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“Stimulus” passage: “not the change Obama promised”

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.  Its passage lacked the transparency Obama promised in his campaign (and which he reiterated when he took office.  In accepting a package crafted by House Democrats (who did not solicit Republican input), the president abandoned another promise–to put forward legislation which was “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 ragged—some of the elements aren’t terribly stimulative—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 Washington—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:  And let’s not forget, Obama promised to end the practice of writing legislation behind closed doors.

PatriotNephewWest Models His New Sweater

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:44 pm - February 13, 2009.
Filed under: Family

Feeling all comfy, cozy in his warm hand-knitted sweater (made by a blog reader no less!) on a cold and breezy San Francisco day, the YoungestPatriotNephewWest (YPNW) yawns and gets ready for a nap:

Gregg Apointment: Obama’s Cynical Ploy

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:52 pm - February 13, 2009.
Filed under: Liberal Hypocrisy,Obama Watch

In withdrawing his name as nominee for Commerce Secretary, Judd Gregg helped provide a window both into the Obama Administration’s increased politicization (and subservience to left-wing interest groups) and into the reflexive attack mode of the Administration’s defenders (many of whom blame Gregg or Republicans for this embarrassment). It’s almost as if some of them (unlike Camille Paglia) can’t accept that “the One” could blunder. Any mistakes he makes must be attributed to someone else.

It’s not just that they can’t admit he could blunder, but that they assume all his actions must needs have only noble motives. Barack Obama, in their view, could never descend into the foul swamp of rank politics.

But, in tapping Judd Gregg for Commerce Secretary, he did just that. What other reason could there be to tap a Republican Senator from a Demorat-trending state with a Democratic Governor to his cabinet when that Republican had not shown great enthusiasm for that Department when in the Senate?

And, if the president had so trusted this Republican to administer a federal department, why did he remove one of that department’s primary programs from his jurisdiction?

Basically, this appointment was little more than a cynical political ploy to make the president look bipartisan by reaching out to a principled Senator from the opposing party. Yet, this is bipartisanship as window-dressing. True bipartisanship would have meant that you not just include members of both parties, not just consider the opinions of your ideological adversaries, but adapt your policies to reflect their concerns, tempering your own partisan edge.

By limiting Judd Gregg’s authority at the Commerce Department, the president was essentially saying he didn’t want to include his ideas in his Administration. He just wanted that (R) in his cabinet.

And he had hoped by having a Democratic governor pick Gregg’s Senate successor, he might tap a more malleable legislator. This was all about increasing Democratic power in Washington while appearing bi-partisan.

Do Our Representatives Know What’s in the “Stimulus”?

Congress is about to vote on the most expensive piece of legislation in U.S. history and they don’t even have twenty-four hours to review it. According to Allahpundit:

When CNSNews.com asked members of both parties on Capitol Hill on Thursday whether they had read the full, final bill, not one member could say, “Yes.”…

UPDATE: “Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) predicted on Thursday that none of his Senate colleagues would “have the chance” to read the entire final version of the $790-billion stimulus bill before the bill comes up for a final vote in Congress.

Did Obama Campaign on “Stimulus” of this Magnitude?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:57 am - February 13, 2009.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Obama Watch

Before I left for San Francisco, I could have sworn I read an article saying that as recently as November, the then-president-elect was considering a “stimulus” of $300 billion (something which, as I recall, would have been enacted before he took office.  Because I have a different computer with me now, the history on this browser would not include what I read last night.

If anyone finds such an article, could you let me now?

When searching for that article, I did find this from October 14:

With fears rising that the nation stands on the precipice of a prolonged recession, House Democrats are contemplating a huge infusion of public cash — as much as $300 billion. . . .  A spending package of that magnitude would be far larger than anything Congress has previously considered. . . .

(Emphasis added.) The current proposal is far more than twice that.  That article didn’t mention the Obama campaign.

So, as the president makes this the centerpiece of his First 100 Days, I’m wondering if Obama campaigned on a proposal of this magnitude.  I don’t recall that he did.

If he had put forward such an spending package, would he have fared as well as he did last November?

Seems like Congressional Democrats are calling the shots in Barack Obama’s Washington.

SOMEWHAT RELATED:  Ann Althouse:

If Obama had said, “I didn’t just accidentally say ‘spread the wealth around,’ I really believe in the redistribution of the wealth, and I want you to vote for me because you do too,” he would have lost.

Transparency to the Democrats

Recall, how in the campaign and in his first days as president, Barack Obama promised his would be a more transparent Administration?

But, he and his allies in the House and Senate aren’t being very transparent about the president’s signature proposal in his First 100 Days. The “stimulus” is over 1,400 pages long, includes federal expenditures of nearly one trillion dollars. You think with legislation of that magnitude, Congress will take some time to consider its various provisions, allowing the people’s representatives time to familiarize themselves with its contents

But, no, it seems lobbyists will get a copy of the bill before Congress does.  And they’ll have only one night to read it before debate begins. One night to read a 1,400 page document? One blogger reckoned they’d have to be speed readers just to get through the whole thing:

In order for anyone to read the entire bill in 13 hours, they’d have to start the very minute they got it and read over 1.8 pages a minute every minute, without a break. They’ll be clocking in at a reading speed of 640.5 words per minute at that rate. If anyone needs a potty break, they’d better take the bill with them. Forget eating.

That won’t give them much time to think about it. That blogger informs us that the average person reads 200-400 words per minute when reading for comprehension. (H/t Instapundit.)

Guess the Democrats broke their promise to delay a vote until the final bill has been posted online for 48 hours. Wonder if the president will keep his and wait for five days after it has been so published before affixing his signature.

Can you imagine how the Democrats would react if Republicans rushed a vote on a bill such as this?  They took longer to debate whether or not to go to war in Iraq and were accused of rushing to war.

This is an ominous sign of the democracy in Obama’s Washington when legislators aren’t given the time to familiarize themselves with the arcana of the legislation. And their constituents, i.e., we the people, don’t have time to consider it nor have the time to register our thoughts with those representatives before they vote.

Let’s hope at least some Senators have the since to filibuster this bill in the interest of a serious debate on the multi-hundred billion dollar proposal. To do any less would be to thumb their noses at the American people and break the promises Barack Obama made to them when he campaigned for their votes last fall.]

UPDATE:  After posting this, I checked the blogs and various news sources to see what time the full text of the legislation was released.  

Via ReadTheStimulus, I found this on Speaker Pelosi’s website, posted Thursday, February 12 at 11:32 PM.  That means members have 9 hours and 28 minutes to read it before the scheduled vote, 38 hours and 32 minutes fewer than the full 48 hours House Democrats promised (in an unanimous vote) on Tuesday.  How quickly they break their promises.

UP-UPDATE: Looks like that House has delayed the vote until 1:30 PM EST, which means that our representatives have 34 hours fewer to review the massive bill than the Democrats promised.

UP-UP-UPDATE: If the time, 2:24 PM EST on the final tally of the House vote on the “stimulus” is the time the vote was complete, that means, members had approximately 14 hours to read it after it was released, 34 fewer that the House Democrats had promised just three days previously. I guess that’s the shelf life of a Democratic promise in Obama’s Washington. Three days.

Just wait, just wait, the more the American people learn about what’s in this boondoggle, the more they’ll turn against the Democrats. I see at least three Democratic Senate seats flipping based on this vote alone (Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada), provided the Republicans come up with decent candidates. And it looks like at least one Republican Senate Republican won’t be returning to Washington in 2011. Let’s hope his replacement is person who defeats him in the Pennsylvania primary.