Democrats are in a bit of a jam on the stimulus, as many reporters have noticed: “Democrats are all over the map on the stimulus and the possibility of a sequel, and it’s not hard to see why: When it comes to a second stimulus, they may be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.” But there is nothing they would have done differently, right? That phrase may prove to be this administration’s “Mission Accomplished” banner.
The current excuse — that somehow the administration didn’t understand how severe the crisis was — isn’t going over so well. In fact, it’s so easily disproved by rolling back the tapes of all the gloom-and-doom talk that permeated the president’s remarks in the early days of his term, that his critics are having a field day. House Minority Leader John Boehner, for example, isn’t buying any excuses:
I found it … interesting over the last couple of days to hear Vice President Biden and the president mention the fact that they didn’t realize how difficult an economic circumstance we were in. . . Now this is the greatest fabrication I have seen since I’ve been in Congress. I’ve sat in meetings in the White House with the vice president and the president. There’s not one person that sat in those rooms that didn’t understand how serious our economic crisis was.
Well he does have a point; the president kept calling it the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The simple truth is the stimulus was ill-conceived and poorly executed. Sooner or later, the president and his advisers will need to acknowledge that deferring to Nancy Pelosi to devise a grab-bag of goodies for liberal interest groups wasn’t smart politics or smart policy.