#rsrh QotD, Sean Trende Knows Us Well edition.

Sean Trende, in the process of explaining, gently, how the Democrats in general and Obama in particular could have gotten a second stimulus going.

If the Democrats could pass a massive health care bill that was opposed by a majority of the American people, that was perceived as increasing the deficit and that managed to touch just about every hot-button issue under the sun, from immigration to abortion, they could have passed another stimulus. They might have had to exempt Nebraska in order to do it, but they could have done it.

In fact, I think the pitch would have been pretty simple. Show congressmen and senators the Romer-Bernstein chart, as adapted by conservative bloggers. Note that the dots were well above the worst-case scenario before the stimulus went into effect. And convey to them that, without more stimulus spending, those dots were going to remain above that worst-case scenario line well past the November midterms and that their opponents would be featuring this chart non-stop in 30-second ads beginning in September of 2010.

That chart, by the way, is this one:

…and the fact that I happen to have multiple versions of it in my media library for this site should tell you everything you need to know about whether Sean’s correct about how likely we were to reference it.  But if you need more clarity… yeah, we would have used it.  Especially given that we did pretty much use said graph to make the 2011 Democratic House caucus look like it had suffered an outbreak of cholera.

Not to brag, or anything.

Moe Lane

1 Comment

  • Murgatroyd says:

    On the other hand, if the Democrats had been able to pass another “stimulus” bill, those data points probably would have been even worse. We’d all be worse off economically, and the Republicans would have had an even bigger landslide victory in November 2010. Since I care about the fate of the United States of America, I’m glad they weren’t able to do it. (And I think you’re glad, too.)

    Note that the dots were well above the worst-case scenario before the stimulus went into effect.

    And had the Democrats tried to use this argument, it would have driven home that fact their prescription for economic recovery was based on a faulty diagnosis — sort of like prescribing more morphine to let a man with a broken leg keep walking on it without splinting it.

    As it became clear that the downturn was worse than expected, additional rounds of tax cuts and spending legislation would have been easier to pass, since Obama likely would have maintained a higher approval rating (remember that it was the perception of massive spending, rather than the economy, that initially drove down his approval ratings).

    But that “perception of massive spending” still would have been accurate, whether it was done in one big lump or spread out over several months as Trende would have had them do.

    Perhaps the reason the Democrats didn’t try was that at some level even they understood that you can’t pay off everyone with “other people’s money” and not have the problem catch up with you sooner or later.

    Or perhaps they realized that the public would see that the Porkulus money was not helping the economy, any more than filling the Mad Hatter’s pocket watch with butter was helping it keep better time. (“It was the best butter,” the March Hare meekly replied.)

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