How to end the debate on the 'Stimulus Bill'
The current debating and posturing on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the “Obama Stimulus Bill” is troubling and unproductive. All of the partisan rhetoric and time-wasting by Republicans, Democrats, and the President could have been avoided by framing this bill properly and sticking to that frame.
The bill is going to pass. No one, not even Conservative critics, dispute this inevitability. It would have passed with little opposition if one thing would have been done differently: if they would have called it from jump a Jobs Bill, not a Stimulus Bill.
What’s the difference between a Jobs Bill and a Stimulus Bill?
No Congressperson, no matter how much they hate it, can make a justifiable political argument against job creation. Politicians and pundits can, however, make arguments against stimulus. By the way, what exactly is stimulus? Is it spending? Is it tax cuts?
President Obama and I think it’s the former, but the problem is there is room for debate. There is room for conservatives to attempt [with some success] to recast this bill as a spending bill, which to hardcore conservatives make it the Devil’s bill.
Winning the War on Policy happens when you win the War of Words
The President in recent days has gone on the offensive to defend this legislation. This is the right thing to do. What would have been even better to do was not even talk about stimulus plans in the first place, even during the campaign. After all, saying stimulus plan conjures up images of the Bush “Stimulus Checks”, which barely evened registered on any scale of positive economic impact. When you describe your plans and policies with the same language as failed plans and policies, it gives people the wrong mental images. And it is those mental images that are crucial for achieving buy-in in politics.
I’ll be watching this administration and how it frames policy debates. The Obama team was pretty good during the campaign season at framing. They shouldn’t forget that going forward.
One Love. One II.