Tuesday, February 3, 2009
To break down the game that is unfolding in Washington today, is to grab some insight into party politics and the ultimate prize, political survival.
The Republican Party is betting that they can obstruct, hold up, delay and finally perhaps defeat the Stimulus Bill in Congress and yet survive to be voted in another day should the economy not recover. This reminds me of the history of the United States and The League of Nations after World War I. President Wilson won the war and the Republican Senators stood in his way to winning the peace by voting down the Treaty that would have put the United States in The League of Nations. President Wilson had his Fourteen Points and he was mocked by the Republican Senators that said Moses only needed 10 Commandments, but President Wilson needed 14. As a result, the vote to join The League of Nations failed and the United States was unable to help craft a peace that would last. Historians site that it was President Wilson’s reluctance to put Republican Senators on the team that went to Europe to write the treaty ending World War I that ultimately lead to the defeat of the treaty in the U.S. Senate. Certainly it can not be said that President Obama and his administration have not tried to be inclusive by adding Republican input to the process.
But, this is not about the economy or what is good for the American people. This is about the political survival of the Republican Party. Rather than joining the majority and fearing that their cooperation will be lost or forgotten, the Republican members of Congress have decided to fight against the success of the Democrats in power. This is a sad state of affairs, but this is how politics in 2009 is played. If the Bush administration could send men and women to die in a war that did not need to be fought, how much more difficult is it for the Republicans in Congress to vote against a Stimulus Bill?
While the Stimulus Bill is needed to accelerate the speed of the economic recovery, there still remains a regulatory environment that needs to be repaired. That along with a plan to use less foreign oil can together speed the economy back towards full employment.