When party is set aside, things get done

Back on this post, Mike Cakora said there were things we could do to get the economy back on track, but there was a catch:

…it could be that one party develops a comprehensive approach to taxes,
healthcare, energy, and the other stuff that ails us. I know you won’t
like this, but it’s going to take a party
to do so because any
comprehensive fix will involve leadership, discipline, and limited
horse-trading to deal with the special-interest harpies.

Actually, Mike, it doesn’t take a party to act in time of crisis. It takes the opposite; it takes willingness to cast partisan considerations aside. Conveniently, there’s an object lesson of this atop today’s front page in The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON — On Jan. 17, Washington’s mad dash to finalize an economic-stimulus plan ran into a wall.

On an afternoon conference call, the two top Democrats
in Congress warned President Bush against going public with his own
plan. "People will have to come out and criticize it if you put out a
plan," Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said, according to
people familiar with the matter. "It will look like you’re trying to
jam us on this." Mr. Bush said he’d think it over.

Democrats left the call fuming. Some discussed rushing
out their own plan to avoid being upstaged. The effort by both sides to
keep their partisan instincts under wraps was coming unraveled. Ten
minutes later, the president averted a clash by instructing his
Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, to call Capitol Hill leaders and say
the White House would keep mum on the details of its plan.

A week later, congressional leaders and the White House announced their
boldest attempt yet to address the economic uncertainty that some fear
could lead to the deepest U.S. downturn in decades.

Mind you, I’m not saying this stimulus plan is necessarily the right action. But having slept through Ben Stein’s class, I can’t say I know what the right action is. Considering I have to trust other folks to be smart for me on this, I am WAY more likely to trust a bipartisan consensus action than a partisan one. Yes, that could mean a plan too watered down to do any good even if it moves in the right direction. Right now, I prefer the conservative (and no, folks, I don’t mean politically conservative in the popular sense; I’m using the word in a plain English manner) approach. I guess for the time being I’m trusting Brooks’ ecology to set the balance right.

Of course, when we get to the bread lines, I might be calling for a New Deal.

But in the meantime, we need Dems and Repubs to act like grownups and think about the good of the nation for a change, instead of scoring points on each other in the nauseating game that they usually play. And Sen. Reid, your people would not "have to come out and criticize," nor would the president’s people "have to" do likewise, no matter how compelling your visceral compulsion may seem.

To the contrary, you all have an obligation to the country not to go into knee-jerk partisan fulmination mode, particularly in a time of crisis. Thank you, Sen. Reid and President Bush, for realizing that and managing to overcome that impulse and act appropriately, even if you did it only out of electoral fear of those of us who are sick and tired of your default modes, and even if it’s only for this one brief moment.

5 thoughts on “When party is set aside, things get done

  1. weldon VII

    Sounds like you think the only function of a political party is partisanship, Brad.
    What about the organizational advantage the parties have over the Unparty? Doesn’t it help to have a majority leader and minority leader as opposed to not really existing at all?
    You want “Dems and Repubs to act like grownups.” Wouldn’t that be a good idea for blogmasters and editorial page editors, too?
    The first step in getting yourself back on the adult path is realizing that the parties exist, the Unparty doesn’t and never will, because it would defeat its own purpose if it did, and the parties are NOT going away, because their existence facilitates government. Every democracy on Earth has political parties. Political parties form even in dictatorships. People with related philosophies or purposes band together. It’s as natural as a flock, a herd, a tribe or a committee. It’s about teamwork and working toward a common goal, not just opposing the other party.

  2. Ralph Hightower

    An economist’s definition of the difference between a recession and a depression:
    Recession: When people are being laid off.
    Depression: When economists are being laid off.

  3. Doug Ross

    The problem with allowing politicians to come up with “plans” is that their plans typically are based on creating the best perception that will allow them to get re-elected.
    Is it really rocket science to figure out that this stimulus package is being pushed through in a major election year? It’s all for show.
    Now what started as a simple “$600 per taxpayer” plan has devolved into also giving $300 to people who don’t pay taxes. And then today we get the AARP chiming in that it’s not fair that seniors are not getting checks too. Since seniors represent a large percentage of people who actually vote, don’t be surprised when the handouts are given to them as well.
    The only meaningful economic stimulus package would one that cuts the size of government – tax cuts combined with equivalent cuts in government spending are what we need. Instead of taking our money just to give it back to us, don’t take it in the first place. Is that too difficult to understand?
    Luckily for the politicians, they understand that the general public is ignorant, apathetic, and greedy. That’s what they rely on to keep getting re-elected.

  4. Lee Muller

    What got done was more damage to our economy.
    The politicians admit that high taxes are choking the economy, but rather than give a tax cut and reduction in government spending, they vote to borrow more money from Social Security (never to be repaid), and hand it out to those who pay the least taxes and do the most consumer spending, the least saving, and buy the fewest houses and durable goods.
    All the money will be injected into flash spending on clothes, food, liquor, cigarettes, entertainment, an plastic junk from Red China.
    Meanwhile the GAO releases a report that says the money stolen and wasted last year by federal bureaucrats consumed 90% of the personal income taxes paid.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *