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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Monday, February 23, 2009

Or maybe they're reflecting...

On the other hand, the GOP opposition to the Stimulus bill seems to be somewhat resonating with the GOP base.
The entire rise in concern about the deficit over the past two months has been among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

(They do need more than that, though, to win elections.)


  • For the past eight years the GOP was silent on the deficit. Indeed they were bullish on increasing the deficit when it came to no-bid contracts and the Iraq war. Bullish, but blind. NOW... when it comes to investing in America... they're deficit hawks.

    I think all Obama has to do is convince people he's aware of the deficit, he takes it seriously (tossing out shady Bush accounting schemes), and has a plan to deal with it. I believe Obama's aware of this. In fact, I'll bet he has a way to tie the economic recovery package directly to long term debt REDUCTION.

    Again, I think the Repubs or too short sighted... looking only to the next news cycle. They have talking point, but no plan.... no vision. Obama seems to be able to get out in front by having a more comprehensive (holistic?) vision.... and plan.

    By Blogger -epm, at 8:25 AM  

  • Honestly, I think the deficit will come back to bite Obama at some point, but if the Stim stuff works, it won't be too bad.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 8:28 AM  

  • Obama needs to break out Bush debt versus Obama debt. It needs to be made clear the debt that went into a black hole versus debt that went toward "investment" in rebuilding America (blah, blah, blah).

    I'm not saying the deficit won't be an issue. I'm saying the way Obama is spinning it is that the deficit stands as part of an overall plan for recovery, not as an amorphous, unaccounted for pork bucket. This will mitigate the fall out, I think.

    By Blogger -epm, at 8:57 AM  

  • I think it's less that the stimulus opposition is "resonating with the base" than the Party has found some issue, any issue, to rally around. It could have just as well have been any of a dozen issues that the leaders decided was the one to stake their future on.

    The main thing is that the weird casting about for issues seems to be ending. Opposition to deficits is a better sell than, say, "Secret Muslim" or "Forged Birth Certificate".

    The GOP still seems bent on purging/purifying its ranks, however. As long as moderates and centre-right candidates fear being primaried, the GOP will remain on the fringe.

    Honestly, I think the deficit will come back to bite Obama at some point, but if the Stim stuff works, it won't be too bad.

    The deficit will probably "bite Obama" from within his own Party, though. This is Obama's big weakness. If the GOP had gone moderate and began peeling off Democrats in large numbers, we'd have an entirely different scenario. Instead they went crazy right and provided a clear line which Democrats will be increasingly unlikely to cross.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 9:09 AM  

  • This is the deficit framing I'm talking about. From The White House Blog:

    "That work begins on Monday, when I will convene a fiscal summit of independent experts and unions, advocacy groups and members of Congress to discuss how we can cut the trillion-dollar deficit that we’ve inherited."

    Note also, as I mentioned elsewhere, the GOP oppositions seems to be rallying around the unemployment/health benefits in the stimulus package. This seems to be framed in a kind of "states rights" meme. That the states will be required to "permanently" change their unemployment compensation laws in order to accept the money. Again, I think this plays to the regional (southern) insecurities with the fed telling states what to do.

    There is actually a lot in the stimpak that Republicans will want to campaign on (tax cuts and funding for home state infrastructure). And dispite their voting against it, I believe some GOPers are trumpeting their "work" on getting tax cuts in state projects into the package.

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:49 AM  

  • Interesting point, Todd. A "closing of ranks" and reorganization rather than legitimate across the board opposition.

    And, I dunno. The likely high deficit numbers will probably be a big political bludgeon.


    And, EPM, I know exactly what you're saying about Bush debt v Obama debt, but that's going to be hard to do as the parties' accepted branding as played by the media will work against that.

    He'd have to rewrite some of the media's narrative on identity.

    As example, Obama and the Democrats did just pass "one of the largest tax cuts in history." Not hearing about that, are we? And that's a good identity shifting response.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:38 AM  

  • "Not hearing about that, are we?"

    Not yet. But has the posturing unfolds and the money starts flowing and April 15th rolls around, we may hear more of it.

    By Blogger -epm, at 11:02 AM  

  • Yeah, but again, if the Republicans had done it, it'd be core to the way the press portrayed it.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:52 PM  

  • I get what you're saying. The media have pre-defined story templates for Dems and Repubs and they don't waver from that. Repubs are supposed to be fiscally conservative and tax cutters, so the media sells them as that regardless of the facts.

    By Blogger -epm, at 2:00 PM  

  • That's it. It's the result of years of "branding" and it's very hard to overcome.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 3:52 PM  

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