All this you know. To stop the bleeding, President Obama last week pushed hard for a giant stimulus package, arguing that a fast response is needed. This meant rightbloggers had to act fast, too, to oppose it.
But having no plan of their own with which to replace Obama’s — except for the traditional Republican miracle cure, tax cuts — they focused on an emotional appeal, claiming that the recession really isn’t anything to get excited about, and that the President was trying to terrorize Americans into supporting his plan. Their cue-card read “Fear,” and rightbloggers big and small scribbled it down:
“Fear is the new hope,” said Libertarian Christians. “The Politics of Fear,” said Big Dog’s Weblog. “Fear You Can Believe In,” said Sheepdog’s Blog. “Obama Turns From Peddling Hope to Spreading Fear,” said The Freedomist. “The Audacity of Fear,” said Wizbang. “FEAR! FEAR! FEAR!” said American Glob. “I guess we all know what ‘CHANGE’ is by now,” said Desert Conservative. “It is ‘FEAR MONGERING’ conducted by no one other than Barak Obama himself!”
“Flailing and desperate, he has resorted to the very ‘politics of fear’ he ran against during the campaign,” wrote Michelle Malkin. When Obama argued that “this recession might linger for years” — an assessment that is hardly controversial — she said, “he invokes Chicken Little tactics to scare Washington into ramming his massive, ineffective, debt-stimulating plan through Congress.”
“We Won’t Be Scared into Supporting the Porkulus,” headlined Macsmind. “Obama is playing a dangerous game by overstating the economic problems of the world, said Don Surber. “In doing so, he is spreading fear-mongering.” “Obama is disgracefully using that over the top rhetoric to create a panic,” said Freedom Eden.
Nobama said “Obama Uses Lies and Fear To Continue Pushing So Called Stimulus Bill.” The President “continues repeating that this is the worst economic crisis since the great depression of 1929,” which makes him “a big a@# liar” because “The recession of 1982 had double digit inflation, double digit interest rates and double digit unemployment.” (True, but the interest rate cuts that helped pull us out of that one are hardly available to us now.)
RedState’s Ken Taylor asserted that Obama was “Scaring America Into Socialism,” and that when the President faced Republican opposition to his plan, he “reacted with frustration and anger similar to a child who was not getting his way. The only thing missing was the stomping of feet and tears because we heard the whining and the small tantrums as he spoke to House Democrats during their 100 thousand dollar retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia.”
Taylor at least admitted that “I am not saying that optimistic words alone can change the current atmosphere,” but still contrasted Obama’s “gloom and doom” unfavorably to the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan. His RedState colleague Mike gamecock DeVine compared Obama unfavorably to the peppy FDR — which might seem strange, since DeVine is no fan of the New Deal. But then, most of these guys aren’t. Conservatives4Palin, in making a similar Obama-FDR comparison, said that “FDR’s New Deal programs did not succeed in turning around the economy but he was able to lift the spirits of the nation…” Big Hollywood’s Skip Press said “Perhaps [Obama] believes he is the new FDR and truly is ‘the one?'” but then said that our recession is not as bad as the Great Depression and anyway, “two UCLA economists determined that the economic policies of FDR prolonged the Great Depression by seven years.” So not only is Obama a socialist like FDR, he’s not even trying to be cheerful about it.
“Times ARE hard, I’m not denying that,” said Who Is John Galt. “I just prefer to see my President acting like a MAN instead of waving his arms above his head yelling ‘OMG! We’re all gonna die!'” (Who Is John Galt then manfully declared that America had “sold our souls to Socialism.”)
Even when the Labor Department announced a loss of nearly 600,000 jobs in January, rightbloggers — when they deigned to notice it — told us that was no reason to be concerned. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey said all that was needed was cuts in the capital gains tax instead of Obama’s “screeching hysterically” that “‘We’re all going to DIE!'” The American Spectator said we should “implement true change” by abolishing Social Security, Medicare and all other welfare programs. My Conservative Vent reminded us that, in his own recession, Ronald Reagan called for “a balanced budget” — later settling, MCV failed to note, for massive deficits instead. He, too, accused Obama of trying to “scare the public.”
All this was interpreted to show, as in ages past, that the Obama Presidency is a failure. Commentary‘s Jennifer Rubin celebrated “the undoing of the pretense that Obama has near-magical political powers.” National Review‘s Victor Davis Hanson hailed “The Impending Obama Meltdown” and claimed “Obama is becoming laughable and laying the groundwork for the greatest conservative populist reaction since the Reagan Revolution” (though The Economist noted that Hanson has been predicting Obama’s downfall since March 2008). “Obama’s Decline Continues,” said Power Line. (They added that Obama’s “popularity is shriveling” — that is, it’s at 60 percent, which Power Line admits is “not bad, but nothing special for a President who has been in office for less than three weeks.”)
This may seem odd, as the stimulus bill is widely expected to pass in an amended form. But to rightbloggers, its defeat is beside the point, which is to spin it as a negative. Republicans in Congress got this message, as Representative Pete Sessions showed in his remarks about the GOP’s Taliban-style insurgency. So did National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg, who admitted the bill will pass, but said nonetheless that “Obama’s moment is gone,” because “voters are souring” on the stimulus and “Republicans finally discovered testicular fortitude.” It’s an interesting definition of victory as the country slides deeper into recession. But having decried, for the moment, fear, rightbloggers have to cling to whatever hope the moment brings them, however perverse.