Harry Reid shook up the Capitol yesterday by scrapping a jobs bill coordinated by Max Baucus (D-MT) that numerous lawmakers and the White House had already signed off on. Some liberals had complained the bill included too many concessions to Republicans. Reid's proposed substitute is a much slimmer package. The left is applauding the Senate majority leader's stunt, wishing he'd shown some of the same moxie on health care. The bill itself, however, is being greeted skeptically, while mainstream analysts are confused by the strategy Reid's taken after a year of difficult decisions and unhelpful gaffes.
- Finally "Thank God Harry Reid is standing up to Max Baucus and his incessant need to do everything for the Republicans and big business," says Americablog's John Aravosis. At Open Left, Chris Bowers agrees: "It is enough to make one ask--why didn't he just do this with health care?"
- Spine Good, Bill Still Bad Firedoglake's David Dayen applauds Reid's "rare bit of liveliness," but says it still "isn't much of a bill." Ezra Klein feels similarly: "if only it were big enough to make a serious dent in unemployment..." Or, as John Cole at Balloon Juice puts it,
I'm glad he is learning to not let Baucus screw up every god damned thing that goes through the Senate, and I'm glad he is saying to hell with the Republicans. Now, could someone tell me exactly wtf he thinks he is going to accomplish with a piddling 15 billion dollar jobs bill with 9.7% unemployment in a $15 Trillion economy.
- 'Confused and Perhaps Even a Bit Shellshocked,' Nate Silver dubs the Democratic leadership, suggesting this latest move is another bit of reaction to the Massachusetts loss. Ultimately, the jobs bill "should be a trap ... for Republicans," in that voting for the bill makes it bipartisan but not voting for it is tremendously unpopular--both would help the Democrats. "Instead," explains Silver, "Democrats seem hellbent on setting a trap for themselves, breaking up their full house to draw to two pair."
- And He's Confused Everyone Else, Too The Washington Post's Ben Pershing points to signs that Reid took a number of lawmakers and the White House by surprise: "Harry Reid has never been the most talkative or introspective of politicians, so interpreting his behavior and predicting what he'll do next has long been a popular, and difficult, Capitol parlor game."
- Republicans, Unite The National Review's Stephen Spruiell would like to see Republicans take advantage of Democratic disorganization. He thinks this is essentially another stimulus bill, and thus unhelpful. Thus, "in a way, it's good that Reid is nakedly eschewing bipartisanship"--it could give Republicans "cover" to do what he advises: "unite in opposition" to the bill.