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Readers Split on Obama's Pitch

President Obama, on the offensive to get his economic stimulus package through Congress, has fired up our Readers Who Comment this morning with an op-ed piece calling for "action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis."

Almost all Post articles about economic stimulus plans -- going back to the TARP -- have brought comments that mostly attacked federal intervention. Today, our readers are fairly evenly divided in their reactions to the president's message or on proposals about how best how to address the economic crisis. It is, for the most part, a much more civilized conversation than the ones engaged on during the presidential election campaign.

Readers debate the value of tax cuts -- a central issue in Congress right now. They attack (or defend) some of the bill's provisions that have been labeled as pork or social programs. Many expressed thanks to the president for taking the offensive. Several suggested he needed to use television too. And there were a few shots at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for excessive partisanship.

We'll start with marknelso, who wrote, "True bipartisanship requires substance, not empty gestures...As far as i can see both sides have been gracious, but there are real differences that in our system of checks and balances will be debated and fought over. I wish you Obama supporters would realize he was elected president not anointed king."

ElrodinTN said, "Thank you for speaking the truth about what got us into this mess, Mr. President. No stimulus bill of this size will come without some waste here and there. And I hope that the Senate whittles some of it out. But the vast, vast majority of it WILL stimulate the economy. Go get 'em."

beeman7 wrote, "Mr President, those millions of us that voted for you and support you are hungry, hungry I say, for you to use the bully pulpit to get this nation on track... TV would be a good thing also. Remind the nation that we put you in charge to lead... You need to tell them how it's going to be. We have your back..."

And svreader added, "Great work. Say it on TV. Your words are powerful, but without your voice and gestures its less than half of what it could be..."

alance wrote, "...If you want to get your agenda passed, you need to find someone better to replace Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. They are abrasive to the extreme and xenophobic. They almost started a trade war. The GOP is not much better, they have a bonehead crybaby."

tom2 said, "This stimulus plan does nothing to address the root problems of the current economic situation and is likely to make it worse. The pure demagoguery of limiting exec pay and bonuses is nothing but a distraction for Democrats whose interventionists banking policies disrupted the normal self regulating balance of mortgage risk on a global scale..."

theunpopulartruth wrote, "...You only get one shot at this, and if you sink the country deep into debt without fixing the economic problems then your presidency will be done as fast as it started. Please focus on immediate, common-sense financial stimulus and save the complex policy changes for later."

JohnCPageIII said, "Sorry President Obama but the campaining is over, and smiles and speeches do the Nation no good... JOBS, just that simply jobs... You Mr/ President, and YOU Congress have failed miserably once again, and this time it isn't TARP, and it's not Bush. IT IS ALL OF YOU..."

jazbond007 wrote, "There were 85 days between election day and the day the House passed the stimulus bill. It has only been a week since then. Each day spent on the bill will make it a better bill. Since there is a trillion dollars of taxpayer money at stake, I think we should take however long it takes..."

jcunn2452 said, "...I fail to see the dire state of affairs that you describe, and even if your description were accurate, I fail to see how many provisions in your 'stimulus bill' provide any stimulus... this bill is simply a package of miscellaneous funding for various Democratic pet causes... If you want to stimulate the economy, cut taxes and deregulate and let the markets work."

dmblum wrote, "This is an excellent illustration of the perferct being the enemy of the good. The plan isn't perfect, but it's desperately needed as quickly as possible..."

anniekegeel said, "Mr. President, you are absolutely right. However, from a European point of view I want to say that I sincerely hope that you will withdraw the 'Buy American'-clause from the stimulus plan..."

grlxxy_my006 wrote, "One fundamental problem right now is certainly that too many people have no jobs or no money. Republican proposals of tax breaks won't help; what is truly needed are jobs."

gitarre said, "...If Obama felt such "urgency" for quick action, why did he present a bill so grossly larded up with far-left pork that even a rookie would have to have known it would get bogged down in the senate ??..."

To which wimprange replied, "...So we should lard it up with the far-right pork that the public has been forcefed for over 8 years? 'Tax Cut Pork for the Rich' that caused the economy to collaps in such a spectacular fashion? And the public soundly rejected in November?..."

hopeftomorrow wrote, "The President's rookie mistake has been to think that reasonable discourse with Republicans would get him anywhere..."

gakrak3 said, "Sorry, but this "Action Americans Need" is better suited to Action we don't need... To sum it up we are looking at a huge Pork barrel Bill that will not help housing or jobs."

RoboFlop wrote, "Mr. President, please stop trying to scare everyone into supporting this bill blindly. We all know that something must be done. However, after passing legislation that gave hundreds of billions to the banking sector, and seeing NOTHING happen, we also know this: What we do next must be done deliberately..."

BMR1 said, "Mr President, if you really want to help the American worker, please end the insane policy of mass immigration to our country, to the tune of 1.5 million per year, and end illegal immigration."

We'll close with two comments, one from each side. I flipped a coin and Honest_Abe comes first in writing, "The Republicans are nit-picking the stimulus plan trying to score cheap political points while the economy is on the verge of collapse. They will eventually pay for these pathetic partisan tactics."

And chod1560equines said, "Is this the real Obama emerging from his cocoon of promises and tales of working with both sides of the aisle? Now in no uncertain language he is asking us to embrace this giant. thousands of pages bill which, even with the limited exposure to us, appears to fulfill the far far left's wildest dreams."

All comments on the President's op-ed are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  February 5, 2009; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Obama  | Tags: Congress, Economy Watch, Obama  
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Next: GOP Stimulus Foes Draw Democratic Comments


The Republicans are no better than a guy who has been caught cheating on his wife who in the interest of saving her marriage made him go to counseling to find a way forward. No matter what he will not admit that he is responsible for what has happened. Sure, he got caught but he only cheated because of her. Now she is the one who is mad because he cheated, and that's the only reason that he's in counseling!

They've got an argument against everything the Democrats want to do, simply because the Democrats want to do it. The real issue here is that the Republicans have no real incentive to do anything together with the Democrats. Maybe the "leadership" here is to give them all plane-tickets back to their home states until they are ready to actually work together and come up with a package.

Posted by: dubya19391 | February 5, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"JohnCPageIII said, 'Sorry President Obama but the campaining is over, and smiles and speeches do the Nation no good... JOBS, just that simply jobs... You Mr/ President, and YOU Congress have failed miserably once again, and this time it isn't TARP, and it's not Bush. IT IS ALL OF YOU...'"

Golly. THAT needed repeating? Really? Then again, I find it car-wreck-fascinating enough to point out, so maybe there’s some kind of Rainman genius hidden in there somewhere...

Posted by: mobedda | February 5, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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