In a Washington Post op-ed, President Obama defends the stimulus plan currently before Congress against what he calls "misguided criticisms."
In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.
I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We've seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.
After detailing the positive benefits of the plan, Obama concludes:
So we have a choice to make. We can once again let Washington's bad habits stand in the way of progress. Or we can pull together and say that in America, our destiny isn't written for us but by us. We can place good ideas ahead of old ideological battles, and a sense of purpose above the same narrow partisanship. We can act boldly to turn crisis into opportunity and, together, write the next great chapter in our history and meet the test of our time.
The op-ed might cheer some congressional staffers who worked on the bill and are dismayed by the attacks on their efforts. But at Politico, economist Dean Baker writes that Obama didn't go quite far enough.
"President Obama is far too generous to his political opponents when he suggests that their opposition is motivated by ideological beliefs," Baker said. "It would be very difficult to identify any coherent ideology in the arguments put forward by opponents of the stimulus package."
The op-ed is part of a larger stimulus sales pitch by the president, Chris Cillizza reports:
President Obama will significantly ramp up his salesmanship of his economic stimulus plan over the next week with a prime time news conference planned for Monday and an address from the Oval Office on the topic also being considered. Obama is coming under increasing pressure to convince wavering senators of the necessity of the $900 billion stimulus package following a report in the Post on Wednesday that Democratic leaders do not have the votes to pass the bill as is. Obama outlined his plans for the press conference and potential Oval Office address during a stop at the Senate Democrats' retreat at the Newseum on Wednesday in response to a question from California Sen. Barbara Boxer about how he would sell the American people on the bill, according to a source in the room.
According to CNN, Obama is privately telling members of both parties that he thinks the bill will pass the Senate by the end of the week.
"We will have the votes," said a senior administration official.