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Did Obama lose clout in letting Congress write “stimulus”?
(and other significant legislation)

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:18 am - July 28, 2009.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Congress (111th)

In the waning days of the George W. Bush Administration, shortly after the 111th Congress had been sworn in, we first learned the price tag for the Democrats’ “stimulus” packaged, cobbled together in the back rooms of Democratic offices on Capitol Hill.  As the price tag hovered around $1 trillion, we in the rightosphere were astounded that anyone could consider legislation with such a tab, not even four months after Congress passed the bailouts which would ultimately total $700 billion.

And this while the federal government was already awash in red ink.

At the time (in those halcyon January days), I wondered if perhaps the Democrats were engaging in a little political theater.  You see, shortly after winning election, promising a “net spending cut,” the then-President-elect promised to “scour the federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts.”  I never believed him for a second, but thought he might try and look like he was cutting the budget.

So, I was certain he was going to tell congressional Democrats that while he appreciated the hard work they put into the “stimulus,” he couldn’t sign it as it stood and asked them to come up with something far less costly.  The piece of theater was never staged.  He tried to maintain appearances only through the rhetoric of fiscal prudence.

I wonder if by letting Congress draft the “stimulus” as he has been letting various liberal Democrats craft other significant legislation that he is ceding his power to Congress–and diminishing his own stature at the same time. According to the Hill, Presidential scholar Paul Light has reached a similar conclusion:

One of the reasons Obama has spent so much capital, aside from his ambitious agenda, has been his willingness to cede so much control to Congress, Light said. . . . To that end, Light says, Obama has made a mistake in making Pelosi his “broker,” spending his political capital but not always to his benefit.

NOTE ON THIS POST:I had intended to blog on this on Friday, but decided to save the idea for the weekend.  On Monday afterrnoon, I followed an Instapundit link to the Hill article linked above and realized I needed to blog on this post haste.  I had scribbled this note:

Did O lose something when he let Congress draft “stimulus” –diminished his stature-bargaining power with Congress.



  1. Obama is counting on most Americans’ not being able or willing to hold two contradictory sets of facts in their head at the same time and compare them–i.e., his campaign rhetoric and his actions as President. Sadly, he seems to be correct.

    Comment by Scott Spiegel — July 28, 2009 @ 9:55 am - July 28, 2009

  2. obama never wrote anything in his time in the senate….
    hes a lifelong schemer who only know how to win mr congeniality and win elections
    this is gonne be 3 and a half rough years

    Comment by ben — July 28, 2009 @ 10:12 am - July 28, 2009

  3. Democratic Congress passes $700 billion in bailouts (under Bush, in expectation of Obama), then $800 billion in so-called “stimulus” spending (under Obama directly).
    Total: $1.5 trillion in new spending.
    Last U.S. deficit before all that (2008): $400 billion.
    U.S. expected deficit for 2009: now pushing $1.9 trillion.

    Gee, what a coincidence… $400 billion of pre-existing deficit + $1.5 trillion in unnecessary, destructive new spending just happens to equal $1.9 trillion. Imagine that.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 28, 2009 @ 11:38 am - July 28, 2009

  4. That was just a thought triggered when I saw the reference to $700 billion in bailout spending. More on topic: Obama is a lightweight, getting rolled by the pros, and always has been. I wish heliotrope were here; he could say it beautifully.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 28, 2009 @ 11:42 am - July 28, 2009

  5. I think he is setting up to boot Ms. Pelosi. I think Mr. Obama will use Ms. Pelosi as the scapegoat when the dust settles and people realize the economy is right where some economists said it would be without the stimulus.

    Ms. Pelosi is disliked more then Ms. Palin is disliked. Her days are numbered. Most Americans will believe Mr. Obama when he starts his crusade against her. Most Americans have no idea how laws are formed and passed into law.

    A part of me hopes it gets ugly between Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Obama. Maybe Mrs. Obama will join the entertainment. I don’t think Ms. Pelosi will settle for a beer summit.

    Comment by TnnsNE1 — July 28, 2009 @ 12:39 pm - July 28, 2009

  6. Political capital? …What promises HAS the Obamessiah actually delivered?

    Guantanemo’ prison is still open. (Thank the gods…)
    The troops are still in Iraq. (Also thank the gods…)
    Admin. transparency is more opaque than usual with the appointment of WH ‘czars” unvetted nor confirmed by the US Senate.
    Unemployment is approaching/over 10%.
    The Stimulus hasn’t delivered any ‘bounce yet. ….It’s not even been spent yet.
    Wall Street profits and bonuses continue unabated.
    Housing and infrastructure construction is still in a slump.
    Health Care Reform is stalled, with impending middle-class tax-burden increases assured.

    ….Oh, and he took SIX months to pick-out a puppy.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — July 28, 2009 @ 12:39 pm - July 28, 2009

  7. Obama’s is a cult of personality, so he has everything to gain by blunting criticism (or avoiding it) with the dirty work of Pelosi, Reid, and others. It isn’t necessary for a figurehead to know the details of any issue (including police matters in the Boston area) when his role is to cheerlead, appeal to public emotion, encourage bi-partisanship, travel and curry favor with those who resent American success, etc.

    I’m guessing the typical Obama supporter doesn’t care whether he’s directly involved in any significant federal capacity except to fulfill the image they voted for. Expecting Obama to be direct and open is misplaced conservatism because it’s not how the liberal mind works and it would hurt Democratic strategy.

    Comment by Ignatius — July 28, 2009 @ 1:25 pm - July 28, 2009

  8. Wall Street profits and bonuses –from bailouts and other illegitimate political factors– continue unabated.


    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 28, 2009 @ 1:36 pm - July 28, 2009

  9. ILC, I agree Obama is a lightweight; perhaps as time goes by, more and more americans will discover this.
    To TnnsNE!, I wish I could agree about Pelosi, but the american people don’t have to like her; her district will most likely continue electing her.
    However, maybe it’s possible the Blue Dogs will revolt and replace her as House Speaker.
    One can hope.

    Comment by Man — July 28, 2009 @ 1:41 pm - July 28, 2009

  10. Ex-Speaker Pelosi is fine by me. I am willing to compromise on some items.

    Comment by TnnsNE1 — July 28, 2009 @ 2:01 pm - July 28, 2009

  11. #5 firing MS Pelosi……guys the Democrats don’t fire their boobs. Look around, their ranks are filled with crooks, perverts, racists, embezzelers, drunks, murderers, and morons.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — July 28, 2009 @ 3:18 pm - July 28, 2009

  12. When exactly can we declare the honeymoon over for Obamateleprompter?

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — July 28, 2009 @ 3:22 pm - July 28, 2009

  13. Consumer confidence plummets …today it was announced.
    Americans losing faith the govenment has the answers.

    Today Bank of America announced they would close 10% of their locations. Verizon announced it would slash 8,000 more jobs.
    I think Obama got councel from Cheney when he started to back off changes to Bush terror policies. There were probably secret talks.
    Should Obama now call on Bush 43 for help with the economy? It appears as though Obama’s team is totally clueless. Instead of a second stimulus, a waste of another Trillion dollars, why not try what Kennedy, Reagan and Bush 43 did to grow out of a recession? Obama now has a full blown depression on his hands. Can a liberal call a conservative for more help? Man up Mr President.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — July 28, 2009 @ 3:29 pm - July 28, 2009

  14. Im not sure Obama had any choice but to allow Congress to write the horrific pork stimulus bill or the health care nightmare morass. Who exactly in the White House was going to do it? Those people never had real jobs. The smartest one, Michelle is out planting squash and rubarb with the girls. Barack was and always has been an aggitator. Like Rev Wright and Prof Gates. You don’t expect Obama to actually do any work do you? One of our young President’s new challenges is going to be his demeanor and he appearance. If you look at him the past 3 weeks, he looks like a loser, he looks beleaguered. I wonder when the next prime time newser is going to be?
    By the way should GP or GPW be doing some kind of contest or incentive to get the liberal leftist Democrats to come back to this blog? There use to be 6-8 Obamaphiles in here. Now they hardly ever show up. Good arguments are fun. Like true liberals, all we’d have to do is offer them something free, delivered by the postman to get them back.
    I’m disappointed Obama has not one defender who could explain what has happended to their savior.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — July 28, 2009 @ 4:30 pm - July 28, 2009

  15. The guy who voted present so much is just lazy. Writing a bill is work. That would cut into his on camera time, really cramp his endless campaign.

    Comment by Gary Ogletree — July 28, 2009 @ 10:09 pm - July 28, 2009

  16. #14, “There use to be 6-8 Obamaphiles in here. Now they hardly ever show up. ”

    The same thing as happened in my blue state. The comment section of the largest newspaper in the state used to be filled with Mr. Obama supporters posting the praises of Hope and Change. Now, they post one liners insulting right wingers, quoting a snippet of a Rush or Glenn and calling it a day. At least they have started to use capital letters.

    It is getting more difficult to defend his positions. Especially since so many of them voted against Mr. Bush(McSame) instead of voting for Mr. Obama and now they see that on most important items they are getting the same or worse.

    Even my ultra liberal brother refuses to talk politics anymore. I have thrown my family for a loop : the gay brother has the longest, most stable relationship of all the brothers; is the only conservative; and has given my parents their first two great grandchildren. Welcome to the New World !!

    Comment by TnnsNE1 — July 29, 2009 @ 9:37 am - July 29, 2009

  17. I have thrown my family for a loop : the gay brother has the longest, most stable relationship of all the brothers; is the only conservative; and has given my parents their first two great grandchildren. Welcome to the New World !!

    That made my day. Congrats, Tnns.

    Comment by Ignatius — July 29, 2009 @ 10:41 am - July 29, 2009

  18. At least [some Obama supporters] have started to use capital letters.

    Made mine.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 29, 2009 @ 11:07 am - July 29, 2009

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