My God on a stick. The degree of panic and cries of OH NOES! all around the tubes are becoming almost unbearable. It's early September all over again. Lots of "Obama should..." and "Why hasn't Obama..."
There is no precedent to what is happening right now other than, perhaps, the New Deal. And FDR didn't have to negotiate his way through cable news, talk radio, the blogotubes and an army of dittoheads calling Congress around the clock.
This situation is brand new. The president isn't trying to pass an off-the-shelf omnibus bill, or midnight basketball, or cellphones for Neighborhood Watch groups. This is massive, this is complicated, this is unlike anything we've ever seen. And pass or fail, it won't be the last recovery bill we will debate this year.
OpenLeft and other blogs are rightfully wondering what we ought to say -- what our approach should be when it comes to a massive netroots blitz of Congress. Atrios, for example, is asking what we should support.
It's not so much a question what we should support, it's who we should be shouting down.
Irrespective of the vastly differing ideas in terms of the details of the recovery bill, there's one thing that most of us can agree about and rally around: the Republicans can't be trusted on the economy and they can't be trusted to meddle with the recovery bill. They've proved themselves to be dishonest players in dealing with the president. They should be shut out of this process -- whether or not the president wants them out.
They have zero cred.
This is the message: ZERO CRED. Operation Zero Cred. From there, considering the unprecedented dollar amount of the recovery bill, it might be impossible to herd every cat. But perhaps, in the process, we'll marginalize the Republicans a little more. And that will likely mean more good things in the recovery bill.
Congressional Democrats have largely been reacting and operating based on what they've heard on their phones (Limbaugh dittohead phone calls) and what they've seen in the paper and on cable news. They mostly haven't heard from the netroots on this, other than "What Obama should do..."
So let's do this.
__Contact information for your Senator here.
__Contact information for your House member here.
The message is:
"The Republicans have zero credibility on the economy."
Paraphrase President Obama:
"Please reject the Republican theories that got us into this mess in the first place."
Tell your congressmember:
"Make the Republicans stand and filibuster if they want to filibuster. No cloture votes! And then, in 2010, you can tell your voters: The Republicans obstructed and filibustered the economic recovery!"
Use the words "recovery bill" instead of "stimulus package." Recovery is important. Economic recovery. Paint the Republicans as being against "recovery." Senator McCain wants to vote against economic recovery! A "stimulus package" sounds like something you buy at a porn shoppe. Hell, in that context, a trillion dollar "stimulus package" is insane.
Number of times President Obama and Secretary Geithner used "stimulus" or "stimulus package" in their remarks today? Zero. Number of times they used the word "recovery?" Nine. Good framing.