On Wednesday August 26th of this year, I attended a Metro Democratic Club meeting in Louisville, KY. Although the meeting was scheduled as a local candidates meet and greet, the featured speaker was Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth who represents Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District. Even though the meeting was run by one of the most active Democratic clubs in Louisville, the meeting was open to the public. In other words, Yarmuth was there to present what the Democrats had accomplished in the latest session and to take questions from club members.
As a member of the club, I was allowed to submit a written question to the elected officers of the Metro Dems. The elected officers examined the questions and tried to pick questions that were representative of the members’ interests. Limiting the question process to members only was done to prevent any Tea Partiers from showing up and disrupting the meeting.
We all know how much the so called Tea Party is for open and respectful political discussions. . . .
Anyway, as a progressive Democratic voter (translation: a dirty, rotten, ungrateful hippie who is punch drunk from all the abuse heaped upon me by the White House), I was intent on getting my question to Yarmuth. So I shaved, showered, removed my peace paraphernalia, and left my ingratitude at home. Furthermore, I composed a polite question regarding the present dismal economy.
Phrasing a polite question on the economy took a great deal of effort on my part because my ingratitude toward Obama and the Congressional Democrats was doing all it could to surface. It is hard to be grateful for all the splendid legislation that Democrats passed when you are 47 years old, unemployed, uninsured, and homeless (I live with my elderly mother in her home). The last job I had was as a temp for the Census Bureau, and I had just been laid off. As a temp for the Census Bureau, I don’t qualify for unemployment insurance either. But I digress.
So while I pummeled my inner hippie into a stupor, my dispassionate side asked the following: Given the state of the current economy, are the Democrats going to propose another stimulus program based on infrastructure development or a jobs program that focuses on restoring our manufacturing base? With a sense of personal accomplishment (Wow! It feels good to punch a hippie!), I handed in my question and waited.
Well, naturally, a bunch of other folks submitted a similar question (Go figure!), so my question got folded into a question about whether another stimulus or job bills was coming out of Congress any time soon. Yarmuth, obviously expecting this question, proceeded to say that no jobs bill was expected to come of Congress anytime soon.
Oooookay! That sucks!
Yarmuth went on to explain that there are those like himself in Congress who are for another stimulus bill or jobs bill. John went on to cite the usual obstructionism of the Republicans in the Senate as one impediment to another jobs bill. However, he stated that Obama and the rest of his administration simply are not interested in fighting for another economic stimulus or jobs bill.
WTF?! Sorry, but my inner hippie was coming out of his stupor. My inner hippie proceeded to get really rude, and he forced me to shout out from the audience: “John, I’m sorry to interrupt, but can you explain why the Obama Administration is not interested in supporting another stimulus or jobs bill?”
Yarmuth took my rude inner hippie in stride and answered my question. According to John, Obama has surrounded himself with folks like Summer and Geithner who are creatures of Wall Street and believe in Reaganomics! Yarmuth actually used the word Reaganomics to describe Obama economic policy. As long as Wall Street is OK, the rest of the economy should be OK, at least to the brainiacs in the White House.
I was completely stunned by this admission from Yarmuth. Here was a progressive Democrat who was confirming everything that disenchanted liberal bloggers were saying about Obama (i.e., he is a corporate sellout). I just did not expect this comment out of a sitting Democratic Congressman. Obviously, John Yarmuth did not get the White House memo to be upbeat about White House plans/achievements on the economy while you punch a hippie.
Other Highlights from Congressman Yarmuth:
- Yarmuth was a good soldier on the health care reform bill, EXCEPT John admitted that Democrats gave up on single payer way too soon. During meetings to fix the health care reform bill, Yarmuth kept saying to himself, “We wouldn’t have this concern or problem if we just went to single payer.”
- Yarmuth was chagrined to have the dubious honor of Rush Limbaugh’s praise on an issue: Summers and Geithner’s incompetence on the economy. Limbaugh cited Yarmuth as a Democrat who thought Summers and Geithner should have been replaced or never picked in the first place for their respective posts in the Obama Administration.
- Yarmuth was critical of the economic stimulus bill passed in 2009. The stimulus was not big enough to do any good, and it was loaded with way too many tax cuts. In fact, John pointed out that Democrats have gotten no credit for the tax cuts. Most folks received the tax cut as an increase in their weekly take home pay, so the tax cut looked more like a pay raise from employers. Essentially, this was bad messaging on the part of Democrats.
- Yarmuth really does not like Senator Mitch McConnell. He did not go into any details on this matter, but from John’s demeanor you could tell that he was more than sick and tired of McConnell’s obstructionism. Frankly, this was a refreshing change of pace from the usual Washington insider drivel of “my good friends across the aisle” routine.