“The Stimulus Debate That Matters”

Read this statement from E.J. Dionne’s editorial in the Washington Post:

President Obama’s visit with House and Senate Republicans this week was useful for setting a new tone and offering a refreshing break from the Bush administration’s habit of consulting almost no one. But it was a sideshow to the main battle over how to improve the economy, which is taking place among Democrats.

If I am correctly following this logic, a president that visits with the opposition and then disregards them is preferable to one who just disregards them from the beginning.  Putting aside the factual merit of this claim, is it true as a mere proposition?  Would you rather be patronized or ignored?

Of course you’re not being marginalized if you’ve made yourself irrelevant (that sounds like something the Democratic Party could say to certain members of its constituency… but that is another matter):

With a few exceptions, Republicans and conservatives have largely stayed out of these arguments. They prefer to insist on more tax cuts for the well-off and for business, ignoring the reality that all but the most ideological economists dismiss such measures as having limited value in boosting the economy.

This may be true for republicans on the hill.  I don’ know.  I do know that Congress is a very narrow, not to mention biased, sample from which to draw a conclusion about “Republicans”.  Every day I read right-of-center economists, commentators, and bloggers having this exact debate.  In fact, until I read this article in the Post, every piece I’ve read on the economic stimulus in the big papers has essentially been a re-worked White House press release.

I guess we’re not post-partisan and post-ideological, but not post-hubris.

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