Saturday, January 31, 2009

AlterNet: Obama Strikes Back, Plans Payback for House Republicans

By Steve Benen, Washington Monthly

The White House has invested quite a bit of time and energy reaching out to congressional Republicans. Late yesterday, the president's efforts were rewarded with exactly zero GOP votes on an economic stimulus plan. The Politico reported that when Republicans announced their opposition, the minority party "slapped" Obama's "outstretched hand" as part of a "coordinated effort to embarrass" the president.

We're starting to get a sense of how the White House plans to respond.

Pushing back against the unanimous House Republican vote against President Obama's stimulus plan, the White House plans to release state-by-state job figures "so we can put a number on what folks voted for and against," an administration aide said.

"It's clear the Republicans who voted against the stimulus represent constituents who will be stunned to learn their member of Congress voted against [saving or] creating 4 million jobs," the aide said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the lawmakers will have to answer to their constituents. A Democratic official added: "We will run campaigns in their districts."

What's more, Greg Sargent reports that a coalition of groups and unions, including Americans United for Change, Political Action, AFSCME and SEIU, are launching a new television ad targeting Republican senators and pressuring them to vote for President Obama's stimulus package.

The spot shows some arresting images of the recession -- chained up factories, empty warehouses -- and features Obama talking about our dire economic times and his economic package, an effort to harness Obama's popularity to push the plan at a time when Republicans are training their fire on House Dems, rather than the White House.

The ad is set to air in four states, targeting Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Judd Gregg (New Hampshire), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Olympia Snowe (Maine). Three of the five -- Grassley, Gregg, and Murkowski -- are up for re-election next year.

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  1. I wish Obama hadn't put tax cuts in the Stimulus Plan. Tax cuts slow the economy down, rather than stimulating it.

  2. Wouldn't get it to pass without the people believing that something's in it for them. We have been taught to think of taxes as a bad thing, never mind that taxes pay for the general welfare in a rampant, capitalist economy that eschews such spending on citizens as wasteful "handouts".