The House passed the stimulus bill

Not a single Republican Congressman or woman voted for the bill, according to reports (see this, this, this and this), presumably because the Democrat's plan lacked, among other things, the deep and regressive tax cuts which excite the Republicans so much.

Yet that the Republican Party has adopted this strategy is nearly awe-inspiring because of its paranoia and utter craziness. For, in the midst of the most personally and collectively dangerous economic crisis since the Great Depression, a crisis that can be directly and easily blamed on policies that characterize Reaganomics and the orthodoxy that emerged from it, what else can one say about the Congressional Republicans when they stubbornly try to reimpose their Party's line on a staggering economy. Do they mean to pursue this goal? Yes, according to this Christian Science Monitor report:

"We're going to continue to try to encourage the majority here in the Congress to incorporate a number of our ideas," said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky at a briefing on Tuesday.

Digby nicely depicts a few of the more annoying feature of this Republican posturing (a link to this article can be found here):

Can someone explain to me why I'm seeing Republican after Republican on television advising Americans on the right way to run the economy? Is there any reason why we should listen to them sanctimoniously lecturing us on "what's worked in the past" and telling us that the only way to cure the problems they themselves created are to do more of the same? They've always been known for chutzpah, but this takes the cake.

If a few Democrats could bother themselves to challenge their standing to make these assertions, that might be helpful. Or maybe one gasbag or spokesmodel could ask them why no matter whether the country is economically doing well or doing badly, their advice is always tax cuts. It would really be great if somebody, somewhere, could ask them why they think anyone should take them seriously on these issues considering the mess we are in today. I know that's a lot to ask during this time of reconciliation but honestly, it's infuriating to see them swarm the television and have to watch the media listen to their "analysis" and swallow it whole. If I didn't follow politics closely, I would think these people are the ones who won the election.

Surely, one might ask, the Democratic Party is now setting the Republicans straight about what the United States will do about its problems and the reasons they have for taking their actions? Well, no. The Democrats have refused to take the path of autonomous political action. Rather, the Party is instead seeking to generate a bipartisan decision on the economic question confronting the country. Compromise is their method. Yet, given America's current circumstances, I would say that the pursuit of this secondary goal is nearly as daft as the Republican adherence to their defunct political economics. It is foolish because the Republicans could not be expected to participate in the Democrat's consensus politics. Lacking a capacity to learn has long been a signature feature of modern Republicanism.

Nevertheless, the obstructionism of the Republican Party is edifying in one respect according to Glen Greenwald. From it we can learn that:

…Beltway "bipartisanship "means that Democrats adopt as many GOP beliefs as possible so what ultimately is done resembles Republican policies as much as possible (anyone doubting that should simply review these "bipartisan" votes of the last eight years).

Accordingly, then, Greenwald is

…glad that the stimulus package yesterday — which Democrats watered down and comprised on as much as possible to please Republicans — did not attract even a single Republican vote in the House: not one
[emphasis in the original].

I suspect Greenwald finds the Republican's obstinacy refreshing because their dogmatism negatively reflects the complete uselessness of a spinelessly conformist Democratic Party:

Republicans aren't interested in "bipartisanship" except to the extent that they can force Democrats to enact their policies even though they have only a small minority thanks to being so forcefully rejected by the citizenry. And why should they be interested in bipartisanship? Why should they vote for a stimulus package that they don't support and that is anathema to what their most ardent supporters believe?

If only the Democratic Party were so inspired….

But the Democrats — having committed to memory the 'hard lessons' of 1968, 1972 and 1980 — reject the rather sensible idea that "Partisanship [means] advocating…your own beliefs and discrediting the beliefs that you reject and believe are harmful," in Greenwald's words. They instinctively reject partisanship because they lack a distinct and enduring identity. They lack this identity because they are like the Republicans, a party that reflects the prerogatives of capital and defends America's empire.

Have the Democrats ever wondered why the Republicans mocked them for lacking ideas? They would know the reasons for this ill-treatment if they were honest. The abuse was and remains apt because the Democratic Party has been and remains the junior partner in the ruling consensus.

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