In reality, I was expected to see it get about 25 or 30 Republican
votes. Most Republicans are from dirt-poor areas, already hit
extraordinarily hard by the economic implosion. Some of them, I
reasoned, would remember that without some support from their
constituents, it didn't matter how much they got from their corporate
But every single one of them voted against it. The GOP just committed
My own District, California's Second District, is a good example of
that. Most of it is given over to farming and ranching, with some
ranching, tourism, and logging in the north. Not wealthy to begin with,
the economy here has already hit Depression levels. In my town, a third
of the businesses have already gone under, and in the City of Mount
Shasta, which is larger and has a more variegated economy, dozens of
businesses have folded, and many more are teetering.
The local Congressman is Wally Herger, a long-term House slug who
achieved the dubious distinction of being the most senior member in the
Republican House to not have the chair of a major committee. A Mormon,
his biggest contributors include tobacco and liquor interests, none of
which have a stake in the region. A corporate whore Congressman, in
And obviously, he voted against the stimulus package. He voted for the
GOP version, which featured big cuts in spending and you guessed it
big tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. He wanted to eliminate
highway spending the bill included, despite the fact that local highways
are in terrible shape. He wanted to eliminate flood control spending,
despite the fact that the southern part of his District is at risk of
severe flooding from levee failures.
But in Herger's eyes, letting corporations externalize their costs
whilst giving the idle rich a free ride by eliminating the capital gains
tax was more important.
Like most of his ilk, he is an overpriviledged whiner with a false sense
of entitlement. He deserves wealth because he is wealthy, and lives to
protect that wealth. And no, he didn't earn it: he married into it. A
whore, in the classic sense of the word.
A whore who cheats his clients in order to increase the profits of his
pimp. A typical Republican.
The message the GOP sent today was that their own ideology, the notion
that the American people exist to serve the wealthy and subsidize their
ride in hopes that the wealthy might share some of it eventually, is far
more important than the country itself.
It's nearly impossible to fathom the thinking among the GOP caucus. I
know the right is shrill, doctrinaire, and antagonistic to working
people. And I've been saying right along that it was pointless to
negotiate or make concessions with such people because they are dealing
in bad faith every instant.
But I didn't expect the GOP to make that so unutterably clear to
everyone. Presumably, they just wanted to bitch-slap Obama (they lost 20
votes voting for their own bill, strangely enough), but the message to
the American people is We just don't care.
Given that most people understand that it was Republican economic
policies that got us in this mess, it was the absolute worst message
they could send at this point. People blame them for the mess, and
aren't interested in hearing the same old supply-side bullshit that has
eroded income for working people, sent the living conditions of the
poorest 20% of Americans to third-world levels, and turned the medical
system and most public services into expensive, inept, capitalistic
parodies of social services.
There was a good example of this trend issued by the Gallup people
today, and reported by Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight.com. Gallup
conducted 360,000 in depth interviews during the campaign, and today
released the first results: self-identification by party. Only five
states leaned strongly Republican, by margins ranging from 23 points
(Utah) to 7 points (Nebraska). The five states totaled 15 electoral
votes. Only two other states showed any Republican advantage AT ALL,
both by less than two points. So out of 50 states, only five are still
And of course, that was before the actual election, and certainly before
I should imagine that the GOP still has four of those states. Most have
large Mormon populations, and those people are just plain strange. Even
as they wave flags and chant about the Constitution, they very clearly
show no commonality of values with the Constitution, and are
contemptuous of self-rule by the people, preferring that it lay in the
hands of Jesus.
It's an amazing fall for a party that was talking about having a
permanent majority just five years ago. But it is self inflicted, and
today's vote just cements it.
Part of the problem is that the Republicans have become so insular that
they simply cannot see the vast chasm that has opened between themselves
and the American people. Their base is a isolated and very tiny, albeit
powerful minority, who continue to assure Republicans that the people
can be bought off with propaganda, lies, appeals to God and Country, and
false assertions of morality and fiscal probity.
In 2004, the American public could be suckered by such tactics, and
were. But that was then. This is now. No matter how outrageous Ann
Coulter gets, or how much Rush Limbaugh expounds and Bill O'Reilly
blusters, it's over for the GOP. The people are fed up with the right,
and their vicious, dishonest, bad-faith efforts to lie and cheat
Americans out of their birthright.
Today's vote shows clearly that when Rush Limbaugh said I want Obama to
fail, he wasn't out of step with the GOP, but indeed, represented the
heart of it. They really do want to try to throw the country into
gridlock in the midst of the deepest crisis it has faced since 1941 just
so they can try to cast blame.
And they don't realize that ploy has run its course, and can't help them
It will be interesting to see what happens next week in the Senate. A
version of the Stimulus Bill will be debated there, and assuming that it
has solid Democratic support, the only way the GOP can stop it is by
I'm not known for my high opinion of Republicans, but even I would have
said they aren't that crazy just yesterday. Now I'm not so sure.
They are so busy trying to punish the Democrats for addressing the mess
they created that they are committing suicide.
And they don't seem in the least bit aware of it.