Democrats: Republicans are stimulus hypocrites, or something

If the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were an unqualified success, would the Democrats be running ads like this?

The ad doesn’t even attempt to defend the stimulus act on its merits, or show any evidence that the $787 billion spent actually created any new jobs. Instead, it spends almost two minutes attacking Republicans on their “hypocrisy.” Even normally mild-mannered economist Greg Mankiw finds the Democratic spin hard to take:

Let me offer an analogy. Many Democratic congressmen opposed the Bush tax cuts. That was based, I presume, on their honest assessment of the policy. But once these tax cuts were passed, I bet these congressmen paid lower taxes. I bet they did not offer to hand the Treasury the extra taxes they would have owed at the previous tax rates. Would it make sense for the GOP to suggest that these Democrats were disingenuous or hypocritical? I don’t think so. Many times, we as individuals benefit from policies we opposed. There is nothing wrong about that.

Indeed. Of course, some Democrats not only kept their tax cuts, but found unique ways to avoid paying any taxes at all. Are they hypocrites as well, or does their party affiliation make them exempt from such criticism? The administration and the media have spent the day touting the benefits of the stimulus plan, but I just can’t get past this graph from Innocent Bystanders:

stimulus-vs-unemployment-january-dots

Clearly, the recovery act did not meet the expectations of the people who wrote and advocated for it. Does that make it a…boondoggle?