The Return of Ticking Clock Politics


Chad Pegram of Fox News offers a look inside Monday night’s rather heated meeting of the House Rules Committee, where Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) declared, “This Congress has a bad case of deadline-itis.”  Not a bad turn of phrase.  It’s the nasty little bug that jumps around Congress every December, when all the issues our mighty deliberative bodies should have settled with statesmanship during the year become desperate eleventh-hour panicked scrambles.  Public objections to the behavior of infected representatives are met with violent “Shutdown!” coughing fits.

House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) found himself arguing with the ranking minority member of his committee, Sander Levin (also from Michigan) over the proposal to join extensions of Obama’s “payroll tax cut,” and an extension of unemployment benefits, with authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline project.  They put on quite a show for the Rules Committee:

“This, Mr. Dreier, is the highest number of long-term unemployed in the record of this country,” said Levin, arguing for a longer extension of jobless benefits.

“And many on your side said if we only passed stimulus, the unemployment rate would be 6 percent,” interjected Camp.

Camp’s point drew the ire of the usually mild-mannered Levin. He grabbed the microphone in front of him and turned to his colleague.

“We can argue … I’ll take back my time,” Levin snapped, rapping his hand on the table.

“Your policies certainly haven’t worked very well,” retorted Camp.

“Let’s not argue about the policies because I think you’re wrong!” snorted Levin.

“It’s a fact!” parried Camp, his voice rising over Levin’s. “You promised a 6 percent unemployment rate!”

At that, Levin slapped the table twice and turned toward Camp.

“Focus on the unemployed in the state of Michigan!” admonished Levin.

“I am focused!” Camp replied.

“You’re not!” disputed Levin.

“Had we not passed the stimulus bill, we’d be better off,” Camp pronounced.

The men stared daggers at one another briefly.

Beneath all this high drama, verbal sword fighting, and daggers flying out of peoples’ eyes is the basic decision facing the American people.  Camp and Levin do us a service by presenting it so clearly. 

Contrary to all the “hard pivot” posturing, Democrats could not care less about creating jobs.  They view the unemployed as a political resource.  Lots of unemployed people means more government spending, which produces pressure for tax increases.  Sander Levin could not have made it any simpler for you.

The hundreds of thousands of jobs that will come from the Keystone XL project, including thousands of construction jobs created immediately to build the pipeline, are of no concern to the Democrat Party – and yet, their President talks incessantly about “creating jobs” in precisely this way, with large-scale “infrastructure” projects! 

In fact, it is one of the only three ideas President Obama has everadvanced for job creation during his “pivots”… and the other two are the two Democrat items Republicans have included in their deal, namely extending unemployment benefits and Obama’s raid on Social Security!  If you haven’t been exposed to an Obama speech in a while, that might sound weird to you, but it’s true.  Democrat Party dogma states that unemployment benefits are not only a solid tool for job creation, but in fact they are the most powerful form of stimulus known to Man.  The theory, which also drives the Obama raid on Social Security funding, is that sprinkling cash on the Little People generates economic activity, causing businesses to rise from the dust when the Little People run out to spend their money.

As Camp so devastatingly pointed out to Levin, we’ve been running both of these Democrat “trickle-up economics” programs for quite a while, and any fool can see they’re obviously not working.  It is also indisputably clear that massive “stimulus” spending did not work as advertised.  Levin responded with a dose of the same tactic DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz put so astoundingly on display yesterday, when she angrily denied that unemployment has gone up under Barack Obama: he simply and heatedly denied reality itself.

So, there you have it, America: a Democrat Party that actively works to create a dependent nation, to harvest the votes of those who rely on government largesse to survive, and becomes very angry when the half-baked theories of “job creation” and pulled-from-its-hat promises it uses to fool credulous voters are taken seriously.  If, on the eve of the failed Obama stimulus, Dave Camp had told Sander Levin that Democrat promises of 6% unemployment were absurd, he would have been answered with precisely the same blind fury.

Ticking clock politics are an embarrassment to the Congress, but they do have a way of clearing the air.