A remarkably sharp-elbowed piece this morning on the Mother Jones Web site, written by Stephanie Mencimer, about a luncheon speech Sen. David Vitter delivered yesterday to Washington's Federalist Society, "Defending Conservative Principles in the Senate."
More interesting, Vitter offered up a few specifics about the opposition party's political strategy given its diminished congressional power. Vitter said defeating the stimulus bill was never the goal; changing public opinion about it was. "We may have lost the vote, but we collectively have won the debate," he said, claiming that the public now perceived that the bill as evidence that the Obama administration was not bringing real change to Washington, but rather just engaging in the same old wasteful government spending. (Congressional Democrats have been disseminating polls showing that the stimulus plan is backed by a majority of the public.) "We're getting back to our roots," Vitter said of congressional Republicans.
According to Vitter, the GOP is basically betting the farm that the stimulus package is going to fail, and the party wants Democrats to go down with it. "Our next goal is to make President Obama and liberal Democrats in Congress own it completely," he said. Instead of coming up with serious measures to save the economy, the party intends to devote its time to an "we told you so" agenda that will include GOP-only hearings on the bill's impact in the coming months to highlight the bill's purportedly wasteful elements and shortcomings.