Interpreting The Beltway

By Will DiNovi

Editorial boards across the country are grappling with how the stimulus package will affect state programs and budget shortfalls, as well as the electoral fortunes of their local politicians.

The (Charleston) West Virginia Gazette takes a local congresswoman to task for voting against the stimulus bill, arguing the state could desperately use the $1.4 billion it's slated to receive in the package.

The Huntsville (Alabama) Times examines the basic services that may be cut if Alabama doesn't receive prospective money from the federal package to meet its budget expenses.

Republican Governor Bob Riley's ability to keep services and programs at their present level will obviously have profound implications for the state's 2010 governor's race, where he's likely to take on rising star Rep. Artur Davis.

Meanwhile, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman asks why so many Democratic governors are embracing business incentive programs, once the bane of liberal Democrats, even as they cut back on social programs. Remarkably, this is occurring despite the prospect of obtaining billions of federal dollars from the stimulus.

And for a further indication of how some of the specific provisions of the stimulus bill are playing in the purple states, consider the skeptical reactions that have greeted the 'Buy America' clause. The Columbus Dispatch's editorial board fears the Buy American mandate could spark a trade war. The Kansas City Star says Obama is right to object to the provision. And for some historical perspective, The Rocky Mountain News draws unfortunate parallels between "Buy America" and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/02/interpreting-the-beltway/415/