Monday, February 09, 2009

Collins-Nelson Cloture Vote

The Senate voted 61-36 for cloture on the Susan Collins-Ben Nelson compromise. Collins and Arlen Specter were the only Republicans to break ranks. The revamped stimulus bill will go for a floor vote.

Policy wise: Obama is going to have to ask for another stimulus package. The House version was too small. It is simply too small to make a significant impact. The added tax cuts and stimulus spending will add to the deficit.

Politically: Obama has never shown an inclination to get in the mud. The Republicans got their tax cuts. Obama got a stimulus plan that will failed. Republicans are positioning themselves for the midterms. Republicans were never serious about returning Obama's efforts at bipartisanship.

Obama should had the bill sent back to the House. Strip the tax cuts and put in the infrastucture spending. Let House and Senate Republicans vote against it. Newt Gingrich tried to force Bill Clinton's hand by shutting down the government. Clinton refused further Medicare, Medicaid and education cuts. Gingrich lost. Badly. The next year, Clinton was elected for his second term.

Maybe Obama wants the Republicans to attack him. The latest CNN poll show with a 76 percent approval rating. A key number is 39 percent say Republicans are cooperating with Obama.

Update: Andrew Sullivan calls the political battle in Obama's favor.

Should Obama become a partisan attack-dog in response? Check out the Gallup poll here. If Krugman, Yglesias and Brown are right, these polls are very wrong. Obama is winning the stimulus fight - because he seems more connected to the actual crisis people are confronting than his rivals in both parties, and more reasonable in finding a way forward.

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