Unless we can somehow dissuade the votes of two or three Republican senators, it looks like the government of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Left in America is going to get its wish to waste $800 billion dollars of taxpayer money on a stimulus package that the Congressional Budget Office says will actually damage the economy in the long run. The Democrat-controlled Congress is going to pass a bill that implements their vision of the way economics should work, regardless of the fact that it manifestly flies in the face of economic reality.
So what can we do if that comes to pass? I think it counts as a national disaster, personally -- but at least we have one advantage: we know the exact parameters of the disaster being perpetrated on us, and we know who is responsible for it, and we know where the money will be going. For the next several years, it will be our task to track that money and the manifold consequences of having spent it this way, and we must make all of those consequences crystal clear to the voters in 2010 and 2012.
That shouldn't be very difficult because this bill is not an "economic recovery package" nor is it an "economic stimulus plan" in its current form: it is a combination of a political victory for the incoming President and a sop to the people who elected him. It's taking $800 billion dollars and handing it to the people who got Barack Obama elected, pure and simple. It's a payoff designed to expand the size of government. Much of it will be wasted. A great deal of it will be put to work on projects and programs that have nothing to do with economic growth, but instead are on the list because they're ideological pet projects of the people who passed it. In other words, it is a piece of crap, not economic leadership. It's not Change; it's the biggest piece of The Same that ever made it out of Congress.
If the Republican Party intends to regain and retain credibility with the voters, two things have to be done in almost equal measure: The first is to continually emphasize and explain how the contents of this massive expulsion of federal money does have and will continue to have deleterious effects on America's long term economic competitiveness. The second is to reacquaint Americans with the facts of what is really needed in order to revitalize the economy and show them why the Democrats' ideas are the antithesis of an economic recovery plan.
Republicans need to immediately convene a summit in which they create a platform for economic recovery based on economic principles, to be used as the bedrock foundation of the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns by our candidates. We need to bring together the best economic and business minds in the country -- from industry, academia and think tanks and foundations, to create a new Contract with America based on sound economic principles. It should not be advertised and promoted or organized as a political gathering: it must be an event focused on economics that can educate and inform politicians and the public in advance of the electoral campaigns that are coming. We have to put the big egos aside here: it shouldn't be a vehicle to promote any single politician. Instead, for the good of this great country and the American people, it must be an event with a purpose: to create a platform for real economic recovery, and to educate the American public as well as assist anyone -- from either party -- running for office in America.
I'm very sad that this government-growth and profligate-spending bill seems likely to pass Congress and be signed into law by a President who clenches his fist and dismisses people with the callow demeanor of someone who is clearly in over his head, but cannot own up to that. I'm not a vengeful person, either: instead, I believe in allowing people to learn from their own mistakes. I believe that any sense of "victory" or "achievement" Barack Obama gets from signing this monstrosity into law will be short-lived, as people in his own party begin to suffer from the backlash they will deserve for creating a piece of bad legislation that spends this much money, while paying lip service to economic reality and doing long-term damage to our future.
However, I am in favor of sending a message of disapproval to people in our own party. I'd like to request that Redstate take some donations to send the largest versions of these three posters and/or desktoppers to Senators Collins, Snowe and Specter:
Dysfunction, Government, and Disloyalty. Maybe Irresponsibility, too. Redstate should take up a collection, the total should be under $250, and it would be the best message these three could get to honor their recent non-contributions.
Some people might retort that they could send back Blogging, but it would be a Parthian shot.
Let's call it the "Republican Four R Initiative:"
"Regain, Retain, Respond, Renew"
1) Regain the trust of the American people by demonstrating the consquences of bad policy decisions.
2) Retain the good will of those voters by consistently emphasizing policy alternatives that are grounded in economic reality.
3) Respond to the Democrats not by emulating them, but by differing pointedly with them based on our principles and the ideas that Americans know in their bones are right.
4) Renew the Republican party by cleaning our own house and bringing new faces and new leadership to the fore.