Barack Obama is in trouble. His first legislative initiative as president was meant to solve a catastrophe. But the phone lines at the Senate House Office Buildings are heating up with voters saying “no.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said on Monday the calls to his office were 8:1 against the stimulus. Other Senate offices report similar call ratios.
Polls show that 50% or more of the voters are against this stimulus.
The stimulus will probably still pass. After all, Democrats control the House and the Senate. But their will be consequences of the stimulus: political and economic.
Barack Obama is bleeding politically. He’ll need some recovery time.
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has been willing to go with the Democrats on the stimulus. He faces reelection in his state during the next go round; and his Republican base is not overjoyed with this stimulus.
Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, both Republicans, have also sided with the Democratic Party on the stimulus. They probably have to help the Democrats (or think they have to) given the unemployment in their state.
But this stimulus is going to hurt the nation, politically and economically. And few Demcrats or White House spokesmen have been able to articulate the benefits enough to turn around the negative feelings among voters….
U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailouts as Senate Votes
Stimulus: Obama house parties can’t stimulate needed support
Stimulus will lead to ‘disaster,’ Republican warns
Jonathan Martin, Manu Raju
In the gauzy days of bipartisan good feeling before his Inauguration, there was talk of President Barack Obama linking arms with Republicans to pass a massive stimulus bill, with a big bipartisan Senate majority as proof the parties could come together in a time of national distress.
So much for that.
Now Obama and the Democrats are poised to push through an $827 billion package Tuesday with as few as three Republican votes in the Senate, after notching zero on the House side.
The risks for Obama are considerable. He and the Democrats will have no one else to blame if the package fails to boost the economy. Obama himself has said his first term can be judged on whether it succeeds, whether it creates or saves the 3 million to 4 million jobs he promises.
And if the economy fails to show marked signs of improvement — a possibility indeed — Republicans will have a megabillion-dollar “I told you so” in their pockets, just in time for the 2010 midterm elections and Obama’s own reelection bid in 2012.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the fallout from a Democrat-only bill will be “squarely in the president and the Democratic leadership’s lap.”
If Obama signs a stimulus bill that has been approved on a party-line vote, “which I have no confidence will work, then I think this is very serious blow early on to his presidency,” Cornyn said.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) acknowledged the lack of bipartisan support “weakens the bill” and said voters should try to withhold judgment until a final product emerges from conference. But he warned that the GOP would suffer from withholding support.
Yet Republicans are gambling themselves — and perhaps with even higher stakes.
Still seeking a way forward from their Election Day thumping, they risk appearing out of touch as the unemployment rate jumps to 7.6 percent and a popular new president is appearing to seek their support to address the crisis. By turning their backs on him and opposing action at a time when millions of Americans are in need, they may invite a “party of no” bull’s-eye on their backs.
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