A Word of Explanation

Welcome to my political commentary blog. I figured I’d use this introduction to explain how I arrived at writing this blog. I grew up as a Conservative Republican and went through college and law school essentially holding to those beliefs. Being an Evangelical Christian as well, I would have been considered a member of the Religious Right. However, over the last few years, I became increasingly disillusioned by the Republican party. For instance, I believe in conservative fiscal policy, so I could not agree with continuing massive tax cuts aimed at the wealthiest Americans while the country had a serious budget deficit which was only increasing due to fighting two wars. I am also a firm believer in the rule of law, so I took issue with the Bush administration using the cloak of national security to deny habeas corpus rights. Finally, the politics of fear & division used by the Bush political team, turned me off. Especially, their use of the War in Iraq, which I now believe was a major mistake.

In 2008, this caused me to do what 5 years before, I would have thought to be the unthinkable – I voted for a Democrat for President. In supporting Barack Obama and since I am an advocate by trade, I decided to write a political essay setting forth my rationale. I enjoyed the process so much, I was looking for an outlet to continue my political thoughts. When my cousin started a personal blog, it gave me the idea to start a political commentary blog.

Like the name suggests, I still consider my self a conservative as many of my political stands are conservative, but I definitely have a more progressive line of thinking. You should see both sides come out as I post. Some of the posts will be more analysis while others will be more editorial and take a position. I look forward to any feedback. Let me know if there is a topic you would like me to discuss (see my contact info at the bottom of this page).


Friday, January 30, 2009

Bi-partisanship, What Bi-partisanship?

Well the House of Representatives passed President Obama’s economic stimulus plan by a vote of 244 to 188. The real interesting fact about the vote was that despite the President lobbying Congressional Republicans for their support, all of them voted “No.” The bill appropriates about $820 billion for various projects and tax breaks designed to jump start the economy. It now must be approved by the Senate, so the attention will now turn there.

While I do not wish to discuss the merits of the plan, I would like to ask “Where did the bi-partisanship go?” During the campaign, President Obama promised a renewed sense of bi-partisanship. He then went about courting House Republicans to support this first big piece of legislation. So, what went wrong? Who is to blame for the lack of cooperation?

In my opinion, it wasn’t President Obama or the House Republicans. It was Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats. While President Obama was doing his level best to try and get Republican input, the Speaker and Democratic leadership ignored them and just pushed the bill through. Here’s an interesting fact: President Obama spent more time meeting with Congressional Republicans regarding the stimulus plan than Speaker Pelosi did. Keep in mind that the Congressional Republicans are her colleagues and Speaker Pelosi appeared to just ignore them.

Things will probably be a little different in the Senate as things tend to move slower there and Republicans do have enough members to filibuster. Although it will be interesting to see if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid takes the same tactic Speaker Pelosi did and try to ignore the Republicans, or will he allow the President to try and woo some bi-partisan support.

All this convinces me of what I thought post-election, but prior to the inauguration. President Obama’s greatest challenge will actually be with how he deals with the members of his own party in Congress. If Speaker Pelosi continues this tactic, it will be interesting to see if he stands up to her and the other Democrats in Congress. If he truly wants to have an inclusive government with bi-partisan cooperation, he will probably need to. For now, I’m sure President Obama was glad that the stimulus package passed the House, but he said “I hope that we can continue to strengthen this plan before it gets to my desk.” Sounds like he is not ready to give up trying to get Republicans on board.

One thing is for sure, the Democrats are owning this attempted solution while Republicans in the House are now running from it. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the 2010 and 2012 election results will very much be tied to whether the stimulus plan works or not. Stay tuned. . .

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