If Republicans had not so thoroughly screwed things up over the last eight years, it would be tempting to be a little sympathetic to their current predicament.
It is not a stretch to say that the GOP appears to be in total collapse. Exhibit A is Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee. Steele has been saying and doing increasingly bizarre things nearly every day since he was elected last month. With each episode, he seems more like some kind of disoriented drunk not in full command of his faculties. Maybe it's the enormity of the task at hand or maybe it's too much cable talk television, but the chairman has clearly come unhinged.
Not since the Great Depression has the plight of American workers been held in such urgent regard by Americans in general and by their government in particular. And never before has so much taxpayer money been directed at creating jobs that also protect and repair the environment.
The current economic crisis and the unprecedented federal response may solidify the sometimes uneasy relationship between the labor and environmental movements, potentially creating a new political force with intersecting interests. Years in the political wilderness, along with the crush of the collapsing economy, have created a conciliatory mood on the left that is making coalition-building easier.
If we were talking about anyone else, I'd say that by the time President Obama goes before the Congress on Tuesday to deliver a speech in lieu of the State of the Union, the man appointed to replace him in the Senate will have resigned, deciding, in the best interests of his state, his party, and his country, to return to the obscurity of his private life.
Rules: Once you've been tagged, write a note with 25 random things, facts, provisions, amendments, or implications related to the stimulus package. At the end, choose 25 members of Congress to be tagged.
1. It should have been called a "jobs bill." That would have made it harder for Republicans to oppose it.
2. It doesn't really matter how big it is. Passage at any size was the win the White House needed.
3, The 59 percent -- and rising -- approval for the bill among Americans may be the confidence builder the economy needs.
4. The 65 percent COBRA credit, which allows the recently unemployed to continue health-insurance coverage, on its own may be worth all the trouble.
Republicans have had a relatively good run these last few days and, understandably, they are reveling in it. After the failed nominations of Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer and the president's besieged stimulus package, Republicans have suddenly begun to look organized and focused and ready for a fight, and on the stimulus, at least, they've found a unified voice, snarkily dissenting and sometimes hypocritical but somewhat effective all the same.
"The American people have real questions about the merits of spending tens of millions of dollars sprucing up government buildings here in Washington, for example, or removing fish barriers, rather than growing the economy and creating jobs," lamented Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, on Monday.