At $790 billion, the stimulus package that Barack Obama signs into law this week carried enormous economic risks. But as the Washington Post reports, the political stakes of the stimulus are nearly as large. By denying the president a single vote in the House, the GOP is betting that the recovery package will look like a failure in 2010, when midterm elections offer a chance of a comeback.
The Obama team is launching a PR effort tomorrow to highlight new jobs that the stimulus will create—and looking to FDR and Bill Clinton for examples of how to reap political gain from a recession. But the Republicans have pledged to shift the debate toward worry about the growing deficit, which they'll use to push for more tax cuts.