Though I’ve given my fair share of criticism to President Obama and remain opposed to the stimulus package, I have to say that he has made a lot of smart political moves so far. His visit to the Capitol to meet with Congressional Republicans was a masterstroke, because he came off as gracious — even though his statement that he wants to take politics out of the stimulus was a riot given that the bill is a massive collection of Democratic pet projects. But it’s a win-win situation for him. If he peels off some Republicans, he can claim bipartisan support, and if he doesn’t he can still pass the bill he wants and portray Republicans as being trapped in the old ways of Washington, where petty partisan games got in the way of doing the people’s business. Also, he was smart to lobby to have the family planning money removed, a case where Democrats were sticking their thumbs in the eyes of Republicans. Democrats followed up by stripping the $200 million of funding to spruce up the National Mall. In both cases, Democrats are depriving Republicans of an easy line of attack and making it seem that Republicans will oppose any piece of legislation, despite their overtures. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on the reasons why some Democrats are skeptical about the bill.
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