Barack Obama made some big mistakes with the stimulus bill.
The first was actually believing the GOP would play a bipartisan game. So we gave them some concessions up front instead of making them sweat for them. The second was letting those incompetents Pelosi and Reed carry the ball. As expected, they punted to the GOP and put us on the defense. This allowed the right wing lie machine to frame the bill and that’s why they seemed to win something with nothing.
The President saved his own bacon, but he needs to do more. He still has not successfully reframed the bill. The press needs to think of it as a Jobs and Infrastructure bill. We should call it the USA Jobs Act of 2009… not “stimulus package.” At this point, the President is the only one who can do that, and even though the Senate has passed the Bill, he still needs to do it. If we leave the bill in the hands of our Congressional leadership, the GOP will own it before they are done.
As Brady has pointed out, Barack was perfect in Florida and Indiana, but he needs to get back on the road. The scream machine is still screaming. The right wing media is organized and effective. The liberal (I mean Rachel Maddow) media is brilliant but not widely followed. The masses are still listening to befuddled crap heads like the NPR reporter who said, as though it were fact, that the president is being a hypocrite because he has not made a bipartisan effort with this bill. The President is the star of the media circus, and only he can be certain to get the message delivered and realign the firmament.
Finally, I have to hope that the White House realizes the importance of the Governors to this debate and their need and willingness to get out there with him. Charlie Christ was a good start. We need a trip to California for a big media event with Arnold, and, more importantly, we need to put the heat on some governors who have GOP senators. Targets could include Jim Gibbons, (Nev), who has indicated his support for the bill, and Jan Brewer (AZ) who, while a serious conservative, has said there is a need for bipartisan action on this matter.
I also suggest we play hardball here. Those GOP governors who have opposed the bill, and said they would not want the money, should be given an out. We could save money by cutting $3 billion for Mississippi (Haley Barbour) and $2.2 billion in Louisiana (Bobby Jindall).
Even if two bills are passed and a conference committee is working, there is much to be done. The President must be engaged until the final bill is passed. He can’t leave this to others.
OK, let me say finally one more time. If this is not a wake-up call to the Senate and House Democrats that we need better, smarter leadership, they are all asleep at the wheel.