Saturday, January 31, 2009

Only stimulating pork

Peggy Noonan has a tendency to over-romanticize politics and its capacity to be ennobling or even sometimes constructive. Still, she has a point in yesterday's column. Obama missed a big chance to assert himself and come up with a "stimulus" that might have actually stimulated some economic activity instead of just being a pastiche of pork (assuming government spending is actually stimulative, which is far from certain. Tax cuts can be, however.). Both Democrats and Republicans couldn't wait to return to their hyper-partisan habits, with the Democrats crafting a bill with everything on their wish-list for the last couple of decades with zero GOP input, and all House Republicans taking a stand and voting against it. I'm inclined to agree that there's a stupid party and an evil party, and when they get together and produce something both stupid and evil they call it bipartisanship. But the swiftness with which both parties were so eager to let Obama know post-partisanship wouldn't last a week was kinda shocking. If he had had more legislative experience or had thought this stimulus thing through more, I think he could have knocked some Dem heads together and forced a slightly less obnoxious bill. Maybe it will happen in the Senate. Here's the Register's take on the situation.

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