Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the third-ranking Republican in the House, sets the tone on the stimulus vote:
Under the guise of stimulus, House Democrats have brought a partisan bill to the floor … What we ought to be doing is coming together across this middle aisle, across the partisan divide—as our new President has challenged us to do—bring the best ideas, the best minds, the best solutions—the Republican alternative is such a solution.
Does anyone actually believe this? Let’s ignore Pence’s assertion that rejecting the president’s bill in favor of a Republican bill is somehow not “partisan.” Stick with the other assertion, that the Democrats “brought a partisan bill to the floor.” We’ve just been through a week of theater that involved two Democratic climbdowns on controversial stimulus items (contraceptives and National Mall restoration) and two high-profile meetings between President Obama and the opposition party. On the cover of many newspapers today is a photo of the president leaving a meeting with Republicans and talking optimistically about the discussion he just had.
The average voter holds a very high view of Obama, a fairly high view of the stimulus package (if it includes tax cuts and spending, which this does) and a low view of congressional Republicans. This voter just watched the Republicans waste the president’s time and then stab him in the back. No one outside of the Republican base will blame the Democrats for “partisanship.”
More from Pence:
What is $400 million for climate change research going to do to put people back to work in Indiana?
If they’re climate change researchers, I imagine it’ll, you know, put them to work by funding their research. This is some of the worst spin I’ve ever seen.
UPDATE: I just noticed something. Here is Wednesday’s anti-stimulus editorial from the Wall Street Journal:
We’ve looked it over, and even we can’t quite believe it. There’s… $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects.
Here’s Rep. Pence:
Millions of Americans are asking today: ‘What does $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts have to do with creating jobs? What is $400 million for climate change research going to do to put people back to work in Indiana?
Maybe millions of Americans feel this way, but it’s really Paul Gigot who asked the question.
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