It’s only a matter of time now before the Senate passes the “stimulus.” Senators Collins, Snowe and Specter did not even extend Americans the courtesy of delaying the vote so that Senators would have time to familiarize themselves with the bill’s contents.
As a result, their constituents, the American people, won’t know how their representatives intend to spend their money, perhaps the largest single amount even spent in a single vote (not related to the normal budget process), until after the money is spent.
Some might say, echoing the president’s truculent remark to House Republicans, that they won. And yes, they did win, but they didn’t campaign on a “stimulus” of this magnitude. We haven’t had a serious debate on this “stimulus,” haven’t even considered some of its various provisions. Heck, even those voting for it hadn’t had time to read it.
And with its passage, we see, as Jim Geraghty put it, All Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. Â Its passage lacked the transparency Obama promised in his campaign (and which he reiterated when he took office. Â In accepting a package crafted by House Democrats (who did not solicit Republican input), the president abandoned another promise–to put forward legislation which wasÂ “temporary, targeted and timely.”
Hardly “post-partisan” that.
Instead, as Jennifer Rubin found his signature legislative accomplishment so far to be “a liberal land-grab with hundreds of pages of non-stimulative largess. . ., hardly the model of bipartisanship or transparency, even the A.P. concedes.”
That wise blogress quotes Slate’s John Dickerson, no conservative he, who found the process of crafting the “stimulus,” and passing it into law was little more than business as usual in our nation’s capital:
. . not only is the end product raggedâ€”some of the elements aren’t terribly stimulativeâ€”but the means were ugly. The differences between the House and Senate bills were reconciled mostly in secret by House and Senate Democratic leaders, three Northeastern Republicans, and White House aides. This is hardly unusual for Washingtonâ€”which is precisely the problem: It’s not the change Obama promised.
That they would rush to passage a bill of this magnitude at a time of record deficits doesn’t suggest leaders acting in a transparent fashion, but politicians trying to get something past the people, lest they figure out what their representatives are doing.
It seems that for Barack Obama, change was just words, a theme he could use to win election. During the campaign, many of us, including this blogger, questioned his commitment to change given that he had never distanced himself (on any significant issue) from his party’s leadership either in the United States Senate or its Illinois counterpart.
“Change” was just the name of the vehicle he used to enact traditional Democratic policies through routine political means.
UPDATE: Â And let’s not forget, Obama promised to end the practice of writing legislation behind closed doors.