The Coalescing Opposition to "Extraordinary Politics"

by: David Sirota

Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 21:05

Amid the political trench warfare of the last 24 hours, we've seen some semblance of order in the chaos - we've seen a coalescing effort to fight back against what Naomi Klein this week describes as "extraordinary politics" (ie. the method by which politicians ignore legislative rules and rush through unpopular "reforms" during a crisis).

When Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner today announced his plan to circumvent Congress and award another $1.5 trillion to his banking industry friends, he was met with resounding opposition across the political spectrum. On top of that, as Chris shows, both the House and Senate have started demanding far more transparency from the Federal Reserve - finally raising the prospect of challenging czarism and insisting on legislative oversight of that most secretive and undemocratic institution.

Now, after Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D) embarrassed himself on MSNBC last night by not being able to answer basic questions about the Senate's stimulus "compromise," House Democrats have finally thrown down the gauntlet on the economic recovery package. According to the Hill newspaper, they are refusing to quickly ram through the Senate "centrists" substantively stupid plan to make the stimulus bill less economically stimulative by watering it down with tax cuts. These Democrats believe - and rightly, IMHO - that the conference committee should (re)strengthen the stimulus; that Senate Democrats will be able to force a few rational Republicans to support it on final passage; and that Obama will be forced to sign the better bill.

Check out the excerpt from the Hill - it's the "Make Him Do It" Dynamic in action:

David Sirota :: The Coalescing Opposition to "Extraordinary Politics"
House Democrats on Tuesday said they are prepared to negotiate past Presidents Day rather than cave to GOP Senate centrists on the details of the economic stimulus package.

Bucking warnings that the delicate Senate compromise passed Tuesday cannot be altered, leading House Democrats said it was not the House's job to bend to the will of the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to pass difficult legislation.

And in a sign of how serious they are about fighting for their version of the stimulus bill, House Democrats said they are ready to stay through the recess instead of delivering the bill to President Obama by Presidents Day - blowing their self-imposed deadline set earlier this year.

I certainly agree that we need immediate and decisive to stabilize the banking industry through nationalization ASAP, and we need the stimulus bill passed ASAP as well. But we also must not allow the need for speed to justify horrific policy. We're talking about trillions of dollars here - there's not a lot of trillion-dollar bullets in our government's arsenal.

So while we can't afford to waste time, we also can't afford to pass bad policy and potentially waste billions of dollars - and right now, with the way things are going, we need to err on the side of a slightly slower pace, reject "extraordinary politics" in service of kleptocracy, and make sure all of  gets done right.

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Hmm.. (0.00 / 0)
Well that's good to hear... although I don't think you are going to have to FORCE Obama into signing a Stim bill... even the house Bill.   He's for a good package, the devil is in the details... either way though, whatever ends up on his desk, he will sign.

Apparently the banking industry... (0.00 / 0)
Also wasn't a very big fan of the Geithner plan, as the Financial sector dropped more than 5% today (and the rest of the market, as I'm sure you know, didn't do so hot either).  

I'm not sure if that's a good sign or bad sign (or neither)... but either way a lot of people weren't happy about it, including Wall Street that's supposedly being bailed out.

It seems like this is what Obama wants (4.00 / 1)
There's a reason why he kicked his pr blitz into high gear after the Senate agreed to move forward.  He wants to put pressure on the moderates to accept some of the stronger aspects of the House bill in conference.  And now that they have passed the first hurdle, it will be much harder for the compromisers to back down now and deny final passage after Obama puts the heat on.  I predict they will get the aid to states back in there at minimum.  But the BARF flop might steal a bit of O's momentum...

Specter and Snowe will vote yes (4.00 / 3)
I think these centrist idiot senators are just loving all the power they wield right now. It's like their opinion outweighs the opinion of the 300+ Democrats and the newly elected president who are crafting this bill.

At the end of the day, these centrists enjoy looking like heroes. They do not want to look like villains. If they vote NO on the stimulus because it includes more money for schools and states, they will become villains.

Maybe Susan Collins would be happy as a villain. But Specter already wrote an op-ed in support of the stimulus, and he is up for reelection in two years. He always folds in the face of pressure, and he would like future favors from the President. Snowe has already talked up the need for a stimulus many times, and she too would like to be on Obama's good side. They will both vote yes when push comes to shove.

If they vote no?  They will lose face, big time.  History will not judge them kindly.

The Dems would then use other tricks to pass the stimulus funds, probably through reconciliation and appropriations.  

The Root of the Problem (0.00 / 0)
is that all of our money is based on loans/debt.  This is and interesting quote considering the fact that the Federal Reserve is a private corporation and not part of the government, "On top of that, as Chris shows, both the House and Senate have started demanding far more transparency from the Federal Reserve - finally raising the prospect of challenging czarism and insisting on legislative oversight of that most secretive and undemocratic institution. "  

All corporations are in business to maximize profit.  The Federal Reserve is no different.  Check out The American Monetary institute's solution at

OK, I've got to jump in here... (4.00 / 1)
...the Ron Paul spin on the Fed is getting ridiculous.  The Fed is a non-profit institution that makes almost all of its operating income from clearing checks from member banks.  That's really it.  Let's deal with some reality here, folks.... the Fed acts as a national bank, since we couldn't get a national bank plan passed at the time that such a bank was needed.  The conspiracy theories are starting to get out of hand...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
Go Green And Save Energy. (0.00 / 0)
Green squads are on the way. Millions of new jobs will be created making America more energy efficient. It is a sin to waste precious energy and it must be stopped. The first task of the green squads will be to weatherproof homes and buildings. If the proposal is put into law you will soon hear green squad  members knocking on your door ready to weatherproof your home at no cost. It will not take them long before every leaky window and hole is repaired. Those that want to continue wasting energy and refuse entrance to the green squad will be heavily fined. Millions of homes and buildings will be weatherproofed and millions of new workers will become unemployment proof. Go green stay lean and keep the environment clean.

Klein (0.00 / 0)
I wish every Democratic congressman had read Klein's Shock Doctrine. Maybe those who are liberal would know what they have been getting into over the past few months.

& last night Obama invited Blue Dogs to be part of "entitlement reform" -- (0.00 / 0)
extraordinary politics in a nutshell --
-- SD Rep. Herseth Sandlin, Blue Dogs meet with Obama

... Herseth Sandlin said the coalition focused on mid-term and long-term fiscal responsibility, on making tough choices in the annual budgeting process and on enforcement tools the administration can use. Entitlement reform, including Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, also were topics, she said.

Obama has invited the Blue Dogs to a fiscal summit he wants to hold later this month or early in March, Herseth Sandlin said. ...


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