The historic election of Barack Obama was said to signal Hope and Change. And Unity. Let’s not forget Unity. Because Mr. Obama was going to put an end to politics as usual. We were all going to work together for the common good of the country. We weren’t going to be divisive anymore. We were going to have nice, calm, cooperative, civil discourse and come to an agreement about how best to govern our beloved republic.
Only we didn’t. Because when one side has a star quality, can’t-lose candidate on their ticket, and that side talks about unity and coming together, what they really mean is, “We won, so get with the program, losers.” And the program presently in question is, of course, the Stimulus. As in, supposed to stimulate the economy and make things all better again. But will it?
It is absolutely true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth. That is and must be the role of the private sector. But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life. It is only government that can break the vicious cycle where lost jobs lead to people spending less money which leads to even more layoffs. And breaking that cycle is exactly what the plan that’s moving through Congress is designed to do.
What I won’t do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, because those theories have been tested, and they have failed.
Republicans – or Rethuglicans as the left-wing bloggers like to call them – have gotten us into this fix, and only the policies of Democrats Obama, Reid and Pelosi can get us out. Some leftists think the Obama-Reid-Pelosi package has already been tainted by too much compromise with those dastardly Rethuglicans.
One such blogger is a gentleman who calls himself the Field Negro. I single him out as an example because he’s a good writer who shows a lot of common sense when he’s writing about things other than politics. Though the Field Negro calls the President “the O man” and “his O ness” he’s a fervent supporter of Obama and his policies and self-identifies as “a democratic Socialist of sorts.” I have yet to see him refer to our country as anything other than “A-merry-ca” or the Republicans as anything other than “rethugs” in any of his posts. The Field Negro thinks the stimulus is absolutely necessary, and in fact should be a lot bigger:
The O man wants it so bad he can taste it. Just a few weeks into his presidency and he is throwing the weight of his presidential bully pulpit into getting it passed. If you believe his O ness and his peeps, it’s 800 billion dollars that we cannot afford to go without in these dire times. We need it for jobs, jobs, jobs. If you believe the rethugs, it’s just more of the same government spending of our money. “You can’t spend your way out of a recession“, they scream. I told you that this Obama was a Socialist. It’s a modern day version of the New Deal, which will only prolong the recession and turn A-merry-ca into a big government spending Socialist state. Government can’t correct this problem, it must correct itself. So jobs are going to be lost, it’s what happens in a democracy.”
I have some news for the O man; these folks are never going to be with him. There are fundamental differences in the way that they believe government should be run. We tried it there way and we got screwed. We elected you to try it our way. Stop pandering to the clowns in Washington and start talking to the A-merry-can people. Stop trying to cut things out of the stimulus package and start putting more things into that bitch.
The Field Negro is absolutely right: there are fundamental differences in the way he and Obama/Reid/Pelosi and rethugs like me think the government should be run. That’s why the whole Unity thing the Obamanistas kept blathering on about during the campaign was such a load of disingenuous mendacity. Obama knew it. Reid knew it. Pelosi knew it. Field Negro knew it. I knew it. If you’re smart, you knew it. Only poor, befuddled John McCain acted like he didn’t know it.
Now that the election has been lost and it doesn’t do anybody any good, old Maverick McCain has suddenly found his brain and his balls again, and is calling the stimulus plan generational theft. Too bad it’s too little too late, since he backed the original bail-out instead of sounding a lone note of sanity during the campaign when it might have (probably wouldn’t have, but might have) actually mattered. I suppose he was too busy and tired and distracted trying to figure out how to spin the staggeringly important Sarah Palin Wardrobe Scandal that the left-wing media covered far more than it did the bail-out that started us down the road to perdition.
So while the left wing thinks the vast majority of A-merry-cans will be fodder for a John Steinbeck novel if we don’t pass the stimulus, the right wing is calling the plan things like “massive porkfest” and “porkulus” and “crap sandwich supreme” while Obama is telling us there is not a single earmark in the plan. Clearly, we have not got Unity.
My fellow rethugs also point out that the 95% of us that Obama promised a tax cut are going to get only about thirteen bucks a week, and the Anchoress and Slublog at Ace of Spades are planning how they’re going to spend this bounty.
The Anchoress also reminds us how Michelle Obama sneered at President Bush’s $600 stimulus:
You’re getting $600. What can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything. But maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn’t pay down every bill every month.
Barack’s approach is that the short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good. And it may even feel good that first month when you get that check. And then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings.
I guess Barack’s approach is that the short-term quick fix kinda stuff isn’t so bad after all. I don’t think I’ve ever spent $600 on a pair of earrings, but I calculate that 52 weeks of $13 a week comes out to $676, so at the end of a year my ears ought to be as well dressed as the First Lady’s.
But seriously, let’s not quibble about tax cuts, which we know don’t stimulate the economy anyway (remember the ’80s, anyone?) but about the important, effective part of the stimulus: the spending. Is it, or isn’t it, going to help? And is it, or isn’t it, too much? On the latter point, I submit the analysis of my new favorite internet satirist, the always entertaining Iowahawk (whose “Driving Mr. Daschle” is also not to be missed):
PALO ALTO, CA – An international mathematics research team announced today that they had discovered a new integer that surpasses any previously known value “by a totally mindblowing shitload.” Project director Yujin Xiao of Stanford University said the theoretical number, dubbed a “stimulus,” could lead to breakthroughs in fields as diverse as astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and Chicago asphalt contracting.
“Unlike previous large numbers like the Googleplex or the Bazillionty, the Stimulus has no static numerical definition,” said Xiao. “It keeps growing and growing, compounding factorially, eating up all zeros in its path. It moves freely across Cartesian dimensions and has the power to make any other number irrational.”
Jean-Luc Brossard, a researcher with the European consortium CERN, said the number is so staggeringly large that it is difficult for even mathematicians to grasp, let alone lay people.
“The number itself is incomprehensible by human minds, and can only be theoretically understood in a fractional parallel universe which we refer to as the DC dimension,” said Brossard.
Parallel universe indeed. Politically, that’s where Democrats and Republicans are living: in parallel universes. We cannot have unity because even if we both argue our cases logically, we will never agree because we are beginning from contradictory premises. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre makes this point in an academic, hard to read, but entirely brilliant way in After Virtue, which I’ll discuss in a blog post someday, if I ever get finished cleaning up the messes my kids made while I was writing this one.
Now back to our previously scheduled posts about kids and grocery shopping and McNuggets and whatnot.