Friday, February 6, 2009

Why Obama Needs the Stimulus Package to Fail

You read that right, folks. Barack Obama needs the "stimulus package" to fail, contrary to what we're seeing and hearing from the media. Here's why.

- Obama is failing in his first big test as President. Joe Biden said Obama would be tested within the first six months of his Presidency, and this is that test. Where Obama was cool and confident for the most part on the campaign trail, he's starting to show signs of ill temper and a lack of confidence when it comes to leading the country. The fact that he's practically begging for its passage makes him look like a completely different person now that he's President: a weaker, desperate man. In order to regain his political footing, he's going to have to do a 180 on the stimulus package so that he looks more like a man of the people. It may cause him some short-term headaches, but if the stimulus package as proposed by Congress passes and gets signed, it will cause him a Presidency of headaches when it fails to deliver what he promised it would. Having the current bill go down in flames would save him having to make the mistake of signing off on that failure.

- Obama is going back on his campaign promises. Remember how Obama was going to change the way politics was done in Washington, DC? Remember how Obama was going to reach across the aisle to Republicans? Remember how Obama was going to bring fiscal responsibility back to the White House? Remember how he was going to trade hope for fear? With what he's done and said to try to get the stimulus package passed, he's showing that his promises were, as he so eloquently put it, "just words." Imagine how many people are going to be disillusioned once they realize Obama just used slick talk to get into power and that he's not really the agent of change he (and his friends in the media) made him out to be. The way to regain that mantle is to tell Congress that he won't support the stimulus package in its current form because it spends more on items that won't impact the economy that much, if at all.

- Obama's favorable ratings are starting to tank. When Obama was in the transition period between being President-Elect and President, his approval ratings were sky high in the 80s. Now, depending on the poll you read, Obama's favorable ratings are in the 60s. When Obama started doing stuff, his popularity started to wane. And with the stimulus package being widely panned by the public, it could become an albatross around his neck. Taking a stand against the stimulus package and having it fail in Congress will help level off the nosedive his favorable ratings have taken since taking the Oath of Office.

- Obama needs to put Congress in its place. This may seem like an unusual move when the same party controls the White House and Congress, but Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid aren't necessarily Obama's allies on Capitol Hill. Reid has already said that he doesn't work for Obama, and Pelosi has no problem bucking authority when she thinks it suits her purposes. I see them more as a privy council instead of his eyes and ears in Congress. And considering the two of them aren't always on the best of terms, it's entirely possible that they could try to play Obama against one another, which will further damage his Presidency by marginalizing him from President to Pawn In Chief. Reclaiming his position at the bully pulpit requires Obama to let Pelosi and Reid know in no uncertain terms that he's the President, not them. Smacking down their version of the stimulus package would do that.

- The stimulus package will define his Presidency. There are events that define a Presidency both from a positive and a negative standpoint. The stimulus package is one of those defining moments, and to have it happen so quickly in his Presidency should disturb Obama. Having said that, taking a principled stand will help him shape his future and put him on a path to live up to the image of Abraham Lincoln that the media put on him and that he accepted without a word of dispute. Taking a public stand against his party on this issue will make him look less like a politician and more like the statesman he needs to appear to be. Then, he'll be able to write his Presidential history as he wants it to be written. Having it pass and then fail to produce jobs would take that pen away from him.

Put simply, one of the biggest advocates of the stimulus package needs to see it fail if he wants to get past his first major test as President. The bill as written/proposed won't do what Obama has promised it will do, but it will haunt him if he doesn't put the brakes on it.

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