By Brian Beutler
If you’re of the opinion that the events of the past several days are parts of a shrewd political gambit that will ultimately result in the best stimulus package we ever could’ve hoped for, this post isn’t for you. If you’re not, here’s how a motley assortment of folks think the effort can be salvaged.
But now Obama needs to remind the American people that unless the Republicans get on board, they will bear political responsibility for failing to act in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Obama is, sadly, much to blame for giving the Republicans so much leverage. He defined the challenge as biparitsanship not saving the U.S. economy. Right now, he has only one chance to re-set this deteriorating debate: He needs to give a major speech on the economy, explain to Americans what is happening and what must be done. People will, as of now, still listen to him — and what else is his political capital for?
The administration should use its supposed vaunted community organizing to build public pressure for its version of the stimulus, and then Obama, Pelosi, and Reid should hold a press conference where they say:1) The only reason why the bill has not passed and Americans have not gotten economic relief is because of the Republican Party. And the only reason why the Republican Party has been able to obstruct is because of the filibuster (more accurately, Senate rules, but close enough.).
2) If the stimulus does not pass now, any future economic pain is solely the responsibility of the Republican Party. Any American who finds herself out of work, without medical care, etc. etc. can lay blame completely at the doorstep of the GOP.
3) Budget bills cannot be filibustered.
4) Thus, our intention is to pull the stimulus package now and resubmit it as part of the budget process. We will resubmit this budget with Democratic priorities and Democratic principles, and it will reinforce the goals that President Obama advocated during the campaign and for which the country gave him a mandate.
5) It will pass in that form.
6) To be sure, it will be much better to have a package now, but we will not compromise on what the American people voted for last November. And as we said, the public knows quite clearly upon whom the blame should land.
7) Negotiations are over. Take it or leave it.
What say you?