In the spirit of “cooperation”, and ushering in a “post-partisan” era of American politics, the Democratic majority in congress yesterday held a “hearing” on the implementation of a massive government spending “stimulus” package.
Now if you are wondering why there are so many quotes in the previous sentence, let me explain. “Cooperation” and “hearing” are in quotes because the Republican minority was not allowed to invite speakers to participate in the hearing, which means this isn’t really a hearing at all – more of a “presentation” or perhaps “political infomercial”.
Furthermore, the term “stimulus” is in quotes as a great number of economists believe that such spending will not stimulate the economy at all. On a related note, all empirical evidence in the global history of government economic policy supports this skeptical view. No wonder they weren’t invited to the “hearing”. Rep. John Boehner, held his own “hearing” in the form of a less ostentatious six page list of dissenting remarks on the matter.
Lastly I’d like to point out that the term “post-partisan” is in quotes due to its sheer irony. Our current “partisan” or “bi-partisan” debate can best be traced back to Newt Gingrich who made a conscious effort to invite both sides to the table in the 90’s to ensure all views were aired in the public forum before the Congress passed legislation. Under Democrat Party control prior to the Gingrich era, open debate of views skeptical of the majority party’s opinion were often quashed. Partisanship is not bad – in its most base ideological form, it represents elected officials standing fast to the values on which their constituents had elected them. If anything, we are currently seeing a shift to a “pre-partisan” era in which open, intelligent debate is being replaced with one sided rhetorical grandstanding to create the illusion of a comprehensive forum. It is the political equivalent of sitting at your desk and pretending to work – perhaps you put on a good show, but ultimately you get nothing accomplished.