They’ll either come out the other side as the heroes or go down in flames. The stimulus bill passed in the house with all of the Republicans voting no and a handful of Blue Dogs. This after numerous concession were made in terms of stupid tax cuts when even the most strident of free market ideology economists will tell you that the multipliers of infrastructure building spending get much bigger bangs for the buck in terms of jobs creation.
Some of the talking heads are arguing that it’s a ploy to get even more concessions when it comes up for a Senate vote, since Republican Olympia Snowe has signaled her support. Sounds like sort of a good cop/bad cop approach, so she can promise some Republican support when the compromise package comes up in order to reconcile the more conservative Senate bill.
Personally, I think the Democrats should just figure they aren’t going to get Republican support, remove the tax cuts (that’s not what we need right now) and pump back up the money for schools, mass transit, and alternative energy spending. The Democrats will get the blame anyway if it doesn’t improve the economy within the year, so they should just do it! At least they restored some of the mass transit funds of the original proposal.
On a different issue, now confirmed Attorney General Michael Holder is denying Sen. Kitt Bond’s statements to the press that Holder had promised not to prosecute anyone for torture. Bond is avoiding the press.
Addendum: Atrios sums up the politics of the vote pretty well.
If I were advising the Republicans I would’ve told them to vote against the stimulus package. I would tell them to make the point clearly that if they were in charge, the bill would be a different bill. They’re a competing political party and they need to, you know, highlight the fact that their vision for America is actually different. I appreciate that members of both parties don’t always toe the line completely, but on a bill as big as this it makes perfect sense for it to play out as it did.
Of course the flip side is that Dems should’ve pushed the best plan that could pass the Senate instead of pushing some pointless fantasy about bipartisanship.
And Dick Armey is, well, as much of an asshole as he’s ever been.
Second addendum: From Daily Kos, “So now they’re fiscal conservatives.” Some graphs and numbers of interest.