Tuesday, March 2, 2010

GOP Leadership (or lack there of) in Action

Sen. Collins has tried to override the objections of her colleague, Sen. Bunning regarding Bunning's hold on an emergency bill that provides unemployment payments to those still unable to find work, as well as numerous highway projects. As Ben posted early, those highway project have already furloughed their workers without pay.

Sen. Collins was quoted in the New York Times saying she made her override effort on "behalf of numerous members of the Republican caucus who have expressed concern to me." My question is: where are they? Has it really taken several days for a Republican senator to challenge Bunning's short-sighted legislative hold?

One Senator not among the number Collins alluded to is Sen. Kyl of Arizona who has defended Bunning's actions.

This isn't leadership. This is short-sighted cowardice, finding it politically convenient to decry a deficit (in no small part exacerbated by Bush tax cuts) at a moment when it will do the most damage to a good number of American people. Bunning and Kyl are simply wrong to become deficit hawks at a time of great need in this country. Sen. Collins's silent colleagues are cowards, apparently too scared of a Tea Party challenge to lend a voice to constituent concerns. This isn't leadership, this is shameful.


Colin said...

Actually, taking a stand against the tide of public opinion strikes me as the very definition of leadership. Going along with the crowd -- like Sen. Collins -- not so much.

It's also not cowardice. Jaysus, the pressure on Bunning to give up was enormous. He wasn't exactly making friends. The only reason I won't go and call it brave is simply because he isn't up for re-election. If so I would have tipped my hat to him. If opposing government spending is cowardice, is supporting it brave? How so? Spending other people's money doesn't take much courage.

Bunning wanted the Senate to operate under the Paygo rules it had implemented for itself only a short time ago. All it had to do was find an offset. But in the stultified thinking which permeates Washington every single government dollar and program is essential, and tradeoffs are something which only apply to the little people, not politicians.

If not deficit reduction now, then when? It's something people love to talk about, few like to act on. Bunning was looking for a $10 billion spending offset -- couch cushion change in the context of a multi-trillion dollar budget -- and everyone kicked and screamed. How sad.

Jason said...

First, I never said opposing government spending was cowardly. I said that those Republican members of Congress that opposed (as alluded to by Sen. Collins) Bunning's hold were cowardly for not releasing their own statements in protest. Those kinds of statements, sure to illicit opposition from tea party groups, would have shown leadership.

Second, I am a big proponent of PayGo rules and, in non-recessionary times, a big proponent of a balanced budget and deficit reduction. Our expenditures will catch up with us, but right now I would make two points. First, the deficit exploded under the former administration. Second, this administration entered in a time of economic crisis and I am of the mind that the Keynesian approach was and in the immediate still is the proper approach to our current economic situation. On this point, I would imagine you and I fundamentally disagree.

Third, everyone "kicked and screamed" because real people were going to lose unemployment benefits because one senator opposed it on principle. For those that can't find work to stop receiving assistance because of one man's objection is sad.

Finally, to your first paragraph, by your own description then President Obama's insistence on healthcare reform would be "the very definition of leadership" since several polls indicate public opinion trending against reform.