The risks for Obama are considerable. He and the Democrats will have no one else to blame if the package fails to boost the economy. Obama himself has said his first term can be judged on whether it succeeds, whether it creates or saves the 3 million to 4 million jobs he promises.
And if the economy fails to show marked signs of improvement -a possibility indeed -Republicans will have a megabillion-dollar “I told you so” in their pockets, just in time for the 2010 midterm elections and Obama’s own reelection bid in 2012.
Throughout the next few days of debate, the conference and the final votes in the House and Senate, every Republican Representative and Senator should warn of the risks of spending this much money on giveaways. This kind of spending unconnected to the productivity unleashed by tax cuts brings on inflation and low if any real economic growth –Carterism, in other words.
And the clear warning of where we are headed, back to 1977-1980, should be announced again and again, along with the fact that the president’s claim to bipartisanship was simply a campaign sham, just one even more effervescent than most.
Repetition, repetition, repetition: It is a teaching moment that the votes of Senators Collins, Snowe and Specter cannot in any way obscure. This sort of fiscal policy cannot work and never has. The Democrats know this but prefer the short-term political benefits of paying off their constituencies over the opportunity before them to redraw the political map by embracing centrist, common-sense economics as Clinton did post 1994. President Obama was led left by Speaker Pelosi, and the cover he needed to make his way back to the center was denied him by the three GOP senators. It will be a very expensive lesson for the country, but as even the MSM is figuring out, the new president is not a tranformational figure, just a cool, updated version of Jimmy, without the sweater and with the Oval Office fully heated.