger Republicans don't see this as a problem. At what point will they?

Posted by: surfer-joe | February 11, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

The last time we did tax cuts during a war period was during the Vietnam conflict. It left us with the 1970's. We learned (supposedly) that you can have guns or you can have butter, but you cannot have guns and butter. The Bush years were about guns for investing in Iraq and butter to keep the nation quiet.

The Republicans in Congress were all for those policies. They were all for investing 10 billion dollars a month in a nation that destroyed it as fast as we sent it. And without question. Any who questioned it were called unAmerican.

But to invest it in America when we are on our heals: that is Socialism. Why is it American to invest in a nation that resents us and in another that is producing drugs to infect us and not American to invest in schools to educate us?

Republicans want an ignorant population that simply works with reduced oppotunities and tethered on a short leash to be kept in line.

Posted by: charst46 | February 11, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are continuing to play their "Johnny one note" song, tax cuts, tax cuts, starve the government through more and more tax cuts. Their goal is to weaken our financial status so much that all the social programs they detest get cut in order to pay for wars and, what else? Tax cuts, of course. If we wanted their input,we would not have voted them our of power. We voted for Obama. BIG TIME. HIS ideas and programs are the ones we want. The only good news is that if the Republicans keep up their loyalty to their party instead of our country, by 2010 we could be rid of most of the rest of them. If they want to remain even vaguely viable, they need to start doing what the people, and the President, want. As for bi-partisanship, they are clearly not interested, so unless they figure out that they lost and can lose even more, my advice to the President is simple - don't ask, just tell. They and Rush Limbaugh want you to fail, but the majority wants you to succeed. They got us into this mess, but the majority thinks YOU have the right ideas to rescue us from the Republican induced disaster. If they want to join you, fine - allow them to come along for the ride, if not, they can just keep losing more and more until they fade into history. Just don't let them convince you that we care about their fate, because we don't, and don't let them ruin your Plan - make it big, effective and generous, not stingy, small and filled with tax cuts. Build the schools, save the cities, do what you know is necessary. They are determined to destroy it - and you - by making you reduce it to a "too small" level, so it will fail but they can pretend they tried to help you. Be a strong leader and lead - if they are too busy reciting ideology to follow, too bad.

Posted by: rmcdetal | February 11, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have lost it, in every sense of that phrase. Full of hot air and devoid of anything resembling solid facts, reasoning, or ideas, all these Limbohtomites can do is flatulate. They are execrable, but pitifully unable to excrete themselves from our system.

Posted by: Bugs222 | February 11, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I love this quote of Meyerson:

"So George W. Bush called for tax cuts to deal with the dangerous budget surpluses that Bill Clinton had been running, and then called for tax cuts to close the deficit his earlier tax cuts had created. He proposed tax cuts to finance his war in Iraq."

Posted by: donlibes | February 11, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Myerson has written a very insightful article. I thank him for enlightening me on some historical events of which I was unaware. I feel educated as a result of reading this piece.

This beats listening to Fox News and the errors in journalism that they seem to make on a daily basis. If Keith O. and Rachel M start falsifying their news items, I'll stop listening to them also. But Anderson Cooper is pretty level headed.

Posted by: EarlC | February 11, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"Similiarly, the illusion that the Federal government, which proved itself incapable of anticipating the current crisis, is wise enough to institute programs that will help without initiating a longer term negative impact ........"

Posted by: pedetcm

This is another disingenuous talking point from the Right: Government is incompetent because it fails to predict and react quickly and effectively against a national crisis. We heard a version of this in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Republicans come in to power in government, then perform incompetently and use that as an argument to prove that government stinks!

And did you voice this same criticism in opposition to GWB's hubristic and unilateral military misadventure in Iraq? Or is government only "wise" when waging war?

Posted by: dldbug | February 11, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I live my life somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders - and I feel more postpartisan than this tripe! Show me how this is "Post-partisan" and I'll spend the next month speaking only in my Donald Duck voice!

Posted by: fr3dmars | February 11, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Let's look at this from the side of the GOP. (I don't do this very often, believe me!)
What is their aim? Supposedly restoring their image as a party that can promise 'good governance'. But this is not how party politics works. Opposition is also an essential.
The GOP would not be a viable political party if it did not 'oppose' or if it did not seek to recapture the ground it has lost.

Right now, 'the party' faces a dilemma. Go back to the grass roots and re-build the party with new faces and new policies is the route many republicans (and all democrats), I think, would like to see. Call it Plan A.
But parties are composed of individuals and right now there the GOP is barren of clear leadership. No-one is calling the shots. Individuals' personal interests clash with Plan A. This would not benefit them and their ability to shape public policy. The strategy they have adopted might.
Plan B is focused on the short term. The mid-term elections. It's a gamble.
If the Administration and a democratic controlled Congress do not get the economy moving again Republicans can run on 'They did it all wrong. Don't say we didn't warn you.' Electorates, notoriously, have a short memory. Ours could well reward Republicans for this.
If, on the other hand, sitting Reps go for Plan A and help pass a truly bi-partisan bill, they have part ownership of it. Succeed or fail, on what platform do they then run in two years?
Given what we know or suspect about the magnitude of the ego that drives anyone to seek public office, should we be surprised that members of Congress think first of their own short-term interests?
That Plan B's rational agrees with Rush Limbaugh's assertion that he wants Obama 'to fail' compels the etiquette of 'Limbaugh Republicans'. But the sitting members would probably have behaved this way anyway, Rush Limbaugh or not. I'm sure they would prefer a strategy based on their own success rather than someone else's failure. But where and how are they going to 'succeed'? 'Fiddling while Rome burns' cannot be exactly fun, but it is a strategy that Reps may see forced upon them
by the political role they feel obliged to adopt.

I'm not making excuses for them, just trying to get behind why they are behaving as they are. I hope, of course, that their strategy comes back to haunt them.

Posted by: yo22er | February 11, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what Republicans "think"?

They are the people who have said, "If you elect me I will destroy government."

Ronald Reagan, the demented, washed up actor taught you: Government is bad. Making money any way you can (except of course through street crime) is well and good, private enterprise.

Well they have destroyed any prosepect of good government, so they turn out to fill the created need for themselves. Until now.

These parboiled pigs are generating a rage that they may not survive.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Great Read!!! These are the same people that think work is not a job?

Posted by: tboner13 | February 12, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

None of the democrat rank-&-file
read the stimulus bill. You have no idea what you just threw away.
You refer to yourselves as common
people but you cant take care of
yourselves. Why does someone else
have to support you? You did the
one thing that you will regret;
you energized the Republicans, AND
MADE THEM ANGRY. The next two years will pass quickly. Look out
for the train.

Posted by: wagesbill | February 12, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Rankin’s statement before casting her no vote in 1941 was "As a woman I can't go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else". According to my mother, who knew her personally, Rankin understood that this was a symbolic vote that would not affect the outcome.

Much like Secretary Clinton and Governor Palin, Rankin was more complex and thoughtful than you pundits are willing to accept.

Posted by: Provincial | February 12, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Re. the Rankin article. A well-written, intriguing article. Those interested in the pre-Pearl Harbor battle between Isolationists and those wanting to enter the War might want to check out my new novel, The Fuhrer Virus. It is a fictional spy/conspiracy/thriller that explores this conflict along with more global wartime issues in 1941. It can be found at or at (for adolescent/adult readers).


Paul Schultz

Posted by: pschultz63 | February 12, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

mmourges: you're take on California's tax situation is a bit off the mark

With a regressive 1% property tax in place (regressive since taxes depreciate in value every year due to a maximum 2% yearly increase, below long-term inflation averages), the housing boom really was able to just temporarily make up the difference of years of stagnating property taxes. The state has a heavy reliance on income tax to keep its general fund afloat, and that dips severely during downturns. In addition, voters routinely vote for initiatives that fund expensive projects, many of which may be of dubious value, and are untouchable by the Assembly and Senate (60% of the budget is locked up in voter-approved spending). Not really a leglislative problem or a Democratic problem, more of a systemic problem.

Posted by: bongocircus | February 12, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Here again the neocons still believe in the tooth fairly. While I like tax cuts for me I realize that tax cuts is not the answer to the current crises. The Reagan policy has showed not only it doesn't work, but it actual has an opposite affect as seen by our current crisis. The people who run the Republican party are in fact some of CEOs of the some banks that have failure. Fox News is the worst liars on TV and can not stand the truth to be told. People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others do not understand the economy because if they did they wouldn’t say the things they say. Rush Limbaugh is not only a college dropout but a greedy fat pig who thinks that paying the American worker a fair wage is what hurting the country. Oh and yes he called the American worker losers. People like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are not true Conservatives because true Conservatives would fact reality and they cannot. They remind me of spoiled brats.

Posted by: Terry8 | February 12, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Good column! You demonstrate the case quite lucidly.

Posted by: zosima | February 13, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Fine column except that the Rankin analogy is strained--she was not responsible for Hitler or his behavior, however much she missed their menace. The Republicans, as you well point out, are largely responsible for the magnitude of the current economic crisis and are fundamentalists, stuck with the Reagan/Bush gospel of tax cuts, which contributed to getting us into this mess in the first place.

I guess in this regard, the Rankin analogy holds up: her fundamentalism was pacifism, more noble than tax cuts but still dangerous when applied uncritically.

Posted by: trashandsend | February 13, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Much of the obstructionism is spearheaded by the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

This is a newspaper that rails against government handouts, yet without the government handout of business deductibility for their subscriptions, they would probably go out of business.

Posted by: Pebble1776 | February 13, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The Republican Party has become just a lobbying group for small business - they're the only Americans they care about. But you can't rebuild the US with plumbers alone. And they seem to think that the only acceptable form of bipartisanship is where the Democrats accept the entire Republican agenda.

Posted by: MrWhooHoo | February 13, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

amazing the Republicans only want Obama to fail. do they have an alternative to tax cuts and trickle down economics? spending is okay for wars, but not for american people who live here? Government is you and me. after 30 years of "Government is Bad!' i wonder why they expect us to let them run Government. the Republicans have succeeded in demonizing Government as their handiwork has allowed the non-Republicans to unite and elect Obama.

The success of the last 30 years of making Government the "enemy" has shown me i don't want the Republicans "succeeding " anymore. the Government is still going to be there after the Republicans are finished destroying what they can get their hands on. not that the Democrats, spineless "compromisers, do much better. at least they know the taxes can be "porked" back home, rather than spent bailing out Wall Street and the Corporate few that take our jobs to foreign countries.

the plundering has been so successful, i bet we endure the lost decade Japan just got out of.

Here's to the Republican party and their dubious "successes."
I'm quite sure more of the same will finish America off.

Why do the Republicans hate the American dream for the average American? don't we deserve to have hope? Not if we vote Republican, as their actions show.

Posted by: BernardEckholdt | February 13, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

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