Friday, February 13, 2009

Six O'Clock News - Deep Budget Thoughts Edition

Mini-diaries today.

  • $7B-b-b-billion dollars for Michigan in the stimulus. Red meat. Starving dogs. Guess what happens next. Not trying to be all Bob Corker here, just hope that calmer heads prevail on the doling out of the goodies, and the emphasis falls on job creation. Peter Luke seems to think that these guys are going to fall all over themselves to use the money to avoid having to make the cuts that Granholm proposed, and I have a feeling he is right. Why? Granholm herself already indicated as much, and then there was the reaction to the budget... read on...

  • The budget fallout. It was all I could do to hold myself back from going off on everyone this morning. Republican, Democrat, schools, art weenies (and I AM an art weenie), didn't matter, the reactions to the budget proposal were appalling. Everyone wants to protect their sacred cows, whether it be the State Fair or other district-specific special interests, or, serve their slavish devotion to "more cuts", but certainly not cuts to what they deem untouchable. The battle really comes down to the attitudes of these two gentlemen:

    From George "Let's Tax Health Care Benefits" Cushingberry-

    Mr. Cushingberry was both disappointed with some of the cuts and angry about others. "We're going to keep the State Fair," he said, charging the fair was being unfairly charged with exorbitant administrative fees. "I'm worked up," he said.

    He then went on to compare Granholm to those certain Senators of the South. I'm going to let that slide for now and write it off to just an angry moment (what was he expecting, anyway?), but I just want to say for the record - if Democrats have a problem with the cuts, then get out there and find an acceptable way to raise the $1.4B in revenue. Considering the Democrats incredibly passive and cowardly behavior in '07 regarding that very same issue, I won't be holding my breath here. You didn't bother making the case for revenue then, and you would have one helluva time doing it now, but if you don't want these cuts, you're going to need to try. Better step on up and support whatever it is that Andy comes up with - or the world will be here to remind you of this. Especially me, because I've had enough of you undermining your own party and leadership. It's no wonder people have a bad attitude about 2010 already.

    Disagreements? That's fine. Present an alternative plan. Go out and sell it. Personal attacks that Saul wishes he were clever enough to write? Congratulations - not only have you just lost the mushy middle moderates, you have probably alienated a certain portion of your base. When it comes down to it, it's all about the strategy of presenting a united front for Democrats, because if you don't, the Republicans can and will use this as a wedge to split the party, just like they did in '07. Do you want to spend the entire year fighting over this and end up looking bad again?

    And on that still-imploding-at-this-point hypocritical flipside, from the guy who will be taking the heat for Bishop apparently, comes indication that the Senate will demand more cuts and thwart all the House Democrats attempts to save programs. Here's Ron "All Cuts, But Not Agriculture!" Jelinek.

    Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ron JELINEK said he had no problem using the stimulus package to make ends meet in 2009. For 2010, though, he wants $1.4 billion in cuts. He's already directed his appropriations subcommittee chairs to come back with their budgets with 10 percent cuts.

    You guys knock yourselves out, I'll go make some popcorn and cheer from the couch. Maybe now the public will understand why "reforming government" is damn near impossible.

    Oh, and for the record, I don't like the governor's cuts either. I'm for tax increases. All the way. I want the State Fair and the arts. You can keep my tax cut too, if it helps the state and the country. I don't mind paying - I just ask quality services for my buck.

  • Debbie Stabenow makes an enemy out of Sean Hannity. Approval ratings soar.

    It may seem like an unlikely venue for a Michigan Democrat, but conservative television and radio host Sean Hannity has made Stabenow public enemy No. 1 in the conservative talk radio world. Hannity has plastered Stabenow's face and office number on his site following comments she made last week about the Fairness Doctrine, telling liberal radio host Bill Press it may be "time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves."

    And then she mentioned the possibility of hearings, which sparked a make-my-day moment with Hannity, who said, "You want this microphone? Come and get it!"

    Reviving the Fairness Doctrine may be a big bluff, but there's nothing like hitting 'em where they live. Keep up the good work, Senator.

  • Tim Skubick, in trying to compare Obama to Granholm, actually illustrates the real problem without even realizing it - how the Republicans have been/are being unreasonable obstructionists for the sake of "party first" politics. "You can't reason with unreasonable people", Thad McCotter once said, and he is right.

    Now ask yourself, is it the governance of these two at fault here, or does it lie with those who insist on being unreasonable? Because if it is the governance that sought bipartisanship and compromise that is at fault, then perhaps Democrats should just start behaving as the Bush White House did - my way, or the highway. Which would be fine by me, because it should be obvious that the Republicans have no intention of playing fair or nice, but it's probably not very beneficial to a society that needs examples of cooperation and respect to come from its leaders so we can all learn how to "just get along".

    Not sure what Hannity would do at the point. Or Skubick either, for that matter. And I have no idea how to get there.

  • In love? It's all in your head. Really. Have a happy Valentine's Day!