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White House Cheat Sheet: The Bully Pulpit

President Obama has the benefit of the bully pulpit in selling his stimulus plan. (AP Photo)

Is the economic stimulus plan passed by the Democratic-controlled House last night a much needed boost to a faltering economy or just the latest example of wasteful and unnecessary spending passed by partisan fiat?

That's the fight currently going on between President Barack Obama and House Democrats on one side and House and Senate Republicans on the other.

"This is a wakeup call to Washington that the American people need us to act and act immediately," Obama said in the immediate aftermath of the vote.

House Republicans countered with a press conference of their own in which Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said that "this bill is just not good enough" and insisted that the GOP alternative legislation would be far more effective as a jobs creator.

So, the battle lines are drawn. Who will win?

Political history suggests Obama will ultimately emerge victorious for one simple reason: the president has the bully pulpit.

When a president speaks, the media covers it. Period. And, that phenomenon is even more pronounced when the president is newly elected and as popular as public opinion polls suggest Obama is.

Members of Congress -- particularly when they are in the minority party -- don't. Sure, the House GOP press conference yesterday was picked up by the cable networks but over time Obama is going to get A LOT more of his side of the story told by virtue of his office.

"Obama's popularity makes it exceedingly difficult for House and Senate leaders of either party to seriously push their alternative economic recovery programs," said Neil Newhouse, a prominent Republican pollster and partner in the firm Public Opinion Strategies. "Obama has sucked all of the oxygen out of the air that's needed for any other plan to survive."

Ronald Reagan grasped the power of the bully pulpit and constantly used it to frustrate and beat the Democratic majorities at each turn. Bill Clinton did the same -- utilizing the bully pulpit to overcome the scandals that threatened to end his presidency. George W. Bush used the bully pulpit to make the case for the invasion of Iraq -- a move widely supported by the public at the time -- but saw the power of the pulpit sapped when weapons of mass destruction were never found.

Obama is hoping his use of the bully pulpit brings to mind Reagan (and, to a lesser extent, Clinton) rather than his immediate predecessor in the Oval Office.

Sked Stuff: President Obama, with his wife Michelle by his side, is expected this morning to sign into law the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act," a measure that would make it easier for women to sue companies for wage discrimination. Obama used Ledbetter, an Alabama woman let go from a Goodyear tire plant in 1998, as an example of wage inequity and unfairness of the campaign trail last year and even mentioned her during a debate with Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) last fall.

News Nugget: Obama's first foreign trip will be to Canada on Feb. 17, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced Wednesday. The trip, while not as sexy as a presidential visit to Europe or the Middle East, is White House tradition aimed at reinforcing the close bonds between the two counties. Vice President Joe Biden will leave the country late next week to travel to Germany; he will attend the Munich Conference on Security Policy, a.k.a. Wehrkunde.

Polling Partisanship: Ever wonder what the most Republican state in the country is? The most Democratic? Thanks to a new project by the Gallup polling organization -- known as the "State of the States" -- we have real data to provide answers. (Gallup pooled 350,000 interviews across 50 states to arrive at their conclusions. While the extremes on either side aren't terribly surprising -- Rhode Island is the most Democratic state with a 37 percent Democratic party affiliation edge while Utah is the most Republican state with a 23 percent GOP party affiliation edge -- the Democratic tilt of the country in the 2008 election is eye-opening. By Gallup's calculations, 29 states (and the District of Columbia) had Democratic affiliation advantages of 10 points or more. Of those 29, Obama lost only four -- West Virginia (D+19), Kentucky (+13), Arkansas (+12) and Missouri (+11). Only seven states had Republican party affiliation edges in 2008 -- a daunting prospect for future national GOP candidates -- and a major switch from 2002 when Gallup found "a majority of states were Republican in orientation."

Twitter Time: We'll be twittering White House press secretary Robert Gibbs's daily press briefing this afternoon so if you want to follow our observations and wit (or, as Gawker put it, our "obliterating-the-last-vestiges-of-WaPo's-dignity") make sure to sign up to follow TheHyperFix feed.

Norm Coleman and the Interweb: Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) took to the tubes to continue to make the case that he, and not Al Franken (D), is the rightful senator from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Coleman's idea? Start a website that allows voters to search through contested ballots that were ultimately rejected in the recount process to see if theirs didn't make the cut. Great idea right? Until the site collapsed, according to Coleman's campaign, due to the "tens of thousands of hits" -- the vast majority thanks to a link from the Drudge Report. In case you were wondering, the trial into whether Franken's 225-vote win was indeed a win continues -- slowly.

Just When You Thought You Were Out: With Hillary Clinton's confirmation as secretary of state last week, the family that dominated Democratic politics for the better part of the last two decades began its transition into a more policy-focused life. But, not everyone has moved on. Witness "Nolimits.org", a new online community formed by longtime Clinton adviser Ann F. Lewis and dedicated to "speaking up, sharing ideas and solving problems." (The group's name comes from a line in Clinton's convention speech last summer.) In an email announcing the formation of Nolimits.org, Lewis emphasizes its "non-partisan" mission but the early posts on the site come from prominent supporters of Clinton during the primary campaign including New Hampshire state Sen. Sylvia Larsen.

Say What?: "Frankly, the science is screaming at us." -- Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) during a hearing on global warming that featured none other than former Vice President Al "The Gore-acle" Gore.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 29, 2009; 6:05 AM ET
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I couldn't care less.

Posted by: JakeD | January 30, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Sir, you are and endless source of entertainment. I am laughing to tears.

So tell me again which fake JakeD post you were referring to? That WAS your last point.... but it’s not like you will defend that either.

I am fully aware of your delusions about Obama, and I have already expressed that you could carry them on without my rebuttal. I really don't care what you believe. I use reality to base my judgment, and when I make a statement I stand by it. Weaseling out on half-baked theory that spits in the face of reality? I can’t stand by that. It’s a hit to any intelligent person's integrity. Using arguments like these makes you no better than the politicians and posters you rant about daily.

What you are proposing as an argument against Obama’s swearing in looks something like this:

"I bet you $100 I am going to shoot an 85 on the golf course today."

(When you arrive at the clubhouse, you post a 92)

"I don't have to pay because I wasn't wrong. I really meant shooting an 85 through 16 holes, not 18. I never specified the number of holes. Ha-Ha."

Childish, isn’t it.

So say whatever you want. Reasoning posters will continue to butt heads with you (which gives you great pleasure no doubt) but not I. There are more important things to be done than to continue pointing out the obvious fallacies of a trolling poster. It’s all part of your game. Just don’t think you have everyone fooled, mmkay?

I'm still laughing; and done with you, sir.

Posted by: trident420 | January 30, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse


You haven't "exposed" anything -- many times before the election (and afterwards), I stated that Barack HUSSEIN Obama would not be sworn in on January 20, 2009 -- I do also recall saying that I would leave quietly if he was sworn in. My prediction came true, however. If you don't believe me, ask JRM2. Ergo, I didn't have to leave. INTEGRITY 100% INTACT.


I didn't miss your point. If it's not bare bones SHORT-TERM stimulus, we can't afford it right now. NYC is laying off 20,000 workers, and California is imposing mandatory forloughs. Now is not the time for NEA at all.

Posted by: JakeD | January 30, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Anymore, you need to sign in to post on the boards. There are no fake JakeD's here now, nor would someone with your supposed integrity claim that another's words were thier own, then try to back out once they are exposed.


Posted by: trident420 | January 30, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

This is a stimulus bill to boost economic growth and job creation. This is NOT a bill to enforce a social policy. If the appropriation cannot promote growth or sizable job creation within the first 18 months, it should be booted off the bill.

Kudos to the Blue Dogs who follow their heads and listen to reason. I just cannot believe that the majority of Democrats really think that the average American would handle their family finances the way the Democrats think we should throw money at this crisis.

Are supporters of this bill afraid to vote against reason because it may cast a shadow on Obama? Makes one wonder why they put so much garbage on this bill and then tell us that a decision must be made quickly.

Posted by: pjean | January 29, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, JakeD,

You missed my point (a stunning shattering of precedent, to be sure): NEA money IS stimulus money. The fact that it promotes "culture" and "quality of life" is nice, too. Such subtleties may be lost on you, but never mind. NEA money IS stimulus money. (Gawd! he's got me repeating myself!) . . .

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | January 29, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to remember the last time I heard a sincere, good faith argument in favor of the GOP, and not just some fabricated "may fool two voters and win us the House seat in Punxatawney" argument.

Memory's failing me at the moment.

Perhaps I can play devil's advocate and proffer one.

"The Democratic party tends to favor those at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, but it favors them with poison candy.

"The candy is poison because it rewards the behavior, 'waiting around for the social worker', and implicitly devalues the behavior, 'taking the initiative to get ahead.'"

Unfortunately for Republicans, that argument now seems to point to Wall Street fat cats who've never had trouble paying an electric bill in their life: they're "waiting around for Hank Paulson", and workers and small businesses who never asked the government for a dime were ignored, by comparison, for having "taken the initiative to keep their heads above water."

There's a reason National Review used to be a respectable magazine, and is now a "throw whatever mud you can imagine at the Democrats" rag. There's a reason the Republican posters in these comment boxes are so intellectually impoverished. There's a reason Republicans are now the minority party.

It's hard to listen to Reagan's mantra, "Let's get the government off our backs", and watch replays of the eight years George W. Bush governed this country - six of those years with Republican majorities in the House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 29, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are toast.

Posted by: svreader | January 29, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Leave that for some other bill. This is supposed to be the STIMULUS Bill, not "culture" or "improved quality of life" bill.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

To all who are piling on the NEA as a waste of money:

Putting artists to work actually DOES put money back into to the economy quickly and directly, which is one of the goals of the stimulus package. Those who paint, dance, make music, etc., actually pay rent or mortgages, buy groceries and automobiles, etc. (isn't that amazing, just like the REST of us!). Furthermore, the bureaucracies that distribute this money are usually very lean and ambitious with relatively low overhead (many are spartan!), so more money goes where it really does some good, and very quickly. True, a local theater company doesn't build something you can drive your car on, but the improved quality of life it provides has real value, too. And the NEA allotment is a pittance, you Scrooges!

Full disclosure: my daughter works for a non-profit arts agency (and TRUST ME, she isn't getting rich on her salary!). So am I simply arguing for my (her) self-interest? Level that charge if you must, but the real impetus behind this comment is that fact that I have witnessed directly and also have her testimony about how much good (including REAL economic impact) can be done through artistic activities. So sneer if you must, but you'll be wrong. Besides, some of you Neanderthals can use a "dose" of culture.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | January 29, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Back on topic: Senate GOPers Vow to Fight Stimulus Bill.


Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse


Don't be discouraged or saddened -- you must be thinking of one of the fake JakeD's posts -- because I have my integrity 100% intact.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Apparently 1/100'th of one per cent of every US bailout dollar going for the arts is just too much for philistines of a certain political flavor to stomach.

Keep voting, johannesrolf. The times are changing.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 29, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

50 million for the National endowment for the arts not a job creator? nonsense, artist is a job description, and these folks are hurting too. in the 30s the WPA hired painters, composers, dancers etc.
the murals the painters painted still adorn post offices , schools and other buildings. they are the treasure of our country.

Posted by: johannesrolf | January 29, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD, thanks for a hearty laugh!

(I wrote) "Turns out [JakeD] is a false flag operation, an agent provocateur of the Democratic National Committee, whose mission is to ensure that no sane person ever gives Republicans another hearing."

(You wrote) "I don't think anyone does that anyways."

Posted by: officermancuso | January 29, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

From HuffPo: Professional Obama hater Mark Halperin blames Obama for lack of GOP support for stimulus package.


Mark is entitled to hate our 44th President, a right he has exercised in the extreme, again and again in print as an employee of Time Magazine.

But even as a play-play journalist, Halperin is not entitled to make up his own facts. BHO met with GOP leadership on the package and, with his consent, numerous tax cuts opposed by Dems were inserted in the bill. Despite numerous Dem concessions, not a single GOPer voted for the bill per direction of Boehner and, well, Rush-bo.

HuffPo reports this know-nothing strategy has backfired. Since the tax cuts did not win any GOP votes, Pelosi realizes there is no need to keep them--and they no doubt will be stripped out of the final bill. Plus, the GOPers significantly offered no alternative package, only blather about "trickle down" and tax cuts. And the "0" GOP vote total for the bill tells the public the GOP does not care about economic recovery, but only about fat cats and their private planes and million dollar antique commodes. Not good.

When will Colin Luther Powell or Chuck Hagel step their game up and take the party over from bigoted bloviators like Rush-bo and their media enablers like Halperin? Colin, Chuck, duty calls...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 29, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. Well if you choose to live in that reality, then by all means: go for it. I find it discouraging that someone like you does not adhere to the spirit of the ideology that you profess. I will certainly leave you be, but I will remain saddened by the measure of your integrity.

Posted by: trident420 | January 29, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"Turns out he's a false flag operation, an agent provocateur of the Democratic National Committee, whose mission is to ensure that no sane person ever gives Republicans another hearing."

I don't think anyone does that anyways.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 29, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I've had my staff (of mosquitos - hey, I live in Crisfield, you take the help you can get) investigate JakeD. Turns out he's a false flag operation, an agent provocateur of the Democratic National Committee, whose mission is to ensure that no sane person ever gives Republicans another hearing.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 29, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama was not legally sworn in.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

You promised to leave the WAPO boards if Obama was sworn in as POTUS. I reminded you earlier this month, and you agreed that you had indeed made the statement, and claimed you were a man of your word.

Posted by: trident420 | January 29, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"Say What?: "Frankly, the science is screaming at us." -- Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) during a hearing on global warming that featured none other than former Vice President Al "The Gore-acle" Gore."

I'm a believer in the warming thing, though Gore ranks up there with Biden as one of my least favorite self-promoting gasbags.

The most recent science that I've seen on this topic is genuinely alarming, suggesting that even if we *reduce* greenhouse emissions tomorrow, it will take a millenium for the reduction to affect global temperatures - and *reducing* global greenhouse emissions isn't even on the menu right now, slowing the rate of increase at any point during the next decade would be a remarkable accomplishment.

There's a fine plain-English piece in today's NYT discussing this here http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/the-greenhouse-effect-and-the-bathtub-effect/ or here http://tinyurl.com/d4slmc .

Posted by: officermancuso | January 29, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse


What "promise" was that?

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Did you read? We now have a Father Josh in the White House, and it is not Matthew McConnaughy.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

didn't want to get into it too much there, considering mibrooks posted 2 seperate ideas actually.

well check this out. unemployment stats...
"First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week by 3,000 to 588,000"

that's "rising slightly".....PUHLEEZE

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse


Well said. I wonder what milbrooks gets out of posting these lies. Maybe its for some school project or something.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 29, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

TheBabeNemo - Are you still such a rube, after witnessing your President palling around with a bunch of corporate swine, the same sort that outsource jobs, displace U.S. workers with guest workers, spend millions of dollars of "bailout" money on their offices and reward themselves and their fellow blood sucking ticks with billions in bonuses, you silly fool, you still believe? What a hick! You've been taken for a ride! The same free trade crowd that ran this country into a ditch has Obama's ear, not ordinary working people. The Democratic Congress, no less than the Wall Street scumbags, apparently views the bailout money as some sort of personal slush fund and have hung on it worthless garbage that will gain them campaign contributions (kickbacks!) and wont do one thing to fix the economy.

The peasants in France, Iceland, Greece, Italy, and elsewhere are rioting in the streets over free trade and demanding protectionist laws and an end to this free trade nonsense. I wonder when the people of this country will discover their backbone and follow their lead?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | January 29, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Vice President Joe Biden will leave the country late next week to travel to Germany; he will attend the Munich Conference on Security Policy"

I take it the Germans are being punished for something.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 29, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse


So, $50 million for the NEA is not a big deal when it comes to the federal government, but a $50 million corporate jet for Citibank is the freaking end of the world? I see how that works."

It was pretty ridiculous when the GM owners were chastised for taking corporate jets or whatever to DC. As if that had anything to do with anything.

A major problem with the bank bailout was the complete lack of oversight for how the money would be spent. The jet is one of the consequences. And yes, it is a small consequence. If I were a lawmaker and I felt that the bailout was necessary, that sort of thing would hardly prevent me from voting for it.

Again, I think making a lot of noise about the NEA is smart politics.

Of course, I think it would have been smarter for at least a token Republican faction to have voted for it while still complaining about the NEA. At least they can look bipartisan and claim some moral high ground. And they could still continue to hammer Obama and the Democrats for being wasteful. $50 million is an emotionally charged number, but so is that big fat zero number of Republican voters.

If they keep up this kind of nonsense, it is going to hurt them ESPECIALLY if the economy starts turning around. Yeah, the economy might turn around due to factors outside of the stimulus, but that is not the argument I would want to be forced into making when election day approaches.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 29, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The GOP still seems like the party of Hoover and the Democrats are still the party of the eat-their-own-young. The conservative opposition to the current stimulus proposal appears as united as liberal-moderate support is fragmented. Either the 'stim' package is bad (which means the GOP is right) or the 'stim' package is good (which means Democrats are getting out-PR'd badly). So which is it? Regular people want to know.

Posted by: tuber | January 29, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

gee mibrooks,
it's only day 10

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, JakeD. I’m very disappointed in you. I thought you were a man of your word – but I was mistaken. I figured that even after all the discredited gossip you helped spread on the Washington Post during the election and you would at least be man enough to honor your own promises.

Posted by: trident420 | January 29, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

okay, for all the disconnected youth. you know who you are:

`(ii) DISCONNECTED YOUTH- The term `disconnected youth' means any individual who is certified by the designated local agency--

`(I) as having attained age 16 but not age 25 on the hiring date,

`(II) as not regularly attending any secondary, technical, or post-secondary school during the 6-month period preceding the hiring date,

`(III) as not regularly employed during such 6-month period, and

`(IV) as not readily employable by reason of lacking a sufficient number of basic skills.'

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Bull pulpit is more like it. I voted for Obama the populist who was going to do something about outsourcing and the H1-B visa and find him on the evening news glad handing with the likes of IBM CEO Palmisano and a bunch of other corporate swine who lobby for more H1-B visas and lobby for "free trade". Hey, Barak, we elected you and the other Democrats because you led us to believe that you were going to put some curbs on the free trade train wreck. Keep your promise or resign.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | January 29, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"only 46 in 8 years. there are more criminals already in Barack's cabinet than that.

Posted by: king_of_zouk "

Zouk, time will tell, it always does.

Please now don't tell me because it averaged 6 convictions a year it is inconsequential.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 29, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse


You are saying that LESS than 46 Dems have gone to prison -- was was the count during the Clinton Administratioon -- you are aware that Blago is going to get thrown out of office and into jail soon enough, right?

Posted by: JakeD"

Oh no Jake, I am certain like the morning sunrise that there have been plenty of Democrats who found themselves "guests" of a state or federal government.

I just like keeping Zouk honest. It's not personal godfather, just business.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 29, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

yeppers ...it is called "valuable employment benefit".
Diss on all your employees and such so YOU can have that "valuable employment benefit".
Now, S181 will help stop that.

Well, HR1 increases the EIC.
It repeals the withholding tax on government contractors---but on the flip side, makes them participate in EVERIFY.....hmmmmm
and this one i love
a 5 year carry back for operating expenses.
Does that mean I can have my jet and not pay for it for 5 years?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse


So, $50 million for the NEA is not a big deal when it comes to the federal government, but a $50 million corporate jet for Citibank is the freaking end of the world? I see how that works.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

okay...so far.

they can get rid of the COBRA stuff.
that program does nothing, absolutely nothing. You must pay full premium...who has that now a days, eh?

and HUD....don't know about that Section 8 and native american housing grant part.
When I was involved in HUD, they are so messed up that giving more money won't help. This is where the "following of the regulatory requirements" could be well served.
And Native Americans, albeit- this is where I started my government work and I am partial to; should not be included in the HUD grant section. HUD was not very nice to them throughout the years, and now, increasing that money may not be necessary in self sufficient tribal nations. heck, you don't want a HUD house anyhoos.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are small and getting smaller by the minute....and it shows.

It is absolutely hilarious that not one voted for the stimulus when it was their deregulation and policies that got us into this mess in the first place. If they want to look at pigs they should start with their friends on wallstreet. Ohhhhh I am so over the "Free market capitalism will fix everything" crapola. Should we continue to concentrate wealth into the hands of the top 5%?

This is not something new. Our latest economic crisis is an example of what happens when the top of the country lose all connection to their own working class. Castles in the sky have been made and crumbled before. The rich only care about getting richer, the politicians only care about being elected, and the rest of us are eating very expensive cake on credit.

America...here is a handbasket.

Posted by: StoptheSpin | January 29, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Even Froomkin is in this format now:

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 29, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

what the heck is a "disconnected youth"?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

hey jake
another thing i have noticed.
Under No Child Left Behind, there was money for many different programs that got consolidated into NCLB (10 titles).
HR 1 is extrapolating the programs that NCLB funded (yes, funded to the states and states messed up their own funding)..... and funding them. I like that.
Head Start, After School, and Free Lunches are/were funded under NCLB and states griped and groan about not having enough NCLB money for everything.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse


I don't recall ANY Republican Representative bringing that up, let alone it being one of the "chief" complaints. You try explaining to average America how $50 million OF THEIR MONEY is not a lot though."

I don't know. Perhaps it was just the WSJ (who doesn't necessarily speak for actual lawmakers)

After thirty seconds of googling, I came across this by Boehner which mentions the NEA thing. I guess its debatable whether its a chief complaint.

however, in the article, Boehner complains about several things, one of them being the NEA. The total cost of those things adds up to about 7.5 billion dollars or less than one percent of the stimulus.

That being said, its a smart political strategy. $50 million sure sounds like a huge number, but when you are talking about the Federal Government, $50 million is a rounding error. It's about $6 per American. In terms of policy, it is absolutely meaningless.

But $50 million SOUNDS big. And art isn't considered to be important.

The public is solidly behind the projects that the big chunks of money are going to support. That's why the Republicans don't bring them up. As always, they are relying on the ignorance of the average American. Let's see if that gamble pays off.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 29, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

a good point to consider here in a Senate delay is the fact the pending regulations are still frozen. (love Rahm for doing this)
so the longer senate stalls, the regs won't move either.

i actually think the Repulsives are more angry at the freezing of regs than HR1.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

nope (( big smiles)))

damn, the table of contents is long enough. just to dissect the sections that I may be interested in.
but i will here and there.

senate is going to hold it up.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse


Did you get through all 647 pages yet?

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse


I don't recall ANY Republican Representative bringing that up, let alone it being one of the "chief" complaints. You try explaining to average America how $50 million OF THEIR MONEY is not a lot though.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

46 Repubican politicos who went to prison for corruption, pedophilia, and other assorted crimes which somehow,


only 46 in 8 years. there are more criminals already in Barack's cabinet than that.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 29, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse


You are saying that LESS than 46 Dems have gone to prison -- was was the count during the Clinton Administratioon -- you are aware that Blago is going to get thrown out of office and into jail soon enough, right?

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Did you think he was just "monitoring chatter of terrorists"?? PUHLEEZE

Posted by: TheBabeNemo


Did it ever occur to you that your rabid paranoia may be justified in that you really do need to be confined somewhere you can't hurt yourself or others?

I am still waiting for that first person to demonstrate all the rights they lost. so far - zero. Of course Libs never could count much past that anyway, unless it is taxpayer dollars, in which case they start counting at one zillion and go on.

Easy decision making primer for Libs:

Domestic problem - spend more
international problem - surrender

no thinking required. as it must be.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 29, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Sure, why not include $30 billion for the BORGEN PROJECT to the "stimulus" bill too. At least we wouldn't have to see all these posts on every thread anymore ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"they bear the crimes of the Bush years on their heads.

Posted by: ravitchn

Are you referring to selling pardons - SofS
cheating on taxes - sof treasury
failing school kids - s of Ed
Letting illegals in - s of DHS
Selling senate seat - c of staff
taking foreign contrubutions - Prez

Or were there some other criminals you know?

Posted by: king_of_zouk "

Zouk baby finally get over that massive depression caused by Obama's innauguration, good.

I think in this instance the poster is referring to the roughly 46 Repubican politicos who went to prison for corruption, pedophilia, and other assorted crimes which somehow, failed to really upset the Republican rank and file.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 29, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"$50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts"

I wonder what it means when one of the chief Republican complaints over the stimulus accounts for five thousandths of a percent of the overall package.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 29, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

yes, Scooter.
and the NSA debacle. What a bad mark on Bush.

Baby Bush put a satellite in all your bedrooms--made you believe it was nothing at all. Kept at it and did not care who he stepped on.
Did you think he was just "monitoring chatter of terrorists"?? PUHLEEZE

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I must assume that the NEW definition of bipartisan is when even Democrats won't vote for the bloated splurge.

Is anyone else already sick of all the preachy empty speechifying every day from the annointed one? At some point it is time to shut up and deal.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 29, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

JakeD wrote: "The economy did not tank until the Democrats took over Congress."

Ah yes, another example of the Republican difficulty with the distinction between correlation and causation.

Let me briefly quote Noam Scheiber on this:

"So the Democrats came into office and a housing bubble retroactively inflated and began to pop? Mortgage-backed assets worth trillions less than their stated value just magically appeared on bank balance sheets and in hedge fund portfolios?"

It's a real wonder, whether people who make such an argument are stupid or merely cynical?

Posted by: nodebris | January 29, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

hey, lay off Rahm. He's my new ABSOLUTE FAVORITE !!! I like him alot.

and don't you love it....
President: well, let's see--if no republican votes yes on HR1 in the House, let's throw a cocktail party (which they are obligated to show up because it is a White House invite that you don't say no to)
and have them all squirm in their shoes.
Like "oh crap, i just voted no on the bill and now I have to go to the White House and look him in the face" !!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

they bear the crimes of the Bush years on their heads.

Posted by: ravitchn

Are you referring to selling pardons - SofS
cheating on taxes - sof treasury
failing school kids - s of Ed
Letting illegals in - s of DHS
Selling senate seat - c of staff
taking foreign contrubutions - Prez

Or were there some other criminals you know?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 29, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

hold your horses there ...

this has to go to senate.
and you know what takes place there.
they will stall, throw 103 amendments onto it.
And 3 weeks will pass with nothing but more companies goin' down.

We will see if all that is contained within HR1 really stays in HR1.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Having the Bully Pulpit is always a help, but at the moment an overwhelming majority of Americans simply don't trust the Republicans on economic matters. The Republicans can do whatever they want: only the choir is paying attention. Some people may be suspicious of the Democrats, but they know they don't trust the Republicans. It won't be long until the Republicans are reduced to buying thirty minute blocks at three in the morning on Versus and the Speed Channel to get their message out.

Posted by: caribis | January 29, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

TO: dcraven925

RE: DTV deadline and shut-off of "TV as usual" slated for Feb. 17th.

You are right. The DTV transition was botched by the Bush administration.

But enough House DEMOCRATS defected on the vote to delay the analog TV shut-off to ensure its defeat.

Now the onus is on CONGRESS, and on Team Obama.

If Obama got his stimulus through the House, this DTV delay should have been a cakewalk.

I think Obama can fix this with an executive order to the FCC: Mandate the continuation of "TV as usual" as long as a significant number of Americans would be adversely affected by a near-term shut-off of analog service.

If Congress doesn't okay the delay on the second try, that's what Obama should do.

Another point: a four-month delay won't solve this. It will only push back the crisis. Analog should continue until stations install signal repeaters; the coupon program is fixed; and outreach programs ensure continued broadcast TV service to the elderly, the poor, the physically challenged, and Hispanics.

Team Obama should push for adoption of the Canadian DTV plan, which calls for analog service to continue through Aug. 31, 2011.

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 29, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

$1.2 trillion: Projected federal deficit for 2009.
$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.

Political priorities by the numbers. Read more about it on the BORGEN PROJECT website (borgenproject.org)

Posted by: alenka | January 29, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen finds that 59% fear that Congress and the president will increase government spending too much. Only 17% worry they will cut taxes too much.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Even when they are right about the stimulus nonsense the Republicans will not be believed: they bear the crimes of the Bush years on their heads.

Posted by: ravitchn | January 29, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I am so relieved that the big, ever powerful, all knowing government, led by the braintrust of Pelousy and Reid are here to save the day by simply spending with all abandon. all the pent up Lib desire finally made it into one big giant pig trough of a bill called the pig out.

Any Lib who ever decried bush's spending or deficit should hide themselves in a cave for the next decade.

who in thier right mind could believe that a single individual or two could plan for a recovery of this magnitude with rigid rules sent down from DC from the guy who can't even pick out a dog.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 29, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

A 40-Year Wish List

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."

So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and Democrats in Congress are certainly taking his advice to heart. The 647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic "stimulus," but now that Democrats have finally released the details we understand Rahm's point much better. This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts ...


Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

""In an editorial in Politico, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor says that Republicans can't simply be the "no" party. "

I guess that's all dependent on whether Nancy Pelosi hurts his feelings anymore.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 29, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor (R-VA) gets it. Yes, Eric voted against the stimulus package but at least he gets it. Eric, we like the way you think. We'll have to keep an eye on you.

From HuffPo, excerpt

""In an editorial in Politico, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor says that Republicans can't simply be the "no" party.

At a moment when the country needs our help, it would be a great mistake for the House GOP to turn inward and simply become the party of "no." "

Full article:



Winners this week:

BHO (for the stimulus package passing the House)

Supreme Court (for approving retaliation lawsuits; who says presidential elections don't make a difference?)

Antonio Sabato, Jr. (for "Base2," a great Cox-on-demand fake-Army movie about an undercover Army cop investigating a death squad)

Mrs. Todd Phalin (for extending her 15 minutes of fame into 2009 and for, according to HuffPo, getting an invite to an Alfalfa Club event where she hopes to connect with 44; let's hope it goes better than her (alleged) meet with Duke Ellington Orchestra AA trombonist Gregory Charles Royal)

Eric Holder (for getting approved by the Judiciary Committee)

Eugene Robinson (for, of course, "Where Wright Went Wrong" (he's a permanent winner for that) but for, more recently, a piece explaining why it is dangerous to criminalize and demonize Blago's Illinois political horsetrading)

The Goreacle (all he said would come to pass--has)

Hillarians (for upending Mrs. Schlossberg's bid for the Senate (allegedly, according to NYT's MoDo) and continuing their misguided agenda having nothing to do with helping BHO or the country)


Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins (for a two-page, waaay-over-the-top ode to Tennessee B/ball coach "Mrs." Pat Head today; just as unsettling as Greta's "interview" (if you want to call it that) of Mrs. Todd Phalin); nothing is worse than watching "Mrs." Head scream at, terrify, bully, and humiliate teenagers on ESPN every week, ugh)

Boehner (saying "no" to every BHO/Dem idea is not a recovery strategy, nor is saying "trickle down" and "tax cuts" over and over)

96-year-old Dick Enberg and "Mrs." Mary Carillo (for ruining coverage of the Australian Open for yet another week)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 29, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the poll data is a bit surprising, and rather bleak for the Republicans: none of the "solid Republican" states are actually in the South (as most people would suppose), they are all the big, empty states - Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska being the only four with double-digit Republican advantages. In other words, the Republican strongholds are the places with no people in them.

This bodes ill for the party. It means they may well lost their working minority in the Senate next election (assuming the Democrats are seen as doing well), and may also lose a number of statehouses, which will hurt them in the upcoming redistricting process.

The Republicans are in the unenviable position of having their fate almost entirely in the Democrats' hands: unless the Dems screw up bigtime (admittedly something we are quite skilled at), the Republicans are in for a very long winter...

Posted by: dj333 | January 29, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse


President Obama signs Senate bill 181.
Let's have a cocktail.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Scrivner50 wrote:
The public will suffer if the DTV deadline is not pushed back -- and they will blame Congress and President Obama.

My Comment:
Do you really think that the public is that stupid? The DTV program was established by the Bush Administration and the problems arose under the Bush watch. One of the first things that Obama did was try to fix this. But the Republicans in the House, to date, have refused to go along (and this needed a supermajority vote because of the rules). This would seem to me to be another dagger aimed right at the Republican party.

Posted by: dcraven925 | January 29, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Figuring out what is best for the economy and the American people is going to be a hard and long fought battle, where both sides will most likely end up unhappy in the end. This is how it is with every issue that is linked with politics. People want lower taxes, better health care, better education, less war and they don't want to contribute anything to it, they just want it done. Here is something I think is important to America's well-being as well as the worlds. Global poverty is an issue that could be solved by contributing $19 billion each year (which is far less than the $522 billion spent on the defense budget last year). The Borgen Project (www.borgenproject.org) has some great ideas on how to solve global poverty as well as statistics about it. I urge you to take a look at the site and take a step towards making a difference.

Posted by: cougar_gal06 | January 29, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

If we are going to stimulate the economy we need to do it in sectors that have shows resilience, even in tough times.

There have been several recent reports about wind turbine manufacturers, developers, and related companies shedding jobs as a result of the financial downturn. Specifically, because of the lack of project financing orders are being cancelled. But 2008 numbers show that while the rest of the economy was shedding jobs rapidly during 2008, when the financing was available for projects the renewable energy sector was actually growing jobs.

So we need more money from the stimulus package going to stimulate those sectors of the economy that were performing well, like building solar and wind facilities. This is exactly the type of multiplier the Obama Admin is looking for.

Read more about job growth in the green industry at www.buildbabybuild.net

Posted by: smithenergy | January 29, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

We've got this:
"Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?"
Followed by thus:
"We've had a communist coup d'etat."

I love it.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 29, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Based on recent developments as well as the posts on this board, it's clear that Repukes have been reduced to a sniveling, whining, bleating, mewling bunch of irrelevant losers/

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 29, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"Is THIS the new line?"

No, its been around for a while.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 29, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are making a major mistake.

They're about to learn the true meaning of the word "steamroller"

It couldn't happen to a more deserving group of folks.

Posted by: svreader | January 29, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Actually, when the Republicans were in control of congress, the economy was doing great. The economy started tanking when Nancy and Harry took over."

Is THIS the new line? I thought the Reid-Pelosi cabal was a 'do nothing' congress? If so, then how did they accomplish the task of ruining the economy? Impure thoughts?

Nice try, but this disaster is going to hang around the neck of the GOP like shackles on Marley's ghost. It really doesn't matter that there is a degree of bipartisanship in the economic crash, the fact of the matter is that that the GOP controlled congress from 1994-2006 and the presidency from 2000-2008. The last time the democrats had full control was 1994, when things were great and getting better.

Fair or not (and it's actually pretty fair), this is the Bush recession every bit as much as it was Hoover's depression.

Posted by: problematic | January 29, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse


Good appearance on Today show this morning.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse


If NONE of the $825 billion was going to stimulate the economy, would you still vote for the bill?

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Actually, when the Republicans were in control of congress, the economy was doing great. The economy started tanking when Nancy and Harry took over.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | January 29, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Calling Republicans the scum of the earth is an insult to scum.

Posted by: svreader | January 29, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse


The economy did not tank until the Democrats took over Congress.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Hello...I just want to say something here: If the Republicans had such a great plan, why didn't they come up with it when they had control and Bush was in the White House? It's not like all of our problems just started this month.

Posted by: titan21 | January 29, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Look at the picture with this post. I was wondering why you can always see Obama's tie hanging down under his buttoned jacket. This photo makes it clear why - he doesn't have the belly bulge that keeps many men's ties from hanging down below.
My insight for the day.

Posted by: annieb346 | January 29, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Listen up Republicans:

Your party had it's chance to fix the economy. How'd that work out? Bush and his ilk did nothing.

We must do something, even though I doubt that Republicans see or care about the suffering going on.

So please do us all a favor:
Sit down, shut up and let the grownups be in charge.

Posted by: DownriverDem | January 29, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Divisive Democrats!

They are doing exactly what the Republicans said they would, spending like we've never seen before. They said Obama had a Trillion dollar spending plan to super size the people's dependence on the National Government thereby creating job security for the democrats. These chuckleheads have no moral qualms about destroying the nation just to ensure their dominance... We can surely look forward to more social engineering programs from the democrats like their "fruitful" Fair Housing Act that has caused the world economic melt down... Wow, the CHANGE we really needed!

Posted by: AverageAmerican1 | January 29, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

The GOP (and 11 Democrats) voted against this bill because they know less than $90 billion out of $825 billion would actually go toward short-term stimulus.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"Victorious" as in getting the bill passed (of course the Dems will be able to do that) or actually stimulating the economy (much more doubtful)?

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I give you credit for self-effacingly citing Gawker's mocking post. That said, the first edition of the HyperFix was pretty lame and not up to your usual standard, I was actually a little embarrassed for you. What would be great is a little more substance and a little less silliness.

Gawker will still make fun of you, but their M.O. is to talk trash about everything so there's nothing you can do about that!

Posted by: Venicemenace | January 29, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Geez, its so nice to have the liberal MSM and other liberal commentators so concerned about the health of the Republican Party. According to them, they want the Republican party to go along with this so called stimulas bill so they don't look like obstructionist and have to pay a political penalty. OH PLEASE: What this is about is Political cover for the dems in case this bill is a total fiasco and they can say "Well the Republicans were in on this also, so don't punish us" The Dems and the MSM now have total ownership of this bill. Its sad that you have news organizations totally invested in the Obama administration. What's next, are you also going to ask for a bailout. Might as well because you are already beholden to the dem party.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 29, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The stimulus is less of a battle between Republicans and Democrats then it is an internal struggle with the GOP. They need to decide whether they'll be the obstructionist party of "no" that they slammed the Dems for back in the Delay era, or or if they're willing to compromise on things other than a strict conservative agenda.

Unfortunately for Obama, no amount of cocktail parties will get him more GOP votes.


Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 29, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@ tinyjab40: Do you realize how ridiculous you sound? The markets are manipulated by the very people who put this criminal in office -- Rockefeller, Warburg, Soros, the Federal Reserve bankers, Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, all Bernie Madoffs so to speak. They are his backers budski sorry!
He is bailing them out, under the pressure of martial law. We've had a communist coup d'etat.
Obama is now going to shovel even more billions to his pet causes, things that have NOTHING to do with the economy, and cause further distress while locally, state and federal are trying to raise more taxes on the hapless citizens. Obama is a puppet of the bankers, get that through your head. He's a proponent of World Government which was plain to see during his campaign, and he isn't going to stop any wars either. IN fact your kid may end up in the draft.

I hope you like what you have done to spite a 'the republican party' which means nada since a party or one man has little control over anything.

Posted by: username | January 29, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

it's the bully pulpit with a cocktail.

McCain: got any beer President?
President: yes, but it is not a cocktail. we would like to keep this above the JoeSixPack crowd.
McCain: hell, then make it a "red" beer thank you.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 29, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse




The House this week refused to go along with Team Obama's wise and considered decision to seek a delay in the shut-off of traditional analog broadcast TV signals -- leaving over-the-air TV reception out of reach for an estimated 7 to 10 million American households who need more time to convert to digital TV (DTV).

The government coupon program subsidizing set-top converter boxes for people with older analog sets is backlogged. The so-called "cliff effect" causes digital signals to blank out in outlying areas of a station's coverage "footprint." That means people who have gotten all the right equipment still may not be able to access all their favorite channels.

Among the people most vulnerable to a DTV fiasco are the elderly, the poor, hispanics, and the physically challenged.

Cable/satellite/fiber TV providers are loving this -- because it's driving some viewers who rely on free, over-the-air TV to buy their services, which take care of the technical issues.

And some big telecom companies are loving it, too. They're the ones who want to gobble up airwave spectrum that will be vacated once stations go all-digital.

But there's another constituency that can't wait for the moment that the entire viewing public has to rely on DTV -- those forces who want broadcast television under the thumb of potential censors.

There's also speculation that the new DTV technology can do much more than improve picture and sound quality. There's real concern that the DTV specs, formulated during the Bush presidency, allow for potential warrantless surveillance applications -- although there's no publicly available evidence to confirm that consumer units pose a privacy danger.

The public will suffer if the DTV deadline is not pushed back -- and they will blame Congress and President Obama.

Here are two articles that explain the issues behind the rush to DTV:



Posted by: scrivener50 | January 29, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow, there have been more Democrat scandals uncovered, most connected to Obama, than there are days he's actuallly been in office. Yesterday there were 3 in one day! Pay to Play, sex scandals and more.. even Governor Richardson who I've met many times and would have thought he was the rare decent Democrat.

And of course the first thing he does is pander to Muslims and brag about his Muslim family which was offlimits during the campaign so he could lie to us. (although when he said we had 57 states, that was a dead giveaway he'd studied as a Muslim -- there are 57 Muslim states which is worse than his having said it because he's stupid)

How did we get such corrupt filth in the White House?

Posted by: username | January 29, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

It is not just the bully pulpit. We've lost more than 100,000 jobs this week alone. Meanwhile they are now reporting that rich CEOs got 1.8 billion in bonuses last year. That is the GOP legacy. It speaks for itself. Neither Obama nor anyone else has to tell us what the Republicans have done to us.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | January 29, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Coleman is getting desperate! He pulled similar stunts during the recount....

Re Obama: he will prevail for awhile at least in the battle for media attention. The Republicans were thoroughly discredited in the last election so it's difficult to see many people paying much attention to them in the near-term. Besides, they were in charge for much of the previous 8 years and (rightfully or wrongfully) are tarred with the results....

Posted by: RickJ | January 29, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Actually Chris the Coleman camp faked that website crash.

Posted by: Canonera | January 29, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

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