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Republicans ignored

Twittering the ongoing negotiations over the stimulus bill last Saturday, Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill bragged, “Proud we cut over 100 billion out of recov bill. Many Ds don’t like it, but needed to be done. The silly stuff Rs keep talking about is OUT.”

Yes, silly stuff. Stuff like money for new school construction and law enforcement, money to help states avoid massive layoffs and service cuts. Apparently, “centrism” means opposition to saving jobs and improving educational opportunities in our country, while Republicanism means obstructing. And their rewards? The “centrists” are “courageous,” while Republicans get feted for their “glimmers of rebirth” on The Washington Post front page.

Meanwhile, the cable networks schedule Republican lawmakers 2-to-1 over their Democratic counterparts — a real challenge when you consider that there aren’t very many Republican lawmakers left in Congress. Take note that many of those Democrats are actually opponents of the stimulus, and it’s soon clear that pro-stimulus voices have been curiously rare in national media.

Yet through it all, an increasingly sophisticated American public is getting better at bypassing the media noise and making up their own minds. Just as they eventually decided to ignore the media proclamations that “George W. Bush is a great leader,” or that “Hillary Clinton is inevitable,” they’re now tuning out much of the Beltway-driven anti-stimulus media onslaught. As Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod told the press on Monday, “Here’s the point, folks: We’ve got a good plan to deal with a deep crisis. The American people support it and we’re urging everyone in Congress to catch up with the people on this one.”

It’s true. A national Gallup poll conducted Feb. 6-7 found that 67 percent of respondents approve of the way Obama has handled efforts to pass the stimulus package, while just 25 percent disapprove. For congressional Democrats, that ratio is 48-42, while congressional Republicans stink up the joint at 31-58. Likewise, Research 2000 polling for Daily Kos conducted last week found that favorability ratings for congressional Republicans were an abysmal 21 percent, compared to 68 percent unfavorable.

Thankfully, the Obama administration finally seems willing to call the self-appointed “experts” out on their obliviousness to mainstream public opinion.

“I think it’s illuminating, because it may not necessarily be where cable television is on all of this. But, you know, we’re sort of used to that,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, pointing to the Gallup poll. “We lost on cable television virtually every day last year. … [T]here’s a conventional wisdom to what’s going on in America via Washington, and there’s the reality of what’s happening in America.”

But don’t try telling Republicans that. They’re downright giddy with their obstructionist tactics. “Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” bragged Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes.”

So on one hand we’ve got a president and congressional majority who are heeding the urgent desire of working Americans to kick-start the economy, and on the other, we’ve got a rump minority that patterns itself after guerrilla jihadists who tried to send their country back to the 10th century.

Well, the numbers couldn’t be clearer. The out-of-touch, Talibanized Republicans and the Beltway media are being rendered increasingly irrelevant by a populace which is able to get their information from alternative sources and make decisions based on what their own two eyes and their pocketbooks tell them — not on whatever alternative reality the GOP and its media enablers create.

Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos