Now that, as Brian Beutler well puts it, the Obama Administration has decided to outsource the stimulus decision to Ben Nelson and Susan Collins, it might be well to completely change the strategy. To wit: Go with No More Mr. Nice Guy.
The administration should use its supposed vaunted community organizing to build public pressure for its version of the stimulus, and then Obama, Pelosi, and Reid should hold a press conference where they say:
1) The only reason why the bill has not passed and Americans have not gotten economic relief is because of the Republican Party. And the only reason why the Republican Party has been able to obstruct is because of the filibuster (more accurately, Senate rules, but close enough.).
2) If the stimulus does not pass now, any future economic pain is solely the responsibility of the Republican Party. Any American who finds herself out of work, without medical care, etc. etc. can lay blame completely at the doorstep of the GOP.
3) Budget bills cannot be filibustered.
4) Thus, our intention is to pull the stimulus package now and resubmit it as part of the budget process. We will resubmit this budget with Democratic priorities and Democratic principles, and it will reinforce the goals that President Obama advocated during the campaign and for which the country gave him a mandate.
5) It will pass in that form.
6) To be sure, it will be much better to have a package now, but we will not compromise on what the American people voted for last November. And as we said, the public knows quite clearly upon whom the blame should land.
7) Negotiations are over. Take it or leave it.
Barack Obama cut his political teeth in Chicago. Nancy Pelosi learned tough Baltimore politics from her father. Harry Reid used to be a boxer. It’s about time they showed it.