Monday, February 02, 2009

LA Times: Begging Republicans & Democrats to 'Play Nice'

This is getting pathetic. The Los Angeles Times published another editorial begging and pleading our Republican and Democratic "masters" to "play nice" and set aside "political" agendas.

Published in The Los Angeles Times
"The Nation Needs Jobs, Not a Political Agenda"
Editorial, Monday, February 2, 2009.

Few things bring politicians together like a crisis. And by just about any measure, the worsening economy qualifies as one of those rallying events -- the gross domestic product just declined more than it has in 26 years, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits reached the highest level in at least 41 years, new-home sales dropped to the lowest level on record, the list goes on and on. The outlook is so dim, the Democrats who control Congress and the White House could have crafted the largest stimulus package since World War II and still garnered some Republican support. Instead, the House of Representatives approved the $819-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on a party-line vote, with all 177 Republicans in the chamber opposing and all but 11 of the 255 Democrats supporting it. GOP lawmakers dissented in part because it didn't meet their predictable demand for more tax cuts. They also complained, however, that too many of the bill's provisions would advance the Democrats' agenda, not address the country's need for jobs. And on that point, they had a legitimate objection.

First, what's wrong with a "political" agenda? This country boasts of being "The World's Greatest Democracy" and even imposes its democratic notions on other countries by force. If democratically elected representatives should not passionately debate spending nearly a trillion dollars, then what should they debate? (oh yeah, gay marriage, abortion, and affirmative action "racial preferences" for "Those People").

Once again, the problem that writers of editorials and columns refuse to recognize is the monopoly of power artificially held by the morally and intellectually bankrupt Republican and Democratic parties.

At this point in our history, the problem is the same regardless of whether or not your personal philosophy is liberal, conservative, or middle-of-the-road. Entrenched incumbent Republicans and Democrats are simply incapable of debating anything without resorting to tiresome slogans and clich├ęs. Thus, for example, despite the legacy of both Republican President Bush and our Republican Governor Schwarzenegger of an ocean of red ink, we are still supposed to indulge this laughable nonsense the GOP is the guardian of “fiscal responsibility.” And even though Democrats have done next to nothing for working people these last thirty years, we are still supposed to accept on faith that Democrats are going to use this $800 billion to “empower” the poor and oppressed.

I had an interesting experience on Saturday, January 31st. I attended the “2009 Budget Summit” hosted by newly elected L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at the Hawthorne Memorial Center. It was a good community event. There was a lot of information about how county government works and good breakout sessions on jobs, small business, and home ownership.

There was one problem: no discussion of what a realistic budget would look like. Why? Because the whole program was a Los Angeles Democratic Party "circus." The word "Accountability" was thrown around a lot, but if there was any real accountability, half the politicians in the room would join the ranks of the unemployed. Speaker after speaker talked about “Change!” and praised Supervisor Ridley-Thomas as the agent of “Change!” But, of course, none dared say that Supervisor Yvonne Burke, who held the 2nd District seat for sixteen years, or any other old Democratic incumbent, had ever done less than their best.

Notice how our Republicans friends have no problem denouncing federal money for head start and teacher quality as “pork.” But curiously, nobody is complaining about the Senate Appropriations Committee voting to increase nuclear loan guarantees by $50 billion. Since the “bipartisan” consensus is that 10,000 years worth of radioactive waste is good for us, there is evidently no need to “debate” this item at all.

Where is the incentive for Republicans and Democrats to alter behavior when their chances of being voted out in gerrymandered one-party districts is just about zero? Time to recognize that this unprecedented crisis demands some independent thinking. And recognizing truly independent progressive thinking means recognizing (shudder, gasp), the Green Party.

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