Budget Obstructionism: The False Blame Begins

One of our big projects here at Campaign for America’s Future has been tracking the “block and blame” conservative strategy of obstructionism: Republicans exploit all the wiles at their disposal to block the people’s will on the Democratic majority’s most popular proposals, from expanding children’s healthcare to doing right by our over-extended soldiers; then blame the Democrats for not getting anything done. And they rely, as a crucial part of the strategy, on the distortions of a traditional media, bending over backwards so as not to appeal “liberal,” to report skulduggery as if it were business as usual. (Bob Borosage explains that dynamic here).

We’ve just passed a watershed in the most high-stakes part of the plan: the President’s threat to veto the Democrats’ appropriations bills the government requires to keep running for “excessive spending,” while intransigently refusing to negotiate, even even though their difference from White House recommendations often amount to more than a rounding error. (The federal budget is almost three trillion dollars. The amount the President is quibbling over is $23 billion—the cost of two months in Iraq, and less than one percent of the shebang.)

Well, the new budget year begins Monday—and, just as the White House would wish, Jonathan Singer of finds an AP report on the delayed appropriations bills that defines the problem just as Republicans would prefer: “Congress has not completed even one of the dozen spending bills.” The article also takes Bush’s “veto threat after veto threat” at face value (he’s just really, really worried the Democrats’ bills would “break his budget”!), utters not a word on his strategic intransigence, and buries way down in the piece that last year, when Republicans were in charge, the budget process was completed four and a half months late.

Let the blocking and the blaming begin.

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