The clock is ticking on Porkulus—what can we, and the GOP Congress, do? OPEN THREAD
In the interest of using this site to generate ideas that motivated people—i.e., us—can execute, I hereby start this diary entry. Contributors/Moderators—feel free to override this with an article of your own.
For our GOP Congress:
1) Stall. Slow this thing down. The more sunshine that falls on it, the more that support for it will erode. And, if America comes to see this stimulus bill as one big turkey, they’ll think much less of a President Obama who spent a fair portion of his first prime-time presser extolling the bill’s merits and denigrating its opponents. (When he wasn’t musing on coffins or baseball, that is).
2) Be ready to make your colleagues mad. Really mad. By that, I mean you should be willing to use the kinds of parliamentary procedures that (a) slow the legislative process down and (b) make the Democrats publicly defend positions they’d just as soon not have to discuss publicly.
The Senate has lots of these procedures. I know the Senate prides itself on its collegiality. With respect, though, I’m not willing to assume a $800 billion debt so that Senators can continue to be chummy in the cloakroom. If there was ever the time to offend someone, then now is the time.
I think Obama and Rahm are counting on the GOP Senate leadership’s desire to preserve civility and decorum. They’re counting on that to blunt criticism just enough for this bill to get through. I suspect the White House is thinking: let the GOP and the press criticize us as much as they want after the President signs this bill. We can solemnly nod in agreement with their critiques, as we cash those Porkulus checks.
3) Figure out ways to force the media to cover you. GOAD them if necessary! CNN’s coffin question and the WaPo’s A-Rod question make me fear that the media will help President Obama and the Democrats through these perilous PR times by not asking the tough questions. By the next time Obama holds a prime-time presser, billions and billions of dollars will be lost.
The media will also try to help President Obama by minimizing its coverage of stimulus opponents. You know this, GOP Congress. You have to figure out ways to FORCE them to cover you.
Hold pressers on the steps of the Capitol. Do it every day if necessary. Everyone—what else can they do to make the media cover them?
4) Highlight the aggregious items in the bill. Distill them into a list of short,bullet points that people can pick from and recite, over and over and over again. It’s called messaging! (I think). Remember “miserable failure”? That phrase, repeated over and over again, found traction in the public mind. This Porkulus bill is FULL of 1-2 sentence tidbits that are idea for Twitter or sound bites.
5) Be ready to embarass Collins, Snowe and Specter. Don’t lowball your criticisms of the bill, out of fear of making three of your friends look bad. They chose to be human shields for this bill.
6) Embarass the media. No one has worse public approval ratings than the media. Fine–let’s use that to our advantage. GOP leaders (paging Michael Steele!)—comment loudly and obnoxiously on the love fest that was last night’s prime time presser. Wonder loudly why the media isn’t digging more aggressively into the stinky sub-parts and sub-sub parts of this bill. Wonder why the media doesn’t care about rising mountains of debt. Call them out by name. Wonder, for example, if the WaPo screwed up and sent a sports reporter to the White House last night.
For the rest of us
I gotta admit—I’m at a bit of a loss here. The most effective thing I can think of is to keep calling the Senate. But, I fear that the Terrible Three are no longer listening. I fear that the best we can hope for is to keep the number of GOP Senate defections to three.
What we CAN do, is to get as many Dems to peel off as possible. I’m thinking Blanche Lincoln, Blue Dogs, etc… THe more Dems we peel away, the less bipartisan this bill is.
That’s all I have—-Little Smagar is up. Gotta go.
Everyone, please pitch in. What are your good ideas. We only have a few days left to save billions of dollars.