Thursday, February 5, 2009

Interesting inside-the-beltway back and forth today...

President Obama began it by writing a Washington Post op-ed urging passage of the "stimulus" package:
"President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that failure to act on an economic recovery package could plunge the nation into a long-lasting recession that might prove irreversible, a fresh call to a recalcitrant Congress to move quickly. In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, the president argued that each day without his stimulus package, Americans lose more jobs, savings and homes."

But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had an interesting retort:
"This process stinks," Graham told FOX News, before repeating a lot of his criticisms on the Senate floor. "We're making this up as we go and it is a waste of money. It is a broken process, and the president, as far as I'm concerned, has been AWOL on providing leadership on something as important as this." Republican senators and congressmen have been reluctant to direct any criticism at the president since his inauguration. They mostly have fired shots at Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, saying they have obstructed the bipartisan process Obama sought. But Graham broke that practice after Obama granted a round of interviews defending his plan Tuesday and wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post Thursday in which he warned of disastrous consequences if Congress does not pass the stimulus bill. "Scaring people is not leadership. Writing an editorial that if you don't pass this bad bill we're going to have disaster -- we've had enough presidents trying to scare people to make bad decisions," Graham said. "I like President Obama, but he is not leading. Having lunch is not leading ... and doing TV interviews is not leading."

Interesting. And Obama did say, over and over again both during the election campaign and after it, that he wanted all kinds of face-to-face negotiations and deal-making going on between he and Republicans, that "bipartisanship" would be the word. Now he seems to be trying to go over the heads of congress. Graham is calling him on it. We'll see what happens...

UPDATE: note too that even liberal and pro-Obama columnist E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post admits:

"Obama's network appearances were planned as a response to a wholly unanticipated development: Republicans -- short on new ideas, low on votes, and deeply unpopular in the polls -- have been winning the media wars over the president's central initiative."

Keep up the fight!

AND...UPDATE #2: National Review now is out with probably the most comprehensive, up-to-date dissection of all the pork in the "stimulus" bill, as it finds no less than 50 outrages in it. My favorite: $87 million for a polar icebreaking ship.