Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Negotiating with the insane: it doesn’t work

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Steven Benen of Political Animal:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) gave a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, complaining not only about the government stimulus, but the process by which the stimulus was put together.

"This [is] not remotely close to what we could have done if we had sat down in a true bipartisan fashion and found a better way."

Similarly, John McCain said the bill should have been "bipartisan," and it doesn’t count that the package is drawing support from Democrats and Republicans.

Republican leaders said the compromise remained a bloated, wasteful spending bill, and they derided the scant GOP support as fig-leaf bipartisanship. "You can call it a lot of things, but you can’t call it bipartisanship," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The Weekly Standard‘s Fred Barnes added, "Republicans got nothing in the bill."

First, it’s amusing to see Republican leaders redefine words. Democratic leaders and the White House negotiated for days with several Republican senators, and made painful and unnecessary cuts just to earn their support. This, however, isn’t "true" bipartisanship, presumably because the far-right is still unhappy.

Second, President Obama spent a considerable amount of time and energy engaging congressional Republicans directly, soliciting ideas, making changes, and hearing them out. To hear GOP leaders tell it now, Democrats deserve blame for not incorporating more failed right-wing ideas into the package. (Including hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts wasn’t enough to satisfy Republican demands.) The goal, they insist, should be making the failed minority party happy, not rescuing the economy in a time of crisis.

And third, it can’t be stated enough that negotiating with people detached from reality is fundamentally impossible. Obama came to the table stating a simple truth: given the circumstances and exhausted options, the economy needs a government stimulus. He was prepared to have good-faith discussions over how much should be spent, where it should be invested, how quickly, etc.

In response, …

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Written by Leisureguy

7 February 2009 at 11:14 am

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