Editor's Note: James Carville, a Democratic strategist who serves as a political contributor for CNN, was the Clinton-Gore campaign manager in 1992 and political adviser to President Clinton. He is active in Democratic politics and a party fundraiser.
James Carville says Rush Limbaugh's new bipartisan strategy could have served the country well in 2000.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On Thursday, Rush Limbaugh, the moral and intellectual leader and most influential person in the Republican Party in the United States, wrote in the august op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, the acknowledged epicenter of right-wing thought, that President Obama should adopt a bipartisan solution to address the president's economic stimulus plan -- or as Limbaugh refers to it, "porkulus."
Limbaugh proposes that because the Democrats got roughly 54 percent of the votes to the Republicans' 46 percent, the stimulus package should be allocated along his definition of ideological lines, i.e. 54 percent towards infrastructure improvement and 46 percent toward tax breaks for Limbaugh and his friends.
He writes, "Fifty-three percent of American voters voted for Barack Obama; 46% voted for John McCain, and 1% voted for wackos. Give that 1% to President Obama. Let's say the vote was 54% to 46%.
"As a way to bring the country together and at the same time determine the most effective way to deal with recessions, under the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009: 54% of the $900 billion -- $486 billion -- will be spent on infrastructure and pork as defined by Mr. Obama and the Democrats; 46% -- $414 billion -- will be directed toward tax cuts, as determined by me."
And he is serious. However much one may disagree with the current "daddy" of all Republicans (Beg to differ? See Rep. Phil Gingrey, who apologized last week for doubting Rush), you have to admire El Rushbo's principled stance and his well-known consistent ideology.
Why surely it seems like just yesterday that Al Gore won the national popular vote in 2000 (and arguably won the popular vote in Florida too).
Limbaugh must have called for the incoming Bush administration to allocate ideas based on the proportion of election returns. I'm sure President Bush and the Republicans in Congress graciously accepted their 49.5 percent share of everything. (Note: We would be much better off right now had this actually happened.)
With 50 percent of the federal government during President Bush's term, Democrats might have reduced the deficit (a truly Clintonista idea). Wall Street might have been more heavily regulated and K Street's lobbyists might not have been running the Capitol. Democrats might have invested money into infrastructure improvements so that bridges didn't collapse or entire cities flood.
We wouldn't have spent $350 million per day in Iraq. Heck, had Democrats been able to control 50 percent of the government from 2000 to 2004, we wouldn't have even gone into Iraq in the first place. There might have been more spending on education and a fully funded No Child Left Behind Act.
It is a remarkable time in American politics when a respected ideologue like Limbaugh can take to a hyperpartisan place like the pages of The Wall Street Journal, and deliver such a consistent message. We Democrats should congratulate Rush on the purity, intellectual integrity, and consistency of his positions.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of James Carville.
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