By Mike Grunwald
Hi, everyone. I’m Michael Grunwald from TIME Magazine, and Josh has generously invited me to blog this week about my new book, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. It’s the story of President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill, which—wait, don’t click away!—was one of the most important and least understood pieces of legislation in modern history. The much-mocked Failed-Stimulus was actually a remarkable success. It was also the purest distillation of what Obama meant by change. And the story of the stimulus is the best way to understand the president, his policies, his approach to politics, his achievements, and his problems marketing those achievements in a city that’s gone bonkers. It’s also the best way to understand his enemies; The New New Deal documents how Republican leaders secretly devised their strategy of all-out obstructionism before he even took office.
I’ll be in Tampa for the GOP convention, so I’ll write about the Republicans tomorrow. Today I’ll give a taste of what I discovered about the stimulus, because almost everything most Americans think they know about it is wrong. The bottom line is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is, as Vice President Biden would say, a BFD, both the short-term Recovery and the long-term Reinvestment. Even though Washington thinks it’s a joke. Even though the country agrees.