Some Republicans think they've found the issue that will finally damage President Obama politically. They're arguing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - known by most as the "Economic Stimulus Package" - hasn't worked. It strikes me as a potentially damaging accusation - if it's true.
I've been following stories in the mainstream media about investments from the stimulus bill. There's been some very good reporting in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Kristi E. Swartz, a business reporter who has covered media and technology. I asked Ms. Swartz via Twitter direct message if she thought the stimulus bill has had an impact there. Her response: "Frankly I think it's too early to tell." This isn't a surprising response. It makes a great deal of sense to me.
Some Republicans are saying already, however, that the verdict is in and the stimulus bill is a flop. Of course, some GOP stalwarts have gotten a little carried away with their claims, but I think at least one argument from a Republican Congressman merits some attention:
In the social media world, the White House responded quickly to criticism via a blog post from OMB Director Orzag (himself a blogger when he was at GAO).
But has the discussion resonated at all online?
Let's compare online discussions (at least in blogs) about the stimulus package to, say, climate change:
OK, but that's all blogs, and climate change is a global issue while the stimulus package is purely a US issue. What if we just look at the people you'd expect to be all over this - the top US political blogs on each side of the ideological spectrum?
I borrowed a page from the Virtual Vantage Points playbook (since I wrote the page I don't think they'll mind) and combined the feeds of six top US-based conservative political blogs and did the same with six of their liberal counterparts. I then ran both feeds through the cloud generator at Wordle to see how prominent the discussion about the stimulus package was.
Here's a graphical depiction of the current discussion from Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Red State, Free Republic, Powerline and Instapundit:
Huffington Post (political feed), Daily Kos (front page), Eschaton, Talking Points Memo, MyDD, and Americablog:
Notice what word you DON'T see there? At all?
It seems the messaging the GOP is pushing about the stimulus isn't stimulating discussions online, at least not yet.