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Finding His Inner Eastwood

The Marine Corps’ 1st Division has a macho motto: “No Better Friend. No Worse Enemy.” President Barack Obama could use a little of that Clint Eastwood-style bravura now as he bargains with Republicans over the stimulus package and tries to establish momentum and credibility for his new administration.

Obama needs to make Washington politicians fear that if they cross him, they’ll pay a penalty. That’s the essence of political power -- the ability to help your friends and punish your enemies (or, to put it politely, those who obstruct your efforts to do the public’s business). All successful presidents have had this ability to inspire respect; most unsuccessful presidents have lacked it.

I have been a fan of Obama’s efforts to create a post-partisan politics that ends Washington’s business-as-usual. But I noted in a column last month: “It's an admirable strategy but also a high-risk one, since the ‘center,’ however attractive it may be in principle, is often a nebulous political never-never land…. it remains an open question whether the Republicans will do more than applaud politely when Obama asks for help.” As it turns out, the GOP isn’t even bothering to clap.

You’d have to say that these first weeks of Obama Nation haven’t gone too well. The stimulus package provided an early test of Obama’s ability to work across partisan lines and do the people’s business. But Republicans challenged the president’s economic policies and seized the initiative from him. Then there was the series of messy tax problems for Obama nominees -- Tim Geithner, Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer and Hilda Solis. It looked like business as usual. And it undermined the core of the message that got Obama elected.

As the president thinks about how to regain momentum, he should study the example of Bob Gates. Gates established himself as a forceful secretary of defense by, to put it simply, scaring people. He fired the secretaries of the Army and Air Force for ignoring the seriousness of problems in their domains. And from that moment on he had the power to make changes that were needed.

In Obama’s case, the power is there -- he has big legislative majorities, he won a solid majority in November, and his popularity has grown since then. But he is still learning how to use it. Post-partisan can’t mean wimpy. Aided by his tough-guy Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Obama needs to find a post-partisan political hammer.

One start would be to scrub the stimulus legislation for any hint of wasteful spending for partisan political gain. Another would be to review pending nominations anew for tax and other problems -- and any suggestion that the old rules of Washington still apply.

But, most of all, Obama needs to tell GOP leaders what he expects, and make clear the political consequences of obstruction. In that sense, the tone of his Post op-ed today was off. The themes were there; what was missing was that Clint Eastwood snarl: Go ahead, Senator. Defy my stimulus program. Make my day!

By David Ignatius  | February 5, 2009; 7:05 PM ET
Categories:  Ignatius  | Tags:  David Ignatius  
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Comments

No Clint Eastwood needed just a REAL stimulus package without the liberal agenda and payback crapola. ONLY 37% (and dropping) of Americans support this onerous package.
The Republicans are the ones with the bipartisan group, they and some reasonable Democrats. The left wing Democrats are all by themselves in LaLa land.
Oh BTW Up your Ignatus

Posted by: ekim53 | February 5, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama has been President for 2 weeks and 2 days. He is a quick study. Especially when he has been defeated, entirely. The lesson is that there is NO WAY to work with the Republicans. There is EVERY WAY to work with the people out here in citizen-land who elected him. I hope, and pray, that his tougher line today signals his willingness to use his political capital, and RIGHT QUICK!

Posted by: cms1 | February 6, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans who cry "pork" are confused, deluded in their last efforts to maintain power in the face of such momentous decisions. They should be ashamed.

Now is the time for investment in America. For investment in the future.

Someone once said

"walk softly and carry a big stick."

As for the whining republicans, they have been shown the carrot, now here comes the stick.

Posted by: RealGdog | February 6, 2009 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Who was that pathetic Republican who said that they are going to adopt the policy of the taliban? Was it Limbaugh the drug addict? Hannity the Insane. Mr sex maniac O'Really? No it was a United States Senator, Sessions. What a evil cabal the Republican's are. They ruined the American economy and now they act like they are the only ones to fix it. What arrogance. Wicked arrogance and the MSM eat it up. How evil are they and lets you know they are in the Republican's back pocket next to the azz they love to kiss. Well David Ignatius at least you are mildly holding silly Republican's to account and speaking truth about the spineless Senate Democrats. Please remove Reid and put in someone who has a pair! When will the Republican's know there will be consequences for not giving the President of the United States what he wants? The American people gave him a mandate and only idiots deny it. Bush sqeaked by in the 04 election and claimed stupidly he had a mandate and not one useless to the American people Republican questioned him yet now the demonically possessed Republican's think just because they can stop all legislation because it takes a 60 vote majority to pass anything they are obligated by stupid partisnship to do so! How heartless can a mind numbing Republican get?

Posted by: JDeter | February 6, 2009 4:46 AM | Report abuse

They've under-estimated Barack Obama before. My money is on the president. Why?

Because the televised sound-bites serve to showcase the players. Some are mean-spirited, obviously wanting the president to fail. Some are stubborn, clinging to the same old failed tactics, and won't try anything new. Some are trying to truthfully represent their constituents. Some are trying to go along but object to what they believe is unnecessary pork. It may be a combination of all of the above but what they say and how they say it is worlds beyond what the president could say or do.

As one of the deeply concerned public, I am of course silently cheering for certain Republican members of Congress who are actually working to try to put together a reasonable compromise, stripping away some of that objectionable pork(I don't like it, either) and providing a clearer focus on what is really needed. I'm impressed with Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. What they are doing makes sense. They're looking good to me.

We've been suffering with hubris and "my way or the highway" for the past 8 years. The public would be less likely to take it from a president who used that as the weapon of choice. But let the debate continue a while and soon we will be saying that our president has been more than provoked. Then he will withdraw the carrot, ride in, and save the day, like any decent superhero. When this president uses the stick, we will be more than ready
for the public whippings. Watch and see.

Posted by: martymar123 | February 6, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

This time, David, you're just plain wrong. Why should he carry the water (and burn his bridges to the GOP) for this flawed, way-far-left creation of Reid and (mainly) Pelosi? The only place he needs to create some fear is in his own house.

Posted by: jayjay9 | February 6, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

If this bill truly reflects Obama's priorities, then I am very disappointed.

If anything, he needs to use that snarl more on the Democratic Reps/Senators, for they took his vision of a stimulus and completely screwed it up.

All involved in producing this bill (and tying to scare the public into supporting it) should be deeply embarrassed. But then again, they are politicians; they have no shame. Most are like Daschle; they resign from govt. (or get booted out) and quickly hop onto the gravy train. The words "disgusting" and "crookedness" come to mind.

And Mr. Ignatius, I don't understand why you enable these people...

Posted by: vivek1 | February 6, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I think your wrong for 2 reasons:

1. He spent two weeks courting the Republicans. If BHO starts spraying people with the normal nastiness, he loses credibility he worked 2 years to gain. He is not being nice to be nice. He has reached out because the Republican attack from the Clinton years deadlocked any reasonable reform and the silent adherence to all things Bush tore our Constitution apart. In substance and in rhetoric, it is time for moderation in part and honest civic participation so that our democracy reforms itself.

2. Why should Democrats fight like Republicans? Republicans shot their own selves in the foot. Lyndon Johnson was a great president (let's not mention Vietnam) because he worked the legislative process. He had his own unique gifts. BHO needs to be straight forward in his method so that Republicans and the media understands what is different about how he conducts the process. The media is led by the Republicans so it's no wonder why the message has been negative for the first 2 weeks of a 220 week presidency. BHO does not necessarily need to work the polls or media opinion to win. He should build on the strengths he had in the election to govern regardless of what Republicans or the media thinks.

Posted by: MGenna | February 6, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter whether you're a Repub or Dem - this bill stinks. At least it certainly isn't going to do what it is being represented to do. I am reluctant to say this, but all I've seen in the last few weeks is "politics as usual" - with a vengeance. Our government is committed to taking decisive action in response to the economic crisis. I just didn't know that the response would be an urgent pork-barrel project. I think they should toss the whole thing and start over again. True, this would delay any response to the crisis. But, I'd rather a solution be late, than completely ineffective.

Posted by: Bosworth2 | February 6, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Could all the people who know with such certainty that "this bill won't work", who don't mind if the states (which by law must balance their budgets every year) run out of money for silly things like Medicaid and schools that are literally falling down, who forget in a few months what $4/gallon gas does to a pinched budget, etc. etc. please clue me as to how to see the future so clearly? Is el Rushbo now suddenly an economic genius? Is lowering taxes on the wealthiest while borrowing trillions from China to pour down a rathole in Iraq (and into the coffers of Halliburton and Blackwater) the way to invest in a longterm economic stability? I beg you, O wise ones who can foretell so surely...I'd like to bet on the World Series next year; if you can predict the outcome of the stimulus bill you must be able to get a trivial thing like baseball right.

Posted by: jprfrog | February 6, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

i'm disappointed by all of them, the president, the congress and business executives.

come on retirement, i'm going ex-pat when it comes 10 years.

Posted by: joel_the_ornery | February 6, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Ignatius exhortation sounds like a call for Obama to be more Reaganesque in style, in which the "Great Communicator" took his pitch directly to the people when thwarted by Congress. That is a risky endeavor as well since selling something to the public requires it to be fairly easily understandable. I don't think the stimulus package fulfills that requirement.

Posted by: edbyronadams | February 6, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

i'm not even sure if we aren't past the time to of "walking softly," we americans voted overwhelming for change; but not change for change sake but for action.

obviously, the gop and blue dog democrats didn't believe us and thought we would not notice when they continued their politics as usual, bankrupt ideology, take care of the wealthy first, small government, fiscally responsible (which of course after the past eight years is such a joke) ways.

as more and more americans lose their jobs, and businesses close, and our very way of life is being threatened as well as our national security, it is time we americans rise up and say, enough is enough. call and/or email every congressman and senator you can and tell them, either get it done, or we will throw you out one way or another!

Posted by: sbvpav | February 6, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Astute as Ignatius usually is, this time he's dead wrong. First, it's not clear that this pseudo-"stimulus" package is Obama's --- it looks a lot more like Dovid Bonior's or Nancy Pelosi's, and it's an anathematic kluge. Second, the Dem leadership in the House and Senate seems to be going out of its way to prevent post-partisanship, both among its own ranks and among the GOP. Third, if BO intends to reform the political paradigm, he can't do it by giving CPR to the old paradigm, "my way or the highway." He's going to need steel inside a velvet glove, but he's going to need the velvet glove.

Posted by: dmh86201 | February 6, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

David, you big goober - "Go ahead, Senator. Defy my stimulus program. Make my day!"

Come on, now. We supposedly elected this guy because he doesn't act that way. I thought you guys in the press hated that about GWB and loved Obama because he lacked a macho swagger gene entirely.

Make up your mind. You wanted a reflexively conciliatory guy in office. Now you've got one. Live with it.

Posted by: ZZim | February 6, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama is no Eastwood. This stimulus package is a turd and everyone knows it.

Posted by: AG11 | February 6, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Please stop associating the names of people who have actually done something with this little, ineffectual metrosexual from Chicago.

Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eastwood - all successful men with actual resumes. All patriots. All love(d) America.

Why would the right give this socialist, racist punk the time of day? Just because you marxists in the press love him does not mean the Americans do.

He has nominated and supported obvious criminals. He has loaded his administration with the detritus of the Clinton administration under the guise of "change."

He is now pushing the bankruptcy of America to satisfy the cravings of every liberal born.

How will 800 billion in waste fraud and abuse create jobs? The problem is that Obama has never created anything in his life and has now promised to put millions of Americans (and who else is anyone's guess) in created jobs. He cannot even staff his cabinet without consorting with criminals - now he will create jobs?

Washington has demonstrated a distinct inability to manage anything (other than their own offshore accounts) no matter who is in office. And now despicable folks such as Frank, Dodd and Pelosi presume to "fix" things.

The only thing they have proven to be able to fix are elections.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | February 6, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Pelosi started challenging Obama even before he was sworn in. Didn't you notice her well-timed sweep of the capitol??
This "Spending Bill", as even Obama is calling as of last night's Dem Rally, is hers. Reid hasn't the cajoles to fight her - so the Republicans are left to do the job!
Problem is Obama wants a big package to pay back his campaign donors, and welfare voters.
Now he has painted himself nto a corner and HAS to get this Spending bill through to preserve his image - and his power!
Too bad - didn't work - honeymoon is over!
What put the last nail in the coffin was his trying to pack his cabinet with tax cheats and lobbyists!
The change Obama brings is Chicago politics instead of Washingto politics :)

Posted by: thornegp | February 6, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

You have to watch the shell game very closely. Republicans have been saying the bill was DOA since Rush Limbaugh told them to.

They have cried and lamented 'pork' about food stamps, unemployment benefits, and medical coverage for children whose parents have lost their jobs.

Now they're still crying pork when the few things they've objected to have been less than 1% of the total..

They're hanging onto the door jamb and screaming bloody murder as an excuse not to vote, like Rush Limbaugh told them to.

Not sure how we can survive as a nation with no stimulus package... China, Germany, Japan, all eagerly looking to make our Green products, are doing stimulus plans...

If we can't get one until we get the last few sick reublicans out of office... then that's what we do.

Posted by: dutchess2 | February 6, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Well...we start with a freeze on all federal funds to their states....and on their salaries.

Some of the republican governers have already shut down their states.

Japan, Germany, China all doing stimulus packages - so we can buy our conversion kits for solar and natural gas from them.

And still they cry and bleat and make a mountain out of a 1% molehill..

For sure, they gotta go the next time around...

Not a single republican statesman in the bunch...not even an ethical or honest one either.

Posted by: dutchess2 | February 6, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Someone said "Walk softly......" I believe that was Teddy Roosevelt

Posted by: susanjm60 | February 6, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I think his speech last night put the Republicans on notice.

I loved the following lines “...the last 8 years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin"; "What do you think a stimulus is? Seriously – it’s spending."; "I found this deficit when I showed up."; "I found this …wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office". Also the line about no matter what you’re driving when you come to a cliff you turn around.

The newscasters want to say he has a "clenched fist". But in his inaugural address he made it clear we would reach across if you opened your clenched fist which the Republicans have not done. He should ignore them and go about the business of governing. That’s why he was elected.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 6, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"One start would be to scrub the stimulus legislation for any hint of wasteful spending for partisan political gain."

Isn't that what the Republican Senators are trying to do? Why encourage and condemn them in the same breath?

The American public thinks this bill stinks. Why on earth would we ask our Senators to support something that we don't?

Posted by: playfair109 | February 6, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The President needs to pubicly embarass the Republicans crying "pork" by pointing out all the Republcans' pork spending.

Cann you say F22 and F35?

Posted by: svreader | February 6, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

President Obama and his team need to be careful about internalizing too much of the campaign rhetoric used by candidate Obama and his team.

The ban on lobbyists is one example; it rules out some former politicians who have cashed in on their public office from places in Obama's administration, and also rules out many talented people who have done some lobbying to make a living and will need to make a living after their government service ends. But the larger question of changing the tone/culture/whatever of Washington is an even more important example of where the campaign rhetoric needs to be left behind.

"Bringing people together" is a great way to solve some public policy problems, just not the hard ones. Solving the hard ones requires knowing what you want and making the other guy give you something to get what he wants. Obama's initial stimulus package was a mistake because he allowed his team to negotiate with itself, stuffing it with tax breaks that they thought the Republicans would find appealing.

I'm not a fan of many tax breaks in this situation, but leave the merits aside for a moment. If you think Republicans will ask for tax breaks in a stimulus package, you leave the tax breaks out until they do. Preemptive concessions never work unless the other side desperately wants a deal, and Congressional Republicans don't. That is what it is. There's no sense complaining about it. Obama's job is to get a bill passed and help the economy, not to make his best effort while not hurting anyone's feelings.

The truth is that the culture and tone of Washington that Obama so wants to change is what it is because it is pervaded with campaign politics -- the very occupation that put Obama in the White House. The things that work on the campaign trail, things like controversy avoidace and uplifting rhetoric, don't work in government, especially not in a crisis situation. Obama thinks of himself as a good guy, and believes that with a little attitude adjustment everyone in Washington can become more like him. He can believe that all he wants, but what will really change the culture of Washington is an effective President who can challenge the culture of the permanent campaign and find a way to get things done in spite of that culture.

I think Obama could be that President if he understood the problem, but I'm not sure he does.

Posted by: jbritt3 | February 6, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi-
Your tone about the shennanigans about the stimulus bill is like the bill itself, big (i.e., angry) but not big enough. A prominent Republican legislator has recently praised the model of the Taliban in developing an insurgency. These are not public servants (I doubt they are even patriotic Americans), but political hacks fighting for domination. Clinton's big failure was not recognizing and countering the real enemy (Hillary started talking about a conspiracy and then shut up).
There is a conspiracy of sorts. People kicked out of power do have meetings to grab it again. The media moguls are right wing as a rule, and tabloid journalism sells anyway. So, by combining typical tabloid trash talk with the worse kind of vile opportunist, momemtum is created to stop any real attempt at change.
Obama should let the dogs out (Carville may be available. Make all these un-American cowards pay for their treachery. They are putting their own interests ahead of the country's, and need to be reminded of it on a local level. Bush's excesses do not make the use of power wrong, but instead remind us of how true checks and balances limit excess. If Obama wants bipartisanship, make it with the Greens or the Libertarians. The Repubs are too set in their ways.

Posted by: doctort | February 6, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

President Obama doesn't understand the mindset of Republicans.
I'm a very srrong supporter of President Obama, but I'm concerned about his ability to deal with implacable foes like the Republicans. I'm specifically worried about his ability to understand that you have to defeat an adversary before you can turn them into a friend.

Otherwise, your friendly gestures just make the other side think that you're a weak idiot who doesn't understand how to negotiate or how to wield power.

That's a sad fact of life when dealing with people who aren't nice people, and unfortunately that includes most human beings and all Republicans.

Posted by: svreader | February 6, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The bill's NOT a stinker, and almost ALL government spending is stimulative. Responsible citizens should examine their thinking. We've been conditioned by the extreme anarchist (yes, anarchist and totalitarian at the same time - a nonsensical combination that we should all reject) right to think that all government spending is pork, all earmarks are bad, and that all tax cuts are good. Get over it.

Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman says it best in the Times. The emphasis is mine.

"Would the Obama economic plan, if enacted, ensure that America won’t have its own lost decade? Not necessarily: a number of economists, myself included, think the plan falls short and should be substantially BIGGER. But the Obama plan would CERTAINLU improve our odds. And that’s why the efforts of Republicans to make the plan smaller and less effective — to turn it into little more than another round of Bush-style tax cuts — are so DESTRUCTIVE.
...

It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge."

Posted by: martimr1 | February 6, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama should spend some time listening to the Lyndon Johnson tapes. The stuff is textbook on how to implement an agenda.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | February 6, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Mr President, take off the gloves.

Posted by: svreader | February 6, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Democrats will repeatedly punish Republicans over the next eight years for doing this, and the American People will go to great pains to give the Republican Party great pain in 2010 and for a long time after that.

Republicans are squandering all the good will President Obama and the Democratic Party have given them.

Democrats were gracious in victory.

We've seen how Republicans respond.

Its time to change our approach.

Its time to take off the gloves.

Posted by: svreader | February 6, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

David,

Two very specific comments:
1. PLEASE stop calling it "Obama Nation." You've fallen for a very nasty frame that was put out there by the author of the book of the same name. I would hope a real journalist would resist this.
2. Exactly what "messy tax problems" are there for Hilda Solis? Ancient back taxes from her Husband's garage? Puh-lease. Please don't lump them all together with Daschle...

Posted by: rbritton1 | February 6, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The Republican leadership just sucka punched President Obama, but I doubt they will get a second chance. Based on his campaign promises he had to try very hard to be inclusive, but now, I agree, he needs to apply the stick. The Republican Party brought us this mess. John McCain and Rush Limbaugh want Obama to fail. They see a political advantage to his failure. Party before country. Most people I know are glad Obama gave working together a shot, but no one will care in the least if he goes on the offensive. We want action. We are talking about our lives, our jobs, our houses, our kids education.

Posted by: tarryh | February 6, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching Sen "john" David Vitter on CSPAN talking about ACORN in relation to the stimulus package. Why is this guy allowed to show his face without someone every day talking about his DC madam HOOKERS? "John" is up for reelection in 2010. This guy was paying for HOOKERS with his senate salary while Katrina was hitting the shore of Louisiana. He was with his HOOKER when Bush and Brownie were flying over over his home state!!! He's a family values conservative!!! Where is his hooker now...some reporter needs to find her AND put her on TV....HOOKERGATE!!!!

Posted by: milkman57 | February 6, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

St. Obama's idea of bi-partisansip is to offer the Republicans nothing but a photo op, no input on the legislation, and expect them to vote for this extreme left-wing spending spree with a smile on their faces. Bi-partisanship, Chicago style. All me, no you.

Posted by: spencer38611 | February 6, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

President Obama needs to politely listen to their stated objections, their eternal whining for more tax cuts, and then start kneecapping those who stands in his way.

Politely.

But with a very large baseball bat.

Posted by: WillSeattle | February 6, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes, an effective President must know when and how to use his power. When to bring down the lighting bolt of Presidential disproval and to bash opponents from the bully pulpit.

But, Obama seems not to know when and how to use power. Real power would have been to tell Nancy and Stenie that the bill they were crafting should not be laden with liberal pork and projects advancing pet liberal projects. Real power would have been to call in a couple Republican moderates at the start and test the waters as to what they wanted in exchange for collaboration. And, then coopt them.

Instead we have a stimulus bill written by a bunch of mental midgets and containing as much, if not more, money for social spending as economic stimulus. No matter of justification and ranting and raving about how irresponsible Republicans are is going to change that reality.

If he wants to be a transitional President, Obama should scrap this deal, go back to the drawing board and put together a real stimulus bill with projects which provide real relief to the unemployed and real stimulus to the working class and not a bunch of condoms and new cars for the Federal government.

Does he have the guts to do that? Probably not because he might be afraid of being criticized for "weakness" and "flip flopping." Here again a man with real power wouldn't be concerned about that.

Posted by: bobfbell | February 6, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

ekim, actually a lot more than 37% favor the package. They also hold the repubs in a much smaller regard. The people want action and they can see through the blowhard lying repubs (CBO report? What CBO report?) Tax cuts work! Like they did for the last 8 years, right? Limit welfare for poor people and wages for auto workers, but don't dare limit the salaries of the bankers and CEOs who are taking our bailout money to prop up their losing banks and businesses that they ran into the ground. Can anyone ever take a republican seriously again?

Posted by: mikel7 | February 6, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed. This stimulus bill is a mess, it needs a lot of work but Obama is telling us "the time for talk is over" and it is time to act. We are being told we have to "do something" and fast. It seems suspiciously like how we got into Iraq, it sounds a lot like Bush. This is an emergency, stop questioning our flawed plan and get on board.

We don't need an economic Iraq. This is scary.

Posted by: TomDaniels | February 7, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs to take a page out of the old "Happy Warrior's" playbook; jauntily run circles around the opposition, whether Democrat or Republican, knowing his supporters will make any recalcitrance pay.

Posted by: mbeck1 | February 7, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What fantasy. Eastwood would never have been a community organizer.

Posted by: deals | February 7, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama has shown us he is a wimp. He needs to learn how to stand up to Nancy and Harry before he can stand up to the Republicans.

Posted by: svmorris | February 7, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Notwithstanding his undeniable ability to teleprompt gullible masses into breathless ecstasy, the fact remains that Little Barry is nothing but a naive left-wing law professor who's got himself into a situation that's just way beyond his depth. You could say the same about the last president, but at least he had sound instincts when it came to protecting the country and preserving free enterprise. Alas, Little Barry is in a league with Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: zjr78xva | February 7, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

"But, most of all, Obama needs to tell GOP leaders what he expects, and make clear the political consequences of obstruction."

Um, just wondering when dissent being the highest form of patriotism and being one of the loyal opposition went out of vogue. Was it November 5, 2008?

Posted by: fresca2 | February 7, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

All of you geniuses who say it won't work - what won't work? What's wrong with it? For pete's sake, as Obama said, it's a stimulus package - you have to spend to stimulate. I would like to see more money to the states because they are in trouble and if their budgets can be propped up, they can spend the money on things that will stimulate the economy and help the people who need help -- all of whom will spend the money. The unemployed, those without health insurance. Also, the states already have infrastructure and other projects they will have to ditch if they don't get money. The compromise to get 3 Republican votes has taken away much of the state money. That is just wrong.

Posted by: minnesotamama | February 9, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama is a couple of steps ahead of all of us. In my own experience "Getting to Yes" as a team takes time and persistence. Be patient and I think we will be led by Obama to a post partisan era where we can again become a model for the world in politics, economics and foreign policy. I like Obama Nation for now.

Posted by: JerryOlek | February 12, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Very good, scrub the stimulus package for wasteful spending, then have Nancy Pelosi replaced as house speaker.

Posted by: johnson0572 | February 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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