Republicans – 1 Obama -0

The heady and inspirational days of January 20th are over to be replaced with the contentious days of partisan politics, Washington style. President Obama has quickly learned that dreams of unity and common purpose are just that, dreams. As he has found out to his dismay, holding the closest thing to a national mandate does not translate into automatic policy victories.

There is no question that the national economy could use a fresh injection of stimulus money, but the Obama administration made its first strategic legislative miscalculation by not keeping a watchful eye on House Democrats ( especially Speaker Pelosi ) who could not help themselves from reverting to their old porkbarrel spending ways.

Even more problematic, Obama, who is an excellent communicator, failed to pitch the stimulus bill in simple terms with a few clear goals and no dubious appropriations such as sod for the Washington Mall and condom programs. The early handling of the stimulus package is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s failed health care reform, which was demolished due in large part to its complexity and weak public relations.

Because the Republicans are looking for any way to get back into the game, they immediately picked up on the inexperience of the Obama team and the avarice of the House Democrats and brilliantly painted the stimulus bill  as just a misguided and over the top spending bill that won’t have its intended effect. House and Senate Republicans hammered home the message that the Democrats were back to their old tricks about expanding big government, and it worked. Obama and the Democratic leadership are in retreat and looking to cut out the pork.

Of course what the Republicans are fuming about in the stimulus bill is about 1% of the total that is proposed, but it doesn’t matter in the world of 24/7 cable, talk radio and the court of public opinion. The Republicans won the first test of the Obama agenda and in the process made the new president and the Democrats in Congress look like they were drafting legislation that was from the old liberal, big government laundry list playbook.

Needless to say, the Republicans really don’t have an answer about how we get out of this financial mess and the loss of millions of jobs, but they are now more confident than ever that their views and their message will not be drowned out by the Obama mandate. Chalk this one up to the over confidence of the new administration. Obama should have known better than to think the Republicans would play dead.

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5 Responses to Republicans – 1 Obama -0

  1. Annie says:

    at least they passed the S-Chip :/

  2. Patrick says:

    Not only is the stimulus package not obviously to our benefit, but it is clearly to our detriment.

    Economic growth stems from the formation of capital. The reason for the current recession is that debt, which drives the credit based economy, is not, nor ever has been, nor ever will be, a form of capital. We artificially inflated our wealth via fractional reserve banking which led to a boom and bust (trade cycle theory, Hayek won the nobel prize for it 1974, see Roger Garrison’s presentation on the subject for a good example). We are currently in the bust cycle, in which the market is attempting to clear the malinvestment (lending and investment which took place due to easy government backed credit under both Republicans and Democrats).

    Hard assets must be invested into the economy to further develop the structure of production (see Hayek). Pulling money out of no where, which is the Bush/Obama method of stimulus does three things:

    1)Misallocates labor and capital into unproductive sectors of the economy
    2) Removes that labor and capitol from potentially productive sectors
    3)Devalues currency currently in circulation, which primarily harms the poor and increases income inequality.

    Regardless of Republican or Democrat, any stimulus package, either from that of Bush or Obama, will have three consequences:

    1) Hinder Economic Recovery
    2) Create Poverty and Unemployment
    3) Increase Income Inequality

    Personally, I’m against those things. While the names of the recipients of Obama’s wasteful spending are changed (and perhaps make us feel more warm and fuzzy inside), the strategy and consequences are entirely like that of George W. Bush. The parallels to FDR and Herbert Hoover are clear. As Rexford Tugwell, member of FDR’s brain trust noted, “While we didn’t admit it at the time, almost the entirety of the New Deal was extrapolated from programs which Hoover started.” The result was that Hoover/Roosevelt turned a mild recession into a decade of depression, in which the average unemployment level was 18%. If not for their disasterous government spending and policies, no depression would have occurred. If not for the reckless behavior of the Federal Reserve, there would have been no recession in 1929. The only thing that stopped the FDR disaster was the shipping away of all the unemployed to Europe and the Pacific in 1942. Let us hope the Bush/Obama plan is not nearly so disastrous.

    While it pains me to say so, the Republicans are right, the stimulus bill is misguided and will not have its desired effect. Thankfully, according to USAToday’s poll, Americans are beginning to wake up to this fiasco. Americans voted for change, not the same old wasteful government spending of the past 8 years. A majority of Americans believe that the stimulus package should either undergo major changes or simply be rejected. Obama’s approval rating is trending toward the fifties.

    Perhaps the Obama administration should realize that the change people wanted was liberty. Liberty away from the constitution trampling George W. Bush and reckless foreign wars. They don’t want change that just expands that abuse of power to their pocketbooks.

  3. Raleigh Yori says:

    I am delighted that Tiger Woods is back playing. It makes the sport interesting once more.

  4. Alita Neall says:

    Congratulations Tiger Woods, then finally you are devorced. My spouse and i hope finally you begin winning once again.

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