In 1993, I did a pretty shabby job of covering Bill Clinton’s economic plan. It was, in sum, a very good plan — it worked wonders for the economy — but I focused on the mishaps. (Clinton, for example, pulled the rug out from under House Democrats by offering a carbon tax, which they voted for…and then the President removed it from the bill.) Clinton couldn’t get any Republican votes for the package. A disaster! He had trouble getting Democratic votes for it; he had to beg Bob Kerrey for his vote to get it through the Senate. His presidency was in ruins! He had lost all credibility! (Actually, those of us who had focused on some big ugly trees rather than the blooming forest were the ones who had lost credibility.)
One wonders how many of the media figures
royally screwing up reporting on the stimulus debate now are going to feel the same way 16 years from now.
Also, Klein makes an interesting observation about what he sees as the “overreaction” to the state of Obama’s presidency.
Some form of stimulus will pass. If it doesn’t revive the economy, then more stimulus will be passed. Obama’s maintaining the proper balance of reaching out to Republicans, making some compromises, but staying firm on the need for a bill that includes public works as well as tax cuts. A Republican Senator, a vocal opponent of the bill, told me the other day: “The guy has really impressed us. We may not vote for the bill, and he may have to learn that you have to give us more than he wants to give us to make us happy, but he’s made a really strong start that will work to his benefit down the road.”
I noticed John Cole had a good item the other day about reports of Obama’s presidency “imploding” after two weeks, with the right making no effort to hide the fact that they’re actively rooting for (and doing their part to hasten) Obama’s failure.
But with Klein’s observation in mind, Obama is going to get a stimulus package. It will come soon after he signed S-CHIP and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. And those laws come in the midst of key executive orders on national security, lobbying reform, and women’s health here and around the world.
Sixteen days on the job? I’ve seen worse.