What is President Obama really saying about the economic stimulus package before Congress. Here is what I heard, “It is of the right scope, and addresses the right issues.” What does he mean by that? Does he agree with all of the details of the package?
When Abraham Lincoln faced the Ciivil War, the most threatening event in the history of America, he made his highest priority the saving of the Union. Lincoln said that if abolishing slavery would save the Union that is what he would do, and if sanctioning slavery would save the Union then that is what he would do.
That is precisely what I am hearing President Obama say. He recognizes the legislative package has flaws. He does not like all of what he sees. But his priority is saving the United States of America. He is living up to the awkward oath administered on inauguration day. We canno say so much for many of the members of Congress.
John McCain is missing the spotlight so he jumped in today with a very partisan rant. He was just following the lead of Lindsay Graham – a huge disappointment to this writer. Lindsay Graham has always struck me as a reasonable man – but in the past two day he has made outrageous and theatrical charges against the President. He acuses the President of just giving news conferences, even acusing President Obama of being AWOL. Actually, President Obama went to Capital Hill himself, an act seldom seen by a President, to meet specifically with the Republican Leadership. If Lindsay Graham and John McCain are not happy with the Republican leaders then perhaps the responsible thing to do would be to change leadership.
In defense of the Republicans, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have packed the stimulus package with a bunch of nonsense that belongs in regular annual budgets. I am not arguing the merit of their programs – only that the Republicans are correct in noting some of the financing should be left for another debate on another day. The arrogance of Pelosi is most frustrating. She acts like she won the Presidency herself. She acts like the Democratic gains in the house was an endorsement of her personally. The Democratic gains were a rejection of the Republicans, not an endorsement of Pelosi.
But back to the Republicans.
Then there is that loony Senator from South Dakota. He must have suffered frost bite of the brain as a child – the doctors had to amputate the part of the brain that serves complex reasoning. His name is Tumes or Tomes, or Tootsie Roll or something. He wants to scrap the economic stimulus bill and give all taxpayers a lump sum of $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for married couples (Homosexual couples need not apply). This sounds atractive on the surface – but it demonstrates an extraordinary simple mindedness. He thinks fixing the world economy is easier than baking instant brownies from Wal Mart.
President Obama has assembles a team of bipartisan economists, lead by the Reagan Era Paul Volcker. He asks them, is this stimulus package before Congress the right deal. They each have their line item reservations but all agree with scope and priority. The John McCain and Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell jump up and down like pre-schoolers, whining that they did not get their way. Obama should give them some cheese and crackers with their whine.
I firmly believe that President Obama has made his own compromises with his own values to accept the package from Congress. He made the compromises in his mind because he is most interested in saving the United States of America.
Which is much more than can be said for Congress.