Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm Always True to You (in My Fashion)

John McCain said in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention this summer, “I don't work for a party, I don't work for a special interest. I don't work for myself. I work for you.” This was intended to show his bipartisan cred as he derided "constant party rancor."

Oh, what a difference an election makes.

The Republicans have demonstrated everything from complete antipathy to downright animosity toward bipartisanship this week. There is absolutely no middle ground, it seems, in the House and precious little in the Senate. My friend, Lee Wochner, proposed on his blog that if the Republicans think these plans are so horrible and will destroy our country, there's a simple solution for them: don't accept any of the stimulus for your constituents. As Lee says, we'll know within 2 years—well before the midterm elections—who was right and who is going to be out of office.

So one would assume that John McCain, the poster child for legislators reaching across the aisle, the "maverick" who turns his back on the party in order to make Washington work—surely, John McCain was there with his sleeves rolled up, working with Senate Democrats to hammer out a compromise bill that would cut through the red tape and stimulate our economy.

Yeah. Not so much. Unless you count trying to put a fresh coat of lipstick on the same ol' economic policy pig that has been trotted out for the last 8 years: tax cuts and spending reductions. Policies that have failed. Policies that have made the mess we're in much worse than it might have been (I'll concede that the Bush administration didn't start the fire... but they did fan the flames and turn off the water to the hoses). He and the rest of the Republicans offer sound bites about our passing off debt to our children, our children's children, our grandchildren's children; and yet that's exactly what the ludicrous Bush/Cheney (or, let's be real here: Cheney/Bush) tax cuts had already done: taken our surplus and turned it into what must be the largest deficit in our nation's history.

And if McCain isn't one of those moderate Republicans, who are they? Are Senators Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe all we have? Is there no one at all in the House of Representatives? It would seem so. McCain would have shown bipartisan leadership if he'd been elected president... but he lost and, unfortunately, so did the American people.

No compromises. No apologies. No regrets. McCain's transformation is complete: he has truly become Bush Lite.

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