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Hullabaloo


Friday, January 30, 2009

 
The Whining Biddy Is Back

by digby

I've sure missed the very special brand of partisan whining that only Orrin Hatch provides. It's been a decade since his unctuous, mendacious sanctimony has been on full display and it's good to see that while he looks a bit older, he hasn't lost that magical ability to sound like an aging schoolmarm and a bitchy drag queen all at the same time:

Norah O'Donnell: Senator, what about that? Because not one Republican in the House voted for this, it looks like Barack Obama is extending his hand to the Republican Party and he's being met with a clenched fist.

Hatch: Well I think Barack Obama has extended his hand. He came up and talked to our conference and we all really enjoyed him.

ODonnell: Well, what are Republicans doing in turn?

Hatch: Well the reality of it is that the leadership up here in the House and the Senate have ignored Barack Obama. Many of the things he's said he'd like to have in this bill, they'd like to have in the bill. They've put all kinds of spending programs and other things in this bill. it's just business as usual. I think we would like to work with President Obama, but he hasn't had much imprint on this, at least the House bill so far. The Senate bill is much better.

By the way, they have the first two bills come out of the box, one of them the SCHIP bill that Grassley and I worked our tails off trying to get major, major votes for in the last congress. They just did it on their own, didn't ask us an opinion, didn't work with us at all, just said that's the way it's going to be. And the stimulus bill is exactly the same way. You know, "we're going to do what we're going to do" whether you like it or not and it isn't going to be something Republicans really can vote for. So it isn't a matter of partisanship on our part. We'd love to have Barack Obama do some of the things he said he wanted to do when he appeared before us just this last Tuesday.

O'Donnell: Well Senator, as you know, and perhaps it's sad but true, but the president doesn't need the Republicans. He an get this passed anyway.

Hatch: (smiling) I don't agree with that.

O'Donnell: Do you feel there's some kind of a head fake going on? That while the Democrats on the Hill, you say ignore the Republican party, that the president looks like the one of goodwill. He invited them over for drinks, he's inviting them over to watch the Super Bowl with him etc.

Hatch: I was there last Friday in the White house as a special invitee. I think the president really is sincere in wanting to get this through so that it works better. And it isn't a question of Republican politics. It's a question of spending money to get jobs to help the economy to get us back to the way we really want to be and where we really should be.

And look, the I think 366 billion in the emergency stimulus package, only 44 billion will be spent in 2009. Another 136 billion will be spent in 2010. I think 184 billion in 2011. Now how is that going to be stimulus. They're spending 6 billion dollars to colleges and universities, many of which have over a billion dollar endowment funds. Now why are we doing that? Is that going to create jobs? Not on your life.

I could go through hundreds of big spending projects that are in this bill that ought to curdle the blood of Democrats. And by the way, it's starting to. I walked in with Senator McCaskill and senator McCaskill said "I'm not sure I'm gonna vote for it."

O'Donnell: Just one other thing. Senator Kerry was on earlier with Senator Mitchell and he said he's not in favor of this proposal for the bad banks. Are you opposed to this proposal to develop a big bad bank to hold all these debts?

Hatch: I'm not very much for that, but I'm certainly going to keep an open mind and see what can be done. I do have some degree of confidence in Mr Geitner, the secretary of treasury. I think he's a very bright guy and I want to do what I can to help.

Naturally we would like to get this economy back. It's not gonna be easy, it's not gonna be quick and it certainly isn't going to happen if we pass the House stimulus bill. And the Senate bill may not be much better.

But maybe when we go to conference we can work out some of these difficulties and get more people to, in a bipartisan way, support it because it may be able to create some jobs, but not the way it's written right now. Some jobs are going to cost over a million dollars per job the way this is written.

It's just awful. I'm so doggone disgusted I can hardly stand it.


Aside from the sheer dishonesty of his entire diatribe, it took his very personal style of character assassination for me to get a subtlety of the GOP triangulation strategy. I hadn't before sensed the patronizing tone in the Obama sycophancy before --- they are saying that he's --- wait for it --- a wimp. Here's the subtext:

He'd like to pass a good, strong program that he-men Republicans could support, but he just can't get past the screeching harpies in the congress who he's married too. It's sad, really. Obama is such a sweet young fella. He had a lovely little cocktail party the other night and is hosting a fabulous super bowl party and we'd love to be able to support him. But he's a little bit ... henpecked, don't you know, and can't control his congress. We have to step in and save the country. Again.


It's an interesting approach to try to make the person who is trying to include you look like a wimp for trying to include you, but the Republicans operate on several different levels and this one is in their lizard brain. Like Dick Armey blurting out his anachronistic Henny Youngman routine on Hardball, it's not really a strategy so much as an uncontrollable tic. They need to see their enemies as weak women and gays in order to feel powerful. And it plays into some very strong strains in the culture that responds to such messages.

Obama isn't like other Democrats and all the usual images and impressions are mangled. I'll be very interested to see if they can get traction with this. It doesn't really scan for me, but then it never does, so I'm not a good gauge.



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