Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some stimulus "victory" for Obama

Rich Lowry today explains how tainted this "win" truly was:

"At the outset of the stimulus debate, Obama said his package would set a “new higher standard of accountability, transparency and oversight.” He wanted a bill free of earmarked spending for parochial projects, and talked of incorporating good Republican ideas. His team floated the goal of winning some 20 Republican votes in the Senate for legislation that — if Obama’s campaign pledges were met — would have been posted for comment on the White House Web site for five days prior to passage. As if deliberately setting out to make Obama look naïve, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid secured, at the last minute, $8 billion for high-speed rail, with an eye to building a magnetic-levitation line that he supports between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Representatives from Wisconsin and Indiana got a tax break benefiting motorcycle and RV manufacturers in their states. On it went. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s defense was to say, sure the bill had “porky amendments,” but no one really cares about such picayune matters.
The House wrote the bill with no Republican input, and when the House and Senate met in a conference committee to hammer out differences in the bills that had passed the different chambers, Republicans were shut out except for those lone three Republican senators who (out of 219 total Republicans in Congress) supported the legislation. Obama himself attacked Republicans for wanting to pass nothing, a blatant straw man."

And the bill was rushed towards passage, with little time to review it, for anyone--some "openness." And one of the most significant things I noticed was this: Democrats with whom I'm acquainted were forced into the ridiculous argument that any government spending on pretty much anything equaled "stimulus." That was just silly. Now we need to keep reminding the public of all these goals which the Obama administration did not meet.