Many years ago, I worked for a company executive who frequently took various department heads and employees out for after work drinks or dinners. On most of these occasions, the exec would pick up the tab. Needless to say that since the boss was paying, during many of these "social" events, almost everyone had one too many and said a little more than they should have. Everyone except the company executive, who would just sit back, nurse the same drink all night, take it all in and make mental notes. I am sure that I don't have to tell you that this was a very successful executive.
Well for the past few weeks, I've taken a page out of that executive's book.
No, I haven't been wining and dining people for six weeks. As the primary caregiver for an elderly parent that just does not fit in to my schedule these days. I've just been sitting back, watching and listening to the media, the blogosphere, social networks, my international friends, the Congress and the President discuss politics and the economy.
I wish that I could say that I've been surprised by what I've heard but I'm not. Many of you aren't either.
Here's a brief recap of what I've heard and learned, or should I say re-confirmed, during the past few weeks.
It's easier to find chutzpah when your party is in control.
A January article for Politico quotes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying:
"I like Barack Obama very much. He won a classic election, never have we had a better one.. But I don’t work for him, I work with him.”
"Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election”
Referee, throw the flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Gee, where have they been hiding those cojones for the last eight years. Maybe if someone hadn't taken impeachment off the table.... oh well.
But the Democrats aren’t the only ones who seemed to have grown a pair over the past few weeks.
While watching hours of Congressional debate over the economic stimulus and recovery bill, I've also learned that:
It's easier to take a stand on “ideological” and philosophical beliefs when the other side is going to out-vote you anyway.If you watched the passionate pleas for a return to fiscal conservatism and time to read and evaluate the bill as well as suggestions that stimulus money be given directly to the taxpayer, coming from members of the GOP you couldn’t help but ask yourself, “ Who are these people and where have they been for the past 8 years?”
As Senator Barbara Boxer stated on Feb 7th:
"Where were my Republican friends when George Bush was taking the budget deficit from 5 to 10 trillion?"
Yes, Sen. Boxer where were these people when the GOP was in control of Congress and the White House and the country was sold lot, stock and barrel to the highest bidders and their friends in Big Oil, Banking, Big Pharma and War Contracting.
On February 2nd I watched the first public hearing of the Commission of Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan and learned about these wonderful examples of fiscal responsibility under 6 years of Republican control of Congress.
The US paid war contractors to build a $40M dollar prison in Iraq that will never be used and $98M for a sewage system that doesn't connect to residents' homes.
As Linda Gustitus, a member of the Commission on Iraq/Afghan Wartime Contracting stated:
"We built expensive projects that the Iraqis don't want and can't use"
We have contractors managing contractors in Iraq... Of course, NO ONE saw a potential problem with this.
As Sen. Claire McCaskill stated in her opening statement to the Commission:
"People need to remember that a general went to jail after Harry Truman completed his investigation (into war profiteering)."
Everyone practices revisionist history.While making his case against the economic stimulus and recovery bill on Friday the 13th, Sen. Orrin Hatch attributed the balanced budgets during the Clinton years to...
"a Rep Congress and a President who listened."Ah, so the Republicans were speaking to the President when they were trying to impeach him.
Stop laughing readers:-)
As Amy Sullivan reported in her article What Is Mike Huckabee Talking About :
Republicans simply can't resist their urge to scare people to death.
"Mike Huckabee says the stimulus bill is 'anti-religion.' The Christian Coalition calls it 'an attack on people of faith.' The Traditional Values declares that the economic package 'stimulates anti-Christian bigotry.' My goodness. Maybe the devil really is in the details."
On February 13th, Sen. Tom Coburn R-OK also did his best Freddie Kruger on the Senate floor by claiming that the stimulus bill was pushing the UK model of socialized medicine
"In other words, if your 75 years old and you fall and break your hip, we're going to say 'too bad' ".
This one had me laughing so hard that I could barely tell someone that he said this. Conservative respond to fearmongering I guess
I've also learned that:
- Members of Congress view Museums in the same manner as casinos and golf courses. No, I’m not making that up, look up the amendments to the bill.
- More scientists are in agreement over global warming than in agreement over economic theory, policy and the solution of the current global economic crisis.
- Almost everyone has an opinion on what has caused the current economic crisis and a comment on how someone else’s plan won’t work. Yet suddenly after more than half a century, there is still disagreement over the success of FDR’s New Deal.
- We you can't make a valid argument just make up something like "stimulus funding to save rats" .
- The media simply can't resist making sports analogies like, "Who struck out" and "Who hit a homerun". And as a sports fan, I can't either.
- Most people agree that Americans will need to make sacrifices. We just think that someone else's sacrifice should be greater than our own.
All politics is not only local but is also personal and apparently, situational.
Of course, I've heard and learned a great deal more but I had to end this blog post somewhere.