Saturday | January 11, 2003
Hubris, Thy Name is Bush
Today’s Washington Post has a very revealing look at the White House attitude and strategy in pushing their class warfare plan, otherwise known as their version of a stimulus package. As we reported earlier in the week, it now appears that five GOP Senators, including most importantly Finance Committee chair Charles Grassley, think that the Bush package may not be viable at all. Yet Vice President Cheney (he of the brilliant Korean strategy) thinks that the final package will be fairly close to what the President (and Karl Rove) recommended. Also, the story confirms what others in this blog suspected earlier in the week that Tom DeLay’s “sky is the limit” approach to jacking up the cost of the package is endorsed by Bush as a means of making his package look reasonable. Yet this approach is fatally flawed in that moderate Democrat and GOP Senators, as well as more importantly Wall Street have concluded that the Bush package itself is no place to start, let alone end up.
Given that there are already five GOP votes against the President’s dividend tax elimination, as well as John Breaux and other previously supportive Democrats, why would Cheney and the likes of Grover Norquist think that they can ram this through?
Because they have in the past. And they incredibly feel that having the lapdog GOP House push this through immediately will put pressure on the Senate. And here is where the strategy falls apart.
Just because Norquist and the rest of his K Street checkwriters think they can marshal a victory here doesn’t mean they can overcome Wall Street. Nor does it mean that the Senate, with so many in the middle already doubting the plan, will pay any attention to the crazy loons in the GOP House leadership. There is no doubt that DeLay will hammer a vote through quickly, but it will be essential for Nancy Pelosi and John Spratt to cut the legs off of this plan with their opposition, and to keep the Democratic caucus together as much as possible, so that they can show this to be as much a party-line vote as anything else.
Yes, Norquist may already be talking about moving from any dividend tax elimination failure to a capital gains tax cut, but that only shows how shallow Rove’s plan from a policy perspective was in the first place. And when someone hears Cheney’s comments about Bush’s likely success on this, in the face of such opposition from Wall Street and moderates in the Senate, one can only see the evidence of how we also got such a pathetic policy on North Korea.