The pace of “stimulus” spending has plummeted. Good time to shut off the spigot entirely, but it probably won’t happen until we at least restore some sanity to the Hill next year.
Meanwhile, cap and trade appears to be dead in the Senate for this year (and let’s hope forever). This is bad news, of course, for the Blue Dogs in the House who Pelosi strong armed into voting for it. They made a politically painful vote against their constituents’ wishes with nothing to show for it. Let’s hope that it turns her from Speaker Pelosi to Minority Leader Pelosi next year (if not dumping her from the leadership altogether).
And another sign that the people are waking from their trance — a clear majority of likely voters now say that no health-care bill is better than anything resembling this bill:
This does not mean that most voters are opposed to health care reform. But it does highlight the level of concern about the specific proposals that Congressional Democrats have approved in a series of Committees. To this point, there has been no Republican support for the legislative effort although the Senate Finance Committee is still attempting to seek a bi-partisan solution.
Not surprisingly, there is a huge partisan divide on this issue. Sixty percent (60%) of Democrats say passing the legislation in Congress would be the best course of action. However, 80% of Republicans take the opposite view. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 23% would like the Congressional reform to pass while 66% would rather the legislators take no action.
Don’t just do something — stand there!
It’s partly because of this:
One reason is skepticism about Congress itself. By a two-to-one margin, voters believe that no matter how bad things are Congress could always make it worse.
Yup. Michael Barone expands on where the Democrats went wrong:
…the Democrats have a problem here. The party’s leadership currently tilts heavily to the liberal side. Barack Obama is from the university community of Hyde Park in Chicago. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is from San Francisco, and important House committee chairmen are from similar “gentry urban” locales — Henry Waxman from the West Side of Los Angeles, Charles Rangel from a district that includes not only Harlem but much of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Barney Frank from Newton, Mass., next door to Boston.
Of the 21 top leadership members and chairmen, five come from districts carried by John McCain, but the average vote in the other 16 districts was 71 percent to 27 percent for Obama.
All these Democratic leaders understand that their home turf tilts far left of the rest of the nation. But a politician’s political base is ultimately his or her reality principle. Moreover, most of these leaders — though Obama obfuscated this in his campaign — have strong, long-held convictions that are well on the left of the American political spectrum.
These are the people — the House leaders more than Obama, surprisingly — who have shaped the Democrats’ stimulus package, cap-and-trade legislation and health-care bills. The rules of the House allow a skillful leader like Pelosi to jam legislation through on the floor, although she’s had more trouble than expected on health care. But their policies have been meeting resistance from the three-quarters of Americans who don’t describe themselves as liberals.
The leftists were deluding themselves when they saw the November election as a mandate for socialism. Most of the independents who voted for Democrats were voting against Republicans, and many of the people who voted for Barack Obama were just voting for generic “change” without paying much attention to what kind of change was being promised. Now that they see what it actually means, they’re in revolt. And coming up with better commercials isn’t going to get the dog to eat the dog food when it tastes like crap.
Finally, a bonus: If Sarah Palin is so stupid, and Barack Obama so brilliant, how did she win the argument?
One can hardly deny that Palin’s reference to “death panels” was inflammatory. But another way of putting that is that it was vivid and attention-getting. Level-headed liberal commentators who favor more government in health care, including Slate’s Mickey Kaus and the Washington Post’s Charles Lane, have argued that the end-of-life provision in the bill is problematic–acknowledging in effect (and, in Kaus’s case, in so many words) that Palin had a point.
If you believe the media, Sarah Palin is a mediocre intellect, if even that, while President Obama is brilliant. So how did she manage to best him in this debate? Part of the explanation is that disdain for Palin reflects intellectual snobbery more than actual intellect. Still, Obama’s critics, in contrast with Palin’s, do not deny the president’s intellectual aptitude. Intelligence, however, does not make one immune from hubris.
It’s also because he doesn’t have good arguments. All that he has is charisma, and people are starting to see through the lies and the fraud. No wonder the markets are cheering.
[All collected via Instapundit]
[Early afternoon update]
The telecoms apparently don’t want to be stimulated:
With today the deadline to apply for $4.7 billion in broadband grants, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast won’t be going for the stimulus money, sources close to the companies said.
Their reasons are varied. All three say they have enough cash to upgrade and expand their broadband networks on their own. Some say the grant money could draw unwanted scrutiny of their business practices and compensation programs, as seen with automakers and banks that got government bailouts.
And privately, some complain about the conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule they say would prevent them from managing traffic on their networks in the way they want.
“We are concerned that some new mandates seem to go well beyond current laws and FCC rules, and may lead to the kind of continuing uncertainty and delay that is antithetical to the president’s primary goals of economic stimulus and job creation,” said Walter McCormick, president of USTelecom, a trade group that represents companies including AT&T and Verizon.
Emphasis mine. And of course, it’s not at all antithetical to his true goal of giving the government ever more power over the private economy.
Andy McCarthy has related thoughts:
Obama has never been as popular as advertised — not even as personally popular (his policies have always been far less popular than his person). It is worth remembering, as I’ve noted before, that even with a Republican candidate who inspired little enthusiasm among conservatives, almost 60 million Americans voted against Obama. That’s more than voted for every winning presidential candidate in our history except Bush ’04. The president has gotten by to this point on the bipartisan goodwill almost every new president gets and a media that has projected him as wildly popular — appearances being crucial in politics. Given that the president is a fierce partisan extremist and that picture of plenary enthusiasm for him was an illusion, that bubble wasn’t likely to last very long, and now it’s been punctured by an issue about which people care deeply. In those straits, a clever communication strategy is not going to solve the problem. It can’t change the substance of what he’s trying to sell.
Bill Clinton recovered from this problem (after he lost the Congress) by “triangulating” and moving to the center. I don’t think that Barack Obama is capable of doing that, despite his pretense of being a moderate — he’s too much of a knee-jerk statist. And the people are wising up to the fraud (nine months too late).