February 8, 2010

Peggy Noonan thinks that President Obama just discovered bipartisanship now that his poll numbers are going down. Obviously she hasn't paid an ounce of attention to how he's actually governed for the last year. And when confronted with the rank partisanship from the Republicans and even the Senate's newest member, Scott Brown, who said the stimulus bill hasn't created a single job, Noonan dismisses it as just rhetoric he used to get elected. And George Will blames the President for having "an aggressive agenda" for the Republicans' bad behavior.

TAPPER: George, the administration and the president has said specifically that he was hoping for some bipartisanship support for some of the small-business tax cuts and credits he's pushing. There's an elimination of a capital gains tax for investments in small businesses, a tax credit for hiring, hoping for Republican support. I have yet to hear one Republican voice, one level of support for any of that.

If there's not bipartisan support for tax cuts, is there support -- is there possibility for any support for anything bipartisan?

WILL: Well, I'll volunteer. I subscribe to Milton Friedman's view that any tax cut of any shape at any time for any reason is to be supported. So I think probably they'll get some support on this.

But he has a very aggressive agenda from which he has retreated not one bit. I think you'd agree with that. And so when he extends his hand, he says, "I ask only one thing of Republicans, and that is that you quit being Republicans," and they respectfully decline.

If you have an aggressive agenda, you're going to have to push it aggressively in a partisan manner.

NOONAN: I'd add, sometimes timing is everything. If the president had spoken like that or acted in a manner reflective of his comments last year, when he first became president, instead of presenting some bills that want to actually know Republican support, he might be in better shape now. It's very convenient for him to be saying, "We're all in this together," when his numbers are going down.

TAPPER: You wrote recently rather approvingly of the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. He has -- is that unfair?

NOONAN: Sure. No, no, good.

TAPPER: OK. OK. And -- and he came here talking a lot about wanting to work in a bipartisan fashion. One of the first things he did, as you saw in the interview with Geithner, we ran a clip of Brown, was say that the stimulus bill has not created one job. Now, you can criticize with the stimulus bill, but it is -- you can -- you can disagree with whether or not it's created 2 million jobs, but certainly it has created one job.

HUNT: Scott Brown's.



TAPPER: But, I mean, is -- do people just come down to Washington and become partisan, if even Scott Brown is already saying the stimulus bill hasn't created one job?

NOONAN: Well, Scott Brown was saying things like that on the way to election. He is very much against the -- the president's economic program.

I would say, look, obviously, the stimulus bill must have created at least one job, but when you try to find out where are the jobs, how many, what has this bill done, you know, you can't really get an answer. It sort of all dissolves in gobbledygook. You never know. I can't imagine Mr. Geithner knows how many jobs it's created.

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