On yesterday's Meet The Press, Rachel Maddow made an interesting point about the way the Democrats ought to govern that I think is worth another mention.
At issue was the high unemployment rate, and whether the current stimulus plan will solve the unemployment problem as it unfolds, or whether additional moves -- sure to be met with conventional political opposition -- are required. David Gregory, sizing up the current state of play, asked Maddow, "What went wrong?" To which she replied:
MADDOW: Obviously, job numbers are the holy grail for the next election, as the governors who were just on previously [Haley Barbour and Tim Kaine] were articulating. I think...whatever Democrats do, they are going to be accused of overspending. No matter what they do. If they don't spend another dime. Between now and 2010 they are going to be accused of it. And so, if they're getting shy about the second stimulus, it's not going to make conservatives back off and say, "Oh, the Democrats are the party of fiscal moderation." They're going to get slammed as overspenders anyway, and their choice is whether they are going to do it with intractable double-digit unemployment, and the appearance that they are not doing enough to stop it, or whether they are going to be aggressive, and they need to not be shy about a second stimulus.
I think that's a "real talk" take, frankly. During yesterday's liveblog, I bottom-lined this by saying, "If you are going to get damned no matter what you do, don't get damned having done nothing. Go big!" Obviously, the political risk, here, is that if further attempts to stimulate the economy fail, there's a political price to pay for it. But if Democrats have deeply-held convictions on how to act to bolster the economy and stem the downward trend in unemployment, they ought to act on them and put some real leadership behind the effort.
If you fail and are swept from office, so be it. But if their best plan at this point is to act in the hope that maybe if you're cautious and well-behaved the GOP will stop saying mean things about you, then you're going to get booted from office anyway. Because, as far as I can tell, the health of an economy isn't tied to playing an inter-party food fight to a stalemate. Fortune -- and independent voters -- favor the bold.