Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back to Work

Well, it's the end of another vacation.  After a typical visit to the Indian run casino (typical = I got "scalped"), it's time to get back to work.  Coincidentally, Washington is also getting back to work.

I wish I could say I was surprised that the GOP caved.  Disappointed?  Absolutely.  Surprised?  Sadly, no.  It was clear from the beginning that the Republican establishment was not interested in doing anything so radical as keeping campaign promises.  Sen. Cruz took more damage from "friendly fire" than he did from the inanities of the Progressive Democrats.

How was the "deal" done?  Follow the money.  In spite of the claims that "earmarks" were a thing of the past, there are several attached to this "clean CR".  Including (surprise, surprise) a huge funding increase for a dam project on the Ohio river which just happens to be located in the jurisdictions of two of the "negotiators", Republican leader Mitch McConnell and the #2 man in the Senate (take that either way) Democrat Richard "Dick" Durbin of Illinois.  Just how large was the increase?  Try $1.125B!  The original amount appropriated was "only" $775M.  The new total of federal (taxpayer) funding is $2.9Billion.  You won't get a thank you card, but I'm sure they appreciate your generosity.

Of course, we can all be reassured  by the statements from their respective spokespeople that they had nothing to do with this additional provision being inserted into the agreement.  No less an authority than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada confirms, "This is not an earmark."

Also included in the "clean CR":  an extra $350M in flood aid through the Federal Highway Administration for damaged roads and bridges to the state of Colorado (the Federal limit is $100M), an extra $294M for the VA, $100M extra to prevent the furlough of air traffic controllers and inspectors and extra money for NOAA, as well as authorization for up to $636M for firefighters.

None of this has anything to do with the "reopening of the government" or "paying America's bills".  Still think "bipartisanship" is such a good thing?  Virtually no one holding office in Washington D.C. today has any commitment to principle.  I have more respect for the ultra Progressive, self-proclaimed Socialist, Bernie Sanders, I-VT than I do for McConnell, Boehner, or any of the other RINO Republicans who failed to keep faith with the people who voted them into office (in part) on their promise to get rid of Obamacare.  While I despise his politics and policies, at least Sanders hasn't lied about his agenda.  He believes in government first, last and always and makes no apologies for that fact.  Too bad there's nobody like that on our side promoting the ideas of self-sufficiency, honesty, integrity, and true self-respect.  You know, "traditional American values"?

Senator Cruz has said that he believes that in the next fight, Senate Republicans will learn from their mistakes in this fight and hold firm in the face of hardball tactics by Senate and Congressional Democrats and that the Republicans in the House will follow suit.  I don't see it happening.

I admire the guy.  Both he and Mike Lee have not wavered in their convictions; have not wavered in their determination to see Obamacare stopped, defunded and dismantled.  But I don't see how they can hope to engineer a different outcome when faced with the same fight again next year in January and February.  It might've been different if they had managed to force any real concessions out of Obama and the Democrats, but they quite literally "gave away the farm" last week.  For crissakes, they couldn't even force the passage of an amendment requiring Congress to abide by the same law as the general public, ie, the 75% taxpayer-funded subsidy of their Obamacare premium payments.  If they couldn't even manage to get THAT through, what makes them believe that it'll be any different next time?  The victory the Republicans have just given the administration will, and should, convince Obama that there will never be any significant opposition to his/their agenda.  All they have to do is refuse to "negotiate" and blame any resulting shutdown or economic/political upheaval on the other side. 

The Republican "leadership" has woven the noose(s) for their own hanging.

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