George Will’s odd logic

GEORGE WILL’S ODD LOGIC…. I’m not surprised George Will disapproves of the economic stimulus package poised to become law. I am surprised he hasn’t come up with better arguments against it.

In his column today, Will argues, for example, that “some liberals are certain that the spending they favor … will completely pay for itself.” Actually, Will has this backwards. Conservative Republicans falsely believe tax cuts pay for themselves; liberals believe putting a recovery package on the national charge card is necessary given the scope of the economic crisis. We don’t think the spending “pays for itself”; we believe in paying the bill later.

Will also argues that the size of the stimulus bill is larger than federal budgets of a quarter-century ago. Putting aside inflation adjustments, it’s not altogether clear why Will thinks this is important, other than to note that the package is, in fact, big. Of course, we knew that — its size only matters relative to the economic emergency it’s intended to address. Will’s point is only slightly more sophisticated than Mitch McConnell’s “Jesus timeline” argument and John Thune’s “C-Notes to the Sky” pitch.

But this was easily George Will’s strangest observation: “John McCain probably was eager to return to the Senate as an avatar of bipartisanship, a role he has enjoyed. It is, therefore, a measure of the recklessness of House Democrats that they caused the stimulus debate to revolve around a bill that McCain dismisses as ‘generational theft.'”

Got that? If McCain, a conservative Republican, disapproves of the bill, it’s necessarily evidence of “recklessness” on the part of congressional Democrats.

Marc Ambinder checked Will’s logic:

P1: John McCain enjoyed being bipartisan in the past.

P2: [All people who enjoy things in the past will want to continue doing them in the future.]

C1: Therefore John McCain wanted to continue being bipartisan.

P3: John McCain did not continue being bipartisan.

P4: [Only recklessness by House Democrats could cause John McCain not to be bipartisan.]

C2: Therefore House Democrats are reckless.

Will’s going to have to do better than this.