Friday, February 13, 2009

Governing on a rocky road --

By Carol Gee

Friday, the 13th is President Obama's lucky day. The so-called "stimulus package" was voted out of the Senate late Friday night with the minimum of 60 votes, three of whom were rebellious Republicans. It was be lucky to pass. Democrats prevailed in the House of Representatives around noon with no Republican votes at all. Luckily the Democrats have a good sized majority in the House. President Obama is not having very good luck with the party of the Loyal Opposition. On this rocky road with this issue, bipartisanship is dead. It was, and probably still is, a lovely fantasy of President Obama's.

Actually it was probably never a viable option for governing in these times. The economy is too scary to Republicans. At some deep level they privately realize it went south on their watch. They have nothing new to offer to governance. Too many Republicans helped redistribute the nation's wealth upward, deregulated even more than was begun during the '90s, lived on corporate welfare from the government, turned a blind eye to greed, cozied up with lobbyists and special interests, and just generally screwed up. This time only three Republican Senators knew how to help out the country by joining with the other party. All the rest refused to help. Bipartisanship to the majority of Republicans means "my way or hit the road."

For the next four years, governing for Democrats will be a very rocky road. Surrounded by economic and foreign policy crises, second-guessed by the hypercritical mainstream media, rebuffed by Republicans, the Obama administration will be forced to get aid and comfort from the citizenry. Participatory democracy will be what saves the country during these trying times. Officials will have to call on all their considerable intellect, all their good faith, all their respect for the rule of law, and all the luck they can muster. Maybe the fact that this first big bill passed on Friday the 13th is a very good omen for governance by this group of fledgling statesmen and women.

See today's Behind the Links post -- "On a tough road" -- for all the pertinent links to news items associated with the stimulus package, the financial stability initiative, and the still empty Cabinet seats.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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