POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Frank Rich (NYT) … Republicans should either lead, follow or get out of the grown-ups’ way.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 2, 2009

Frank Rich writes in the NYT (2/1/09) …

  • The economy is falling faster than Washington can get moving. President Obama says his stimulus plan will save or create four million jobs in two years. In the last four months of 2008 alone, employment fell by 1.9 million. Do the math.
  • The crisis is at least as grave as the one that confronted us — and, for a time, united us — after 9/11. Which is why the antics among Republicans on Capitol Hill seem so surreal.
  • The House stimulus bill is an inevitably imperfect hodgepodge-in-progress.
  • No one should expect the Republicans to give the new president carte blanche, fall blindly into lock step or be “post-partisan.” But you might think that a loyal opposition would want to pitch in and play a serious role at a time of national peril.
  • The current G.O.P. acts as if it — and we — have all the time in the world.
  • The party’s sole consistent ambition is to play petty politics to gum up the works … the party has zero leaders and zero ideas.
  • The Republicans do have one idea, of course, but it’s hardly fresh: more and bigger tax cuts, particularly for business and the well-off. That’s the sum of their “alternative” stimulus plan.
  • Mainstream economists in both parties believe that tax cuts in the stimulus package will deliver far less bang for the buck than, say, infrastructure spending.
  • The tax-cut stimulus embraced a year ago by the G.O.P. induced next-to-no consumer spending as Americans merely banked the savings or paid down debt.
  • But even if tax cuts alone could jump-start a recovery, they couldn’t do the heavy lifting that Obama has promised and the country desperately needs: a down payment on a new economy to replace our dilapidated 20th-century model and bring back long-term growth.
  • The nightmare is that we have so irrelevant, clownish and childish an opposition party at a moment when America is in an all-hands-on-deck emergency that’s as trying as war.
  • To paraphrase a dictum that has been variously attributed to two of our most storied leaders in times of great challenge, Thomas Paine and George Patton, the Republicans should either lead, follow or get out of the grown-ups’ way.

LMW COMMENT … Republican blather against the stimulus plan is a national disgrace; it shows clearly why they lost in 2008 and will lose again in 2010 and 2012. Their ideas, implemented by the incompetent Bush and the evil Cheney, have driven us to the edge of the cliff. Now all they want is to give more money to the Wall Street and corporate crooks who have already caused so much havoc and devastation. Who do you trust … Republican political posturing or President Obama, who is seeking to find an intelligent way out of the mess he did not create? Obama has offered to listen to and partner with responsible Republicans. So far, their response suggests that one of our major priorities is to get Al Franken to Washington ASAP, so the filibuster option cannot be used to blackmail America.

Read the entire Rich column at … http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/opinion/01rich.html



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