Remember when GOPer Roy Blunt ran for the Senate by harping on the “failed” stimulus?
Remember when Rep. Todd Akin (R-2) took to the floor of the U.S. House to denounce the Recovery Act (i.e., the stimulus) as a failure, and Obama and the Democrats for turning the Bush recession into a depression?
Remember when Rep. Billy Long (R-6) demanded that Congress “admit they made a mistake and vote to repeal the Stimulus Act in order to reduce our deficit”?
These examples offer a very small subset of the disrespect that our GOP delegation lobbed at the Recovery Act. Almost every Missouri GOPer has a small archive of similar statements. They are usually accompanied by recipes for budget cuts, deficit reduction and similar austerity measures.
Which is what makes this chart (h/t Maddow blog) so sweet (for those of us in the U.S. at least). Look at what happened to Great Britain and the Eurozone countries that took the austerity message so deeply to heart:
Britain, whose austerity policies many GOPers urged the administration to emulate, has officially entered a “double-dip” recession, while the U.S., where our President and his Democratic allies managed to push a small stimulus past GOP obstructionists, shows slow but consistent growth ever since the stimulus package began to take effect in the second half of 2009.
Don’t forget, either, that many economists have faulted the Recovery act only for being too small. Most realize, though, that a larger stimulus would have been impossible given the Republican’s hide-bound, seemingly ideological opposition to the Keynesian approach that proved so effective in the 1930s and 40s.
Ed Kilgore, reporting on Robert Draper’s new book on the 111th Congress, quotes several passages that indicate that the GOP war on the stimulus may have been motivated by political considerations as much or even more than ideological concerns. Draper recounts the almost immediate mobilization of key Republican policy makers, at a dinner on the night of the Obama inauguration no less, to devise ways to “submarine” the Obama presidency. Kilgore summarizes the strategy they devised:
In Draper’s account, these schemers decided on three very immediate steps: a campaign of villification [sic] aimed at Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, an effort to obtain a unanimous vote in the House against economic stimulus legislation, and an early initiation of attack ads.
So political has the attack on the stimulus been and so divorced from fact, that I doubt whether the dire effects of the austerity crash across the Atlantic will penetrate GOP rhetoric in the slightest degree. I predict we’ll continue to hear the same tired canards about the “failed” stimulus” from the same cast of characters from now until November. Maybe then, if we’re lucky, the players will change for the better – in a few cases at least.