Aides to Barack Obama are sounding out TV networks to see if they are willing to set aside some prime-time Wednesday night space for a signing ceremony of the White House bailout bill.
Passage of the bill is undoubtedly a solid political victory for the President, though liberal economists such as the New York Times’ Paul Krugman say the $790B package is chump change compared to what really is needed to revive the economy.
This legislation is not ready for prime-time. Obama made a lot of noise about getting strong bipartisan support for the bill. He was looking in the neighborhood of 20 Republicans to vote with the Democrats. That failed miserably.
He picked up a measly three GOPers, a trio that will pretty much decide how the rest of the president’s legislative agenda pans out. A prime-time signing for a Democratic victory smacks of triumphalism. And then there is the practical matter of filling airtime. Is the president going to write slowly? Will there be multiple signings? Will he be handing out souvenir pens to adoring supporters?
If the President still thinks there is some bipartisan spirit left in Washington, he should forget about prime-time. Frankly, Obama should face reality. The bailout voting results make it very plain that Republicans have given Obama the shortest honeymoon in history.
The Hill (Feb. 11) says the stimulus turndown is the beginning of the GOP effort to regain control of Congress. They are betting the package fails and Democrats get the blame. John McCain, for instance, has kicked off his re-election campaign with an anti-stimulus petition. “Their proposals will not stimulate growth or create jobs,” says the email. That’s why “now is not the time to step away from my work in the Senate.
McCain was pegged to be an ally of Obama. The President honored the Republican from Arizona with a dinner just prior to the Inauguration. If Obama can’t pick up support from the so-called Maverick, what hope is there for the right-wingers in the GOP? Bipartisanship is dead. Obama needs to understand that real fast.