It is infuriating to see the Obama administration playing defense on the stimulus when the president should be enjoying a natural advantage over the obstructionist Republicans.
He is losing this thing.
Support for the economic recovery plan working its way through Congress has fallen again this week. For the first time, a plurality of voters nationwide oppose the $800-billion-plus plan.This is what happens when you start from a position of compromise rather than strength.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% favor the legislation, 43% are opposed, and 20% are not sure.
Two weeks ago, 45% supported the plan. Last week, 42% supported it.
Opposition has grown from 34% two weeks ago to 39% last week and 43% today.
Obama has allowed the Republicans to define the terms of the debate. By engaging them in a conversation about the value of spending versus tax cuts, he allowed the perception that there is a legitimate debate.
But there is not. As Barney Frank explained so clearly on This Week, no tax cut ever built a bridge or repaired a road. The tax cuts that the GOP wants in the final version of the stimulus bill will do nothing to put people back to work and stimulate the economy. They want the tax cuts simply because they are Republicans, and they don't know anything else. Allowing them to control the debate is pure folly.
And they don't want it to work to begin with. The Republicans are not negotiating in good faith. They actually want the stimulus to fail so they can use it as a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012. They want millions of people to remain out of work and struggling for the next several years because it represents their only path back to power.
Obama came into office with an undeniable mandate. He proceeded to squander it with appeals to "bipartisanship," rather than wielding the moral authority that his landslide victory provided him.
When you have your opponent dazed and leaning back on his heels, you don't splash cold water on his face. You throw the knockout punch.
I have been waiting for Democrats to figure this out.
I am still waiting.
I hope it doesn't take too much longer because the country doesn't have any time to waste.
And whining about the media doesn't help!
You have the White House and an overwhelming majority in congress, Democrats.
Act like it!