The Republican spin machine has been in high gear over the stimulus, alleging that it's merely pork as a reward for traditional Democratic constituencies. Of course, that's what they would do - and what they negotiated for and then spurned in the way of tax cuts.
The truth is much more positive, not perfect of course, but this stimulus is the best bill yet passed over the financial crisis. The money is strongly front-loaded, there's significant though not full reform, and most of the money is stimulative. Yes, all would be better. Conservative Martin Feldstein is right about the weakness of the Republican-demanded tax cuts, but he's just wrong about this:
A large fraction of the stimulus proposal is devoted to infrastructure projects that will spend out very slowly, not with the speed needed to help the economy in 2009 and 2010.(Note that Paul Krugman's blog headline "Bad" is about the second half of TARP and criticizes Obama's financial policy, not his economic stimulus.)
One key question: Who will manage anti-recessionary funds better, the Obama administration or the late, unlamented Bush administration? Really, if you can spit and shit in the same day, you know that answer to that question.
Once, Republicans were good at money. Now, they're just kleptocrats. The price for their support is too high.
If I were Obama, I'd go all in on this, ask the Congressional Democrats to amend this bill to be a better, more Democratic bill, go in front of the American people to say that we Democrats will take full responsibility for fixing the problems left by the past administration, pass it without Republican votes again, and take all the credit when it works.
Smiling sweetly all the time.