02/05/09 — Vote count: President pulls trump card -- but did we pick spending?

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Vote count: President pulls trump card -- but did we pick spending?

When confronted by questions from Republican leaders about his proposed $819 billion stimulus package and its focus on spending and not tax cuts, President Barack Obama reminded those present that he "was the one who was elected."

The implication is, of course, that the American electorate has given its stamp of approval to the president's theory on how best to fix the nation's ailing economy.

And in this case -- that means spending.

But wait a second. Did 56 percent of the American people really say "yes, please spend more of my money on government" when they checked the box on Election Day?

Nope. In fact, it was exactly the opposite.

Many of the Americans who jumped ship this past fall were sending a message to Washington that they did want more of the same beltway politics and partisanship that they saw as detrimental to advancing this nation domestically and abroad. They were not giving the new leadership carte blanche to grow an even bigger bureaucracy.

And many people even said that they wanted to see a new Washington that chose the best ideas -- not those of one party or the other. That means perhaps a middle of the road plan -- that incorporates the best spending and business incentives -- would fit much more neatly into their view of getting something done.

So while it is true that Barack Obama is the president and has earned the electoral votes of the majority of Americans, it does not mean that we have all signed on to more spending and more tax bills.

President Obama got the vote, but we still reserve the right to make sure that promises of change remain a part of the agenda.

After all, the people are still the boss.

Published in Editorials on February 5, 2009 10:58 AM