One of the goals of the unanimous Republican “no” vote on the stimulus package Wednesday was producing news analyses like this one, from The New York Times.
And we all know what happened in 1994. Still, I don’t think the analogy holds up.
1. The Obama stimulus package is popular. A May 25, 1993 Gallup poll pegged support for Clinton’s plan at 44 percent, and opposition at 45 percent. The Democratic House narrowly supported the plan two days later. But the final Gallup poll before yesterday’s House vote put support for President Obama’s plan at 52 percent, with opposition at only 37 percent. Even a flawed Republican poll on the stimulus (which suggests that tax cuts are more popular than spending, ignoring the fact that the stimulus includes both) revealed that most voters, panicking about the economy, support the stimulus package.
2. Clinton wasn’t popular; Obama is. As Michael Crowley points out, Clinton was already reeling from scandals and missteps by May 1993, when the budget vote was held. His popularity had dipped below 50 percent, and in some polls his net approval rating had inched into negative territory. Clinton’s Democrats were less popular than Obama’s Democrats—while Clinton was beating President George H.W. Bush, the party was losing seats in the House Banking Scandal backlash. Obama is cresting in the mid-60s or low-70s, depending on the poll, the Democrats have gained ground in two consecutive elections, and voter identification with the Democrats is soaring.
3. The Clinton budget raised taxes; the Obama stimulus doesn’t. I think this is the most important distinction. The Clinton budget reconciliation increased income taxes, raised the corporate tax rate to 35 percent, and raised the gas tax by 4.3 cents per gallon. Basically, every American paid more taxes after the budget was passed. The Obama stimulus package doesn’t raise anyone’s taxes. It includes $275 billion of tax cuts. Are they poorly designed? Arguably. But they’re tax cuts! I literally cannot remember a time when the entire Republican conference in either house voted against tax cuts. In that Republican poll mentioned above, upwards of 60 percent of voters want tax cuts right now.
The Republican strategy here is incredibly bold. The party’s betting against Obama’s current popularity and against the chance of an economic recovery by 2010 (or 2012), having done very little work convincing Americans that the stimulus tax rebates amount to “welfare” (one popular argument) or that, after eight years of deficit spending, voters should worry about the cost of this bill. I’m skeptical about the political oomph of attacking “wasteful spending,” even though (in a growing economy, at least) it makes more sense than endless tax cuts. But maybe the strategy will pay off. Or maybe putting 177 Republicans on record against tax cuts will come back to hurt them. We’ll find out.
$1.3 Million for Brown
The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul
$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV
The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.
$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds
Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal
1. Brian Schweitzer
As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this
1 Brigade and 1 Battalion
ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the
$1 Million for Toomey
Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the
1. Lindsey Graham
Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry
#1 in Conspiracy Theories
Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one Amazon.com category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy
Ten Loopholes That Can’t Make It Into FinReg
Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, wrote a blog post that lists the loopholes lobbyists most want inserted into Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.)
Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban
Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on
Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry
China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.