Government Spending

Partisanship Rules

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President Bush is threatening to veto spending bills he considers too extravagant—"even if it means the possibility of a government shutdown," according to outgoing OMB Director Rob Portman (as paraphrased by National Journal's Congress Daily). Yes, the president who has surpassed LBJ in discretionary spending, who has vetoed only two bills in six-and-a-half years (rejecting funding for stem cell research and Democrats' conditions on Iraq war money), is belatedly recognizing the virtue of the veto as a means of enforcing fiscal discipline. Between Bush's sudden discovery of his veto pen and Congress' sudden discovery of its oversight powers, this divided government thing is looking pretty good so far. I am not embarrassed yet about last fall's column welcoming the impending Republican defeat.

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  1. Bush’s sudden discovery of his veto pen and Congress’ sudden discovery of its oversight powers

    To be fair, the Congress that’s now exercising its oversight powers (selectively) isn’t the same as the Congress that previously didn’t.

    Whereas, Bush has been the same guy all along (metaphysical questions of universal impermanence aside).

  2. President Bush is threatening to veto spending bills he considers too extravagant-“even if it means the possibility of a government shutdown,”

    Maybe Bush is a closet Libertarian, nah. It would be cool to see a complete federal government shut-down happen. I don’t think most people would notice though, the Republican “Contract with (on) America” shut-down was such a let down. Come on Bush, live a little.

  3. shutting the government down, that threat could only have as much weight as it does in today’s welfare society.

    I pray for the day central government bites the dust.

  4. But how can we protect the children if the Gub’ment shuts down?

  5. Bush is a hippocrite… and the Republicans are liars. How is this news?

    The only interesting thing is that maybe the Republicans are affraid they have totally lost any sort of support they might have had from small-government types, and are making a last ditch effort to win back all the people they alienated.

  6. Losing that election in 2006 has been very good for the Republicans.

    They’ve actually been doing and saying things that don’t make me want to vomit. Sometimes.

    Fiscal discipline? Limited government? Ethics rules?

    Who are these people? I could actually see myself voting for somebody like that.

  7. Feh. Call me when Congress does more than just make noise about possibly looking into exercising its oversight powers.

  8. Right — as if the Democrats who caved on shutting off funding for the Iraq war won’t cave again and trim off whatever pork Bush demands. As if “Mr. talk small government, but carry big pork” Bush would actually shut down the government for any length of time.

    The ten second sound bite version — a statist Chief Executive and a statist Congress aren’t gonna shut down the state.

  9. But suppose they shut down the state and nobody noticed?

  10. I don’t know if it was an accident, but during the 1995? shutdown – the one Gingrich engineered – the Ann Landers column had a letter which was an ode to the good works done by the Peace Corps. Ann gave them a shout-out, and posted their 800 number.

    So for some reason I called it, and got a recording telling me that, because of the shutdown, the Peace Corps was closed.

    The papers schedule those columns weeks in advance, so I doubt it was a setup, but man, I couldn’t have been the only one.

  11. “even if it means the possibility of a government shutdown,”

    Oh, to return to the heady days of the Clinton era government shutdown, when our lives– for a few short weeks– were more efficient, less encumbered and… dare I say it… free!

  12. “I am not embarrassed yet about last fall’s column welcoming the impending Republican defeat.”

    Indeed. I figured I would have to shut my blog down if we did not see some improvement (obviously I did not set the bar too high).

    Investors are also applauding gridlock and divided government. Investment manager Ken Fisher is making a long term buy call based on anticipation of continued gridlock.

    Its a good thing. Time to start thinking about how to continue Divided Government past 2008. The Dems are unlikely to lose either house. the only way to keep the good times rolling, is elect a Republican President. Ain’t going to be easy.

  13. It’s part of the Republican strategy to keep the Dems from winning anything. If they stick together, the Dems can’t override the vetos. Bush can play the “my way or highway” card and piss the Dems off.

    I’m guessing that only the legislation Bush wants will get passed. I’m waiting to see if any Republicans will give the Dems the 60 votes and actually override a Bush veto. I though Nancy Reagan was for stem cell research. Where are the Reagan supports in Congress?

  14. “Losing that election in 2006 has been very good for the Republicans. They’ve actually been doing and saying things that don’t make me want to vomit. Sometimes. Fiscal discipline? Limited government? Ethics rules? Who are these people? I could actually see myself voting for somebody like that.” – joe (?)

    Apparently someone is spoofing joe’s handle again.

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