Blast Zone
02-06-2009
I have been using the web to follow the stimulus debate in Congress pretty closely in recent days, and over the past 24 hours I have started to feel the need to don a hard hat when I sit down in front of my computer. If you believe the reporting coming out of Washington, there is a whole lot of blasting going on in the vicinity of Capitol Hill. 
 
For example, Politico.com gets into the explosive spirit with this article about John McCain “blasting” President Obama like it was still October of 2008. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time some form of the verb to blast has popped up on the Politico website to describe a politician’s rhetoric on the stimulus bill, well, let’s just say the drinks would be on me tonight.
 
Some of this behavior is no doubt pretty standard political posturing in advance of a final compromise being reached in the conference committee, probably sometime late next week. But all of this “blasting” underscores for me the extent to which, even with the historic Obama victory last November, we are very quickly back to predictable  behavior by the usual legislative suspects. Constrained by ideology and interest group pressure, leaders in both parties typically focus on what they find unacceptable, rather than on where they might find common ground. It is no wonder that presidents learn in short order to become comfortable with party-line votes in Congress. All we need now is Joe Lieberman to decry the breakdown of legislative comity, of course more out of sadness than in anger.


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