Remember how a couple of weeks ago everyone was writing about how the vanquished John McCain was going to be Barack Obama's best Republican buddy in the Senate and help pave the way for a new era of senatorial bipartisanship?
Well, et tu, McNasty: He's now leading the charge against Obama's stimulus plan in the Senate. He went on CBS today and explained why:
Schieffer: You have emerged as the main opponent of the President's economic recovery plan. ... But I want to ask you, now that you have made your point, do you intend to support this plan, because I think economists on all sides of this say something has got to be done here.
McCain: Well, I can't, Bob. And I can't because I think it's the greatest transfer of not only spending but authority and responsibility to government. I think it's massive, it's much larger than any measure that was taken during the Great Depression. I think it has policy changes in it which are fundamentally bad for America. For instance, there are 'Buy America' provisions -- that's protectionism. It didn't work at any time in our history.
But most of all, because I think this can only be described as generational theft. What we are doing is amassing multi-trillions of dollars -- if you look at what's going to be announced Monday or Tuesday, a new TARP -- we've already spent $700 billion, another how many have you trillion --
Shieffer: This is aid to the banks --
McCain: Yes. Then we're going to have a supplemental to pay for the war. We're going to have what we call a continuing resolution -- another $400 billion. We're going to have already a $1.2 trillion deficit by estimates and it's just begun. We're going to amass the largest debt in the history of this country by any measurement and we're going to ask our kids and grandkids to pay for it.
So I thought we needed -- I know we're in trouble, I know America needs a stimulus, we need tax cuts, we need to spend money on infrastructure and on other programs that will put people immediately to work. But this is not it.
In other words, Republicans' idea of a "bipartisan bill" is a "Republican bill". That is to say, just more of the same old crap that got us in this mess in the first place.
Yeah, that's some bipartisanship.
But McCain also makes it clear he thinks that Democrats have to completely bend over -- or, as Rush would put it, "grab the ankles" -- to make bipartisanship work. On Planet GOP -- where the rampant fear in fact is what will happen to them if Obama succeeds -- the failure of bipartisanship has nothing, no nothing, to do with Republican ideological rigidity. It's all the Dems' fault:
Well, I think from the beginning, when the Speaker of the House said, 'We won so we're writing the bill,' that set the stage. It was put through both House and Senate without serious, fundamental, at-the-beginning discussions and negotiations with Republicans. Democrat staffers, as we speak, started last night -- and by the way, we just got the bill last night at 11 o'clock, 778 pages -- they're negotiating now. They will come up with a bill, but unfortunately Republicans will not be involved in those negotiations. And I regret that.
In the interest of full disclosure, that's the way the Bush administration, when we were in charge, that's the way we did business. But I thought we were going to have change. And that change meant that we worked together. This is a setback. This is a setback for all Americans, in my view, because we promised, all of us, that we would work together in a more bipartisan, inclusive fashion, and that's certainly not been the case with this bill. And I regret that deeply.
If he weren't being so obviously disingenuous, one could just assume that Republicans like McCain don't realize that the kind of complete rewriting of the established rules of congressional governance he proposes aren't going to happen overnight -- Democrats aren't going to just set aside their well-earned positions of power and let Republicans start writing their stimulus plan. Republicans have to demonstrate they are trustworthy enough partners in making an effective change.
And what they actually just proved is that they aren't. They still are unable to put their narrow ideological interests above the national well-being, to actually take the ample opportunities to work with Democrats that Obama has given them and do something with them.