Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Et tu, Reichert?

Well, that didn't take long.

Last week, when our own Andrew Villeneuve was in D.C. for the inaugural festivities, he happened to encounter Rep. Dave Reichert at an event in the Dirksen Senate office building. When a skeptical Washingtonian questioned where Reichert's sentiments now were, he responded thus:
Reichert himself then spoke, assuring the assembled group that he was in fact "on board" with President Obama's new direction for America.


Reichert acknowledged that he expects his feet to be held to the fire. He didn't promise to be a reliable vote for legislation President Obama supports, but it's evident that his intention is to keep an open mind. And that's commendable.
Wednesday, of course, Dave Reichert showed his true colors by voting against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

So now I'm going to hold his feet to the fire.

The world's foremost software company resides in Dave's district. They just announced they would lay off 5000 workers. The world's foremost aviation company isn't quite in Dave's district, but thousands of its employees are, and a whole bunch of them are losing their jobs too. One would think that Dave would be all in favor of "recovery and reinvestment" in his district.

But guess again. See, when Dave Reichert says he's "on board," the reality is he's lying. I'm sorry, I couldn't think of a more tactful way of saying that that was still true. Flat out lying. Fibbing. Confabulating. Dissembling.

Speaking with forked tongue.

You have to understand how Republicans think. George Lakoff, in his masterwork Whose Freedom, does a fabulous job of explaining why Republicans are uniquely eager to tow the party line: the notions of obedience and loyalty to higher authority figures is central to the Republican mindset.

That is why, as I've said many times before on the NPI Advocate, Dave votes like he's told. When he says during a campaign debate that he likes to collect all the facts before deciding how to vote - he's just flat-out lying.

And in this instance, the Republican authority figures to which Dave willingly gives his fealty (or in other words, since Dave is such a ridiculously un-influential member of the House, pretty much any other Republican member of Congress), have decided that the party line includes zero incentive to help America recover.

The thinking goes like this. If the stimulus package works and the economy recovers, the Republicans won't get any credit. Obama and the Democrats will get all the credit. So voting for the stimulus gets them nothing.

But if the stimulus fails and the 2010 elections find America still mired in recession or even in the trenches of a depression, then it will have been to their advantage to have voted against it.

They'll be able to say "See, we knew that wasn't gonna work! Vote for us!"

Never mind that it was their policies - implemented by means of their votes in the House and Senate ever since the 1994 "Contract with America" that shifted control of those bodies to the Republicans - that got us into this mess. No, they won't go out of their way to remind anybody of that.

You'll notice that nothing in their chain of thought touches, even for a fleeting moment, on what might be the best course of action for America. For the very people that Congresscritters like Dave Reichert have been elected to represent.

Our fate is irrelevant to them.

It's all about positioning and posturing for the next election.

Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) gave a sound-bite for yesterday's NPR All Things Considered program, explaining the rationale for the unanimous Republican dissent against America's recovery and reinvestment in us:
I don't think there's any downside to voting against that.
No downside. No downside for them, that is.

They can, as far as they can see, be complete obstructionists, standing unwaveringly in the path of progress, and get away with it. The downside for America is that we're teetering on the edge of a cliff, staring into the deep, deep abyss of a recession, and we need this stimulus to keep from falling in.

To the extent that they care at all about any upside to the vote, it was whether there was any upside for them. Not for us.

The upside for America, of course, is building a bridge to get us safely to the other side of that abyss.

So, to Dave Reichert and every other Republican Congresscritter who says with one face that they're on board with President Obama's new direction for America, yet votes with their other face to obstruct that new direction, I say this:

You are a liar. A flat out, unrepentant, craven liar. You care for nothing but your own power and your own fortunes. You care nothing for the very real suffering of the people you are supposed to represent. You care nothing for our fates, our fortunes, our jobs, our livelihoods, nor our retirements. Our ability to provide for our families is as nothing compared to your angling to keep your job in two years.

I can see right through you, and so long as I have breath in my body and a keyboard that works, I will do my utmost to make sure that as many other citizens of this troubled nation can see you for the self-centered, narcissistic, disingenuous, power-mad fools that you really are.

The stimulus package might work, or it might not. That remains to be seen. But either way, two years from now I'm not going to let anybody forget that when the chips were down and America needed all the help it could get, that you voted to do nothing. You voted to let us fall off that cliff.

And you did it for the most venal of reasons: selling out your fellow citizens in an attempt to save your own skin.


Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer said...

Well said Jason. I may not be blogging anymore myself, but I let Reichert know via his Web site contact form that I would not stand for him voting against the bill and playing Republican politics with it.

When he says he is "independent" he is simply lying to us. His record is clear, and this vote proves it.

January 30, 2009 11:21 PM  

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