GOP Leader John Boehner channels his inner Norma Desmond and throws a hissy fit on the floor of the House in response to the stimulus bill. I guess
February 14, 2009

GOP Leader John Boehner channels his inner Norma Desmond and throws a hissy fit on the floor of the House in response to the stimulus bill. I guess we should be grateful he didn't start crying again.

Funnily enough, Boehner's performance was eerily reminiscent of another Republican temper tantrum:

The press today continues to focus on the GOP doomsday scenarios about what Obama's economic initiative will mean to America and how it's going to gut the economy. How it will put America on the road to "financial disaster," as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) declared last weekend. And of course, his dire rhetoric generated headlines. (“We’re taking an enormous risk -- an enormous risk -- with other people’s money,” added Sen. Mitch McConnell this week.)

The press takes these swipes very seriously, in part because the press always treats GOP rhetoric about the economy and finances seriously. Why? Because Republicans know economics. Everybody inside the Beltway understands that CW.

Just like the GOP knew economics back in 1993 when the new Democratic president Bill Clinton struggled to get his centerpiece economic legislation passed. Back then the GOP was sure the bill was a recipe for disaster. At the time Newt Gingrich announced "The tax increase will kill jobs and lead to a recession, and the recession will force people off of work and onto unemployment and will actually increase the deficit." He was positive a recession would ruin America's economy within the "next year," or even "over the next 60 days."

And Newt wasn't alone. The whole GOP crew was in Chicken Little mode and the press back then, just like today, made sure to record and amplify every dire warning: "A recipe for economic disaster," warned Phil Crane of Illinois. "It is going to lead to a Clintastrophy, an economic Clintastrophy," added Indiana's Dan Burton.

Yeah, that decade of prosperity...that was hard to take, wasn't it? And the most pathetic aspect of how seriously and credibly the establishment media takes these GOP whingings and sturm und drang is how nakedly obvious--yet unmentioned--the political machinations drive this, just as they have in the past:

December 2, 1993 - Leading conservative operative William Kristol privately circulates a strategy document to Republicans in Congress. Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to "kill" -- not amend -- the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party. Nearly a full year before Republicans will unite behind the "Contract With America," Kristol has provided the rationale and the steel for them to achieve their aims of winning control of Congress and becoming America's majority party. Killing health care will serve both ends. The timing of the memo dovetails with a growing private consensus among Republicans that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan is in their best political interest. Until the memo surfaces, most opponents prefer behind-the-scenes warfare largely shielded from public view. The boldness of Kristol's strategy signals a new turn in the battle. Not only is it politically acceptable to criticize the Clinton plan on policy grounds, it is also politically advantageous. By the end of 1993, blocking reform poses little risk as the public becomes increasingly fearful of what it has heard about the Clinton plan.

Repeat after me: Boehner and the GOP do not care about Americans. They do not want the stimulus to succeed because it will hurt their party. That's all that matters to these swine.

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