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White House Cheat Sheet: Battle Lines Are Drawn

President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are the lead salesmen of the economic stimulus package. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The debate over President Obama's economic stimulus plan continues today in the Senate, but the partisan battle lines over the merits of the legislation and its long term effects are already drawn.

On the eve of the vote, five high profile Republican governors -- Mark Sanford (S.C.), Haley Barbour (Miss.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Rick Perry (Texas) and Sarah Palin (Alaska) -- released a series of statements urging their GOP colleagues in the Senate to oppose the bill.

"This stimulus package is a mistake for a whole host of reasons," said Sanford, a champion of fiscal conservatives and the current head of the Republican Governors Association. "It piles debt on top of debt and much of the contemplated spending is not stimulative in nature."

The power move by the quintet of governors (several of whom view themselves as the likely 2012 opponent for Obama) comes as Obama and his surrogates continue to ramp up their efforts to convince the Senate -- and the American people -- of the necessity of quick passage of the stimulus package.

Obama will address the topic in a series of appearances over the next few days including the unveiling this morning of an Economic Recovery Advisory Board (a group that includes the like of General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Obama campaign finance chair Penny Pritzker and labor bigs Richard Trumka and Anna Burger), his weekly radio/YouTube address on Saturday, and his first press conference as president on Monday night -- an event first reported in the Cheat Sheet yesterday.

In remarks last evening before a House Democratic Caucus retreat in Williamsburg, Va., Obama also sounded a more partisan note in regard the stimulus package than he had previously -- perhaps a sign of things to come as the debate over the bill's worthiness plays itself out.

"We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that in eight short years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," said Obama.

New polling by Gallup suggests that the events of the last month have begun to harden partisanship around the issue. A small majority (52 percent) still support the bill's passage while 38 percent oppose it -- numbers essentially unchanged from a January Gallup poll (53/36). But the percentage of Republicans opposing the legislation has jumped from 24 percent to 34 percent favoring the plan has fallen, from 34 percent to 24 percent, as the party has rallied around the idea of holding the line on spending.

The short term focus remains on the Senate where debate over the bill begins again this morning at 10 a.m. Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said that his boss remains "cautiously optimistic" that a vote on final passage will happen tomorrow but if it doesn't he plans to file a motion to shut off debate and move to a final vote -- a showdown that would happen Sunday.

Sked Stuff: Vice President Biden, who has largely stayed out of the limelight through the first few weeks of the Obama Administration, departs for Germany today to attend the Munich Conference on Security Policy or, as the Fix likes to call it, Wehrkundetagung. Biden was picked by Obama for moments like these; the former Delaware senator is entirely at ease on the world stage and fluent in the language of international diplomacy.

Gaggle Gone?: The White House press gaggle -- an informal morning get-together between the press secretary and the media conducted before the daily press briefing -- may be no more. Dana Perino, the last press secretary for former president George W. Bush, struck the first blow, calling an end to the gaggle in September 2008; "I think the original intent of the gaggle was a great one and worked for many years, but the model is just not necessarily the best in a modern era," she told the Post's Mike Abramowitz at the time. The gaggle got its start under Marlin Fitzwater, press secretary for former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Ari Fleischer, who manned the podium in the early days of the Bush (43) Administration, said the gaggle was "unmanageable from the word go" due to the increasing size of the press corps and the constant demand for news. Fleischer added that he initially held the gaggle in his office but on Sept. 12, 2001 moved it to the press briefing room to accommodate the crush of reporters -- a move that may have been the first indication of its eventual demise. The Obama Administration remains undecided about the future of the gaggle although there hasn't been one since the new team took over.

Click It!: Peter Daou -- online genius and the head of Internet strategy for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- penned a rebuttal of our recent post regarding Obama's ability to end-run the media on Huffington Post. "Obama's Internet savvy cannot overcome the [Conventional Wisdom] Machine," writes Daou. "The grassroots infrastructure his campaign built may be able to influence some of the commentary, alter portions of the debate and mitigate some of the effects, but overall, the CW Machine...will grind away and do its business, larger than any one candidate, leader, party or movement." Yes! A vote for the the grinding (plodding?) power of the media -- sort of. We'll take it.

Golden State Gov Primaries: A new survey out of California shows that Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the clear favorite in the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary while the Republican field is wide open. Feinstein takes 36 percent in the Probolsky Research poll while state Attorney General Jerry Brown (the man formerly known as "Governor Moonbeam") places a distance second with 14 percent. Feinstein, however, has not decided whether to run for governor and sharp political observers believe she is likely to take a pass. On the Republican side, former Rep. Tom Campbell takes 15 percent to 14 percent for EBay president Meg Whitman and four percent for state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. The GOP race is widely seen as a two-person affair between the extremely wealthy Whitman and Poizner, a race that makes our Friday Line for the best primaries of 2009/2010. (Check back in this space later today for the full rankings of the best intraparty contests of the next two years.)

Friday Funny: If you don't laugh at this, you don't like swords, QVC or America. (Hat tip to Travis Beauchamp -- the best men's soccer coach in the history of Catholic University.)

DeRose Comes to Washington: Homeland Security Department head Janet Napolitano isn't the only Arizona Democrat heading east. Emily DeRose, the communications director of the Arizona Democratic Party, has signed on to oversee the press operation of the Democratic Governors Association. DeRose will have her hands full with 21 Democrats governorships up in 2009 and 2010 including 10 open seats.

Say What?: "Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban." -- National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions explains the parallels between the Afghan insurgents and the House GOP minority. He later sought to clarify his remarks -- made in an interview with Hotline -- by noting: "I simply said one can see that there's a model out there for insurgency." Riiiiight.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 6, 2009; 5:50 AM ET
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January 6th, 2009

“We are going to ban all earmarks — the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review,”
President Obama


February 5th, 2009

In defense of the Stimulus Bill:
When was the last time that we saw a bill of this magnitude move out with no earmarks in it? Not one.”
President Obama


Posted by: leapin | February 9, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

If this bill is so great, why don't the Democrats want to own it? It's obvious that no politician wants to be muddied by this non-stimulus package!

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 8, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Aren't we just stirring the pot if we haven't read the bill? "

Posted by: wernier |

Isn't that the point. The details of this bill need to be easily accessed by the public,if this is a good bill the people will support it. Let us not make the same mistake as the TARP bill.

Pres. Obama should post all the details of this bill on the web, if everyone could see how the money will be allocated the partisans on both sides would not be able to deceive the public. Give the citizens the information and let them decide what they think.

Posted by: saw1 | February 8, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

We all tried to warn our President Obama that the Republicans don't care for him or being bipartisan. OBAMA will learn the hard way about how messed up the Republicans are.
1. He needs to fire all the Republicans in his cabinet.
2. Fire Robert Gates.
3. Withdraw Judd Greggs nomination
wake up and smell the coffee about how screwed up the Republicans are. One thing i like about the Clintons, is that they did not deal with any Republicans. When President Clinton took office he fired all of them. OBAMA will learn......

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 7, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"Pelosi said. The House's $819 billion stimulus package passed without a single Republican vote for it." So what? Can she pass it in the Senate without 60 votes? She should read the Senate rules. Even senate passed bill cost ~$300, 000 per job creation if President Obama's number of 3 million jobs is correct. CBO says, this bill only creates 1.3 million jobs. If that is correct, each job cost ~ 800, 000 dollars. Is it worth it to borrow that much money for each job from China and pay interest through the lifetime of ours, our children, grad children, great grand children etc?
Now four Republican Governors are opposing the stimulus bill. Question is what they were doing during Bush years? Republican Senate and House members supported every spending bill submitted by the Bush White House without questioning. Such moronic approach to the spending created this economic mess. They did not stood against the policies of leading by the banks to unqualified home buyers. At the very end of the Bush administration, they even supported to give $700 billion borrowed money to the banks including ~$20 Billion for 2008 executive bonuses for the failed economic institutions. When they voted to give $700 billion, they should had some stipulation on how to use the money, which they did not. Of course, Democrats were also supported it. But democrats stood their principle of “tax and spend” party policy.

Posted by: madayilnair | February 7, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

"Pelosi said. The House's $819 billion stimulus package passed without a single Republican vote for it." So what? Can she pass it in the Senate without 60 votes? She should read the Senate rules. Even senate passed bill cost ~$300, 000 per job creation if Prsident Obama's number of 3 million jobs is correct. CBO says, this bill only creates 1.3 million jobs. If that is correct, each job cost ~ 800, 000 dollars. Is it worth it to borrow that much money for each job from China and pay interest through the lifetime of ours, our children, grad children, great grand children etc? More and more economic stimulus will takes the country to bankruptcy. On the other side, these four and other Republican Governors, Senators and Congreemen had expressed the same reservation on spending during the Bush years, we could have a better economy. What were they doing 2000-2008 yeasrs?

Posted by: madayilnair | February 7, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

The bill will be passed and ready to sign by Monday. The Congress likes to do things on the weekends, because people don't pay attention.

I am seeking commentary on my site bailoutfacts.com if you can help me out. I think we're getting The Shaft, part II. (or is it part III or IV?) It's hard to get any factual information about this bill because the Congress ain't talkin'. They're just posturin'. If you can contribute any info or opinion from any point of view it will be appreciated.

BTW, every time I see a photo of that tax-cheating weasel Geithner I cringe. It's a revulsion reaction. Paulson was bad enough.


Posted by: WWWexler | February 7, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody else find it ironic that the top contenders for President and Vice-President for the Republicans in 2012- Palin, Jindal, Perry, Barbour and Sanford- would be issuing statements urging their colleagues to vote against the stimulus package? Personally, I think Obama and the Democrats should drop any pretense of bipartisanship and just run headlong over the obstructionist Republicans. The Democrats have been backing down to them for the last eight years and in many ways since the years when St. Reagan was in office. If the Republicans want to push this country into the abyss, the Democrats should have no part in it.

Posted by: hoosierliberal | February 7, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Iraq war that cost us 1.5 trillion when all costs are added up. President Obama’s money will be spent at home, n President Obama’s stimulus program is 500 Billion dollars less than Bush and Cheney’s ot in Iraq! We never saw Lindsey Graham jumping up and down and pirouetting on the US Senate in protest for that kind of pork. The same goes for John McCain, and other Republican leaders like Kantor, Boehner, Kyle and others. As usual they are misleading American people; under estimating their intelligence by proposing the same fail policies. WE NEED A MULTI TRILLION DOLLAR SPENDING PROGRAM-- MORE SPENDING THE BETTER… What we need is even what President Obama is proposing and more. We should not buy into Republican nonsense, that nothing but tried and failed deadwood of the past. Let’s move America forward into 21st century. This is exactly what FDR has to go save our country during the great depression! We need a multi Trillion Dollar spending package right away. These are terribly drastic times. We need drastic measures! WE MAY HAVE TO NATINALIZE BANKS to separate them from the “good” “bad” and the “ugly” couple of months down the road. There’s 62 Trillion dollars worth “unregulated” insurance instruments called Credit default Wraps. All this is because of poor oversight and blind belief of Republicans have of the marketplace. After all painful evidence we have of all this Republicans wants the same old same old! I saw John McCain mouthing the same nonsense that George Bush did, for eight years. John McCain has to move on and understand the ear of conservative “Tax Cuts” “Small Government” “No Regulation” “Let Marketplace Decides…” politics is over. The debate and the experiment have been ended. Americans have the proof of such policies and practice. But Republican leaders like Kantor, Boehner, McCain, Kyle can’t help but to try selling the same snake oil to us Americans! We know Republicans are holding back America from going forward. Anyone who is concerned about America’s current economic collapse please learn more about how America overcame great depression. President Obama is proposing to do is what FDR did to save our country for disintegration. President Obama is proposing to go even further and lay the foundation in terms of healthcare, infrastructure, schools and universities, research and science, education and jobs, business and industry to prosper and America to lead the world. Who’s holding all this back? Fairly and squarely it is obvious Republicans are holding America from going forward by their narrow-minded, provincial and past based politics. If Republicans refuse to change and adopt themselves to suit America’s future they will be left behind. And that’s already happening!

Posted by: elytis | February 6, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza is a prime example of everything that is wrong with the political media in America. All he "writes" about are micro events and hype trying to pretend like politics is one giant game based on whoever spins the best. The shallowness of his thoughts and comments is shocking. He does not seem to understand that at its core government should be about policy not who won the day or week or whatever crap "The Fix" wants to talk about to make himself feel even more important. He wants to be the next Broder, a hack who doesn't contribute anything of substance and only lowers the political discourse to the level of a teenager.

Posted by: cbcpapa | February 6, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans, with the admirable exception of figures like Collins, Snowe, and Specter, are yesterday's news, married to a fiasco they and their now-departed Chimpanzee in Chief created over many years of arrogant partisanship. The American people sent the message, and the rightwingers trying to act like Obama is now toast are just whistling past the Republican graveyard, all their years of ample plunder now waning. They spent trillions in Iraq, a war based on 100 percent on deliberate lies. We still haven't found the smoking gun, the WMD, and so what of all those trillions, and thousands of lies lost, for the despicable dream of people like Rumsfeld and Cheney? No, history will not judge the Repubs kindly, and they have less than zero credibility on fiscal responsibility. So nobody outside their own loyal echo chamber cares what they think anymore. They are finished, guilty, irrelevant except as culprits in the mess Obama is now trying to address.

Posted by: Plutonium57 | February 6, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Cut my taxes by 50%. Then I can hire the guy to repair my chimney. This helps private enterprise. In the process the government will have less revenue. They can cut spending or layoff people thus reducing the size of our corrupt government. It is preferable to have reductions in the government sector because the private sector is paying their salary and benefits. This is a win-win situation.

Also consider arresting the senate and congress and intern them at Club Gitmo. They are the alpha and omega of our problems.

Posted by: leapin | February 6, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats have handed the Republicans the first huge campaign issue of 2010. By this time next year, when the economy is still stumbling along, Americans will be tired of hearing Obama talk about patience. By then, it will be his fault.

Posted by: kenpasadena | February 6, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Where were these fiscal conservatives when the national debt nearly doubled in the past eight years under George W. Bush? Didn't they consistently argue that deficits don't matter, and that Bill Clinton should have refunded the surpluses to the taxpayers rather than paying down the national debt?

Posted by: jimestw | February 6, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who are Republicans, I urge you to watch this closely.
Think about how your own state, your own county, your own city does NOT need a federal infusion of money.
People living in "Red" states need not worry. Unemployment, for example, is NOT hitting THEM. They are, after all, Republicans and Republicans have brought about the largest period of prosperity that the country has ever seen. You don't need to worry.
I encourage you to petition your Congress-person and your Senator to FIGHT this Recovery Program with every muscle in their bodies. I encourage you to instruct your Senator to filibuster.
Demand that he/she stands in the well of the Senate and read the phone books of all the cities, and towns, and villages in YOUR state and let the Amercian people, as a whole, comprehend that YOU and YOUR state DON"T NEED ANY FEDERAL MONEY for ANYTHING.
Make it strong. Make it passionate. Give your Republican leaders ALL the support they need.
Let them KNOW: Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona....let them know, YOU people are entirely self suffienct and need NOTHING from the Federal Government.
Quit hiding behind the veil of "crises" and come right out and say that you people DO NOT NEED any help from the Federal Government. You will pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps and, by God, so should everyone else.
Get to it, Republicans. Reveal the TRUTH.

Posted by: cms1 | February 6, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

There is little about Republicans today that is not repugnant and shameful. How can a party that has 40% of the seats in the senate tie up so much help for people who really need it. Most of those guys have only two purposes in being in the senate. 1) How can I screw democrats and their President and 2)Can I make myself look "presidential?" Is it not high time that we did away with the archaic rule that it takes 60 votes to stop talking? What happened to the party of Eisenhower and even Gerald Ford? People that my family voted for. I would no more vote for a republican today than I would try to swim the Channel.It's unbelievable what a bunch of scumbags they have become. Especially that McCain who, having lost badly, now will do anything to see this man Obama fail. Despicable!

Posted by: Opa2 | February 6, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

One thing that is clear is that all of you who make a living writing about politics lust for a fight. What would you write about if you couldn't put everything into a simple fight narrative--would you have to understand something about the world? I'm tired of middle-school journalism.

Posted by: rusty3 | February 6, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

we have the usual legislative process happening. we have not skirted that in any way.
i will use a Daschle term here. we ARE seeing the "noise of democracy" in all of this.
however, it is the Senate Repulsives who decided to flood HR1, for stall tactics.

recovery.com (when HR1 is passed) will track it.
right now, use thomas.gov to see the votes on HR1 and what the senate is doing.
quite interesting.
i also suggest visiting www.whitehouse.gov/astrongmiddleclass
to see Vice President's Biden new assignment.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 6, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Call for the vote, Harry.

While you at it, call for the vote on the still pending appropriations for the fiscal year that began October 1, 2008. We are now 4 months and 6 days of operating with a continuing resolution. We are acting like they have appropriated anything, analyzed anything.

Washington hasn't one bit.

No one who invisions paying for all this could possibly support it. Wait til they try to borrow the money to pay for all this or print the money for all of this. Now that they have locked everyone in their 401k losses they are going to inflate the rest of that money away.

Posted by: wjwills7 | February 6, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Sounds as if partisan politics, as usual, are in full force. Republicans are blatant hypocrites to contend they are concerned about big spending bills and high deficits, given the huge spending bills, as well as gargantuan deficits they voted for during the Reagan, Bush I, Bush II presidencies.

President Obama although is trying to follow the misguided strategy of his predecessor in demanding his stimulus bill, as President Bush demanded his bailout bill, be passed urgently, without careful reflection or the usual legislative procedures. The Democrats seem as oblivious to high budget deficits and substantially adding to the national debt as Reoublicans did during the twenty years they occupied the White House since 1981.

There are significant flaws in the stimulus bill, as there were in the bailout bill. Huge government spending is a non-issue to a majority of people though, as it has been since the 1980's. The pervasive attitude among most Democrats and Republicans has been to keep partying, let the kids pay for the bills later.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | February 6, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It would be great for the post to create a page that will talley congressional votes by politician per issue.

Maybe holding them accountable via national newpaper publication will knock out the "I need to set myself up for presidential consideration in 2012" as their key motivation on how they will vote when THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE HURTING HARDER THAN THEY HAVE IN MORE THAN 80 YEARS YOU MORONS!

Something needs to be done and making people hurt so any of you can set yourself upfor personal political gain makes you about as trustworthy and considerate as the former Gov. of Illinois. That kind of motivation proves you are a politician who doesn't care who is hurting just so long as you get yours and you're dirty to the core.

So please, Washington Post, create a page that will help John Q Citizen keep tabs on who is doing what. That way we'll know who to vote out when the time comes and will be able to prove chapter and verse exactly why this man or woman is not worthy to represent their state, much less the country.

What they all need is a big bonfire held at their feet 24/7. No better way to do that to a politician but to let them know you're on top of their every move (and vote) like ugly on an ape. In the past they never thought we did much of that. But I'd say the last election proves otherwise.

So go ahead, stay stuck on stupid while people suffer, you WILL be made to answer for it.

Posted by: MPATL | February 6, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder what Henry Waxman is doing these days?"

He heads up Energy and Commerce now.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 6, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Democrats need to come up with a strategy to punish Republicans for what they've done and what they keep on doing.

I wonder what Henry Waxman is doing these days?

I'd sure like to see some hearings on Bush/Cheney's war crimes.

Posted by: svreader | February 6, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

All the Republicans are now so concerned about future generations, when they didn't give a toss about it during the Bush years when Bush was driving us into this hole. And did you notice how they have religion on taxes now too, paying that is, as long as it is a Democrat, but Sarah Palin, John McCain and Joe the Plumber... well they don't need to be held accountable on their tax issues. And look at Collin's list... increase defense spending by 18-19 billion I believe, but cut food stamps, education, police, pell grants, Head Start. And those tax cuts for the rich folk who have the money to buy homes/cars... and would have bought them anyway... yeah, defense and tax cuts for the rich are more important than food stamps so the unemployed won't starve.

Posted by: goldie2 | February 6, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm not usually one for blaming the media, but I can't see how the MSM can merely report the insane, even laughable attempts at economic reasoning that the GOP has been tossing about this week, without any comment at all noting that the GOP's points make no sense.

Besides, if you had a doctor who took out your lung instead of your tonsils, would you go back to that doctor for a second opinion the next time you needed surgery? Why are we asking the GOP for economic advice, anyway? Are we mad?

Posted by: nodebris | February 6, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Ignore foreign threats and open us up to a predictable foreign surprise attack."

Ok, I'll bite. How could Pearl Harbor have been predicted?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 6, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

you can be pretty sure this stuff will have about the same effectiveness as the FDR policies, that is:

turn a recession into a major depression with big spending lib programs.

Ignore foreign threats and open us up to a predictable foreign surprise attack.

Maybe even get us into a world war ending in nuclear attacks.

start big spending policies that never end and run our grandkids into the poor house.

yep, that's liberalism for ya.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 6, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"And if it DOES work, after all, NO American should be unhappy about that."

Yeah, but Republicans will rationalize it with something ridiculous like saying that the improvement in the economy will be due to Bush's policies coming to fruition. Yes, they do that to explain the growth during the Clinton years. Also, they try to blame the recent crash on the Clinton years.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 6, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill

chuck kraut

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 6, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

1. Legally considered as psychiatrically disordered
a. Considered legally incompetent or irresponsible because of a psychiatric

2. Lacking reasonable thought
a. Showing a complete lack or reason or foresight.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 6, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

godot asks, cogently: "Can even one -- just ONE -- Republican explain why deficit spending authorized by a Republican Congress and signed for by a Republican President was GOOD, while deficit spending authorized by a Democratic Congress and signed for by a Democratic President is BAD?"

I think I can answer the implicit question, but, of course, just as godot suggests, it won't include rationalization, much less explanation, of the specific (and irrational) premise.

The answer is, deficit spending WASN'T good when Republicans did it, and it won't help us when Democrats do it, either. We already live with inflation (even when the government pretends there isn't any) that is a direct consequence of government spending in excess of its revenues. But inflation doesn't HAVE to be a fact of life; its a product of bad policy. I don't believe government spending "creates" jobs... it just moves resources from one activity to another, by fiat... every job that is thus "created" is one LESS job elsewhere in the economy, because the resources to employ someone had to come FROM somewhere... they don't manifest out of thin air.

We are stuck with the bogus stimulus plan, but I don't blame Democrats for that. A terrible Republican administration dug us into a hole, and the current administration has no political option BUT to try something, anything, to get us out. I say let them do it, and if it doesn't work, we (Republicans, others) can run on that in the NEXT election... in the meantime, the Democrats won the LAST election... we should respect that, and let them try their program in good faith.

And if it DOES work, after all, NO American should be unhappy about that.

Posted by: Observer44 | February 6, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Why does Snobama sound so much like a time-share or health club salesman? don't read the fine print, just sign away. and hurry up about it.

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

Sarah Palin opposing the bill? That's some news!

Just please tell her that national economy is very different from pinching penny here and there in her little town.

Posted by: thisworld | February 6, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

How come is it that the Democrats are more willing to be open to most issues than the Republicans? There sure was bipartisanship when it came time for invading Iraq and everytime Bush called for billions of more dollars for the war. Not once was he denied!

Posted by: NOLA59 | February 6, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, now I understand that this has been the plan John McCain had up in his sleeve all along.

1/ acknowledge the defeat frankly
2/ then make things very difficult for Obama just to prove to the people who elected him that they were wrong

Yes, McCain and others. You guys proved that we were wrong. Wrong abut you because we thought you had some common decency and sense. How wrong we were.

Posted by: thisworld | February 6, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

--"It would be selfish to pass a huge stimulus bill for future generations to have to pay, if it wasn't necessary.

Posted by: teerahgood | February 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse "--

I can't get any traction for my plan. It's this: The military based in Hawii doesn't work on Sundays (saves money), then take all the ships in the Pacific Fleet and park them in Pearl Harbor. Maybe something will come up.

I've given up trying to convince people to staff the ships with senators from the south while we wait.

Posted by: DonJasper | February 6, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

--" Mark Sanford (S.C.), Haley Barbour (Miss.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Rick Perry (Texas) and Sarah Palin (Alaska) -- released a series of statements urging their GOP colleagues in the Senate to oppose the bill."--

Ok - How about we slice those states out of the package then? That's 10%. I would've thought that employment was the same in the south as the rest of republic, but if they don't need the money, fine. Of course yankee carpet-baggers will be flooding in, because they need the jobs, but that's another topic.

Posted by: DonJasper | February 6, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Here's a challenge:

Can even one -- just ONE -- Republican explain why deficit spending authorized by a Republican Congress and signed for by a Republican President was GOOD, while deficit spending authorized by a Democratic Congress and signed for by a Democratic President is BAD?

Here's another challenge:

Can even one -- just ONE -- Republican explain what they would do instead, without utilizing the same policies that got us into this catastrophic mess in the first place?

(sound of crickets chirping)

Didn't think so.

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | February 6, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It would be selfish to pass a huge stimulus bill for future generations to have to pay, if it wasn't necessary. If something isn't done what in the world will the future look like can we say Great Depression II. Aren't we suppose to learn from history? I am only 20, I am the future and after reading the bill for myself and not depending on others, applying basic economics like supply and demand thought, and throwing a little history in there like what would FDR do? Im confident that the bill will work. The bill does have its flaws but very little. Republicans weren't so conservative on spending when they started a completely fabricated war in Iraq or when we bailed out huge banks. Now when its time to give American citizens the money they want to hold back and worry about spending? This is a bunch of bull and needs to stop!

Posted by: teerahgood | February 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Did these guys get the OK from party leader Limbaugh before making their comments?

Mark Sanford (S.C.), Haley Barbour (Miss.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Rick Perry (Texas), Sarah Palin (Alaska) add Cornyn (Texas) and we have conservative republican line up for 2012 …. This is truly the party of dead ideas!!

vbhoomes writes February 6, 2009 7:35 AM
“My worst fears have come true, Obama is the 2nd coming of Jimmy Carter….people supporting this bill are the hard core base of the dem party, the rest of us care about not saddling future generations with debt they can never repay…..”

Perhaps cheney/bush should have thought about that when they started flushing $4 BILLION DOLLAR$ a month down a toilet in Iraq and cutting taxes at the same time. It was conservative republican fiscal irresponsibility to invade a country and expect future generations to pay the tab.

Conservative republicans are trying to bankrupt the country so they can eliminates our social security safety net.
Their latest suggestion is to give a payroll tax holiday`so people can spend more dollars on goods made in China.
Then conservative republicans will suggest benefits should be reduced since there are no funds coming in to pay retirees.

Any day now one of their shining stars will again suggest privatizing social security.

Soo vbhoomes perhaps you can elaborate on your beliefs concerning Jimmy Carter.
Is it because he inherited the economic aftermath of the Viet Nam war or Nixon’s wage and price controls?
Check economic records before repeating entertainment talk radio talking points.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 6, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris, thank you for including the funny friday link and links to humerous videos during the week in general. Now I don't have to spend my time sifting through videos on youtube; I have both my political fix and enterntainment needs for the day met with just one webpage.

Posted by: jameshauser | February 6, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

This recovery bill is not being fought over because of what it is. This is totally about power. Cold, mean, power. The Republicans haven't been bipartison for the last eight years and had the power hand. Their fighting is only about power and power to poke and make Obama weaker for later fights. They poke to put themselves in a position for regaining their power Everyone knows that they will eventually agree on a bill. It will take time and the Republicans aim to do damage. This has nothing to do with the bill or a change in the bill. They fights over things that are nonsense and that in the scheme of things without meaning. The only fight is power. We are the losers because every delay costs jobs and money and the economy continues in free fall. Time is lost opportunity. These Republicans are not patriots and do not care about our working people. They never have.

Posted by: lucy2008 | February 6, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans have gone insane. What is the definition? Well, if you keep doing something over and over that harms yourself deeply, then that is insanity. These citizens are so caught up in their cold, mean power struggle, they cannot see the hurricane at our feet. With ease they took us to a war of choice spending a trillion in Treasure and 5,000 US soldiers and 200,000 Iraq civilian deaths, and 2million refugees in Iraq. So easy. They messed up a hurricane that hit New Orleans and are messing up a super of all super economic hurricane by first not minding the economic levees and then by letting the poor die. Here we are these Republicans fight over chicken feed, roosters with their heads cut off and all over power. The hurricane is raging. Each day is time that jobs are lost and the economy spurts to a halt. Republicans wake up and become citizens. This isn't about your. This is about our country and our children.

Posted by: lucy2008 | February 6, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama's big mistake was to say that he wanted to have bipartisanship. This left an opening the size of a battleship for the Republican party to insist on having everything go their way. How are tax cuts going to help people who have no jobs? Tax cuts are incremental small amounts to millions of people who still have no confidence in the economy, and will save the money. Infrastructure projects will create jobs, and fix roads, sewers, bridges, and all of the other things we take for granted.

Posted by: janiak | February 6, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I say lets take a vote and if the republicans vote it down the blood will be on their hands. They just dont seem to get it and this explains why every two years they lose more seats. If their solutions worked they wld still be in majority status.

Posted by: rbprtman23 | February 6, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Numbers from 2005, http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/22685.html

Mississippi - 2nd best rate of return. Received $2.02 for each dollar paid. Ranked 10th in per capita Fed spending.

Louisiana - 4th best rate of return. Received $1.78 for each dollar paid. Ranked 12th in per capita Fed spending.

Alaska - 7th best rate of return. Received $1.84 for each dollar paid. Ranked 1st in per capita Fed spending.

South Carolina - 10th best rate of return on Federal taxes paid. Received $1.35 for each $1.00 paid. Ranked 24th in per capita Fed spending.

Have you seen the little piggies crawling in the dirt?

Posted by: PaxChaosium | February 6, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The republicans and corporations are working to drag us down to the level of a third world nation, with a tiny elite of weatlhy imposing substandard living conditions on the majority of the population.
Due to wealth being taken from the middle class over the last thirty years, the great majority of taxes in 2000 were increasingly paid by the rich.
Over the last eight years, the Bush war and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have forced the economy to be run on borrowed money. The debt is reaching the tipping point.
Selling more treasury bonds isn't an answer.
Something has to give and it won't be the rich.
More tax cuts anyone?

Posted by: seemstome | February 6, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

My worst fears have come true, Obama is the 2nd coming of Jimmy Carter. But even Carter was more compentent than this guy. Only people supporting this bill are the hard core base of the dem party, the rest of us care about not saddling future generations with debt they can never repay. The only people who support this bill are the truely selfish, who only care about themselves.

Posted by: vbhoomes

-Where have you been the last 35 years? Reagan decreed that deficits don't matter and since he was our original Presidential "messiah" it must be true.

I think this stimulus plan sucks as bad as the last one, but at least I'm consistent. We need the SHORT TERM tax cuts (only to lower and middle class) and we absolutely must keep the infrastructure/energy spending in there even if a dime doesn't hit the ground for another 6-9 months. The rest of the congressional BS should be dropped. Our road/bridges/schools are crumbling and in need of attention. Let's direct money to that instead of more bombs.

Republicans haven't cared about the national debt for the longest time....look what happened when they consolidated power. The proof is in their action and not their bloated rhetoric. It was Clinton's push that got the budget in line less than a decade ago.

Posted by: theobserver4 | February 6, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

No battle lines here really. BHO and the American people have won.

In electing BHO and a Dem controlled Congress, America demanded change including a stimulus job package which would -- hopefully -- spare us the fate of Iceland, once the richest country in the world but now in total economic collapse, with new building completely halted and unemployment at 10+ percent. America explicitly voted against the status quo policies of tax cuts for fat cuts, deregulation of our financial markets (which gave free rein to Madoff the Great and mini-Madoffs), and "trickle down" economic theories.

It might be different if the Repubs had developed an alternative stimulus package but they did not; they only argue for return to the 1990s "Contract on America" -- but that's how we got in this mess as BHO reminds us. Of course, some bigoted deadenders like Rush-bo openly admit they "hope Obama fails" exposing themselves as anti-American knownothingists. But in the end Dems and moderate Republicans will pass this bill and start us on the road to recovery.

Further good news: on Bill Press's radio show yesterday, Sen. Debbie Stabenow indicated full support for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine so our licensed broadcast stations cannot be used daily to communicate hours and hours of hate and intolerance. The days of Rush/Ingraham/Hannity nonstop hate blasts may soon be over.

Looking forward to BHO bypassing the media and speaking directly to the American People and the World in prime time on Monday...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 6, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

As a resident of South Carolina, I cannot understand why anyone would listen to the advice of Mark Sanford! If he could tout any economic successes in his own state, maybe. Until that happens, pay no attention to him.

Posted by: pumor | February 6, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Here's your 'debate' CC- the GOP thinks its the Taliban. Seriously. That's their model for 'bipartisanship.'

"The House GOP was having a great week ... until Pete Sessions, their new fundraising director, told Hotline editors his conference was taking its cues from insurgents — like the Taliban.

"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban — I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen seized the opportunity, saying he was "shocked".

“NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions’ remark comparing his own party’s tactics during the economic recovery debate to those of a terrorist group in Afghanistan is truly shocking. While House Republican leaders profess to seek bipartisanship, they are comparing their tactics to the violent tactics used by the Taliban insurgency. NRCC Chairman Sessions should put partisanship aside and join our fight to urgently turn our economy around and get Americans working again.”

Posted by: drindl | February 6, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland, estimated that if the labor force participation rate today was as high as it was when President Bush took office, the unemployment rate would be 9.4 percent". This unemployment of 9.4% reduced to 5~% by simply reducing the tax rate by President Bush. Why Obama wanted to add all kinds of other non-job creating spending to his present economic plan?manixthoughts.blogspot.com

Posted by: madayilnair | February 6, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

My friend Peter Daou is right, CC -- the crushing weight of Beltway Groupthink, the mental paralysis of 30 years of ossified conventional wisdom, as is played out every day in the MSM, unfortunately still dictates public policy.

You yourself have awarded credibility to a group of Republicans making the most abjectly ludicrous claims about the Stimulus bill -- stuff that if you perhaps had any clue about economics yourself, you might refute. But no -- you print it without fact-checking, credulously, allowing them to pretend that there is a 'debate'--when in reality there's one side trying to address the country's challenged and another side jumping up and down screaming and throwing hysterical tantrums because they want Obama to fail. It doesn't matter about this country's future, the only thing they live for is to hate Democrats.

If you'd like to understand something about what's really going on, read your own WaPo today -- look at Steven Pearlstein's column.

Posted by: drindl | February 6, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Who cares what the GOP thinks at this point! Move the bill!

Posted by: dickhealy | February 6, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

If Palin, Barbour, and Jindal don't want Federal money - great. They don't have to take it.

What's ironic about their stance is that Alaska is by far the biggest recipient of Federal aid on a per capita basis. Mississippi and Louisiana are up there as well.

And I didn't hear Barbour and Jindal refusing Federal aid when Katrina hit. I guess those jobs at places like FEMA and the National Weather Service and the Coast Guard aren't real jobs.

Maybe we should shut those agencies down and see how well the Republican-dominated Gulf Coast states do when they fly blind into this Hurricane season.

Someone in the media needs to start pointing out what massive hypocrites the Republicans are. They argue that government spending is bad while they are its chief beneficiaries.

I realize this would require opinion outlets like The Washington Post to start doing real reporting, and that would be hard. But you guys could at least try. Do it just one more time for Martha Graham.

Posted by: choskasoft | February 6, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 6, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps everyone in the Senate should have to take an economics 101 test before voting on this bill. If they fail, they don't get to vote. When you've lost Stephen Pearlstein, you know you've gone too far. Please go read his column today.

Posted by: atlliberal | February 6, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The battle lines were drawn in a tub of peanut butter - made under GOP inspection rules. .............


Posted by: glclark4750 | February 6, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I do hope that Reid makes the GOP vote on this. If they had really wanted to compromise on the plan they could have, but their strategy for 2010 is to be the opposition and pray that in two years time the shine has worn off Obama, and they can sweep to victories in the off year. Historically this isn't a bad bet.

However, the problem with that thinking is that if the economy gets better in anyway shape or form, or even stops bleeding and looks like we are on the up turn then the Democrats will pummel anyone who voted against this bill with their success. People like Susan Collins, Snowe, and Voinovich know this and they don't want to get stuck in the cold. I would bet that in the end 4-5 GOP guys pass a bill that is around 820 billion. Then after the House and the Senate get together the final bill will be 830 billion and Obama will sign it next week.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 6, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

EYES ONLY, TO: President Obama; VP Biden; R. Emanuel; D. Blair; J. Brennan; J. Jones; E. Holder; J. Napolitano; R. Gates; R. Muelller; N. Pelosi; D. Feinstein; S. Reyes

RE: A Torturous Domestic Ops Question for Team Obama



Posted by: scrivener50 | February 6, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

If the battle lines are drawn, then Democrats win. They have more Senators, a President and the House. Since when do the losers set the terms for a surrender? Those five Southern governors who oppose the plan: Who cares?

Posted by: gtoney55 | February 6, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

darn, i always wanted to be a staff flunkie in the press gaggle.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 6, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

5 Governors of 5 states that cling to their inglorious pasts. I'm trying to think of 5 lamer states than SC, MS, LA, TX and AL. Nope. Can't think of one.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 6, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Why do they need to battle anyone? It's all an insider 'done deal'. All of the drama -- pleeez!

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 6, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

My worst fears have come true, Obama is the 2nd coming of Jimmy Carter. But even Carter was more compentent than this guy. Only people supporting this bill are the hard core base of the dem party, the rest of us care about not saddling future generations with debt they can never repay. The only people who support this bill are the truely selfish, who only care about themselves.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 6, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

If you are unemployed or about to be unemployed, don't count on the GOP. They are going to leave you swinging in the wind. All they want is huge tax cuts for rich corporations with overpaid CEOs.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | February 6, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Okay, now I've got the numbers mixed up. I ment to say the number supporting fell from 34% to 24%, not rose from 24% to 34%.

Meh, it's early.

Posted by: theamazingjex | February 6, 2009 6:16 AM | Report abuse

You have your numbers mixed up.

The percentage of republicans opposed didn't rise from 24% to 34%. Rather, the percentage of republicans supporting rose from 24% to 34%.

Posted by: theamazingjex | February 6, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

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