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Kevin Buck: Let’s talk post partisan partisans

Democratic Voices

Posted: February 10, 2009 12:56 a.m.
Updated: February 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Kevin Buck

 

Change. That is what was promised by the campaign of Barack Obama, and it is one of the main reasons he defeated Hillary Clinton and John McCain.
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Clinton and McCain both represented the old guard in Washington, D.C., politics, and America has had enough of them.

The election of Obama created an aura of elation, not just in Democrats, but in Americans across the political spectrum (Rush and the Dittoheads excepted).

Most greeted the inauguration of President Obama with a nebulous hope for progress and for a brighter future. All the right words were said by Obama and his team during the transition to make us believe they could achieve this with a political paradigm of uniting to solve the problems, not dividing for political gain.

At noon on Jan. 20 Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States, and his first order of business became rescuing the spiraling economy and lifting the nation out from under the crushing recession.

To that end, President Obama and his senior staff met with leaders from both congressional parties in the hopes of crafting a stimulus bill that was acceptable to a clear majority of both Democrats and Republicans.

A funny thing happened on the way to the quorum; encased in our bubble of joy and hope, we ignored the fact that the only real change wrought by the 2008 elections was in the White House.

With the exception of dumping a couple of more Republicans from the Senate and House, Congress remained much the same.

The proof of that came on Jan. 28, when Obama's stimulus bill passed the House of Representatives with exactly zero Republican votes. The post-partisan era ushered in by the election of Barack Obama lasted eight days.

This return to adversarial politics was not without its share of unintentional humor. Republican spokesmen are actually objecting, with straight faces, to the stimulus bill because it is deficit spending.

The party that gave us $5 trillion of debt in just seven years is now lecturing Democrats about spending.

But at least the political theater is still free.

The other great disconnect exhibited by members of the Republican minority is their attempt to trade their votes for more tax cuts.

When asked for input on the stimulus package, they have proposed the exact same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

Supply-siders never die; they just keep on sticking pins in the voodoo economics model until it is revived again. We all thought the Clinton budget surpluses would have straightened the Laffer Curve for good, but more and bigger tax cuts are an intoxicating political promise, difficult for American politicians and voters to eschew.

There is quite a bit of angst being exhibited by newly disenfranchised Republicans. It is not just the progressive policies forming in Barack Obama's White House; it is also the rejection of conservative domestic, economic and foreign policy by the voters in the last two national elections.

Yet most Republican conservatives don't see their policies as failures; they are sure that if only their message were implemented and marketed correctly, American voters would see the light and restore them to the majority.

The GOP is a political party purged of moderates with no clear path back to a congressional majority, and it is suffering from a dearth of viable 2012 presidential candidates.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the Republican congressional majority just spent eight years destroying trust in the conservative brand. It is easy to understand the concern.

Back-bench obstruction in Congress - coupled with the negative onslaught from Fox "News," Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O'Reilly and the rest of the nattering nabobs of conservatism that began in 1992 and continues unabated to this day - makes it clear that a post-partisan era will be a long time coming.

I believe Barrack Obama when he says he wants to end partisan politics and begin an era of American politics. He gave it a shot and got zero votes for his effort.

Republicans need to get on board and be part of the solution or get out of the way; their efforts to obstruct will not stand.

To paraphrase President Obama, "We won." It's our turn now.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. "Democratic Voices" runs Tuesday in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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