The Weekend Politics Thread Has a Bridge to Sell You

♫ There’s a road, in Oklahoma
Straighter’n a preacher
Longer’n a memory ♫

Yeah, Steve Earle has a song for that.1

In addition to putting to the lie to the conventional wisdom that gifted musicians slide into a sophomore slump after spending their entire lives cutting their first album, Earle used the opening track of his second major label release to tell the full history of Infrastructure Week 2017-??. Ask Earle how he managed this feat in 1987. Your non clairvoyant Weekend Politics Thread host possesses nary a clue.

‘Cause it’s just a road, it ain’t no highway

Mercifully eliding the cloverleafing clusterfuck that constituted feinting toward inning America’s ‘frastucts under Trump, one must confront how the Biden administration’s plan to build back better ran into a surprisingly sturdy brick wall of across-the-political-spectrum resistance to defining “infrastructure” as anything other than streets and bridges. Damnably, even working dams into a bipartisan bill seemed fated to sinking by the Scylla of semantics. You want green energy, broadband and environmental reclamation? Read a dictionary, commie.

I been down this road just searchin’ for the end
It don’t go nowhere, it just brings you back again
Leaves you lonely and cold, standin’ on the shoulder
But you’ve come too far to go back home
So you’re walkin’ on the Nowhere Road

But U.S. senators negotiated. And negotiated some more. Before then again negotiating. Those talks produced a bipartisan framework. Immediately, Republicans cried foul. Democrats forced a vote to, at some later date, allow a vote on the framework. Each GOPer, even those who crankily crafted the proposal, said nay.

Some folks say, if you keep rollin’
And keep it on the yellow line
It’ll take you on the big highway

Everyone but the Biden administration, Senate Democrats, a good chunk of Democrats in the U.S. House, and 99.87 percent of Beltway reporters and pundits predicted this Lucy-and-the-football prank. Back during the first Obama administration, the Republican’s tactic of negotiating in bad faith, winning concessions and ultimately refusing to pass bills cost U.S. residents … well, everything. You will hear some folks never learn. This amounts to self-lobotomizing.

But there’s a toll to pay, if you’re going
The keeper of the gate is blind
So you better be prepared to pay

Most recently, elected Republicans and their Democratic/media abettors disingenuously argue the lack of pay-fors prevents passage of an infrastructure package. This translates to preserving trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy, ensuring tax hikes for middle- and low-income individuals, and, no matter what else happens, spending federal dollars only on drivable concrete and asphalt.

Nuking the senate filibuster curtails much of this maddening madness. That looks unlikely, so the best hope for slouching toward a Bethlehem exit from I-702 rests with budget reconciliation. The WPT would prefer to see the agonistes atone.

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