But today, he done seen the light:
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced this morning that he will in fact vote for the Senate health care bill. Kucinich’s switch was a major pickup for Democrats who are clinging to a razor thin majority on health care reform and have been struggling to find the votes to get it passed.
“This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich said. “However after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and friends, I decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.”
Say what you will about the merits of HCR, the political maelstrom of labels like “feckless” and “spineless” that are waiting for the Democratic Party if HCR fails is too powerful for any Democrat to ignore at this point.
It’s the best we can get right now — especially considering that, if it were to fail, the issue would be radioactive for at least another generation.
The bill is not perfect but the bill will be improved.
Not the most attractive rallying cry, I know. But big change, after being digested by Congress, is rarely pretty and never perfect.
Finally, something to quote by Saint Meghan of McArdle:
[I]n recessions, the length of time for which people need “temporary” [unemployment benefit] assistance stretches out. That means that the government has to respond with temporary benefit extensions. These aren’t just good for the people who are unemployed; it’s also good for us. Unemployment assistance is one of the “automatic fiscal stabilizers” that all but the most hard-nosed conservative economists agree help smooth the business cycle in modern industrial countries. Indeed, it’s one of the most effective forms of stimulus we have.Even if you think the government needs a plan to get its house in order, why on earth is Bunning making a stand on this issue? It’s political poison–even the Republican base knows people who are out of work. It’s terrible economic policy–suddenly cutting off the taps would have nasty knock-on effects on the economy. And while it’s a lot of money, it’s one of the few government programs that pretty much unequivocally improve the net welfare of the American people. If Bunning wants to hold up something, how about finding some useless defense appropriations to complain about?
Check out ABC’s This Week today (video below). In a rare moment of quality, they had on California Gov. Schwarzenegger and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to talk about infrastructure and the real facts about the impact of the stimulus bill.Their discussion was productive, fact-based and free of the usual fighting-back-and-forth nonsense between partisan hacks. Will this usher in a new age of interesting Sunday morning TV? I doubt it.
Lately Democrats and other progressive commentators such as Rachel Maddow have been trying to make political hay:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine is holding a conference call today with reporters to counter GOP criticism of the stimulus bill as the one-year anniversary of the legislation approaches. Democrats are steamed that Republicans, who almost unanimously opposed the bill, have also touted money for projects in their home states. “All but three Republicans in Congress voted against the ARRA, but scores of them have attended ribbon cuttings, taken credit for projects in press releases or even noted the job creating potential of projects in their districts and states in letters to federal agencies seeking funds from the Recovery Act,” said the DNC in a statement.In the post below, our own host terms it a “perfect illustration”, and berates these “brazen”, “shameless… lying… hypocrites.”
I realize it makes a great story if you don’t stop to think about it, so I apologize for ruining the narrative, but as Greg Mankiw explains:
It seems perfectly reasonable to believe (1) that increasing government spending is not the best way to promote economic growth in a depressed economy, and (2) that if the government is going to spend gobs of money, those on whom it is spent will benefit. In this case, the right thing for a congressman to do is to oppose the spending plans, but once the spending is inevitable, to try to ensure that the constituents he represents get their share. So what exactly is the problem?Ah well. There’s reality—and then there’s politics.
Let me offer an analogy. Many Democratic congressmen opposed the Bush tax cuts. That was based, I presume, on their honest assessment of the policy. But once these tax cuts were passed, I bet these congressmen paid lower taxes. I bet they did not offer to hand the Treasury the extra taxes they would have owed at the previous tax rates. Would it make sense for the GOP to suggest that these Democrats were disingenuous or hypocritical? I don’t think so. Many times, we as individuals benefit from policies we opposed. There is nothing wrong about that.
This image from GOP.gov really helps to illustrate how brazenly Republicans are talking out of both sides of their mouths right now about the stimulus bill:
See that item with the red arrow? TP explains:
Yesterday, GOP.gov, the official website for the House Republican caucus, continued the anti-stimulus drumbeat, blaring press releases calling the stimulus a failure. Ironically, posted just above two releases attacking the stimulus, the website features a release from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) taking credit for $35 million dollars in stimulus highway money.Shameless… lying… hypocrites.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress released a report detailing how over half of the GOP caucus, 110 lawmakers — from the House and Senate — have either taken credit for its success or requested more money from the stimulus. As part of the GOP leadership team, McMorris Rodgers helped corral every single House Republican in voting against the stimulus. She is simply the next lawmaker hypocritically trying to “trash and cash” the bill.
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