Honestly, after this past election I thought the Republican Party was pretty much done for — at least in the short term.
Let’s face it: The Republican Party was absolutely destroyed in the election, both nationally and here in Colorado. And with such a popular president sitting in power with the opportunity to prove that he and his party could single-handedly save the economy things looked pretty bleak for the GOP.
But against all odds and in the face of dominating victory, the Democratic Party is continuing to do what it does best — throwing it all away. A perfect case-in-point would be the recent AIG debacle.
We all know the story by now, AIG executives were paid out bonuses in the millions of dollars after the company itself was saved and continues to be saved by taxpayer dollars.
But what is most frustrating about all of this is that, due to provisions added to the stimulus bill, all of these bonuses are completely legal.
Of course, Congressional leaders such as Sen. Chris Dodd, who introduced the amendment into the stimulus bill which allowed for these bonuses to be paid out, don’t want to be anywhere near this issue come election time, and so they have simply played dumb, claiming that they either didn’t know what the amendment would actually do or they did not know the amendment even existed.
So, instead of admitting that they had put time and effort into considering one of the biggest pieces of legislation in their political lives, these same senators and congressmen are more willing to admit that they actually had no idea what they were voting for when they passed the stimulus bill.
Of course, how could we have expected anyone in Congress to really have known much about a 1,000-plus page bill that was delivered to Capitol Hill late one evening and voted on early the next day? No matter that Senate Majority Leader Reid and Speaker of the House Pelosi had promised at least a 48 hour period for Congress to consider the final form of the bill.
And where is the blame for the president in all of this? Sure his treasury secretary is catching plenty of flak, but it was the president who wanted this bill to get through Congress so quickly, and in doing so forced one of the biggest spending bills this country has ever known through Congress faster than Al Gore could suck down a package of Twinkies.
The fact of the matter is that no matter how Democrats and the president want to spin this one, they screwed up bad. They should have taken whatever time was necessary to actually look this bill over, consider what was in it, make the needed changes and then pass a bill with some semblance of logic and order to it. Would an extra month, two weeks or even a week been that much to ask?
But instead Congress pandered to the president and to the fear that if something wasn’t done right away the nation would slip into a depression that would be impossible to recover from — though looking back I’m not sure how taxpayers paying bonuses to AIG executives is helping us out of this recession anyway.
If this type of blatant irresponsibility continues, I guarantee that come election time there will be consequences and they won’t be pretty for the party in power.
But then again, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is what Democrats have always done best.
Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.