As long as everyone’s reading this Drew Westen column, can we stop to ask why “the president doesn’t spend enough teme telling stories” is still considered a strong argument? Take the strongest part of the Westen column, the stimulus package and Obama’s failure to sell it. Problematic, sure. But why wasn’t it a spending-only stimulus? Because there were only 59 Democrats in the Senate, as Republicans refused to seat Al Franken until court cases wrapped up, and to get Republican votes Democrats added an AMT fix, some more tax cuts, and (for Arlen Specter) NIH funding that went to stupid things.
It’s not an accident that, according to the wise men, a joint committee that cuts through the House/Senate process is our only remaining hope. The process doesn’t work very well.