Thursday, January 29, 2009

Republican Unity? 

Yesterday the House passed the stimulus bill by a vote of 244-188, with all Repubs voting no, and as noted by Michelle Malkin, they "peeled off" 11 Dems to join them. I'm frankly surprised by this show of unity among the Repubs, partly because some of them are definitely more left-leaning than many Dems, and partly because Pres. Obama spent a bit of political capital wooing them, and being regarded well by any President is generally thought to be a good thing by House Members.

I suspect that the vote went the way it did not so much as a dis of Pres. O., but rather as a protest against the heavy-handedness of Speaker Pelosi, whose idea of bipartisanship is very close to "my way or the highway." It was probably talking points, but I heard several Repub Members on TV yesterday making the point that Republican input to the bill was absolutely nil. Frankly, I hope we see more of this kind of thing. Why should Repubs vote for any Dem-sponsored legislation when they are totally frozen out of the legislative process?

If they haven't already done so, Repub leadership should tell Pres. O that if he wants to have any hope whatsoever of Repub support for legislation he wants, he'd better prevail upon Pelosi and Sen. Majority Leader Reid to let the Repubs have an honest (as opposed to just for show) role in crafting the bills. The downside of this tack, of course, is lack of will among Repub Members and Senators who think "go along to get along" is more important than standing up for core beliefs.

I think this is a good political tactic if the Repubs believe that the stimulus package won't work, as they'll be able to say in 2010 and 2012 that however bad things might have been in January 2009, following the Dems' prescription only made the patient worse. If they're wrong about that ... well, people seem to think that "The 300" were heroes, even as they were massacred by the Persians.

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