Monday, January 05, 2009

"The People Can't Wait"

President-elect Obama, after meeting with Nancy Pelosi this morning:

The reason we are here today is because the people can't wait. We have an extraordinary economic challenge ahead of us.

Must be that he missed the Ren and Stimpy Reid and Steney Show yesterday. Instead of the message of "Yes, We Can!", Democratic leaders on the talking head shows indicated their game plan was, "Maybe, We Will. Someday. But Not Now". Here's Stimpy:

“It’s going to be difficult to get the package together that early,” he said. Instead, he told “Fox News Sunday,” lawmakers hoped to have it to the new president by mid-February.

Here's Ren, a little better:

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, was more cautious about any deadline, saying simply, “We will work this just as quickly as we can.” As to the amount of a stimulus package, he said only, “It’s whatever it takes to bring this country back on a fiscal footing that’s decent.”

Sensing the opening that is being presented here, Mitch McConnell goes after the unemployed and uninsured first. Got to be able to pick up the easy meat with your eyes closed, right Mitch?

But Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, agreed with Hoyer that the Jan. 20 goal was impractical.

Mr. McConnell also expressed reservations about the ideas of extending unemployment benefits to part-time workers or expanding government-assisted health care insurance. “Those are very big systemic changes,” he told ABC’s “This Week,” and so warranted public hearings and deliberate bipartisan discussions.

And of course we need to revisit the idea that "tax cuts will solve everything", because that is the only way Republicans will ever agree to do anything for this country.

He also urged Obama to support an immediate middle-class tax cut — possibly lowering the 25-percent rate to 15 percent — saying, “This is the sort of thing we could have bipartisan agreement on.”

Was going to just let all this slide and chalk it up to impatient pre-inauguration overreaction on my part, but then Paul Krugman raised an excellent point:

Look, Republicans are not going to come on board. Make 40% of the package tax cuts, they’ll demand 100%. Then they’ll start the thing about how you can’t cut taxes on people who don’t pay taxes (with only income taxes counting, of course) and demand that the plan focus on the affluent. Then they’ll demand cuts in corporate taxes. And Mitch McConnell is already saying that state and local governments should get loans, not aid — which would undermine that part of the plan, too.

OK, maybe this is just a head fake from the Obama people — they think they can win the PR battle by making bipartisan noises, then accusing the GOP of being obstructionist. But I’m really worried that they’re sending off signals of weakness right from the beginning, and that they’re just going to embolden the opposition.

When Krugman backs up your paranoia, you know you have a problem. Let's hope we are both wrong about this.

Two weeks to go. Let's put a little more effort into our message in the meantime, OK Dems?