The new Republican tactic—not calling the stimulus package a stimulus package, but a spending bill. Defeated presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) used this tactic in interviews Wednesday, and it was adopted by fellow spending hawk Tom Coburn (R-OK) on the floor yesterday morning—he claimed that Obama’s stimulus package would not create a single job. I would like Obama to find that person who gets that job and invite him to the White House, just to prove that Coburn was wrong and Mark Shields was right about the death of conservatism. Anyway, the GOP’s tactic seems to be working—though three-quarters of the population support a stimulus package (down from before Obama took office), half of its supporters think it needs “major changes”. McCain yesterday proposed an amendment to cut the stimulus monies in half—in the Republicans’ view, the half cut would mostly be “fat”, and the infrastructure spending that is the root of this blog. The half cut is not to be, but earlier tonight it was announced that the Senate has agreed to cut at least $85B in “fat”—in other words, funding for education and the arts, and aid to the embattled states mentioned in the previous blog.
A word about political capital at this point—I know the concept is mostly associated with President Bush, but it could also be associated with Obama. Obama has been forced by the Republicans to buckle down and burn a lot of his political capital on this stimulus bill (not to mention from the tax questions of his Cabinet), appearing on every major network and now stump-speaking in the battlegrounds of Florida and Indiana. The Republicans are going to lose the infrastructure fight (a foregone conclusion), but, unfortunately for us liberals, they have made it easier to win the next one. For coverage of the next one, keep watching this blog
Also, take a look at this NewsHour interview with David Axelrod