Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Stimulus and America's frustration with it

I first said it back on May 15th.

Obama's stimulus has failed.

Now, at that point we only had initial indications of its failure, as well as basic knowledge of economics to understand that a pork-ridden, craptastic waste of cash like the stimulus would at best provide short-term employment and provide no substantive long-term jumpstart to the economy.

But from a political perspective, we knew the stimulus was already a failure for the President back then. The idea was to reenforce that perception into the public identity.

When the plan was on the verge of passage, the public opposed it by a 6-point margin, 43-37. Based on these numbers, the public was ripe for negative messaging re: the stimulus plan.

While Republican leadership wasn't quite as aggressive as 3BP in calling the stimulus a failure, they did take the message mainstream in the early summer.

By highlighting its failures at a macro and micro level, Republican leadership has successfully reenforced the message, even when it was pushed to the side for a focus on the health care debate.

Recent numbers from Rasmussen
highlight extreme disapproval of the stimulus and a widespread perception of its failure.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38% believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.
Only 30% of Americans believe the Democrat-sponsored massive federal stimulus has been a success. That means 70% believe it to be otherwise.

That is huge.

The stimulus is still the President's only major legislative accomplishment designed to help the economy. Once health care reform is passed, it's likely further jobs programs will be proposed, but none will carry with it the profile of Obama's signature jobs bill.

And the failure that comes with it.

By the fall, health care reform will be a distant memory to Americans as they get ready to vote. The jobs crisis and the economy will be where it's always been - first and foremost in the public's mind. They'll still see their neighbor or loved one out of work, and Republicans will remind them over and over again of the failure of the stimulus.

It should be, and hopefully will be, a major tactic used against Democrats as Republicans attempt to nationalize the election.

Americans are clearly on our side. It's up to us to keep them there.

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