From Salena Zito in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Americans just now are getting a peek at all the spending and the lack of "change" they will see this year, says Congressman Mike Pence, R-Ind., who chairs the Republican Conference.
Pence says that after the "spending bill" (he refuses to call it a stimulus bill), more government growth will be on the table with the coming 2009 omnibus spending bill, the cap-and-trade bill and then the federal budget.
"There are thousands upon thousands of earmarks in the omnibus spending bill alone," he says.
In his press conference last week, President Obama mentioned not once but twice that he had a hard time taking seriously GOP criticism of the stimulus bill and federal spending, since Republicans grew the deficit to twice its size when they had power.
Still, it would have been swell to have someone put in this bill new investments into the biotech, nanotech, health care and alternative-energy sectors, to drive an "innovation era" -- and a message of "Oh yeah, we want you to be part of it."
Instead, we got a message of "Pass this bill and ignore its girth, or the sky will fall."
Democrats face some very tough choices: Will they confront their own special interests (such as autoworker unions), or will they just spend more money? Remember, fundamentally, Democrats believe public problems require public solutions.
Obama thinks that, for the most part, Republican economic policies have been catastrophically wrong -- and he's not been shy about saying so. He's using his brand and popularity for political and policy leverage.