Mr. Obama has only his own lack of engagement and leadership to blame. He outsourced the drafting of the bill to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey through inaction. He refused to get his administration's hands dirty in crafting the legislation by laying out a detailed plan in December. Then saying he looked forward to Congress passing a bill for him to sign on Inauguration Day was an invitation for liberal spenders to roll him. They did.
I think this is a pretty spot on critique of how this has come together and points the way forward for the President. He needs to put Rham and Joe to work and start muscling Congress to clean the crap out of the bill.
Rove's exit point is pretty spot on too...
Republicans are right, both substantively and politically, to oppose this monstrosity and smart to offer a bold alternative. The GOP's road back is about to be partly paved by Mr. Obama's embrace of Democratic trickle-down economics. It's terrible policy -- but for Republicans, it provides an opportunity for sharp contrasts that can reset the debate on more favorable terms for the GOP.
If the GOP wants a return from the wilderness, there is no quicker path back than to become the party of what works. We cannot simply oppose, but we must also put forward solutions which are demonstrably better. They can't just sound better because to the ear they appear to align with ideology. They must actually be better, and they must have a payoff that the working men and women of this country can see and feel. Bold alternatives indeed.
I think Rove has got it mostly right here. What do you think?