Democrats (and 1 Republican) try to change the narrative that the stimulus has "failed"


And Rendell admitted the cold reality.  Barack Obama and his White House have not been very effective advocates for said stimulus:


"Ironically, the best communicator in the history of political campaigning turned out in his first year in office to not communicate very well. They let the Republicans take the spin right from the beginning. The stimulus got beat up before one dollar was spent. What I would have done, and I've been in charge of the president, is I would have had him Tuesday night -- not Tuesday night was the inaugural ball. Wednesday night I would have had him make a speech to the nation, break down what stimulus because a lot of the stimulus, it wasn't job creation, but was safety net. But not safety net for people on welfare, safety net for hardworking Americans who lost their jobs, extending unemployment benefit. Is there anybody in the Congress -- Republicans aren't going to raise their hands and vote against that, right? Everybody is in favor of that. That was an important component of the stimulus. COBRA, health care benefits, for people who lost their jobs. But we never explained it from the get go and we lost the spin war. The stimulus has done a great job for America, but we lost the spin war. And once you lose it, it's hard to get it back.'


On the same program, California's Arnold Schwarzenegger proudly boasted that he was the only Republican Governor who embraced the stimulus, saying:


I mean, if it is teachers, if it is university professors, if it is people that are building infrastructure and stuff like that. I mean in every category, there is jobs that have been created in California, 150,000. This is 150,000 people that are going home today with a check that are providing for the family, that can buy the textbooks for their kids, that are feeling wanted and needed and feeling productive. I mean, a better job, it isn't just a job, it's all of those kind of other things. So I'm happy that we got this money. I'm happy that we have put 150,000 people to work and there will be more people that we will put to work.


But Republicans on the other Sunday morning shows kept up their consistent opposition by downplaying the fact that, well, yes, it might have created jobs, but they were jobs in state government (as if that doesn't count).  That was the line that obvious GOP presidential Tim Pawlenty, a/k/a/ "T-Paw", the Governor of Minnesota, said to David Gregory on Meet the Press :



MR. GREGORY:  But my question is do you think it worked?


GOV. PAWLENTY:  As measured by the administration's own goals and objectives, no.


MR. GREGORY:  Right.


GOV. PAWLENTY:  You know, they said they were going to...


MR. GREGORY:  What about the 12,000 jobs that were created in your state as a result of it?


GOV. PAWLENTY:  Well, these are mostly government jobs, you know.  So what we're doing is...


MR. GREGORY:  So you didn't need those?



GOV. PAWLENTY:  Well, we appreciate every job.  But the idea that government grows the economy when all they really do is extract money from taxpayers, bring it into the bureaucracy and put it back out into the economy on a political agenda is not growth, that's transferring money.


There is still approximately $320 billion in spending still has not been handed out of the stimulus, and an additional $195 billion in tax cuts are due to begin being issued out through tax returns.

As this  site has written about frequently, and especially in the past week, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, (a/k/a the stimulus bill), has been cited by a number of independent economists as having made a substantial impact in lessening the economic conditions in the world wide recession (and the Congressional Budget Office, everybody in Washington's official scorekeeper, reported in December that the bill, which has now risen to $862 billion, had created or saved 1.6 million jobs in its first year, with nearly a third of the spending of the program still to come).

But the constant criticism from Republicans has infiltrated for months into the mainstream media, to the extent that a stunning NY Times/CBS poll taken recently said that only 6% of the American public believes the plan has added jobs to the country.  That is an obviously a failure in communications, a point brought forth fervently Sunday morning by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on ABC's This Week. Responding to a clip from the CPAC conference showing Mitt Romney bashing the stimulus, Rendell said:

"We could fill up every baseball stadium in this country, Terry, with people who got jobs or whose job was saved by the stimulus. There's no ifs, ands or butts about it. Pennsylvania's budget is a little under $28 billion. We get almost $3 billion this year from stimulus. Take that $3 billion away, we've cut most of our program grants to the bone. You'd have to lay off — I'd have to lay off 37,000 state workers to balance the budget. We have 76,000 state workers.

If we did it with counties, it would be teachers, fireman, police men, emergency workers. So has it saved jobs? You bet it has. Has it created jobs? I'll take Governor Romney out to any construction site in Pennsylvania and then I'll take him — we'll drive to a construction site, back to the steel plant that provided the steel for the bridge. He knows better."

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