I try not to write too much on pure politics, but the answer to Josh Marshall’s question seems pretty straightforward to me.
Over almost two years, I’ve learned not to underestimate Barack Obama or assume reflexively that if he’s not following my idea of the best way to proceed that he hasn’t thought up a much better one I hadn’t considered. But it does look to me like he’s ceding the initiative [on a stimulus bill] to Congress, which is odd since he’s immensely popular and Congress is wildly unpopular.
First, a stimulus bill is unquestionably the most pressing of several pressing expediencies, and as such, can be expected to be put together in Congress within a reasonable time frame. Second, he’s not President yet, and allowing Congress to begin gives the bill a head start. Third, it’s unlikely a bill proposed by Obama was going to come through through Congress unsullied anyway, so what then is the harm of letting it get diluted first? Lastly, and building on the first three reasons, if Obama can pass a stimulus bill without spending any of his own political capital, it leaves more room to fight on distinctly less bipartisan issues like climate change or EFCA.