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Day One minus 14: Divide Democrats Down

Originally published by Mike DeVine, Legal Editor for The Minority Report

Barack Hussein Obama has repeatedly declared his desire to sign a huge economic stimulus package soon after taking the Oath of Office as the 44th President of the United States on “Day One.”

The Speaker of the House and Senate majority leader have promised to oblige their fellow Democrat with just such a bill to sign on that day, January 20, 2009, the day the Constitution of the United States and its non-Messiah citizens refer to as Inauguration Day.

Under ordinary circumstances a minority party would expect legislation anathema to their principles and policy preferences, but, given the extra-ordinarily dangerous financial crisis since the Econ-911 last September; the now 13-month long recession; and dire prospects for at least 6-12 more, a Republican minority should expect and even expect to support some kind of stimulus bill and even some Keynesian proposals like accelerated public works.

But the fictitious “Office of the President-Elect” makes clear that the Obama administration will seek fundamental change and call it “stimulus” lest they “waste” a crisis opportunity, e.g. health care and education reform even on Day One.

It is not clear that even a Franken-enhanced majority could push through such fundamental changes that quickly, but just in case, the GOP must make their Day One a fortnight earlier when the 111th Congress convenes.

Rush Limbaugh-led conservatives in both parties showed, in the Summer of 2007, that they could mobilize Americans to stop illegal alien amnesty legislation favored by both the leadership of both parties, given the time to educate citizens concerning the threat.

Republicans must begin dividing Democrats down being this coming January 6. They must propose a Supply Side stimulus of tax and regulation reductions that worked for Coolidge, Kennedy and Reagan and remind of the failure of government spending to end recessions and depressions under Hoover, FDR and Carter. Republicans must loudly insist upon hearings before enacting potentially permanent reforms as fundamental as socialized health care and which affect so large a portion of the economy. We must insist that any Day One stimulus be confined to public works and the middle class tax cuts the Democratic nominee repeatedly promised.

There are indications that President Obama may delay some of his middle-class tax cuts and accelerate tax hikes amidst divisions between his advisors. It seems the best we can hope for from former Clinton free market Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is a two summer delay in tax hikes on the wealthy, i.e. the impending expiration of the Bush tax cuts that have kept Investors and non-lawyer Job Producers on strike since before the Housing/Credit crunch (see 2006, when it was clear that Democrats would take Congress).

David Axelrod makes clear that two summers is the absolute maximum extent of tax increase forbearance, fore the man that insisted that capital gains taxes must not be cut no matter the effect on revenues due to the “unfairness” of it. No! Taxes on the rich shall go up on the Obama Watch. Period, Paragraph! Next question?

Well, the next question was answered by Paul “Nobel Prize” Krugman, who, perhaps unwittingly, laid the foundational argument for a supply side stimulus:

A more plausible route to sustained recovery would be a drastic reduction in the U.S. trade deficit, which soared at the same time the housing bubble was inflating. By selling more to other countries and spending more of our own income on U.S.-produced goods, we could get to full employment without a boom in either consumption or investment spending.

But it will probably be a long time before the trade deficit comes down enough to make up for the bursting of the housing bubble. For one thing, export growth, after several good years, has stalled, partly because nervous international investors, rushing into assets they still consider safe, have driven the dollar up against other currencies — making U.S. production much less cost-competitive.

Maybe there is some hope, given the above, but it would likely be tried only after a year or so of recession.

In the meantime, the GOP can’t be seen as only a supply side Dr. No merely trying to sabotage the first Democrat president in 32 years to win a popular vote majority. In 2007, we showed that we could divide the Democrats and win even with a large minority of Republicans against conservatives on immigration.

There are even more Blue Dog Democrats now and many issues that unite more Republicans, that divide Democrats and that can divide Obama from his fellow Democrats, before through the FDR-like Hundred Days Obama promises and beyond.

Before addressing the particular issues ripe for Dem-dividing, you may ask why Republicans should hope to divide more than a few Blue Dogs from Obama and the rest of the Donkeys, much less divide a very Liberal Dem President from liberal Dem or Dem from Dem.

No President’s interests are precisely congruent to his party, and there are indications this President sees himself as above his party like an aloof Ike and that his real opposition are liberal Democrat egos in Congress. His choice of conservative evangelical preacher Rick Warren to pray at his Inaugural was a shot across the bow of the far left much as was his voters’ rejection of same sex marriage with the passage of Proposition 8 in California and similar acts in Arizona and Florida.

Speaking of Al Franken, does a President Obama really want to be tied at the hip with near filibuster-proof Democratic Party majorities, or would he be better positioned with some Republican cover?

Does a newly accountable Democratic Party want to put it all on the ideological line, especially during an expected deep recession?

Is it possible that labor union dominated Democrats could split over whether to be scabs crossing an Investor-Job Producer picket line?

Consider the prospect of the very real possibility of a 10% unemployment rate next year after the passage of a huge stimulus, in which the employment rates only rise for eco-lawyers intent on killing jobs to save polar bears.

Will the under- and unemployed blue collar followers of the Messiah appreciate the “lesson” of high energy prices after, much less before his “green” legislation produces or “saves” three million jobs as their standard of living is capped and they are forced to trade/barter for goods and services?

What about the former miners of bankrupt coal companies?

Will Americans used to riding on horses appreciate being railroaded into unions because 50% plus one signed a card in public duress?

Will the increasing percentage of the population employed to take care of the health of retiring baby boomers appreciate the loss of their right to refuse to perform acts that violate their consciouses, not to mention libertarians’ loss of the personal autonomy of choosing Edison’s bulb or an SUV?

We suspect, like Mark Steyn, that a President Obama, before too little time remains before he is on the 2012 ballot, that he may wish to back off the dream of an America with merely 4% of the population, only consuming the 4% amount consumed by Kenya and Indonesia.

The opportunities for diving Democrats down to a manageable size will be legion. We must start the diving in eight days and not stop for more than a 1000. But we must also make sure that we are seen as part of the solution in Washington, lest we miss the boat when Americans bail themselves out through their own hard work. Be on the ready to make the distinctions between acts that will actually stimulate versus those driven by Obama’s desire for leftist “reforms.”

Americans promised jobs are going to ant good jobs and will not be content with flowery words for long.

In that regard, President Obama could do worse than take the advice of, none other than, John Maynard Keynes, given to FDR before the end of his first year as President:

“You are engaged on a double task, Recovery and Reform; — recovery from the slump and the passage of those business and social reforms which are long overdue. For the first, speed and quick results are essential. The second may be urgent, too; but haste will be injurious. … [E]ven wise and necessary Reform may, in some respects, impede and complicate Recovery. For it will upset the confidence of the business world and weaken their existing motives to action. … Now I am not clear, looking back over the last nine months, that the order of urgency between measures of Recovery and measures of Reform has been duly observed, or that the latter has not sometimes been mistaken for the former.”

FDR didn’t listen to Keynes, but he had the excuse that he couldn’t possible understand the lessons of the Great Depression.

BHO doesn’t have that excuse, even on Day One.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Examiner.com and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

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