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I'm watching CSPAN right now and almost every republican is posturing about how Democrats secretly stripped out language from the stimulous bill that would have prevented these AIG bonuses, and they're bragging about how they voted against that bill.  They make it sound as if they were voting against giving bonuses to bailed out executives. And that Democrats were voting for them.  (Never mind it was a major stimulous package to rescue America on the table.)  

But their posturing is much worse than that.  When they imply that their votes would have prevented the bonuses it's a LIE.  Let's expose it.  (More below the fold.)

As everyone knows, Senators Wyden and Snowe had inserted language in the stimulous bill that would have taxed large bonuses for bailoutees, and this provision was stripped out in conference.

As a result, the stimulous bill that passed did nothing to prevent the appalling AIG bonuses that we're all so incensed about.  

Republicans posturing on CSPAN voted against this bill and are implying that if the bill had failed, as they wanted it to, there would have been no big bonuses for AIG executives.  They're implying that something in this bill specifically made it legal to give out the bonuses--as if it wouldn't have been otherwise!

At the moment they're saying it on the floor of Congress but they'll soon be repeating their talking points all over the media:  "The Democrats stripped this language from the bill--and we republicans voted against that terrible bill."

Let's write to the various cable and network news shows to get them to ask the republican talkers:

"If the bill had failed, as you wanted, wouldn't these bonuses still have been legal?  Wouldn't they still have been paid out?" (So you have nothing to brag about in your vote against the stimulous bill.  You did nothing toward preventing the bonuses.)


"Would you have voted for the stimulous bill if the provision on bonuses was in the final version?" (No?  So you would have been directly responsible for this bonus debacle.  Yes?  So now you support programs you've criticized as socialism.)

and also:

"Granted the stimulous bill did not stop excessive bonuses for bailout recipients. What have you done to stop them?" (Nothing. So drop the hypocritical posturing about voting against the stimulous.)

Anyway, I'm afraid that the repubs are going to score some PR points with their "Dems stripped it out of the bill and we voted against that bill" meme.  Please join me in writing to key cable and network news shows to get them thinking about how nothing these republicans did would have prevented these bonuses.  

They should not get any credit in regard to AIG for having voted against the stimulous bill!

Originally posted to Happy Days on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:50 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for calling out hypocrites? (9+ / 0-)

    Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

    by Happy Days on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:51:05 AM PDT

    •  Like it or not ... (5+ / 0-)

      The Dems made a mistake dropping the provision from the Stimulus bill.

      Now, the Repugs own that mistake by voting down the "bonus-tax" bill.

      In the end, nobody cares if you make a mistake. People are mad if you stand in the way of a fix.

      "Self-regulation is to regulation as self-importance is to importance." Willem Buiter

      by Bronxist on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:14:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree - seems to me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Happy Days

        that without the stimulus bill that AIG wouldn't have had the money to pay the bounuses, so there's hole there in the logic.

        Maybe we Dems need to be focusing on doing something about organizations that are "too big to let fail."  That seems to me to a big part of the problem.  No private company should be permitted to get in that position.

  •  Why would the stimulus be used to regulate (5+ / 0-)

    executive pay? Shouldn't that be something placed IN the actual bailout bill?

    You know, some people are like slinkies, they're good for nothin'! But they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.

    by Muzikal203 on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:55:01 AM PDT

  •  Notwithstanding their lies, it WAS stripped out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer, Virginia mom

    and nobody is owning up to it.  We (the Dems) were in charge of the process, right?  The Post today says the WH and Treasury were not informed by the Federal Reserve (hard to believe).  Obama says he takes responsibility.  Could that be because, well, he should be held responsible??  Certainly someone like Larry Summers could have made the strip occur, and since Obama appointed him.....or Geithner, he HAD to know about it, he put the AIG bailout together last Fall.  We Kossacs, who are interested in process and accountability, really should be interested in laying blame, it should be transperent, open, and held accountable.  If someone in our new WH did it, I want to know who that was...don't you?

    It's not whether government is too big or too small, it's whether it WORKS.

    by hcc in VA on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:55:29 AM PDT

    •  No that's counterproductive (5+ / 0-)

      This is insane. We're about to torpedo our one chance of remaking the American economy in an equitable fashion over a paltry $160 million? It's not worth it. Process is not as important as actually fixing things when you're in the middle of a crisis.

      Give me liberty, or give me death!

      by salsa0000 on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:57:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't agree at all. We MUST know WHO was AIG's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        djtyg, NewDealer

        protector and make sure that person has zero influence from now on.  How can you believe otherwise?  We are not being consistent here.  If it were still W in charge, would you not be screaming for someone's head?  Why is an AIG protector roaming around the WH or the Democratic caucus, I think we really need to know...AND to also move on.  We can do both.  If not, then we're covering up.  I mean....can any lobbyist walk into a joint meeting, or, at a copy he gets at home, tear out any amendments he doesn't like?  Don't you want to know that?  I do.

        It's not whether government is too big or too small, it's whether it WORKS.

        by hcc in VA on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:01:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree - and the snarling attack dogs (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hcc in VA, Happy Days

          coming out on this issue suggest there is a vulnerability here that worries me.  We're in this position because someone had a very tin political ear and they don't seem to get it yet.

        •  This all comes down to a flip of the coin (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hcc in VA, Happy Days

          political call.
          Heads or tails would not have been right.  Until it comes to light that heads was called and it landed tails.  Now tails is right?

          Lets say they left the language in and it was retroactive.  Play it out.

          AIG does not pay out the bonuses, gets sued, turns around sue us..........most likely would recover their losses from having been sued and had to pay for legal fee.  Now, we most likely would not only pay for the bonuses, their legal fees, but, also our own legal defense.

          Or, AIG goes ahead and pays out the bonuses, they break a retroactive law and now we are all at the SCOTUS.

          In any case the Republicans were going to make political hay, from any side of the coin.
          Do not forget they OBJECTED STRONGLY to the CEO pay caps.  Strongly.  Now, they are trying to say they would have been for retroactively stripping away pay?  Bull shit!  They won't even vote to tax it.  Or, come up with an idea to get it back.  Give me a break.

          They are going to manipulate reality for their benefit.  We just have to do our best to point out how weak and hypocritical they really are.

          They want to drag out this "we didn't get to read the Bill" argument again.  That argument should hold as much water as the AIG guys "earning" their bonuses argument.  Really Eric Cantor?  You are paid to read bills.  That is what the American people are paying for.  So, maybe you should find a way to better manage your time.  Like get your mug off of the TV and into legislation.  Just saying.

          •  As to the "not enough time to read it" argument, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            we should remind everyone that the Rethugs now have more staff persons per representative than the Dems,and thus, more people to review all bills.  Recall that the Dems allowed them to retain the same staff budget they had before, even though they had fewer seats.  WTF that was about, I don't know.  Also, realize, it IS harder for Rethugs to read bills, because they consider the ability to read and reason as "elitist," don't they?  

            It's not whether government is too big or too small, it's whether it WORKS.

            by hcc in VA on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 12:07:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Why assume it was an "AIG protector"? (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe (just maybe, not definitely, because it's all speculation) someone on the Obama team just wanted to avoid the expense and distraction of lawsuits, probably going all the way to the Supreme Court, from those who had contractual agreements regarding bonuses.  

          They may have been considering the expense of the lawsuits and the possibility of losing, or they may have anticipated a press frenzy about the US government stepping in to abrogate legal contracts (missing, of course, the real PR disaster and press frenzy over bonuses for those who deserved manacles, not millions.)

          Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

          by Happy Days on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:32:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Better that Pres, Obama should fire (0+ / 0-)

        somebody at Treas, look like a tough and no-BS kind of guy, than the GOP should whine about this for weeks. The political damage to the Pres. is getting too bad for him to tolerate-might be time to fire someone.

        Let tyrants fear.-Queen Elizabeth I

        by Virginia mom on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 12:29:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not saying that it doesn't matter that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the provision was stripped out.  It should have been in.

      But do you really want to let the repubs get away with taking credit in this?

      Do you think they deserve credit?  That's the point.

      Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

      by Happy Days on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:58:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And if Geithner goes, this meme sticks (6+ / 0-)

    There's no quicker way than finishing off Obama's credibility with the American people than having us in the base force Obama to make Geithner resign. We can more or less kiss every single item on the progressive agenda goodbye if Geithner goes now.

    Give me liberty, or give me death!

    by salsa0000 on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:56:02 AM PDT

    •  I agree. Calls for his head are (4+ / 0-)

      extremely shortsighted and play right into the GOP's hands.

      •  What if Geithner is responsible? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Virginia mom

        This is my sig line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

        by djtyg on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:02:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What if Geithner actually knows something (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          about how high finance works? What if he saw additional risks in trying to block "bonuses". As I mentioned in another thread, we don't know just what the bonuses were exactly, and performance bonuses are different than retention bonuses.

          Everybody is assuming that these were bonuses for "performance", but they could just as well be rewarding people for not allowing the situation to get worse than it is - in other words, a net positive. We just don't know, and these last 48 hours of wild speculation, calling for Geithner's head, Dodd's head, lobbyists...doesn't show us in a good light.

          Put down the pitchfork and step back....until more clear details about this come out...

          "red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme" - Richard Thompson

          by blindcynic on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:50:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Some Dems can't seem to quit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kat68, soms

        the habit of shooting themselves in the foot.

        I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there really is a dog.

        by rennert on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:18:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How about stupid. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

        by Micheline on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:20:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That is just (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida, Happy Days, MKSinSA, soms

    way to logical for the MSM to comprehend...sorry ;>

    Together we CAN make a difference!

    by cyeko on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 10:56:51 AM PDT

  •  There are two significant political parties in (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djtyg, Libby Shaw, Happy Days, soms

    the U.S. right now:  Progressive Democrats and pro-business DLC Democrats who were part of passing deregulation in Bill Clinton's 2nd term.  The major upcoming battles will be between these two factions.  Republicans have no solutions to anything; they are becoming as insignificant nationally as that guy who finished third in the Lieberman-Lamont Senate race in 2006.

    Barack Obama in the Oval Office. There's a black man who knows his place.

    by Greasy Grant on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 11:01:12 AM PDT

  •  we did strip the language (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, the republicans are making political points stating that democrats took out the language forbidding the bonuses- because they did.

    •  continued (0+ / 0-)

      At the time of the original vote on the stimulus package, there were numerous blogs about the removal of the language forbidding excessive compensation.  supposedly it was to garner republican votes- which never happened.  At the tie it was obvious that the big bonuses wer gonna happen.  Why is anyone surprised?

  •  If they make anything stick from this... (0+ / 0-)

    which I don't think they will, since most people I've talked to (outside of hard-core GOPers) are angry at AIG mostly, its only because Dodd and whoever else was involved actually DID take the language out.

    So, don't blame the GOP for that. If the situation were reversed, Dems would rightfully be trying to stick it to the GOP, which, of course, would not have wanted that in there in the first place.

    The best defense Dems can make is, Dodd (and whoever else) screwed up, but who was complaining about having "non-stimulus" stuff in the stimulus bill?

  •  The GOP wants to pass this off as an Obama mess (0+ / 0-)

    and the media is only too happy to allow them to do it.

    Max Ehrmann (author of Desiderata): Whatever else you do or forbear, impose upon yourself the task of happiness; and now and then abandon yourself to laughter.

    by JoanMar on Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 01:05:32 PM PDT

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