While perusing the produce aisle of a grocery store last Saturday, I overheard a woman telling her companion that “Tea Partiers are killing Democrats in Arizona.” She had received a text message from a family member, so she knew her statement to be true, even though the shootings had been in the news for the past hour, and other than the usual media speculation, there was no evidence that any political group was involved.
2010 was a bad one, folks. At year’s end unemployment is barely changed. Small businesses are still struggling. We are so desperate for good economic news that favorable changes in indicators that would have gone unnoticed before the recession bring frenzied news flashes about a recovery.
Mitch McConnell likes to play both sides of the fence. Republicans built their midterm election resurgence on promises to cut spending, and by adopting Tea Party demands for Washington to reverse its course. McConnell sounded agreeable, even resolute, when he assented to a non-binding GOP earmark moratorium:
I have to lead first by example.
This has been a tough year. Unemployment was 9.7% in January. Ten months, billions of dollars, and heaps of undeserved Democratic self-congratulations later, unemployment is 9.6%. Nearly 15 million Americans are greeting the holiday season without a job and with little hope on the horizon for 2011.
Mitch McConnell’s announcement that he would support a ban on earmarks was so fraught with contradictions that it would have been better had he said nothing at all. The GOP Senate leader’s support for a non-binding, two-year moratorium would have turned enough heads without the curious justification that preceded his assent.