For the last several months it’s been showing up in Facebook comments and Boehner aides, but you almost never heard it from an actual congressman’s actual mouth until this weekend: class warfare. That’s what the Republican Party is calling Obama’s new jobs/deficit plan, with terrifying synchronization. “Class warfare may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics,” Paul Ryan said on Fox News this weekend. “We don’t need a system that seeks to prey on people’s fear, envy and anxiety.” You can tell the GOP is scared about this, because Paul Ryan is talking. He’s the guy they get to tell the American people stuff we won’t want to hear, and they picked him the same way a carload of drunk frat boys decides who’s going to go knock on the door after they run over a dog. He’s handsome, at least by GOP standards. That’s good, because in this analogy, about 65% of America is the dog.
Yesterday, the US Senate voted on S. 782, a bill to reauthorize and fund the Economic Development Administration. The EDA has been around for forty years and commands a paltry $300 million budget, but S. 782 died in a 49-51 vote due to what The Hill calls “100 mostly nongermane amendments offered by Republicans and Democrats.” What was supposed to be an innocuous or even benign “jobs bill”—and those scare quotes should be taken as extremely frightened—sunk under an accumulation of proposed additions, including amendments to suspend Obamacare, repeal last year’s financial regulatory reforms, block the Department of the Interior from declaring the prairie chicken an endangered species, and abolish the Economic Development Administration. Jim DeMint proposed that last one, and I don’t imagine he did it with a straight face. After much debate and a speech about the importance of Rhode Island’s Gaspee Days, S. 782 died a lugubrious death. It was a hard outcome for the bill’s sponsor, Barbara Boxer (D–CA,) who just that morning opined that “this is a moment we can show we do what we say we are going to do. I am hopeful this bill doesn’t die today.”