Mama Said to Knock You Out (with the Stimulus)

By now, you’ve all heard the news: the House version of the stimulus bill passed by a vote of 244 to 188, almost exclusively along party lines.

No single GOP member of the House voted for the bill, while 11 Democrats broke with their party.

So much for the GOP’s  “good-faith” efforst at cooperation and bipartisanship. But of course, this is all posturing, because the House GOP can afford to blow some smoke because they know that the bill still has to make it through the Senate and conference. By then, the bill will have been either watered down to an acceptable degree (I fucking hope not), or the political pressure becomes too great.

Either way, I suspect that by the time this bill makes it through conference and it’s time for the House to vote on the finalized version, you will see more Republican support for the bill. Of course, the GOP could just really want a kamikaze mission and oppose whatever finalized bill that comes out of conference out of some extremely dogmatic sense of (misguided) principle. If the GOP chooses to do this, it will really have nailed its own coffin: you only have so much political clout, as the minority party, to oppose a President with massive popular support and a bill that is affecting people all over the country.

Sure, such a kamikaze move might appease the base, but appealing to the base isn’t how you win power in American politics. This move doesn’t make the GOP look better in the eyes of the electorate–it just makes Obama look better: after all, Obama is the one that reached out, and the GOP just snubbed him very publicly. And this gives Obama room to manuever: he made his move, so now he can just focus on getting enough Democratic votes to push the stimulus through Congress.


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