Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fantasyland

The morning offering from The Hill's Ballot Box blog: "Obama's 2012 Reelection Stimulus."

Youngman argues that Obama's new Jobs bill--and the fight over it that will ensue--is actually a boon to his reelection campaign. His thinking goes like this: Obama purposefully loaded the bill with tax increases that he knows the Republicans will not support, ensuring that--despite his own pleas--there was no chance of this bill being passed right away. Ultimately--according to Youngman--this fight will end with Republicans being forced to somehow vote against tax cuts for the middle class and more jobs for America. And the admin is lauded by Youngman for its political savvy in this regard.

Part of Youngman's fantasy-version of reality appears to stem from his belief that Obama somehow "won" the debt ceiling fight, that it allowed him to go on the offensive. I guess this is--to me--one of the most troubling things about the current crop of political journalists and talking heads: they see everything as a sign, as an indicator for the future (really, they share this conceit with many economists).

It is true that the tea party crowd--and by association, the Republicans--lost some momentum in the debt ceiling battle. But if this were so significant, how could it be that Anthony Weiner's vacated seat ended up in Republican hands for the first time since 1920? How is this a sign that support for Obama and the Democrats is  improving, as Mr. Youngman would have us believe?

The gameplan on this Jobs bill for the Republicans is glaringly obvious: paint it as another Stimulus Bill and ask the admin why this one will succeed when the previous one failed so miserably (if we go buy what the admin promised the bill would accomplish). At the same time, they (the Republicans) can introduce separate bills to address those elements of the Jobs bill that they can support. What can the admin say in response? "This time, it's different."  Right. Sure it is.

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