David Kirkpatrick

February 12, 2009

Stimulus vote and the GOP

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:54 am

Whatever else you might want to say about the stimulus — and there’s plenty to say — the Republicans completely blew it with an idiotic “hard line” stand against the Obama administration’s plan.

A quick sample from the WSJ:

Many of the business tax provisions were added to the stimulus legislation in the Senate in an effort to attract Republican votes. President Barack Obama wants bipartisan support for the plan and was dealt a setback when no Republicans voted for the House version of the plan two weeks ago.

But when only three Republican senators voted for the Senate version of the bill Tuesday, Democrats slashed the business tax proposals in an effort to bring the total cost of the bill under $789 billion.

See what happened there? When the GOP thumbed its collective nose at the entire process and decided now is the time to take that long, long overdue fiscal stand, it found its ideas left in the bag. When you don’t participate in the conversation, it’s hard to complain when your input gets dumped.

This is not a winning strategy.

Here’s David Frum at NewMajority on the topic.

From the link:

The stimulus bill has passed Congress with almost no Republican votes: 3 in the Senate, 0 in the House.

Republicans hung tough, and the result is a bill that reflects Democratic goals – and pays off Democratic constituencies.

Probably that was the way the bill was going to turn out no matter what. If so, Republicans did not pay a big price for shunning the process.

But there’s a difference between “not paying a big price” and “winning an actual victory.”

These kinds of party line fights may energize Republicans in Congress and mobilize the dwindling Republican base. But in the aftermath, there is nothing but loss.

Between the changes to unemployment compensation – and Medicaid – and welfare – this bill adds up to the most important reshaping of the American welfare state since the middle 1960s. Republican views were not represented, Republican voices went unheard.

In consequence, some of the changes turned out worse than they had to (especially welfare) – and those changes that were positive (a federal subsidy to help laid-off workers continue to buy private-sector health insurance) are received by voters as purely Democratic achievements.

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