Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Jay Cost didn't like President Obama's press conference the other night. He says so at great length in a Real Clear Politics piece called "The President Attacks a Republican Straw Man." He makes a compelling case -- or he would if pesky facts didn't get in his way.

First, Cost objects to Obama's assertion in his opening statement that, "as we've learned very clearly and conclusively over the last eight years, tax cuts alone can't solve all of our economic problems." Cost writes:

Who's arguing that "tax cuts alone" will solve this problem? Even if some are, is this the median position on the Republican side?

Well, apparently yes, Jay. Senator Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation support a plan that's precisely "tax cuts alone" -- and 36 of 40 GOP senators voted for it. Sounds "median" to me. (UPDATE: And, of course there was a similar vote in the House, with 168 out of 178 Republicans supporting an all-tax-cut plan.)

Obama said that "there seems to be a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing. " That disturbed Cost:

...who is seriously arguing that nothing should be done?

Er, the Cato-ites profiled in Politico's article "The Case for Doing Nothing"? Or the people at

And Cost didn't like Obama's statement "Now, maybe philosophically you just don't think that the federal government should be involved in energy policy." His response:

Is there anybody arguing that because the government should not meddle in the economy to secure greater energy efficiency, they shouldn't put new windows in the J. Edgar Hoover Building?

For the answer to that, let's go to CNN and look at "What GOP Leaders Deem Wasteful in Senate Stimulus Bill":

On Monday, Congressional Republican leaders put out a list of what they call wasteful provisions in the Senate version of the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill that is being debated:

...• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings....

(I'll spare you Cost's harrumphing about Obama's assertion that some Republicans aren't "sincere" about getting the best bill possible and just want to beat the White House no matter what. Cost can't imagine how anyone could think that!)

I guess punditry at the pro level is easier than I thought. Who needs facts?

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