Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Why Obama Is Holding Back

Obama with House Democrats

Obama speaking to House Democrats last night. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

What's holding President Obama back from wielding his considerable political power like a club and smashing the Republican congressional opposition to his stimulus package?

Well, less and less these days. Here is Obama speaking to the House Democratic caucus yesterday:

"We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face; that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or falling schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees. I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV -- if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction. (Applause.) That's what the American people called for in November, and that's what we intend to deliver. (Applause.)"

The conventional wisdom in Washington is that Obama is losing the all-important spin campaign to Republicans -- and that it's time for him to flex some muscle. Washington Post opinion columnist David Ignatius blogged yesterday that it's time for Obama to display some "Clint Eastwood-style bravura" as he bargains with the GOP. The Washington Post editorial board wrote yesterday that Obama should demand that Democrats slash the bill's price tag and breadth.

But Obama's basic response to the criticism that he is not playing the Washington game right is that it shouldn't be a game in the first place. And the reason he has let Congress shape the bill rather than doing it himself is that he thinks that's the way American government is supposed to work.

Is it possible we've gotten so used to the way former President Bush played the game -- and rolled Congress -- that we are judging Obama by his standard? And if so, is that the right standard? What explains Obama's conduct? Is it naivete, or is it humility?

Just hours after this morning's staggering job loss numbers came out, Obama again urged Congress to act. "I am sure that at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, members of the Senate are reading these same numbers this morning," he said. "I hope they share my sense of urgency and draw the same, unmistakable conclusion: the situation could not be more serious. These numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible to get bogged down in distraction and delay while millions of Americans are being put out of work. It is time for Congress to act. It is time to pass an Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to get our economy moving again."

But he didn't quibble with the bill the congressional process had created or take sides in the current Senate debates. "There may be provisions in the bill that need to be left out and some that need to be added. But broadly speaking, it is the right size. It is the right scope."

For eight years, the executive branch utterly eclipsed the legislative. But consider what a different view Obama expressed in that same speech yesterday: "I value the constructive criticism and the healthy debate that's taking place around this package, because that's the essence, the foundation of American democracy. That's how the founders set it up. They set it up to make big change hard. It wasn't supposed to be easy. That's part of the reason why we've got such a stable government, is because no one party, no one individual can simply dictate the terms of the debate. I don't think any of us have cornered the market on wisdom, or that do I believe that good ideas are the province of any party. The American people know that our challenges are great. They're not expecting Democratic solutions or Republican solutions -- they want American solutions. And I've said that same thing to the public, and I've said that, in a gesture of friendship and goodwill, to those who have disagreed with me on aspects of this plan."

And talking about all the jobs that have been lost, Obama had this to say: "This is not a game. This is not a contest for who's in power and who's up and who's down. These are your constituents. These are families you know and you care about. I believe that it is important for us to set aside some of the gamesmanship in this town and get something done."

Washington Post reporter Michael D. Shear sees the plan testing Obama's powers of persuasion, and sees "mixed results" so far.

And, he writes: "It is an early reminder that there are limits to presidential power, even for a charismatic new chief executive who is immensely popular with the American people. 'Obama wants a different politics, but the system of a bill becoming a law hasn't changed,' said Paul Light, a professor of public policy at New York University. The House vote 'suggests he may not yet understand the institutional checks and balances that limit a president's salesmanship.'"

I don't agree. How a bill became a law changed a lot about eight years ago. Obama sees Congress's role in a more traditional light -- and seems OK with that. "We’ve got 535 people who feel it's their responsibility to represent their constituents and make their voices heard," Obama said in an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer on Sunday. "Democracy is always a somewhat messy process."

Meanwhile, reporters are noting that Obama is getting more aggressive -- and partisan.

Jonathan Weisman and Naftali Bendavid write in the Wall Street Journal: "Frustrated by Republican unity against his economic-stimulus plan, President Barack Obama toughened his rhetoric Thursday and moved to wield his personal popularity to overcome opposition in Congress....

"Republican proposals are "rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems, that government doesn't have a role to play, that half measures and tinkering are somehow enough, that we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges," the president said in an address at the Department of Energy Thursday. "Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed."...

"Mr. Obama's comments Thursday signaled an escalation of his own role in the fray. "When you hear these attacks...you have to ask yourself, are these folks serious?" Mr. Obama asked...

"Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) said the White House has learned a lesson this week about his erstwhile Republican legislative partners. While Democrats may have seen a tectonic political shift regarding the role of government after their electoral sweep in November, the GOP did not.

"'This has been an early lesson for President Obama and his team,' Mr. Schumer said. 'The idea of getting 80 votes in the Senate is now a distant memory, even though it's two weeks old.'"

Voices from the left are saying it's about time.

The New York Times editorial board writes: "We’re happy to see President Obama getting tough with Congressional Republicans who are trying to sabotage the stimulus and recovery bill and bring even greater ruin on the economy....

"We know Mr. Obama is capable of uniting disparate groups. That comes with a tendency toward conciliation, which we admire, but we hope he resists it now. Mr. Obama made concessions on the House version of the economic plan, and no Republican voted for it."

Paul Krugman writes in his New York Times opinion column: "A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clichés about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts....

"Somehow, Washington has lost any sense of what’s at stake — of the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss, and that if we do, it will be very hard to get out again....

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

David Corn blogs for Mother Jones that Obama needs to reach out "to the millions of Americans who are rooting for him in order to obtain their active support for his economic stimulus plan....

"What Obama has that none of the other players in Washington possess is political capital. He literally represents the hopes of millions. He harnessed those aspirations for his campaign. He must do the same for his presidency."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Economic Brain Trust
Next: Cartoon Watch

Comments

The NYT editorial board hit the nail on the head. I don't believe it was Obama's intention to use his bipartisan aspirations to "out" the GOP as the obstructionists they are, thereby making the case that they should be ignored in future debates, but I do believe he has learned from this experience and that he won't make the same mistake twice.

I want more disposable income as much as anyone else, but I'm not willing to sabotage the country to satisfy my own greed by advocating for even more tax cuts.

On what planet would a highly indebted, negative-savings-rate population experiencing a severe recession, take the money from tax cuts and go out and spend it? The economic game has changed - any extra income is going straight to savings accounts and credit card companies. Tax cuts are a non-starter for anyone truly interested in a recovery.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 6, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

There is something disquieting about what is going on now. And a bit unbelievable. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, a tiger can't change its stripes. That the republicans seem to be guided by a talk radio show host is as unbelievable as it sounds. The new (old) rule in congress is you need 60 votes to getting anything done. So the republicans can stick to their demagoguery without a price. And what a price to pay to get Gregg from the senate in exchange for another republican so they can keep their filibuster. Something akin to a withering and dying of the spirit of the republic is happening and few seem to notice or care. At least those with the power to prevent it.

Posted by: mickster1 | February 6, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are not Americans. They are Republicans. Their only concern is for their party. They could not care less about the country. It is past time to call them out for what they truly are: traitors. No matter how good the president's intentions are, he cannot, he must not, allow this group of traitors to crash this nation. It is HIS duty to represent us since the Democrats in congress have abdicated that responsibility.

Posted by: davidbn27 | February 6, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

But Obama's basic response to the criticism that he is not playing the Washington game right is that it shouldn't be a game in the first place. And the reason he has let Congress shape the bill rather than doing it himself is that he thinks that's the way American government is supposed to work.

Is it possible we've gotten so used to the way former President Bush played the game -- and rolled Congress -- that we are judging Obama by his standard? And if so, is that the right standard? What explains Obama's conduct? Is it naivete, or is it humility?


What this means is that our newly coronated Boy King Obama is either too weak to restrain “his” party (being the president means that he is the defacto head of the party) or just too damn stupid to figure out how the process works.

Unfortunately though the truth is that Emmanuel specifically coordinated the drafting of this legislation, pork and all with the house leadership. Knowing that their near super majority would give the bill 100% chance to pass the house, Obama specifically lobbied Blue Dog Dems like Jim Cooper not to vote for it to give him political over when this botched abortion comes full term in 2010.

But little did our Boy King know what a can of worms he was opening.

Either way it looks like BHO’s lack of experience is coming back to bite him in the ass as public support, aside from what David Corn thinks, for the stimulus is TANKING.

How sweet it is!

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 6, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The NYT editorial board hit the nail on the head. I don't believe it was Obama's intention to use his bipartisan aspirations to "out" the GOP as the obstructionists they are, thereby making the case that they should be ignored in future debates, but I do believe he has learned from this experience and that he won't make the same mistake twice.

-----

Is this new bipartisanship of BHO's defined by allowing no debate on the bill in the house, cutting off amendments to the bill in the house and not allowing any of the sections of the bill to be gone over by the relevant committee?

He wont make the same mistake twice because he cant, he blew his wad and there’s no putting the tooth past back in that tube.

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

Seems kind of cheap to say he's getting more partisan when he's speaking at a gathering of Democratic members of congress. This is where he's speaking as leader of the party, I would think. While there's some overlap between politics and policy, there is also a difference.

Posted by: garfield1 | February 6, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

And here come Dan's trolls.

Obama tried to make nice with these GOP idiots. Not one vote for the stimulus package in the House from the opposition/obstructionist party. Not one vote for a bill full of tax cuts and other concessions.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. McCain found out he couldn't win a real, substantive debate with Obama. Neither will these right wing drama queens in Congress.

Posted by: crix | February 6, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I thought Obama's initial outreach to the GOP made sense, and I still do. While I think the outreach was genuine, it also demonstrates that it is the GOP, not Obama, who is being partisan about the stimulus. The GOP doesn't want a big stimulus bill because they see it as a new New Deal, and they've spent the last 28 years trying to reverse it. That's why you see all these guys arguing that the New Deal didn't do any good, when in fact what derailed the recovery was FDR's decision (under GOP pressure) to cut spending in 1938. I actually heard Pat Buchanan say this morning on TV that Obama should emulate the example of Harding and Coolidge, who cut taxes in the early 1920s and launched a "decade of growth." Of course, Pat didn't include in his paean to Harding and Coolidge that the market crashed in 1929 for the same reason it crashed last fall -- because the "growth" was based on a bubble.

Obama has to get tough with them now, and forget about the spin that a bill passed on party lines is a "failure" for him because the GOP doesn't support it. Let the GOP play games with the economy. It's time to get down to brass tacks.

Posted by: litigatormom | February 6, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

This is why newspapers are dying. They no longer are credible. Where is the scrutiny of the pork in this bill? Where is the challenge that there are no earmarks in the bill? Where is the CBO analysis that it will hurt the economy in the long-run? NOWHERE. The media is in full propaganda mode - heck , the NY Times is owned by a Mexican billionaire.

How does sending $200 million to the Phillipines elderly stimulate the US economy? How is $50 million for San Francisco Bay NOT an earmark by Nancy Pelosi? HOw is a frisby park in Austin a MUST???

Fools.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 6, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Dan. Maybe Obama is intelligent enough to note that public support for the current stimulus bill is falling like a stone and recognizes that some compromise actually might be a good thing.

Nice to see that you are turning your back on pretty much everything you have been bleating about for the past eight years. What you are really asking for is for Obama and the Democratic Congress to behave like Bush and the Republican Congress did. I don't have any problem with that, but I didn't then either.

Thanks for reminding us that you are a mindless partisan hypocrite, unworthy of any serious consideration.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 6, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps President Obama has learned by now that the only thing sucking up to Republicans gets you is a swift kick in the teeth.

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

nicekid -

Yes, as opposed to the hugs and kisses Democrats gave to Bush.

My favortite line of the day is from davidbn27 who actually said without a drop of irony, "Republicans are not Americans". I thought only mean old conservatives questioned anyone's patriotism. The hypocrisy among Dan's followers is laughable.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 6, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

It appears that many Republicans, like SharpshootingPugilist for example, are totally willing, and anxious, to destroy our country in an attempt to prove they are right and the Democrats are wrong. They seem to be in complete denial that it was the policies they advocate so fervently that have landed us in our current situation. Just read the ludicrous posts they leave here. Better still, if you can stomach it, visit one of the many right wing websites and marvel at their utter insanity. Rush Limbaugh is now their glorious leader apparently, based on recent events, and dictating their policy. I find it surprising, to say the least, that they would place so much stock in the ravings of a racist drug addict. I am quite certain that they will discover in the near future that Americans are not nearly as stupid as they presume, and their party will either change direction or go the way of the dinosaurs.

Posted by: kgeakin | February 6, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

This courting the republican's is nonsense and needs to simply stop...they are chiefly responsible for this mess in the 1st place...it's time for Democrat's to do what they were elected to do and put the needs of the many ahead of the gripes of the few and worthless....

Posted by: constwkr | February 6, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Can we expell the Republicans and anyone who actually believes a single word spewed forth from FOX? It is unbeleivable that these ignorant sychopaths exist; to actually have them be credible "news" people or Congresssman, or President of America is close to insane! What has happened to this country??

Posted by: Chaotician | February 6, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The press really needs to stop giving this guy passes. Very few people trust him anymore. He was called a hypocrit in three articles early in the week vis a vis his rhetoric and the pay for play tax cheats he backs. Now he is crying fire and blame the Bush when he puts a "stimulus" that according the CBO is 1/4 stimulus 3/4 pork. He appoints a Repub for Commerce and then moves the Census to the white house so he and $14 million Emmanuel can redistrict to there hearts content. How long does the press really think the public will go along with Turbatax cheat Geitner and his pay for play maneuvering for Obama and himself?

Posted by: Donschott | February 6, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Can we expell the Republicans and anyone who actually believes a single word spewed forth from FOX?"

Now that is some liberal tolerance for you. Why stop at expelling Republicans? Why not just kill them all? LOL

Posted by: bobmoses | February 6, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"allowing no debate on the bill in the house, cutting off amendments to the bill in the house and not allowing any of the sections of the bill to be gone over by the relevant committee?"

There's a reason we make fun of right wing news sources, Pugi, and you make it glaringly obvious. A simple Google search for "house stimulus debate" would save you some embarrassment.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 6, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

One partisan but also factual point is that the Bush administration spent nearly a trillion dollars in Iraq, all to depose a dictator. The ended up empowering Iran in a way unimaginable eight years ago.

Why is it OK to rain pork (or pick a more suitable term for that part of the world) on Iraq, but not on the United States?

Bush already handed off $350 billion of stimulus with a similar low level of accountability. We're just now learning about a continuation of corporate excess while peers in the same company are losing their livelihood.

Obama, for his part, seems to be largely sidestepping the "Boy Wonder" role into which conservative critics are trying to pigeonhole him.

Don't believe it - he is up to his elbows in the difficult but necessary task of unraveling policies and the financial legacy of his predecessor.

Posted by: wistlo | February 6, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that congress has earned a very low "approval rating". The best action these days, in my opinion, is to bombard your elected representatives with a simple message: do something to rescue our nation. The "do nothing" approach is a well known formula for failure.

By way of observation, both sides have reverted to tired, worn-out slogans: Democrats push for increased spending; while Republicans push for tax cuts. You cannot have it both ways. If congress is coming out from the shadow cast by the formiable Bush-Cheney-Rove "power game", they really need to look at the current State of the Union. A new approach is needed by congress.

I suppose Obama has opened Pandora's Box, with his "listening" strategy. What Obama could do better, is "pin do nothing" on congress. Those guys will be running for re-election soon enough.

Posted by: rmorris391 | February 6, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I was concerned that your blog would become irrelevant with the Former Occupant finally gone. Thanks for continuing to keep it real and grounded. Very much appreciated.

Too bad your site and paper continue to waste space and clickable links on the likes of Krauthammer and Kristol. You should spend a sentence or two on everything they have gotten right in the last ten years, if they ever have been.

Posted by: csaether | February 6, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The bill wasn't Obama's to draft. That's Washington 101: "The President proposes, the Congress disposes."

That said, I can only hope that Mr. Obama grabs his party by the scruff of the neck and gives it a good shaking. Congress isn't showing the focus and discipline that were the hallmarks of the Obama campaign, and until they do we're going to have to put up with this kind of foolishness.

Posted by: drazen1 | February 6, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Can we expell the Republicans and anyone who actually believes a single word spewed forth from FOX? It is unbeleivable that these ignorant sychopaths exist; to actually have them be credible "news" people or Congresssman, or President of America is close to insane! What has happened to this country??"

Posted by: Chaotician | February 6, 2009 3:19 PM

******************************************

Chaotician,

If you:

Delete "Republicans." Insert "Democrats."

Delete "Fox." Insert "MSNBC" or "CNN."

we'll be able to strongly agree.

Posted by: furtdw | February 6, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Rebuilding Iraq: 600 Billion

Rebuilding America: 900 Billion

Watching Republicans cry when they do not get their way: Priceless

Posted by: Independent4tw | February 6, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

President Obama gave the Republicans a great length of rope, and they used it to tie themselves to the anvil that is Rush Limbaugh and threw themselves overboard from the ship of state.

As the "thought leader" of the Republican Party, Limbaugh boasts one semester of college with failing grades in basket-weaving-type courses. He got out of Vietnam by virtue of having boils on his backside. He has demonstrated his racism repeatedly, yet Republicans continue to heed his arrogant counsel.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders continue to challenge Anne Coulter for outrageousness. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, urged his party to join the Taliban in a jihad against the United States, promoting governmental sabotage to prevent Democrats (and the nation) from succeeding.
Remember when Republican blowhards like Bill O'Really were challenging Democrats like David Letterman with the question: Do you want us to succeed in Iraq? The obvious answer to that would be "No, because I don't want us to even BE in Iraq." But to avoid being labeled a terrorist, we all had to fall in line and say, "Of course."

Only death will change the Republican Party. Political realists have shown that these idiotic and draconian "ideas" disappear only as those who believe them die off.

Obama gave Republicans a chance to get back on the right side of history. Of course, they huffily refused. They are headed off a cliff, but the nation has made a turn toward its preservation and restoration.

Posted by: motorfriend | February 6, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Kids,

We have bigger problems than bickering and posturing, no matter how much fun that is. The financial crisis is far worse than the banks have yet acknowledged, worse by at least a factor of four, if you accept the following:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/06/smick.bailout/index.html

If this information's any good, there's more bank-bailing in our future, and it's likely to cost trillions in loans to keep the banks from going under.

Let this knowledge focus your attention, before we wake up some morning soon and discover we have nothing left to lose.

Posted by: lonquest | February 6, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are committing treason in their attempts to inflict a homicide suicide on our nation and their party. If we weren't serious about driving the right wing fanatics off the airwaves before, now is clearly the time.

Posted by: hiberniantears | February 6, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"So the republicans can stick to their demagoguery without a price. "

They still have price to pay. There are still a few Republican Senators outside of the South and Utah/Idaho. After the next election they will truly be the party of the South. Maybe they'll secede again and this time we'll let them go.

Posted by: troyd2009 | February 6, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

8 years ago:

A democrat says, "I don't think we should go to war with Iraq."

A republican responds, "WHY?!? DO YOU HATE YOUR COUNTRY??? ARE YOU A TERRORIST?? SO HELP ME GOD I AM GOING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!!"

Today:

A republican says, "I hope our President fails."

A democrats response should be, "WHY? BECAUSE YOU HATE OUR COUNTRY? BECAUSE YOU ARE A TERRORIST? GET THE F OUT OF AMERICA IF YOU HATE IT SO MUCH!"

But instead, because democrats are mild-tempered, they say," Hey, thats not right. If I would have said that you would have killed me. You are a hypocrit."

The republican responds, " I AM A HYPOCRIT??!? NO I AM RIGHT BECAUSE I AM MORE LOUD AND MORE ANGRY! THAT MAKES ME RIGHT AND YOU WRONG! NOW SHUT UP WHILE I HOPE AMERICA BURNS!"

Posted by: Independent4tw | February 6, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse


Government is supposed to work for the people. For the first time in decades we have a President who is trying to make that happen which is what the voters want.

Obama is trying to change the tone in Washington. He is doing what he said he'd do. His actions and his words match. But did anyone foolishly believe things would change overnight? How about two weeks? Two or more years might be a closer estimate!

The stimulus bill is not a partisan issue; it is an American issue. However the GOP seems to believe otherwise. They blame the democrats for not being bi-partisan. Evidently their definition of bi-partisanship is doing things the Republican way, period. They need to learn how to compromise to get the people's business done.

I think Obama may have made a mistake for not getting something in return when he conceded to their demands for tax-cuts.

Obama promised to change the tone in Washington which is why he won the election. But it will take time. How long, remains to be seen.

Mainly it depends on how much effort everyone is willing to put into this because Obama can't do it by himself.

Let's be realistic we cannot expect him to change the tone unless we are willing to do so, too.


Posted by: serena1313 | February 6, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I have been dismayed by how quickly the Republicans turned to demagoguery on this. The first line item they went after was a provision that would have allowed states to expand medicaid coverage for birth control to the poor "should they choose." Up until now a state could provide birth control under medicaid, but they had to go through the cumbersome process of applying for a waiver. About half the states already do this, the remaining states would just have a bureaucratic hurdle removed to do something sensible. The savings to states in avoided welfare payments, prenatal care and other medical care is $5 saved for $1 spent. How many other places can the government realize this kind of savings? So the republicans attack a $200 million dollar expenditure that represents 0.025% of the total package that would have saved the state and federal government 5 times what is spent. They sound-bited it to death with bizarre characterizations that in effect it was spending your tax money to promote sex.

It is good health policy. The savings of $5 for every $1 spent does not take into account that the women who are able to delay child bearing because they have access to affordable birth control to continue education, become more productive workers that therefore pay more taxes. It only looks at the avoided direct outlays by states.

Since the first day they have not stopped the partisan attacks. This is just one typical example of their behavior and has put our new President in the position of having to fight back or see good legislation killed. I also think the President made the mistake of starting with a package that was less partisan that it could have been to be reasonable expecting the Republicans to play nice. They never will.

Back after 9/11 a conservative columnist wrote (and sorry I couldn't remember who) that it was good that Bush was President at that time because his party would not have unified behind a President Gore. That he was certain Republicans would have tried to take political advantage of the national tragedy and tear down Gore if he had been President. He had to give begrudging credit to the Dems that there are times we must rise above partisanship for the good of the country and they did it. I don't think the Republican party in general is capable of it. With a couple notable exceptions they would rather see Obama fail and it harm the country, than see him succeed to the good of the country. Rush Limbaugh and a few other conservatives at least have the honesty to say so out loud.

Posted by: qaz2 | February 6, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

It is funny to watch the Republicans foam at the mouth about everything Obama says or does. He's only been in office for two weeks and already they blame him for all the ills in America as if the Republicans had nothing to do with it and didn't control all three branches of government for a considerable period of time and controlled the Executive for 20 of the last 28 years. Sometimes when something gets messed up the go all the way back to Jimmy Carter, Johnson or FDR (never Truman though - despite being a New Deal man).

The modern conservative movement was started by a clown and remains a party of clowns with no intention of actually growing up. Clearly the last 8 years has shown that they believe every problem can be solved with fists, namecalling and bullying.

Currently they think they lost the last two elections because the media painted Iraq as a failure and was mean to Bush and they were not conservative enough. It will take another election cycle of losses for the Republican party before the moderates in the party are able to re-assert themselves. Because of computer aided mapping of districts it is likely these losses will take place in state houses, governor's offices, and the Senate where redistricting has little to no effect. It is interesting to note that in the last 3 election cycles, not just the last two where Democrats won big in Washington, Democrats have made gains in the state houses. This will have a huge impact in 2012 when the new census and district maps are redrawn in Democrats favor.

To top it off conservative Republicans are a shrinking demographic. Minorities are growing faster than the white population and younger people are voting Democratic in larger and larger numbers with each generation.

Posted by: troyd2009 | February 6, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I am ashamed of the quality of what passes for debate in America. Citizens, from politicans to businesspeople to journalists, seem to think that we are playing a big football game between the DEMS and the GOP. Wake up! Our country is at a turning point - and pointing downhill. Get over your own petty posturing and think about what is best for the country. Uh, yeah, please sit up and take note, all of you who are thinking "how sweet it is" that the President might be failing or ready to pronounce his leadership a failure less than 2 months into his presidency. You'll be laughing all the way to your new cardboard house under a freeway.

Posted by: Berkeley2 | February 6, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

What is not funny to see, is that so many people here are just acting like sheep and believing that this so called "stimulus," crafted in the Democrat cloakrooms, should be passed immediately without review or debate.

Why was Pelosi so quick to have a vote shortly after the details of the bill were released?? The reason is it is just a plethora of Democrat government spending initiatives that they are trying to push through in one shot. Not much is actual economic stimulus items, according to those who actually pay attention to the bill.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 6, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are pathetic and destined to be in the wilderness for a very, very long time.

Posted by: JCinCT | February 6, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Why is Obama not concerned with the package details, but only the total amount of the package? Shouldn't the content be more important for economic recovery than the total ammount??

Its very disturbing that he does not want to put a mark of his own on this economic recovery, but leaving it to the Congress, and he will sign whatever comes before him.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 6, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"What is not funny to see, is that so many people here are just acting like sheep and believing that this so called "stimulus," crafted in the Democrat cloakrooms, should be passed immediately without review or debate.

Berkely:
"Why was Pelosi so quick to have a vote shortly after the details of the bill were released?? The reason is it is just a plethora of Democrat government spending initiatives that they are trying to push through in one shot. Not much is actual economic stimulus items, according to those who actually pay attention to the bill."
___________

The democrats are trying to get everything that should have been done in the last 8 years past in the first month so that they can focus on the future.

It is not their fault that Bush:

refused to spend money on bridges, so they fell

refused to spend money on education, so our kids are stupid

refused to fix roads and emission standards, so we import more fuel then ever

refused to fund energy research, so we will import more fuel then ever in the future

refused to give tax breaks to the poor, so we stop buying stuff and the economy crumbles

Its a new day, they just want to have a fresh start by fixing on the stupid stuff Bush didn't do.

Posted by: Independent4tw | February 6, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

All of this talk about "Obama this" and "GOP that" is getting us nowhere. Yes, the stimulus bill should be analyzed, scrutinized, and debated. Yes, the bill itself is a great unknown...no one, from the economic leaders to historians, can say if it will work or to what extent it will work or even what else can work. The bill passes or it doesn't. It works or it doesn't. What is clear is that discourse in this country needs to shift. Let's stop hearing from failed CEOs wax nostalgic in mainstream media about the good old days when they could run a company in the ground and get paid millions. Let's stop the partisanship that passes for "objective reporting." Let's hear from any intelligent, compassionate leaders in any sector, instead of manaical ravings from Rush Limbaugh or the latest punishment imposed on Michael Phelps for taking a hit off a bong.

Posted by: Berkeley2 | February 6, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I liken the situation to a truck approaching a steep hill. Unless the driver engages low gear early, it won't be possible to so when the brakes fail. But the driver has a passenger who sits on the gear shift.

Posted by: engcomp | February 6, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Independent....

Tax cuts to everyone were passed in spring of 2001, which reduced EVERYBODY's Tax Rate from the William Jefferson Clinton Presidency.

Bridge in Minnesota fell because it was not designed well decades ago, failed, and caused a disaster.

Ever heard of No Child Left Behind.... aside from testing requirements... this bill and many appropriations passed by congress significantly grew education spending under Bush.

Roads are fixed via State budgets. States tax their residents via Gasoline, Cigarettes, Alcholol, Income, and sales taxes, among many others. States fix roads... the Federal Government hands out additional appropriations for special projects as needed.

Energy research is performed as the market demands it. Gas & Oil for all of the Clinton Years, and through most of Bush's term has beeen relatively cheap and plentiful. The market had not demanded new or alternative energy sources... until prices started to rise.

Congressional restrictions on domestic exploration prevented our companies to drill domestically either on shore or off shore. This caused us to get a greater share of our fuel from foreign sources... not Bush.

Oh, and how about the Medicare Prescription drug program that had a Trillion dollar price tag. That got passed by Congress and Bush signed it.... aka expansion of welfare offerings.


So if you get your head out of the liberal kool-aid, and look at actual numbers, you will see that Bush's era resulted in tax cuts, which stimulated revenue growth to the government because of economic expansion, thus the Federal Budget grew each year, and now the Government is the largest it has ever been in our history. Bush did more to expand government and services than most Conservatives would've wanted him to do, so I am pissed off at him for that. But look, Congress got most of what they wanted because Bush refused to Veto.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 6, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"...A wise man once told me that we are all God in disguise. I like that. Sometimes when I'm in a public place or sitting at a stop light, I'll watch people walking by and I'll silently say to myself, "He's God. She's God. He's God. She's God." Before long I always find myself feeling a warm sense of affinity for these strangers. The experience is even more powerful when I do this while observing a person who is clearly suffering. On occasion I'll test my little spiritual practice by turning on Fox News. Within minutes I become an atheist..."

Posted by: osmor | February 6, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

How does sending $200 million to the Phillipines elderly stimulate the US economy? How is $50 million for San Francisco Bay NOT an earmark by Nancy Pelosi? HOw is a frisby park in Austin a MUST???

Fools.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 6, 2009 2:59 PM
-------------------------------------------

OK. Point taken. The aforementioned items amount to 0.028 percent of the package. Let's just suck it up and accept those particular items of waste in order to pass the other 99.972 percent for the good of the nation.

Posted by: mhhaggard | February 6, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I remember just a few years ago when the Republicans were in the majority, and they were pretty sure that the need for judicial nominees to have a straight "up-or-down" vote was of such immense importance that they had no choice but to consider the "nuclear option" of enacting legislation with just 50 votes.

Good times. Good times.

When will the Dems wake up and realize that the people across the aisle are not serious and are not interested in doing the right thing?

Oh wait. I know: never. Never, never, never, never, ever.

Posted by: jimpharo | February 6, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"How does sending $200 million to the Phillipines elderly stimulate the US economy?"

Well they would probably spend that money and stimulate sales to local businesses who hire people and pay taxes.

"How is $50 million for San Francisco Bay NOT an earmark by Nancy Pelosi?"

Could be. But again someone is going to be employed, paying rent or a mortgage, buying groceries.

"HOw is a frisby park in Austin a MUST???"

None of the stimulus is a must unless you think employing people is a must. Which I believe it is. Some construction workers in Austin must be employed to build it.

The idea of the stimulus is that the government spends money to make up for the lack of spending in the private sector thus keeping more people employed.

Some spending has more bang for the buck than others, but Republicans are trying to derail the entire thing because they object to the spending priorities of a tiny fraction of the bill.

Posted by: troyd2009 | February 6, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The mainstream media seem to forget, or ignore the fact that the Senate requires 51 votes, not 60, to pass legislation.

If the GOP thinks they have something to gain by being obstructionist and resorting to filibuster to block any stimulus package that would not be embraced by Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, the Heritage Society, and the Cato Institute, they should remember Obama's words: "These are your consituents" that are suffering out there.

They should also keep in mind that those constituents include the GOP governors of numerous states, grasping desperately for a fiscal lifeline, albeit for the unfortunate and couterproductive reason that they want to continue providing mandated services without violating their tax pledges to Grover Norquist.

The GOP is playing with fire, banking on the idea that defeating Obama on a major policy issue will put him in the position of Bill Clinton in 1994, after the medical care bill was torpedoed by Bob Dole for purely partisan political reasons.

There's an old saying, usually applied to foreign policy, that politics stops at the water's edge. The GOP better face the stark reality that we are at the edge of an abyss and stop playing petty parochial poltics.

Posted by: bfieldk | February 6, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Reid and Obama to exercise the nuclear option in the Senate.

Posted by: JohnArbogast | February 6, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

When decent, intelligent people are confronted by a violent bully, their first reaction is to back away in what appears to be appeasement.

Then, they get together and discuss a possible solution to their problem. Usually, it requires focus and cooperation in order to neutralize the threat. This was the process when we faced Adolf Hitler, when Joseph McCarthy used his blacklist to intimidate opponents and when Dick Cheney/Karl Rove/George W. Bush sought to overthrow the constitution and establish absolute dictatorial power. It took a while, but we came together in a form of mutual self-defense. The stragglers in the rabid wolfpack are still causing havoc in Congress. But eventually, they will be eliminated as well. As Americans, we must stay focused on our mutual self interest. The smart/decent people are on the job now.

Posted by: motorfriend | February 6, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that someone here objects to "Dan's trolls" making comments, which seems to reflect the sentiments of many. It is almost as if Froomkin & Co. regard this site as a place for their cult to congregate, and non-believers are not welcome. They certainly don't seem to regard it as a newspaper site, where an open discussion of news issues is encouraged, and divergent viewpoints are welcomed.

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | February 6, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Why is he "holding back?"

LOL!

He's already kicking and crying like a little child who can't have all the candy that he wants!

That's all there is to this empty suit that you elected.

HE DOESN'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE REQUIRED TO LEAD.

Honor the USS Cole victims: Impeach 0bama!

Posted by: NeverLeft | February 6, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Are you saying that Obama accepts the plan the way it is written because that's the American way? I'm sure I didn't read you right. And let's face it. Politics is a game. It always has been and it always will be. And anyone who says that it's not has his head in the sand. Including Obama.

Posted by: gumstick2003 | February 6, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Another dead ender arrives to show us the error of our ways.

Posted by: troyd2009 | February 6, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"It is almost as if Froomkin & Co. regard this site as a place for their cult to congregate, and non-believers are not welcome."

Non-believers are fine, but it's annoying to see people use ridiculous reasoning to defend the indefensible. If I wanted petty partisan nonsense, I'll go watch cable news.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 6, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Communism died from reality intruding on ideology. Reality is doing the same to the Republican ideology of tax cuts and deregulation as the panacea for all our economic ills. In reality there are too few moderate Republicans left in Congress to create a large bipartisanship coalition with the Democratic majority. It is better have an effective economic bill that passes with a 60/40 vote than an ineffective one with large Republican support. Leave the right wing Republicans and their failed economic ideology in the dust bin of history and move forward with an economic plan that works.

Posted by: GOrwell2 | February 6, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

sharpshooting... said this:
'What this means is that our newly coronated Boy King Obama is either too weak to restrain “his” party (being the president means that he is the defacto head of the party) or just too damn stupid to figure out how the process works.'

Wow, did you bother to read Froomkin's column? Can you read? The whol epoint is that Congress, not the President (and 'boy king' just indicates you are not particularly smart, or amusing), writes the laws.

Civics classes for all!

Posted by: ccdc20009 | February 6, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"Not much is actual economic stimulus items, according to those who actually pay attention to the bill."

Citation or link to an economically literate person, please, not to some blather by Jim DeMint.

"...public support for the current stimulus bill is falling like a stone."

Link please, with some proof, not to another of the robotic Republican talking points.

"...as public support, aside from what David Corn thinks, for the stimulus is TANKING."

Can you point us to the polls that show that, please?

I ask these questions against my better judgment. I've found it does no good to engage modern-day conservatives because they simply to not operate in good faith. Their arguments, their actions, their principles, are not good-faith attempts at problem-solving, but rather cynical maneuvers to gain short-term political advantage. It's all politics and elections with them, policy and governing be damned.

So to the likes of the comically-named sharpshootingpugilist (an on-line fantasy, no doubt), just try to realize that this time it's not college Republican hijinks. We actually have, you know, a nation at stake here, brought to its knees by the policies your crowd has implemented. The economy, the armed forces, the constitution, our reputation, health care, you name it, you've screwed it up. Completely. So, either make an actual effort to solve real problems, or shut up and get out of the way.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 6, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Giving tax cuts is a nutty idea when the government's revenue is falling.

Obama's stimulus will have a more immediate effect by keeping the economy going. The strategy is designed to stave of a collapse of business activity. It is analagous to keeping an old car going even though one of the pistons does not fire properly because one needs a car to get to work and back home at night.

The stimulus is not a cure and some of the money will not have lasting benefits but the one immediate (short-term) benefit is to keep as many businesses as possible open and their employees in a job.

Once businesses close it employees will require the government to feed and house them. Their suppliers will also fail. The crisis will be exacerbated.

Thigs are so bad that America is floating in a leaking ship. If the ship can be kept afloat long enough and well enough then it will allow Americans to keep their heads above water rather than drowning.

If the stimulus is employed, the debt will have to be repaid and that will be hard. In the circumstances, America has a choice. Sink now and go into a terrible Depression or stay afloat and later on pay the price of avoiding despair.

If you would like to sink now and see bigger and better troubles then put McCain and Palin in control of this mess. Better still put Miss Brilliance in charge of spending and feed yourselves on her diet of slogans and doctrinaire gobble-de-gook. Maybe you shoud have a recovery based on the delusions of the GOP.

The GOP is wiping its hands of responsibility in the hope that in three years time Americans will forget that Obama had no choice but to take tough decisions and they will vote Palin into office or some other empty airhead.

Posted by: robertjames1 | February 6, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama was elected to "change". The Republicans are not trying to change. President Obama should ignore the Republicans and do the will of the people.

Republicans are not going to obstruct as they have for the prior 8 years.

We the people will not sit back and let this happen.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 6, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The pork is not in the bill but between the ears of many in congress as well as commenters to this blog as has been well pointed out by others.

Its interesting to note that our presence in Irag/Afghanistan is costing us (last time I checked) aprox. 196 billion dollars last year alone plus interest to be paid at about 20% amortized over the life of the loan, future costs of vet benefits (it is loan by the way) so the total this year may be well over $200 bilion. So in a sense what Nelson/Snow want to cut from the Bailout Bill will fall well short by $80-90 billion to pay for our troops to be stationed in Irag/Afghanistan for another year.

I adjudge the current econmic crisis a much more direct threat to the US than is posed by overseas terrorist networks. This playing of politics over a relatively small sum (by comparison in 2.70 trillion dollar budget) is extremely unwise and unbelievably stupid and a poor prioritization of the US credit card. So much for USA Firsters. Having Rush Limbaugh running Congress is not good idea at least until he removes his head from his hindquarters. And probably not even then.

refs: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2008/apr/01/iraq-war-100-month/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_United_States_federal_budget

Posted by: mickster1 | February 6, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this will be giving Obama too much credit, but perhaps he's not dropping the hammer on the House R's because he still remembers that half of the country - HALF - thinks this bill is a overblown piece of crap that's going to make the economic situation even worse.

In the past few days, I have become increasingly embarrassed that I'm an independent who got suckered in with a smooth talk and a couple of good books, and actually voted for him. Thanks for playing. I'll not make that mistake twice.

Posted by: treen | February 6, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe some of these comments. This country is on the verge of collapse, losing jobs each month by the hundreds of thousands and we have people like SharpshootingPugilist actually gloating about the possibility of Obama failing. You know there are many ways to be a traitor to your country and wishing failure on the president has to rank pretty high on that list. As far as I am concerned people like SharpshootingPugilist are only marginally better than those terrorists that brought down the towers,

And as for that mentally challenged individual who compared Fox with MSNBC and CNN, get a grip here. Have you ever watched both channels? I have and while there are faults with CNN and MSNBC reporting they are miles above in integrity honesty and just factual reporting than Fox, which is a station for morons, which is what you become if you watch it for too long. Garbage is garbage and Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity are garbage. These are facts and if you do not have the ability to recognize facts do us all a favor and just shut up.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | February 6, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

treen:

Half the country still believes Sadam was the mastermind of 911.

I haven't seen the polls you mention asking whether the Stimulus Package is an overblown piece of crap or not. But I do listen to Rush Limbaugh occasisionally and he thinks so. I have also read that Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate in Economics thinks the bill acutally doesn't go far enough and that tax breaks are the least bang for the buck during this kind of downturn. I have a lot of respect for Paul Volcker former Fed chairman and current advisor to Obama. He did a lot to save the economy during Reagans term in in office. So before giving up on Obam on the basis of today's poll might I suggest doing a bit more research on an issue than just read today's poll? Yes? No?

Regards

Posted by: mickster1 | February 6, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

nyrunner101, lucky for you an unknown # of miles of fiber stop me from making you eat those words.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 6, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

sharpshootingpugilist...still waiting for the links to the polls you say show support for the stimulus bill tanking.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 6, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

After all the talking and compromising, Obama got zero Republican votes in the House and it looks like he'll only get two Republican votes in the Senate.

So much for being nice to the Republicans. You can't compromise with evil. Most Republicans are in thrall to the likes of Limbaugh and his hate radio cohorts, continuing to ruin our country as they have done for the past eight years.

We didn't elect Limbaugh. We elected Obama. Its time decent Americans unite to rid our country of this Republican sewage.

Posted by: MikeOLeary | February 6, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

It is fascinating to read the comment section and attempt to discern the posters agenda. Which posts express the writers sincere thoughts. Which posts are simply the out party attempting to undermine the president. There are a lot of Republicans posting today that still have not recognized the change that has occurred in our country...or perhaps they have recognized it and are attempting to deflect its course. President Obama is doing a lot better than he is generally given credit for just now. The bumps in the road are minor compared to the momentum that is building to return our government back to the people.

Posted by: Thependulumswings | February 6, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama tried the high road with the Repugs and found it a dead end. Now it's time to move on with the peoples business.

Obama, being a constitutional lawyer vs a clueless MBA, understands that fiscal policy is the primary responsibility of Congress. Yes, the Executive branch can propose and push for economic policy. but, it is the Legislative branch that must approve it. At least now we have a President who understands our Constitution and is prepared to abide by it.


Posted by: hadenuff1 | February 6, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

FROM A BLUE DOG DEM. GUYS WHY SHOULD THE REPS DO ANYTHING ELSE WHEN THEY ARE TOLD BY THE PRES AND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE WE WON AND WHEN THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE SAYS NO BIPARTIASIANSHIP. PLEASE CAN WE JUST GET A BILL WITHOUT EARMARKS AND PORK OUT NOW AND THEN PUT THE EARMARKS AND PORK IN THE REGULAR APPROPRAITIONS. PLEASE DON'T TRY AND SCARE ME LIKE THE LAST ADMINISTRATION DID WITH THE SKY IS FALLING. I NEED THE STIMULAS AS I HAVE BEEN OUT OF WORK SINCE THE END OF AUG AND IT IS LOOKING WORSE EVERY DAY.

Posted by: RICHDIET1 | February 6, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

These claims that the bill is filled with "Pork" are pretty close to outright lies. The Senators who tried to cut the "Pork" ended up cutting money from The National Science Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, NASA, Discretionary Funding to States*, Defense Department Research, Homeland Security Information Security Research...

How can anyone call Scientific research "pork"? How dumb are these people? Do they really want to stop technological progress and move back to their caves?

*Note that this discretionary fund is exactly the opposite of the an earmark. It allows state governors to decide what to spend the money on, with the money distributed equitably between the states. Do Republicans acclaim this? No they call it a "Slush Fund". This pretty much proves that their whining against earmarks is hollow rhetoric. The states desperately need this money to stop crushing cuts in programs.

Posted by: zosima | February 6, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Fifty-one percent of those questioned in a CBS News poll released Thursday evening approved of the stimulus package. That's down 12 points from a poll taken January 11-15, the last time CBS asked the question. Thirty-nine percent opposed the plan, up 15 points from the previous poll, taken before President Barack Obama was inaugurated and before the House of Representatives passed an $819 billion stimulus package, with no Republican support, on January 28.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/06/stimulus.polls/

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 6, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Reasons why not are simple Froomy and Froomy lap dogs:
1) BO won with only 52% of vote and that was with a terrible economy and unpoopular war. Not even close to a mandate. The liberal press has created the illusion of a liberal-socialist mandate.

2) Rahm had BO testifying before federal investigators in record time for Rahm's fascist meddling in a matter that did nto concern him.

3) Dems chose liberal COngressional leadership and pretend to ignore the Blue Dogs. They can't ignore the southern Dems et al.


4) More blunders than Bush entire first year. "Buy American", Daschle, Richardson, Geithner, etc.

This only took 5 minutes Froomy. If I had the time I could add more but too busy enjoying Thailand.

Greetings from Bangkok.

Posted by: hz9604 | February 6, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

You can't speak with passion the words you yourself wrote and not believe in them. Obama is one of the most humblest, sincerest, smartest politician I have ever known. Thank God.

The Repulican leadership is afraid of his power, that is why they are willing to try and destroy him early in his presidency. He's a once in a lifetime leader and they know it. The odds are slim to none that they will ever find one to match him in the remainder of mine.

Posted by: AverageJane | February 6, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Republicans appear to live in an irony-free bubble. They have brought the country to its feet with their brand of corporate welfare, fiscal irresponsibility, and disregard for the law. It's really precious for them to pontificate about pork.

Posted by: Sanssouci1 | February 7, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Every centrist project, every bi-partisan effort, is certain to find detractors on both sides of the aisle by the time it is done. The classic pattern for political compromises is that popular support dies down to about fifty-one percent.

The Republicans have a tiny little problem: not all of their Senators signed on to Rushbo's suicide pact. What that means is that all manner of "bloopers" made by Democrats effectively don't amount to much. Total derailment of fiscal stimulus on ideological grounds is now well beyond their reach.

Those who are worried about the impact of the National Debt on the soundness of the dollar - and you should worry - must nevertheless resign themselves to see at least another three or four trillion dollars in such stimulus measures enacted before 2012.

Hopefully, some of this spending will be directed at longer term investments in this country and its economic health.

It's not something you can look at in black and white terms. The question is how to maximize the number of jobs and minimize the resulting inflation. Among other things, that means avoiding as much as possible exporting the stimulating effects of this spending, while not exciting any (further) trade wars.

Anybody who's really concerned about the national debt is, of course, in favor of early repeal of George Bush's tax cuts, and making major reductions in defense spending. Right?

Posted by: fzdybel | February 7, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

** G R E E N J O B S N O W **

Green jobs now ...
creates jobs
increases nations economic wealth
reduces foreclosures
improves health of banks
increases flow of money
creates more jobs . . .

Please repeat often to our public servants who job is to implement our will:

** G R E E N J O B S N O W **
** G R E E N J O B S N O W **
** G R E E N J O B S N O W **
** G R E E N J O B S N O W **
** G R E E N J O B S N O W **
** G R E E N J O B S N O W **
** G R E E N J O B S N O W **

Posted by: AlfredReedCollins | February 7, 2009 2:33 AM | Report abuse

the republicans are fighting so hard against obama's stimulus plan because they can't afford, politically, for it to succeed. remember, when FDR's plan succeeded in getting us fairly well out of the First Republican Depression (as opposed to the current Second or Bush Depression), it put the GOP out of the white house for twenty years, and another eight after the eisenhower interregnum. the republicans are not patriots. they care much more for their party than their country. their thinking was accurately summed up by rush limbaugh: "I want him to fail." most of them feel the same way. they put party ahead of country during the bush years and they're doing it again.

Posted by: zipflock | February 7, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Obama's presumed idea that Congress represents the will of the people is that Congress increasingly represents big money, not people. Republicans want any stimulus money to go to their real constituents, big donors. Every change they demand represents less money to poor people, more to rich people.

It may take another election cycle to make the Plutocrat party irrelevant.

Posted by: skeptonomist | February 7, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"What explains Obama's conduct? Is it naivete, or is it humility?"

Neither, it's "strategery."

Remember all the talking heads coming out of the woodwork when Palin-mania was worrying everyone BUT Obama? "Oh, God! He has to DO something!!! Her momentum is JUST TOO POWERFUL!!!"

What did our cool as a cucumber president do? Just sat back, stayed on message, and watched the Palin-McCain train straight talk it's way straight to obscurity.

He knows what he's doing people. He's smarter than nine-tenths of us. Including most reporters.

That's why we elected him, remember?

Posted by: cowboythecat | February 7, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Something I find disturbing, in addition to the makeup of and mismanaged debate over this "stimulus" bill, is the composition of Obama's outside economic advisers. I look and see people who were quite happy about the transfer of wealth over the last twenty years, from working people to well connected managers and investors, and, we can assume, will continue to work to keep that the status quo. I'd like to see someone crunch the numbers and tell us whether we'd be in this mess today if that transfer hadn't taken place. I'm inclined to think we wouldn't see the kinds of economic bubbles we've seen if the wealthy weren't so bloated with money that needed to be invested.

Posted by: dickc | February 8, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama truly wanted bipartisanism to work and gave the repubs a fair chance to be relevant. They, on the other hand, have shown that they care only about scoring political points even if it means the whole country goes down the tubes.

If Obama and the Democrats are successful in helping turn the economy around the republicans know that will be the final death knell to their already dying party and so they will go to any lengths to thwart a Democratic success.

It's Republicans as modern day Kamikaze.

After giving them this chance Obama will conclude, rightly, that you can't be bipartisan with a party that has devolved into a crazy bizarre cult run by a pompous drug addicted am radio host.

He'll become partisan and things will run much smoother and in 2010 the republicans will lose even more seats in Congress.

Eventually they will become such a small, insignificant party that Obama will be able to drown them in a bath-tub.


Posted by: cfeher | February 8, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before, I'll say it again.

It's time to consider the possibility that the GOP wouldn't mind too much if civilization actually, you know, fell. I mean, they've already got their fortifiable compounds and plenty of guns...

Posted by: Arachnae | February 8, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Arachnae, I agree that it seems that the Republicans wouldn't mind it if civilization fell. I find it somewhat naive to think that the Republican reaction to New Orleans was not an example of their principles in action. If the drowning and abandonment of a great American city didn't inspire a tectonic shift in the conception of the role of government I can't imagine that anything would.

When the republicans abandoned our children in the schools;
I remained silent,
because I did not vote for them.

When the republicans abandoned New Orleans;
I remained silent,
after all I didn't vote for them.

When the republicans abandoned the people losing their houses to foreclosure;
I remained silent,
after all I'd voted against them.

And when I lost my job because their policies corroded the economy from the inside out,
they fiddled, because our votes didn't make a sound.


Posted by: pmiller3 | February 9, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

"Washington has lost any sense of what’s at stake — of the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss, and that if we do, it will be very hard to get out again...."

I don't know anyone outside of the rarefied air in Washington who isn't aware of what's at stake - the fact that the so-called lawmakers in Congress are oblivious is nothing new. disheartening, yes, but totally expected. And for the republicans seeking to "redefine" themselves following their defeat in November, here's a new interpretation of GOP: Greedy Obstructionist Party. Says it all. We'd suspected that the GOP really didn't give a squat about the "voter" and that their real constituents were the bankers, businessmen, and lobbyists - this past week, the GOP lawmakers have laid to rest any doubts as they erased funding for children, education, the unemployed, and oh yes, the states' rights party - wiped out funding for the states. Talk about trickle down economics - only the poor and former middle class see this not as a trickle but a lehar.

Posted by: cymric | February 9, 2009 6:55 AM | Report abuse

The reason Obama is holding back is because he has enough sense to know that if he lets his true colors show[extreme left wing politics]he will become a one term president.America is not a progressive beachhead like the democrats think they are.

Posted by: fcs25 | February 9, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

wow--after 8 years of extreme RIGHT politics, there are still people posting (mistakenly) about the worries of the far left? What about those of us in the MIDDLE that got screwed over by the Bush Administration dumping everything on our backs, socializing the debts of the corporations, and yet still privatizing their wealth? If we don't start spending on our own economy, we will break. And there will be blood on the GOP hands, American blood.

Posted by: SYWanda | February 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

My prediction is the President has given the GOP all the rope it needed to hang it self. Now, the President will take this to the people directly, using the power of the office of the President. When the President stops in your neighborhood and shows you the money set aside for your state/county/town the benefits will out shout the GOP noise.

This failing of the GOP to put "Country First" will cause a serious erosion leaving only the few who live their lives based on the observations of people like Hannity, O'Rielly and Limbaugh.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | February 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

8 years ago:

A democrat says, "I don't think we should go to war with Iraq."

A republican responds, "WHY?!? DO YOU HATE YOUR COUNTRY??? ARE YOU A TERRORIST?? SO HELP ME GOD I AM GOING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!!"

Today:

A republican says, "I hope our President fails."

A democrats response should be, "WHY? BECAUSE YOU HATE OUR COUNTRY? BECAUSE YOU ARE A TERRORIST? GET THE F OUT OF AMERICA IF YOU HATE IT SO MUCH!"

But instead, because democrats are mild-tempered, they say," Hey, thats not right. If I would have said that you would have killed me. You are a hypocrit."

The republican responds, " I AM A HYPOCRIT??!? NO I AM RIGHT BECAUSE I AM MORE LOUD AND MORE ANGRY! THAT MAKES ME RIGHT AND YOU WRONG! NOW SHUT UP WHILE I HOPE AMERICA BURNS!"

Posted by: Independent4tw | February 6, 2009 4:03 PM

HERE, HERE, and....

For a wounded man shall say to his assailaint, "If I die, you are forgiven. If I live, I WILL KILL YOU"

We are wounded, but not dead, and very little drastic change has gone down in the history of our troubled world without bloodshed. If the foolish agents of our own demise do not step aside, it is OUR DUTY as the Sons, and Daughters of the American Revolution, to move them....By Any Means Neccesary. Barrack is the NICE way. Barrack is us ASKING. A hungry people, no matter how civil, will only ASK for so long before the need to survive by kicking the door in, outweighs the desire to remain civil.

Posted by: CharlesWGray | February 9, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

""It is almost as if Froomkin & Co. regard this site as a place for their cult to congregate, and non-believers are not welcome.""

"Non-believers are fine, but it's annoying to see people use ridiculous reasoning to defend the indefensible. If I wanted petty partisan nonsense, I'll go watch cable news."

And what kind of reasoning is this? Don't you realize how petty & intensely partisan you sound?

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | February 12, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company