More Stimulus Jockeying

Via the AP:

Republicans are preparing to pounce on any wasteful spending in the $787 billion stimulus package as they refocus their criticisms of a measure whose success could hurt their 2010 election prospects.

If the stimulus works, nitpicking won’t hold much weight. A few earmarks, which are less than one percent of the overall budget, are a small price to pay for a rejuvenated economy.

If the economy remains sluggish , the Democrats have already set forth a sequence of arguments to rebut charges of fiscal irresponsibility.

Obama has said that Republicans hardly have the authority to lecture about budgetary management as they squandered the Clinton surpluses and doubled the national debt over the past eight years. But there’s a time decay to this argument, and many Republican candidates in 2010 will have no link to Bush’s excess spending. Essentially, the purely partisan wrangling acts as a stop-gap until Obama can prove fiscal responsibility through his track record.

This week, Obama’s entire budget layout is oriented toward that theme of fiscal prudence. On Monday comes a comprehensive “fiscal responsibility” summit, and on Thursday, the administration reveals its first budget. Peter Orszag revealed that there will be a plan to “restore the nation to a sustainable fiscal trajectory over the five-to-10- year window.” Putting the country back on track for balanced budgets will establish Obama as a prime fiscal steward, even if Republicans hassle over a couple of earmarks.

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