Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm watching the Senate debate of the stimulus on C-SPAN so you don't have to.

...And because I must secretly hate and want to punish myself. Keep refreshing the page if you want to follow. I'm actually just interested in how this all works (or doesn't work).

Here are some obviously biased impressions...

John Thune (R) — Is very Republicany looking. He blames democrats for all the deficits during the Bush years, and had many snazzy graphs to show you JUTS HOW MUCH a trillion dollars is. It could go around the world 38.9 times... If you stacked it it could go to.... If you started spending a million bauck a day since Jesus was born.... He also invokes the spendings effect on our children and grandchildren. He seems like a dick, but it may just be the hair. It also may be because he IS a dick. I'll go with that.

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PUT THIS WOMAN ON THE TV NOW TO PITCH THE STIMULUS: Barbara Boxer (D) — Kicks ass. She calls out Thune on being a dick and makes him back track. She doesn't take much shit, and she's also confronting global warming in another committee. She's a good voice for progressive thinking, in my limited opinion. Listen to the speech above. Awesome.

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Tom Coburn (R) – Making some good points about 250 Million in the stimulus for the film industry... no idea what the money is supposed to be for, but he is just making a general case we need to select items carefully. Doesn't strike me as an ideologue.

UPDATE: He's now claiming the plan would be nothing short of a "generational theft bill."  Nice framing.  Prickish, no??

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Barbara Milulski (D) – She really seems to care, she just put out an amendment to add incentives related to the car industry. She has a voice not unlike Barney Frank – that mouth of marbles thing – and speaks in a moderate yell that must be hard to listen too for hours on the floor. She seems to have the respect of her peers though, and got her amendment passed easily.

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Jon Kyl (R) - First Republican I've heard say tax rebates aren't always working. He kind of used it to be manipulative, but still I'll give it to him for trying to work against his nature. He also appears to be for all the small business tax incentives, which I don't necessarily agree with. He appears to earnestly want to help make the bill stronger without just being a GOP talking points guy. He is the Minority Whip, which means he is also into bondage and S&M, which I think is awesome. So he's okay by me.

UPDATE 2/4: He's up again today, going through a myriad of projects that are arguably NOT stimulative.  A lot of repairs, museum upgrades and smaller projects that could easily be considered "pet" projects.  I can totally agree with what he is saying today.  I don't know about the specifics of the items he's discussing, and none of these projects amount to much overall, but I agree with him that if they aren't critical to stimulus they should be pulled and submitted to the Appropriations Committee as is usually done.  He's sounding quite moderate here and I appreciate his diligence and objectivity.  I think I like him.

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Arlen Specter (R) – Sorry, his low, monotone reading of statistics put me to sleep. Seems like a excellent Senator. He seems to be well known for his moderate views. He's big on funding research into disease prevention. Wants to add that in via NIH funding. I bet he's a nice guy. But I'm dozing off again... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........

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David Vitter (R) – I don't know what this ass is doing here. Didn't he get caught with hookers? Why yes, he did! But yet here he is. Hey did you know if you send a million dollars a day since Jesus was born, you could get a nifty talking point for the GOP? He's a dick. And knows how to use it.

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A few other thoughts:

Jim DeMint (R) - An obvious ideologue.  He also uses fear-speech in his rhetoric.  The Dems are trying to make us Socialists!  You gotta cut taxes, cut cut cut!!!!  That's the "American Option" according to him.  He wants to also make all the Bush tax cuts permanent.  Cause all those rich people will sprinkle gold on our heads.  His plan is courtesy the Heritage Foundation.  I'm not buying it.

Saxby Chambliss (R) - His views are closely aligned with Jim DeMint.  I'm inclined not to like him already because of his dickish campaigning practices.  He wants to cut corporate taxes, cause that will keep factories from outsourcing.  Cut taxes, cut them good, baby.  He does like investing in infrastructure.  He wants to increase defense spending... cause I guess $653 billion a year isn't enough. 

Sheldon Whitehouse (D) - Annoying lisp, dude.  He clarifies that infrastructure is defined by more that "just what the Romans could have built," which was a funny comeback to Reps that want to ditch the broadband spending as superfluous.  He's big on healthcare reform.  I like him.  But did I mention the lisp?

Lindsey Graham (R) - Persuasive, passionate, and thoughtful.  I don't know if his take on the stimulus package is right or wrong, but I thought his views were powerful.  Boxer tossed off his passion as cheap theatrics.  I am tending to agree.  See an interesting exchange here.

John McCain (R) - All of a sudden the man who claimed to know little about the economy knows A LOT.  More than the economists.  He's quickly become one of the most vicious attackers of the stimulus plan.  I guess he read some books.  Wonder if they had words to go with the pretty pictures.








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