Dear Mr. President,

I know, you said you weren’t going to, but… go ahead, Veto that bill.

Sorry that I’m writing you so late, but what can I say, there wasn’t much time.  And there still isn’t, so I’ll be really quick:

  • You ran against politics as usual, and the bill is totally politics as usual.  The party in power (it’s not just Dems, it’s whoever’s in power) throws in earmarks.  Nobody likes it.  You don’t like it.  So, just send it back, and say “pass me a bill without these earmarks”.
  • The congressional Dems are not going to have a standoff over this.  They are not going to turn to their constituents and say “we crafted a great bill and the President vetoed it, but we know that something needs to pass, so we’re just going to keep sending it to him as is.”  They’ll follow your lead, and they’ll follow it quickly.  They’d get a much better bill back to you before the end of the week.
  • Congressional Republicans will think “Wow, maybe Obama’s bipartisan rhetoric ISN’T just all talk.”  They’ll be thrilled, at least publicly.  In private, they might worry that you’re stealing a bit of their thunder, because it’ll be MUCH easier for them to pick up congressional seats in 2010 by pointing to a bloated “tax and spend” Democratic spending bill.
  • Democratic citizens will be shocked, but who cares, they love you deeply, and once they get over the surprise that we don’t just have 100% Harmony amongst the powers in Washington, they’ll easily say “well, it’s not like I really *liked* all of those earmarks…
  • Centrist and GOP citizens will cite the veto as a sign that you really are different, you’re not just a partisan, you are going to emphasize fiscal responsibility, Democrat does not just mean “spender”.
  • The press will say things like “unlike his predecessor, President Obama today sent a clear message that he’s willing to Veto bills that are passed by his own party.”

In short, politically, you’ll spend a small bit of political captial with the people who love you the most, and in return you’ll score huge points with everyone else, including the people who are most skeptical of you.  And you don’t even have to look like you’re making deals or compromising your values to do it.  Indeed, by signing it you WOULD be compromising your stated values somewhat.  A clear winner.

But really, you should veto it because you actually *do* *care* about fiscal responsibility, and while I no very little about the details of the bill, the fact that it’s going by the name “Earmark-Laden” in all the press is certainly not an indicator that it has anything to do with fiscal responsibility.  The stimulus bill was where you had justification for big spending, and whether or not everyone agrees, everyone does know that that’s not going to happen every year.  This bill is different, this bill represents the long-term for Federal spending.  And it’s not the path you want us to head down.

So, in my humble opinion, sir, Veto that bill.