Opposing Viewpoints: GOP divided on Obama plan, find room for compromise
By CALVIN SHERWOOD
It was a fitting political move for President Obama to reveal his new, economy-boosting plan during the Labor Day weekend.
While the Iraqi mission has finally faded into the political twilight, Obama has seized this moment of transition to propel a new bill designed to renew and repair America’s transportation.
It will initially amount to $50 billion in costs, yet may help re-invigorate a sagging economy and inject thousands of new jobs into the workforce.
This bold move symbolizes how the economy has taken over the electoral race this upcoming fall, and Obama’s choice has a mix of risks and advantages that it brings to his domestic policy (not to mention democratic candidates this fall).
Selling this deal to the American public will not be easy, and as The Economist put it, “Mr. Obama faces a tough marketing job.”
This is obvious for several reasons; one, reaction to his previous stimuli packages has grown sour, and Republicans do not grow tired of reminding Obama about that.
Another reason it seems risky is that while Obama claims that this economic boost will not affect the deficit, he has not yet confirmed that with data or results.
The majority of Americans will view this move suspiciously and unless proven otherwise soon, they will link the proposal’s cost to the deficit.
Despite these huge obstacles in the way of Obama’s bill, its contents are quite impressive. It includes a tax deduction for businesses, which would cushion the loss of the Bush tax-cuts that are set to expire this December.
The meat of the proposal, if enacted, would invigorate America’s transportation system in a way that has not been seen since the Eisenhower Administration’s mass freeway construction project.
Realistically, this bill will not be rammed through congress before the elections, and even if it were passed immediately, it would not take effect for almost a year.
Nevertheless, the proposal has sparked interest in the public, and opponents are now scrambling for an alternative, which, politicians like McCain and Boehner admit, they have not yet been able to produce.
This puts the Republicans on the defensive for once; eventually they will have to propose something in response to regain momentum.
Until then, the Democrats will sit just a little bit more comfortably going into election season, knowing that they have put forth a bold, risky but ultimately solid proposition.
It does not take much delving into American politics to reveal the discontent swirling around amongst the voters this year.
With that in mind, the proposal Obama has presented clearly shows how he is trying to fill the void of discontent—a necessary move to revive Democratic hopes in the face of unceasing Republican attacks on the current state of Washington.
The last few months certainly have not been kind to the Obama administration, with polls steadily dropping and pointing towards Democratic losses.
These reports certainly may be over exaggerated (Ronald Reagan had terrible poll ratings at this point in his first term too, not to mention economic problems), but their political threat is still very real.
To parry the mounting attacks on his healthcare and economic policy from the right, Obama has chosen this platform as his chance to finally strike back at his critics.
Looking confident, energetic and enthusiastic about his new proposal, Obama injected some energy into a beleaguered Democratic party, finally finding a new issue to push forward and regain some momentum.
Does this mean they are out of the woods and should call upon a choir of heavenly angels to sing hymns of praises yet? Absolutely not.
Obama may have parried a Republican thrust and thrown them off balance with a stab of his own, but ultimately the voters will crown the winner in November.
Obama’s new proposal, sound or not, may not be enough to pull the Democrats through. However, until the Republicans can pull together a better alternative, Obama’s bill should be considered worth the risk.