President Obama now vows to turn up the heat and has attacked Republicans in the House and Senate who are not yet wagging their tails in approval of Democratic plans for a stimulus. Never mind that, by implication, he’s also attacking some 54% of the American people who also have serious objections to the plan. Or . . . is that precisely the point of his attack?
Rich Lowry has written a fine article in which he suggests that Obama’s argument that, "I won" really amounts to an non-argument. It shows, as Lowry put it, "he’s out of better arguments." Not that he’s ever offered any real argument in favor of this kind of "scattershot" and massive government spending. He certainly did not campaign on such a plan. So "I won" isn’t going to cut it, Lowry argues.
That’s a fair point, it seems to me. But I wonder if it’s fair to suggest that Obama doesn’t know it. Obama certainly knows that he can and will pass this bill or some equally porky version of it and all, more or less, without Republican support. Other commentators in talk radio and elsewhere have observed that the President is making all this fuss because he wants cover for when the stimulus does not stimulate. That seems to be a fair observation--as far as it goes. But I wonder if it goes far enough.
It seems to me that this week has been hard on Obama less because of the opposition coming from Republicans than because of the stubborn trough-diving of his fellow Democrats and the startling revelation that--on this point anyway--the American people are not marching in lockstep with him. It’s tough stuff to go from celebrated American hero to the guy who’s stuck with the job of shining up a pig all in the span of two weeks. This is dirty work and I think there’s a tell in his reaction to it. This guy doesn’t seem to enjoy rolling in the mud. So the smart thing to do, if you’re a Republican, is to keep him there as long as possible. He’s never had to make a serious argument on behalf of this kind of reckless spending. Make him try.