“Democrats are relentlessly hyping President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, while Republicans are trying to change the subject to Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and the Mexican border.” https://t.co/2rw76FicJW
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) March 18, 2021
Politico is forced to admire President Biden’s tactics, very much against its own will:
… Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, arguably the shrewdest Republican strategist in Washington, has started floating a half-hearted anti-stimulus message that the coming recovery would have happened anyway.
“We are about to have a boom,” McConnell said last week after the Biden bill passed. “And if we do have a boom, it will have absolutely nothing to do with this $1.9 trillion.”…
It may be an overstated political cliché that if you’re explaining, you’re losing. But you’re almost certainly losing if you’re explaining, ahead of time, why the economic boom you’re expecting on your opponent’s watch shouldn’t be attributed to your opponent. One lesson of the volatility of the past dozen years is that fairly or not, the president’s party tends to get the credit or blame for the economy—or at least for the way people perceive the economy. Biden is visiting swing states this week to sell American Rescue Plan’s focus on giving Americans vaccines and money, but with economists across the ideological spectrum forecasting explosive growth, many veterans of the 2009 stimulus wars believe the economy will be all the sales pitch the bill needs.
“We’re going to see some fairly amazing economic numbers, and I imagine for the next few years, people will look around and say: ‘This is pretty darn good!’” says American Enterprise Institute fellow James Pethokoukis, a conservative economist who believes the Biden stimulus is somewhat excessive. “I’m sure Republicans will try to spin this, and I have long-term concerns myself, but the reality of a crazy strong expansion will be tough to spin away.”
Democrats seemed to have learned a bunch of lessons from the backlash against the Obama stimulus—that it’s important to sell your own product, that it’s even more important not to trash your own product, and that it’s supremely important to make sure your product works as well as possible. Even though the Obama White House pushed for the biggest possible stimulus it could get out of a bailout-weary Congress in 2009, most economists believe the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would have produced a stronger recovery if it had been even bigger. Biden was determined to make sure his relief act didn’t undershoot as well, even if that meant he would face criticism for ignoring the budget deficit and failing to attract Republican votes…
This is 100% what I expected. Biden is an old-school coalitional politician and he's smart enough to recognize that progressives are an increasingly important part of the Democratic coalition's present and future. https://t.co/Bm0wWwU4ER
— Seth Cotlar (@SethCotlar) March 18, 2021