Politics

Obama’s Right-Wing Dinner Friends Rip His Stimulus Package: Worst Bill In ‘Galactic History’

Several days before taking office, President Obama traveled to George Will’s home to dine with a handful of conservative media elites. The beltway conventional wisdom suggested that Obama’s aim was to “neutralize potential adversaries” by way of a “charm offensive.” After the dinner, Bill Kristol explained on Fox and Friends that while “no one’s mind was changed,” he would “end up supporting [Obama] on some things.” Charles Krauthammer joked about Obama’s apparent goals, “I am brainwashed entirely. I’m in the tank.”

Just one week later, Obama’s right-wing acquaintances have already shown the futility of engaging in a good-faith dialogue with them. While Obama pushes his vision for the economic recovery package — his first real battle against the conservative establishment — the dinner’s attendees are on a no-holds-barred offensive against it:

Charles Krauthammer: “Look, this is one of the worst bills in galactic history. … FDR left behind the Hoover dam and Eisenhower left behind the interstate highway system. We will leave behind, after spending $1 trillion, a dog run in East Potomac Park.” [Fox News, 1/24/09]

David Brooks: “It is an unholy marriage that manages to combine the worst of each approach — rushed short-term planning with expensive long-term fiscal impact.” [New York Times, 1/23/09]

Bill Kristol: “The stimulus has so much bad stuff in it. … They let the House Democrats get out of control in sort of writing a pork-laden bill. Politically, I think the Republicans have more room too argue for changes and ultimately vote against it.” [Fox News Sunday, 1/25/09]

Watch a compilation:

Markos Moulitsas, in what now appears to be among the most prescient of reactions to the Obama dinner, wrote, “[T]here’s no outrage or anger. What I feel is more like pity. Could you imagine wasting a perfectly good evening with that company?”

As for people who have provided — and continue to provide — informed support for Obama’s vision for economic stimulus, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, all they got was “some coffee in some styrofoam cups.”