and the Democrats taketh away? I think that just might be the case. Obama made it pretty clear in his opening remarks that investment in schools and tax cuts for the rich are non-negotiable. By emphasizing the importance of investment in education, he showed how fraudulent the Senate's plan is. He may not have mentioned the Republicans and the Senate, but we all knew.
When people think of stimulus, they think of spending it on good things. Like investing in education and our schools. Not makework, but jobs that improve the country. And how will the Republicans explain that spending on education is wasteful?
The Senate may have caved, but could it have been a calculated cave? Support for Obama's approach (and thus support for the House version of the stimulus bill) will likely grow after this show of strength. Now that the bill has passed in the Senate, it's back to the House. And Pelosi sounds like she's in no mood to compromise.
And why should the House Democrats compromise? Especially when they have Obama's backing. So the Senate Democrats caved. But they were being bipartisan, right? Or were they just trying to get it passed so it could go back to the House? Well, the Democrats get to look bipartisan--and then they get to undo what was done in the Senate. And the Republicans can't blame the Democrats for being too partisan, because the Dems tried that.
Would the Republicans in the Senate really stand in the way of a President and a stimulus bill as popular as this argue against spending money on education? It would be political suicide.
Obama has made his position clear and it is the more sensible and stronger package. He and his version of the stimulus package are also far more popular than the Republicans'. His opening may have been a bit rocky, but things look pretty good now.
Check. Your move Republicans.
PS Did anyone else notice the way he obliquely put Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins on notice by mentioning Maine in connection with job losses?
NB This entire post could be a result of the massive amount of Robitussin that I just drank, but I don't think so. I've been very skeptical of the handling of this whole thing, but I think that Obama may be able to have his bipartisan cake and eat the Republicans for lunch. (I'm kidding about the cough syrup.)