Bush Tax Cuts, the Omnibus Spending Bill and a Little Egomania

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 17th, 2010

A Tax Cut!  A Tax Cut!  My Kingdom for a Tax Cut!

Obama begs for help in passing his deal with the GOP to extend the Bush tax cuts (see Obama tells lawmakers not passing tax deal could end presidency, Dem says by Jordan Fabian posted 12/15/2010 on The Hill).

Obama is telling members of Congress that failure to pass the tax-cut legislation could result in the end of his presidency, Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) said.

“The White House is putting on tremendous pressure, making phone calls, the president is making phone calls saying this is the end of his presidency if he doesn’t get this bad deal,” he told CNN’s Eliot Spitzer.

Which the White House denies.

“The president hasn’t said anything remotely like that and has never spoken with Mr. DeFazio about the issue,” said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Besides, would the president ever sink to that level?

During the end of the healthcare debate, Obama reportedly told Democrats upset that the bill did not contain a public healthcare option that not passing it could put his presidency on the line and stall the liberal agenda for decades.

Actually, the president uses this maneuver so often that we just call it the ‘Obama’ now. 

Liberals and Alice Cooper both Love the Dead

The liberals were listening to Obama.  And with the leader of their party in a vulnerable position, they pounced.  A little tit for tat.  If he was going to screw his liberal colleagues by extending the Bush tax cuts, then the liberals wanted to get in a little screwing themselves (see Congress Moves Toward Approving Tax Cut Legislation by David M. Herszenhorn posted 12/16/2010 on the New York Times).

As the House began to take up the tax deal, it hit a procedural snag. Liberal Democrats skirmished with party leaders over a proposed vote on an amendment to tax more wealthy estates and at a higher rate than was included in a provision agreed to by the Obama administration.

The Obama presidency is saved.  It appears liberal Democrats will sign off on the compromise if they can screw rich dead people.  Figuratively, of course.  So Obama may get to put this one into the ‘win’ column thanks to a little legislative necrophilia.

Porking it up in an Omnibus Spending Bill

Knowing that no one really wanted their agenda, the Democrats did little to rock the boat before the 2010 midterm elections.  They didn’t talk about Obamacare (unless they voted against it and were proud of it).  They didn’t talk about the Obama stimulus package that ended the recession and kicked off the Summer of Recovery (back when the unemployment rate was lower than it is now).  And they sure as hell didn’t write a budget. 

With their out of control spending, the less the American people saw it in print, the better it was for them.  So with government about to shut down again, they threw together a quick 2,000ish page omnibus spending bill.  But elections have consequences.  Apparently.  And some Senators chose to represent their constituents (see Senate Dem leader drops nearly $1.3T spending bill by Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press, posted 12/16/2010 on The Washington Post).

Democrats controlling the Senate abandoned on Thursday a huge catchall spending measure combining nearly $1.3 trillion worth of unfinished budget work, including another $158 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 1,924-page bill collapsed of its own weight after an outcry from conservatives who complained it was stuffed with more than $8 billion in homestate pet projects known as earmarks.

And after we said no more earmarks at the 2010 midterm elections.  Instead of losing graciously, they’re speeding up at a yellow light before it changes.  Unfortunately for them, though, the car ahead of them didn’t.

GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky threw his weight against the bill in recent days, saying it was “unbelievable” that Democrats would try to muscle through in the days before Christmas legislation that usually takes months to debate.

“Just a few weeks after the voters told us they don’t want us rushing major pieces of complicated, costly, far-reaching legislation through Congress, we get this,” McConnell said. “This is no way to legislate.”

Unbelievable?  Why wouldn’t they want to rush this 1,924 bill through Congress?  They want it passed.  And that won’t happen if they take the time to read it.  Or debate it.  I mean, if they had done that with Obamacare Congress wouldn’t have passed it.  Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare to find out what was in Obamacare.  And we did.  And the regret and angry debate followed after it became law.  That’s how liberal Democrats pass bills.  Sneakily.  Like the devious little bastards they are.

And how will this affect the Obama presidency?

The sinking of the bill was a setback for President Barack Obama, who supported it despite provisions to block the Pentagon from transferring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United States and fund a program to develop a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which the administration says is a waste of money.

Poor Obama.  That’s another one for the ‘lost’ column.  There’s a word for people like him.  What is it?  Begins with an ‘L’?  It was just on the tip of my tongue.  Oh well, perhaps I’ll remember later.

Go Ahead.  Make my Day.  Shut Down the Government. 

So, what happens now?  Will government shut down (see McConnell: Dems Using “Christmas Break As An Inducement” To Pass Omnibus posted 12/16/2010 on Real Clear Politics).

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) touts his one-page continuing resolution that would “simply continue the government through February 18th.”

“I would hope that it would make sense on a bipartisan basis, this one-page continuing resolution on Feb 18th as an alternative to this 2,000-page monstrosity that spends a half a billion dollars a page,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Guess that’ll keep the Social Security checks going into the mail.  Not bad for a single piece of paper.  You see?  Congress can govern without raping and pillaging the American people.

Obama the Great.  His Majesty.  His Pomposity.

Win some.  Lose some.  Looking at Obama’s record, you can see that he is a man who cares deeply for what he loves most.  Obama (see When it comes to politics, Obama’s ego keeps getting in the way by Michael Gerson posted on 12/17/2010 on The Washington Post).

The tax deal is reasonable policy, supported by majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents – an easy sell by presidential standards. And still President Obama managed to blow the politics of the thing.

Rather than explaining the economic benefits of the bill and taking quiet credit for a moment of bipartisanship, Obama launched into an assault on partners and opponents. Republicans are “hostage-takers” who worship the “Holy Grail” of trickle-down economics. Liberal opponents are “sanctimonious,” preferring their own purity to the interests of the poor. The president did not just attack the policy positions of nearly everyone in the political class. He publicly questioned their motives.

The Left and Right alike are just too stupid to know what’s best for them.  If only we would listen to Obama.  Because he’s so smart.  I mean, he won the election while being the most unqualified candidate ever to run for the presidency.  You gotta be smart to pull that off.  Or at least sound smart.

Obama is professorial, cold, condescending and just plain mean.

It is the president’s favorite rhetorical pose: the hectorer in chief. He is alternately defiant, defensive, exasperated, resentful, harsh, scolding, prickly. He is both the smartest kid in class and the schoolyard bully.

There are many problems with this mode of presidential communication, but mainly its supreme self-regard. The tax deal, in Obama’s presentation, was not about the economy or the country. It was about him. It was about the absurd concessions he was forced to make, the absurd opposition he was forced to endure, the universally insufficient deference to his wisdom.

And he’s got a great big ego.  He’s pompous and conceited.  A narcissist.  A legend in his own mind.  He thinks he’s got the Midas touch.  Anything he touches, he thinks he makes better.  Well, let’s look at some of what he’s been touching.

At this point in the Obama presidency, even Democrats must be asking: Is he really this bad at politics? The list of miscalculations grows longer. To pass the stimulus package, the administration predicts 8 percent unemployment – a prediction that became an indictment. It pledges the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison – without a realistic plan to do so. It sends the president to secure the Chicago Olympics – and comes away empty-handed. It announces a “summer of recovery” – which becomes a source of ridicule. It unveils a Manhattan trial for Khalid Sheik Mohammed – which nearly every New York official promptly turns against. Press secretary Robert Gibbs picks fights with both conservative talk radio hosts and the “professional left” – which uniformly backfire. The president seems to endorse the Ground Zero mosque – before retreating 24 hours later. He suggests that Republicans are “enemies” of Latinos – apparently unable to distinguish between hardball and trash talk.

Genius?  Or incompetent boob?  You tell me.

I especially like the joke, “summer of recovery.”  That reminds me of the The Summer of George from Seinfeld.  They were both silly.  Come to think of it, President Obama reminds me of George Costanza.  They have a lot in common.  But I think history will be kinder to George Costanza.

Why so many unforced mistakes? The ineffectiveness of Obama’s political and communications staff may be part of the problem – and the administration is now hinting at significant White House personnel changes in the new year. But an alternative explanation was on display this week. Perhaps Democrats did not elect another Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy but another Woodrow Wilson – a politician sabotaged by his sense of superiority.

In the tax debate, Obama has proved a quarrelsome ally and a dismissive foe, generally dismayed by the grubby realities of politics. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Unfortunately, he seems to put just about everyone who disagrees with him in that category.

Like a true aristocrat, Obama just hates people that aren’t his equals.  And in his mind, he has no equals.  So he hates everyone.  Which explains a lot.  The disunity in his party.  The bitter partisanship.  And the whining.

It makes one yearn for the days when an affable Texan occupied the White House.  George W. Bush may have not spoken as well or was as pretentious as Obama, but he was a nice man.  Is.  And history will remember him kindly.  Probably even more kindly than George Costanza.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,