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January 06, 2009

Obama's Strategy: Get the Republicans a Little Bit Pregnant With Stimulus/Socialism

So then we're on the hook for it -- for good or for ill -- along with himself and the Democrats.

This is a common reaction to Great Big Crises With Unpredictable Outcomes. No one wants to be left behind on the losing team when a crucial, era-defining vote comes up -- witness John F'n' Kerry voting in favor of the Iraq War.

So Obama's trying to get us on board with trillion dollar (Trillion!) deficits by offering some modest tax-cutting.

Here's the calculation on fiscal stimulus: If Obama gets his way, he's looking at massive, trillion dollars deficits, and much more government intervention in the economy. The public may tolerate this due to fears about economic crisis, but if it works out well and the US gets a relatively soft landing from the recession, then the costs will still be visible (deficit, intervention), but the benefits will be intangible (the crisis that didn't come).

What's more, the Democrats have only one possible solution to the massive deficits coming down the pike: increase taxes. (Object lesson: "We can spend more of your money" is the Democrats solution to everything)

If Obama passes the perfect progressive stimulus bill without much Republican help, he owns the spending, the deficits, the tax hikes and all of the pain that comes with it. Republicans will be happy to run against those problems in 2010 and 2012.

But if Obama buys significant Republican support for his bill, Republicans will own the deficits, tax hikes and intervention, as well. The stimulus bill will be for Republicans what the Iraq war was for Democrats - a policy they first supported, then regretted, then tripped over themselves to explain. The "they were for it before they were against it" ads would be inevitable and devastating.

Jon Henke then explains why Republicans are in such a bind.

They are in a bind, and they'll react predictably to this situation. They will take the route of cowardice, attempting to avoid a big disagreement on a huge issue by hugging Obama and the Democrats.

A few token conservatives will have the balls to say No to trillion dollar deficits, forever. Most will fairly jump at the chance to avoid taking a risk.

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posted by Ace at 02:26 PM

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