Thursday, May 20, 2010

I hope Gene Lyons is right

Gene Lyons thinks Obama is beginning to understand what should have been obvious from roughly the day after the 2008 election, if not long before, that the Republicans don't really intend to cooperate with him on jack. Unless it involves escalating a war somewhere.

In No, GOP, you can't have the car keys back Salon 05/19/2010, he notes that Obama up until now seemed to actually believe his own hype about bipartisanship and, like Charlie Brown with Lucy and the football, kept thinking that this time the Republicans would act responsibly:

Instead, we've seen the GOP increasingly dominated by its irrational Chicken Little wing, seeing grim portents and predicting doom. Continuing their party's decades-long War on Arithmetic, Republicans act as if the highest form of patriotism is to demand tax cuts even as a USA Today analysis documents that "Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency ... Federal, state and local taxes -- including income, property, sales and other taxes -- consumed 9.2 percent of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports."

The historic average has been 12 percent.

Along with the recession, the main reason was the Obama stimulus bill, which included one of the largest tax cuts for wage-earners in U.S. history, totaling $282 billion. Republicans opposed it anyway. Almost everybody got a substantial tax break, even if Tea Party patriots don't realize it. [my emphasis ]


And he gives us a recent example of how the Grand Old Party is increasingly embracing its inner hysteric:

Meanwhile, Republicans keep baying at the moon. On a recent "Fox News Sunday," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gravely announced that "The [Obama] secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did."

Even host Chris Wallace was taken aback, asking, "Mr. Speaker, respectfully, isn't that wildly over the top?" Gingrich didn't think so.

A sane political movement would keep a prating coxcomb like Gingrich off television. Whether Newt actually believes this rubbish, or is merely following the Tea Party fife and drum corps around the bend, strikes me as of little interest. Politically, it's pointless to reason with crazy people -- make-believe or real. [my emphasis]
I can't help but notice that Lyons, who Bob "the Daily Howler" Somerby has often given credit for being the first to fully realize what had happened to the mainstream press with the Whitewater pseudo-scandal - is criticizing the Tea Party in exactly the way Somerby has furiously criticized those bad, bad liberals for doing. Lyons is from Arkansas and has followed the unreconstructed segregationists long enough to recognize what he's seeing when he looks at Tea Party extremists. Somerby, on the other hand, looks at the Tea Party and sees only Real Americans. Just like the conservatives do.

Lyons is hoping that some of Obama's more combative rhetoric lately indicates that he recognizes the GOP game for what it is.

We'll see. I'm not encouraged by the fact that instead of using the BP Gulf oil disaster to the public and Congress behind better regulations and bash the failure of the Bush administration's whole Predator State approach to governance, he took the bold step of ... appointing a commission to study the problem.

I'm pretty sure that is not what Gene Lyons has in mind when he ends his column hopefully, "Give 'em hell, Barack. Over and over until they get the message."

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