Red meat for lunch. “Savior” isn’t a dig at Obama but a reference to rescuing poorly run institutions from the consequences of their decisions. Although as we inch closer to nationalization, the two amount to the same thing.
As for the stimulus, read Ross Douthat on the inanity of the centrist “compromise,” designed not to improve the bill but merely to make it more cosmetically appealing by trimming a bit of fat. Now it’s not big enough to make liberals happy and not small enough to make conservatives happy, which, says Douthat, “means that if the damn thing doesn’t work, we won’t even know whom to blame.” True, but won’t that be true no matter what? We’re still arguing over whether it was Bush’s tax cuts or his profligate spending that did more to get us where we are now. The Democrats’ congressional majority is too large to expect the bill to be downsized or given over to tax relief, but the pricetag on TARP II and future bailouts is too enormous to allow for a gargantuan stimulus now the way some lefties would like. A $2 trillion bill might sound good to Paul Krugman, filing his latest column from Fantasyland, but taxpayers’ appetite for spending isn’t inexhaustible — and neither is The One’s line of political credit. I think Beinart’s right: Who deserves the blame is a subsidiary question to who’ll actually get it if the stimulus fails. And that ain’t the GOP, centrists or otherwise.