Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama and Pelosi and the stimulus bill game

President Obama is patiently biding his time waiting for House Speaker Pelosi and her compatriots to finish playing their partisan games with their partisan Democrat stimulus bill. Sure, they can probably pass a partisan Democrat stimulus bill in the House, but since it won't pass muster in the Senate, so what is the point. Somehow, they will manage to score some "political points" and can say "See, look, we tried and look what the mean-spirited Republicans did!" Barack knows that the current House stimulus bill is a goner, but he is smart enough to know that his best strategy is to go ahead and let the House Democrats "score" their political points and then he can do his community organizing thing and sit down with the Republicans to find out what they need to give him something close to the 80 votes he wants in the Senate.

Barack is supposed to sit down in a bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders today, but that will still be mostly for "show" since the House Democrats are truly hell-bent on passing a partisan Democrat stimulus bill even if it is headed nowhere. Sure, Barack will make a semi-serious attempt to jawbone House Democrats into being less partisan, but this early in his administration he simply has not earned his spurs to be doing any heavy arm-twisting. Besides, he really does want to go the community organizing route, which means that you simply keep meeting with the parties around the table until they are too worn down to object to settling for a common-ground proposal.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are at work developing less-partisan legislation, which will probably be much closer to the eventual stimulus package.

The stimulus effort is actually making great progress. There is still a full week left in January. The main thing holding up true progress is the House Democratic insistence on pursuing a partisan House-only bill before getting down to pursuing a wide-majority bi-partisan bill.

The House is far more rambunctious than the sedate Senate, so Pelosi does have to give House Democrats a lot of leeway before trying to rein them in. She may in fact privately concur that a much more bi-partisan approach is needed, but she probably also believes that she needs to "put up a good fight" in order to stay king/queen of the hill in the House.

-- Jack Krupansky


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