In a similar scene today, the House of Representatives just passed the so-called "Cap and Trade" bill. Investor's Business Daily, one of my favorite take-no-prisoners arch-conservative rags, is positively apoplectic about this bill. Here are some of the more polite selections:
"The House of Representatives is preparing to vote on an anti-stimulus package that in the name of saving the earth will destroy the American economy. Smoot-Hawley will seem like a speed bump."
"It is the largest tax increase in American history — a tax on all Americans — even the 95% that President Obama pledged would never see a tax increase."
"Other countries can just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves. Where will you be when the lights go out?"
So, the question deserves to be asked, "Why now?" The U.S. economy is reeling from the sub-prime debacle, Congress just passed the biggest spending bill of all time with the most obscene deficit ever recorded, the unemployment growth rate is off the charts (and far higher than what Obama promised when he was selling his obscene deficit), and on top of all that he's pushing socialized medicine (while pretending it won't cost us anything). So, now, Congress decides it's a great time to send energy costs into a rapid upward spiral. Now?!
What is going on here?
Rand Simberg has an answer: the Democrats are afflicted with a weird form of Munchausen's syndrome by proxy.
Here's what Wikipedia says about Münchausen syndrome by proxy:
"[A parent] ensures that his or her child will experience some medical affliction, therefore compelling the child to suffer treatment for a significant portion of their youth in hospitals. Furthermore, a disease may actually be initiated in the child by the parent or guardian."
The sickness, in other words, belongs to the parent, not to the child. Now, simply substitute "politician" for "parent", and "the economy" for "his or her child," and you have a description of what has been going on in Washington since January.
Simberg brings the analogy home by tacking the syndrome's symptoms next to the analogous symptoms in our political situation:
But what should we think when we see the same phenomenon on a much grander scale — when instead of a mother fabulizing symptoms or poisoning her child, an entire political class in power spouts nonsense about the state of a great nation’s economy and the causes for it, and then treats it with long-failed nostrums almost guaranteed to make the situation worse by any rational economic analysis? What to think when the stock market rises when the president is out of the country? (”the patient improves in the absence of the parent...”)
The administration predicted last winter that, in the absence of their “stimulus” medicine, unemployment would rise to nine percent sometime next year, and that with it, it would peak at eight and start to drop this summer. Well, the contents of the bottle from the traveling Obama/Reid/Pelosi medicine show turned out to be arsenic, because unemployment is already at 9.4% and it’s not even summer yet. The patient is showing a “poor tolerance of the treatment.”
As Rahm Emmanuel said, Obama and the Democrats are trying not to waste a good crisis. They're using the opportunity to ruin the economy, in the hopes, strange as it sounds, of solidifying their hold on power. It's the recipe Franklin D. Roosevelt used, and it worked fantastically well for him. The question will not be, which policies facilitated our economic decline? The question will be, simply, which party gets the blame? With the entire news media in the tank for BO, do you think they'll have any trouble portraying Bush as the bad guy in all this? It's the Democrats' m.o., as Hoover was demonized for generations. In a bad economy, people depend more on the government, not less -- all the better for the party of Big Government. If that kid is allowed to go out and play, Mommy Dearest won't be able to show how needed she really is. So when the private sector starts standing up, wobbly but game, saying he feels much better, expect the government to kick his feet out from under it and explain how delusional he is, and how this only proves how sick he really is -- "Now, go back to bed and take your medicine!"
I used to think our Democratic leaders were mistaken and misguided, but well-intentioned. I no longer believe that. I think they know what they're trying to accomplish. The question is, will we let them?