A problem with the Republican bet against the stimulus that Philip Klein and I haven’t really addressed is the issue that Rush Limbaugh spends most of his time railing against (when he’s not at the center of an Obama-driven controversy)—media bias. The media wants President Obama to succeed. If unemployment merely stabilizes in the high single digits, banks merely stop collapsing like dominos, and the auto industry merely survives to 2010, this will be portrayed as the work of President Obama and the Democrats standing athwart history shouting “Here’s some money! Please be nice to us!” Any sign of recovery at all will be a sign that the president’s plan is working.
Republicans are betting that the media will be as interested in the story of their comeback, their rediscovery of fiscal conservatism, and so, as it is in the New Deal II drama of the Obama presidency. I think that’s a sucker’s bet. Things will need to get much, much worse for the media to start blaming Obama. (Not that the media will ever praise the Republicans for their stances; they didn’t do that for the Barbour/Gingrich/Dole GOP in 1994.)