Politics and Media Headlines 1/30/09
HALPERIN BLAMES OBAMA.... (by Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly)
President Obama went to great lengths to reach out to House Republicans, trying to get them to support an economic stimulus in the midst of an economic crisis. The president not only offered them more tax cuts than seemed necessary, he also acted swiftly to remove spending provisions -- family planning, National Mall renovations -- that they mocked. The entire Republican caucus, we now know, balked anyway. Time's Mark Halperin, naturally, is blaming Obama…
Halperin believes, for reasons that are unclear, that the paramount goal was to win the support of lawmakers who were wrong and who were advocating bad ideas. It's not about what works, or what would actually improve the economy in the midst of a serious recession. What really matters is "bipartisan solutions." Why? Because Mark Halperin says so. Merit be damned -- if Democrats liked the legislation and Republicans didn't, it's necessarily flawed… By his reasoning, the only appropriate thing for Obama to do was let Republicans -- who failed at governing, and who've been rejected by voters -- shape the bill, addressing the crisis they helped create. If the far-right House GOP caucus was unsatisfied, it was Obama's responsibility to make them happy. Why? Because Mark Halperin says so. This is absurd.
Risks of the Stimulus Package: What Is the NYT Talking About? (by Dean Baker)
The NYT presented a somewhat confused discussion of the stimulus bill passed by the House… [T]the article discusses the prospect that some of the infrastructure will not be well-spent… There is no obvious reason that infrastructure spending should raise this concern more than any other item in this bill.
Confirmed: AP has received GOP talking points (by Eric Boehlert at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
The AP's Julie Hirschfeld Davis types up a news article about how a single Republican "official" claims there's something wrong with one provision within the enormous stimulus package. But the single Republican won't discuss the issue on the record. (Is he the only Republican in the entire city of Washington, D.C. concerned about the issues?) More importantly, is the Republican claim accurate? The AP doesn't try to answer that question. Nor does the AP even bother to include a response from a Democrat anywhere in the article.
If only we had kept the extremist right in power... (by Richard H. Serlin, thanks to Economist's View)
...we might eventually have achieved our goal of becoming a third world country. From the New York Times [Wednesday]: “Frederick Hess, an education policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized the bill as failing to include mechanisms to encourage districts to bring school budgets in line with property tax revenues, which have plunged with the bursting of the real estate bubble. ‘It's like an alcoholic at the end of the night when the bars close, and the solution is to open the bar for another hour,’ Mr. Hess said.” Yes, spending on education is like spending on alcohol. If only we weren't so addicted to education we might be a dirt poor third world country today.
Carter to Obama: Stick to your guns, don’t back down on your vision for stimulus. (Think Progress)
[Wednesday] on CNN’s Situation Room, host Wolf Blizter interviewed former President Jimmy Carter. During the interview, Carter said that he believed that Obama should “stick to his guns” and not let “the Republicans deter him” as he continues his campaign to pass the economic recovery package.
Click through to watch the video.—Caro
Kerry: Ignore Republicans if they'll vote no anyway (Politico, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
Sen. John Kerry says Democrats should ignore Republicans’ demands about the stimulus plan if they’re going to vote against it anyway. Reacting to Wednesday night’s vote in the House — where not a single GOP member supported the stimulus package — Kerry told Politico that “if Republicans aren’t prepared to vote for it, I don’t think we should be giving up things, where I think the money can be spent more effectively.” “If they’re not going to vote for it, let’s go with a plan that we think is going to work.”
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