Monday, February 09, 2009

And now ... the O'Neill Effect

All politics is local, as Thomas "Tip" O'Neill once so famously put it. Get ready, because the "locals" are speaking out, and the Senate version of the stimulus package is about to wither under the local blistering blast over Senate cuts in state and local spending.

The heavy hand of Republicans — "moderate" and few though they be — is on this Senate bill. More than a third of the $838 billion comes in the form of tax cuts.

And just how might you be planning to spend your tax cut? Stimulating the economy? Planning to build any needed schools? Providing the poor with health care are you?


Don't assume that state and local government officials are the only ones turning out in force to make sure billions for non-federal projects are restored to the final package.

Here in little Hillsdale parents are lobbying for money for new and upgraded schools. The money isn't in the Senate version. Constituencies for alternative energy and state infrastructure construction are making similar noises.

In this community, we voted by a 5 to 1 ratio for Obama. More than a few of us are perplexed by the president's new moderate Republican alliances — and their consequences. What price window-dressing?

I say if the Senate Republicans want to filibuster, let them. And let them pay the political price.

It's called the "O'Neill effect."

It's also called "hardball."

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