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Stimulus Spin War Escalates

By Ben Pershing

Who's winning the spin war over the stimulus? Both parties have escalated the fight in the three days since President Obama signed the bill, even as public opinion on the measure -- and Obama himself -- appears to be hardening along partisan lines.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll sheds some interesting light on this subject. The survey found that 53 percent of respondents thought that the stimulus would improve economic conditions, while 44 percent thought it wouldn't. Looking deeper, CNN's polling director says, "Nearly nine in 10 Democrats favored the plan, while three-quarters of Republicans thought it was a bad idea."

Seen in that light, maybe the congressional GOP's nearly complete opposition to the measure isn't so surprising; their constituents are overwhelmingly opposed to the bill. And the partisan split is also growing in opinions of Obama. The same CNN survey found that the president's approval rating among Republicans "dropped from 50 percent in early February to 31 percent now." (Democrats remain pleased with their man, giving him 92 percent approval). A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released yesterday showed a similar trend; over the last three weeks, Obama's approval rating went up 5 points among Democrats, and down 8 points among Republicans.

At the district level, the National Republican Congressional Committee is launching robocalls against 10 potentially vulnerable House Democrats for "voting for nearly a trillion dollars in wasteful spending." But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee points out that, in at least one targeted district, those spending programs highlighted by the NRCC might not be seen as so "wasteful." And in New York's 20th district, where the parties are battling for the seat vacated by current Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), the DCCC is hammering Republican candidate Jim Tedisco for refusing to say how he would have voted on the stimulus bill.

Which party will be proven right in this battle of perceptions? We won't really know the answer until Election Day 2010, but for an early hint, watch the results in that New York special election, scheduled for the end of March.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 20, 2009; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign  
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Comments

Republicans loved the "wasteful spending" by boy-Bush. They are so lost in their ideological cocoon that they'd rather the entire world economy collapse than acknowledge the crisis we're in. The good news is that, even with 75% of Republicans hating America, there are fewer and fewer of them and they're becoming more and more politically irrelevant every day. Why do they hate America?

Posted by: thebobbob | February 20, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat but I am disappointed with the stimulus bill and the mortgage plan. They were done too fast, cost too much, and give too little.

The Fed said our unemployment will stay high until 2011 and the stock market has slid significantly - both a vote of no confidence for the Obama plans.

Worse - two women I work with are losing their homes and cannot refinance - one is over the $75k limit and the other brought over her income. Both are Democrats and both are very unhappy with the Obama plans.

I do not see this as a partisan issue -
it is an Obama issue. He is jet setting to self-promoting campaign style events while his wife splashes her wealth in Vogue then whines about how it was too hard for her to be a working mother.

This is not the change we wanted - it is a repeat of the "worst president ever". Either he turns it around or we will all turn on him as our 401ks evaporate.

To quote another Democrat that I admired "It is the economy stupid".

Posted by: mgd1 | February 20, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans loved the "wasteful spending" by boy-Bush. They are so lost in their ideological cocoon that they'd rather the entire world economy collapse than acknowledge the crisis we're in. The good news is that, even with 75% of Republicans hating America, there are fewer and fewer of them and they're becoming more and more politically irrelevant every day. Why do they hate America?"

We in no way hate America. My grandfather 6 generations back fought in the Revolutionary War. Can you say the same?

What I don't like and will not tolerate is socialism/marxism and communism and that is exactly where your annointed one is taking us. The whole concept of 'redistribution of wealth' comes from Marx and you are either too dumb or too brainwashed to see the truth.

Posted by: AkCoyote | February 20, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Just a quote from today's
post article on the markets:
The disappointment seen this week arose from the market's growing recognition that the Obama administration's multibillion-dollar stimulus and bailout programs are unlikely to turn the economy around anytime soon.


How do you spin that?

Posted by: mgd1 | February 20, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Republicans loved the "wasteful spending" by boy-Bush. They are so lost in their ideological cocoon that they'd rather the entire world economy collapse than acknowledge the crisis we're in. The good news is that, even with 75% of Republicans hating America, there are fewer and fewer of them and they're becoming more and more politically irrelevant every day. Why do they hate America?
**********

great or greatest argument?

voting against an obama bill = you hate america?

to the extent that since november democrats and republicans have swaped rhetorical sides of almost every debate, I think the republicans are winning

who really wants to be married to the "the world is collapsing so we need to pass this bill" argument?

Posted by: dummypants | February 20, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse


Don’t you just love the GOP?

Over the last eight years they’ve put the country almost five trillion dollars deeper into debt; while they wage two wars in the Middle East, at the same time looking to get us involved in more; put five million unemployed people in the streets; while giving Corporations and the upper 1% of the wealthiest of our country essentially a free ride when it comes to paying taxes; and their response to our current situation is that the Corporations and the upper 1% of the wealthiest of our country need a bigger tax cut?

Boy, they must have some incredibly large cojones to drag around every day!

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | February 20, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

The stock market has dropped dramatically
since Obama was elected. The stimulus bill
was put together hastily. Its sloppy and
wasteful. When I heard Obama say "less than 1% is pork" I knew we were in trouble.
1% of a billion IS a lot of money; however,
not even a Penny of taxpayers money should be wasted on pork. Seems like a no-brainer that one of the goals of the stimulus would be creating jobs to rebuild where Katrina destroyed, but what's the story with that?

Posted by: ohioan | February 20, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

It is folly to think that President Obama's stimuli are profligate, precipitous, ill-considered or surreptitious. This economic collapse is entirely due to republican incompetence, period. It is true that congressional Democratic acquiescence followed republican executive leadership, but we had little choice in the matter. After all, we tried killing all the republicans back in 1865 and, frankly, there were just too many of them. When the Nixon & Bushes' 'plumbers' death squads started killing off Democratic leaders (JFK, MLK, RFK, LBJ, Wallace) or framing them (Teddy Kennedy & son) and even turned around and attacked their own more moderate people (Ford, Reagan) with murderous violence, what were we to do then? That's right. We had to wait our turn and forfend, praying to Almighty God for His divine intervention to carry our nation to new shores of safety in competent Democratic hands.

And look where we washed up. These stimulus measures have been on the drawing boards for years. They have been prototyped and road tested. The laws are cleverly crafted, but we are installing our agenda. We admit that. We are going to make it impossible, if we can, to perpetuate republican graft, payola, and venom. Republicans have fought us tooth and nail to prevent our governmental safeguards and regulation, preferring instead the rough and tumble of republican-legalized theft. The slush fund days are over, boys. Your date-rape drugs won't keep the Bushes out of jail forever. You're going down, and we are going to save this economy in the light where all can see how we did it.

Sure, we could save the economy in three months by having the fed buy up artificially weak foreign currencies, securities, property, commodities, etc., to inflate the currency enough to meet and even exceed demand, but we are going to wait for it. We're going to pass everything else we need to drag our country out of this hideous republican horror story to improve economic justice, alleviate human suffering world-wide, and provide a new awakening for human freedom in the world.

Posted by: TogetherinParis | February 20, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

It is folly to think that President Obama's stimuli are profligate, precipitous, ill-considered or surreptitious...acquiescence...murderous violence...graft, payola, and venom...date-rape drugs...

Posted by: TogetherinParis

I had to break out the dictionary on that one. Is that how the socialists in Paris talk? Let me leave you with some cool words. Partisan-party-man, Drama-queen, desperately optimistic, easily coerced, scapegoating, arrogant, presumptuous... I’ll bet you run people off at parties. I'll be your friend :)

Posted by: Liberty_Gazette | February 20, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I think the author is trying too hard to create the impression of an exciting, evenly balanced fight over "who's winning the spin war over the stimulus".

To do that, he cherry-picks the data: only 53% "of respondents thought that the stimulus would improve economic conditions"!

Right, but in the same poll respondents were also asked the straight forward question, "do you favor or oppose that bill?" And as it turns out, the response isn't evenly balanced at all: an ample majority of 60% favors it, and just 39% opposed it.

Moreover, compared with the previous CNN poll on the subject from two weeks ago, the number of those who favor it has gone up from 54% to 60%, while the number of those who oppose it has gone down from 45% to 39%.

So it seems that Obama and the Democrats are winning this debate handily - even as many people, even among those who favor the bill, have little illusions about an immediate improvement of the economy. After all, much of the stimulus is just intended to merely slow the pace of the economic collapse.

Talk of economic improvement is premature: the first thing the bill is intended to ensure is to make the upcoming crisis at least less bad than they otherwise would have been. So the question whether people expect the economy to not just be less bad, but actually improve thanks to the stimulus is really a separate one from whether they think the stimulus is necessary in any case. And on that latter question, the public opinion seems to clearly veer in Obama's direction.

So why did the author not refer to the more obviously relevant question in the poll - do you favor or oppose the bill? I don't know. Maybe because an ample majority in favor makes for a less exciting story? And the DC-based reporters (unlike local media) seem to have bought into the story that the GOP's unanimous opposition was a strategic master move; it will take a while before polls showing the opposite start sinking in I guess.

Posted by: no-itsme | February 20, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't really matter if Republican support went down 8 points because there's only 100 or so Republicans left in the country. Somebody should let them know that when Bush came into office the national debt stood at $5.727 trillion, and when he left it was at $9.849 trillion. Where was all the complaining when this was going on. Now they want to fix everything by giving tax cuts to corporations that produce their products overseas so we can rack up some more debt. I wonder if any of our Republican leaders made it out of the eighth grade?

Posted by: HemiHead66 | February 20, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

When FDR took office in 1933 the Great Depression was at its worst. In his first inaugural he gave his famous "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" speech. That includes the following paragraph that is too applicable to recent business, financial, and government news:

"Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live."

President Obama has signed the stimulus bill into law. That should have ended the political debate over whether or not to pass it. But we still have the Republican Party and others saying that we should not have our confidence buoyed by this act; it will not succeed. Are those statements supposed to help the nation get through the crisis? Such needless negativity does not help restore confidence, and restoring confidence is critical to recovery.

Even in the worst of the Great Depression 3 out of 4 Americans still had their jobs. In the current crisis the nationwide unemployment rate is still much less than that. If all of those start acting scared, hiding their money under their mattresses and cutting down on their spending, the naysayers will have a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Posted by: BTMPost | February 21, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

When it comes to National Finance Money (Power) the Republicans are beginning to show us how far they will go in destroying the Country first; before they let go of the failed ideology that, only they can lead America. The American voters reject this Bushism and so does the the Congress and the American people (majority). In a participatory democracy we either participate as a cheer leader or a cry baby. There are times when we come together for the national good. The Republicans are totally against solving the financial disaster they don't realize they made when power was entrusted to them. We need solutions not distractions for the sake of distraction and raising Hell. The Bush Republicans presided over the financial mess we are in and they could careless. It use to be that the Republicans were the conservatives (wise frugal stewards) of the nations wealth. Today conservative has become a code word anti human me-ism, my way or the highway. The Republicans don't yet realize the majority have them in our rear view mirror. They need to catch up with reality, George Bush is in Crawford Texas.

Posted by: dmscontractor | February 21, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

"The Fed said our unemployment will stay high until 2011 and the stock market has slid significantly - both a vote of no confidence for the Obama plans."

This statement demonstrates either (1) an inability to understand public policy, or (2) a deliberate attempt to mislead.

The Fed also projected that the economy would be much worse without the stimulus. In their analysis they stated that the things that would have made the stimulus that much more effective, would have been to spend more, tax cut less, and give more money to states. Actions the Republicans prevented Obama from putting in his plan. Anyone who has listened to the economic authorities on this issue knows exactly who the blame lies with.

"What I don't like and will not tolerate is socialism/marxism and communism and that is exactly where your annointed one is taking us."

I don't think you hate america. But you do care more about an ideological battle from the 1950s than you care about making sound policy to help Americans who are suffering. America isn't about capitalism or communism, it is about a place where anyone can thrive.

Also, the stimulus isn't about capitalism versus communism. Both sides are capitalist. This is a much more interesting and subtle issue. Can a capitalist economy function well without government regulation? I'm not certain, but the evidence doesn't look good for your side.

Posted by: zosima | February 21, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

You know they say that actions speak louder than words.

The Republican majority during the Bush will have spent $10 Trillion to help the people of Iraq find freedom.(This estimate is according to Nobel Prize Winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.) Yet they won't spend $3 Trillion to help Americans.

I don't think they hate america, but it is pretty clear who they care about most. Apparently, Iraq matters at least $10 Trillion to Republicans than America.

As good capitalists I'm sure we can all appreciate Adam Smiths "Invisible Hand" showing Republicans' true priorities.

Posted by: zosima | February 21, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

It's clear: With friends like Republicans, does the country need enemies? All out for themselves and their own, and act like the rest (majority) of us are just riff-raff. They're the ones who broke this country these past eight years. If they had any common sense or manners, they'd realize it might be time to come up with NEW ideas, or else shut the f- up.

Posted by: LeoDaCat | February 21, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

It is indeed a sorry situation to read some of these posts. It was a tradgety when the stimulus was passed by the Democratic party.
I'm sorry Democrats... True enough you have passed your stimulus. But the joy of the money will quickly evaporate because it is borrowed money that was legislatively stolen from the American citizen. You as a group have done us a grave dis-service, and your foolish actions will not be forgotten. You could have encouraged
Government and people to work and live within their means. Instead, you have encouraged more borrowing and put the whole nation in chaos with debt Democrats continue to create general havoc with our investments and savings...

Posted by: USDefender | February 21, 2009 3:48 AM | Report abuse

As long as obama remembers what the tasks at hand are, he'll be fine. he needs to keep in mind who he's serving - the American people - not old Washington. And he needs to keep his priorities straight, too. This website asks people to post what they think he should be tackling in his first 100 days, and who knows - maybe he'll listen. It's worth a shot anyway. http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/email/email4.cfm?id=200

Posted by: actionashley | February 21, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"I'm sorry Democrats... True enough you have passed your stimulus. But the joy of the money will quickly evaporate because it is borrowed money that was legislatively stolen from the American citizen. You as a group have done us a grave dis-service, and your foolish actions will not be forgotten. You could have encouraged
Government and people to work and live within their means."
-------------------------------------

Where the hell were you for the last 8 years when your buddies ruined the country? Doubling the national debt in less than 8 years for fake wars that dont accomplish anything? Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on defense programs that don't work by the military/industrial complex that is just war profiteering? You should just go away. We don't need anymore "friends" like you.

Posted by: ObamaWins1 | February 21, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, instead of Bush's "illegal" war in Iraq, now we'll have Obama's "legal" war in Afghanistan, and maybe Pakistan! That, of course, won't cost any money, no-one will get killed, we can put flowers in all the gun-barrels! We'll have tax-cuts, free health-care, mass bailouts, free love, an end to the war on drugs, global-warming, the hole in the ozone, and finally will achieve Peace on Earth! You should THANK the Republicans for standing aside and letting Obama and the "democrats" get all the credit for their actions, which they WILL get, very soon!

Posted by: lightnin001 | February 21, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

What all of the "Neo-cons" here seem to be forgetting, as usual, is this financial crisis is of your birth,brought to bear on all of us by your beloved "Fiscal Conservative" ideology.I still havent been able to find one single decision in the last 8 years that in any way was Conservative.And, as a matter of fact, the total opposite is what really happened, unrelenting spending on military, defense, war, war, war.And the larger majority of that money was spent overseas, supporting the "War To Nowhere" at our tax dollars expense,and most of it will never be seen on American soil again.You think Blackwater,Halliburton, or any of the other multi-Billion dollar receiving contractors will ever pay a dime of taxes on that money??Not a chance.So as you beloved GOP Conservancy blew American into irrelevance, fiscally, socially, diplomatically, anything besides the totalitarianism we have been living under cant do any worse.
You all sound as though your happy a few CEO's walk out the door with Millions every year, while the hard working men and women of these same company's are told to make concessions, the cost of labor is killing us, our overhead needs to come down.Getting a Bonus for putting people out of work, taking pay out of peoples pockets, that about sums up your recent version of "Fiscal Conservatism",the biggest LIE ever held by a political Party.

Posted by: mullett | February 23, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

To: TogetherinParis | February 20, 2009 10:04 PM

Now that you've taken the opportunity to blast the Republican party, one of which which I am not, when will you start the attack on the Democrats? I suggest you start with Woodrow Wilson who on his death bed said, "What have I done to my country?" If you don't know what that refers to I suggest you zip it because your fantasies are without merit and... irrelevant.

Posted by: virgilio1 | February 23, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

To: LeoDaCat | February 21, 2009 2:17 AM

Love your insinuation, it's a tribute to your intelligence.

The conditions that led to the current situation are myriad and the fault lies with everyone who failed to realize that the housing industry had nowhere to go but down. There aren't enough folks to buy up the inventory especially at the prevailing prices. You can thank Bill Clinton who in 1999 derailed the Glass Steagall Act which was enacted in the early 30s to help prevent situations such as the current banking crisis. You can thank Bill for signing NAFTA and GAFTA into law thereby eliminating one of the ways our framers created to produce revenue for the Federal government. And you can thank our government for allowing U.S. manufacturers to outsource because they won't reduce capital gains taxes which prevent our people from engaging in competition on a level playing field.
There's a whole hell of a lot more if you can get past the "F" word and concentrate on the obvious.

Posted by: virgilio1 | February 23, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The stimulus bill is an interesting issue, in terms of addressing issues of economic inequality and systemic poverty. The Borgen Project (www.borgenproject.org) has some good info on addressing the issues of global poverty.

Some interesting figures to ponder:
$30 billion USD: The annual shortfall to end global poverty.
$550 billion USD: The annual US defense budget.

Posted by: concernedcitizen111 | February 23, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Partisan-party-man, Drama-queen, desperately optimistic, easily coerced, scapegoating, arrogant, presumptuous." I thought you were trying to descibe Obama; this sounds much more like that frat boy and his puppetmaster Cheney you and your peers kept in office 8 years. For nearly a decade you patted that idiot on the back as he spent us into a national debt that we may never recover from. Spend, spend, spend. The GOP way.
"Democrats continue to create general havoc with our investments and savings..." what country have you been living in the last eight years? Not the USA that's for sure. The democratic party has been essentially powerless as Bush and the GOP worked to bring us to ruin. Wake up!

Posted by: llyndon | February 24, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

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