Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"No Votes" Votes No

From Ben Smith's blog on Politico:
John McCain writes to his list that he opposes the stimulus package and asks backers to sign a "Vote No" petition, putting a dent in the plans for an Obama-McCain buddy movie, and demonstrating a kind of populism that he shied away from when he was running for president:

Yesterday, the Senate began debate on an economic stimulus package that is intended to get our economy back on track and help Americans who are suffering through these difficult times.
Unfortunately, the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans. Business as usual on Capitol Hill...

I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. You mean, like the trillions we already owe? Or the billions in bailout you were so keen to load us up with?

We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy. Lovely rhetoric. No, really. It's a gift politicians have of making broadly appealing statements that are impossible to disagree with, but have no real substance. I admire a well-crafted line of bulls**t.

I believe we need to evaluate every bit of spending in this stimulus proposal with one important criteria - does it really stimulate the economy and help create jobs - if the answer is no, it does not belong in a so-called stimulus package. This is the heart of the matter, as far as I'm concerned. Not his criteria, but the idea that the proposal should be thoroughly examined. To my horror, I have slowly come to the realization that our representatives rarely even read the bills they vote on. I think every single item should be examined by a bi-partisan committee before it ever comes to a vote. Voting along party lines just isn't good enough. Let's have these guys wake the hell up and actually look out for our best interests for a change. This is OUR money, after all.

Furthermore, the stimulus must include significant direct relief to American workers in the form of payroll tax cuts and programs to help homeowners keep their homes. Finally, we need an end game to this stimulus so that when our economy recovers, these spending programs do not remain permanent and saddle our children with a skyrocketing national debt. Payroll tax cuts are not what we need. That money would be better spent on infrastructure projects that put people to work doing something for the benefit of everyone. Hoover dam ring a bell? Remember the TVA? Give us our New Deal! And projects like that would have a built-in shelf life.

I appreciate the discussions President Obama is having with my Republican colleagues, but the time for talking has come to an end and we must now begin some serious negotiation. Um, how are you going to negotiate without talking?

But as of yet, Republicans have not been given the opportunity to be involved. That's pretty rich, considering the last administration carried on as if their opposing party was completely irrelevant. That isn't happening now, and it didn't happen under Clinton.

The House of Representatives passed a stimulus bill without a single Republican supporting it. In the Senate, the Democrat leadership is trying to jam the existing proposal through regardless of reservations from a number of members. With so much at stake, the last thing we need is partisanship driving our attempts to turn the economy around. I couldn't agree more. But these guys have had an adversarial relationship for so long now, what they need is for their leadership to show them how to reach across the aisle. Not for said leadership to be passing around petitions looking to block the other party.

I have long been a fighter against wasteful spending in Washington and long an advocate for a balanced budget -- that will never change. I realize we face extraordinary challenges with our economy today, but that is not an excuse for more irresponsibly from Washington. I hope you will join me in saying no to this stimulus package as it currently exists by signing this petition. You have been, and I admire you for it, but this isn't the way to bring us together.

John McCain
Chair, Country First PAC

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