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Make the GOPers beg for stimulus



Published: Sun, February 22, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


By Bertram de Souza

Ohio stands to receive $8.2 billion from the stimulus package passed by Congress — with no Republican backing in the House of Representatives and only three Republican votes in the Senate. Not one of the GOP members of Congress from Ohio — eight representatives and a senator — voted for the bill.

Indeed, Republicans are reveling in the fact that it was Ohio Congressman John Boehner of West Chester (near Cincinnati), the minority leader of the House, who orchestrated the slam dunk of Democratic President Barack Obama. House Republicans cheered when the vote was announced — a churlish in-your-face to the president who has been in office since Jan. 20.

Obama, in the mistaken belief that bipartisanship is a realistic endeavor in Washington, invited key Republicans to the White House just before the vote. He wanted to demonstrate his willingness to reach out to the opposition. There are reports that even though Boehner and other GOPers went to the White House as the president’s guests, they had already made up their minds to oppose the stimulus package developed by the Democratic majority.

Gloating

The Republicans couldn’t help gloating after the vote in the House and immediately signaled that they intended to use the passage by Democrats in next year’s midterm election.

In the Senate, Ohio Republican George V. Voinovich voted no; Democrat Sherrod Brown was vocal in his support of the package.

Given that the GOP intends to make political hay with the stimulus, how should the Democrats respond?

Let there be no misunderstanding of what strong Democratic regions like the Mahoning Valley expect Gov. Strickland to do: Force the Republicans to publicly beg for a share of the stimulus money.

If the governor allocates any of the dollars to the eight Republican congressional districts before the Mahoning Valley gets its funding, he had better slip in under the cloak of darkness should he visit. Don’t forget this is his home. When he ran in 2006, he was a resident of Lisbon. And when, as the 6th District congressman, he won the governor’s race, he publicly acknowledged that his being a Mahoning Valley resident gave him a decided edge.

Now, Strickland has the chance to not only say thank-you to the people of this region, but to strike a blow for partisan politics.

When it was announced that the governor intended to hire someone to decide how the stimulus money should be spent, Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly said they wanted to be heard.

The only way Strickland and the Democratic controlled House should give the Republicans in the Legislature a say is if they publicly repudiate the their members of Congress for voting against the bill. (The GOP controls the state Senate.)

The governor should also demand that all eight congressmen and women, led by Boehner, make a pilgrimage to his office to beg for funding for their districts.

This begging — on your knees, you swine! — should be done in the presence of reporters.

Strickland should be aware that in next year’s gubernatorial election, the Republicans intend to blame him for Ohio’s economic crisis. And, they will blame President Obama for the national economic collapse.

The reality is that it will take more than a year for the national and state economies to recover. When voters lose their jobs and find their lives in disarray, they strike out at those in office.

Hard-hitting election

Given the way the Republicans mistreated the president, Strickland must know that next year’s election will be as hard-hitting as ever. The GOP is intent on winning the governor’s office and the secretary of state’s position so that the party can control the drawing of congressional district boundaries.

As a result of the population loss, the state will lose one district, if not two, which means that boundaries will determine how many Republicans and Democrats are in the delegation.

Gov. Strickland must play hardball with the GOP — starting with the allocation of stimulus dollars.

To the victor belongs the spoils, which means that Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville, D-6th, and the other Democrats have a right to expect more than the Republicans — and to get theirs first.


Comments

1Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

It doesn't matter who is to blame or what kind of ball Strickland plays. What does matter can be summed up in this recent quote by New York Governor David Paterson:

"The stimulus package cannot be used to replace recurring debt because then it becomes what they call a one-shot, it becomes an artificial economic remedy...As soon as the stimulus goes away, you're going to have millions of dollars of deficit because you never addressed the real problem: Spending."

And as another one of your readers repeatedly tells you:

"I have said this before, and I'll re-state it here. You people who like to argue along party lines are the fuel that drives this corrupt politically driven country that we are watching regress at an exponential rate. The politicians want you to take sides politically because then they can sit back and watch the underlings flail while their pockets keep getting fat. The entire system is scrwed up and it has been for decades. But in the interest of our own self demise, keep yelling R or D and I'll see you in the bread line."

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2cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Send this one to the Gov. Bertram!

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3ROBERT(138 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

The long history of the Mahoning Valley is a history of ignorant media types such as the late Dan Ryan and the Brown family's "butt boy" Bertram. It is painful to see this continue in this drivel.

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4VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

This money is not free. We and our children will be paying for it for years to come and it will drive up the cost of living in the form of higher prices for goods and services, as well as higher taxes. If I have to pay for higher costs and taxes, I would prefer to pay them if it means everyone has a good job, not government handouts.

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5aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I think this is as childish as politics can get. Begging for the stimulus, much less in the presence of reporters?

I don't blame the republicans for not wanting anything to do with stimulus money. I don't want much to do with it either. The $13 a week we're supposed to be seeing isn't worth me spending the extra money in taxes and prices of goods and services that VINDYAK mentioned.

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6valleyred(1097 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Bertram. Who even said this stimulus is going to work?

It sounds like to me it is going to be used to put money in the gov't programs underfunded in states...

What a joke.

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7GEOMAR(29 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Bertram - I have no idea if you are a journalist or consider yourself one, but this is, by far,the most ignorant article I have ever read in any paper. I am more than appalled by your ignorance and just plain, basic stupidity. It is one thing to comment on the way you feel utilizing facts, figures, or just plain rationale but you have exceeded the boundaries of even the most lopsided, simple-minded forays into a news column. Most of the people that read my posts know that I am not prone to insulting an individuals thoughts or ideas but yours have absolutely zero credence. As for the stimulus package my personal belief is that if you removed all of the gratuitous pork it might work but in the hands of people such as yourself I seriously doubt it. Oh, and by the way, I don't need the extra couple of dollars a week in change that you want people to beg for. I actually worked my entire life and now live comfortably, without any help from your ilk I am happy to say. Keep the change-I don't need it.

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8city_dweller(194 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

We've proven over eight years that the less regulation there is, the more banks and businesses will do to increase their own shot-term profits at the expense of everyone else. When President Bush asked for support of a controversial bailout of banks run by mostly GOP executives, Congress (albeit grudgingly) went along with democratic support. Now a Democratic president is asking for support bailing out the rest of us, and suddenly the GOP is completely opposed to government intervention. And we're supposed to believe this isn't partisan! Puh-leeze!

Republicans are hoping they can use this stimulus bill to regain control of Washington and run us further into the ground so their friends can make millions. That is petty Washington politics at its worst. We need help from the bottom up, and the only reason Republicans oppose the bailout is because the money isn't going to their friends first with the empty promise that it will trickle down to the rest of us. Ask anyone who's applied for a loan lately whether the banks have freed up the money they received from the bailout, and you will get a resounding NO.

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9jimiohoh(86 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

We need another Senator McCarthy to look at what we have in Washington today.

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10jimiohoh(86 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

And Hollywood

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11tnmartin(234 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Fine. Don't ''give'' the districts represented by these legislators any money. And, just to be fair, don't require the citizens of those districts to foot the bill for this ghastly boondoggle. Seems only fair to me.
Is there anyone in this land so woefully deluded as to really and truly believe that this so-called ''stimulus'' will accomplish any useful thing? Anyone? This is not a 'stimulus', this is pork barrel wasteful spending at its very worst, a collection of NINE THOUSAND earmarks, piles and piles of pet (and stupid) projects that were not previously funded because they did not deserve such, and policies that absolutely will damage the nation. One might suspect that that was one of the intentions.

The list of those voting for this atrocity makes one think longingly of old practices involving tar and feathers.

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12cambridge(3010 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I can't think of anything that could "damage the nation" more than the last eight years did.

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13tnmartin(234 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Well it is true that W was generally Democrat-lite, so Cambridge may have a point. Of course, lots of the damage was done since '06, and a reading of the economy since the Donkey Party took over the Congress after the '06 elections will confirm that. But, true, W did give us the horrible No Child Left Behind (and No Child Better Get Ahead, Either) Act. And it is true that under W and the Stupid Party, we did get *enormous* increases in pointless federal spending. For example, between 2001 and 2005 federal ''antipoverty'' programs spending went up by $111 BILLION. Virtually all of which was money down a rathole and we all know it. So you have a point. But then, W is and always was Democrat-Lite.
But we are still paying the price for the disasters of William Jefferson Clinton, the Rapist-in-Chief. We are still paying the price for Jimmy 'Peanuthead' Carter and the damage he did. My word, we are still paying a hideous price for FDR and Woodrow Wilson, arguably the worst President the nation ever had.
In any event. I promise you that Obamarama and the loose nuts in the Congress will do far more damage than even these. Good grief, we already hear of appointments to national security positions those who, like Chas Freeman, are professional apologists for the Islamofascists of Saudi-infested Arabia and for the ChiComs. You recall the ChiComs, lovely socialists who, AFTER seizing power, murdered some 67,000,000 of their fellow countrymen. And now Obama clutches one of their agents-in-place to his breast. Nice. Sort of like bringing in Martin Borman during WW2 to advise FDR.

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14cambridge(3010 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

tnmartin:

Do you think McSame and Sarah McScary were a better choice? Why don't you give this guy a year before you call him a failure? Obama seems to have succeeded at everything he has tried in life with out help from anyone else. Bush on the other hand has screwed up anything he ever touched. Were you forecasting Bush's failures or was your crystal ball in the shop during his administration?

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15tnmartin(234 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Well, actually, John McVain was a terrible candidate. Could have guessed that from his sponsorship of the wretched (and, in my humble opinion, unconstitutional) McCain-Feingold Anti Free Speech and Incumbent Protectin Act. He's not my candidate, and never ever was. And, by the way, W's assent to that awful thing was just one of my many disputes with him. But does anyone imagine that any of the top-level Donkey Party apparatchiks would have applied the veto?

Like many others, I did forecast many of W's failures, such as his near-criminal refusal to enforce the borders and to push summary removal of ALL the illegal aliens in this country. Including Obama's illegal alien aunt. He just looked better, by comparison, to his rapist predecessor, or either of the two fools who ran against him in 2000 and 2004. Surely both parties can do better!

Look, Obama is just more of a statist than even W is. Both of them want the federal government involved in a host of matters that it has zero legitimate interest in, and certainly no constitutional brief for. I commend to your attention the 9th and 10th Amendments, something to which neither major party seems to pay the slightest attention.

Obama is not a failure because his programs and ideas have not worked, however you define that. He is a failure because his programs and theories are wrong from the outset. We are suffering from too much government, not too little. His remedy is ever more, and more expensive, of the same. Wrong! Stop. Get out of the matter. Start by shutting down about 80% of the federal government, and repealing the Community Reinvestment Act. Felony charges against Chris Dodd, Dick Durbin, and Barney Frank would be a good move. What the nation needs is a line of mournful, sad, UNEMPLOYED bureaucrats, and empty government building in D.C. Turn the buildings into bordellos if you wish, that's essentially what they are anyway.

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16NachoCheese(163 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow, Bertram goes on a childish rant the likes of Barney Fife, er I mean Barney Frank. You guys let this Bertram work at a NEWSPAPER with this kind of blatant OPINION? Sad!

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17borylie(790 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Obama didn't need a year, he just set a record. deSouza is unfortunately an embarrassment and a reason for the ignorance of voters like Cambridge. Like I've said many times before the duty of the media is to watchout for the people, hold government accountable and not take either side. The Vindicator fails miserably.

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18scrooge(563 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Do you realize Bertram is getting EXACTLY what he wants? Look how many of you are commenting on his worthless column.
I feel sorry for the guy personally. Thank god the Vindy hired him because he undoubtedly has no talent to do anything for anyone else.
Kudos to you sir, for securing your job thru the next contract phase.

Even if I don't agree with a single thing you write.

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19ytown9999(55 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow, Betram has outdone himself with this nonsensical, sophomoric, infantile rant.

And people wonder why print newspapers are going under faster than the Titanic. Someone pays this buffoon a salary to do this?

Not for all that much longer at least...

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20hellsbells(116 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Why get mad at Bertram for reporting the behavior? There were other witnesses to it.
From Jonathan Alter: "Before even listening to Obama's pitch, House Minority Leader John Boehner sent out the word: no. Even after the president readily agreed to take out controversial "cable bait," such as money for contraceptives and seeding the grass on the Mall, the Republicans shifted to new bogus arguments and examples of tiny programs that weren't pork but could be made to look that way.

Republicans made up a story that they had no chance to voice their views (the bills were in fact, marked up in public sessions) and claimed that tax cuts are a better stimulus than government spending, which is demonstrably false. When the deal was finally cut anyway, the new GOP chairman, Michael Steele, put out a press release that perfectly captured his party's vacuous argument.

His lead example of what was wrong with the bill was that it contained money for AmeriCorps. As it happens, AmeriCorps is an almost perfect vehicle for stimulus because it's set up to create jobs.

The big question is: even if they think the stimulus is a rotten piece of sausage, why wouldn't more of them want to help their ailing constituents? Why not team up with a honeymooning president whose popularity is 3x that of his predecessor?

(Especially since after the economy tanked last fall, every sentient economist, including the top economic advisors to Ronald Reagan and John McCain suggested that we needed a large stimulus to avoid a depression.)

Part of the answer is baldly political. Republicans hope to break the new president's momentum -- make him "fail" as Rush Limbaugh urged -- so they can say, 'I told you so' in the elections of 2010."

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21scrooge(563 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

hellsbells you live in an alternative world.
The Republicans (as did the Dems and media) got advance copies of the pitch so they were able to form an objective opinion before he read what someone else wrote for him. (remember he is a blithering idiot without a teleprompter)
The Republicans had NO say in writing the bill- look up the Pelosi quote "We won - we wrote it"
Obama's popularity has been steadily sliding since innaguration day, and disaproval ratings have been on the rise. Not even his State-of-the-pie-in-the-sky-hopes speech gave him much of a boost. Moral of the story-Honeymoon is over.
The only long term jobs created in this bill are reliant on future government subsidies to continue. That's why the Republicans voted overwhelmingly "NO".
Democrats don't need republican votes to pass anything anyway so why the big fuss hells?
This is a bad bill that will do very little to stimulate the economy. I don't have the figures anymore, but they proved that LOWERING taxes actually produced more revenue than raising taxes on the rich.
If they would have frozen capital gains for even a few months (as proposed by the repubs) it could have stimulated small business-which would stimulate the economy.
Better take an ECON101 coarse at YSU. You may learn something.

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22blkpride(186 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

And you dems can beg on your knees when taxes are sky high and you have no jobs!!!!

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