The House Republicans — all of them — voted against the stimulus. Only two Republicans and Arlen Specter voted for it in the Senate. That’s as clear a political divide as you are going to get. Not only do the Democrats now “own” the stimulus and the non-recovery, but Republicans are in a vastly improved position to argue that the economy is too anemic for cap and trade, the deficit too great for ObamaCare, and unemployment too high for card check and other Big Labor giveaways.
Obama, by deferring to Congress and indulging in his own left-wing ideology, has made every Democrat in a less-than-perfectly-safe seat nervous. How are they going to get elected by adhering to an agenda that offers so little for all but the most extreme ideologues? Obama, given his enormous popularity and the low repute in which the public regarded Republicans, had the chance to occupy the vast middle ground in the center of the political spectrum. But instead he ran left — far left. The result may prove to be perilous both for him and his congressional allies.
So there is little wonder that Democrats are nervous and the media pundits are fretting. The New York Times tells us:
Even as Democratic leaders and the White House insisted that the nation was closer than ever to landmark changes in the health care system, they faced basic questions about whether some of their proposals might do more harm than good.
And while senior Democrats vowed to press ahead to meet Mr. Obama’s deadline of having both chambers pass bills before the summer recess, some in their ranks, nervous about the prospect of raising taxes or proceeding without any Republican support, were pleading to slow down.
It seems that even Democratic congressmen like freshman Representative Jared Polis thinks that taxes “could cost jobs in a recession.”
Obama, certain of his ideology and in full spin-mode, appears entirely unwilling to reverse course and chart a pro-growth, job-creating agenda. As Robert J. Samuelson explains:
In February, Obama denounced “politics as usual” in constructing the stimulus. But that’s what we got, and Obama likes the result. Interviewed recently by ABC’s Jake Tapper, he was asked whether he would change anything. Obama seemed to invoke a doctrine of presidential infallibility. “There’s nothing that we would have done differently,” he said.
But the Republicans would have. And they no doubt will remind the voters of that in 2010. Then “The Party of No” may be a badge of honor — and a very effective campaign slogan.