Listen to this, because just reading the transcript of the interview Kai Ryssdal conducts with Michael Grunwald, you really don’t get a sense of just how disconcerted Ryssdal is by the idea that Republicans might be totally wrong about the stimulus being a horrible socialism death bill. After all, Grunwald’s saying things like this:
Grunwald:It was called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Short-term recovery was a very important part of it — there was state aid for that, tax cuts, and a lot of aid to victims of the Great Recession. But there was also this long-term reinvestment part that people don’t understand. There was $90 billion for clean energy at a time that we were spending a few billion dollars a year. You know, the factories to make all that green stuff in the United States. You also had Race to the Top, which people know as this game-changing education reform, but they don’t know that it was part of the stimulus.
And Ryssdal just doesn’t understand, because Republicans hate this thing, and there must be some Republicans somewhere who are right about this, right? RIGHT??!1!!11
Ryssdal:You are — it is clear in this book — a fan of the stimulus bill. You think it was necessary and it did its job. I wonder, though, if there’s any sympathy on your part for the countervailing argument that piling on debt in an American economy that is already in recession is not, the Republicans would say, a good thing to do.
Grunwald replies that actually, no, Republicans’ views of the stimulus are just not grounded in reality in any way, and the sudden concern for the deficit is just adorable, after which Ryssdal pivots to another way Democrats could be at fault for making the stimulus the new Satan:
Ryssdal:How much blame does the president get for — if I could sort of paraphrase you here — screwing up the sales job on this thing?
How much blame does our national punditry get for making the stimulus the new Hitler, and leading with every single Republican argument on the subject? After all, here’s the real numbers on how many people “hate” the stimulus so much.
And here’s the partisan breakdown (same source):
Looking at those, it appears independents are now mostly “meh” on the whole thing, while Republicans dislike it and Democrats like it quite a lot. Seething rage and roiling discord over the stimulus, not so much. The country is not up in arms. The country is only up in arms, these days, about chicken.
Grunwald puts up admirably with this bullshit, and talks about ways the administration could have made its case harder and better, and I won’t disagree with any of that. I will, however, point out that once again America’s political journalism is speaking in the passive voice, as if people just formed these opinions independent of the coverage, and how the stimulus was reported (MUSLIM MARXISTS) had no effect on that whatsoever.
Headline corrected per comments to reflect which news org is actually responsible for this crap.